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Title 1 Meeting Showcases Student Achievements Enabled by Federal Funding

Title 1 Meeting Showcases Student Achievements Enabled by Federal Funding

Behavioral training, teacher strategies, and robotics achievements illustrated for parents

 

The mystery of Title 1 funding melted away for about 60 parents on Nov. 29 when WFISD’s Federal and State Programs staff explained its purposes, provisions and perks.

 

Presenters did more than explain, however. They demonstrated the results of Title 1 funding by showcasing three Title 1-funded programs in action.

 

Participants actually experienced the results of Title 1 funding as they were greeted by children trained by the Title 1-funded Capturing Kids Hearts program. They also looked on as three third-graders programmed and operated a robot, skills acquired from a Title 1-funded robotics club.

 

Burgess Elementary Principal Jeff Hill also demonstrated an interactive classroom lesson taught with the seven trademarked Seidlitz steps. Title 1 funding paid for the introduction of Seidlitz teacher training this year in several WFISD schools.

 

The annual Title 1 parent meeting, which was held at a Wednesday luncheon at the Career Education Center, is part pleasure, part duty.

 

“We love meeting with you,” explained Federal Program Director Alefia Paris-Toulon. “We are required by law to provide information to you about Title 1.”

 

Focusing on parents’ rights

Mrs. Paris-Toulon began by unscrambling the complexities of Title 1 funding. She laid out what the federal government says parents have a right to know and do in public schools.

 

 

 

 

Alexia Paris Toulon  

Federal Programs Director Alefia Paris-Toulon explains the benefits of Title 1 funding for schools, parents and their children.

 

 

“You can ask to be involved,” she said. Parents can also ask to see their child’s curriculum, to ask if and why certain programs are or are not available on their child’s campus, to ask how the school is using Title 1 dollars and make suggestions on how they’d like the school to use Title 1 dollars. Parents can assist in the revision of the Parent and Family Engagement Policy, the School-Parent Compact, the Title 1 Plan and other parent advisory or decision-making boards.

 

Title 1 funding typically pays for high quality assessments, services like tutoring that assist struggling students, and programs and strategies that make the classroom more effective.

 

The policy and compact are posted on each school’s and the District’s website in both English and Spanish, she said.

 

Teacher training

 

 

Jeff Hill in action  

Burgess Elementary Principal Jeff Hill circles around the room, demonstrating an interactive Seidlitz teaching technique. Title 1 funding paid for the teacher training and follow-up sessions of bringing the specialized techniques into several WFISD schools.

 

 

“Think how questions were asked in school when you were a student,” said Burgess Elementary Principal Jeff Hill as he circled through the room. “Back in your glory days….”

 

Suddenly Mr. Hill was in demonstration mode, showing the audience a technique used by Title 1-funded Seidlitz training at several WFISD schools.

 

When participants had an answer to the question, he asked them to put one hand on their head to let him know. Then he paired each participant with a partner sitting next to them and asked them to share their answers to the question.

 

“If you didn’t have an answer going into the group, you had one coming out,” he said.

 

Mr. Hill explained that, back in a parent’s school days, a teacher asked a question in class and called on the student who raised his hand. If the student answered correctly, a teacher moved on, assuming the rest of the class also knew the answer.

 

Using Seidlitz strategy, a teacher puts the question to the entire class and gives everyone a chance to think about it. Then he asks for a hand on the head – an indication of students who have an answer. He encourages a brief consultation with a partner to help even the shyest student formulate an answer so that all leave the session grappling with and understanding the concept.

 

“How did I relieve you of stress?” asked Mr. Hill. “I gave you enough time to think. The teacher asks a question, but no hands go up. Everyone has time to think. Then you use your partner. Everyone has an answer at the end.”

 

Another Seidlitz technique: Students are required to speak in complete sentences. Teachers promote it by giving students open-ended sentences to complete. The habit helps students write – and think and speak – more clearly.

