Teachers are drawn to teach in Title I schools for a variety of reasons. Many want to make a difference for high-needs students and/or give back to their own communities. Others have been inspired by their own influential teachers and want to be “that one teacher” for their own students. Some people have a passion for educating, and they find a Title I school by chance, and in other cases, teachers find Title I schools through the opportunity to receive loan forgiveness and stay for the opportunity to effect long term change.
In many ways, teaching in a Title I school is unique. Students in low-income communities face obstacles that more affluent students do not, and teaching in that environment is both rewarding and challenging. Teachers in Title I schools must be passionate, dedicated, and have a “whatever-it-takes” attitude, much like teachers in non-Title I schools. Successful Title I teachers see their students’ background as an asset and not a deficit, and they help their students to see that their circumstance does not define their future. They are reflective, loving, tough, and believe that their students can succeed despite the odds.
Title I school teachers are often energized by the creativity and out-of-the-box thinking required to make a true difference for their students. For teachers struggling to find success in Title I schools, there are many researches who have studied poverty and systemic racism and its effect on low-income students. Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ruby Payne, and Angela Valenzuela all have fantastic books and resources that educators in low-income, Title I schools can benefit from.
Grounded in our own Title I teaching experience, the team at OneTeacher knows that excellent teachers can make the difference for their students, and excellent teachers teaching at a well-matched schools are in the best position to make dramatic progress with their students. We know that teaching in a Title I school isn’t for everyone, and that the educators who are skilled at and passionate about serving low-income communities are critical to closing our nation’s educational opportunity gap.
Title 1 Schools
Each school is unique, and there are so many different types of schools to consider when choosing a workplace that’s right for you. Many educators find their home in the Title I schools that serve millions of students across the United States.
“Title I” refers to schools that serve a high percentage of students from low-income families, and they can be found in both urban and rural communities throughout the United States. Through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Title I schools qualify for additional funds and support from government agencies to help ensure that all children have the opportunity to be successful.
In Arizona alone, there are currently over 1300 Title I schools working to meet the academic needs of children in low-income communities. In the 2009-2010 school year (which is the most recent data available), there were over 56,000 Title I schools nationwide. Per federal guidelines, Title I funds must be used specifically for the lowest achieving students, or those “most at risk of failing.” However, funds may be used for all students in a given school for schoolwide initiatives if 40% or more of a school’s student body qualify for free and reduced-price lunch. This boost of extra funding is designed to help close the educational gap that exists between low-income students and their more affluent peers.
Officially, the purpose of Title I is to “provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.” As former educators in Title I schools, this resonates so deeply with the staff at OneTeacher. All students deserve a quality education, and too often the students in Title I schools fall below grade-level and are not given the same opportunities that their more affluent peers are.
Furthermore, Title I schools frequently struggle to attract and retain excellent teachers, and the team at OneTeacher knows how critical it is to have amazing educators in front of students in low-income, Title I schools. We work tirelessly for Title I teachers and schools to help both parties find their “perfect match” so students benefit.