Purpose: “The purpose of this [TITLE I] is to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.’’

(SEC. 1001. Title I Statement of Purpose, The Every Student Succeeds Act).

Title I Funds

  • Part A: LEA Grant 15,012,317,605
  • Part B: State Assessments 378,000,000
  • Part C: Migratory Children 374,751,000
  • Part D: Neglected and Delinquent Children 47,614,000
  • Part E: Federal Activities 710,000

TITLE I is the largest federal funding bucket under ESSA, and 95% of Title I funds goes towards Part A.

TITLE I drives State Accountability Plans

States must use a methodology to allocate state and local funds to TITLE I schools to ensure that funds go to schools in need. States identify schools for improvement and support every three years according to the methodology described in the state plan. Priority schools include schools in the bottom 5% of performance; high schools graduating fewer than 67% of students; schools with any subgroup consistently underperforming for a state-defined number of years.

Federal funds flow to the States that have submitted plans according to ESSA requirements. TITLE I Federal funds are allocated by statutory formulas that are based on census poverty estimates and the cost of education in each state.

TITLE I: Part A
Grants to LEAs are authorized in the following amounts:
FY 2017 $15,012,317,605
FY 2018 $15,457,459,042
FY 2019 $15,897,371,442
FY 2020 $16,182,344,591

States have a choice to send school improvement funds to LEAs on formula or to turn them into competitive grants. In order to receive grant monies, LEAs must submit a plan to their SEA that describes how the district and schools will carry out (1) comprehensive school-wide support and improvement strategies, or (2) targeted support and improvement activities for identified students. With the approval of the LEA, the SEA may also directly provide the activities or arrange for their provision through other entities such as school support teams, educational service agencies, or nonprofit or for-profit external providers with expertise in using evidence-based strategies to improve student achievement, instruction, and schools. 20 USC 6303(b)(1)(B).

What does ESSA mean by evidence-based strategies? In reference to school improvement activities carried out by the state, district or school, the term “evidence-based,” means that the rationale for the activity, strategy, or intervention is based on high-quality research findings or positive evaluation that demonstrates that the activity, strategy or intervention system is likely to improve student outcomes or other relevant outcomes such as school conditions. (From section 8101(21)(A) of the ESEA)

TITLE I PART A: Improving Basic State and Local Programs

TITLE I Part A of ESSA provides financial assistance to schools and school districts with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families. Provisions help to ensure that all students meet challenging academic standards required in and by State accountability plans. ESSA has ended the former School Improvement Grant (SIG) program of NCLB.

Funding Allocation

Federal funds are allocated to the states based on four statutory formulas. Formulas are primarily based on poverty estimates by census and the cost of education in each state. The law requires states to reserve a larger portion of their TITLE I monies (7%) for school turnaround and improvement which was 3% under NCLB. States allocate funds to districts (LEAs) in need of school improvement or intervention. These are four-year grants.

Districts may use Part A subgrants to improve school programs and instruction under one of two models:

  • Schoolwide Program – Schools with at least 40% of students from low-income families may use Title I Part A funds to improve its entire program (schoolwide).
  • Targeted Assistance Program – Schools with a population that has less than 40% of enrolled students from low-income families may operate a targeted assistance program for students who are failing or at-risk of failing.

Note: Under ESSA, states have the power to waive the 40% requirement. Once the waiver is granted, schools with a population less than 40% of enrolled students may still operate a school wide improvement program.

Opportunities to Improve School Conditions: Cyber Bullying & Responsible Use Programs

Another significant change under ESSA is that the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) accountability system is replaced by state-designed systems that must have criteria for identifying struggling schools and student subgroups. One of the most important aspects of the state-designed accountability system is that states must include not less than one indicator of school quality or success which may include a measure of school climate and safety. State plans are required to describe “how the state educational agency will support local educational agencies receiving assistance under [TITLE I] to improve school conditions for student learning, including through reducing incidences of bullying and harassment.” Section 1111(g)(1)(C)(i)

TITLE I funds serve the best interest of students when aimed to reduce and prevent issues related to cyber bullying and harassment to improve and support a safe and healthy school climate (see also TITLE IV in this article). Therefore, the link between cyber bullying, harassment and struggling schools or targeted support for students, namely at-risk youth, is a critical aspect to consider when developing TITLE I school improvement and intervention strategies and applying for funding to address this area.

