Get Your Facts Straight

Don't be caught unprepared when your grant application calls for data. Successful grant applications use data to build a solid case for why a proposal should be funded. There is no scarcity of data in most of today's school districts thanks to increasingly sophisticated management systems; yet educators often end up
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

Don't be caught unprepared when your grant application calls for data.

Successful grant applications use data to build a solid case for why a proposal should be funded. There is no scarcity of data in most of today's school districts thanks to increasingly sophisticated management systems; yet educators often end up scrambling to collect data that should be readily available. Creating a data library is an effective way to prevent this frantic dash for information.

Identify commonly required data elements. Individual grant programs will have some very specific data requirements; however, there are certain data elements that are almost always requested. That data includes student and community demographics (ethnicity, primary language, participation in special education programs, parent education levels); attendance records; discipline rates; student achievement indicators (standardized test scores, grade point averages, graduation rates); staffing levels; equipment inventories; and titles for adopted curricula.

Collect and organize the data. Chances are the data you need is available but probably not in one place. Create a master chart that lists the common data elements you will gather. Next, collect and organize the information. Paper documents can be labeled and placed in a central location, and electronic files may be saved in one clearly named folder on a conveniently located computer. Add notations to the master chart identifying where the information is and in what format. If a special report needs to be generated through the student information or data management system, identify the name of the report and who can generate it. As updated data becomes available, add it to the library.

Keep staff informed. Building and maintaining a data library is not a one-person job. Plan to engage staff from the beginning to identify common data elements and collect current information. Once the library is established, distribute copies of the master chart to teachers, program specialists, and other staff, and ask for their assistance in keeping the information up-to-date.

A data library comes in handy for more than just grant proposals. Program evaluations, reports, and plans all require this same information. Save yourself time and energy by getting started on your data library today.

Susan Brooks-Young is an educational consultant and writer.

Featured

Related

Show Your Work

Often, the weakest link in a grant proposal is evaluation. Until recently, evaluation was usually an afterthought. But increasingly limited funds and a growing concern about accountability have led most grantors to expect a thorough account of how the programs they fund will be implemented and an evaluation of the

Count Your Pennies

There's no room for guesswork in grant writing. Less experienced grant writers often use the "by guess or by golly" approach to developing the budget for a proposal, allocating the total amount of money available across spending categories using best guesses. The thinking behind this strategy is that the grant

Online Professional Development: Get the Facts

from Technology & Learning Is Web-based training for improving instruction the right fit for your district? No Child Left Behind's call for teachers to be "highly qualified" in their subject area, coupled with an increasing variety of online courses on how to teach subjects such as reading, math, and

Get Your Ducks in a Row

from Technology & Learning Key factors to keep in mind when building your technology plan. Fall is just around the corner. You have great new ideas for your programs, but most of your budget is already committed. So where are the incremental dollars and how do you and your team go for

Myths and Facts of Learning Technology

What is Learning Technology? Learning Technology, Educational Technology, Instructional Technology, E-Learning, Computer Assisted Learning (CAL), Computer Based Training (CBT). One or more of these closely related terms seems to occur in almost every discussion on education and learning these days. But what do they

Moving to the Cloud: Myths and Facts

“There are not many new ideas when it comes to technology. Instead, there’s a lot of rebranding,” says Thuan Nguyen, assistant superintendent and chief digital strategy officer for the Kent (WA) School District.