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November 4, 2003, Extra Credit
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November 4, 2003
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Flexibility Of Title I Funding Helps Utah School District Meet The Needs Of Every Student

Title I is the main No Child Left Behind program targeted directly toward helping low-income students. If President Bush's FY 2004 budget is enacted, Title I funding will have increased 41 percent since he took the oath of office. The following excerpts from a recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune highlight just one way schools can use Title I funds to help increase learning:

"Once a week, Nicole Nickles' fourth-graders file into the computer lab at Stansbury Elementary School and, without fuss, settle in for their 15-minute math test. No moaning or groaning. No anxiety. Oddly, her students seem to look forward to taking the Internet-based tests and finding out if they improved from the week before."

"'I'd rather spend that 15 minutes having [my students] do this to find out what their needs are now than to find out later what they needed and I didn't provide,' Nickles said. Teachers say the $300,000 Yearly Progress Pro program is a powerful tool that will illuminate students' learning, enable tailored instruction and boost student achievement at Stansbury and 16 other elementary schools in the Granite School District. Throughout the year, the program tests students on the entire year's worth of grade-level math concepts and generates reports detailing each student's progress."

"The Granite District bought the Yearly Progress Pro program and networking equipment using federal Title I money targeted for disadvantaged students. All 14 of Granite District's Title I schools began using the program in their existing computer labs this year, and district leaders are expanding to all the elementary schools as funding allows."

"Here's how it works: By consistently testing students on the entire year's curriculum, teachers can track each child's progress from the first day of school to the last. Theoretically, students would start the year with 0 percent mastery of the material and end with 100 percent mastery, but students come in with a wide range of skill levels, making it difficult for teachers to meet each child's needs."

"'It's fabulous because it's so exact,' said Nancy Taylor, a fourth-grade teacher at Stansbury. 'It will give you an accounting of the skills the kids have mastered and the skills we need to spend more time on.' Said Stansbury Principal Janet Winger: 'The information it gives you is so much more valuable than the buckshot approach, where you shoot out and hope something hits somewhere. This takes the guesswork out of it.'"

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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 03/24/2008