Insight Grants

Why Isn’t Your District Applying for School Climate Transformation Grants for LEAs in 2014?

On 5/13/2014, we published a blog post about one of the US Department of Education’s new school safety grants: School Climate Transformation Grants for LEAs. Applicants can request up to $750,000 per year for up to five years for projects that, “develop, enhance, or expand systems of support for, and technical assistance to, schools implementing an evidence-based multi-tiered behavioral framework for improving behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for all students.” This is a terrific opportunity for Local Educational Agencies such as school districts, charter schools, and consortia of LEAs to obtain funding for programs and resources that support positive student behaviors, social and emotional development, and mental health for students!

If these are areas of need in your schools, here are the top 6 reasons you should apply to this program in 2014 rather than a future year:

  1. Student needs won’t be resolved without intervention! Every student deserves a safe, comfortable, equitable learning environment that is supportive of his/her success. Apply in 2014 because your students shouldn’t have to wait any longer for an improved school climate–and can’t afford to.
  2. Approximately 118 awards are expected in 2014! While 5-10 years ago it might not have been terribly uncommon to see a grant program make 100-200 awards, those days are pretty much gone. In recent years, programs making 50-80 awards are thought to be making a lot of awards since most programs make under 50 awards in a given year, and many make far under 50. Apply in 2014 because based on the anticipated number of awards alone, your odds of winning will be significantly better than for most current grant programs.
  3. If this grant is offered again next year, more likely than not ED will only be able to make about half as many awards (or fewer) unless substantially more funding is allocated. In other future years, the number of new awards may be even smaller. Since this is a five-year grant program, this year–the very first year of the program–is likely to be the year we see the most new grants funded for several years since ED will have to use a portion of the funds allocated each future year to fund the continuation awards in addition to any new awards. In some future years, ED will be funding multiple years of continuation awards. For example, in 2018, ED will be funding awardees in Year 2 (2017 winners), Year 3 (2016 winners), Year 4 (2015 winners), and Year 5 (2016 winners). Continuation awards are typically committed before any new awards are made, as is fair. Whatever money remains in the allocation is available for new awards. In some future years, there may only be enough remaining for a small number of new awards or none at all. Apply in 2014 because it is likely fewer new awards (if any) will be available each future year, as the program will be supporting significant numbers of continuation awards.
  4. Applications are due 6/23/2014! While that’s less than a month away, if you begin working this week and work very diligently until the deadline, you still have time to put together a strong application. This is especially true if you recently applied for the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grants due 4/28/2014 or a similarly-focused funding stream, since much of the need information is likely to be the same. You may be shying away from this application based on the fact that it’s due right as school is wrapping up for some districts and after school has closed for the summer for others. Here’s the thing: many schools are thinking that way, and June and July deadlines for US ED grants sometimes have few applicants for that reason! Apply in 2014 to seize the opportunity to be one of what is likely to be a relatively small pool (comparatively) of brave applicants who apply for a grant at the start of or during their summer breaks and capitalize on increased odds of winning as a result!
  5. This program is new this year! As programs age, they tend to evolve. While that is usually in many ways a really good thing, from an applicant/awardee standpoint, it often also means more rules and requirements during both the application and award periods. Apply in 2014 to take advantage of what are likely to be the least demanding application and award period reporting requirements!
  6. You can be one of the first! If you have an interest in serving as a leader for other schools in your county, region, state, or the nation, this grant offers you a great opportunity to do that in the area of behavioral health–one of the areas for which until now schools haven’t received much funding at all in recent years despite great need. Due to support by both the President and Congress, that’s about to change. 2014 will be the first year of award for this program, as well as for Project Aware (due 6/16/2014), Project Prevent (due 6/30/2014), and School Justice Collaboration Program: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court (due 7/21/2014). Apply in 2014 to this and/or any of the three other new school safety grants to be leader and a model for other schools in improving student behavior and mental health to improve student safety and achievement!

The Promise Zone Initiative

With several currently open US Department of Education Grants (Project Prevent, Full Service Community Schools, and School Climate Transformation for LEAs) offering Competitive Preference (bonus) points for coordinating with the Promise Zone if the applicant is serving students within the Promise Zone, we thought it would be helpful to outline some basics on this.

What is the Promise Zone Initiative? During the 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out an initiative to designate a number of high-poverty urban, rural and tribal communities as Promise Zones. In these Zones, the federal government will partner with and invest in communities to create jobs, leverage private investment, increase economic activity, expand educational opportunities, and improve public safety.

