Title I Winter/Spring Newsletter

Pittsburgh Schiller 6-8 named 2015-16 National Title I Distinguished School!

At the end of January a team from Pittsburgh Schiller and I traveled to Houston, TX to attend the National Title I Conference. Pittsburgh Schiller 6-8 was one of only 2 schools here in Pennsylvania named a National Title I Distinguished School to represent the Commonwealth of PA. Congratulations team Schiller!!

Monitoring Update

As you all know, the PDE visited Pittsburgh SD December 9-11, 2015 to monitor 19 of our schools. I'm happy to report that all schools were found to be in complete compliance with Title I, Priority and Focus rules and regulations. Each of those schools will be receiving a letter from me with a copy of the letter sent to us from PDE. Congratulations to you, your staff and parents/families!

Brainstorming the National Title I Conference

As I attended the many sessions available at the Title I Conference there were a few sessions that resonated with me. The conference sessions were broken up into Instruction, Leadership and Policy. Since my role is more around policy, I attended many sessions in this genre but I still have access to all session materials. So, If you would like a copy of session materials I would be happy to provide.

  • LeVar Burton, the actor from Roots and Star Trek, was a Keynote speaker. He spoke about his work with Reading Rainbow, his passion for reading and using that passion to help create life long readers in students. If you are an elementary principal reading this and would like a FREE one year subscription to Skybrary School Classroom, let me know. He provided one free to every conference attendee. First person to ask me gets it!
  • I was very intrigued by a session that showcased a case study from a District that worked through how to integrate the Arts into Title I to support the goals and objectives of Title I.
  • I also went to a session on the home-school compact. We all know this is mainly a compliance document but this session talked about how to really make this document useful and tied to a school's improvement plan by having one per grade level. This per grade level home school compact will actually have the strategies that schools are working on with students included in it so parents are kept abreast and everyone is working toward the same goals. This can be used as a tool to clarify expectations, solve problems and keep the focus on teaching and learning. I like the idea of this. Reach out if you do too!

Spring Title I Meeting

It's a good idea and best practice for all Title I schools to convene a Spring Title I meeting.

Ideas for your Spring Title I Meeting….

  • review the Title I parent involvement (PI) expenditures to date with your parents and get their input as to how they may want to spend the PI funds next school year;

  • review your school PI policy and home school compact making any changes the parents suggest, and then in the fall you can present both documents again for additional updates or changes;

  • develop a survey to be given to parents at this meeting that will give parents a chance to provide feedback on your engagement efforts throughout the year; and

  • use this time to inform parents about the Title I State Parent Advisory Council Conference being held in Seven Springs, July 18-20, 2016. You can recruit a parent to attend and bring information back to the school and parent group.

Having this meeting does not preclude you from having your Annual Title I Meeting in the fall. That must still occur.

Don't forget to document your meetings with:

  • Sign-in Sheets
  • Agendas
  • Any other important documentation to support the outcome of your meeting.

Don't hesitate to translate....

At a minimum we should be translating Welcome Letters/Packets, Parent Policy, Home/School Compact, the notice, agenda and other supporting information for the annual Title I meeting and ALL other important parent communications. Try to avoid the fall rush and send materials to be translated to John Covel’s office as early in the summer as possible.

School Improvement Planning Update

Attention Priority and Focus Schools: the 2016-17 School Improvement Plan is due to PDE no later than June 30, 2016. Please see the images below that indicate how to select the most current revised and approved plan. Once your current plan is selected, you may begin making changes, updating and revising,

For the Title I Un-designated schools, I am working with the OSP Team on a timeline for you to revise your school improvement plan.

REMEMBER, as a Title I School, you must complete an annual review of the effectiveness of your plan

Schools are asking two main questions when they complete an annual review:

1) Was the program implemented as the planning team intended?

2) Was there improvement in student achievement, particularly for the lowest achieving

students? If so, what will the team do to continue to support students? If not, what will you do differently?

This annual review of the program is to evaluate the outcomes and the plan’s implementation to determine whether the academic achievement of all students, and particularly of low‐achieving students, improved, whether the goals and objectives contained in the plan were achieved, and if the plan is still appropriate as written.

See page 7 of your Title I Planning and Resource Guide for a worksheet that can be used to help guide you through the evaluation of your plan.

Those attending this annual evaluation should include classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, and building administrators who will decide what is effective and what needs to be changed.

Documentation of this program evaluation should include:

  • Appropriate representation of school personnel as evidenced by sign‐in sheets
  • Agenda
  • Review of student achievement data
  • Review of parents’ evaluation (survey)
  • Review of program strengths and weaknesses

As mentioned above under "Spring Title I Meeting", schools should also meet with parents in the spring to evaluate Title I services and the school’s parent involvement policy. Input from parents, such as a survey, should be considered as part of the annual Title I evaluation.

The annual review can serve other valuable purposes. Results can:

  • Inform internal program management and help school leaders make informed decisions to improve the quality of their program.
  • Answer stakeholder questions and help them better understand how effectively the school is meeting its stated goals.
  • Increase the understanding of specific strategies and help the school determine the usefulness of the activities it has undertaken to increase student achievement.
  • Promote interest in and support of a program or activity by illustrating certain strategies, their outcomes in terms of improving student achievement, and increasing support for their use.
Effective School Improvement

We have a new law! Every Student Succeeds Act replaces the No Child Left Behind Act

While we have a new law that will impact Title I rules, regulations and allowable uses of funding, that new law will not be implemented fully until the 2017-18 school year (SY). The feds have about 18 months to get us all up to speed on this new law. Here are a couple of things I know right now:

  • The focus and priority list will remain the same during the 2016-17 SY and those schools must continue to implement the meaningful interventions.
  • The new law shifts decision making from the federal government back to the states and districts.
  • There are some changes in the areas of assessment, parent involvement and accountability to name a few.

I have several powerpoints and other files that provide information on the new law. If you would like to read any or all of it, let me know. I'm happy to forward to you.