Small High School Funding Proposal Abstract (For Class)

Here is an abstract for a funding proposal I am preparing for a class project…

Need Statement
I think I expressed the need for this project well in an entry I made on my old blog in December. “Why redesign the traditional high school?”

Funding Source
I chose the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Small Schools Grants used in the Chicago Public School system as a model. The following are excerpts from the web page linked above.

Grant funding from the Chicago High School Redesign Initiative provides up to $100,000 per small school for planning over one year, $500,000 per small school for implementation over three years, and $100,000 per whole school to facilitate the conversion process over two years.

The schools must be:

  • college prep in nature , non-selective enrollment
  • no more than 400-500 students (100-125 per grade)
  • open the first year with 9th grade only
  • Description of Project

    This proposal will focus on a one year implementation of the small school grant. As a model of the physical plant, faculty, and staff, I will use Estancia High School in Costa Mesa, Ca, with which I have many years of experience as a teacher and tech coordinator. The physical plant, built in 1965, is architecturally ideal for such an implementation. The entire school (of 1200 students) is housed in a single building composed of eight “courts”, each of which currently houses an academic department. Each court is made up of eight classrooms and a large office facing a central “court” area. These rooms have large half-wall sized openings instead of doors, so there is a true feeling of community within the court, even as class is in session. For the purposes of this proposal, the current English Court will be re-imagined as home to a single college preparatory (and non-selective) school of approximately 100-125 ninth graders, to be opened in September 2005. (This would grow over three following years to a school of four courts and 400-500 students).

    Curriculum – This proposal will focus on the creation of a context-rich, inquiry-driven, socially negotiated learning environment, in which a teacher representing each curricular area will serve as coach and facilitator for students as they engage in various cross curricular standards-aligned projects.

    Professional Development – A significant portion of the proposal will focus on the professional development needed in order to support teachers in their efforts to provide such an environment for students, and in order for them to use the equipment detailed below to its fullest potential in this environment. At least 25% of the budget will be spent on professional development.

    Infrastructure, Hardware, Software, and Tech Support – In order to facilitate the curriculum goals expressed above, the proposed small school will offer students a 1 to 1 computing environment. Cutting edge but low cost 12″ iBooks running Mac OS X v 10.4 Tiger, iLife ’05, and a host of open source software suites, such as Open Office and GIMP, along with a smaller number of shared peripherals such as audio and video recording devices, will provide all students with the tools they need for cross-curricular and multimedia project based learning. Money will be allocated to pay staffing costs for the projected technical support costs. Approximately 65% of the budget will be spent on infrastructure, hardware, software, and technical support; approximately half of this will be technical support.

    Funding and Budget – All costs associated with the first year implementation of the proposed small school (above and beyond normal operating costs for this number of students) will be covered by the $100,000 grant. Approximately 10% of the budget will be reserved for administrative overhead of the proposed implementation.

    Monitoring and Evaluation – A systematic and ongoing monitoring and evaluation process will be established at the outset of the proposed implementation. Approximately 10% of the budget will be reserved for this process, and for expenditures that periodic re-evaluation reveals is necessary.

    And yes, with some creative financing, I think I can do all this with $100,000. :)


    PS – You may have noted this, but I am basing the structure of my proposal on the California Technology Planning Guide.