Parents Corner » Title 1

Title 1

Learn About Our

Title I Program

We are pleased to provide our students with the opportunity to receive specialized and individualized support in our state granted Title I program. We hope that you will learn about our program and work together with us to ensure that our students are receiving the best education possible.

What is Title I?

Title I provides federal funding to schools to help students who are low achieving or at most risk of falling behind.

J.O. Combs Middle School runs a school wide Title I Program. A school with a Title I school wide program, which is primarily addressed in Section 1114 of Title I, part A, is one that receives part A funds “to upgrade the entire educational program of a school that serves an eligible school attendance area in which not less than 40 percent of the children are from low-income families, or not less than 40 percent of the children enrolled in the school are from such families”. The focus of a school wide program is comprehensive school wide reform to ensure all students, especially those considered most academically at-risk, are able to attain academic proficiency based upon state academic standards.

J.O. Combs Middle School has elected to use Title I funds to:

  • Operate an afterschool tutoring program. The program services seventh and eighth grade students in math on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Provide math intervention.
    • Accelerated Math
    • Paraprofessional support
  • Provide reading intervention.
    • Reading specialist
    • Paraprofessional support
    • Fundations Double Dose
    • Just Words
  • Provide summer school.
  • Provide BrainPop.

Student Selection

We select students for participation based primarily on their performance on school-administered assessments including DIBELS and STAR testing data. If we select your child for participation, he/she will receive a letter from school indicating the area in which he/she needs support. Please sign and have your child return the form to school to get him/her started on the path to success.

We are very excited for the opportunity to provide this additional resource for our J.O. Combs Middle School students. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s participation or eligibility.

2015-2016 Title I School Wide Plan

  1. A comprehensive needs assessment of the entire school, which addresses all academic areas and other factors that may affect achievement: 
    The school wide plan was developed in August of 2015 with the participation of the following individuals: Mark Mauro (principal), Laura Ridge, Emily Hubbard, Ricky Findlay, Jonathan Spray, Nate Braunhut, Peggy Johnson, Michael Shannon, and Leslie Wiberg. This team reviewed data from the 2014-2015 school year in the areas of Galileo scores, student grades, and the yearly parent survey to conceptualize and develop a rough draft of goals for the plan. Additional discussion took place addressing student attendance, student behavior/attitude/work ethic, student knowledge of “how” to learn, a student’s previous content knowledge, and building student relationships. The data and goals along with the discussions were shared with the faculty and PTO in August. Input from all stakeholders was received and used when developing the final plan.
  2. School-wide reform strategies that are scientifically researched based:
    STAR and Galileo data is used to obtain information regarding student learning and student growth. These assessments along with student attendance records, student discipline reports, and surveys to parents/teachers were used.  From this information, decisions were made regarding the strategies that would be used to enhance student learning at Combs Middle School (CMS).

    The Cornell note taking process is used school wide as the student note taking process for students. The Cornell note-taking system is a note-taking system devised in the 1950s by Walter Pauk, an education professor at Cornell University. Pauk advocated its use in his best-selling book How to Study in College.

    The Cornell method provides a systematic format for condensing and organizing notes. Notes from a lecture or teaching are written in the note-taking column. To assist with reviews, relevant questions or key words are written in the key word column. Students will revise and write questions before writing a brief summary in the bottom five to seven lines of the page. This helps to increase understanding of the topic. When studying for either a test or quiz, the student has a concise but detailed and relevant record of previous classes. When reviewing the material, the student can cover the note-taking column while attempting to answer the questions/keywords in the key word or cue column. The student is encouraged to reflect on the material and review the notes regularly.

    Gradual Release of Responsibility (I do, We do, You do) is a teaching strategy used consistently amongst all the CMS teachers. Scaffolded instruction, or the gradual release model, is broadly recognized as a successful approach for moving classroom instruction from teacher-centered, whole group delivery to student-centered collaboration and independent practice. Sometimes referred to as “I do it, we do it, you do it,” this model proposes a plan of instruction that includes demonstration, prompt, and practice. The work of Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey (2007), defining the specific stages. Taken as a whole, the process develops a mentoring relationship and two-way interaction between the teacher and student. At the beginning of a lesson or when new material is being introduced, the teacher has a prominent role in the delivery of the content. This is the “I do” phase. As the student acquires the new information and skills, the responsibility of learning shifts from teacher-directed instruction to student processing activities. In the “We do” phase of learning, the teacher continues to model, question, prompt and cue students. As students move into the “You do” phases, they rely more on themselves and less on the teacher to complete the learning task.

    Inquiry Learning starts by posing questions, problems or scenarios -- rather than simply presenting established facts or portraying a smooth path to knowledge. The process is often assisted by a facilitator. Inquirers will identify and research issues and questions to develop their knowledge or solutions. Inquiry-based learning includes problem-based learning, and is generally used in small scale investigations and projects, as well as research. Inquiry-based learning is primarily a pedagogical method, developed during the discovery learning movement of the 1960s as a response to traditional forms of instruction - where people were required to memorize information from instructional materials. The philosophy of inquiry based learning finds its antecedents in constructivist learning theories, such as the work of Piaget, Dewey, Vygotsky, and Freire among others, and can be considered a constructivist philosophy. In the 1960s Joseph Schwab called for inquiry to be divided into four distinct levels. This was later formalized by Marshall Herron in 1971, who developed the Herron Scale to evaluate the amount of inquiry within a particular lab exercise. Since then, there have been a number of revisions proposed, but the consensus in the science education community is that there is a spectrum of inquiry-based teaching methods available.

