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Director's Dispatch: Education Innovation Grant Winners

To encourage community members to come up with new ways to improve ISD for our students, to help our students challenge, create and change, the ISD Administration sets aside approximately $60,000 per year to fund Education Innovation Grants. These grants provide funding for good project ideas from students, parents, teachers, and administrators that will help our community achieve our strategic plan. Students, parents, and teachers are invited to submit grant proposals. The proposals are evaluated on a variety of criteria including connection to the school’s mission and vision, number of students who will be impacted, and how innovative or novel the project is. Successful projects are considered for on-going funding from the school’s regular Operating and Capital Budgets.

A frequent question is if that the projects are good ideas, why are they not funded out of the school budget? The school budgeting process allows for teachers and administrators to make specific requests to introduce new programs or expand existing ones. The Board and administration work hard to keep the annual fee increases to a minimum, so limits are put on the amount of money available for the different education programs. Frequently the educator requests exceed the amount of money available for that program, so the administration and Board need to prioritize some request over others leaving some unfunded. For example, this year the teachers and administrators requested $1.3 million in major educational purchases and campus renovations. Based on the merits of the request, the Administration approved $1.1 million in project, but there was only $700,000 available to fund these requests. This left $400,000 in unfunded projects, all excellent ideas that would help students. Often, the educators will then submit their idea for funding through Education Innovation Grant program.

Last month a small committee of students, parents, and teachers reviewed 26 grants totaling over $100,000. Seventeen grants were selected. Below please find brief summaries of each project.

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