Where are the current Promise Zones? Philadelphia (PA), San Antonio (TX), Los Angeles (CA), Kentucky Highlands (KY), and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (OK).

Will additional Promise Zones be added in the future? There are currently plans for 15 more communities to be added in the next three years.

What are the grant implications for Promise Zones? As we are seeing with currently open grant opportunities, applicants serving persons in Promise Zones are given priority. Under the US Department of Education, this is playing out as Competitive Preference (bonus) points. Other grant programs are expected to offer bonus points or other methods for prioritizing applicants coordinating with Promise Zones.

Where can I get more information on Promise Zones? Visit the Promise Zones page at OneCPD Resource Exchange, and check out this fact sheet from

School Climate Transformation Grants for LEAs are Now Open!

Another new school safety grant has opened! The School Climate Transformation Grant for LEAs program provides competitive grants to local educational agencies to develop, enhance, or expand systems of support for, and technical assistance to, schools implementing an evidence-based multi-tiered behavioral framework for improving behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for all students.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) states that projects should: (1) build capacity for implementing a sustained, school-wide multi-tiered behavioral framework; (2) enhance capacity by providing training and technical assistance to schools; and (3) include an assurance that the applicant will work with a technical assistance provider, such as the PBIS Technical Assistance Center funded by the Department, to ensure that technical assistance related to implementing program activities is provided.

When is the Deadline?: Monday, June 23rd, 2014.

Who Can Apply?: Local educational agencies (LEAs), or consortia of LEAs. An LEA is a public school district or a charter school or cooperative education board designated as an LEA by state law.

Award Information: Range of awards are $100,000 to $750,000 per year for up to 5 years. Applicants may not request more than $750,000 in a single program year. This program does not require matching funds. 118 awards are expected to be made in 2014!

Where Can I Get Complete Details?: The application is available at the School Climate Transformation Grant page on

Other Important Information: There are TWO versions of this grant: one for SEAs (State Education Agencies) and one for LEAs! Both are due June 23rd. The information contained here is about the LEA version of the grant. If you are an LEA looking to apply for this school safety funding, be sure you are looking at the ED information on the LEA version of the grant and accessing the LEA RFP and application package!

Applicants who apply for this grant AND Project AWARE and coordinate with that effort and discuss the coordination in their applications can receive competitive preference (bonus) points. Applicants can also receive bonus points under the same Competitive Preference Priority by coordinating with other similar efforts in addition to or instead of Project AWARE. See the RFP for details!

Full Service Community Schools Grant Now Open!

Exciting news for elementary and secondary education schools: the Full Service Community Schools (FSCS) Grant is now open! This grant supports projects offering coordination of academic, social, and health services through partnerships between (1) public elementary and secondary schools; (2) the schools’ local educational agencies (LEAs); and (3) community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, and other public or private entities.

When is the Deadline?: Friday, June 20th, 2014

Who Can Apply?: An applicant must be a consortium consisting of an LEA and one or more community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, or other public or private entities.

Award Information: The estimated range for awards is $275,000 – $500,000 per year for up to five years. The applicant’s request amount for a single must not exceed $500,000. Applicants MUST provide a cash and/or inkind match and are encouraged to provide a minimum match of 20% from non-Federal sources. An estimated 10 awards will be made in 2014.

Where Can I Get Complete Details?: The Federal Register has thorough information on the grant, and the Full Service Community Schools page on is updated with 2014 information. 2014 Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the program’s FAQ page. Note that you will need to go to the Full Service Community Schools posting to obtain the full RFP. Once there, click on the “Application Package” tab toward the top of the page, then “Download” in the “Instructions and Applications” column around the middle of the page. Then sign up to receive program updates. Then click “1. Download Application Instruction” toward the bottom of the page.

Other Useful Information: The deadline for notice of intent to apply is May 21,2014, however submission of a Notice of Intent is optional–you can still apply if you don’t submit one. The department will hold a pre-application webinar for prospective applicants on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST.

Each applicant must include a Memorandum of Agreement that includes the roles, responsibilities, and signatures of all partners.

Use your time wisely: this is a lengthy, comprehensive application that cannot be completed well at that last minute. Start today!

If you are interested in grant writing or editing services for your project, please contact us. This will be a competitive program with a quickly approaching deadline, the sooner you get started the better!

New Grant Opportunity through SAMHSA: “Now is the Time” Project Aware

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is offering a grant titled “Now is the Time” Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education). The purpose of the program is to assist local educational agencies to begin to support the training of school personnel and other adults who interact with youth in both school settings and communities to detect and respond to mental illness in children and youth, including how to encourage adolescents and their families experiencing these problems to seek treatment.

