5 Effortless Ways to Fund Teacher Training
Guest blog by Dr. Paula Love, Founder of RFPMatch.com
Every day and everywhere technology surrounds our lives, including our classrooms. Educators seek to develop innovative ways to help teachers teach and help students learn using technology. Yet, a recent Gallup and NewSchools Venture Fund report indicates, “Insufficient training and cost are among the top reasons why teachers think that some may choose not to use digital learning tools” (Education Technology Use in Schools, September 12, 2019).
This report highlights a lost opportunity, as little disagreement exists that education technology use in schools is effective, but the lack of training and the fear of cost serve as the greater barriers to implementation. The good news – both exist and can work together to support teaching and learning. Funding is available, and the needed wisdom, expertise and tools often reside in every school district to secure it. And added value can be found among educational companies serving as integral partners for high-quality teacher training. By helping teachers make real change in the classroom through reimagined professional development and acquiring financial resources, we can ensure digital tools are integrated into almost any classroom setting. Let’s explore a barrier to making the transformation in classrooms: meeting the challenges of the costs for teacher training.
How many of you remember panicking for an upcoming test or the fear of preparing for a pending exam?
For many educators and district leaders, securing grants may evoke those same feelings of anxiety. There are thoughts of the amount of time to write; the necessary resources and partnerships to manage; and sometimes, associated costs of hiring grant writers. For a few minutes, let’s stop and think about the foundation behind grant writing. It is the belief in what you are proposing. So ditch the fear and know that your project IS worth the time, resources, and effort.
Here are five effortless considerations to enable you to secure the funds needed to support your teachers, administrators, and staff training efforts.
- Target Formula Funds. The majority of grants in a school district are formula or allocated funds. Some examples of federal formula grants are Title II, Title I, and IDEA. These grants offer a means to not only build your project but sustain it too. In addition, many states offer specific formula state funds. Scan all the options you have in your state for formula funds and understand how your teacher training efforts align with those funds. Consider how you can leverage, even small amounts of these funds, to accomplish the needs of transforming your educational training practices.
- Jump Start Ideas Through Competitive Funds. This is most often where anxiety sets in, but don’t allow it to paralyze you. Pick a grant with a deadline a few weeks out, preferably months. Get a cup of coffee and read through what is being asked. Send out requests for needed data or input and enjoy dreaming about what you want. A rushed grant is evident by the lack of true vision and uneven nature of the narrative. A “last second” written grant will also discourage future attempts. Consider a grant like a marathon, not a sprint.
- Seek Help Writing. Form a small core writing team to help. By doing so there will be greater ownership of your idea and greater buy-in when you win. This requires some leadership, facilitation skills, and understanding of group dynamics. Choose a lead writer and allow that person time to craft ideas. Skills learned in grant writing have tremendous benefits in building the internal capacity of your staff for quality program development. The key consideration is don’t go alone.
- Work with Educational Partners. Educational companies can be valuable sources of research to support your solution in teacher training. Look at white papers and other research they have to enhance your writing. Be mindful that most funders want evidence of success for the solution you propose. Decide on educational partners that offer programs with evidence of effectiveness.
- Ignite Your Passion for Helping Students Succeed. Remember what I said at the beginning. It is the belief in your project! It is the project that is what you need to focus on, not a single product but a solution that meets a need. And above all remember, securing funds is all about your students.
Approach the barrier of cost like you are preparing a presentation to convince. Ease into the process to overcome any obstacles you may encounter. Ultimately be fearless and know it is about using teacher training to make a difference in the learning outcomes of our students.
Dr. Paula Love, Founder of RFPMatch.com, is known as the Funding Doctor. RFPMatch.com provides funding insights to education solution providers through RFPMatchOnDemand.com and to educators and community leaders through GrantsAlert.com.