SALT LAKE CITY — This year's lowest- and highest-performing Title I schools in Utah were identified Monday by the Utah State Office of Education, calling attention to areas of needed improvement as well as ongoing success in educating high-poverty populations.
Since last year, 14 schools have been added to the list of Title I schools, bringing the tally to 316 schools in the state receiving federal assistance funds. The increase from last year is partly due to rapid growth among charter schools in the state, according to Ann White, Utah Title I director.
Title I funds are awarded to qualifying schools with the intent of boosting achievement in reading, English and math, as well as facilitating schoolwide reform, providing professional development for teachers, and enhancing parent involvement.
This year's ranking is based on student performance during the past two years on Utah's former year-end assessment, the criterion-reference test. The next time Title I schools are announced in 2016, the list will be based on SAGE, Utah's new annual student assessment.
Ten schools have already been identified as "priority schools," which fall within the 5 percent lowest-performing Title I schools. They are required to implement major turnaround strategies to improve student achievement to be eligible for competitive grant funds. To leave priority status, those schools must surpass the 15 percent lowest-performing Title I schools.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, to be an eligible Title I school, at least 40% of a school's students must be from low-income families who qualify under the United States Census's definition of low-income, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
As a result of the conditions that often affect families who are poor, these children often fall behind in school and require additional resources to catch up and stay on track.
Six more schools will be selected for priority status next month and awarded school improvement grants.
Utah's 35 Title I "focus schools" do not have to compete for funds. These include all schools with graduation rates lower than 60 percent, as well as the lowest-performing schools without priority status. To leave focus school status, these schools must boost their performance above the lowest 25 percent of Title I schools.
"They've made really good progress, but they're not quite out," White said of focus schools.
Forty-four "reward schools" were recognized as the top-performing 15 percent of Title I schools in the state. They are selected for "outstanding performance" despite high poverty rates, according to White.
"Some of them are outperforming their non-Title I peers," she said. "They've worked really hard, and their scores are really high."
This year's Title I priority schools include:
- Granger High School and Lincoln and Roosevelt elementary schools in the Granite School District.
- James Madison Elementary in the Ogden School District.
- Lincoln and Meadowlark elementaries in the Salt Lake City School District.
- Monument Valley High School and Montezuma Creek and Tse'bii'nidzisgai elementaries in the San Juan School District.
- Eagle View Elementary in the Uintah School District.
This year's Title I focus schools include:
- Copperview and Midvale elementaries in the Canyons School District.
- Holt and Vae View elementaries in the Davis School District.
- Myton Elementary in the Duchense County School District.
- Granite Peak Junior High and Oquirrh Hills, Redwood, South Kearns and Woodrow Wilson elementaries in the Granite School District.
- Bonneville, Gramercy, Heritage, Lincoln and Tomas O. Smith elementaries in the Ogden School District.
- Bryant Middle School and Backman and Parkview elementaries in the Salt Lake City School District.
- Whitehorse High School in the San Juan School District.
- Anna Smith Elementary in the Tooele County School District.
- Eagle View Elementary in the Uintah School District.
- Club Heights, Lakeview and Roy elementaries in the Weber School District.
- Alianza Academy, C.S. Lewis Academy, DaVinci Academy, Dual Immersion Academy, Gateway Preparatory Academy, Guadalupe School, Merit Academy, Uintah River High School, Utah Virtual Academy elementary and secondary schools, and Utah Virtual Academy charter schools.
This year's Title I reward schools include:
- Central Elementary and Orem Junior High in the Alpine School District.
- Belknap and Minersville elementaries in the Beaver County School District.
- Birch Creek, Lewiston, Millville, Nibley, Park, Summit, Lincoln and Heritage elementaries in the Cache County School District.
- Bruin Point Elementary in the Carbon School District.
- Ferron Elementary in the Emery County School District.
- Escalante Elementary in the Garfield County School District.
- Enoch, Escalante Valley, Parowan and Three Peaks elementaries in the Iron County School District.
- Mona Elementary in the Juab School District.
- Kanab Elementary in the Kane County School District.
- Liberty and McMillan elementaries in the Murray School District.
- Amelia Earhart and Provost elementaries in the Provo City School District.
- Ephraim Elementary in the South Sanpete School District.
- Ashley Elementary in the Uintah School District.
- J.R. Smith Elementary in the Wasatch School District.
- Springdale Elementary in the Washington County School District.
- Loa Elementary in the Wayne School District.
- Academy for Math, Engineering and Science; Bear River; Beehive Science and Technology Academy; Canyon Rim Academy; Freedom Academy; Good Foundations Academy; Intech Collegiate High School; Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering and Science; Regan Academy; Salt Lake Arts Academy; Soldier Hollow; Summit Academy; Syracuse Arts Academy; and Wasatch Peak Academy charter schools.