CLEARFIELD -- North Davis Junior High will be a Title I school when it opens in August for the new school year.
The designation came at the end of May, after Davis School District officials looked at how it could better serve students, said John Zurbuchen, the district's federal program director.
About 60 percent of the school's student population qualifies for free or reduced lunches, he said.
A school district can designate a school as Title I if 40 percent to 75 percent of its student body qualifies for free or reduced lunches. A school automatically qualifies as Title I when more than 75 percent of its student population qualifies for free or reduce lunches.
North Davis Junior High, at 835 S. State St., will be the first secondary school in the district with a Title I designation. All five of the elementary schools that feed into North Davis Junior High School are Title I schools, Zurbuchen said.
At Clearfield High School, which is the high school North Davis Junior High feeds into, 35 percent of the student population qualifies for free or reduced lunches. At Central Davis Junior High, 38 percent of the student population qualifies; and Sunset Junior High and North Layton Junior High schools each have 34 percent who qualify.
Zurbuchen said district officials considered the risks of designating North Davis Junior High as a Title I school and the rewards.
"The rewards outweighed the risks," he said.
The risk of being a Title I school is that the school will now have to meet the federal year-end testing requirements or face sanctions.
Principal Ryan Hansen said school officials already have set "a high standard for ourselves."
Hansen said when he came to the school three years ago, all seventh-graders were in seventh-grade math. The school has phased out of seventh-grade math, and this year all seventh-graders were enrolled in pre-algebra.
North Davis Junior High has a more diverse ethnic population than other Davis schools, he said, with about 30 percent of its student body population being an ethnic minority.
Also, the school's population is more transient, with more families moving in and out of the area than at schools in the south of the county, he said.
Being a Title I school means more resources will be available for the school to help students achieve academically.
The school will receive about $800 of federal funds per student who qualifies for free or reduced lunches. School officials are currently working on a plan to use those funds to help students improve academically, Hansen said.
The school can use the funds for more teacher training, hiring tutors or assistants for classrooms, and using it to buy netbooks or computers for the classroom.
Teachers learned of the Title I designation last week, Hansen said. Some are apprehensive because of misinformation they have heard about Title I schools.
Others, though, are welcoming the designation because of the additional help it will bring to students, Hansen said.
Zurbuchen said two other elementary schools have also been designated as Title I schools: Adelaide Elementary in Bountiful and King Elementary in Layton.
The district will have 18 Title I schools this fall.