What is a Teacher Innovation Grant?
These grants are an investment in an innovative idea designed to address the goals of WCPSS Vision 2020 in a unique manner. WakeEd Partnership’s goal is that the innovative ideas produce results that demonstrate the merit of the innovation and, thus, may be expanded in other classrooms and schools across the county. The grant supports WakeEd’s goal to inform our community about evidence-based best practices occurring in Wake County Public School system.
Who may receive a Teacher Innovation Grant?
Grants are available to any and ONLY WCPSS educator with professional licensure. This includes classroom teachers, instructional support personnel at the school and district level, student services professionals, and more. School administrators may not directly apply for a grant. However, they may work with individuals and groups within their school to develop a proposal that is submitted by a member of the group on behalf of the school.
What is the amount of a grant for which a teacher may apply?
Grants range from less than $1000 to up to $7,500.
How much money is available for this program? Is there a maximum number of grants awarded annually?
The amount of funding available for each year varies based on the funds WakeEd Partnership receives from investors interested in this program. The average amount of funds for the past three years has been $50,000. This includes a one-to-one match of private funds with WCPSS funds supporting the program.
The number of grants awarded depends on the number of applications and the size of the amounts requested in each grant.
What is the timeline for this program?
Each new grant cycle begins in January of the year when the WCPSS Board of Education is informed about this program. February and March bring grant writing workshops throughout the county. The application itself is released during this time, too, generally in mid-February but no later than March 1. Applications are due in mid-May with notification of awards is related to calendars: June for year-round calendar/July for traditional and modified calendars. Funds are released to recipients before the start of the new school year.
How are recipients notified if they have received a grant?
All applicants are notified via email about their grant status.
Who reads/scores the grant applications?
All grants are scored blindly by 3 – 5 readers from the community. This includes retired educators, WakeEd investors, and community leaders. Applicants should not include any identifying information in their grants; this includes their name or the name of any other individuals working at their school/office, their school name, or mascots, etc. This insures fair scoring of all applications.
How many grants may I apply for in a grant season? My school?
You may apply for as many grants as you have innovative ideas for which you are seeking funding!
How to I get started? These steps may be helpful.
- Check our websites often for updates. All relevant application information, as well as workshop dates and additional resources, will be posted online as soon as they become available.
- Gather a group of teachers to discuss your innovative ideas.
- Discuss the project with your principal and get his/her support.
- Select two or three teachers to write the grant.
- Select one grant facilitator.
- Attend a grant writing workshop.
Where may I find the grant application?
The grant application is available at http://www.wakeed.org/programs/teacher-innovation-grants/.
It is part of an online grant application portal. You complete an application profile, develop the grant in a MS WORD form that is provided at this site.
How long is the grant?
The grant application has six major sections:
1. Project Abstract: maximum 50 words
2. Project Description: maximum 500 words
3. Project Innovation: maximum 300 words
4. Project Methodology: maximum 300 words
5. Project Impact: maximum 500 words
6. Project Budget and Narrative: 300 words
What is the best way to get started with a grant idea?
As these grants are “innovation” grants, ask yourself the question, “What would happen if…”
What would happen to student engagement if…
How would learning/teacher be different if…
What would I know about student learning/achievement if ….
What would be the level of parent support and engagement if….
The result of these kinds of questions is an innovative idea that can be supported by a grant.
Once I have my idea how do I develop the application?
Each section of the proposal has guidelines to help you develop your application:
- Section Header: This describes what needs to be included in this section of the application.
- Total Points for the Section: This helps you understand the weight/importance of this section of the grant. While all sections are important, really developing all aspects of the areas with the highest point value is critical. Point value for each part of the section helps
you determine how many characters/words should be used to answer that question.
- Character Limits: This helps you create a complete response. The average word length is 5 characters – 2500 characters is approximately 500 words, with count included for spaces and punctuation as well. When a section has multiple parts to it, you can use the point value and the overall character limit to determine how long each portion of the question’s response should be.
- Example: Project Description section is worth 30 points and allows no more than 2500 characters. There are 2 components to this section, each worth 15 points.
