Hey y'all. I hope you're having a great day today. This episode I sit down with Kish Russell. She is a proven grant writing expert based in San Antonio, Texas. Kish has worked in education for over 20 years. She's got certifications out the wazoo from EC education through her superintendent cert. She's done lots of different stuff. She's been a kindergarten classroom teacher, and taught college students. And now she works consulting with public and charter schools with districts with even higher ed institutions, providing phenomenal dynamic guidance on all things grant writing in compliance. You can buy her books, you can buy her courses, hire her consulting services, or check out some phenomenal free resources she has on her website. It's Kish russell.com. That's kishrussell.com I hope you enjoy hearing from Kish as much as I did. I've got kiss Russell here with me grants and compliance specialist. I barely know what that means. So I am so excited to kind of get into it and figure out all this stuff and this podcast that we're doing. Our kind of goal and mission is to help campus leaders especially can build leaders who are new to the job, or just feel under resourced and feel like they have more questions than answers and don't know who to ask to get some good answers. And so thankfully, we've got some awesome people to ask questions. And I'm really excited about that. So Kish, um, tell me a little bit about yourself, tell me what school was like for you, where you're from, kind of how you got to where you are today.
Thank you. Um, so I started off as a kindergarten teacher many years ago, working in Houston, ISD, there was a high poverty campus. The needs of the students were really great. The the parents, the language skills, communicating what they needed to bring for school. The it was hard to break that barrier for the kids needed what they needed in school. And so the crayons and the backpacks and the glue, and the scissors and all of that stuff, the school provided some of it, but in kindergarten, you go through a lot of it. There's a lot of using and consuming all the different materials that go into school. So with getting $27,000 a year for my, my first teaching job was, you know, spending most of my my paycheck on my, my classroom was really not sustainable financially. So that's when I started asking for a support from local businesses I write on letterhead, would you be willing to donate 50 $100 to help us buy school supplies, art supplies, backpacks. And so from that grew my success of wanting to reach out and and do bigger grants. And so over the years, I've learned, I've gotten a lot of nose and I've also gotten a lot of yeses. And so now working in as a kindergarten teacher for 10 years, I also worked in San Antonio ISD. And then that grew my experience as well and asking for money. And in 2008, I transitioned to district grant writer for state Antonio ISD.
Okay, so how did you make that jump?
Well, at the time, I was an overworked teacher. I was like, I was the Gifted and Talented coordinator. I was mentoring to new teachers. I was x dyslexia coordinator for my campus. So all of that I was like, I need I need something else besides teaching. So I went into I applied for the district grant writer job. And I remember when I interviewed for it, that of course that position has to go before the board. Okay, so it's like a, like a six week timeframe between your interview and when you actually get selected. So I'm teaching and I get this. Someone comes in my classroom and says hrs on the phone for you. And I was like, no, what happened? Right? So they were saying that I'd gotten the job for grant writer and I was like, Oh, wait, you know, I'm, this is an October we're getting ready for Halloween and All the office stuff. with ease. And so that was my first a professional grant writer.
Did you have like any formal training before that? Or did you just kind of figure it out out of necessity?
My My heart was always to, to get the kids the best that they can have. Because working in high poverty schools, you know, I've always felt that you need to kids, just despite where they live, or what family or their low income, they should always get the best, like high quality education opportunities for all students no matter where they are. And so grants, when I would ask, Oh, well, can we do this? Or can we buy this? And? And the response was, there's no money, I will, I didn't let that stop me. So that's where I started, you know, asking for money. And then figuring out grant applications are pretty standard. They want to know, you know, what your background story is, or they want to know what the needs are, or what problem is going to be solved with the with the funds, what your plan for using the funds are, who's going to be managing and responsible for implementing the program, the budget, they want to know how much you, you want to break down, what you're going to use the funds for, and then connect it to all of your goals. And your problem. Everything has to connect. Yeah, it's very important, and then how you're going to evaluate the effectiveness of it. So it's pretty much a standard process that all grants ask for. So with that understanding, jumping into a grant, I always look for those components. So that way I can structure and strategize how to complete grant applications.
Okay. So then, so now you're kind of the grant officer, it for the district. Was that right?
