Get ready to go after college-and-career readiness grants

Funding opportunities come in the form of new grants that constantly emerge from public and private sources
By: | Issue: May, 2015
April 14, 2015

Gaps in high school graduation rates are narrowing. National Center for Education Statistics data shows that nearly every racial and ethnic subgroup has seen a growth in graduation rates.

President Barack Obama’s proposed FY16 budget invests in programs that have improved student outcomes. Some highlights that will provide more funds for college-and-career readiness include:

Title I increase of $1 billion. Another $100 million is proposed to support districts using their federal formula funds for evidence-based interventions. Under a pilot that’s part of this initiative, districts that distribute funds to schools more equitably may receive relief from federal reporting and fiscal requirements.

And proposals for increasing programs help other students who face academic hurdles meet rigorous academic standards, including $11.7 billion for special education and $773 million for English learners.

Support for teachers. $3 billion in discretionary funding will provide broad support for educators at every phase of their careers. This investment includes $200 million in grants focused on training educators to take advantage of expanded access to technology in class.

The budget also calls for a companion initiativeÑ$1 billion annually for five yearsÑthat will support state and local efforts to attract more teachers, and provide professional development throughout their careers.

Improving high schools. The budget establishes a new $125 million competitive program to promote the redesign of America’s high schools by integrating deeper learning and student-centered instruction.

Grants will focus particularly on STEM-themed high schools that expand opportunities for girls and other groups underrepresented in STEM fields. An additional $556 million in School Improvement Grants will expand the use of evidence-based approaches to turning around the nation’s lowest-performing schools.

Replicating charter models. The budget proposes $375 million for charter schools, a $122 million increase over the 2015 enacted level. This investment includes a significant emphasis on replicating and expanding charter-school models that have been shown to significantly improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged students.

Fostering innovation. The Investing in Innovation program is funded at a proposed $300 million, $180 million more than the 2015 enacted level.

The program will develop and test effective practices, and will provide better information to state education department officials and district leaders on what works in key areas such as implementing college-and-career readiness standards.

Opportunities for native youth. The budget supports a comprehensive redesign and reform of the Bureau of Indian Education to provide world-class educations to students attending schools funded by the agency. The budget also includes funding for community projects that better prepare native children and youth for college and careers.

Getting grant ready

Opportunities to expand college and career readiness come in the form of new grants that constantly emerge from public and private sources. Let’s explore some questions that will prepare you to be grant-ready.

If your school or district has seen a rise in graduation rates, how do you intend to sustain your results?
If your school or district did not see a rise in graduation rates, have you researched new evidence-based strategies or approaches?
Are there lessons you can learn from the districts/schools that have made improvements?
How is your school or district working with local elected officials on college-and- career readiness outcomes?
What investments have you made that have produced positive outcomes with respect to graduation rates, and how are you measuring their effectiveness?

There are lots of grants out there to continue the progressÑmake sure your district is ready to go after them. Start receiving the School Funding Report now.

Paula Love, the “Funding Doctor,” brings decades of experience to developing grant strategies for state and local educational agencies, schools and institutions.