- Safe Places to Play from the U.S. Soccer Foundation
- Foundation Grants from the Esther B. Kahn Charitable Foundation
- Educational Grants from the Mockingbird Foundation
- NCTE Donald H. Graves Award from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
- Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities from the Department of Education
- Kids-to-Parks Day National School Contest from the National Park Trust
- Improving Community Education Grants from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
- EcoTech Grants from the Captain Planet Foundation
- GO! Grant from Kids in the Game
- Ross Foundation Educational Grants from the Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation
As political winds have blown one way and then another over the years, federal funding for schools has changed its tune. In the current polarized environment, there are loud voices calling for the abolition of all funding for schools – don’t be frightened, this is not about to happen.
One of the roles of government in a free society is to protect those individuals who are least able to protect themselves. The federal government has played a large role in helping states, cities and towns educate the kids who need the most support. This has taken the form of Title I, but also, in the world of Common Core and No Child Left Behind, it takes the form of improvement of academic achievement and lifting all children to a place of success. This is altogether right and important.
The federal government has established a School Improvement Grant program that takes this concept to the next level. Before there were standards (some of us remember that educational wild, wild, west), let’s face it, we were graduating kids who couldn’t read. Schools in high poverty areas could not attract the best and the brightest of the teachers who were coming out of college education programs. These schools slipped into a leadership gap, and were allowed to deteriorate, pretty much unchallenged. New regulations and strict enforcement have changed that. Schools still struggle, but the spotlight is on them, we know who you are, and in general, we all want to help.
I’ve talked about working in collaboration with others for planning and seeking grants. In general, I don’t write grants in committee unless there’s a requirement to do so. In all grant projects, you need to sit down with stakeholders in the school community who will benefit from the grant. This is an unavoidable part of preliminary planning, but it’s not the same thing as writing in committee.
Sometimes though, you can’t avoid it, maybe your Superintendent has suggested a collaborative environment for grant writing. She means well, and it can unfold successfully, but it’s not my preferred way to work. There are many reasons for this; the biggest one is avoiding turf wars.
Anyone who puts in hours of work on a grant project needs to be recognized. Sometimes, though, an individual will assert herself early; she needs to have some control, disapproves of just about everything and is a PITD (pain in the derriere). During stakeholder meetings, as you’re selecting committee members, you can get a sense of who is going to be a PITD.