This article is for the school based grant writer/teacher or district grants manager who is looking for a better way to manage the many-headed hydra that is grants management in schools and districts these days.
Last time I talked about project management and grant writing. There are differences and similarities between these two art forms. What if your school's needs are very complex and you don't know where you're going to get the money to pay for fixing them?
Enter, the grants collection. If your school budget and federal pass-through grant allocations (Title I, IIA, etc.) are not enough to solve the problems you've identified, you need tocome up with a comprehensive plan. I've done this for many schools, and though it is time consuming and hard work, it often yields unexpected benefits for the long term.
In one school, leaders grew tired of applying for little grants to put bandaids on big problems. There was a new principal with energy, vision and drive. I think this piece is the most important part of a plan over time: you should not try to do this on your own.
You need a visionary leader who can pull together disparate groups to provide a long-range master plan for your school. This is the project management part of the big plan, and it is indispensable. As grant writer, your part in the project will be important, but you will not be the architect. You can, however, drive and direct the discussion if you see an opportunity to help your strong administrative team lead your school through rough waters ahead. You can also provide guidance on how to "chunk" the project into logical pieces with their own funding streams.
The chunks must be guided by curriculum standards. It's how you organize your thinking, and it's actually one of the reasons CCSSI (Common Core State Standards Initiative) was developed in the first place. After you've spent a summer analyzing your test data and aligning your grade levels and subjects to the standards, you can begin to see patterns emerge. Standards alignment is a process and it needs to be approached with a great deal of precision. The work you do at this formative stage of your school's long range vision will pay dividends for years to come.
There are some steps to the process.
· Create subject-related focus groups for each grade level. Don't forget to include your "special" people. Make your library media specialist or curriculum coordinator a member of the administrative team.
· Find a room or rooms in your school for regular meetings.
· Schedule curriculum alignment meetings (make them regular, like first Monday of every month) for the school year.
· Provide a schedule for data analysis and mining; a representative from each grade team will be useful.
· In meetings, create a big chart for the wall in the meeting room with columns for grade levels and rows for curriculum divisions. Include science and history even though they don't have CC standards yet. Insert last year's test scores in each cell and express them as - or + amounts (- means levels below grade; + means above). You may want to color code these as well. Keep this chart posted for everyone to see. It is your roadmap.
In weekly staff meetings, if you're tired of hearing teachers and leaders bemoan the state of the budget and declaring that school needs cannot be met "in this current economic climate," your school is ripe for taking on a big project.
Your job will be to piece together funding to help get the work done. You can start developing the relationships you will need with your town business community. It can be very helpful to step up to be one of the pieces.
Use our Grants Database to help pull out funding sources for your pieces, you'll become a talented searcher in no time.
Resources for planning the big picture:
Above all, try to have fun with your project. This will trickle down to the kids.
Current Grant Opportunities
Using Music to Teach Mathematics Grants for Grades PreK-2 Teachers from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) - Sponsored by NCTM, the Using Music to Teach Mathematics Grants for Grades PreK–2 Teachers encourages the incorporation of music into the elementary school classroom to help young students learn mathematics. Proposals must address the combining of mathematics and music, the plan for improving students’ learning of mathematics, and the anticipated impact on students’ achievement.
States: All States
Average Amount: $3,000.00
Address: Mathematics Education Trust at NCTM, 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502
Telephone: 703-620-9840, ext. 2112
Eligibility: Public School
Program Areas: Arts, Early Childhood, General Education, Math, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
I Love My Librarian Awards from the Carnegie Corporation of New York & The New York Times - There are more than 122,000 libraries nationwide, and librarians touch the lives of the people they serve every day. The award encourages library users like you to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians. We want to hear how you think your librarian is improving the lives of the people in your school, campus or community.
States: All States
Average Amount: $5,000.00
Total Amount: $50,000.00
Address: 50 E Huron, Chicago, IL 60611
Eligibility: Public School, Private School, Higher Education, Other
Program Areas: Library