Most people become school district grants managers by default. The person who steps up to write the programs to be funded, and then follows up with grant applications, will become grants manager. Managing is different from writing. It includes having a solid understanding of budget design by bringing disparate groups together to design useful solutions to big problems.
By finding success with grant applications that succeeded in raising $150,000 for after school programs to address big deficits in our Reading and Math scores, I unwittingly drew attention to my activities. My success came from pretending I was a bird flying high above the district to look down and assess what was and was not working.
With data provided by the state department of education, I was able to:
1. Identify and analyze the state of our existing approach to improving academic achievement.
2. Develop solid objectives and action plans for remediation.
3. Create realistic budgets to attack the problems strategically.
Using those three actionizers (my new word), I proceeded into the complex world of grants management (with some trepidation) to see what I could find to support realistic goals for the improvement of academic achievement.
After thorough and time consuming study of the data, I identified three steps we needed to take to come up with a plan.
- First step – apply the time and scrutiny the data analysis deserves. States have provided robust resources to offer assistance.
- Second step – admit your mistakes. Once you’ve found them, assemble groups of stakeholders to brainstorm ways to approach problems and programs.
- Third step –apply the time and the massive effort it will take to design programs that will solve your academic problems. Be prepared to step up and moderate initial meetings.
If, after reading this, you think the process will consume too much time and energy, be prepared to proceed alone. People admire administrators who lead with purpose and resolve. You won’t be criticized if the process becomes unwieldy and you find the need to go it alone. In fact, I’ve found that people are relieved if and when you do.
Grant writing is a process, not an event. A successful end result that produces all the resources you need, is ample reward for the all your hard work.
Summer break is a great time to reflect and pull together your plan for next year. If you’ve been hired to be grants manager, it is in your best interest to spend time now to do it right. Remember that managing and writing are two separate things. You can do them both, but be sure your Principal or leadership team knows how much effort will be applied to the process. Whatever you do, don’t let people tell you you must do it on your own time. Either they are committed or not.
There are some great websites to help you define a process:
- Grant Writer vs. Grant Manager
- Practical tips for grant management
- Free and low cost software for grants management
- Grant writing and management courses
- Data driven decision making for improving schools
- School improvement planning (Arizona)
So, use this summer time wisely, the more you plan now, the easier your grant management or grant writing processes will be.
Grant Opportunity #1
Emerging Teacher Leaders in Elementary School Mathematics Grants
Irene Etkowicz Eizen Fund and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
The purpose of this grant is to increase the breadth and depth of the mathematics content knowledge of one elementary school teacher who has a demonstrated commitment to mathematics teaching and learning. Only one teacher per school may receive the award. The desired outcome of the funded project is the development of an elementary school mathematics teacher with mathematics content expertise. The grant recipient will be expected to provide ongoing professional development to teachers within the school or district to strengthen their mathematical understandings and instructional practices. The professional development must include sustained in-service programs focusing on improving the content knowledge of the elementary teachers within the school or district and working with teachers in their classrooms through demonstration teaching or coteaching. The applicant will be expected to select, in collaboration with the school principal and other teachers, specific mathematics content consistent with the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 2000) and develop expertise in this mathematics content.
Math, Professional Development, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
Public School, Private School.
$1,000.00 - $6,000.00
1906 Association Dr. Reston, VA 20191-1502
Grant Opportunity #2
Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Program Grant
American Library Association
This grant is designed to encourage outstanding summer reading programs by providing financial assistance, while recognizing ALSC members for outstanding program development. The applicant must plan and present an outline for a theme-based summer reading program in a public library. The program must be open to all children (birth -14 years). The committee also encourages innovative proposals involving children with physical or mental disabilities.
Disabilities, Library, Professional Development, Special Education.
Public School, Private School, Higher Education, Other.
50 E. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2788
Free Grant Search Database
MySchoolGrants is a complete grant search tool that is manually updated and checked for accuracy. It includes federal grants, state grants, corporate grants, and grant alerts.
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