Yeah, well, for the district, I was just the grant writer. So once the grants were awarded, then it would pass on to the next staff member in the district to manage and monitor all of that. And then after doing that, for three and a half years, I got my master's degree. Okay, principal certification, which led me into federal programs compliance coordinator for San Antonio ISD. Again, okay, cool. So I did both the competitive grants, and then the formula funded grant. So I have both experience on both sides. Okay,
this competitive grants, how did you go about choosing what to pursue versus what not to pursue?
So each year, we would create a strategic plan? Or would the district improvement plan was kind of what led us to identifying what our priorities for funding are, and then sometimes a need would arise? Like when we got a large population of certain migrant students, or there were students in the middle school, that we're dropping out of school, we're trying to capture those students back into the school district. So the the grant funds would be targeted, and prioritized for serving those specific needs.
Now, as you go from a teacher that was kind of just asking local businesses for money into a grant writing position. Where did you kind of start? Where can teachers start to look for money when they maybe want to go from just asking local businesses to pursuing larger grants? Or, you know, like, how does that? How can teachers do that?
So the first, like the easy, one thing to keep in mind with grants is it's not an overnight like, you asked for money, and then they handed it can be a very long process. So the letter of support letter of request is what I usually recommend to get started with, and it's just usually campus letterhead, write your need, what the problem that you're, you're going to solve with the money, how much money and then just put a simple one page request together. Give it to your local banks, your businesses, anyone? Real estate agents, insurance companies are very good about giving back.
Have you found $1 amount that seems to like, be the ticket that you know, if you ask for $500 that typically get no what how should teachers know how much to ask for?
No, that's a good question. So I recommend looking at what It's reasonable unnecessary for your for whatever you're wanting to do if you're wanting to buy school supplies, you know, 100 $200, or I like to create like a per pupil cost. So if I have 20 students in my classroom, I would say, you know, $10 per student, you know, would be a reasonable cost. And that's just, you know, example. But, but creating that, that kind of breakdown, it helps you as a grant writer, or asking for money to know what is reasonable, because sometimes people will, they'll get really lofty Oh, we want $50,000. And I'm like, Well, what are you gonna do with the $50,000? Oh, well, we need to buy. Yeah. Notebooks and paper? And I'm like, Well, do you need 50,000 or, you know, that's usually a request for or you add staff into the mix, right, you'll trigger travel, rotation. So it's trying to create a reasonable a methodology on, on how much to ask for is always good. And also, like, a very popular grant. To get started with, it's like, Lowe's will have a Sure. A school grant and it's not very long, it's maybe, you know, five or six questions, you just fill in the blanks. And that's a really good starting point at Target has one as well, Walmart, they have really easy grant applications you can get started with. And with those, it's usually, you know, what are you? What is the need? Tell us about your organization? And our How are the funds going to be used? Yeah. And a lot of times, they don't know how much to ask for. But yeah, like I said, being reasonable on looking through what exactly your budgets gonna go for? It's gonna be a very helpful method
for that makes sense? How can campus leaders support and empower teachers to do this, take some time, it takes energy to do all this research to start to understand something that you might not have understood. What can campus leaders do to help teachers? What did your canvas leader do to help empower you to start writing grants? Or did they what could they have done differently? Or what would you like to see in a dream scenario that, that a campus leader can do to help their teachers do this grant writing process when they already feel like I can't do another thing? Like how can I get add to my plate? So how can how can our leaders support us in that?
I think I'm allowing time. Okay. Now, I know time is precious. So maybe allowing a substitute day for that teacher to work on the grant might be one way to do it. Because that's one of the things that I always needed was more time trying to figure out how to manage that with my current workload was right. Always a challenge?
Okay. Anything else that you could think of? Or? Like, how can how can campus administrators? Is there a resource that they can give to teachers like, hey, you know, I think we should like, this would be a great way you need some money for costumes for this recital, or you need supplies, or you whatever it is that the kids need? How can like, Where can we go to find like, you know, is there a resource other than just like Target Walmart WinCo, you know, the those to kind of help give us a jumpstart to where we can ask money? Or is it just trial and error?
