Finding the money for SEL

Effective social emotional learning (SEL) requires a thorough understanding of the student population’s needs, training to integrate SEL into everyday lessons, and the instructional resources. Although educators and education advocates acknowledge the importance of SEL, the funding has lagged behind. In the edWebinar, “Funding Social Emotional Learning: Where’s the Money?,” Dr. Rita Oates, president of Oates Associates, explained that money can be found for SEL, but teachers need to be ready to tackle the world of grants. While employing a professional grant writer can be advantageous, Oates offered advice for those who will be overseeing the process or who plan to go after the funding themselves.

First, she said that grant writing is like writing a piece of fiction—teachers are being asked to talk about their vision of the future. They should familiarize themselves with the different tenets of SEL and projects that have already worked. One potential resource is Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), which features definitions of SEL, research, and best practices. Research on SEL is especially helpful as grant applicants will need to prove the efficacy of their approach. In addition, educators should assess the social-emotional needs of their target kids. Having an assessment will validate requests to potential funders.

After educators have assembled the background information, they need to look at the variety of funding options. There are several opportunities available from the federal government, such as IDEA (special education); Title I, Part A (the largest single grant through the federal government to school districts); and Title II, Part A (supporting effective instruction). Most of the federal funds are awarded to local education agencies and require a concentrated effort from constituents across the school district.…Read More

Six lessons learned as a grant reviewer

When I review a proposal and I can see that the applicant has done a literature review of studies, says Ward.

I recently received an eMail message from an individual who attended a workshop I led on grant writing in February. During my workshops, I often encourage attendees to serve as reviewers if they plan to write grants on a regular basis. This person eMailed me to say that she had been accepted to be a reviewer for her local United Way and that she was excited at the prospect.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to serve as a reviewer for several grant competitions at the local, state, and federal level. Each time I complete my assignment as a reviewer, I find that I have learned more information that makes me a better grant writer. Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned from serving as a reviewer:

(1) Reviewing grants helps you express projects in more clear, concise language. …Read More

Ten grant-writing resolutions for the new year

Follow these 10 resolutions for 2011, and you'll find more grant-writing success.

As one year ends and another begins, I always think it’s a good idea to go back and review the basics of grant writing and develop some resolutions around them.

Through the course of the year, as deadlines pile up and grant writing reaches a fever pitch at times, don’t forget to sit back, relax, and remember these resolutions—and you’ll be sure to find more grant-writing success. (I promise, none of them have anything to do with losing weight or exercising!)

1. Resolve to read at least one book about grant writing this year.…Read More