Title I Funding for the Second Step Program
When asked how he found the funds to buy Second Step kits for his school, Highland Park Elementary Principal Ben Ostrom laughs, “We had a need, and I looked at what money we could use to fill it.”
But in order to get Title I funds, Ostrom had to present his case in a very specific way. “Title I requires a needs assessment and has to be connected with professional development,” he explains. “They want us to use the money to increase teachers’ capacity to address the needs demonstrated by the data.”
Those needs turned out to be reducing discipline referrals and time out of class. The answer was a comprehensive social skills curriculum that taught prosocial behaviors. Ostrom was successful in showing that the Title I funds he received from his district, Seattle Public Schools, would be used to purchase “materials to train and support teachers to deliver an intervention” rather than as teaching materials. Further, they had to reach the Seattle Public Schools’ threshold for free and reduced lunch—and at 82 percent free and reduced lunch, the Highland Park student body well exceeds it.
Ostrom feels that Second Step supports the need they purchased it to fill. “We needed a sequenced curriculum that could be used to train paraprofessionals and staff to deliver a consistent social skills program to every student in the school. The Second Step program works for us.”