9/24/15 Schools seek nearly $7 million from feds

Schools seek nearly $7 million from feds
Title I and II monies earmarked for low-income communities
By Isaac Groves, The Times-News 9/24/15  
Reprinted with permission.      

TITLE I AND II SCHOOLS
  
ABSS TITLE I SCHOOLS
  
ELEMENTARY

  • Andrews
  • B. Everett Jordan
  • Eastlawn
  • Garrett
  • Grove Park
  • Haw River
  • Hillcrest
  • Newlin
  • North Graham
  • Pleasant Grove
  • South Graham
  • Sylvan

MIDDLE

  • Broadview
  • Graham
  • Turrentine

PRIVATE TITLE I SCHOOLS

  • The Burlington School
  • Blessed Sacrament School

PRIVATE TITLE II SCHOOLS

  • The Burlington School
  • Blessed Sacrament
  • Children’s House Montessori School
   The Alamance-Burlington School System is applying for $6.4 million in federal Title I funds to bring extra help to schools with a lot of low-income students, and $572,635 in Title II funds for teacher training.

   The district has 15 elementary and middle schools eligible for Title I funds. Schools qualify when 55 percent of the student body lives in poverty.

   The 15 ABSS schools go from 57 percent to 100 percent poverty, Jean Maness, senior executive director of elementary education, said Tuesday.

   There are also ABSS high schools qualifying for Title I funds, Maness said, but the district concentrates the money on younger students.

   “Mainly because in years past the system has made the decision that early intervention is more beneficial,” Maness said.

   It is more effective to work with young children when they first fall behind in reading and writing, Maness said, and the more schools that get ABSS’ Title I funds, the less each school gets. ABSS middle schools started getting Title I money a few years ago when the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches increased.

   The district is required to use other funding to bring services to high school students who would qualify for Title I funds, Maness said.

   THREE ABSS schools are on the edge of qualifying for Title I, said Kimberly Scales, ABSS director of Title I and instructional improvement, But schools that fall out of Title I qualification are grandfathered in for three more years.

   At the September Alamance-Burlington Board of Education work session, board member Patsy Simpson asked whether this funding would go to any new initiatives to improve student performance.

   Most of the school-improvement plans tied to Title I funding are focused on reading and math, Scales said, some go toward technology, and some pay “intervention specialists” who step in and help students when they fall behind in reading and math.

   There are also two private schools participating in Title I funding, The Burlington School and Blessed Sacrament School, for 52 students between them. ABSS reimburses those schools for their spending. ABSS does not oversee how those schools use that money. Private schools have to report their accountability measures to the federal government, the same as public schools, Scales said. They may not spend federal dollars on religious programs.

   TITLE II FUNDING is less well known. It is also federal money aimed at training teachers and administrators. The district stands to get $572,635, according to ABSS, $14,000 less than last year, said Dawn Madren, ABSS executive director of human resources.

   Most of the ABSS’ Title II funding will pay for teacher training, Madren said. Some will go to support for beginning teachers and six teaching positions to reduce class sizes in some high-poverty schools. Teachers from three private schools also will participate in some ABSS teacher training that Title II pays for.

   Each year, there is a needs assessment to decide what programs to name in the district’s Title II application.

   There is no plan to send anyone out of the area for Title II-funded training this year, Madren said.