Parley's Park Elementary School and McPolin Elementary School, the two Title One targeted assistance schools in the Park City School District, recently held federally-mandated annual meetings to discuss how the schools used funding.

Schools such as Parley's Park and McPolin have a larger number of low-income students. A Title One designation is given to any school that serves a certain percentage of low-income students, determined by the number of free and reduced price lunch waivers.

"The annual meeting is a time to share how the budget is being employed," said McPolin Principal Greg Proffit. "We used on federal dollars primarily on staffing, professionals in classrooms supporting literacy and helping struggling students with mathematics."

Often times, low achievement among students is a factor of low income, he added, and that low-income families in Park City are more likely to be Hispanic.

"Markers of low income and the Hispanic student population tend to run side by side in this school," Proffit said. "In our primary grades, that population runs between 55 and 62 percent."

At the McPolin meeting last week, only one parent was not a bilingual or Spanish-speaking parent. But Profitt said that was encouraging, that he hopes to see more parent participation and is even considering assigning parents volunteer hours at the beginning of each school year.

"Parent involvement is a highly touted factor in student achievement, especially in primary grades," he added.

At Parley's Park, parents met during the most recent PTA meeting to discuss funding usage and possible goals moving into next year. Both McPolin and Parley's Park are 'targeted assistance' schools, meaning neither school is a full participant of the Title One program.

"In nutshell, 'targeted assistance' means you're not at the highest threshold to be receive Title One funding for a school-wide program," said David Gomez, principal at Parley's Park, "but if schools are close to that mark, the state comes in and helps with federal dollars which go to certain populations of students in schools.

"These funds basically help supplement what is already going on in schools."

Gomez discussed how funding had been used at the meeting, the services the federal dollars support such as the English Language Learners program. Under a new ranking system of school performances released by the Utah State Office of Education, Parley's Park was named one of the top 10 performing schools accepting Title One funding.

"We've got room to improve, and the learning gap is still there," Gomez said. "When you look at the numbers, it just is. Low-income students are not performing at the same rate as other students and that's a statewide issue."