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Intradistrict School Choice
A Q & A on Options for
Children Enrolled in Title I Schools in Need of Improvement

What is Title I?
Title I is a federally funded program that provides additional education resources and services for schools that serve low-income children.

What does it mean to be a school in need of improvement?
Schools in need of improvement are those that have not met the state’s performance standards on state tests and have not made what is determined to be adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward meeting state standards in either language arts/literacy or mathematics.

What must a school do if it has not made adequate yearly progress?
Schools failing to make adequate yearly progress must do the following:

  • Develop a plan to improve school performance. This plan could call for new teaching strategies, more teacher training and/or other strategies designed to boost student performance;

  • Offer intensive professional development and training to prepare teachers to use new teaching strategies and skills aimed at improving student performance; and

  • Offer intradistrict school choice that gives parents the opportunity to transfer their child to another school that is higher performing within the district.

Is there anything else these schools should do?
It is strongly suggested that the school invite parents to help them in two ways:

  • To provide input to school personnel as they identify ways to change their school programs and perhaps school operations, and

  • To join as partners with the school in supporting their child’s learning.

How can I help support my child and his/her learning?
What is important to parents becomes important to children. Parents can show their children that education is important by asking what they learned and what happened in school each day by asking if they have any homework and requesting to see it. By doing these simple things, you can support your child’s education. Additionally, reading with young children and helping with homework can support their learning.

What are the choices I have if I want to move my child?
The Title I law calls for intradistrict choice, which means you may request to transfer your child from his/her low-performing school to another school within the district.

What if my school district says they lack capacity to offer choice?
Many districts do lack capacity. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country. This is reflected in the high enrollments and overcrowding in some schools. Unfortunately, many schools and districts will not be able to offer intradistrict choices.

What can I do if my school lacks capacity and can’t offer intradistrict choice?
New Jersey is a "choice" state that offers interdistrict options in some areas. These choices include charter schools and choice schools. To find out where charter and choice schools are located and how to apply for enrollment in them, you may call (609)292-5850for charter schools, (609)633-1997 for choice districts or go to the New Jersey Department of Education’s Web site at www.state.nj.us/education, then click on school choice or charter schools.

What other opportunities for choice are there if there is not a public charter or choice school in my area?
Other than public school choices, you can still choose to enroll your child in a nonpublic school. Nevertheless, if you choose this option, the responsibility for tuition payment remains solely with the parent, since this is not a free public school choice. Additionally, some parents choose to home-school their children.

How can I find out what choices my school district offers?
Schools have only recently been notified of their status. Many are still reviewing data and deciding what steps they need to take to comply with these new accountability requirements. At this time, therefore, you may need to wait before you receive more information from your school. If you do not hear from your school before closing for the summer, you should call your school principal for further information regarding local plans.