Friday, January 28, 2005

The Improving Literacy through School Libraries Program of "No Child Left Behind": Tips for Writing a Winning Grant Proposal

The Improving Literacy through School Libraries Program of "No Child Left Behind": Tips for Writing a Winning Grant Proposal. As President Bush was re-elected, that means K-12 schools in the USA will have to continue to deal with the No Child Left Behind Act. This can create some opportunitites. This article has tips for how school librarians can successfully get federal money by writing grants.

From the site:

For the past two years, the U.S. Department of Education has awarded over 150 grants between $20,000 and $350,000 to high-need school library programs to improve reading achievement by providing students with increased access to school library materials, to technologically advanced school libraries, and to certified school librarians. The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (LSL) program (www.ed.gov/programs/lsl/index.html) is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind (www.ed.gov/legislation/ESEA02/pg7.html). Since this funding is highly competitive, very targeted, and focused on schools that often do not have access to grantwriting assistance, this ERIC Digest will help eligible high-need school library personnel to write an effective proposal for this unique grant program.

The LSL program restricts eligibility based on institutional and socioeconomic status. The applicant must be a local educational agency (LEA), as defined in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. School districts are the most familiar form of LEAs. Some charter schools in some states are also considered LEAs. Individual schools and private schools are not eligible to apply for a grant or to receive services through an eligible LEA for this program. Eligible LEAs are those in which at least 20 percent of the students served are from families with incomes below the poverty line. This criterion is very strictly enforced. The LSL section of U.S. Department of Education includes a listing of eligible districts (www.ed.gov/programs/lsl/eligibility.html). Proposals are reviewed annually. LSL application materials (visit www.ed.gov/programs/lsl/resources/html for guidebook) are released in February or March; awards are made in August. While any education stakeholder can submit an Improving Literacy Through School Libraries application as long as it is signed by the district superintendent, the processbenefits from intense collaboration among school librarians, grant writers, teachers, and administrators. Applications not borne of an integrated approach to the proposed work often reflect fragmented ideas and unclear implementation plans. Applications must include an abstract, program narrative, budget narrative, and resumes for key personnel. The focus of the peer review process is primarily on the program narrative, but since both the peer reviewers and LSL Program personnel see the entire application package, it is essential that all documents be completed accurately and attentively.

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