So the Texas Education Agency has a has a website, okay, that's very popular in it the has a grant opportunities link at the top of their homepage, and you click on that, and then it has a drop down of so many different grant opportunities that are available. And those are kind of nice grants, because they're there. This state does a really good job of formatting it into into a way that anyone could fill out an application. And then they give the guidelines. So you look at the guidelines, and you try to match what they're wanting to fund. So if it's for an after school program, then all of your needs are going to be well, why do you need an after school program? What is the needs assessment that that you've done to determine this? Yes, this grant is going to be a good fit. So I would highly recommend that is one of the starting points and The state also provides a lot of good training and technical assistance on how to do those, like they'll put webinars on, and they'll post them in there all of those grant resources. And then the other nice thing they also do is the Texas Education Agency has grants awarded. So they have a webpage where it has lists all the grants that were awarded, okay. And it lists the app, the actual applications that were submitted. Oh, wow. So you can see like how other people wrote up their application, and learn from like, their, what they put in there is just, I find it to be a very helpful process to see her with that as a resource. That's
awesome. That's a great Launchpad. So back to your story. Yes. So now you're working on both the federal grants. And were you just doing like the federal grants at that point in time?
Yes. So the title one, title two, Title Three, state compensatory education. All of those grant funds were and private nonprofit schools was a big part of work. Yes. And like I had a team at first, I didn't have a very large team, because there was, as we built up our the team in our federal programs department, then we started making really good strides with compliance because compliance monitoring with as large of a school we had 99 school wide campuses. Wow. To me, so yeah, it was a lot of work. But yeah, amazing team.
Cool. So how long did you did you do that for?
I did that for about three, almost four years. And then I went to private sector as a grant consultant. And so I was the vice president of that organization for about almost three, three and a half years. Okay. And then I went in 2018, I started my own grant consulting.
So, so tell me, I want to I want to know about, you know, if someone is really connecting to what you're saying, and they want more information, tell us about like, what services you offer. I know, one of my canvas leader friends has said, you know, no one, no one tells you about all the paperwork and like how much you don't realize, you know, when you step into this job, so tell me like, what services, what are you doing now.
So, I'm very responsive to the needs of my clients. So any school district, I work with school districts, charter schools, and then there are some private companies that reach out to me to help them communicate grants that are available for their clients. So I will provide that service as well. So anything from Grant searching where somebody school district says, you know, we just need somebody to find grants within these focus areas to meet our financial and fiscal needs this year. And so then I'll hone my search, my search for those grants as they come available, or is there they're announced. So I look at the US Department of Education website, the grants.gov, or the state, the Office of the Governor, the Texas Education Agencies, website, foundation grants, any foundations that so the foundation, there's a really good resource. That's kind of an outside of the box grant approach. It's the foundation directory. And it's, it's usually most libraries, public libraries have access to it. Otherwise, it's a very expensive program to have to purchase a subscription. Okay, so I recommend your public library. But it's a nice database where it's wealthy benefactors that want to give money, but they don't have like a, they don't have like a foundation set up. So they'll donate money, or they'll create a like, a mini foundation within the foundation directory. And with close opportunities for schools to school districts, people who are looking for scholarship money, the there's so many differenti
or just foundations that have money and don't really know who to give it, right.
Okay. So it's an opportunity and usually their process is a lot quicker. Like they they'll have like three or four reviews request each year. And then the application is usually like a two page letter that you write and you tell them what you need. And sure, or there may be an application but it's very easy process to, to go through and then the using that foundation directory as a resources is very good idea.
Yeah. Awesome. So you kind of you one of the things that you do is help people find grants for what they need, what are some other things that you're doing now?
