With 60% of its K-5 population classified as socioeconomically disadvantaged and with over 50% of its secondary school population classified as socioeconomically disadvantaged, the Healdsburg Unified School District (HUSD) will receive $218,000 in federal Title I funds for support programs and services, such as counseling and big picture learning, for students from low-income families.

The district is also receiving $30,000 in Title III federal funds to support programs that help the district’s English learners attain English proficiency and meet academic standards.

The ins and outs of Title I

Title I funds are provided to schools with high percentages of children from low-income families to ensure that all children meet state academic standards and to expand opportunities for children.

“HUSD has more students than ever that are eligible to apply to a four-year university by meeting a-g requirements and the a-g rate is one of the highest in the region. By investing in elementary students by providing additional support staff (paraprofessionals, intervention teachers and school psychologists) HUSD aims to close the opportunitygap,” reads the most recent school board agenda item report on Title I funds.

According to HUSD 2020-21 enrollment data, 60.7% of the district’s TK-5 grade students are considered socioeconomically disadvantaged students. About 60% of the district’s junior high students are socioeconomically disadvantaged and 51.2% of Healdsburg High School students are socioeconomically disadvantaged.

Students are considered socioeconomically disadvantaged if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

-       Neither of the student's parents has received a high school diploma

-       The student is eligible for or participating in the free meal program or reduced-price Meal program

-       The student is eligible for or participating in the Title I Part C Migrant program

-       The student was considered Homeless

-       The student was foster program eligible

-        The student was directly certified

-        The student was enrolled in a juvenile court school.

At the HUSD, Title I funds are utilized at Healdsburg Elementary School and at Marce Becerra Academy for schoolwide programs. Schoolwide programs are allowed when 40% of the students in the school are from low-income households.

Funding priorities include providing targeted support through small ground and one-on-one instruction and student social and emotional support.

The proposed budget for the 2021-22 funds includes $19,954 for multi-tiered system of supports intervention services; $49,390 for an additional school counselor or school psychologist; and $10,000 to support big picture learning at Marce Becerra.

The use for the remaining $3,000 in funds will be announced at a later date.

Erin Fender, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, said at the most recent school board meeting that this year’s Title I allocation is much smaller compared to last year’s allocation.

“We’re getting half of what we expected to,” Fender said at the Oct. 20 school board meeting where HUSD trustees reviewed the Title I report.

Fender believes this year’s allocation is smaller since a good chunk of federal dollars went toward the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III federal fund.

Last year’s Title I allocation was $239,353 and funds went toward hiring more paraprofessionals and an additional school counselor, acquiring adaptive software, getting multi-tiered system of support intervention services and providing funds for the big picture learning program at Marce Becerra.

Title III funds

Title III is federal funds that assist schools to help students reach Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) status and to meet academic standards in all other areas. The allocation amount is based on the number of English learners and immigrant students in a district.

Fender said the district does not take funds for immigrant students due to the low number of immigrant students in the district.

As of October 2021, the district has 274 English learners and 41 students have reached RFEP status, according to HUSD data. Thirty-seven students alone reached RFEP status in August, according to Fender and in the 2020-21 school year, 66% of English learner/RFEP students completed their UC a-g completion.

Additionally, the district’s number of English learners has steadily decreased over the years as more students reach RFEP status in younger grades such as K-2, 3-5 and 6-8.

HUSD Trustee Donna del Rey said the numbers are impressive.

This year, the district will be getting an estimated $30,000 in Title III funds.

$5,000 will be used for professional development and curriculum from the EL Achieve program for Healdsburg High School and $25,000 will go toward training and job embedded coaching for TK-2 teachers who are relatively new to the profession.

Last year the district received $34,612 and funds went toward project based learning workshops focused on the needs of English learners, job coaching and training, elementary curriculum, professional development, Rosetta Stone software, books and District English Learner Advisory Committee and English Learner Advisory Council meeting expenditures.

Staff Writer

Katherine Minkiewicz-Martine has been a staff writer with The Healdsburg Tribune and SoCoNews for over two years. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.