- Here is the math: 30 points divided by 2 components at 15 points = 2500 characters divided by 2 = 1250 characters allowed for each of the parts of the section.
- Rubric: This provides a target for your response as this is what the readers will use to score your grant. Look for key words and phrases that explain the differentiating factors in each score.
Project Title – This should be clever enough to entice your reader and still describe what the project is. Examples of some award-winning grant titles include
Lights! Camera! Action!
The PBL Adventure 2.0
Funding Amount Requested – This is the total amount of your grant. You provide details on the specific items and their costs in the Budget Section. The amount should match the number in the Budget Section as well.
Additional Funding Sources to Support Your Proposal – You may be developing a proposal that exceeds the funding limit of the WakeEd program. If this is the case, it is imperative that you have secured this funding PRIOR to your grant application. Teacher Innovation Grants should be complete unto themselves with additional funding adding another component.
Example: You are developing a community sensory garden as a schoolwide project. The WakeEd grant will provide you with the materials to get most of the items planted. Additional plant and tool resources may be funded through PTSA grants or other community grants. That said, the garden will still be launched with only the WakeEd funds.
Important Note: You DO NOT have to have other funding sources to be eligible for a Teacher Innovation Grant. This is not a “matching” funds program.
Grant Category – These categories come directly from WCPSS Vision 2020 Strategic Goal areas. Familiarize yourself with the objectives and strategies within each section before you develop a proposal.
Four C’s Alignment – These should be familiar to all WCPSS educators. Choose no more than two of these as strategies and areas of focus for your grant. Definitions for each are found on the WCPSS website.
Project Abstract – This is a 2-3 sentence description of the essentials of your proposal, including the who, what, how and the mission of your proposal.
Impact – Determine how many students and teachers will be impacted by your grant. Be sure to
think broadly. If you plan to share your project publicly, consider how students and teachers will be impacted by this process. If you plan to share your work with colleagues within a grade level,
department, or the entire school, calculate this reach into your numbers.
Note: Impact is not a component calculated into the project score. It is used for WakeEd to share with investors the scope of our impact in schools.
Project Description –This section is worth the largest number of points of the proposal. You will
provide in great detail what your innovative proposal is. You will want to balance your writing with
the two sections of the question to ensure maximum points. You will want to include the instructional standards you are addressing it the goal area you have in Learning and Teaching,
Achievement, or Balanced Assessment. You will also want to include the items that you will be using in this project as these foreshadow what can be expected in the budget for your grant.
Project Innovation – As these are “innovation” grants, you want to communicate the uniqueness of your idea. WakeEd seeks to invest “venture capital” in new ideas and strategies for achieving Vision 2020. You will want to demonstrate that your proposal represents a unique practice or approach to achieving the goal you have selected and developing the 4 C’s areas you are addressing.
Project Methodology – You must create a “unit plan” of your proposal. This includes all of the steps and the activities you will implement during your grant year. Remember to include the schedule for data collection and analysis as part of your timeline. Data collection should be at the forefront of your work, rather than as an afterthought.
Project Impact – Linking to your Grant Category, you will check the strategy(s) that you are
addressing in your grant. Remember that you will have to write and measure a SMART goal for each area you select. You will limit your choices to no more than two objectives within an area.
Once you have developed your SMART goal, you will need to outline the kind of data that you will collect to demonstrate the impact of your work on that goal. Data sources may include, but are not required to be standardized test scores. Data may include behavioral indicators, attendance, attitudinal changes, anecdotal indicators of success with highlighted themes, etc.
Project Budget and Narrative – List all of the items you will purchase with your grant. This includes stipends, substitute pay, field trip costs, etc. This should be comprehensive. You will not receive additional funding after the grant has been awarded if you discover you needed any additional materials. The budget narrative provides the rationale for each of the items you purchased. It should clearly communicate that you are not using the grant to “buy things for things’ sake,” but instead that you are changing practices, introducing new concepts and resources, etc. to achieve an outcome related to Vision 2020 that you are currently unable to achieve.