    To address the academic learning responsibilities for students, the CMS community has adopted the 3R’s – Record, Retain, and Recall. This process was developed amongst administration and faculty at the middle school. Within this process, students will work to “Record” information accurately and completely so that it may be understood. They strive to “Retain” information by being prepared for class, completing all academic work as assigned, producing high quality work, participating in class, asking questions, studying daily, and seeking help when needed. Through assessment, they “Recall” information in various settings in order to demonstrate the ability to apply, comprehend, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate what is being learned. All of this happens when students strive to do their best at all times.

    To emphasize a focus on behavior/attitude/work ethic, CMS used the Character Counts Program. In 1992, the nonprofit Josephson Institute of Ethics hosted a gathering of experts in ethics and character education to find ways to work together, primarily by developing a common language of core ethical values that transcend religious, political and socioeconomic differences. The conference identified the values call the Six Pillars of Character — trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
  3. Instruction by highly qualified professional staff:
    Strategies to attract highly qualified teachers to high needs schools
    Teachers and paraprofessionals at Combs Middle School are highly qualified. Administrators verify this through the application/interview/hiring process. CMS has 25 teachers who teach in a specific content area related to language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, or electives (art, music, FACS, PE, technology, and Spanish). There are four teachers and ten paraprofessionals that work with students in the various areas of special education – resource and self-contained.

    The J. O. Combs Unified School District works to attract highly qualified teachers in high need areas through the district web site, job fairs, student teachers, new teacher orientation, mentors for new teachers, and on-going staff development.
  4. Professional development for staff to enable all children in the school to meet performance standards
    All staff at CMS have opportunities for professional development.  These opportunities are provided district-wide or at the school level.  Weekly, content area PLC teams meet.  

    Monthly, the faculty meets to participate in district staff development or school wide staff development. Content area teams meet bi-weekly for common planning time. Four times a year, the entire district sets aside a work day for professional development. Additionally, staff members have the opportunity to attend staff development opportunities outside the district.

    This year’s staff development will focus on common formative assessment, student engagement, depth of knowledge, and thinking maps. Staff development opportunities have also been organized for reflection on the implementation of Google within the school district.
  5. Strategies to increase parental involvement
    The middle school staff works diligently to encourage parental involvement throughout the school year. The school year begins with a Meet-the-Teacher event which takes place the week before school begins. On this evening, parents interact with teachers to learn about the standards/curriculum being taught during the school year. Parents are invited to attend parent-teacher conferences twice a year after first and third quarter. Parents are welcomed at various school activities and school award events. Parents are encouraged to serve as members of site council or PTO. Parents have access to their child’s grades, attendance, and behavior reports through JupiterGrades. Teachers use the academic goal setting sheet to communicate with parents the goals that a student has developed for a given quarter. Parents have the opportunity to communicate regularly through e-mail, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings. The school sends home newsletters to parents monthly with information pertinent to the middle school. Additionally, various e-mails are sent to parents globally from school leadership and through individual teachers. Through these various opportunities, the school continually seeks to gather feedback and input from parents regarding suggestions they have for the betterment of the school community.
  6. Measures to include teachers in the decisions regarding the use of assessment to provide information on, and to improve, the performance of individual students and the overall instructional program.
    CMS teachers use Galileo and STAR assessment data in August to develop content area and individual goals for the upcoming school year. Throughout the school year, teachers review Galileo and STAR data to determine the learning that is taking place and the intervention/enrichment that occurs. Teachers review various teacher-made formative and summative assessments to ascertain the success of the standards that students are learning on a quarter-by-quarter basis. Teachers will reflect on the types of assessment questions being using, correlation to the standards being learned, and the success of student learning in this reflection. Teachers review first semester final exams to establish strategies for the second semester and second semester final exams to examine the success of learning for the school year. Teachers will use the summer to reflect on all of this data in preparation for their return in August when the process will begin anew for the upcoming school year.
  7. Coordination and integration of federal, state, and local services and programs
    Description of how resources from Title I and other sources will be used
    Combs Middle School is using its 2015-2016 Title I funds in various ways to improve the mathematic and reading skills of students. The middle school has established math Intervention courses for 7th and 8th grade students who struggle in math. Various math manipulatives have been purchased for teachers to use with students in the class room. A full-time social worker has been hired to work with students throughout the school day. The social worker works with students to address various issues and needs impacting success in student learning.

