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Data, data, data. As a fellow grant writer for a small school district, the key-factor for success has been documentation and the provision of data that contains data points that are relevant to what you are requesting.
The first step, as you write your request, is to submit an action plan. In this plan you will explain to your potential benefactor what exactly you plan to do with these SMARTboards. Since this is all relative, this section of your submission can be general. However, center it around the students:
- The students will benefit from SMARTboards thanks to the myriad of cross-curricular resources available in the SMART exchange site.
- The students will engage in hands-on kinesthetic learning
- The students will benefit from real-time research and live demonstrations in the classroom.
- The students will have an opportunity to increase their academic achievement.
That last statement is the big winner. However, you have to document it to strengthen your request. For example, you can request records showing the last 3-4 years trend in student achievement in the district's standardized state test. Choose the lowest trends and use those to demonstrate how students have performed poorly academically, and that the intervention of SMARTboards may turn into a best practice.
However, this action plan that you submit has to be supported by the entire school. For this, you may need to survey your teachers and use their desire to have SMART technology as additional supporting data. If you show that the entire staff is ready and willing to use the product, your chances will be higher to get approved.
The reality is that the SMARTboard initiative IS a great intervention that certainly helps students learn better. Therefore you are basically showing your granter that their money will be invested in a practice that will show academic growth.
If you do get your grant approved, then you need to put a plan in place that shows how SMARTboards have actually helped students. This is not a requirement, but it may become one if your grant surpasses a significant amount of money. Hence, develop assessment tools made with the SMART technology that shows your granter that their investment was worthwhile.
In all, stick to percentages. Involve the teachers in the process, have them vote on it, show the granters the votes, and explain how this product will benefit the academic growth of students. Support it with back up data showing levels of need and how the SMARTboard will help close the gap on that need. Then, offer a follow up.
Go to the Tech Learning magazine site (link included below this answer) and you may find there even more studies and back up evidence to support your request.
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