501 Hears Title I Report

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The Topeka 501 school board listened to its first major report on whether or not Title I is woking, and how to best utilize it Thursday evening.

Title I focuses on money that goes to the financially disadvantaged students. All 501 elementary schools and two middle schools are under Title I, meaning they have 40 percent or more of their students on reduced or free lunch.

The report ended being fairly subjective. It looked at Quinton Heights, McCarter and Quincy -- three schools under Title I that have shown improvement.

Since the 1999-2000 school year, the percentage of students who qualified for the program increased from 57-to-66 percent.

Some data shows instructional coaches -- people who focus on individual subjects with students -- have a positive impact -- though it cannot be scientifically proven.

Perhaps the most important finding was that quality, experienced teachers have a substantial impact on student achievement.

One thing that was not clear, whether more money being thrown at the problem makes a substantial difference.

While the board members agreed this was a worthy subject to study, they did not all feel the study was substantial enough. Some board members wanted more definitive answers -- what works and what does not work when it comes to reaching these kids.