    The language arts teachers use vocabulary workbooks in both regular education and special education classrooms to increase vocabulary skills and impact reading comprehension skills. The principal is participating in a program (Beat the Odds) to allow for interaction with various administrators, visiting of other schools, and discussions on best practices for learning.
  8. Activities to ensure that students who experiences difficulty mastering standards shall be provided with effective, timely assistance, which shall include:
    - Measures to insure that student difficulties are identified on a timely basis
    - Periodic training of teachers in the identification of difficulties and appropriate assistance for identified difficulties
    - Teacher-parent conferences that detail what the school will do to help the students, what the parents can do to help the student and additional assistance available to the student at the school or in the community

    All students identified “at-risk” are a part of the RADAR Team. This team (administrators, counselor, program specialist, social worker, psychologist) work with these students and their teachers to develop academic goal setting sheets. CSS teachers use this tool in the mentoring process to interact with students about their grades, attendance, work ethic, and behavior.  A key component of the goal setting sheet is the eight areas with which a student focuses on learning: Knowledge of Content – Student understands the content learned in class, Prepared for Class – Student brings the needed materials for class, Takes Notes – Student accurately and completely takes notes, Asks Questions – Student asks questions when a lack of understanding occurs, Completes Homework – Student completes homework on time, Attends Tutoring/Seeks Help – Student attends tutoring or seeks help when needed, Attends Regularly – Student attends class regularly and arrives to class on time, and Work Ethic/Attitude/Behavior – Student displays an appropriate focus.

    When working with students on the goal setting sheet, the students rank themselves on each of the eight areas using the following scale: (4 - Always, 3 - Almost Always, 2 - Frequently, 1 - Sometimes, 0 - Never).   From this, students work to create a goal and develop a plan to address any area marked as a 0, 1, or 2. Students and mentors sign off on the plan taking the pledge, “I agree to work to be successful in each of the eight areas of this goal setting sheet as well as to put my plan into action in order to achieve the goals that I have created. I understand that my failure to do this will impact my academic standing in this class.” At various points during the semester, the student will record reflections regarding the tasks completed on the plan with a focus on the work done to accomplish the goal. The teacher also provides reflections on the progress that is taking place. Members of the RADAR team work with these students in partnership with their parents and teachers in an ongoing manner throughout the school year to seek opportunities for growth academically, socially, and personally.
  9. Description of how individual student assessment results and interpretation will be provided to parents
    Student assessment results are shared as soon as they are available through JupiterGrades, parent-teacher conferences, e-mail, or postal service. 
  10. Provisions for the collection and disaggregation of data on the achievement and assessment results of students
    The Arizona Department of Education provides disaggregation of data on assessment. This data is analyzed by staff at both the district and site levels and is used for the development of programs, implementation of staff development, improvement of the delivery of instruction, and increase in student learning.
  11. Provisions to ensure that disaggregated assessment results for each category are valid and reliable
    The Arizona Department of Education provides disaggregation of data on assessment. Talented and trained staff members at both the district and site level review the disaggregated assessment results to assure that each category is valid and reliable. Any concerns or discrepancies by district personnel are brought to the attention of the Arizona Department of Education for clarification or correction. 
  12. Plan developed during a one year period, unless LEA, after considering the recommendation of its technical providers, determines that less time is needed to develop and implement the school-wide program
    The schoolwide plan was developed during a one year period, and each year the plan is revised. The schoolwide plan for the 2015-2016 school year focused on three goals:
    - By May 24, at least 80% of Combs Middle School students will earn a score of 80% or higher in mathematics as measured by their Galileo end-of-year assessment.  
    - By May 24, at least 80% of Combs Middle School students will earn a score of 80% or higher in reading as measured by their Galileo end-of-year assessment.  
    - Quarterly, at least 80% of Combs Middle School students will earn a grade of 70% (C-) or higher in language arts/mathematics as measured by the grades the students earn.  
  13. Plan developed with the involvement of the community to be served and individuals who will carry out the plan including teachers, principals, other school staff, and pupil services personnel, parents and students (if secondary)
    A draft of the CMS Title I Schoolwide Plan was made available for all stakeholders (Title I Team, CMS Leadership Team, CMS Site Council, and CMS PTO) to review in the development process. The current plan is available for all school community members. Anyone requesting a hard copy of the plan may retrieve one from the administration office. CMS is willing to translate any necessary document into another language to the extent possible.
  14. Plan available to the LEA, parents, and the public
    The current CMS Title I Schoolwide Plan is available for all school community members. Anyone requesting a hard copy of the plan may retrieve one from the administration office. CMS is willing to translate any necessary document into another language to the extent possible.
  15. Plan is subject to the school improvement provisions
    The CMS School Improvement Plan and CMS Title I Schoolwide Plan are based on a review of assessment data (AIMS, Galileo, STAR, and teacher-made formative/summative), strategies to improve instruction/learning, and the professional development to support that. The focus of the plans is to assist student with meeting their learning responsibilities and academic growth with the state standards. The CMS Leadership Team meets regularly to analyze assessment data to determine the strategies, programs, and staff development that may be needed/funded to help students meet their learning responsibilities. Both the CMS School Improvement Plan and CMS Title I Plan work together in assisting students to achieve success academically.