A day in the IHT life with Jen Reeves, Director of Funding Services
As school calendars come to a close, teachers begin focusing on the next academic year. They will spend the next few weeks looking back on their year, evaluating what did or didn’t work for their classes and figuring out what new tool or curriculum enhancer they could add.
For teachers who’ve already identified new programs to install, a big hurdle can be figuring out how a school with limited resources can fund new learning initiatives. The challenge is true both of traditional core teachers as well as teachers in departments such as art, music and physical education.
The IHT Spirit System helps optimize more than 1,500 physical education programs across the country and internationally, positively impacting more than 600,000 students on a weekly basis. A key component in helping schools implement IHT is working with them to identify funding sources, both traditional (through school budgets or direct funding) and non-traditional (federal, local or independently-funded grants). If a teacher wants to apply for a grant to fund our system, we want to help them prepare a successful grant application.
May is a crucial month for federal grant applications. Many schools apply for Carol White Physical Education Program grants, aka PEP Grants, designed specifically for schools to “implement programs that help students make progress toward meeting their state’s standards for physical education,” according to the U.S. Department of Education.
PEP Grants are top-of-mind this week because the application deadline is Friday, May 20. IHT has a number of customers in the process of finishing their applications, and we try to give each one advice that will make their application successful.
One important aspect of a successful application will be proving to the funding committee that there will be a tangible return on their investment, which can be significant. PEP Grant awards can range from $200,000 to $800,000. They are looking for objective data, and we stress in the applications that Spirit System is the absolute best way to receive effective, measureable data about physical education.
We also try to stress that the application shouldn’t just have a short-term outlook. We encourage applicants to explain how the grant money impacts the future of kids for decades. Our technology brings all of the stakeholders together: the parents, the community, the school administrators, the teachers and most importantly the student. Everyone sees the results, and that helps validate physical education in the overall school day in conjunction with the academic side.
As we said, there are lots of grants waiting to be found. We encourage
our customers to apply for it all. No amount is too small and no amount is too large. Remember the exercise of “What would you do if you had $1 million?” Well, you need to explain to the decision-makers exactly what you’d do with the money you’re asking for. Don’t limit yourself. You’re working to make sure children are healthy. There’s no greater cause.
Lastly, don’t give up. Applying for grants is competitive, and you may not win your first time around. Don’t be afraid to fail. While you didn’t get one grant, your application might be perfect for the next one you find.
Have a grant question? Contact Jen Reeves at firstname.lastname@example.org.