Instructions and Frequently Asked Questions:
Edmund Traverso-Robert Weatherall Innovation Grants
The Traverso-Weatherall Innovation Grants are awarded on a bi-annual basis, spring and fall, to current Ipswich Public Schools faculty and staff. These funds are dedicated to the pursuit of innovation in education for the benefit of all Ipswich Public Schools students. They are named in honor of Edmund Traverso and Robert Weatherall, whose diligent discovery and passionate persistence made the Feoffees funds and their benefits possible.
Innovation Grant applications must be submitted by either an individual or team of Ipswich Public Schools faculty and staff, shall not exceed a total request of $7,500 and are restricted for a one-year term of use. One-year projects, programs, and activities are not necessarily excluded from continued funding, but must be re-submitted for future grant consideration.
General Instructions and Questions
- What do I need to do to apply for a Traverso-Weatherall Innovation Grant?
Propose an innovative way to enrich and enhance the experience of students in the Ipswich Public Schools. Consult with your building principal to ensure your grant concept aligns with the current district vision framework, complete an Innovation Grant application, and have it signed by your principal.
As a resource to help ensure this district alignment, applicants are encouraged to discuss your intended grant with the Director of Teaching and Learning before proceeding through the grant process. Your draft proposal may be sent back to you by either the Director of Teaching and Learning or your building principal(s) with recommendations for revisions.
Requests should include a description of the educational opportunity, the goals and objectives of the program or activity, the number of students that will benefit from the grant, an implementation timeline, evaluation criteria, and a detailed budget.
These grants are professional documents that will be read by a committee and made available for public viewing. Please see more detailed instructions/questions regarding the application below.
- How often will Innovation Grants be awarded?
Innovation Grants will be awarded twice a year. The Spring grant cycle will have a mid-May application deadline and will be awarded in June. The Fall grant cycle will have a mid-October deadline and will be awarded in November. The School Committee will determine in early May (a) the total amount of funds available for Innovation Grants and (b) how the allocation of these funds will be split between the Spring and Fall Cycles. Additionally, any unused Spring grant cycle funds will be added to the Fall grant cycle.
- Who can apply for an Innovation Grant?
Innovation Grant applications must be submitted by either an individual or team of Ipswich Public Schools faculty and staff. Educators are welcome to work collaboratively to apply for and implement grants.
- Can one person submit more than one grant?
Yes. Educators may submit more than one grant application. However, if a single educator/group of educators is applying for more than one Innovation Grant that complement each other (i.e. Chromebooks for two classrooms in a grade level divided into two Innovation Grants), then applying for a Paine Grant (more than $7,500) should be considered as an alternative.
- Does the Innovation Grant have to be specific to one building?
No. It can be departmental, or you could collaborate with a colleague from another building on a specific project. Administrators of all buildings involved must fully vet and endorse the applications before they are submitted. As previously mentioned, it is also recommended that applicants discuss their intended grant with the Director of Teaching and Learning to ensure district alignment.
- What is the process for approval of Innovation Grants?
The Innovation Grants Committee meets during each grant cycle to review and evaluate all Innovation Grant applications, votes to approve qualifying requests, and then advances them to the Ipswich School Committee for final approval.
- Can I apply for money for professional development?
Yes. Educators can apply for professional development that will allow them to provide an enriching and enhancing experience for students. However, please note that professional development that addresses an educator's ability to provide core curriculum instruction will not be approved as it should be included within the regular professional development budget.
- How do I proceed if my grant involves technology?
Please complete the Technology Approval Form (due to the Technology Director, Keith Borgen, one week before the application due date). This will give the tech team time to determine if the current infrastructure can support the device(s). The Technology Department may also have suggestions and will work with you as needed. Please note that technology alone will not be considered enriching or enhancing. Technology requested must be a tool to facilitate an innovative experience for students.
- How do I determine pricing for technology?
Contact the Technology Director for consultation.
- How do I proceed if my grant involves installation of equipment?
Grant applicants must gain approval from the Facilities Director, Chris Rais, regarding all installations, prior to submission. The Facilities Director will decide whether there is necessary space/support beams/or code clearance prior to an application.
- What vendors can I use to purchase grant items?
A Vendor Review Approval Form needs to be completed as part of the grant application. This form will be filled out by your Principal’s Administrative Assistant, after reviewing any intended purchases submitted with each application. If possible, get a few price quotes from different vendors to be sure the school is getting the best available price. This form helps avoid finding out after the approval process that we cannot purchase from the intended vendor, or that the price may need adjustment up or down due to the school purchasing contracts.
- Should I attach research documents to support my grant application?
No. Pages of research should not be attached to your application; however, citing research or embedding a link to research documents is a good idea in order to support your application.
- How detailed does the “Miscellaneous” section on the budget page have to be?
The “Miscellaneous” section needs to include detailed itemized items. This section cannot be used to cover unforeseen costs and such costs will not be covered by your grant.
- How do stipends work? What determines whether a stipend will be approved?
The pay rate for stipends will be $25.00/hour for work done outside the contracted school day. The policy states that educator(s) working alone or together may include a proposed stipend payment, in an amount not to exceed 10% of the total Innovation Grant request, for time spent preparing, implementing, and assessing the proposal beyond the contracted school day. Stipends will not be granted for writing and managing a grant. Please be specific about what work your stipend will be covering.
- Am I able to reimburse parent volunteers?
Parents will not be reimbursed for mileage; however, if parents purchase items listed on the itemized materials list submitted with the application, monies can be requested for reimbursement.
- Am I able to pay students out of my grant?
No. Students cannot be paid out of grant money.
Please see the IPS website for detailed information regarding Innovation Grant Financial Forms and Procedures.
- What is expected once I receive my grant?
Educators will create a Google page that will be compiled in the FY21 Feoffees Innovation Grant magazine. This magazine will be available to the public on the IPS website and will highlight all of the grants awarded. Essentially, you will just need to complete a few questions about your grant, detailing how the funds were used to enrich or enhance the education of your students. This will replace the Year-End Report.
- When will the grant money be available?
Awarded grant money should be available by August for Spring Cycle grants. If your grant involves summer programming, indicate this on the application and Central Office will do its best to make it available to you after July 1. If supplies are needed for the beginning of classes, please make sure you complete an Innovation Grant Requisition Form and turn it in to your school office before leaving for the summer. Supplies will be ordered as soon as the grant funds become available. Fall Cycle grant funding should be available approximately two weeks after grant acceptance.
- Are budget amendments allowed?
In no event will more than $7,500 be awarded per the Feoffees Policy. To request an amendment to the approved budget, the recipient must email a member of the Innovation Grant committee with detailed information and justification for the request.
- How will site software or related licenses be covered in subsequent years?
All site licenses will need to be covered through building budgets in subsequent years.