May is for Planning

April Showers might produce May flowers; but in the grant world, the ending of the school year sparks the beginning of the grant season. This general statement might sound odd to you, but let me explain why May is the perfect month to review your academic and behavioral data, align your budget needs and review or rewrite your school’s strategic plan.


Sherry Roland-Washington

April Showers might produce May flowers; but in the grant world, the ending of the school year sparks the beginning of the grant season. This general statement might sound odd to you, but let me explain why May is the perfect month to review your academic and behavioral data, align your budget needs and review or rewrite your school’s strategic plan.

Somewhere between May 30 and June 15, most administrators and central office staff are anxiously awaiting the results of the state-mandated assessments. On target scores might suggest the school is on the right path and under-performing data possibly illustrates, the school has several reform needs. Whether the data is above average or fair, the data is essential in identifying the root causes associated with the mandated state expectations of a rigorous and equitable curriculum for all learners. If you have been in the field of education for more than 25 years, I can guarantee you have asked yourself, 'How are we supposed to meet the standards with limited funds to address the challenges holistically?' As complex as that question is, a viable solution could be the procurement of multiple grants.

For example, The Bedrock School District received a needs improvement rating for their academic data results and their discipline data for the 2015-2016 school year. During the District data team meeting, the team noticed a correlation between the low reading academic scores, and the number of students who were suspended or expelled. Upon further analysis of the diverse data points, the team identifies a need to develop a practical multi-level tiered intervention support structure (formerly known as response to intervention). The team clarified a task of this magnitude should involve collaborating with a behavioral specialist, participating in Positive Behavioral Support professional development, hiring an additional school counselor, creating a school resource officer department, implementing a mentoring program and upgrading campus security. This scenario is practical and an important because in doing the work mentioned above, the team has begun the process of identifying their need, the stakeholders and some of the activities required for writing their logic model.

A logic model is a concept graphic organizer grant reviewers often request in a grant application. It presents an overview and assists the grant reviewer in visualizing what the end product would look like if you were awarded the grant. The logic model serves as your road map, or your GPS for how you and your team will approach the project, plan for the project, implement the project and measure the outcomes of the proposed project. The logic model justifies the proposed budget when the activities are directly aligned. Spending time developing this model will assist your grant writer in applying for additional grants. Yes, I purposefully typed grants (plural). The possibility of receiving a grant to match 90 percent of the budget would be a win, the reality is often the award is for less than what you proposed.

Most academic entities in the education arena seek grants in the traditional arenas; U.S. Department of Education, state grant sites and foundations who cater to Local Education Associations (LEAs). Here at EducationGrants.gov, we look for grant opportunities in multiple areas. Consider the scenario described above and the budget for the proposed solutions, our team of professional experienced associates would approach the task with the end in mind, 'How could we secure grants to meet the students’ needs and ensure access to an equitable curriculum, and ensure the students are safe academically, socially, emotionally and physically?' Our team would address the safety and security concerns of the school and apply for the CSSI grant, the JAG grant, the Title 1 grant and the 21st Century Grant. It is perfectly okay if the funding for your proposed logical model has to come from more than one source. As long as you have the needs, the stakeholder, the goals and the activities cited and the outcomes are measurable, you will be ahead of the grant race and ready to bask in the sun and fun of July. During the month of May and the early part of June, take some time to prepare and plan for a productive 2016 – 2017 school year, you will be thankful. Until then, get ready, get set and go prepare your data.

As always, please feel free to email me at sherry.washington@govgrantshelp.com with questions you have about the grant writing process for educational leaders.

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