By Curt Yeomans
Parents of children who qualify for Title I federal programs will have a chance to learn more about those programs this weekend.
The programs are designed to help students -- who do not come from affluent backgrounds -- succeed academically.
Clayton County Public Schools is scheduled to hold its annual "Title I Community Connection" parent information fair on Saturday, from 10 a.m., to noon, in the cafeteria of Mundy's Mill High School, which is located at 9652 Fayetteville Road, in Jonesboro.
Representatives from the district's federal programs department, academic departments, and extracurricular groups, as well as community organizations, are expected to be on hand to meet with parents, said Sheryl Matthews, a federal programs specialist with the school system.
"This will be an opportunity to educate parents on the services we provide, and to let parents know what their rights are, under Title I," Matthews said. "We will provide them with information about who qualifies for Title I, what services are out there for Title I students, and how we define a title I program ... and how we work to support Clayton County Public Schools."
Title I is part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and it is designed to help schools provide services to children based on their economic situation, according to the school system's web site. A school's need for those type of programs, which can range from tutoring services, to school choice, is based on the percentage of students at the school who qualify for the federal government's free and reduced lunch program.
"We provide these services to help children reach their maximum potential just as much as non-Title I students," Matthews said.
Matthews said all 61 schools in the Clayton County Public Schools district qualify for the Title I designation. She added, however, that four schools (Arnold and Oliver elementary schools, Eddie J. White K-8 Academy, and the Elite Scholars Academy Charter School) only qualify for "targeted assistance," because they have smaller populations of Title I students.
"'Targeted Assistance' is for schools that have only a small portion of its population that has qualified for free and reduced lunch," Matthews said. "It targets that specific group of students."
The federal programs specialist said extracurricular and community groups, such as the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC), and the Boy Scouts of America, have been invited to participate in the parent-information fair. She said she does not yet have a finalized list of participants, however.
Matthews also said "Home Team Advantage" math and literacy study-at-home kits will be available for parents to pick up on a first-come, first-served basis.