Formula for a Winning Proposal

By Joseph, Linda C. | Multimedia & Internet@Schools, September-October 2004 | Go to article overview

Formula for a Winning Proposal


Joseph, Linda C., Multimedia & Internet@Schools


WITH federal mandates such as No Child Left Behind stretching school budgets, it is essential to find additional funding sources, especially for technology initiatives. Grants are one option, but where do you start? CyberBee has written numerous grants ranging from a few thousand dollars from private foundations to several million dollars from federal programs such as Enhancing Education Through Technology Title II-D. Much has been learned from these experiences. The examples presented below are general and do not represent an entire grant, which might be several pages in length. These samples of grant language, funding sources, and Web sites are shared in the hope that more teachers will consider writing a grant as an alternative way of providing technology resources and professional development to their schools.

Preparation

Writing a grant sounds like a daunting task. However, one well-written grant that can be altered for different Requests for Proposal (RFP) will leverage your efforts to gain the most benefits.

Before you begin to write your grant, you need to collect data such as student demographics, achievement test scores, continuous improvement plans, and information about community partnerships. Local and state curriculum and technology standards should form the foundation of your grant proposal. After gathering this information, create a profile of your school.

Organize a project team to write and manage the grant. The team should be made up of individuals who have expertise in curriculum, technology, research, and evaluation and should also include a member of the community. If you are writing a grant that focuses on raising math achievement scores, then a representative from the math department should be on the team. Ideally, each team member should write one section, with one person assembling the grant in the proper format. If you are submitting the grant online, formatting may not be an issue.

Needs Statement

The needs section of the grant should be data driven and descriptive of the school. Why should your school project be funded? What are the lowest-performing content areas that need improvement in your school program based on achievement tests? If the yearly technology survey indicates only 30 percent of your teachers are integrating technology in their classroom curriculum, what professional development could be offered to increase that number? What other data is available to support where you want to go with your vision statement?

An opening needs statement might read as follows:

USA Elementary School is a K-5 school serving a population of 335 students. The ethnic distribution of students is currently 3 percent Asian, 20 percent Hispanic, 34 percent black, and 43 percent white. USA Elementary School offers two ESL programs at the primary level and intermediate level. Students are integrated into regular education classrooms and pulled out to work with our ESL teachers during the day. USA Elementary School also has both Primary and Intermediate Transitionally Developmentally Handicapped Units whose students work within the regular education classroom and are serviced through pullout programs.

A needs assessment examined academic achievement in both math and literacy via the state proficiency test. In 2003, only 44 percent of students passed in math. The Math Achievement Test and other assessment data confirmed similarly low success across nearly every grade. Based on our findings, we decided to focus on math, where we need the most help. Technological capacity within the school was measured using the 2003 Technology Assessment Survey. In terms of technology, results show USA Elementary School teachers have both limited resources to use computers in the classroom and not enough training to use such tools or instructional strategies effectively.

Continuous Improvement Plan

Many schools and districts have goals and strategies for improving student achievement, called continuous improvement plans. …

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