Schoolwide Program (SWP) is the reform effort of Title I. A schoolwide program school may use its Title I, Part A, funds coupled with other educational funds to upgrade the school's entire educational program, rather than to target services only on identified children. By affecting the entire program of instruction, the overall education of children in the most impoverished schools can be improved. For schools opting to become schoolwide programs, schools have expanded flexibility and support.
The emphasis on schoolwide programs responds to a solid research base about what makes schools work for disadvantaged students. Repeated findings show that:
All children’s performance is negatively affected in schools with high concentrations of poverty. To empower the lowest achieving students in the highest poverty schools to meet high standards of performance, the entire core academic instructional program must be substantially improved, not just a separate Title I program. When the entire school is the target of change, schools serving the most disadvantaged youth can achieve success.
These provisions enable a school to integrate regular and categorical programs into a coherent program for all students. The SWP becomes the school's overall reform effort. Schools are accountable for the academic achievement of all students under this reform effort, but especially low-achieving students.