Utah education officials unveiled a list of the state’s highest performing Title 1 schools based on end of year exams. Schools in Utah classified as Title 1 often serve students facing poverty.
Ann White is the State Coordinator of Title 1 Improvement. She says Title 1 schools have a number of unique challenges beyond having a large population of low-income students.
“Some of them come speaking other languages,” White says. “Some of them come with parents who work two and three jobs trying to keep food on the table. So the children come to school often not reading, not having the same kind of knowledge that other children would have.”
The top 15 percent of Utah’s Title 1 schools achieve success despite these challenges and some of them even surpass the growth and achievement of schools that do not receive the additional Title 1 federal funding. White says teachers use data as a tool to achieve that success.
“They know where their students are,” White says. “They know their students individually and they work in professional learning communities together, often discussing student work and student challenges and student growth and they really focus their instructional practices based on what they know of these students and what these students need.”
White says at many of these higher performing, albeit low-income schools, teachers, administrators and members of the community organize into working groups where they use information like the day to day performance of individual students to inform instruction.