Rural schools are the home to a community’s most important natural resource—its young people. Everyone knows the impact one excellent teacher or staff member can have on a student’s life and educational outcomes. But rural school districts can face an uphill battle to support and retain their best and brightest teachers, health professionals, and counselors. Rural districts must do more with less funding. Sometimes that means stretching resources by asking teachers to cover classes that are outside of their primary field of training. Sometimes it means not being able to offer clear support for educators’ professional development. And sometimes, it means losing the brightest educational lights to districts with better funding.
Strong schools serve a vital role in any rural community. Not only are they one of a community’s biggest employers, but they also help shape the community’s identity, pride of place, property values, and perceptions about its future.
The dedicated teachers, health professionals, and counselors in our rural communities make these areas wonderful places to live today while helping our youth become the community’s future. By supporting our teachers in their pursuit of excellence, school administrators can help students, schools, and communities have the best possible outcomes.
That is why the Patterson Family Foundation is excited to announce the Rural School District Educator Development Grant! This grant offers funds that can be awarded by administrators to support the costs of continued education, training, certification, and licensing for public-school-based teachers, health professionals, and guidance and career counselors.
Interested school districts will need to register through the Patterson Family Foundation Grants Portal and submit an application to be considered for this funding. Please note that this is a highly competitive grant process. Applications with the strongest data demonstrating the district’s precise need, how funding will be used, and the outcomes it will enable for both staff and students will have the best chance of being selected. This opportunity is being made available to more than 300 rural and small-town school districts in the Patterson Family Foundation's catchment. Awards for selected schools are anticipated in the range of $10,000 to $150,000.
Applications will be received from May 31 to July 7, 2023. Please read on for more details.
Note: We understand that some districts may need approval from their school board to apply for grant funding. If your school board's schedule does not align with our application deadline, please reach out to us.
Applicant organizations should:
• Be a public school district
• Be located in and serving a county or community within the Patterson Family Foundation's Kansas or Western Missouri catchment
Just so you know, we accept only one application per school district for this program. We recommend that Superintendents (or Assistant Superintendents) complete the application, where possible.
This grant has an award ceiling of $150,000. The Foundation will determine the award amount based on school size, demonstrated need, and project quality.
Awarded grant funding can be used for:
• Certified Kansas/Missouri educators to pursue an advanced degree in the field of education or administration.
• Certified Kansas/Missouri teachers to pursue certification in additional teaching subjects.
• Rural school health and medical professionals to pursue continuing education and training in their field.
• School counselors to pursue continuing education and training in their field.
• Education, training, or licensing for school health care professionals.
• Books or necessary supplies for education, training, or licensing of teachers, counselors, etc.
Funding may not be used for:
• Salary or bonuses for existing staff
• Educator training, certification, or degrees outside of the areas of Education or Administration
• Education, training, or certificates for health and medical professionals outside their current job role
• Tuition costs from non-accredited universities
• Travel expenses
• Fees and administrative costs for individual grant beneficiaries
• Individual grant beneficiaries must have been employed with the awarded school district for at least one year.
• All education, training, or licensing must occur after grant funds are awarded. Funds cannot be used to cover or reimburse the cost of past education, training, or licensing.
At the time of application, grant applicants should be ready to share their school district's general budget.
The application period is from May 31 to July 7, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. All applications must be complete (including required attachments, such as budget documentation.) Districts interested in being considered for this funding will need to register through the Patterson Family Foundation Grants Portal and submit an application.
Some things we'll be curious to learn about your school district’s staff include:
• Any vacant positions (for educators and other staff)
• Any positions that are challenging for your district to hire and retain
• How many of your district's educators hold advanced degrees
Please click here to preview the questions that will be asked in the application process.
Award determinations will be sent to all applicants in mid-August 2023. School districts selected for funding will be sent an Award Letter outlining the terms of the grant agreement. We ask that all grantees sign and return their Award Letter within one week of its receipt.
We are committed to the ongoing success of our grant recipients.
We request that our awardees submit two follow-up reports:
• How grant funds were allocated (one year post-award)
• Comprehensive report with outcomes and deliverables (three years post-award)
Grant funding will be disbursed in September 2023 to awardees. The payment will accompany a Contribution Acknowledgement form. We ask that all awardees sign and return their Contribution Acknowledgment within one week of its receipt.
If you have any questions about this program, please contact:
Adam Erickson, Program Officer
Patterson Family Foundation