When is the Deadline? Monday, June 16th, 2014

Who Can Apply? Local Education Agencies (LEAs) or consortia of LEAs: LEAs are public school districts and charter schools and/or cooperative education boards designated as LEAs by state law

Award Information: Up to 100 awards are expected to be made. Anticipated award amount is up to $50,000 per year, with a length of project of up to 2 years. There is no match required.

Other Useful Information: Applicants for this grant are also required to also apply for the Department of Educations’ School Climate Transformation Grant for LEAs due June 23rd, 2014. The RFP for that grant can be found at:

Where Can I Get More Information? Get complete program information and the application at the program page on

Need assistance with grant writing or editing for this project? Please contact us.

Useful Resource for Grant Seekers: Polar USA Funding & Grants Section

Polar Logo

This year we’ve been working with our long-term partner Polar USA to develop a very useful funding & grants section for grant seekers. If you are a physical educator looking for more information on grants in general, or anyone looking to implement a program with Polar products or services included, you will definitely benefit from this information. Even if you hadn’t thought about including Polar in a grant to this point, the site is worth a visit. The pages include an explanation of how to determine whether you are ready to begin applying for grants–and what to do if you aren’t ready yet, tips for applying for grants, information on Polar products and how they fit into grants and can support grant project success, current grant opportunities you can apply to, research reports of grants that span the full year and beyond, and other helpful content!

Insight is very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Polar to share our knowledge and experience to create and present this helpful section. We hope that physical educators and other grant seekers will utilize the information now and in the future. Over the years we’ve seen several grant resources offered by many different groups, but the biggest flaw we see is that the information usually isn’t presented in a way that really supports the reader taking the full necessary series of next steps to apply for a grant in a truly competitive manner. For this reason, the Insight team has made it our goal to generate content that is actionable–even for grant seekers who are entirely new to the process. Visit often, as more content will be added throughout the year!

For those unfamiliar with Polar products, Polar makes outstanding heart rate monitors, activity monitors, and activity and fitness assessment tracking and reporting software (including wireless, iPad, and handheld device-friendly options),  in addition to offering high-quality product-related trainings. Polar products give physical educators the ability to assess students individually, efficiently, objectively, and in real time. Polar products have been implemented in countless schools and have played a major role in the drastic improvement of students’ personal fitness levels and increased PE class engagement time and time again. Polar also offers products and services to support individuals, health clubs and gyms, athletes and athletic teams, first responders, worksite wellness programs, and others. To learn more about Polar, see their full line of products, read about successes through their “Showcase Schools” section, and find out how to connect with their sales team, visit To read about products and services specific to your organization type, click on “Group Solutions” and then select the appropriate category: Physical Education, Club Solutions, Team Sports, Corporate Wellness & Health Care Professionals, Protective Services, or Equipment Manufacturers.

Bang for Your Buck: What To Do When Professional Grant Writing Isn’t in the Budget

Professional grant writing can be costly, and while valuable, sometimes organizations simply don’t have enough money in the current budget to support the cost of professional consultants writing and submitting the full grant application. If you find your organization in that position but still feel strongly that you could use and benefit from some professional support, consider grant editing services. While not offered by all consultants, many do offer this or something similar, and Insight certainly offers and often advocates for clients to utilize our editing services!

Insight’s editing service requires applicants to write and submit all parts of the application themselves but also provides clear feedback on any documents the applicant wishes to send for review. While we certainly will do some basic proofreading along the way, this is NOT a proofreading service. Insight editing is aimed at helping the applicant identify exactly where and how the narrative (and other required documents if submitted at the same time) needs to be strengthened in order to stand the best chance of scoring highly and being strongly competitive. We provide specific notes both right in the document and as a summary in the accompanying email that detail what’s missing; what information should be moved or changed; where more detail is needed; and where the need justification, program design, management plan, and/or evaluation design feel weak. Clients can choose to receive a single round of editing or multiple rounds based on the amount of support they feel they need.

We’ve had terrific success with our editing clients, with the vast majority winning their grants, and our editing services come at a bargain rate. Typically, grant editing costs just 10-20% of what the cost would be for us to write the full grant application!

We LOVE writing grants, and we feel our work is super valuable and extremely competitive, but if your organization needs a more budget-friendly option or you have individuals in your organization who already have some grant experience or folks who want to learn to write grants and have the time, editing is a fabulous option for you to consider. If you’re interested in grant editing services, contact us.

Insight Grants