Acronym soup: Education terms grant writers need to know

A quality, competitive grant proposal needs to spell out all acronyms


C.S. Woolley said, “You can’t take over the world without a good acronym.”

As a frequent federal and community foundation grant peer reviewer, however, I cannot count all the times that I read through a pile of grant proposals full of acronyms that are never explained.

Do not assume the reader will understand all the acronyms you include and remember that reviewers are often exhausted after a full day of work facing several grant proposals to read. Make their lives easier by always spelling out acronyms, especially the first time they show up in the narrative. Consider acronyms such as “E.D.” which can mean Executive Director, Emotionally Disturbed, or something else.

Here are some commonly used acronyms in the field of education that you should know:

  • IHE-Institution of Higher Education
  • LEA-Local Education Agency
  • LD-Learning Disability
  • IDEA-Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • HS-High School
  • HOH-Hard of Hearing
  • HI-Hearing Impaired
  • IEP-Individualized Education Program
  • LRE-Least Restrictive Environment
  • MDT-Multidisciplinary Team
  • MS-Middle School
  • STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering, Math
  • STEAM-Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math
  • SPED-Special Education
  • WISC-Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
  • TESOL-Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • SST-Student Study Team
  • SSAE-Student Support and Academic Enrichment (Title IV, Part A)
  • ESSA-Every Student Succeeds Act
  • 21st CCLC-21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • SLD-Specific Learning Disability
  • ADHD-Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • ADD-Attention Deficit Disorder
  • AD-Advanced Placement
  • ABA-Applied Behavior Analysis
  • ADA-Americans with Disabilities Act
  • BOE-Board of Education
  • DOE-Department of Education
  • ARD-Admission Review Dismissal
  • ASL-American Sign Language
  • CFR-Code of Federal Regulations
  • DSM-Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • EL-English Learner
  • ELL-English Language Learner
  • EDGAR- Education Department General Administrative Regulations
  • ERIC-Educational Resources Information Center
  • ESL-English as Second Language
  • FAPE-Free Appropriate Public Education
  • SD-School District
  • FPW-Fire Prevention Week
  • NFPA-National Fire Protection Association

Now, go write that winning grant proposal for the DOE supporting STEM, STEAM, LEAs, SDs, IHEs, and FAPE. Remember to follow the DSM, EDGAR, ESSA, IDEA, and CFR guidelines while celebrating FPW via the NFPA.  

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