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Every Student Succeeds Act Title I

In 1994

Project Appleseed

Advised the White House on

the creation of the

first parental involvement

provisions of Title I of the

Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Title I

Parent & Family Engagement

Every Student Succeeds Act  (ESSA)

Superintendent Sara Johnson sat at her desk, poring over the latest data on student achievement. She couldn't help but notice a trend - the schools with higher levels of parent engagement tended to have higher student achievement as well. She knew that increasing parent engagement was critical, especially in Title I schools where families may face additional challenges.

That's when she came across the Family Engagement Toolbox. It was a comprehensive set of resources designed to help schools and families work together to support student success. The toolbox included everything from tips for effective communication to templates for hosting parent-teacher conferences. She knew that this could be a game changer for his district.

Without hesitation, she ordered a toolbox for every school in the district, ensuring that each school had access to the Parent Engagement Pledge and Parent Engagement Report Card. She knew that getting families involved in their children's education was the key to unlocking success.

When the toolbox arrived, Superintendent Johnson called a meeting of all the school principals in the district. She explained her vision and the importance of parent engagement, and urged the principals to make full use of the toolbox and the accompanying resources. The principals were excited about the possibilities, and they immediately set to work.

Over the next few weeks, each school distributed the Parent Engagement Pledge and Parent Engagement Report Card to all families, encouraging them to get involved in their children's education. And with the help of the Family Engagement Toolbox, they hosted workshops and events to help families learn how to support their children's learning at home.

The response was overwhelming. Families were grateful for the resources and the support, and they showed up in record numbers at school events likeNational Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week. Teachers reported that they were able to work more effectively with families, and that they saw a noticeable improvement in student performance.


Superintendent Johnson smiled as she looked at the latest data. She knew that there was still work to be done, but she was thrilled with the progress they had made. With the Family Engagement Toolbox and the commitment of his district's schools and families, she knew that they could achieve great things together.

Project Appleseed worked with the Clinton administration to include original provisions for parent and family engagement in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act renewal in 1994. These provisions were reauthorized under Title I of No Child Left Behind in 2001 and again under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.Title I is a federal program that provides funding to schools with high numbers of low-income students in order to raise achievement for these disadvantaged children. As part of the program, parent and family engagement and consultation are key components, focused on the low income parents of "Title I-participating" children.

Title I Section 1118

In order to receive Title I funds, school districts must conduct outreach to parents and family members and must implement programs, activities and procedures for the involvement of parents and families in Title I funded activities. Each district must jointly develop with and distribute to families, in a language they can understand, a written parent and family engagement policy. The engagement policy must be periodically updated to reflect the needs of families and be incorporated into the district plans described above. Title I-receiving schools in the district must also distribute parent and family engagement policies agreed to by the parents.

The district parent and family engagement policy must describe how the district will:

  • Involve parents in the joint development of the district plan;

  • Provide the support necessary to assist schools in implementing effective family engagement activities;

  • Conduct an annual evaluation of the effectiveness of the policy in improving the academic quality of Title I schools, including identifying barriers to greater participation by families, (especially family members who are economically disadvantaged, disabled, have limited English proficiency, have limited literacy, or are a racial or ethnic minority) and use the findings to design strategies to support successful school and family interactions and revise engagement policies; and

  • Involve families in schools activities, which may include establishing an advisory board to develop, revise and review the engagement policy.

Title I Schools: The school parents and family engagement policy must describe how the school will:

  • Convene an annual meeting, at a convenient time to which all parents of low-income students are invited and encouraged to attend, to inform parents that their school receives Title I funds, that these funds come with requirements, and that parents have a right to be involved;

  • Offer a flexible number of engagement meetings at convenient times for families (for which the school may provide transportation, child care, or home visits using Title I funds);


Provide parents and families with:​

  • Information about Title I-funded programs;

  • An explanation of the curriculum and achievement levels the school uses; and

  • If requested, opportunities for regular meetings to participate in decisions relating to the education of their student.

Additionally, schools must jointly develop with parents of low-income students a school-parent compact like Project Appleseed’s Parent Engagement Pledge. The Pledge outlines how families, school, staff and students will share the responsibility for improved student academic achievement and develop a partnership to help students achieve state standards.

Project Appleseed Pledge

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education, a majority of Title I schools that participated in the study found that the school-parent compacts, required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for schools receiving Title I funding, were helpful in promoting family involvement. The study found that the highest-poverty schools found the compacts most helpful, with 85% of principals in these schools stating that the compacts were helpful in supporting homework completion. 

Title I schools are also required to ensure effective involvement of parents and support a partnership among the school, parents and the community to improve student academic achievement by providing assistance to parents in understanding such topics as the state's academic standards, state and local academic assessments, the requirements of Title I and how to monitor a child's progress and work with educators, providing materials and training to help parents to work with their children to improve their children's achievement, educating school personnel, with the assistance of parents, in the value and utility of the contributions of parents, and in how to reach out to, communicate with, and work with parents local programs and resources, such as Head Start and Early Head Start, to the extent feasible and appropriate;

  • Providing appropriate training and resources to assist participating families, particularly families who are economically disadvantaged, disabled, have limited English proficiency, have limited literacy, or are a racial or ethnic minority, to participate in the Title I program;​​

Additionally, about 8 out of 10 principals in high-poverty Title I schools and a majority of principals in low-poverty schools found the compacts helpful. Across all schools, about 30% of the principals considered the compacts “very helpful”. Principals perceived the greatest impact of the compacts on homework completion, school climate, student discipline, and reading at home, which are factors that can be improved through school-family partnership activities.

national parental involvement day dallas
  • Providing transportation, child care or home visits to assist families in participating in Title I activities;

  • Encouraging parents to volunteer in the school and to participate in decision-making and advisory committees;

  • Providing opportunities for regular meetings for parents to participate in decisions relating to the education of their children;

  • Providing a flexible number of engagement meetings at convenient times for families;

  • Providing an annual meeting, at a convenient time, to inform parents that their school receives Title I funds, that these funds come with requirements, and that parents have a right to be involved



Project Appleseed's Family Engagement Toolbox is a comprehensive solution for educators and parent leaders who are looking to increase high-impact family engagement​ in their schools. The toolbox is specifically designed to align with the Six Slices of Parental Involvement, which are widely recognized as key areas for high-impact family engagement​. By using our toolbox, schools can easily organize and implement parent responsibility programs that are both effective and research-based, while also meeting district and state mandates and best practices.

Our toolbox includes a wide range of resources, including:

  • A school-parent compact that outlines how families, school staff, and students will share the responsibility for improved student academic achievement and develop a partnership to help students achieve state standards.

  • A Parent Engagement Pledge that outlines how the school will provide opportunities for parental involvement, how parents will be informed about their child's progress, and how the school will support parents in helping their child succeed.

  • A set of best practices and strategies for increasing parental involvement, such as communication plans, parent-teacher conferences, and volunteer opportunities.

  • A variety of tools and resources for tracking and measuring the success of family engagement efforts, including surveys, focus groups, and data analysis tools.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides funding to support educational programs and services, including Title I programs, for disadvantaged students in elementary, middle, and high schools. Here are some resources for Title I under ESSA for educators, parents, and schools:

  1. U.S. Department of Education ESSA website:

  2. National Title I Association website:

It's important to note that these resources are intended as guidelines and may vary depending on individual state and school district policies. For the most accurate information, it's always best to check with your local school district or state education agency.

Project Appleseed's Six Slices of Family Engagement
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