So I also after, like, if they find a grant that they're interested in, then I will help them. I usually all school districts are required to do a needs assessment annually for their district rates, and they're their district improvement plan. So I'll use that as kind of the the basis and then meet with them. And I'll say, Okay, well, here's the needs I'm seeing in your plan is there are there other needs that are give me more context for so create, like an interview with them to know exactly what what why this grant is going to be the one to help them with their, with whatever needs that they have. And then also, I, I scoped the grant out very carefully, so that way, they know like, you have to have matching funds for this grant. And what that means for them is, if they get $100,000, then they have to match it by 25% of that grant. So then sometimes they're not aware, they're like, Oh, well, I don't know if we have that money to match. So maybe not at this time, or sometimes the grant isn't a short deadline, like it's a six month window, and then by the time they hire somebody for a position for a staff, for the grant, then you know, three months has gone by and then you know, they they're not going to be able to use. So sometimes I look for those little things, knowing my my client's needs and how they operate. So that way, they're not wasting time and money on a grant opportunity, that is not going to work for them. And then I also application service or proposal development, okay, so I'll work with them. And I'll write create narratives. And look at look from their needs, I'll create a narrative that that demonstrates like their strengths and within their community, their infrastructure, their capacity to implement a grant opportunity, and also utilize census data. So that way, it really connects it to because of course, all it we shouldn't be writing grants on assumptions, oh, well, they need the money. Well, why did they need the money? Well, they have the census data shows the community, you know, the median income is $32,000, a year or something. There's a lot of English learners or not native English speakers in the area. So you know, we need to create programs to help them get jobs and education and other resources that may be necessary. Yeah.
So tell me that, that really interests me the narrative creation, why that's so important. In grant writing,
I think telling the story. And not just like, like with straight facts, but creating, like the picture like this is our community. And this is the work we do, and this is the success we've experienced. But we just need this grant to boost us to the next level to really support because we've identified in all the work that we do, what are the gaps in our services that we provide that really need this grant to really help us create a more robust program and services for our community?
To me that's so compelling to think about and think about, you know, art my, our little school, and yeah, I really liked that. It's not something I think about when thinking about grant writing, you know, you think about the numbers and the budgets and the whole of that, but what compels someone to want to grant money is is that narrative and that story? That seems really important? Yes. Yes. So other than I know that you also do some work with compliance helping schools stay compliant. Tell me more about that.
Yes. So after the when the
grant Sure, yeah. Okay. Got the money.
times there. They don't know where to start. Sure. So that's where I've, I've created six books on grant compliance. Okay. So after the grants are awarded, then they know how to manage and monitor everything. So from creating a strategic plan, their improvement, their improvement plans, to their needs assessments to structuring jobs. descriptions, how to create a job description that's tied and aligned to the purpose of the grant show. How to Create a allowable and unallowable uses of funds, because sometimes you have people who get the grant, and they're like, Oh, well, we want to spend the money this way. And I'm like, Okay, well, wait, it needs to be focused on Yeah, the way that they want to allocate the funds. So you can't it's not just, you know, having that structure, and that, that plan in place, allows them the the clear understanding and picture of how to run and manage their program for success. Sure. Okay. And then also the evaluation, because that's in the reporting. So once you get the money, sometimes there's reporting that goes along with it. And you also have to evaluate it and give that that data and those results back to the funding agents. Sure. And then sometimes, knowing the agency will give you up front, what metrics that they want to see reported at the end of your program year, which is really helpful, because then you know, how to create your your SIR, if, if you're collecting survey data, or facettes. Okay, sure, you can start Oh, yeah, yes. And okay.
Okay, gosh, this just seems like it would take so much time and so much resources to, to manage all of that. What, tell me some, what are some of the primary mistakes that you see campus level administrators or district level administrators making when when both applying for grants but then also staying compliant?
Of Well, I one of the, the common things I see is, you have to plan with the end in mind. Okay, so like, when you're doing a grant, you have to say, Okay, if it's, I would say at least four weeks to put on an average rate, if you need at least four weeks, if it's within two weeks, that's that you could run the risk of not getting everything together in time, you can do it. But you have to really know know what your schedule is like, and the time that's, that goes into the grant. Because really, I would say, eight weeks is a prime time to really plan and structure your pace yourself accordingly. Because sometimes you need, you need to get other people in your district involved. From you know, your budget, people need to know, you know, help you without, you know, structuring how to set the budget up, or you have your principals who may need to I talking with them and meeting with them. Like, if we get this, this program, we're going to need to purchase new curriculum, or we're going to need to purchase computers, and then your purchasing department also needs to be involved, because there's a procurement process that goes along, especially with federal dollars, you can't just go to the store and go and buy any computer, you have to follow their their procurement rules and approved vendors. So there's a lot of planning that goes into into place and knowing who your key collaborators are, from your district administration, okay, to, to all of your business and operations. And sometimes if it's like for field trips, you need to coordinate with your transportation department, or if it's snacks with your food and nutrition, you need to be involved in all of that planning process. So there's a lot of coordination that needs to go on. And then knowing but I would say planning and pacing yourself. So that way, you get everything accomplished within a timely manner. And also, when you're submitting a grant, the authorized official is usually the one who submits it, not the grant writer. Okay. So that's usually the superintendent. So you cannot give him last minute him or her last minute notice and say, Oh, well, we need you to submit. Well, you need to give it to him a week in advance. This is our almost final draft, this is what we're doing. Because otherwise you can put yourself in a position where they're not available. Right. And then you'll be at risk right? meeting the deadline.
