Julia Roberts Goad
WILLIAMSON — The Mingo County Board of Education heard an update of all the programs provided by Title I in the county’s schools.
Title I provides financial assistance to LEAs (Local Educational Agencies) and schools with high numbers or percentages of poor children to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards. LEAs target Title I funds to schools with the highest percentages of children from low-income families.
Christy Tilley with the Title I Parent Education Resource Center, spoke to the Mingo BOE.
“There is so much we do now,” Tilley said. “We work with different agencies throughout the county to provide services for students.”
Tilley explained Title I used to work only with low income and at-risk students, but that policy has changed to include all the students in the county. “All our services are available to all students,” Tilley said.
She said Title I works with Coalfield CAP, the STOP Coalition, NECCO and DHHR among others.
“We have been able to offer mental health services, help with students transitioning out of Headstart, bring health fairs into schools, work with the County’s dropout prevention program, promote reading and help eighth graders who have an Individual Education Plan.”
One of the most successful programs Title I has brought into schools is a program designed to teach and encourage hand washing.
“Still, when I walk into a school, kids will come up and tell me how they still are washing their hands,” Tilley said. “That was really important during the H1N1 influenza scare we had.”
Tilley also highlighted the SMILES program, which brings a mobile dentist office to schools.
“It is an entire full service dentist’s office,” she explained. “The do exams, filling, x-rays, fillings, everything. There is a dentist and hygienist, and spend two or three days at each school.”
She said the school sends out questionnaires to parents, and if at least six students are interested in dental service through the school, a visit is scheduled.
Tilley said the mobile dentist’s office is sometimes the first time students have been to a dentist.
In the upcoming months, Title I will be working on a guide to help students and parents help find the resources they may need in the county by creating a resource guide and working with W.Va. Reads 150, a reading program held in conjunction with the state’s 150th birthday.
“We have at least 250 to 300 workshops each year,” Tilley said. “For parents as well as students, we work in reading and math skills, internet safety, accelerated reading, life skills. We are in the schools every day.”