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 Tittle
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 Websites 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.
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 that will write and manage the grant. The
team should be made up of individuals who have expertise in curriculum,
technology, research, and evaluation as well as 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.
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% 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% Asian,
20% Hispanic, 34% Black, and 43% 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% 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 that are called continuous improvement plans.
The district will often set a goal to reach and the individual schools
will devise strategic action plans to meet those goals based on data
from state proficiency tests, subject area achievement tests, and
surveys from teachers and parents. In the grant, you should focus
on one or two goals.
District Goal: By 2013-14, all students will reach high standards,
at a minimum proficiency or better in mathematics. Strategy: Technology
That Impacts Teaching and Learning: Use technology to impact the
quality, content and structure of teaching and learning in a school
that is focused on results.
To meet these
needs, USA Elementary School’s
project will focus on two goals: Goal 1) Improve measurable student
in math and technological literacy by focusing on the weakest content
strands; estimation, number relations, and problem solving using
an online math enrichment software program and management system.
Goal 2) Improve teacher ability to integrate technology into the
curriculum through professional development that targets specific
curriculum and technology standards.
Capacity to Implement
Have your teachers participated in courses or workshops that would
enhance the project? Have you had any experience implementing initiatives
at your school? What technology resources do you currently have in
Our teachers are eager to enhance their knowledge in how to integrate
technology into the math curriculum. Nine teachers at USA Elementary
School have been involved in a math and science inquiry program at
the local Center of Science and Industry. All of our teachers, including
Gifted and Talented, Special Education, and other support staff have
participated in a variety of district sponsored workshops.
USA Elementary School has the basic technology infrastructure
to support the project. The school has a ratio of one computer for
every five students in the classroom, a high speed connection to
the Internet, a data projection system, productivity software,
for delivering multimedia content. Wireless laptops purchased through
the grant will allow more flexibility in our capacity to implement.
With the professional development, math content and wireless laptops
provided through this project, our teachers will have the ability
to move forward in offering students rich experiences with technology
integration into the math classroom.
What research supports your vision? Searching technology journals
such as Teaching and Learning with Technology and Websites such as
Regional Education Laboratories can yield a wealth of information
related to your plan.
Early adopters of online learning have found that information technologies
can serve to enhance six kinds of quality learning, distributive
learning, authentic tasks and complex inquiry, dialogic learning,
constructive learning, public accountability, and reflexive and critical
thinking. (Bass, 1998)
Well-designed web-based mathematical models engage students in exploration
of mathematical relationships and concepts. This example illustrates
the pedagogical directions outlined in the Principles and Standards
of School Mathematics document (NCTM, 2000). In the case of mathematics
teaching, there is evidence that mathematical objects, inherently
abstract, become more concrete when modeled onscreen (Lester, 2002,
How will you gain teacher buy-in to the project? Will you target
a small group of teachers or the entire staff? Who will provide professional
development and how often? What best practices can you model from
other schools that have implemented a similar project? Will teachers
be paid and receive graduate credit?
The professional development plan will be aligned with the Web-based
math curriculum and online learning management system for integrating
technology into the classroom. The plan includes on-site coaching,
instructor-led, just-in-time, and leadership sessions along with
web-based training and hands-on learning in curriculum design, integration,
best practice strategies, lesson planning, assessment reporting and
team meeting with USA Elementary School’s project
team will be held in August and an initial meeting with all target
teachers will be held in month September. From these initial meetings
a professional development schedule and training outline will be
developed that matches the teachers’ needs and project goals
and monthly school leadership team meetings will be scheduled.
The Instructional Technology Department will conduct the Leadership
Team session, computer laptop training, and facilitate USA Elementary
School’s monthly leadership team sessions and just-in-time
professional development to increase technology literacy. The XYZ
vendor will provide two days of training using the online math content
and management system. In addition, XYZ vendor will provide mentoring
and modeling for nine days throughout the school year.
The evaluation section is one of the most difficult to write. Goals
and indicators need to be identified that are realistically measurable.
If you have enough funding, use a professional evaluator for the
project. It is well worth the additional cost. Most teachers do not
have the time or perseverance that an evaluation requires.
Student achievement data for students will include measured change
in proficiency test and math achievement scores for students participating
in online math curricula. Achievement will also include data compiled
within content modules and ongoing assessments per grade level as
recorded by the online management system. This will include formative
and summative assessment data for all students.
