Post your questions or leave your comments here regarding funding for high school programs.
Just curious about what the community is doing regarding ongoing funding to sustain high school programs when 21st CCLC is over. Any best practices out there.
We have begun utilizing district monies for sustainability. We have worked hard to continuously educate both campus and district leadership on program data specifically academic impact and student participation. As the need for and impact of the program became more apparent, the district decided to allocate funds to continue programming. After the first year of sustained funding of a scaled-down program, the data continued to show unmet need and academic impact. This pushed the district to allocate even more funds for this year. It’s all about building a community of support for your programs (students, parents, staff, district leaders) and having data to back up your success.
Sarah, do you have any tips for starting that conversation with district leaders about program impact and sustainability?
Absolutely, we did a few things…
We sent out a newsletter each session that detailed what was happening in our program, invited district leaders for site visits and to events, and posted information online (both website and social media). This helped to raise awareness of the program and start the general conversation.
To get into specifics, it is helpful to have something tangible. We had a one pager that detailed successes from the program and included data regarding student participation and academic achievement. We also created infographics so people could read the tidbits or just look at images to get a sense of what was happening in the program. It was important to keep the information brief, targeted, and include some purposeful imagery (color is great). School board members and other district leaders receive so much information that you want to make it very easy for them to access your points. We used a similar one page strategy for updates with district and campus administration. This also gives them something to refer back to later.
The other very helpful strategy is to speak their language. Ensure that you are up-to-date on district achievement data, the district improvement plan or strategic plan, targeted areas of improvement, and celebrated areas of success. When approaching conversations, it is helpful to reference these items. Ex. If discussing great gains in writing, be sure to bring up the flash fiction writing workshop you offered and how well those students performed on writing OR if discussing how writing is a concern, bring up the success of your flash fiction workshop and how you would love to be able to continue the program next year or bring it to a larger audience. Connecting your program specifically to the learning goals of the district is a great foot in the door.