Spotlight on Stimulus - Title I September 15 2009
Periodically throughout the school year, I'm involved in helping evaluate a student for eligibility for Special Education services. One of my first experiences while participating in one of these meetings was realizing that socioeconomics could not be used in this program's evaluation.
"That's what Title I is for," a colleague explained.
What Is It, Exactly?
Title I is a federal program that provides academic support for low-achieving students. Socioeconomics plays a part because that is how a school qualifies for Title I funds - my understanding is one of the criteria is that a school's Free and Reduced Lunch program must have at least a 40% participation rate. Then school and district employees apply for Title I status from the federal government in order to receive funds.
Now, thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Title I funds have increased by $10 billion this year in order to provide additional support for teachers and students.
How Do We Use It?
The U.S. Department of Education awarded 50% of these funds in April 2009. In order to receive the balance of the ARRA funds, your state Department of Education must submit how they will report on use of the funds.
These funds are in additon to Title I funds already budgeted and received from the federal government, but the $10 billion is to be spent by 2011. Therefore, funds should be used to supplement programs, and need to have a short-term focus, avoiding projects that will need to be sustained in the long-term.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, these funds could be used for:
- Teacher training and collaboration
- Early Childhood Education programs and alignment with local elementary schools
- Supplemental reading, math and science material
- Targeted programs, such as before and after school help
But How Do I Access Them?
Start with your colleagues. Do you have a Reading/Literacy or Math Coach already in the building? What about the Resource Room teacher? And don't forget your school's administrator! As students are evaluated in reading and math at the beginning of the school year, it should become easier to get information regarding Title I funds, especially when you want to purchase supplemental materials for intervention purposes.
Why is all this important?
Because this year, you could be purchasing products paid for by stimulus funds instead of out of your own pocket! Teaching Resource Center has a variety of materials appropriate for use of these funds, wherever you see the Title I Approved logo.
Hopefully the "Spotlight on Stimulus Series" will help direct more federal funds into your classroom for the benefit of your students. Questions? Comments? Please leave them below!