Finding Grant Funding for Your Classroom
Learn how to supplement Department of Education budgets to enhance student learning.
With a clearly defined classroom need, an airtight proposal, and perseverance, teachers are well-equipped to secure grant funding for their classrooms.
That’s the message from Heidi Marie Rock in “The Money is Out There,” a step-by-step guide to navigating the world of federal, state, foundation, and corporate grants. The article, published in Reading Today, is required reading in New and Emerging Technologies, a Walden University course for students in the MS in Education (MSEd) online degree program.
Students in this online master’s in education course consider the future of teaching and learning, discover promising trends in technology, and investigate opportunities to become leaders. They consider how to address school-wide challenges, such as limited resources, and they explore teaching strategies and skills, including grant writing. Rock’s article is a useful guide for any teaching toolkit. Read along with Walden MSEd candidates to learn more:1
Teachers often think about writing grant proposals to supplement classroom supplies and materials, and while writing proposals takes time, the rewards can make a critical difference in your classroom. The looming question, however, is how to get started.
There are five basic steps when applying for grants:
1. Confirm Procedures
The first step is to confirm with your principal your understanding of your school’s grant writing procedures. It would be a waste to write your proposal only to find it cannot be submitted because of a procedural technicality.
2. Identify the Need
Identifying the need is, arguably, the hardest step. A need is not, “We need computers.” Most schools need computers. Funding agencies want to know their contribution can make a significant difference in the lives of your students. The need is deeper. For example, what is it about computers in your classroom or school that will meet an educational need? Think about it. Why do your students need to know how to use a computer? How will they benefit? Think beyond the current school year and educational climate. How do the demographics of your school contribute to this need? Consider telling a story. Is there an anecdote that exemplifies your need? Write an engaging story that tugs at the heartstrings.
3. Find Grant Funding Sources
There are a variety of funding sources, including federal, state, foundation, corporate, and even crowdfunding. A generic internet search is one way to start; however, the results can be overwhelming. For example, “technology grants for schoolteachers” yields millions of results. A more focused approach might start with searches through grant databases. The School Funding Center’s database of funding agencies contains every federal, state, foundation, and corporate grant available for schools. Crowdfunding is a newer approach to getting funding. You put your needs on a website and contributions are solicited from followers. Donors Choose is a crowdfunding site specific to teachers.
4. Apply for the Grant
So, you’ve identified your technology need and the potential funder. Now what? Write the proposal. Funders typically provide specific application guidelines. Most proposals have six components. If you think in terms of these components, you will be prepared for most requirements. They are:
1. Statement of Need
The Statement of Need is where you narrate the need from step 2 above. Assume the people who are going to read your proposal know nothing about your school. Be specific about the demographics. Make sure you present the need as something that can be solved through your project activities.
2. Goals and Objective
Just like your lesson plans, the goal is a general statement about the project, and the objectives are measurable outcomes. A goal might be to increase your students’ access to end user devices (iPads, Chromebooks). The objective might be that students in grades 3–5 will increase their use of end user devices by three hours per week. As with lesson planning, you need to be specific about the goals and objectives. Funders are expecting you to really do what you say you are going to do.
3. Project Activities
The goals and objectives describe what you are going to do. The project activities describe how you are going to do it. Are you planning on having tablet carts available for teachers to sign out? Will computers be available in the classrooms? Does each grade-level team share devices? The activities should include a timeline. How soon after the award will you purchase your technology? How long will it take district IT staff to get the technology ready for use in your school? Who is going to manage the technology in your school?
4. Evaluation Plan
You will need to demonstrate that you have met your goal. The evaluation doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need to be aligned to the Statement of Need and the Goals and Objectives. The evaluation plan might include comparing student sign-in logs from last year to this year to demonstrate an increased use of end user devices.
5. Organizational Information
You will need to provide a history of your school, major accomplishments, qualifications of the people implementing the project, and other general information. This is where you sell the school’s capacity to complete the project.
Most proposals require you to submit documents which almost always include a project budget. Read the guidelines carefully and include everything the funder tells you to include. Before you send in your proposal, ask others to read it. It is especially helpful to ask someone not familiar with the project to proofread it. Make sure you send in your proposal by the deadline and in the manner indicated. It’s an easy step but, if not followed carefully, it could land your proposal in the “Rejected” pile.
5. Manage the Award
Congratulations! Your proposal was funded—but you aren’t finished yet. You will need to document how you spent the money and submit at least one report to the funder. If you ever hope to get money from that funder again, follow the reporting guidelines exactly.
Earn Your Master’s in Education Online
Walden designs its online teaching degrees for working professionals like you, who are eager to refresh and deepen their knowledge. When you earn an MSEd degree from Walden, No. 1 in MS in Education graduates in the U.S.,2 you’ll learn valuable techniques and teaching strategies that you can start using immediately in your classroom.
The accredited university’s graduate program for teachers gives you the opportunity to align your career goals with your education degree. Choose Walden’s self-designed MSEd option, or one of more than a dozen other specializations. Walden also offers a flexible path to earning your master’s in education online. Depending on the specialization, you may have the choice of a traditional 20-month track, the highly flexible One-Credit track, or an accelerated 12-month track. (Time to completion varies by student.) No matter which completion track or specialization you select, you’ll decide when and where you log on and engage in your studies.
Make Walden, the Educator of EducatorsTM, your online learning partner, and begin adding value to your classroom and to your career.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Education (MSEd) degree program online with multiple specializations. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
2Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Collected using Burning Glass Technologies. Retrieved February 2020, using CIP code 13.01 (Education, General). Includes 2017–18 provisional data.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.