The widespread adoption of digital devices among the student population, coupled with the integration of information and communications technologies in teaching and learning, has brought about issues that impact school climate and safety. However, cyber bullying is not the only technology-related issue that impacts school conditions for learning.

Irresponsible and harmful use of school technology impedes students’ right to learn and may have a negative impact on academic outcomes. Thus, a robust schoolwide responsible technology use program (AUP Training) mitigates risk ensures that students are learning in a safe, positive and productive learning environment. i-SAFE Direct Technology provides States, Districts and schools with valuable datasets for reporting purposes as part of state and district accountability plans.

What is more, an effective schoolwide responsible use program also provides professional development and engages parents and families. Fortunately, i-SAFE offers a digital learning program with educational resources and technology platforms that serve the purpose of educating students, providing professional development and engaging parents and families.

Funding for Comprehensive School Programs & Educational Technology

District efforts to support and improve school climate by providing students with educational resources and materials, teachers with professional development, and engaging parents and families, receive a percentage of TITLE I grants.

  • Student Materials and Resources – Schools and districts incorporating digital learning may use TITLE I Part A funds to purchase digital learning resources if the program is schoolwide and at least 40% of the enrolled student population is from low-income families. www.isafeventures.com
  • Professional Development – Districts may also use TITLE I Part A funds to benefit educators in schoolwide or targeted assistance programs under TITLE I provisions. isafedirect.com/aupservices
  • Parent and Family Engagement – Parent and family engagement efforts are allotted 1% of TITLE I grants. LEAs shall use these funds to do no less than one of the following: support schools and nonprofit organizations providing professional development in this area; support programs to reach parents and family members at home  disseminate best practices information on parent and family engagement; and collaborate with entities with a record of success  in improving and increasing parent and family engagement.
Responsible Use: School Climate as an Indicator

States may use school climate and safety as indicators in their accountability system and state report cards so that states will be able to recognize schools that are improving school conditions for learning through digital citizenship and e-Safety programs like i-SAFE Digital Learning and strategies implemented using i-SAFE Direct platforms.

Engaging Parents and Families in Responsible Use Programs

Schools and school districts can engage parents and families in schoolwide responsible technology use programming utilizing resources in i-SAFE Digital Learning and verifying AUP training and agreement through i-SAFE Direct AUP thereby minimizing risk and digital issues impacting school climate and student performance.

ESSA funding models are flexible. Other funding sources through TITLE II and TITLE IV may also be used to close the digital divide; to provide professional development (TITLE II), academic enrichment and student supports (TITLE IV) working in combination with TITLE I monies to ensure positive school climate and student safety.

i-SAFE’s Track Record of Success

i-SAFE’s has a track record of success: with over 5,100 school districts implementing i-SAFE’s Digital Learning program, schools and school districts have an implemented comprehensive strategies for custom digital citizenship, e-Safety and responsible use programs tailor fit to meet the needs of all students. i-SAFE provides teachers and students with access to digital learning resources and instructional materials that integrate across the curriculum into academic subjects such as math, reading, English Language Arts, and social studies as well as digital literacy and technology literacy. i-SAFE curriculum meets the requirements of “challenging academic standards” by addressing Common Core and ISTE/NETS to prepare students for success in college, career and life in the 21st century.

i-SAFE Direct offers an AUP training and verification platform that provides professional development and engages parents and families. Clear communication among educational leaders, teachers and parents and students ensures best practice in comprehensive school programs as well as valuable data sets to be used in SEA and LEA accountability plans.

Guidance to Improve School Conditions
TITLE I and Student Data Privacy

ESSA provisions protect student data privacy in State Plans. Information collected, included or disseminate in report cards shall be collected and disseminated in a manner that protects individual privacy in consistency with section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act, a.k.a. the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. 1232g) as well as ESSA. Section 1111(h)(1)(i)(1) Visit www.isafeventures.com to learn more.

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