Making Cents: Affording the Support You Need
You know that your educators need support. You also know that professional development (PD) is the best way to help your teachers and leaders perform at the highest level for your students. However, you ALSO need social-emotional support for your students, AND technology AND a new copier… The list continues to grow, but your budget seems to stay the same.
I work with a lot of school and district leaders who avoid investing in PD because they assume it is too expensive. It most certainly can be, but you can afford more than you think you can if you’re willing to think a little creatively.
Here are some things to consider:
- Go digital! Are there online classes you can leverage for your educators that might be more cost effective and efficient?
- Build your coaching capacity. Can you invest in PD that empowers emerging leaders in your school or district to coach teachers to build their capacity this year and beyond? This is the basis of Real Time Teacher Coaching, and it works beautifully. It’s also a great way to invest in your highest performers and spread their impact.
- Address the biggest concern. If you are in a turnaround situation, you might have so many challenges that it might seem hard to know where to start. There are some things you can implement that will move your biggest rocks first. If you haven’t checked out the “Determining the Support You Need” checklist, it’s worth a look.
There are also places where you can look for grants and financial support:
- Inside Philanthropy – This is a list of major national philanthropic funders to K-12.
- GrantWatch.com – This is a searchable database across industries with many local and education options nationwide.
- There are many local foundations are especially supportive of K-12 in their communities. Examples include the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, MD, the George Kaiser Family Foundation in Tulsa, OK, the Joyce Foundation in Chicago and Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation in Los Angeles.
- Grantsmanship Center has resources and guidance on how to access federal funding, in addition to training for those competing for federal grants.
The most important thing to do is start somewhere! An investment of any size in PD tells your teachers and school leaders that you care enough about their personal development too.
By Jennifer Ozanne
Chief Finance and Operations Officer