Let's Get Back to School

If I were to choose the best times to write grants each year, I’d have to say September-October and January-February. More grants are available then, and most grant writers are working steadily during that time. At those times, you have information from yearly assessments for the fall grants you write, and you have the assessments from first semester for writing your winter grants.

If there are times you shouldn’t be writing grants, it would probably be when you are trying to get school started and when you are very close to the close of the school year.

Right now you should be focused on getting the school year off to a good start, both for you and the students for which you are responsible. Regardless of your position, the first weeks of school each year often determine how the remainder of the year will go and how much success you have throughout the year. It is much more important for you to focus on a good start than it is to write a grant.

But even as you focus on making that good start, you should also begin looking for changes that need to be made to your school, campus, or classroom. Every school has problems. With most budgets cut to the bare bones these days, anything above and beyond the normal curricula will probably have to come from grant money.

If you can pinpoint one or two areas that do not start well this year, you will soon have the beginning of school behind you, and you will be into the September-October prime grant-writing period. You might find that you need to provide extra after-school tutoring this year so that at-risk students can keep up. Or possibly you don’t have the computers and the software that you need to be most effective in your teaching.

Believe me, in most schools it shouldn’t take you long to find a list of problems that need correcting or a new program or two that you need to initiate. Unfortunately in most schools the problem is not in finding trouble areas, it’s having the money to fix those problem areas once we find them.

So, as you start school in the next few weeks, remember to concentrate on that good beginning. If you deal directly with students, you want to make sure that every day is a good one for them and that they accomplish as much as possible. If you don’t deal directly with students, you want to support those teachers who do in such a way that their job is as easy as you can make it.

We are fortunate in the school business that we get a new beginning each fall. It doesn’t matter how badly last year went, you have a chance each year to get the train back on the track and move it forward once again. Just remember, while you’re getting off to that great beginning, don’t forget to look for those problem areas that need mending. Once you find one or two of those, it won’t be long until you’ll want to start looking for grant money to support those positive changes.

Have a good year. Put a smile on your face and greet those students every day. Remember, if it weren’t for those students, we wouldn’t have school at all. Sometimes, I think we let that basic concept elude us for a while. The beginning of the school year is certainly the time to reaffirm it.