Category Archives: goals

Step 7: Beating the Grants Deadline

Over the last few months, we have discussed the seven steps needed to find, research, and write successful grant applications.  As a reminder, the steps include:

  1. Finding a problem in your school that needs correcting,
  2. Developing a solution to the problem,
  3. Finding a grant that fits your situation,
  4. Confirming that you are eligible for that grant,
  5. Gathering the application and all the data you will need to complete your grant application,
  6. Actually completing the application, and
  7. Getting your application to the grantor by the grant’s deadline

The last one, getting your application to the grantor on deadline, is critical. I have seen beautiful grant application packages thrown out because they didn’t arrive on time. Months of hard work go out the window. With many foundations and federal grants, there is only one opportunity in a year to apply. Those applicants now must wait a year to try again. If it’s due by 5:00 Eastern Standard Time on Friday, they mean it. No exceptions, no excuses. Be sure you review how the application must be submitted—electronically or in the mail? Federal grants have always had a secure portal for applications. It has always been (in my experience) a tortuous experience; give yourself plenty of time to learn how to use the digital application process. You will get frustrated; take a deep breath, you’ll get there.

But it’s like many things with grants, the devil is in the details. By now, if you’ve followed through the first 6 steps, this one will be so ingrained in your thinking that it will be no problem. Right?

With the potential for emergencies in mind, you should always set a deadline for completing your grant application a minimum of one week before it is due. Even a week will not guarantee that a mailed application will arrive on time. You also need to be absolutely certain whether the deadline the grantor established refers to the postmark on the application or the date when the application must reach the grantor’s office. If you do not know that information, call or email the grant’s contact person to make certain. If the U.S. Postal Service is the conduit, be sure to send things certified mail, return receipt. The extra cost will be well worth the peace of mind.

For tracking your grant writing projects, you might want to buy a big wall easel to capture all your brainstorming, thinking webs, dates etc., They have them at Discount School Supply®.  Check out the Colorations® Wall Easel.

The first grant application you write is always the most difficult. Eventually you will be so good at it that the steps are automatic. But when you become good at this, you will be a hero, and that’s obviously a good thing!

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Setting Goals for the New School Year

Goal setting is an important part of education. Without goals we meander around wasting a lot of time. We’re in a boat without a paddle. We’re on vacation without a map. You get the picture. Goals are important.

In your school or classroom, you are not likely to make the progress you should unless you set good, attainable goals. Using assessment data from the end of last year or the first of this year, you should determine exactly where your students are and then determine just how far you can take them by the beginning of June, 2012.

It might also be worth your while to set some goals for individual students as well. Although most school and classroom goals are set based on average gains, it is important to remember that when students get out of school, it’s not what the group learned on average that’s important, it’s what each individual student is able to accomplish.

Not too many weeks after you set your goals, you should be able to determine whether you have the time and resources to reach your goals by the end of the school year. Often teachers and principals decide they need extra resources in the form of grant money in order to meet their goals. If you don’t set goals, it is harder to track progress. By the time you determine you’re not making enough progress, it might be too late to apply for grant money.

Which of your programs require goals to be set? All of them. It doesn’t matter if you’re teaching reading, social studies, music or PE. Every program should have set goals. Students who are not on a pace to reach your goals should get extra time and attention. If you aren’t able to give these students the time and attention they need to meet your goals, then that may be the reason for applying for grant money or forming partnerships with local businesses. Businesses often want to supply volunteers as well as giving money to a local effort.

With most districts throughout the country having to cut school budgets this year, it is important that you set goals in your classroom or school. Start working toward those goals immediately. If it appears you will not be able to reach your goals with the limited resources you are given, take aggressive action by applying for grants and forming business partnerships within your community.

You don’t just set goals on New Year’s Day. For educators New Year’s Day comes a second time in August or September. Your students are depending on you to set worthwhile goals for them to achieve and then to make every effort to see that each and every one of them is successful.