Right. Okay. So often not giving themselves enough time. Yes. To go through that. Are there seasons to certain grants? Is there kind of a time of year that seems like okay, this is when a lot of grants come online. So eight weeks before that time is kind of when you can start doing the research or 10 weeks or 12 weeks before that? Is there a seasonality to like private and competitive grants,
most of the time, yes, they'll structure their, their grants. So that way they can, either for the new year. So the between September and December is when a lot of the grants will come out for the new year. Okay. So that way they can plan for their spending for corporate giving for those timeframes. And then the state grants are a lot of times based on legislative priorities. For example, the school safety standards grant that's out currently was they announced it ta announced it last year, but then they were waiting for all of the legislative finalizing everything before they actually released it, which it's due February 17.
Okay, so does that seems like that kind of maybe cycles with the school year come the fall? Things are made available applications are open for the next calendar year? Okay. That's good to know. What are some other things that that campus leaders can do to help give themselves more time when grant writing and applying for grants
having a really good needs assessment in place, and then improvement plan is going to be if once you have that in place, then you have most of the information you need to just get started? Because everything should align with your plan and your needs. And if you have that in place, then really any grant opportunity is going to be a lot easier for
you. What makes a needs assessment, a good needs assessment? Like how do you how would Canvas leaders know if they've got a good needs assessment or not? If it's
really looking at all of the data. So in the different there's common categories, your demographics, your curriculum and instruction, your staffing needs, your operational needs of parent and family engagement, technology, then your school context and culture. School Safety is a big one right now. And then your college and career readiness assessments. Those are very common areas. So having needs identified in each of those different categories is really going to be helpful to determine you know, any need for a grant opportunity. Okay.
If, uh, you know, I'm thinking of campus leaders in smaller rural schools, that might that might be wearing a lot of different hats that might be superintendent and principal, and parent liaison and all the different things. If they are kind of hearing this and thinking, you know, I would like to have a more holistic and complete needs assessment. How can they fix that problem?
That is a good question is a very common problem, but where it's the time it is time, but it really, but it's, it is a federal requirement that the needs assessment annually. So I think having them identify and have a specific date, that's what I always recommend is that you schedule your needs assessment, like time, every, like the first Monday of September, or the first Monday of May. So you do your needs assessment in May for the upcoming school year, and then revisited in September for the current year, because sometimes you develop a needs assessment in the spring, and then, you know, projecting what you're going to have and then the school year starts, surprise. So that's a very helpful process to have in place. But really honoring that date as your, your needs assessment. So that way, it doesn't, nothing else can get in the way and then have a backup date, because sometimes something happens without one day.
Yeah, right. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, great. So you'll kind of act as a consultant and help great officers kind of go through this process. Who do you mostly work with? Do you mostly work with district level officials or campus level?
Most of the time, it's assistant superintendents. Some for the smaller districts, it'll be the superintendent who will reach out to me. So a lot of and then from there, they'll I'll ask who my point of contact will be. So that way I can make requests and then I create them. After the grant is selected. Then I'll go through the grant identify all the information that's needed. And then A lot of it, I'll, we'll try to get from the needs assessment and the improvement plan. But then whatever you know, is not available in those documents, then fill in the blanks with that. And usually that takes place in an interview, I'll schedule a meeting with them. And it may be a few meetings, because sometimes they'll bring other people in with questions. You know, a grant should be a collaborative process and not just be one person doing every doing making all the decisions for the for the grant. So it's really nice to get other people's input into now I have seen some people will say, Okay, I want you to write this part and you to write this part and you to write this part. And the challenge that comes about sometimes is that the, the voice in the grant is not the same. So you can, that is a good process to delegate that work out. But then have one person come back, and then look at the narrative to create that singular voice. And so that way, it's it's all a focused approach.