Disaggregated student technological literacy will be measured against
current state standards through an initial formative skills assessment
and regularly monitored through skills inventory assessment designed
by the evaluator, both aligned to state standard benchmarks and indicators,
and will be compared with academic achievement results. The year-end
assessment will combine formative and summative inventory assessments
with student usage logs, teacher observation surveys, and student
surveys that include knowledge and attitudinal measures.
Evaluation tools will be developed to assess the impact of professional
development offered to teachers. Online management tools will track
the number of teachers participating in face-to-face and online professional
development for graduate credit. In addition, teachers will be surveyed
regarding their use of online content with students and their views
on its effectiveness.
be surveyed to assess their degree of involvement and satisfaction
with online communication as a new
connection with the
school and their child’s learning.
The budget narrative should accurately reflect the vision of the
proposal. Budgeted items should clearly align with the needs of the
USA Elementary School will allocate funds for the online math and
management subscription licenses, professional development, and computer
hardware. XYZ vendor will manage installation and support. They will
maintain hardware, manage data storage, perform software upgrades,
monitor system security, and provide 24/7 server support. The budget
reflects costs for on-site instructor-led training and coaching and
web-based training from XYZ vendor. Monies are requested to fund
a salaried position for a curriculum consultant to provide 9 days
of professional development support. Fees for evaluation services
from XYZ evaluation services are included. Evaluation services include
monthly on-site consultations, development, distribution, and collection
of assessment instruments and reports.
The timeline should also be realistic. If you include every detail,
grant readers might wonder how you will be able to accomplish all
of the tasks. In a table, list the date, action, and person(s) responsible.
||Leadership Team Meets
||Instructional Technology Department
of grant proposals may include Continuation, sustaining the grant
after funding has ended; and Partnerships such as businesses
or organizations that will share responsibilities in the project.
Here are a few tips for a winning grant. Be sure to read the Request
for Proposal thoroughly. Guidelines differ for each funding agency
or foundation. If a rubric is included, match your proposal to it
by using backward design. Have several people not associated with
the grant writing read your proposal for clarity and continuity.
Do not assume the reader knows specific software programs, vendors,
or other technical jargon for K-12 education. Meet the submission
deadline with all of the required elements. This may include a page
with the signature of the superintendent or a letter of support from
partner organizations. Allow enough time in advance to obtain these
items. The grant writing process may be the easiest part of the project.
When the grant is awarded much more work will need to be done to
accomplish your project goals. Managing a grant is time consuming.
However, the reward for you will be the gratitude of students and
parents when technology combined with curriculum make a difference
in student achievement.
Selected Resources for Technology Grant
grants clearinghouse and funding news. A subscription to their
twice-monthly email newsletter, Grants & Funding Alert
From Now On
Jamie Mckenzie’s site From Now On to find recent
research on educational technology that may be included in grant
Explore ideas for effective staff development and best practices
George Lucas Educational Foundation
Edutopia Online disseminates stories about innovative practices
in schools, including professional development, project-based learning,
and technology integration. They offer two free publications, Edutopia
Magazine and GLEF Blast eNewsletter.
Journal of Technology in Education
The Journal of Technology Education is sponsored by Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University and provides online issues of ejournals
dating from 1996-2003. Each issue contains practical and relevant
research articles for educators and librarians.
National Center for Technology Planning
This site is a
clearinghouse for articles about technology planning. Dr. Larry S.
Anderson who wrote a Guidebook for Developing an Effective Instructional
Technology Plan founded the NCTP in 1992. The book and other materials
may be ordered on the Website.
Regional Educational Laboratories
The Regional Educational Laboratory Program, administered by the Office
of Educational Research and Improvement, is currently researching ways
for transforming low-performing schools into high-performing learning
communities. One of their goals is to explore innovative ways that
current and emerging technologies can be used to address specific education
problems, particularly as they relate to disadvantaged and underserved
T.H.E. Journal Online
Subscribing to the three email newsletters will provide loads of information.
T.H.E. Focus offers an in-depth look at a specific area of educational
technology, Eduhound Weekly highlights great Websites, and T.H.E. Newsletter
provides news updates, including grants. On the Website you will find
articles about scientifically based research, professional development,
and new ways to use technology in the classroom.
U.S. Department of Education
Information regarding federal grants, professional development, and
improving student performance is found on this site. Lesson ideas and
teaching resources from federal agencies are provided for teachers
in all subject areas.