- Educational Grants from the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund
- Educational Grants from the Eaton Charitable Fund
- Partners in Science Program from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust
- The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program from the Wild Ones
- Family Service Community Grants from Autism Speaks
- Educational Grants from the Gladys and Roland Harriman Foundation
- Educational Grants from the Chichester duPont Foundation, Inc
- Educational Grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
- AIAA Classroom Grants from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
- Serves Grants from the United States Tennis Association (USTA)
Life is never perfect. Despite your most rigorous efforts, sometimes the magic just does not work. You applied for a sizable grant from a foundation to help your school develop a better professional development strategy. You thought this was a slam dunk, everyone is interested in school improvement, and PD is a big part of it. Your school needs to train its teachers to try new things, integrate the curriculum with new standards, develop better classroom tests, and implement a new reading series.
Your budget was realistic. You need to have stipends for teachers who will stay late for training. You included travel items for that PD conference in Chicago. The conference was not a fun thing, it was specifically targeted to the professional development plan your teachers have begun. You included materials for the teacher’s corner in the Library Media Center all aligned with new standards. Even with all these bases covered, you received a “no” letter. What do we do now?
What more could you have done?
Flash back to 2008 (if you dare). The country (the world) was an economic nightmare, banks and brokerage firms were dissolving into thin air, and people were scared. We’ve crept back step by step, but during those dark days, if you were engaged in work in public education, and cared about struggling schools, you were very concerned about sources of survival funds. Cities and towns, dependent on tax revenues, were preparing to slash jobs and cut programs just to keep doors open.
Enter a democratic president whose number one goal and mission was to expand educational opportunity for everyone. Enter ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) funds to fill the gaps we would have faced. I remember the management tasks attached to those funds, see these gray hairs? Our district was audited, people with clipboards and attitudes were in evidence, but somehow, I didn’t mind. There was something comforting about knowing that the dollars were being scrutinized. Our district had followed the rules to the letter and the penny, so the clipboards went away and we carried on. Blessedly they didn’t return. It was a great lesson in “get it right the first time”.