Creative Collaborations to Address Funding Cuts

Can collaboration lead to new funding?

Can collaboration lead to new funding?


I love creating PD and curriculum to make learning rich, engaging, and powerful! I can talk about it all day! Along with the opportunity to do the work comes the need to fund it. We’ve been fortunate to have sufficient funds to keep Total Learning going for several years. Now the funding is harder, and so more time is spent planning and seeking.

Today I spoke to a prominent scholar at the CT State Department of Education. His programs support multicultural education, gender equity, and anti-bullying. These all overlap with and inform Total Learning’s philosophy and practice.

He told me it’s a terrible time to seek funding. SDE funding has been cut for several important programs, including a multicultural conference that drew 1800 attendees a year, a 3 day summer institute on bullying, and Title IX training.

A few thoughts:

  1. Funding for multicultural, equity and anti-bullying efforts are particularly needed now, as our world is rife with hatred and dogma, and interpersonal skills and understanding are so underdeveloped! Education without a moral compass is dangerous, but also ineffective. The social issues eventually lead to a weak learning environment where children sabotage learning.
  2. Those of us who are seeking funding for initiatives that make a difference must become advocates for and collaborators with others who are also doing good and related work. Through partnerships and collaborative efforts, we can construct systems that might be more likely to find the funding we need.
  3. We ask our students to learn more about others they do not know, because once you have learned about someone it is harder to objectify them. We need to do the same as educational leaders, so we understand where there are synergies. We may be stronger together than separately.

If we all are spending so much time finding fewer available funds, that means we also are spending less time creating the approaches that are needed to move education and society forward. Finding like-minded collaborators seems like a smart step.  I can start with my new colleague at the SDE!

Dearborn secures funding for Total Learning materials!

Kudos go out to Lisa Meyer, Director of Music for Dearborn, MI Public Schools!

First, Lisa arranged for all music teachers to pilot Total Learning Digital this year. We had one day of in-person PD, and then have met each month on their Late Start Wednesdays. We use Google Plus for our video chats, which are incredibly lively and informative! The Dearborn teachers are awesome professionals. You will find Dearborn teacher entries in the chat room, and in Share What Works!

THEN, Lisa applied for several grants to provide the teachers with the materials they would need for successful implementation. $9,000 came from the school district, and $18,000 from the Dearborn Education Foundation! The district placed the order, and today, as I post this message, the teachers are picking up their new materials!

Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until its done.” Lisa is a living example of the can-do attitude that leads to success. It’s what’s right for kids. Brava!

Lisa Meyer (in purple) listening to her staff members during fall PD

Lisa Meyer (in purple) listening to her staff members during fall PD