Yeah, okay. That's good to know. I also, I know that you like will come to schools or districts and do some kind of PD or training. Tell me more about that.
Yes. So sometimes, all depending on what type of service they want, if it's pre op, pre application, or if it's post application, I'll come and do trainings for, for them on, like, what the grants about how to get set up how to get it structured, and then I'll create a plan for like, this is the first phase, our needs assessment phase, and then we're going to create our plan. So that way, between that eight week time period, hopefully, that's okay. We'll create that plan to make sure that it's phase everything spaced out, no one's rushed and stressed out, because no one has that that's in it not good for anyone to be stressed about these things. There's other I always tell them, you know, you do you excel at what you do best. And let me excel at this part, and getting all this together. So that way you can continue your work is as what it's supposed to be.
Yeah. Talk to me about that about what happens in a in a district once you've been able to walk them through that process with their first big grant.
So it's, I try to minimize the burden on the district as much as I can. Because as a grant writer, you know, I have access to, you know, a lot of information. And so and then doing research with all of the different data sources, because you want to put it with best practices, any grant should be based on best practices. Unless it is a pilot, then that's another type of grant. So having them were the I'm sorry, I think I forgot your question. I was thinking on something else. And
that's okay. That's okay. I just I'm wondering what happens to a district, you know, they bring they feel like they know that there's grants out there, they, they don't really know, either how to access them or just want more training or want to be able to do a better job of that. So when they bring you on, is that the kind of thing that like, once you've walked through that the first time, then doing it again, and again and again, is easier?
Yes. So it creates a method for them to know how to start it, how to process it in the middle, and then how to complete it. So having one and having an example. Because a lot of times, when you write a grant, some that person may have written the grant in the district, and then they move or they should transfer, they go to a different position. And then that computer wherever that grant was stored, is they don't know where to find it. So that's where I, I like to create a hit like a historical record for the district. So they can anyone can access, they just call me up and say, you know, that grant we wrote two years ago, do you have a copy of it, and then I get it to them so that way they can know what was written and what they did last time. So it gives them a good starting point where you're not starting from scratch. Because your your story is your story. For the most part, your needs do change, right. But your organization, the the mission, and the vision is always going to be a consistent message throughout any grant application. So having that, that historical, and I always recommend that when a grant is written, that it's stored in a location or a place that anyone can access. It's not on one person's computer, but it's an issue or drive or a server that can be accessed? Sure. Right? Whenever,
right? Yeah. Make sense, and not walk off with whoever wrote it would be some some of the easiest to get and easiest to manage grants for campus level leaders or teachers.
So I recommend anything under $10,000. Okay, because $10,000 is a pretty manageable grant, when you get, well, 50,000 10,000 are pretty reasonable, you get into the 100,000, that's when all the reporting gets into play. And then you have to make sure that you have the staff and the time to do all the reporting for that. So that's probably a good threshold to keep to, to use for any grants, because sometimes the grant will have specific requirements that you have to follow and manage, sure, looking at their data requirements is going to be very helpful. So like I mentioned before, like your Walmart, Target, Lowe's, Home Depot, those kind of grants, banks also have grants that they give out, that are going to be less burdensome force for schools to manage easy. And sometimes the the turnaround time is a little quicker, when because they'll have multiple cycles of funding requests. So that way, it gives you access to the money, right, in a shorter timeframe. Okay. And a lot of times, looking at grants, I will say you have to be careful, because some grants are they're posed as grants, but they really cost you money. Any grant that costs you money is not a grant, you should not have to pay money. Or sometimes they'll say, Oh, well, you get 50% off, well, that's a coupon. Or, or were some companies will say, Oh, well, we have this grant for our product. But you get 50% off, well, that's a discount. And you can only buy their product, it's not like you can buy anyone else's product. So right.
Okay, those are good things to keep in mind. Yes. So what would be some common restrictions that teachers or campus leaders or district leaders would need to watch out for?
