Insight Grants

New Content on Polar USA: Summer Plans For School-Year Success With Grants!

Our friends over at Polar USA just published our Summer Plans for School-Year Success With Grants! article. We think it is worth a read for all schools. Whether you are planning to apply for a grant in 2014/15 or are just thinking about grant opportunities, you will find some helpful tips on how you can get a head start this summer.

See the article here.

Innovative Approaches to Literacy grants are open–and due SOON!

The US Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant program is currently open! This is a great opportunity for high-poverty schools to work with their school libraries to apply for 2-year literacy improvement projects. This grant has a super short application period, though. Applications became available 6/18/2014 and are due 7/17/2014, so act NOW if your organization is eligible and you want to apply!

Innovative Approaches to Literacy

What kinds of projects are funded? The IAL program supports high-quality programs designed to develop and improve literacy skills for children and students from birth through 12th grade in high-need local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools. ED intends to support innovative programs that promote early literacy for young children, motivate older children to read, and increase student achievement by using school libraries as partners to improve literacy, distributing free books to children and their families, and offering high-quality literacy activities.

ED expects to award no less than 50 percent of FY 2014 funds to applications from LEAs (on behalf of school libraries) for high-quality school library projects that increase access to a wide range of literacy resources (either print or electronic) and provide learning opportunities to all students.

Proposed projects under the IAL program, based on those plans, may include, among other things, activities that—

  1. Increase access to a wide range of literacy resources (either print or electronic) that prepare young children to read, and provide learning opportunities to all participating students;
  2. Provide high-quality childhood literacy activities with meaningful opportunities for parental engagement, including encouraging parents to read books often with their children in their early years of life and school, and teaching parents how to use literacy resources effectively;
  3. Strengthen literacy development across academic content areas by providing a wide range of literacy resources spanning a range of both complexity and content (including both literature and informational text) to effectively support reading and writing;
  4. Offer appropriate educational interventions for all readers with support from school libraries or national not-for-profit organizations;
  5. Foster collaboration and joint professional development opportunities for teachers, school leaders, and school library personnel with a focus on using literacy resources effectively to support reading and writing and academic achievement. For example, an approach to professional development within the IAL program might be collaboration between library and school personnel to plan subject-specific pedagogy that is differentiated based on each student’s developmental level and is supported by universal design for learning, technology, and other educational strategies; and
  6. Provide resources to support literacy-rich academic and enrichment activities and services aligned with State college- and career-ready standards and the comprehensive statewide literacy plan.

Who can apply? An applicant must be one of the following:

  1. a high-need Local Educational Agency (defined as an LEA with 25% of the students aged 5-17 in the LEA from families with incomes below the federal poverty line)
  2. an National not-for-profit (NNP) that serves children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need LEAs;
  3. a consortium of NNPs that serves children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need LEAs;
  4. a consortium of high-need LEAs; or
  5. a consortium of one or more high-need LEAs and one or more NNPs that serve children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need LEAs.

To be considered for an award under this competition, an applicant must coordinate with school libraries in developing project proposals.

What is the award size? There are two different award size categories defined by applicant type.

Estimated Range of Awards to LEAs and Consortia of LEAs$150,000 to $750,000. The anticipated average award for LEAs and Consortia of LEAs is $500,000. Approximately 30 new awards to LEAs and Consortia of LEAs are expected.

Estimated Range of Awards to NNPs, Consortia of NNPs, and Consortia of NNPs and LEAs:  $3,000,000 to $14,000,000. The estimated average award size is for NNPs, Consortia of NNPs, and Consortia of NNPs and LEAs is $4,500,000. Approximately 1-4 new awards are anticipated in 2014 for NNPs, Consortia of NNPs, and Consortia of NNPs and LEAs.

$24,341,646 is available in total for new awards in 2014.

When is it due? 7/17/2014 (Thursday)


Where can I find out more? Visit the official program Applicant page

Upcoming applicant Technical Assistance Question and Answer calls will be held 6/25/2014 and 7/1/2014. Click below to register!

A program webinar with a question and answer period took place on June 18, 2014. You can download a recording here.  

Featured Grant Opportunity: School Justice Collaboration Program: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court

The Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention is offering a federal grant opportunity, titled School Justice Collaboration Program: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court. The OJDDP is partnering with the Department of Education and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for this program.

The goal of the program is to enhance collaboration and coordination among schools, mental and behavioral health specialists, law enforcement, and juvenile justice officials at the local level to ensure adults have the support, training, and a shared framework to help students succeed in school and prevent negative outcomes for youth and communities.

Further Information on eligibility from

This initiative includes two categories, and the eligibility differs for each:

• Category 1: Local School Justice Collaboration Program. Applicants are limited to local juvenile and family courts (including rural and tribal juvenile and family courts) that can verify that they have a partnership—with a local education agency (LEA) that has applied to the Department of Education’s School Climate Transformation Grants-LEA (SCTG) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Now Is the Time Project AWARE–LEA programs. Additionally, applicants must partner with local law enforcement (via subgrants) as part of their collaborative effort. To meet these eligibility criteria, applicants must provide a letter of commitment or agreement, as described in the RFP, and the tracking numbers for the SCTG and Project AWARE grant programs applications. Awards under this category may be made only to juvenile and family courts in communities that have been awarded Department of Education School Climate Transformation Grants. A factor that will be considered in selection is whether an application also provides a plan to collaborate with the LEA on SAMHSA’s Now Is The Time Project AWARE-LEA program.

• Category 2: School Justice Collaboration Program National Training and Technical Assistance. Applicants are limited to nonprofit and for-profit organizations (including tribal nonprofit and for-profit organizations) and institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education). For-profit organizations must agree to forgo any profit or management fee.

When is the Deadline? July 21st, 2014.

Where Can I Get More Information? Visit the grant program page at

Insight Grants