How To Get CTE Funding for Your Classroom
When CTE teachers are reviewing our digital curriculum, a big hurdle we hear about is funding. Most teachers think they need to use their own classroom budget to purchase new instructional materials... but we have found if you do a little digging, it will all work out!
In this article, I will share how you can navigate the process of finding and securing CTE funding by taking just a few steps. I'll also provide some extra ways you can secure funding at the local, state, and federal level if your school doesn't have any funding for teachers currently available.
6 Steps to Take When Requesting Funding
We typically recommend you first plan out how you will approach discussing funding with your administrator. Having a plan is the most important part of jumping this hurdle, and these 6 steps will help you do just that:
1. Determine how much money you will need
Any time you plan to purchase new instructional materials, knowing how much they will cost is the foundation. Whether it's online research, or asking the curriculum provider for information you need to know what the cost will be.
2. Work together with other teachers
In some cases, when purchasing new materials it is in your favor to work with your fellow teachers. Some curriculum providers give a lower price-per-student as the number of students increase. If you think other teachers in your school or district would benefit for the curriculum, it's well worth it to talk with them.
3. Plan ahead to talk about funding
Once you have the initial information about the curriculum and pricing, it's time to schedule a meeting. It's better to start the discussion on budgets and funding earlier, rather than later.
One thing to keep in mind is that most schools start the budgeting process as early as March, so make sure you plan out when you will meet to coincide with your administrator's schedule.
4. Make your case
At the meeting with your administrator, make sure you are ready to discuss how you and your students will benefit from the curriculum. If you are looking at digital curriculum, it could be helpful to set up a demo to show your administrator how it will work in your classroom.
5. Be ready to discuss numbers
Most administrators will want to know numbers. Some common questions administrators tend to ask are:
How much will the cost per-student be?
How long can you use the curriculum?
How will you measure student success?
Make sure you have information to answer these questions, and any others relevant to the curriclum you want to purchase.
6. Leverage the data
Data can be the strongest support for making your case, and demonstrates that the purchase won't go to waste. Having data that your administrator will be able to review is an important piece of the funding puzzle.
We have found that teachers interested in our curriculum can leverage a lot of the reporting features of our system. You can generate reports to show how much time students spend working, how students are progressing through lessons, and how they are performing on quizzes and tests.
AES: We're on Your Side for Funding
Where to Get Funding Outside of Your Supply Budget
While 99% of our teachers find those steps to be effective in securing CTE funding for new curriculum, there are some that just can't make it work. For those of you who fall into this category, there are several other ways to secure funding at the local, state, and federal levels if you look beyond traditional sources.
Here are some ideas that CTE teachers have shared with us when they need to get creative when buying new instructional materials:
Try Perkins Funding
Perkins Funding is the most common funding source for CTE teachers. This federal grant funds career education, and is released to states and districts in October each year.
Look for hidden funds
There could be money 'hidden' in your school's technology budget, PTA funds, or district education foundation that you didn't know were there. It may take some time, but if you are diligent you could walk away with some brand new instructional materials which would make it all worth it!
Research grants for public schools
Large and small grants exist for teachers supporting STEM programs. Use a grant database to search for a wide range of available grants that match your needs. Individual grants are offered by companies and foundations, which usually offer funding for specific subject areas.
Here are a few websites you could look at when researching grants:
Use an alternative fundraising source
Some teachers we have worked with used Donors Choose to get funding for new materials. Teachers post what they need for their classroom on the Donors Choose website. Then a donor can choose to help fund the project, and when the project reaches the goal, the website sends the materials directly to the school!
Overcome Your CTE Funding Hurdles!
I hope these steps and ideas have helped to alleviate some of your worries. Asking your administration for funding doesn't have to be a scary process! If you have any tips to share with other teachers, leave a comment with your ideas... You never know how many teachers you would be helping!