BOE Presented Title I Programs at Meeting
At the Dec. 21 meeting of the Wetzel County Board of Education, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Pre-K, and Title I, Shane Highley, presented the board with a slideshow presentation regarding Title I programs.
Highley stated that the purpose of Title I was to ensure that all children have a fair, equal and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach proficiency on state academic achievement standards and assessments.
Highley said that according to the Title I Act, curriculum and instructional materials must be aligned with the state’s standards.
Highley highlighted some changes in Title I, including the fact that Title I funds were previously just based on free and reduced lunch and socioeconomic status. Furthermore, Title I funds were previously unable to be mixed with funds for students with disabilities.
“Now those monies can be utilized for both,” he stated. “It’s a nice feature.”
Highley said the goal throughout the education system is to close the achievement gap between high and low-performing students. Furthermore, he noted, the government is now holding schools, local educational agencies, and the state accountable for improving the academic achievement of all students.
Highley stated that another purpose of Title I is to provide children with enriched and accelerated educational programs,which can include the use of school-wide programs or additional services “that increase the amount and quality of instructional time.”
Furthermore, Title I helps to provide staff with substantial opportunities for professional development, as well as parental involvement activities that afford parents the opportunity to participate in the education of their children.
Title I schools in Wetzel County include New Martinsville School, Long Drain School, Paden City Elementary School, and Short Line School. Highley noted that one math interventionist and one reading interventionist are funded through Title I at Long Drain School. New Martinsville School and Short Line School each possess two reading interventionists funded through Title I, and Paden City Elementary School has one math interventionist funded through Title I.
Title I funds are also utilized for extended day and extended school year programs, professional development, supplemental supplies, and parental involvement activities.
Highley noted that out of the Title I funds distributed to the county, a percentage of the funds must go toward focus and priority schools, which means less money for parental involvement.
Board President Mike Blair noted that the opt-out option on testing could ultimately rank a school lower, which could consequently affect funding to other, higher-performing schools. Furthermore, a lack of funding could affect staffing as well.