Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Title I
What is Title I?
Title I is a federally funded program, providing financial resources to assist districts in their efforts to provide services that address student needs. Title I helps students who may need extra assistance in reading, math, or both. Title I is not part of the special education program. Children move in and out of Title I as their needs change. At New Discoveries Montessori Academy, we believe in early intervention. Our Title I program may service kindergarten through sixth grade students.
What assessments/criteria are used to determine which children may need assistance?
Students are assessed in the fall at the beginning of the school year with various assessments. In kindergarten students are assessed on letter recognition, letter sounds, sight words, concepts of print, phoneme segmentation, and sentences for reading, and oral counting, number identification, quantity discrimination, and missing number for math. First grade students are assessed on letter sounds, sight words, phoneme segmentation, and fluency for reading, and oral counting, number identification, quantity discrimination, missing number, and computation for math. Every second through sixth grade student is assessed on fluency for reading, and computation and applications for math. All of these assessments are standardized tests that give us a “snapshot” or your child’s reading and math ability. This “snapshot” is then compared with the child’s performance in the classroom and on classroom assessments. Students may be recommended to the Title I program if the assessments and classroom performance indicate a possible difficulty.
What if parents do not agree with the Title I recommendation?
New Discoveries Montessori Academy Title I prefers to take a proactive position, especially concerning early literacy and mathematics. At this point in time, the vast majority of research supports early reading and mathematics supports for students who may struggle in the future. According to an early article in the Fall 2004 issue of the American Federation of Teachers, “…over identification may be the best policy. For not at-risk students, the intervention will simply reinforce their skills, acting like an “insurance policy” against future problems with reading/mathematics. And, with progress monitoring, these students will test out of the intervention quickly.” It is much more effective to work with students at a young age, rather than waiting until the student is further and further behind their peers. Students who continually struggle in school will tend to have negative feelings towards school and learning. Our goal is to begin interventions at a time when the student is still eager to learn, and interventions are statistically shown to be most beneficial. The classroom and Title I teachers would not recommend Title without assessment data and observations to support this recommendation; however, parents know their children best. Parents ultimately make the final decision of whether or not their child participates in the Title I program.
How long will my child be in the Title I program?
Children move in and out of the program as their needs change. Children are sometimes in the program for less than a year.
What does the Title I program look like in the classroom?
Title I services are different for each child depending on the child’s needs. Teachers are careful to schedule Title I services so that it will cause minimal disruption in the child’s day. Some students work in their classroom with a teaching partner, while other students work with a Title I teacher in another location within the school.
What do the Title I students do during Title I time?
Most Title I students are receiving reinforcement of the skills and concepts that their grade-level peers are also working on. Some students are working on specific skills and with specific interventions. For information regarding what your child is learning in Title I, please speak with either their classroom teacher or the Title I teachers.
What can I do as a parent to help my child do their best?
Parents and teachers both have a common goal – helping children succeed. Parents are the first and most important teachers. Do not assume that your child is getting everything they could possibly need in school. You are the most important part of the learning process! (And the research supports that, too!) Please communicate regularly with your child’s teacher about your student’s progress. Follow through with suggestions that the Title I teacher offers, such as working at home on letter names, sounds, vocabulary, and math facts. One of the most important things a parent can do with their child is to read, read, read, and then read again. You do not have to be the world’s best reader either. Children just need to see that you value reading and that you value what they do every day. Read to your child. Have your child read to you. Have siblings read together. Play books on tape. Take turns reading sections of the book. Read about what the child is interested in. There are hundreds of ways to make reading more exciting. The important part is that you are reading often.
For more information or questions, please contact…
Margaret Shimpa, K-6 Title I Teacher
Kirsten Kinzler, Associate Director
Dave Conrad, Executive Director