The #1 Curriculum and Assessment Partner for Educators

[Educator Network] Finding the Educators Voice: Grant Writing and RFPs

[Educator Network] Finding the Educators Voice: Grant Writing and RFPs

When I was fourteen, I spent the summer working for a non-profit preparing for their federal grant submission. I filled in forms on a typewriter, made survey phone calls, and did a ton of 3-hole punching. My first introduction to grant writing was lots of data gathering, binders, and label making; and though those are an important part of the process, the purpose of the grant was something much greater and more complex. From the hands-on experience those early days collating and stapling provided, I was able to quickly embrace grant writing, request for proposals (RFPs) and other technical writing without fear or distaste. Since those early days I have worked on these types of documents from the role of writer, collaborator, implementor, and vendor. My greatest lesson across all of these is to show your work and save frequently.

Grants and RFPs are the ultimate culmination of the classic high school English persuasive essay, whereby demonstrating evidence to argue your point convinces others to your belief. Educator can use a grant application or RFP as a means have a voice toward achieving their individual and district goals.

Here are some ideas to be more involved in the grant or RFP process at your district:

  • Know who the grant writer(s) or RFP coordinators are in your district and any upcoming projects they are working on
  • Join a LinkedIn group for grant writing or educator grants
  • Get on an email list for any smaller grant projects like Grants for Teachers or Grant Watch
  • Let your department heads know that you would like to be part of the RFP review team (helping to evaluate the vendor/service) and if the project directly affects your role ask if you can contribute

As the Proposal Solutions Consultant at Edmentum, I use my fluency with our solutions and the RFP/Grant writing process to help address the questions your districts pose on an RFP. It is very powerful to read an RFP where the teacher and administrators who anticipate using the solution have had input. They paint a picture of what they want to achieve and the systems and processes they want to see. They do not limit themselves to functionality but share their vision for the solution they want to see enacted. I am excited to read those RFPs because the detail of their questions and requirements are evidence of the input of educators. Significant educator involvement leads to a more effective choice and implementation of a long-term solution.

Here are two examples for you to reflect upon teacher input and involvement:

The district is seeking products and services to enhance our core instruction of Math, Science, English Language Arts (ELA) and Writing, and could be used for instructional interventions.

Example 1

  • Online Resource that provides student practice/instruction for identified groups of core standards and skills
  • Online repository for digital Math/Science/ELA/Writing content that can be used to enhance classroom instruction
  • Diagnostic assessments that pinpoint student remediation needs and provide instructional pathways to address identified needs
  • Platforms/structures that enable teachers to tailor assignments to student needs, provide feedback, and track student/class/grade level progress


Example 2

  • Serve students in grades 6—12 and be developmentally appropriate
  • Be designed to be administered online a minimum of three times/school year
  • Provide achievement and progress monitoring data; ability to break down data into domain-specific and overall
  • Provide teachers with actionable data
  • Determine students on-grade level proficiency based on state and national standards
  • Identify students in need of intervention and support

Grant writing can be intimidating, but the rewards are worth it! Give these tips a try to help take the stress out of the grant writing process and get the funding you need to bring your outstanding classroom ideas to life. And don’t forget to check out the Funding tag on the Edmentum blog for helpful tips, grant ideas, and more!