For students working at a disadvantage, it can often feel like the odds are stacked against them. But with the Title I federally-funded program, students from low-income families can gain the extra support needed to help them meet the same level of achievement as their peers.

While these grants are excellent ways to create greater equality within schools, it’s also vital that teachers are ready and prepared to help students with a less fair start to succeed academically.

So what can we do as educators to offer these students a higher chance of success?

To start with, teachers working with Title I students should acknowledge that fact that these children often come from poor or highly disadvantaged backgrounds. As such, they’re less likely to be afforded the opportunities to learn and develop outside of the school environment, whether due to their home life or the additional requirements placed on parents to keep their families going. Often, this can have a significant mental and even physical effect on children, something that should be closely monitored in the classroom.

Through Title I, students can gain access to the following to help them achieve better success within an educational environment:
  • Specific targeted assistance programs and classes
  • Additional support in the classroom
  • Support in purchasing school equipment or uniform

While it’s up to the school itself to decide where funds are allocated when they are applied for, these are common uses for the grants that educational facilities can receive. But beyond the monetary value that can be put towards offering disadvantaged students a better chance of success, the investment of time and effort from staff and administration can make all the difference.

Read on for a few ways teachers can help students under Title I to succeed in an educational environment:

Work with Title I students to improve cognitive retention

According to School Leaders Now, one of the most important factors preventing students in poverty from learning is their ability to retain knowledge. It’s been shown that children with additional responsibility or more challenging home life – whether it’s working, caring for siblings or simply living in extreme poverty – often have reduced cognitive function.

However, for Title I students, offering a little extra time and incentive to use their working memory can soon help them to catch up with their peers. Using rewards, teaching in differing and flexible ways and linking learning to subjects they are already interested in are excellent ways to improve their retention, and encourage students to continue to learn outside of the classroom.

Take time to understand the lives and requirements of specific students

It can be easy to consider all children under Title I ‘the same.’ After all, with so many students to look after, treating each child individually can be a challenge for some teachers. But investing time in understanding the specific challenges and issues faced by students in low socioeconomic families can help put behavior in context, and allow for better empathy and understanding of their learning journey.

For teachers, this could mean sitting down one-on-one with Title I students to understand the root cause of them falling behind. From this point, it’s far easier to offer tailored support or meet specific needs students have. By treating each child as an individual, it’s far easier to help them to succeed in a more traditional educational setting.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support

Many Title I children don’t thrive in a traditional classroom setting, especially not at first. As a teacher, knowing when to ask for support is vital to helping these students to succeed in the long run. By knowing when behaviors and incidents in the classroom are a result of the child’s background and need more specific management, we can help students to adapt to a classroom setting without expecting them to ‘get’ it the first time.

By asking for additional support, we can provide Title I students with the extra care they need to integrate better and improve their educational skills. Whether it’s one-on-one learning support, a specific program, or defined activities for their needs, that added help can make all the difference. Not only does it reduce stress in the classroom as a whole, but it makes that child feel more heard and understood when it comes to their unique needs.

Do you have Title I students in your class? What ways do you help them to succeed in school?