by Jordan Landrum

     As of this school year, Park View High School is now a Title 1 school, which means that we receive extra funds, based upon our economically disadvantaged percentage, to implement programs and teaching methods that will help students to succeed. Park View is acquiring these means because there is a large number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunches or come from low-income households. To be exact, 68% of students at Park View qualify as economically disadvantaged. In Loudoun County, schools that are made up of at least 50% of free and reduced lunch populations are considered to be added to the system’s consolidated application for the Virginia Department of Education. The goal of Title 1 is to provide schools with needed resources and funds that give students a greater chance to receive a high-quality education. “It helps, because the school has an opportunity to address the diverse needs of students, ensure professional development for teachers and engages greater successes,” said Ms. Evonne Denome, Title 1 Coordinator.

     The process of becoming Title 1 was underway for some time, starting last year and going on until before this school year. The federal government identifies schools with 35% or more economically disadvantaged populations. Then in Loudoun County, schools are recognized if they have an economically disadvantaged rate of 50% in their student population. Park View was recommended by the Department of Instruction to apply to become Title 1, after which a group of select teachers came together to complete the application. Needs assessments and solutions plans were made, along with the development of a budget to allocate the funds. Next, the application was sent to the school board to vote on and was then consolidated with 8 other schools’ applications. After our application was consolidated and approved by the school board, it was sent to the Virginia Department of Education. There, it was reviewed again and approved as part of LCPS’s consolidated Title 1 application.

     After becoming Title 1, a new program called System 44, a reading program that is aimed toward English Language Learners and struggling readers, was purchased with the funds. “Our instructional focus this year is on literacy, and reading is key in all content areas, so I feel that offering a research-based reading intervention program to our teachers and students is a responsible use of these funds,” said Principal Mr. Kirk Dolson.

     System 44 integrates independent reading, shared classroom reading, and software. “In addition, funding has been utilized by each content area to develop curriculum with emphasis on increasing student engagement and voice/choice,” said Title 1 coordinator Ms. Evonne Denome.

     Since we are now Title 1, there are compliance reports that the administration has to complete, these reports will track not only the budget, but also the academic improvements of students. “LCPS has provided additional programs that collect student progress data, so we will be able to see if we are progressing,” said Principal Kirk Dolson.

     Ms. Nicole Cobb, a teacher first hired as an English teacher has now taken on the supplementary role of a reading specialist, not the original position she was hired for, but one that she is qualified in since she completed her degree as a reading specialist in early 2016.

     “Title 1 is a great program and is allowing us to increase programs to best meet the needs of our students, however, with that comes a great deal more responsibility for teachers and administration,” said Ms. Cobb. The influx of at least 35 new teachers is an indicator of the significant aggregate of responsibility needed to be dispersed throughout all of the staff members. “Our school and 3 other high schools receive differentiated staffing based on the ELL and Economically Disadvantaged percentages at the schools,” said Mr. Dolson.

     “I advocated for Park View to become a Title 1 school because I witnessed how hard the teachers were working on behalf of the students,” said Evonne Denome. “Every teacher, every administrator was already doing all the work required of a Title 1 school, they just were not receiving funding,” said Evonne Denome, “Now they are receiving the funding and able to have additional opportunities and experiences to support the students.”

     “The staff here at Park View is the hardest working group of educators that I have ever worked with, and now we are able to provide more resources for the extra work that they do,” said Mr. Dolson.

graph chart57.58% of the 33 surveyed Park View High School teachers did not know where the Title 1 funds went.