Grant Opportunities

Grant Opportunities for Professional Development School Work
The original intent for the Professional Development Schools (PDS) movement was for the programs to be self-sustaining with strong partnerships between universities and k-12 school systems. Given the expense of having university professors spend quality time in k-12 schools while providing on-site professional development, seeking grant support seemed to be appropriate for those partnerships interested in pursuing them.

There are three major categories of external funding available to PDS partnerships. They are (1) Federal Grants; (2) State Grants and (3) Foundation Grants. Most Grant Request for Proposals (RFP) either federal, state or foundation are not usually specifically targeted for PDS partnerships.  However, the PDS philosophy does provide an excellent framework for meeting the requirements of many grants which seek to improve teacher quality and retention while linking the implementation activities directly to student achievement.

In terms of (1) federal grants, the United States Department of Education (DOE) grants are by far the most available to PDS partnerships.  However, there may be others such as juvenile justice which might also be of interest to specific partnerships. DOE grants range from $100,000 up to $15,000,000. To be competitive for DOE grant funding there needs to be an innovative idea based on strong theory or solid evidence, supported by both quantitative and qualitative data. These data should show the value or worth of the innovation with typically a direct link to increased academic achievement. For example, a program that enhances teacher professional development should show a direct link to student achievement as a result. This has generally been a difficult requirement for PDS researchers because of the large number of variables that influence student achievement within the school context.

One recommendation to meet this requirement would be to design a mixed methods study that meets the What Works Clearing House standards. Visit the What Works Clearing House at the following web site for more information .  The standards with reservations generally require a quasi-experimental design with a control group.  In addition to the quantitative design, a qualitative methodological approach should be chosen that provides a rich description of the implementation and its results.  An example of the use of this approach would be the Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality Grant.  For further information on the grant and the research design visit the following website

Generally, (2) State grants come from basically three different funding sources.  The first is federal flow through funding (ex. Title II grant money, 21st Century After School Grants, Homeless Grants).  The RFP requirement for federal flow through grants would be similar to the larger DOE federal grants but on a smaller scale.  The funding usually ranges from $50,000 to $400,000 depending upon the program.  Researchers should check their state web site to identify any potential funding that might be coming available in the next 3 to 6 months.  Typically there is a short turn-around time for both federal and state grants so it is important to have already met with your potential partners and have a basic design in mind before the RFP is published.

A second way state money might be available for PDS use would be through within state funding.  The state would generally provide an RFP outlining the requirements of the grants.  These types of grants can vary in requirements by state and are typically influenced by prevailing politics within the state system.  The in-state grant amounts tend to be smaller but can be more competitive because both universities and school districts usually apply.
A third way to obtain financial support for your PDS network could be through institutions funded by the state such as universities or colleges.  This money is usually distributed within the college by the Dean of the college.  This type of money tends to be hard to find unless you have a supportive Dean with potential funding available.

A different and more direct way of obtaining funding for your PDS network would be (3) through local, state and national foundations.  In some ways foundation grants can be easier to obtain with a less stringent methodology requirement.  The measurement criteria for foundation grants depend upon the language in the RFP created by the foundation.  Foundations often take applications two times per year.  Check the foundations in which you are specifically interested to obtain the application.  Foundation grants can also be politically impacted.  Most frequently relationships with foundation board members can make a difference in the success of the funding of a grant.  Keep in mind that the foundation board members actually make the decisions on which grants are funded.

Potential foundation funders are The Annie E. Casey Foundation; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Carnegie Corporation of New York; Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; Ford Foundation; John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Lumina Foundation for Education; Robertson Foundation; The Wallace Foundation; The Walton Family Foundation; The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation; and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  Most foundation funding is regional.  Be sure and check the web site to determine if you are in an area that is eligible for funding.  The Coca Cola Foundation, and most banks (which are required by the federal government to support programs in their area) also fund community educational programs.

Contacts for grant consultation
Dr. Gwen Benson ( – Project Investigator – Topics of interest include: Partnerships, Residency Model, Grant administration roles and responsibilities, Meeting RFP requirements for funding – Project Investigator for Professional Development Schools Deliver Success Grant; Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality Grant and CREST-ED Grant – DOE federally funded grants; Bank of Wachovia Grant – foundation grant

Dr. Robert Hendrick ( – Research Analyst – Center for Evaluation and Research Services – Topics of interest include:  Quantitative and mixed methods design

Dr. Susan L. Ogletree ( – Co-Project Investigator – Center for Evaluation and Research services – Topics of interest include:  Partnerships, qualitative methodology, fiscal grant administration – policy and procedures, budgeting for large federal grants, Subcontract administration

There are many researchers who have grants and we would like to expand this list.  If you are willing to provide consultation for organizations pursuing grants, please send your name and areas of expertise to and we’ll see that it is added to this list.