One Ticket to Grant Money: Closing the Gap
By Don Peek

One of the easiest ways to acquire grant money for your school is to find an achievement gap to close. Almost every school has some type of achievement gap; and many granting entities are interested in investing their money to help close those gaps. Find the gap(s) in your school and you might be on your way to some grant money.

Typically, serious achievement gaps exist between economically advantaged and disadvantaged students. Gaps of that nature can be found in many, many schools. Differences of two years or more in reading and math levels are frequently found when the achievement of economically disadvantaged students is compared to those who are not.

Other gaps may exist between minority and non-minority students and between suburban, rural, and urban students. Minority, rural, and inner-city students may appear to lag in achievement because of their race or where they live but, on closer observation, it is often their economic status that produces gaps.

Some gaps can be traced to reduced expectations on the part of parents, educators, or the community as a whole. Grant money may be useful in implementing programs to reduce those gaps, too.

Another achievement gap, which is typically not explained by economics, is one that can exist between male and female students in the mathematics and science areas. All too often that gap can be tracked to lower expectations by teachers and the larger educational community. Grant money can help schools build high expectations and achievement for all.

Achievement gaps can usually be pinpointed by comparing test scores of various student groups. If you find one or more of the achievement gaps I've mentioned in your school or classroom, remember that the existence of that gap provides an excellent reason to apply for grants to help reduce or eliminate it.

Don Peek is an expert in school funding. He has run The School Funding Center since 2001. Its database contains over 100,000 grants available to all types of schools in the United States. Don worked in education for 20 years as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent before becoming the VP then the president of the training division of Renaissance Learning, developer of the Accelerated Reader.

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