Grants for Alternative Schools

A lot of pundits have already foretold long ago that societal changes are inevitable if we are to survive in the future. We need to change what we have been traditionally used to if we want to secure the continuity of our civilization. It’s a good thing then that we are seeing significant changes, especially those that are brought about by modern technological advances. We have the internet that has virtually broken down barriers and expanded our frontiers beyond physical boundaries.

One important change that’s very welcome is our move towards non-traditional education. We now have alternative schools that meet the needs of students who find themselves unable or unwilling to be part of our traditional educational system. The federal government has shown its support to this trend by providing several grants for alternative schools through state agencies. These grants are primarily for the benefit of at-risk students so they can have once again opportunities that have been denied to them in the traditional school setting.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grants

The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation offers a grant program in support of alternative schools around the country. The foundation’s grant is aimed primarily at Hispanic and African American students which research reveal, have the highest rate of dropouts among students in grades 9 to 12. Most of these students leave school without graduating and earning diplomas.

Investing in Innovation Grants

The US Department of Education has a program called Investing in Innovation Fund which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It provides financial assistance to eligible recipients who invest and work to implement innovative practices that help improve student growth and achievements, decrease rates of school dropouts, increase graduation rates in high school, and increase enrollment in college.

The program has three types of funds, namely: scale-up grants, validation grants and development grants. Scale-up grants are given to those projects that shows strong evidence that they can significantly improve student growth and achievements. Validation grants are awarded to those projects that show moderate evidence for the same effect. Development grants are provided to those projects that have high potential but untested, and whose efficacy shall be studied in a systematic way.

Our students are thriving once again thanks to these grants for alternative schools. These schools are responding and doing a great service to students who would otherwise fail to finish high school. They are able to address the special educational, behavioral and social needs of young students who wouldn’t stand a chance in a traditional school, whether public or private. These adolescents now have a chance to pursue higher education and have the success that has been denied to others who didn’t get to study in alternative schools.

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