Do you have an idea that would be appropriate for a SERF grant?
- Do you have an idea that would help your students learn better?
- Would you like to present a piece of your curriculum in a new and engaging way?
- Are you interested in providing your students with new tools not currently available at your school?
- Has your creative idea been turned down by administrators due to lack of budget?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above, you are in the right place! Many Sudbury educators have leveraged SERF grants to move their innovative ideas forward!
A sample of recent grants funded by SERF:
SERF grants promote innovation and enrichment in classrooms in grades K-12. We fund leading-edge projects in all areas of the curriculum including math, science and engineering, literacy and English language arts, social studies and history, global languages, performing and visual arts, emerging technologies, social development and wellness, professional development for teachers, and more.
SERF grants fund projects and materials that are not, and would not be expected to be, funded in the regular school budget. SERF grants create opportunities for students to acquire the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to become well-rounded citizens and to develop to the full extent of their potential.
To ensure that each grant complements the district’s overarching goals, and to support the continuity of a grant’s implementation, every grant application must be reviewed and approved by the relevant school principal and/or district superintendent before submission to SERF.
What are the deadlines for SERF Grants?
SERF Mini-Grants: up to $1500
SERF Mini-Grants are monthly opportunities (September through June) to request funding for project proposals up to $1,500.
Mini-Grant proposals submitted by the 20th of each month starting August 20th will be reviewed and voted on at the next month’s board meeting. Applications received after the 20th of a given month will be held and voted on the following month.
SERF Grants: $1500 and up
SERF Grants are bi–annual opportunities to request funding for project proposals more than $1,500.
For the 2020-21 school year, SERF Grant proposals will be accepted through by November 15th, 2020, and again through March 15th, 2021.
* Please note that these deadlines are for submission from the Superintendent’s Office to SERF. Please refer to your building principal and your district superintendent for submission dates for his/her approval. Only grants that are approved by the Superintendent’s Office will be accepted.
What is the Review and Evaluation process for SERF Grants?
- Go to the SERF site to find grant application criteria, examples and submission deadline information
- Complete the SERF SPS or SERF LS Application
- Click on the appropriate button to launch the Online Application (Google Form)
- Submit the Online Application to SERF through the Google Form
- On submission, an automatic notification goes to the Superintendent
- Superintendent Reviews and Notes Approval
- On approval, an automatic notification goes to the SERF Grant Panel
- SERF Grant Panel Application Evaluation
- The Board of SERF will review, discuss, and vote whether to fully fund, partially fund, or not fund a grant based on each grant’s alignment with SERF’s mission and granting criteria.
- Grant Administrator notifies applicant of SERF’s decision
What types of projects does SERF fund?
How does SERF define innovation and enrichment?
Innovation brings something new to the classroom: a new program or a new approach to the existing curriculum. Grant applications should clearly depict how they are different from, or augment the existing curriculum. Enrichment programs enhance the existing curriculum through, for example, visits from outside speakers, performers or artists, or new materials that enhance students’ understanding of a subject or enable the curriculum to be taught in a different way.
What do SERF grants support?
- Projects that enhance any area of the K-12 curriculum
- Pilot programs that introduce new techniques and materials to the classroom
- Projects that build upon previously-funded pilots funded by SERF that have had demonstrated success
- Projects that extend a successful existing program to a different grade level or school.
- Programs for enrichment and community learning experiences
- Projects that demonstrate collaboration among teachers, schools and disciplines
- Books, materials or equipment that are a new addition to, or an innovative enhancement to, the curriculum
- Professional development for new programs or to demonstrably enhance existing teaching methods
- Consultants, guest speakers, artists or performers that are central to a project’s implementation
- New technology IF technology supports a demonstrated educational project or plan AND the application demonstrates a
plan for sustainability if the project is successful
All equipment and materials purchased with SERF funds become the property of SPS or LSRHS.
What doesn’t SERF fund?
SERF grant funds are not intended to replace or relieve the existing responsibility for public funding of school programs. The following items are not eligible for SERF funding:
- Technology or equipment that merely replaces existing technology or equipment
- Technology that is requested without a clear, specific and unique pedagogical for its use(s). “Technology for technology’s sake”
- Basic school needs
- Teacher time for work that is part of a teacher’s existing duties, or that will be performed during the teacher’s regular work day during the school year
- Travel time or travel expenses
- Food or hospitality expenses
- Memberships fees for professional organizations
- Substitute teachers
- Teacher or staff salaries
- Routine capital acquisitions (e.g. photocopiers, furniture, office supplies, construction or building projects)
- Retroactive projects
Grant applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Explores new, innovative curricula and pedagogical approaches, or deepens existing curriculum and practices, or builds upon a previously SERF-funded grant that has demonstrated success.
If the proposed project builds upon a previously funded SERF grant, the proposal includes an explanation of how the proposed project adds a new, extended, expanded, innovative idea to the earlier grant.
- Is driven by clearly outlined goals, activities and timetable.
- Has a clear plan for impacting students, either through improving the quality of instruction, instructional materials, strengthening community, or enhancing the environment.
- Outlines how it’s impact or effectiveness will be measured.
- Has potential for sustainable impact on teaching and learning beyond a singular classroom.
- Does not fall within the district’s budget or curricular commitments. However, if the project is intended to continue into a phase beyond the proposed grant’s timeline, there is a plan for the project’s continuity to be absorbed by the district’s budget or another funding source.
- Could be replicated in other SPS schools or classrooms.
- Involves collaboration among educators that matches the scope of the project. This could be with other educators across grades, specials, schools, and departments, or organizations within the school or district community.
- Has an organized budget that is clear, detailed and comprehensive.