We surveyed Brookline educators in the Spring of 2023 – here are some of the questions you asked us! Please reach out to us anytime for more information on any of these or any other questions you may have!
Can you help me come up with some good ideas for grants?
Yes! Visit our website and peruse recent grants that we have awarded – there are some great ideas in there!
Do BEF grants have to be from teachers of academic subjects?
No! We make grants to specialists, administrators, paraprofessionals, and also teachers of “core” academic subjects. Some recent grantees include literacy specialists, wellness and physical education teachers, music teachers, and guidance counselors.
I’m worried that my grant won’t be accepted – can I look at examples of successful grant applications?
I want to apply for a grant but I always seem to run out of time! Can you help with that?
We can try! If you’re thinking about an Idea Lab grant, start thinking about it over the summer or at the very beginning of the school year – these are quick-turnaround and the applications happen in October. If you’re thinking about a Teacher or Collaborative grant, start thinking about it in the fall so you’ll be ready when applications open in December. They are due in March. But the application really doesn’t change much from year to year so you can start working on it whenever you find the time, and just watch your email for when deadlines start to approach.
Your format of downloading a Word document, filling it out and then uploading it is unwieldy and makes it hard to share with my collaborators. Is there another way?
We have good news and bad news! The good news is that we have attempted to streamline this process, so there should now be no questions asked more than once – nothing that we ask on the form is duplicated on the application document, and vice-versa. And we have switched from Word documents to Google documents! This should make it easier to collaborate with co-applicants and to answer the questions. Sadly there are still multiple steps to this process. You will now click on the link to access the Google form and be prompted to save a copy for yourself to work on. You will then need to rename your copy so that we know it belongs with the rest of your application, and prior to uploading it into our form, you will need to convert it into a PDF. If you upload it as a Google doc we won’t be able to read it. When you’ve finished the application document, go to “file” and “download” and then click on “PDF document”. Then when the form prompts you to upload your application you can upload this PDF file. If you need help just call us and we’ll walk you through it!
I need guidance on this process! Can you help me?
Yes! We want to help! We provide four organized help sessions – two grant information sessions in January and two grant writing workshops in February – you can drop in to any or all of those and we will be on hand to answer questions and provide support. And you can always call our office: 617-232-3846 or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) and we will be happy to talk things through!
I can’t decide if my grant idea should be a Teacher Grant or a Collaborative Grant.
You are always welcome to reach out to us for input and feedback, and we can help you think this through at an information session or grant writing workshop. Generally, Teacher Grants would be for between one and three/four educators who want to work on the same thing together – attend a workshop or conference, for example. If this involves international travel, then it’s definitely a Teacher Grant as Collaborative Grants only permit domestic travel. If your group is larger than four, traveling domestically, and will be spending time working together before, during, or after the learning activities involved in your grant, then it’s probably a Collaborative Grant. If you apply for a Collaborative Grant please make sure you are explicit in the application about the ways in which your team (which can be within or across multiple schools, grade levels, and subject areas) plans to collaborate.
I had a grant years ago and it took forever to get reimbursed! I don’t want to deal with that again.
Great news! We have worked with the PSB office to refine our reimbursement processes – now most expenses get paid directly out of our office or reimbursed directly from our office, generally within one week of when we receive the receipts or invoices. Time spent collaborating is still paid for through the PSB office, and that will come through payroll.
I’m a literacy specialist – should I write a grant to advance my skills with Orton-Gillingham or Wilson, or will you not pay for that sort of training?
We have been collaborating with the District to support bringing these important instructional methodologies to literacy specialists. If you’re a literacy specialist looking to participate in the next level of training for OG or Wilson or to attend a conference, definitely apply for a grant! Sometimes we can pay for it, and other times the District will pay for it instead. If you’re a classroom teacher interested in pursuing this, give us a call to discuss it – it may be a little more complicated. If you’re looking for us to pay for you to receive advanced certification, unfortunately we can’t do that.
Are there any restrictions or rules I should be aware of as I plan projects for my professional development in the future?
We hope Brookline educators will think broadly about their professional development wants and needs, and make plans that will allow the BEF to support their goals! As you map out your plans, remember the following:
- Teacher Grant recipients are not allowed to apply for another Teacher Grant in the year immediately following their grant (in other words, we can’t fund Teacher Grants in consecutive school years);
- Collaborative Grants are not allowed to include international travel;
- All grant recipients are expected to continue their employment in the Public Schools of Brookline in the year following their grant.