Wow, a lot has happened in the couple of weeks since the last weekend update. So this update is devoted to a quick run-down on what's been happening...the details will be covered in separate, future communications.
First, the big news on SEED
The biggest news, of course, is the announcement that the NWP received one of three grants from the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program, part of Title II. You can read more about the award in NWP Site Leaders at Connect.
We know you are all interested in what this means for your site, and as we learn more about the associated expectations from the DOE about reporting and evaluation, we will be sending you more information. But we can tell you something about the big picture.
The SEED grant will provide support for several distinct funding streams and opportunities that sites can choose to apply for. These funding streams are distinct and address specific priorities that the SEED program supports. One of those priorities is teacher leadership and can be addressed through summer institutes, advanced institutes, and leadership development programs. Another is professional development for high-need schools and can be addressed by many of the programs that NWP sites conduct with schools and districts. In other words, you will be able to access funding for the kinds of programs and activities that have always been part of your core work.
However, it is important to note that this federal grant is different from the federal appropriation NWP received in the past. Instead of applying for a single, all-encompassing site grant, sites will apply for the specific funding opportunities they are interested in. Sites might apply for one, for all, or for none of the funding streams we will be able to make available.
Since this represents a shift in the way sites are used to applying for funding from NWP, we are working to pull together the entire package of information and expectations for you in the near future, including opportunities for you to ask questions at the Spring meeting, online, and through conference calls.
In the meantime, the Site Review yields a new resource
Only the SEED grant could overshadow our next big piece of news. Earlier in March, nearly 30 site leaders and NWP staff met in Austin, TX to conduct a new version of the annual Site Review. It was a pleasure to read Site Reports from across the network and to see that despite the challenges of last year (no question!), sites were finding their way through. It was exciting to read about how sites were accomplishing this, and it's even more exciting to have a way to share what 30 of us were privileged to read with the whole network.
So, in the next day or so sites will receive a special bulletin announcing the availability of a new online resource called The Model at Work. It is a collection of ideas, resources, and reflections drawn from the site reports and will be available to you as a website. Look for the link in a Site Bulletin in a day or so and plan to listen to NWP Radio on March 22 as a team of site leaders who participated in creating the website talk about what they learned and how they will use it.
Spring meeting and advocacy in general
All this news gives us lots to talk about in the coming months. We look forward to seeing many of you in Washington, DC for the Spring Meeting and at the USN Conference where we can discuss more about the SEED grants and about advocacy in general. We are pleased that Congress included the SEED program in the 2012 budget plan, and we credit the determined advocacy of so many (including you all) for this result. Now we are looking to 2013.
In the next month, the Senate and the U.S. House Appropriations Committees will be moving forward with their FY2013 federal budget legislation. It is important to encourage the Appropriations Committees to include funding for the SEED grant program in the 2013 budget so that NWP and other national non-profits can continue to compete for federal funding. Many of you have encouraged your Senators and Representatives to sign on to a Dear Colleague letter to that effect. You can see how that effort is going by checking the Site Leaders community in Connect.
Of course, if you have questions at any time, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Bob Jobin at 215-665-1400 x3348.
And one more thing
And as if that isn't enough news, we can also tell you that you will see a brand new, redesigned homepage for the regular NWP website in the coming weeks. Nothing else will be changed—all the content behind the homepage remains unchanged and all your bookmarks will remain stable. But the new homepage will offer a more streamlined, up-to-date look for our network. We hope you like it as much as we do.