Grants Designed to Make School Leaders’ Great Ideas Reality

Individual Schools Grants support the great ideas of school leaders in the Kansas City area, awarding $3.2 million to 14 district, charter and private schools since summer 2015. Read the quick Q&A below for information on eligibility and the application process, and submit your application by Feb. 1, 2017, to be considered.

Why was the Individual Schools Grants program created?
I believe school-level leaders—those who are IN the schools every single day and know their schools and students best—are best positioned to provide solutions that can positively improve student outcomes. These grants can aid leaders' efforts to enhance existing programs, innovate, or explore entirely new approaches to student success.

Who can apply?
School-level leaders should be the lead on applying for an Individual Schools Grant, though the grant activities may be in collaboration with other partners (district leadership, nonprofit partners, consultants, etc.). District, charter or private schools in the six-county Kansas City Metro area, serving at least 40 percent students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch and demonstrating promising academic results are eligible. More details around eligibility can be found here.

What does it actually mean that schools can apply to enhance, innovate, or explore? What are some examples of previously funded projects?
A wide range of projects have been funded, from expansion of the New Americans program at a district elementary school, to building capacity to improve college counseling at a charter school, to supporting literacy professional development efforts at a private school serving low-income students.

What should I not apply for?
Funding will not be given for facilities or capital expenses, and schools should not apply exclusively for “replacement” funding (requesting funding to replace lost district/state/federal funding). Also, please consider what is needed beyond physical items for there to be a true impact on student learning. For example, technology is a wonderful tool, but we know that technology itself doesn’t lead to learning. Projects should be presented with an integrated approach; consider what else would be needed to ensure the technology (for example) is utilized well.

What should I anticipate with the Individual Schools Grants application process?
In the initial application, school leaders should provide an overview of the project, why it is important, and how it will be successfully implemented. The initial application should also present a compelling case as to why the approach is thought to be effective (e.g. research that supports the approach, prior experience leading to results, etc.). After review by a committee panel, selected applicants will be invited to complete a full application.

The full application provides the opportunity to describe a proposal in more detail. In addition, school leaders will have the chance to meet with me to discuss feedback from the initial application and ask questions. Full applications are once again reviewed by a committee panel before funding decisions are made. There is no pre-determined number of grants to be awarded each grant cycle. Funding is determined based the merit of the application and available funding.

I still have questions. Who can I ask?
Please RSVP here to attend one of two information sessions on Jan. 5. Also, feel free to reach out to me via email. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.


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Amy Gale

Amy Gale is a program officer in Education for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she manages projects around quality schools and human capital initiatives and identifies, researches, and builds relationships around emerging education-related projects.