So a lot of grants require a 501 C three status, tax exempt status. So most school districts do not have tax exempt status. So they need to either work with their education foundation, and utilize their 50501 C three status to access that grant? Yeah, sometimes it requires that there sam.gov registration is active. And if that's not active, or it's expired, then that can also limit access to grants, because that's where grants all the federal and the state grants should rely on that registration to be active. Okay. And so that's a very important one, too. And then sometimes its geographical location that the grant will specify, we want to serve only projects that are going to serve this geographic location. If there
is like one thing that you would like every Canvas leader to know, what would that one thing be?
Keep trying, okay, just try the first time you do it, it may not may not work out. But you just have to keep going build on your success. And then before you know it, your your success rate will increase just like with any athlete, you just the first time you throw the basketball, why not go in the hoop, but then you keep trying and you keep trying and eventually you'll you'll win the game.
Yeah, that's, that's good to especially getting nose over and over again, like isn't easy. But that that's good.
Well, that makes me think about another tip that's useful. So looking at a grant if they're only making five awards, okay, oh, across the whole nation, okay, you have to know that there are probably going to get 1000s of applications. And so if you're going to decide to invest the time and energy into that grant, you your grant will need to be really compelling. really innovative to make it to that top five category. Right. So that was one of my one of my first grants I wrote was for the Toyota tapestry grant, okay, for a garden for our school. Okay, and I remember I was so excited. I did and I put so much time and energy. And then they only awarded 10 grants that year. And they had 1000s of applications. But you know, I tried Yeah, I got my, my practice in for, for writing a grant. So it all leads to good things.
And then Tommy had asked about, like sharing a success story, I'd love to hear a story about a district or a campus that worked really hard either with you or just to get a grant and what, what they can do with that to just encourage campus leaders listening that feel like, that sounds great. But I don't have time for that. Or, you know, I would love to be able to do that. But I just can't. We know that it's worth that time and energy. But I'd love to hear story about about it being worth that time and energy.
Yes. Well, one grant that stands out, in my mind is in San Antonio ISD, there was a program that was the dropout recovery program, okay. And so there were a lot at a particular campus, there were a lot of kids who were in the juvenile detention centers or lots of lots of trouble in their lives. And so, the program, the grant, provided a mentoring with a specific program that did the ankle monitors, the bracelets. And then, so the stories that came back from the families and the teachers were so impactful that like these kids who, and the great thing about the grant, it was not just the ankle monitors, but it also gave them every student got a phone call every morning. Good morning, this is your friendly, wake up call, you know, today, don't forget you have this doing your homework, or did you finish that homework assignment, so someone was constantly checking in on them. For for it was a very, it was a very expensive program, but it was a very impactful program. And those kids ended up graduating, you know, finishing that these were middle school kids that were going to be, you know, dropping out of school getting in trouble. But now, you know, after hearing the stories, and it was a three year grant program, and just that, it was just beautiful.
Yeah, that sounds so cool. Is there anything else that you would like to share with our audience or anything else that you would like to I heard that maybe you have a new book? Yeah. Tell us about that.
Yes. I just published my state compensatory education, compliance by design. Okay. So that is to help the school districts to know how to manage and monitor all the compliance with state requirements. For at risk kids, it's all about you know, how to identify the students correctly, get them coded in the system. Get there, the connected with the support services, and the district, creating their budgets and their allocations, monitoring progress of those students to make sure that they they meet their close the achievement gaps in reading and math specifically. So then also the program evaluation, evaluating the effectiveness of those services for our students. So, yes, awesome. So
where can we find that?
Oh, on my website, yes. Kiss, kiss russell.com forward slash books and trainings. Okay. Yes. Good.
Thank you so much. This was amazing. Thanks, everyone that watched live or live after the fact. This will be on our podcast when we start releasing episodes, and we'll be sure to let you know so you can share that with your people too. Thank you. Thank you so much. There you go. Folks, I hope that you found that as insightful and informative as I did, I loved getting to talk with Kesh. If you have any questions or would like to be connected with Kish or find out more, you're always welcome to email me Beth at responsive learning.com Or you can go to Chris's website. It's Kish russell.com kishrussell.com. She's got a lot of great tools and resources for you there. This production is made possible by the work of Erwin saalbach. He does the music for this that you hear right now. That's Erwin. And he does all of the production editing for this podcast. Our logo and design work is by Alana Conroy. And all of this is made possible from the books our responsive learning I hope you guys enjoy, have a great rest of your day.
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