Education initiatives are continually adapting to new trends, policies, and opportunities. Yet, funding is a consistent roadblock when teachers and administrators attempt to expand the resources–especially the STEM resources–available in the classroom.
When applying for special grants, the amount of money awarded, application requirements, and time during the school year are all demands placed on educators.
School districts, however, already maintain detailed title fund budgets. Educators can offer new, innovative curriculum by integrating STEM initiatives into their title fund applications.
What are title funds?
Title funds are federal monies intended for supplementing, not replacing, existing state funding with education. With this additional funding, schools can enhance their student’s experiences by spending on programs and materials.
There are five main types of title funds that can be used to support specific types of programs:
● Title I – These funds are used for helping low-income students meet the academic state standards through programming initiatives.
● Title II – These funds are used to support educators and administrators in professional development.
● Title III – These funds go towards programs and materials for English language learners (ELL).
● Title IV – This funding is used for academic enrichment with a special focus on STEM education.
● IDEA – These funds support programs or materials for students with special needs or Individualized Education Programs.
In addition to budgeting for specific student groups, educators are creating holistic strategies for STEM education. Teachers and administrators need to not only stay on top of new standards, but also oversee the execution of STEM initiatives. This is admittedly easier said than done, but title funding can help streamline the process.
Supporting STEM curriculum
Title funds can be optimized for supplemental learning, like leadership programming, social emotional learning curriculum, and STEM materials. Depending on your school type and demographic, multiple title funds can be used to support STEM curriculum.
Many schools use Title I funds to purchase STEM materials. The U.S. Department of Education conducted a study that outlined different use cases of Title I funds for STEM programs. Some examples include purchasing STEM education materials for school-wide initiatives, providing school loaned devices, and offering after school STEM clubs.
Another more straightforward way of using title funds for STEM is with Title IV. Title IV specifically emphasizes STEM education. This can include, but is not limited to, academic enrichment, STEM curriculum, and integrating technology into the classroom.
Indiana’s Pike Township used Title IV funds to purchase a full computer science curriculum for their summer programming initiatives. With this course, students can engage with STEM learning, career readiness, and technology. Erin Naylor, STEM Support Specialist for Pike Township, says, “The summer enrichment program is our most popular one, it fills up the quickest and we have waitlists for students to attend.” Funding initiatives like Pike Township’s show the need for STEM curriculum proliferation.
Title funding is not limited to only student initiatives–Title II funds are used to educate teachers and contribute to professional development. These monies can be put toward STEM conferences or learning opportunities for educators. Not all teachers consider themselves to be tech-savvy, let alone knowledgeable of advanced computer science skills. Some teachers of STEM curriculum find themselves learning alongside their students. Title II funds help educators learn these STEM competencies and prepare them to teach curriculum in the classroom.
Overall, title funding provides many opportunities for educators to implement STEM curriculum. Whether you are a district looking to provide teachers with training, building a comprehensive STEM curriculum for students, or looking to upgrade the STEM equipment available in schools, title funding provides a variety of opportunities to help maximize the impact of your program.
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