Program Grant Application Deadline: March 1, 2018. Notification by Mid-May, 2018
LEF Program Grants support the development and piloting of innovative approaches to teaching, the creation of enriched teaching materials, the testing of new uses of technology in the classroom, and other innovative activities that promise to enhance students' educational experience. Program Grants may support work at any grade level and in any subject, including the arts, natural and social sciences, literacy, math, languages, physical education, and social competency.
To give you a sense of the types of projects LEF supports, click here to see descriptions of recent Program Grants.
Who May Apply
Program Grant proposals are welcome from any Lexington Public Schools certified staff, including:
- Classroom teachers
- Subject-area specialists
- Special education personnel
- Department heads
- Administrators at the school or central office level
- Town residents working with LPS faculty
LEF encourages projects that involve collaboration across grade levels, departments, or schools.
Eligibility of Projects & Activities
LEF Program Grants support innovative educational projects that fall outside the regular school budget. LEF funds may not be used to replace or relieve the existing responsibility for public funding of school programs, or to substitute for regular budget growth and maintenance. Activities and items that are eligible for support include:
- Planning and curriculum development time beyond contracted hours
- Professional development (tuition, registration, and travel expenses) tied to the development of new curricula or materials
- Consultants, guest speakers, artists and performers who assist in the implementation of a project
- Purchase and installation of equipment and technology that are necessary to achieving the project’s goals (note: all equipment and materials purchased with LEF funds become the property of the Lexington Public Schools.)
- Educational materials such as books and films
- Supplies, photocopying, and distribution related to the development and piloting of new curricula.
Funds will not be awarded to cover the costs of:
- Salaried positions
- Programs, equipment, or services cut from the school budget
- Substitute teacher stipends
- Maintaining existing school programs and activities
- Retroactive compensation
- Capital acquisitions such as photocopiers, furniture, construction, and building projects
- Hospitality costs, such as food and drinks provided at meetings
Before you Apply
Study the LEF Program Grant application guidelines and forms (download them here) to understand what information must be included in your proposal, and at what level of detail.
Contact your school's LEF liaison (click here). Your school liaison can be a valuable resource throughout the development of your proposal – clarifying LEF guidelines, answering questions, reading drafts, and identifying areas in your proposal that would benefit from additional information or explanation.
Research previous work, if any, that has been undertaken in your area of interest, within the Lexington schools or elsewhere. Your proposal will have to demonstrate your knowledge of work that others may have done in this area and explain how you have used this knowledge to inform your own project.
Secure the appropriate administrators' support for your project. Discuss your idea with at least one, and preferably more than one, of the following: the school principal, department head/chair, curriculum specialist, and Central Office administrator.
Discuss your project with other affected teachers and staff for their ideas and agreement to participate. A statement confirming their commitment to participate in the project must be submitted with your application.
If your project calls for the purchase of technology (such as computers, tablets, iPods, handheld response devices, or specialty printers), consult LPS’s Director of Technology. A statement of her support must accompany your application.
If your project calls for any sort of installation in a school building, consult the Town of Lexington’s Director of the Department of Public Facilities regarding the feasibility of the installation, since a statement of his/her support must accompany the application.
Preparing a Fellowship Proposal
Click here to download the application forms and detailed instructions for completing an LEF Fellowship application.
Provide all narrative and budgetary information required, in the format and order requested.
- The proposal should be no longer than two pages (in addition to the application cover sheet). It should provide detailed, specific information about:
- The purpose of the Fellowship
- How the Fellowship will improve your professional practice and enhance your students’ learning
- How you will share the results of your Fellowship, e.g., by presenting a paper or conducting a workshop for colleagues, or meeting with your curriculum leader to discuss results
- The amount you are requesting, and a detailed breakdown of how you will spend your Fellowship award, and
- Information about any time‐sensitive deadlines (for registration or tuition costs, for example) pertaining to your request
Accompanying the proposal must be:
- Two separate letters of support, in sealed envelopes or signed electronic copies, from your principal, department head, curriculum leader, or superintendent. The letter from the principal, department head, or superintendent must include a statement certifying that your request for funding is not covered by the school system’s operating budget.
- A statement certifying that (1) you are currently a Lexington Public School certified staff member with professional status, and (2) you will be returning as a Lexington Public School certified staff member for the following academic year. If you are a pre‐PTS staff member, you must include a letter of reappointment from the principal of your school.
Provide all narrative and budgetary information required, in the format and order requested.
Ensure that your application is accompanied by all necessary sign-off statements and signatures, as described in the application guidelines. Provide supporting materials that are relevant to your project, such as brochures, flyers, consultant resumes, and reports of earlier research on your topic or approach.
Before you submit your application, we encourage you to ask someone outside of your field or profession to read your application. It will be important that your proposal can be understood by “lay” reviewers, because the members of the review committee have a variety of backgrounds and professional experiences.
A grant review committee comprising LEF Board, committee, and advisory board members evaluates the proposals and recommends awards to the LEF Board. This process takes approximately two months. The review committee may consult school administrators about particular projects. However, school administrators do not serve as reviewers. LEF is an independent nonprofit organization supported entirely by private funding; it is not part of the LPS system.
The review committee assesses each proposal on its own merits, rather than in direct competition with other proposals. LEF seeks to support every worthy proposal within the constraints of LEF’s budget. As part of the review process, applicants will have an opportunity to expand upon or clarify information provided in their proposals. Successful proposals meet the following criteria:
- The project explores new, imaginative curricula and pedagogical approaches, or builds upon a previously funded LEF grant that has had demonstrated success.
- The application demonstrates careful thinking and thorough planning of the project’s goals, activities, and timetable.
- The project reflects the core values, priorities, and goals of the Lexington Public Schools (available on the LPS website).
- The proposal cites and describes earlier or related work in this area.
- The project has the support of all affected staff and administrators.
- The proposal presents a careful strategy for evaluating the project’s effectiveness in achieving its educational objectives.
- The project reaches, or can be replicated in, other LPS schools or classes.
- If the project involves the use of technology, the proposal makes a strong case for the value of the technology in achieving specific educational goals.
- The project does not fall within the purview of the regular LPS budget.
- The project budget is clear and detailed and reflects all necessary costs.
Partial funding may be awarded when sufficient funds are not available for full funding, or when particular items within the project budget are ineligible for LEF funding.
If your proposal is not funded, LEF will, upon request, provide feedback and suggestions regarding future applications.
All grants are awarded for a full academic year. Funded projects may begin no earlier than the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, and should be completed by May 1 of the following year.
LEF Program Grants are administered by the LPS Finance and Business Department and are subject to the policies and procedures that apply to all LPS-administered activities. The LPS finance office will provide you with your account number and with detailed instructions for accessing grant funds. Because of the time required to set up grant accounts during the new fiscal year, grant funds will generally not be available to you until after August 1; please plan accordingly.