Funding Education and Innovation

How to Strengthen Your Charter or Magnet School Funding Application

Lisa Trisciani

When it comes to funding innovation in your school system, it pays to know the rules around grant allocation. For magnet and charter schools, there are many options out there – but finding the right ones to fund your initiative takes time and research. How do you know where to start looking? With a little help from our experts, it’s a lot easier.

Connection recently partnered with Grants Office, LLC, Microsoft, and Intel for a series of webcasts on education funding. In our March 23, 2017 event, we covered key issues around technologies that drive innovation in education and the funding programs designed to facilitate the implementation of those technologies in charter and magnet schools. If you missed the webcast, be sure to check out the full presentation on demand.

If you’re looking at funding programs for charter and magnet schools within your district, the first step is to know how the Department of Education defines those terms. According to the Magnet Schools Assistance program (MSAP), a magnet school is a “public elementary school, public secondary school, public elementary education center, or public secondary education center that offers a special curriculum capable of attracting substantial numbers of students of different racial backgrounds.” By contrast, a public charter school is “a publicly funded school that is typically governed by a group or organization under a legislative contract (or charter) with the state or jurisdiction.”

The Department of Education has identified several competitive priorities when it comes to applying for MSAP grants:

  • Need for Assistance – Essentially, what is the cost of fully implementing the program and how do those costs impact your existing/future budgets?
  • New or Revised Magnet School Projects – Does your program build on an existing program that has shown success? Have you done your research and picked an approach that will work for your students?
  • Selection of Students – Is school enrollment based on geographic location, a lottery, or entrance exam?
  • Socioeconomic Diversity – Does your program propose to increase integration of students from all backgrounds?

The MSAP will be awarding up to 30 grants in 2017, which translates into significant funding for your initiatives. Be sure to do your research and put your best foot forward with a well-thought out application!

If you’re looking for funding for your charter school, the Charter School Program (CSP) offers a portfolio of grants that provide financial assistance. Like the MSAP, they have several priorities when awarding grants:

  • Serving Low-Income Students – Do at least 60% of the students currently enrolled come from low-income families?
  • School Turnaround – Are you transforming a school with poor academic performance into a charter school using methods that have demonstrated success for you in the past?
  • Novice Applicants – Have you ever received a grant or sub-grant under the Charter School Program, or a discretionary grant from the Federal government in the past five years? If not, you’ve got an advantage over the competition.

Building your program proposals with these competitive priorities in mind can put your school at an advantage for grant funding. But more importantly, you’ll need to demonstrate academic achievement and show how you’ll improve outcomes for students – and that is where integrating technology can really help drive innovation.

Microsoft has developed a suite of applications designed to help educators integrate technology into the classroom. From Minecraft Education Edition to Imagine Academy, Microsoft puts interactive learning and proven curriculum in the hands of those who need it most.

Watch our complete webcast to learn more about grant funding criteria and how technologies from Microsoft and Intel can help give your students an academic advantage.