Developing Need Statements
Developing Project Activities
The Grant Budget
Evaluating Your Proposal
Putting It All Together
Sample Grant Proposal
Most proposals ask the writer
to clearly identify the project's needs and to state how the needs
were gathered. This is difficult to do, especially when you are
trying to write in brief, short sentences. I suggest you begin
to think about your program in terms of students, staff, and resources
or resource management. Let's take a second look at some of the
examples from last week.
To enhance science materials,
so that children have the chance to hypothesize and problem solve
within low socioeconomic families.
This project description proposes
a potential science program to help students and perhaps families
from low socioeconomic backgrounds. To develop needs statements,
I would begin by looking at available data; teacher, student,
and parent opinion; and accurate analysis of the current educational
program at your school. To begin, I would want to find out as
much as I could about the students considered as grant program
recipients. For example, you might collect standardized test
data, attendance information, or perhaps grades. You would try
to find all "documented evidence" about the students
so that your project plan clearly meets your students' academic
Science is a particularly
tough area to determine past achievement, but is an easy area
to determine what isn't in place. Science is often not tested
on state and national norm-referenced tests, so you might have
to rely on other kinds of data. Perhaps the students you are
working with have not had life or school opportunities and experiences
to spark an interest in science. Perhaps science has not been
a focus at your school site. Perhaps teachers are in need of
training to deliver the science curriculum.
You can often discover needs
by asking questions of established groups. For example, your
school advisory council might be asked to list academic needs
of their children that they perceive are not being met.
After collecting data, you
would want to keep your needs statements short and to the point.
Usually, one student, one staff, and one program need is all
that it takes to "paint a picture" for the grant reader.
Examples of Need Statements
About a year ago, I was involved
in a grant project that aimed to help English language learners
have access to high school science classrooms that traditionally
have relied heavily on verbal instruction. From the abstract,
here is a brief description of the project.
"The proposal provides
a program for students involved in primary and sheltered language
instruction to access the core curriculum in science. We will
use technology tools including HyperStudio. Students will create
projects which emphasize the use of rich visual images and the
ability to structure their learning around graphic organizers
by making HyperStudio presentations. This approach has been selected
to provide interesting and meaningful ways for students to master
core curriculum. All students receive the core and all learners
will participate in their science classrooms. The project relies
heavily on staff development, the training and deployment of student
technology aides and parent volunteers."
The needs statement expands
on the ideas introduced in the proposal abstract. The needs for
this project were written in terms of students, staff, and parents.
If your program does not involve some of these groups, just leave
them out. Note in the example needs statements below that I have
identified in the parentheses how I knew each need to be true.
A. Students need:
A1. Sheltered instruction and/or primary language instruction to fully access the core curriculum in science and social studies (bilingual program regulations, large numbers of Limited English Proficient students on campus, 44%).
A2. Instruction which uses
visual aids and short presentations of content followed by practice,
comprehension, and follow-up for English language learners (44%
of students are Limited English Proficient, low reading, and composition
B. Teachers need:
B1. Strategies for becoming effective coaches of instruction and practice time for newly acquired skills (teacher opinion survey).
B2. An atmosphere of congeniality and sharing as they work collaboratively on solving problems of teaching and learning with English language learners in our proposed approach (teacher opinion survey).
B3. Professional growth and
renewal (teacher opinion survey).
C. Parents need:
C1. Assistance in understanding the educational process (teacher and parent opinion surveys).
C2. Opportunities to learn how to coach their children (parent opinion survey).
C3. Ability to communicate
with the school.
In this particular technology-enriched
proposal, I also added a brief identification of how our school's
technology use plan connects with the current proposed program.
D. Our school's Technology Use Plan stresses:
D1. Student acquisition of sufficient English language proficiency necessary to access core subject areas.
D2. Teacher acquisition of a comfort level necessary to support integrated technology activities through ongoing in-services.
D3. Parents as active
participants in their children's education.
The following descriptions
are from seminar participants' registration forms. In this first
one, the proposal writer has identified the project description
An individualized math curriculum.
If this were my beginning,
I would try to brainstorm as many possible "clarifying"
questions as I could. For example:
What do you mean by an individualized Math curriculum?
What grade levels of students would be involved?
What kind of program would you implement?
How have you identified your program's needs?
Why does this program meet
the needs of your students?
As you can see, it is the
skill of the grant seeker or proposal writer that will get your
staff and others to clarify what they want to do and to be reflective
at how best to determine needs, implement program, and evaluate
In the following example,
how would you describe the student, staff, parents, and program
Our school wishes to develop
a grant proposal to help us with funding a project which will
primarily and initially begin to instruct our staff on the use
of the Internet and how it could be incorporated for research
or into a specific curriculum area. We would like to begin by
training all staff on its design and functions, but target a specific
grade level or curriculum area to integrate Web sites with certain
subject areas. We would need funding for instructional purposes
and for hardware purposes.
Your assignment for this week is to write your needs statements (at least one need for students and one need for staff). In our Week 3 seminar, we will continue to develop the body of our proposals. We will look at how to write activities that "fill the gap" from what is to what we want it to be.