Completing a Project Description
While the goals and objectives and outcomes are the most critical part of the project description, they are not the only components. You must also provide a narrative introduction and explanations, often a timeline of activities, and a rationale for why you've chosen one method or project over another.
Explain what the need is and link the response and the need statement through measurable objectives. Report local data using footnotes to support the use of research material, and describe how your community's needs are the same or worse than others in the nation.
You may be asked to address several other issues or requirements within the section, including but not limited to the following:
Stakeholder involvement in project design
Partners to the project and their roles
Research findings regarding the project
Projected benefits to constituency
Professional development activities related to the project
Programmatic divisions and separate goals for each
The following sample is in response to a state Department of Education RFP that required a purpose statement and goals and objectives but that did not request outcomes. The available funds were targeted more toward capital expenses for technology equipment or infrastructure.
In this sample response, the granting agent did not assume that an investment in technology would yield social or behavioral change, so it did not request outcome-based measurement.
The purpose of the school district's technology project is to equip the district with a fiber-optic WAN/LAN and to deliver the professional development/ training its staff requires to meet the following goals:
(a) incorporate technology to teach to the state and district outcome standards;
(b) report student achievement of standards to parents, district, and state officials;
(c) improve teaching strategies and methodologies for all students; and
(d) improve communication channels and outreach with parents and community members
All teachers will be required to attend at least fifteen hours of training in one or more of the following, depending on their proficiencies: CIMS, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet, distance learning, using e-mail and listservs, Web site development, and multimedia. Teachers will also participate in multimedia training that will enable them to incorporate voice/video/data opportunities into their classrooms.
Four of the elementary buildings, for instance, have environmental projects dealing with plant life, water resources, air quality, and wetlands. Fiberoptic lines would provide video capabilities to enable the teachers to share their school-ground environmental laboratories across the district. Teachers could also use the voice-video-data transfers to address shared concerns, become members of interdistrict learning groups, or communicate with the administrative office or parents of their students.
Classes for teachers on distance learning and maximizing their use of the fiber-optic WAN/LAN will be offered during the school year on release time or on an alternate schedule as proposed by staff.
Within one year, teachers will submit information about curriculum, homework, and standards for addition to the district Web site. Teachers will be encouraged and supported to develop their own Web sites to enhance communication with students, parents, and community members. In addition, teachers will develop e-mail connections between themselves and parents/students so that parents might contact teachers regarding specific questions about their children and students can submit homework or questions electronically.
Students without home computers will be encouraged to access Web sites from the multimedia computer labs in the upper-grade buildings and from the media-room computer in elementary schools. All students, beginning in third grade, will participate in at least one e-mail correspondence with their teacher(s).
GOALS AND ACTIVITIES
Goals and activities/objectives are summarized here:
Incorporate technology to teach to the state and district outcome standards; to report student achievement of standards to parents, district, and state officials; and to improve teaching strategies and methodologies for all district students.
Objective 1.1: By December, 2002, install fiber-optic WAN-LAN to intra-and interconnect all school buildings.
Objective 1.2: By August, 2003, connect Student-Report System soft-ware for tracking student achievement of standards, attendance, course outlines, and syllabi. Select software that can look for trends among standards and desegregate student achievement by standard.
Objective 1.3: By July, 2003, connect all computers to the district's intranet and to the Internet.
Objective 1.4: By June, 2004, provide professional development courses in distance learning and use of VVD lines to share classroom activities.
Improve communication channels and outreach with parents and community members.
Objective 2.1: By December, 2003, establish a district-wide e-mail system.
Objective 2.2: By December, 2003, require teachers to submit information for inclusion on district Web site.
Objective 2.3: By June, 2004, establish listservs to facilitate communication between teachers and parents.
Tips that you can learn from this sample include the following:
Whenever possible, provide concrete examples of program activities or strategies. It makes the project come alive for the reader and assures them that you really plan to move from theory to action.
When neither the grant money nor the organization can ensure equal access to programs or equipment by all the target population, you must provide a solution. In this case, kids without home computers can use the media center at the school in the evening.
It's not enough to apply for grants to purchase computers because your school needs them. Explain what you'll use them for and how they will improve educational outcomes for all students.