SACRAMENTO — California school districts and charter schools can now apply for mini grants to address equity and opportunity gaps in student learning said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Wednesday.
Announced earlier this month as part of its ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic’s continued impact on students, the California Department of Education will award grants of up to $20,000 each to schools, districts, and charter schools that can demonstrate how they will address equity and opportunity gaps by utilizing the funds to target educators’ or students’ needs in distance learning, in-person instruction, or hybrid models.
The application process and criteria were emailed to all county and district superintendents and charter school administrators in California on Wednesday, and the deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.
The grants have been funded through a $200,000 contribution from the Stuart Foundation.
“Educators need every tool possible to implement strategies that support students who have been hit hardest by the inequitable impacts of this public health crisis,” Thurmond said. “I am proud to continue providing direct resources to our schools, and while they are small in size, these mini grants can go a long way in a community trying to reach and engage its struggling students.”
The funds must be used to advance equity and to close equity gaps. The grantees are given discretion to decide how they will address the topic of equity. For example, grantees can address equity and opportunity gaps by utilizing the funds to target educators’ or students’ needs with in-person instruction or distance learning.
Other examples of how grants can be used include supporting educator and/or staff professional development that has proven to be successful in targeting or closing equity gaps.
Professional development could be in the form of training or a mentoring program. Providing stipends for mentors who assist mentees in adjusting to the current distance learning landscape is another eligible use.
Additionally, funds can be used for purchasing items or materials needed to address inequity; however, they should not be used solely for the purpose of purchasing materials.
Local educational agencies are encouraged to consider ways grant dollars can be used to support activities that address equity gaps in the form of community and family engagement. For instance, families that have been disengaged with schools may benefit from activities that support and strengthen engagement.
Funding can be used to support activities that have been proven to strengthen family connection and involvement with their children’s learning.
All questions regarding the mini grant process can be directed by email to email@example.com.