McKEE (11-8-10) – You may have heard about it or read about it, but what do you really know about the Jackson County Public Schools’ Title 1 Program? What is its purpose? What do they do? Who works for Title 1? Can they help me?

Title 1 was authorized by Congress as part of the “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.” It is currently the single largest educational program funded by the federal government. The program was created to give extra funding to school districts with high levels of poverty. These additional funds are used to help schools through the following ways: improving the achievement level of students, improving the involvement of parents and the community in the education of students, and improving teachers and staff through further training.

The Jackson County Public Schools’ Title 1 Program works in many different ways to help improve the education of our county’s students. As an example of all they do, we will take a look at some of the programs they have been involved in during the past two weeks.

• On Sunday, October 10, they were one of the co-sponsors of the “Second Sunday Program,” which is a program that was started by the state to encourage parents and children to take time for physical activity. The program offered a day of various activities such as basketball, weightlifting, walking, etc. In order to carry out this program Title 1 had to collaborate with several other groups. They worked with the Jackson County Extension Office (UK), the Jackson County Health Department, Jackson County Health Improvement Partners (JCHIPS), the Jackson County Healthy Communities Board, and the Lord’s Gym of Jackson County Community Activity Center.

• On Monday, October 11, and Thursday, October 14, the Title 1 Program held two Supplemental Educational Services (tutoring) Providers’ Fairs. There were two locations for the fairs. One was set up at the Jackson County Middle School, and the other was set up at the Jackson County High School. The purpose of the Providers’ Fairs was to introduce parents and students to possible tutor providers. The Title 1 Program sponsors a free tutoring program throughout the year for those students that qualify for free or reduced lunch. Most of the providers in this program offer tutoring services online through the use of the internet and computers. This makes scheduling the tutoring sessions more convenient and less time consuming as no travel is involved.

• On Tuesday, October 12, the Jackson County High School Youth Services Center, along with the Title 1 Program, co-sponsored a “College Fair Night” at the high school’s library. Several colleges from around the state came and set up booths in order to share information with parents and students. This was only the first of many such college fairs which will be scheduled throughout this year.

• On Friday, October 15, the Title 1 Program participated in the Annual Mountain Fest Health Fair, which is sponsored each year by the Jackson County Health Improvement Partners (JCHIPS). The Title 1 Program is one of the partnering programs in this group, along with the Jackson County Health Department, the Jackson County Healthy Communities Board, the Jackson County Extension Office, CAP, White House Clinic, and other interested individuals and groups. This year the Title 1 Program collaborated with Dawn Lang, Jackson County Schools’ UNITE Substance Abuse Counselor, to set up an informational booth of anti-drug materials, as well as materials that parents could use to help their children improve their education.

• On Tuesday, October 19, Neal Broadus, Title 1 Parent Involvement Coordinator, attended the JCHIPS monthly meeting, where they are in the process of planning a “Video PSA Contest” focused on the effects of second hand smoke. The contest will be co-sponsored by the Healthy Communities Board and PRTC. (Keep watching your paper for more details about this upcoming contest.) The Title 1 Program will help to promote this contest in the schools, as it is a good opportunity for students to use their creative talents to do something positive in the community, while also getting a chance to win a really nice prize.

• On Wednesday, October 20, the Title 1 Program sponsored an “Arts Across the Curriculum Field Trip” for top Accelerated Readers in each school as well as art students from each school .The trip took the students to nearby Berea, where they got the opportunity to see real artisans plying their craft. They witnessed glass blowing, jewelry making, broom making, stained glass window design, and more. They also got to tour the Berea Visitors Center, which is an old L&N Railroad Station. The students were given some time for shopping in the craft shops. They were chaperoned by the librarians, the arts and humanities teachers and parents.

• On Thursday, October 21, the Title 1 Program collaborated with the “Save the Children Program” and the Jackson County Extension Office in order to offer a parent/child training on nutrition. The training was held outdoors at Bond Memorial Park in McKee. While the parents were involved in a healthy nutrition lesson, the children went on a nature walk to find fallen leaves and acorns. After the lesson, all came back together to enjoy a healthy meal that had been prepared for them.

• On Friday, October 22, an Appalachian Folk Dance Program was presented by students for their parents at McKee Elementary School. The children did the Virginia Reel and several other Appalachian folk dances for the crowd. The Title 1 Program was one of many groups that were instrumental in helping to support this event.

During the two weeks that these programs were going on several future programs were also being developed. The Title 1 Program worked with the Sand Gap Family Resource Center to help schedule a “Red Ribbon Week” program featuring Chad’s Hope Rehabilitation Center. They also worked with Dawn Lang, UNITE Counselor, and the Lord’s Gym of Jackson County Anti-drug Coalition to set up an “Impaired Driving” program for the middle school’s “Red Ribbon Week” activities.

It is through many collaborative partnerships, developed over the years, that Title 1 is able to do the many things they do. They often work with Family Resource Centers, Youth Services Centers, the Truancy Diversion Program, UNITE, and many others to name just a few. They also partner with the Gear-Up Program through Berea College. Gear-up funding provides an in-district coordinator, who is assigned to coordinate activities for the students. The goal of this student-focused initiative is to promote college readiness by engaging high school students in post-secondary preparation activities, and by motivating students to pursue post-secondary opportunities. These activities include college visits, financial aid awareness activities, parent orientations, and professional development opportunities for teachers on EXPLORE, PLAN, and ACT (EPAS). The target cadres for 2010-2011 will be students in grades 11 and 12. However, Gear-Up will provide additional support services for all high school students. In addition to the Gear-Up Partnership a new program has just recently been announced in collaboration with Berea College. It is the Promise Neighborhood grant, which has the purpose of promoting 21st century skills.

In addition to working with Berea College, the district has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) to participate in EKU’s College Readiness: Transition to College Math Courses initiative. This initiative focuses on automaticity, numeracy, math fluency, college readiness, and self-directed learning. As part of this initiative, Jackson County High School is now offering remedial 090 college classes on site at Jackson County High School for students that have been identified as needing this help. This class will help students master the skills needed to adequately prepare them to successfully complete college-level math classes.

Title 1 has provided many professional development opportunities for teachers. One such opportunity was at a national conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, on “Closing the Achievement Gap”. While at the training, teachers learned strategies to help struggling students and ways to keep them in school. Teachers were also able to attend the “Kentucky Reading Association Conference” in Lexington.

In addition to all the programs previously mentioned they also provide the following services. Title 1 funding provides teachers to each school in the district to promote student achievement in math and reading classes. Title 1 offers services to those students who are homeless, migrant and who may need medical assistance, such as eye glasses, etc.

The Title 1 Program is made up of three staff members: Loretta Gilbert, Title 1 Director/Federal Programs Director; Alice Singleton, Parent Liaison; and Neal Broadus, Parent Involvement Coordinator. It is this group of people that carry out the mission of the Title 1 Program in Jackson County, that mission being to serve the community by improving the education of our students. Not only does the Title 1 Program serve the community, but as witnessed by the programs mentioned in this article, they also work with the community to accomplish their goal.

If you have any questions about Title 1 Programs, then please call one the following: Loretta Gilbert, Alice Singleton, or Neal Broadus at 606-287-7181. They will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.