 

Robots to the rescue

 

Lamar teacher Robert Maxwell brought three students to the meeting – third-graders from his science club – who programmed and operated a Title 1-funded robot for the audience. As the audience watched, the children went to their laptop and reprogrammed the robot for a second demonstration.

 

Maxwell with robot

Lamar Elementary teacher Robert Maxwell brought three students to the meeting who were ready to program their robot for the crowd. The children’s comfort with coding and operating the robot far surpassed his, he said.

 

 

 

 

 

In one demonstration, the children had cleverly programmed the robot to say “Ouch” when it bumped into walls.

 

Mr. Maxwell, while proud of them, expressed his dismay that the third-graders had already passed him up in knowledge about the robot. They were also more comfortable operating it than he had ever been.  These students had met for six sessions and used three sessions to build the robot used in the demonstration.

 

They were comfortable with the robot kit from the beginning, he said, while he was still trying to learn it.

 

children with robot  

Three Lamar Elementary third-graders reprogram their robot during the presentation so it will do something new for the audience. Here, they proudly watch it obey their commands.

 

 

Such coding and robotics training is now on nine WFISD campuses, said Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths.

 

“You have a right to go to your campus and say, ‘Hey, this campus is doing robotics. Can my campus have that?’” said Mrs. Paris-Toulon.

 

Character training

 

Since many children no longer learn the social graces, a new Title 1-funded program called Capturing Kids Hearts has become a well-loved addition at many WFISD campuses.

 

Haynes Northwest Academy teacher Adrian Cargal pointed participants to the welcome they received when they entered the building to attend the Title 1 meeting. Haynes students, trained by the Capturing Kids Hearts program, opened the door for them and greeted them with a smile and a handshake.

 

“While Seidlitz training is about academics, Capturing Kids Hearts is about behavioral and cultural training, developing a safe and collaborative culture,” said Ms. Cargal.

 

Students are taught to shake hands with adults and introduce themselves at every opportunity. She said she will often walk through the halls of Haynes and casually say hello to a student, who instinctively reaches out his hand for a handshake.

 

Teachers greet every single child at the classroom door every single morning – a Capturing Kids Hearts requirement. Many teachers feared such personal attention would take too much time away from instruction, but it is seamlessly incorporated into each day, said Principal Cindy Underwood.

 

Another feature of Capturing Kids Hearts is its emphasis on starting every class or assembly with a moment to talk about Good Things – any one good thing a student can express, along with a follow-up question from his peers – and for the rest of the class to respond with an encouragement.

 

Such sharing creates a web of connections among students, who begin to know about and care about one another. “If your students care about you, they will work for you,” said Ms. Cargal.

 

“Good things create a bond,” interjected Mr. Griffiths.

 

When a teacher asks a follow-up question about the “good thing,” classmates learn more about their friend. Then the teacher tells the students to give the student “some fireworks.” Students respond with a hand sign for fireworks.

 

Or, the teacher may say something silly like, “Give some roller coasters.” Students will wave their hands up and down like a roller coaster.

 

The responses can be anything and everything fun, quick and quirky.

 

The Capturing Kids Hearts techniques make so much sense and work so well that Ms. Cargal said she uses them with her children at home.

 

WFISD’s 2017-2018 Title 1 Allocation

 

WFISD receives $3.8 million in Title 1, Part A funding. Of this, 1 percent is set aside for parent engagement meetings like this one to explain to parents how the money is spent and remind them that they can have a say in its allocation.

 

WFISD receives another $47,041 in Title 1, Part D funding, which pays for county detention services.

 

WFISD receives nearly $103,000 for Title III funding, which pays for bilingual services.

 

WFISD receives $84,000 in new, Title IV funding, which pays for technical training and college readiness endeavors.

 

WFISD receives $490,482 in Title II, Part A funding, which pays to recruit, train and retain principals and teachers.

 

For more information on Title 1, contact the District Parent and Family Engagement Liason Debbie Gonzalez, at Dgonzalez@wfisd.net or call (940) 235-1024, ext. 16036.