Grant Funding for Student Success
Numerous grant opportunities are available to Illinois public school districts. Whether from federal or state sources, grant money allows financially prudent districts to fund a variety of programs they might not otherwise be able to afford.
Fully cognizant of its responsibility to taxpayers, District 401 diligently seeks grant funding each year to support innovative programs for student success.
Three important sources of grant funding come from the federal government. Known respectively as Title I, Title II and Title III grants, these programs are administered at the state level through the Illinois State Board of Education.
Descriptions of each program are located below.
Title I Grants
Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended in 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs — i.e., school districts) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.
Title I schools with percentages of students from low-income families of at least 40 percent may use Title I funds, along with other federal, state and local funds, to operate a schoolwide program to upgrade the instructional program for the whole school. District 401 is schoolwide at the Early Childhood Center, Elmwood Elementary School, John Mills Elementary School and Elm Middle School.
Title I schools with less than the 40-percent schoolwide threshold, or that choose not to operate a schoolwide program, may offer a targeted assistance program in which the school identifies students who are failing or who are most at risk of failing to meet the state's achievement standards. Targeted assistance schools design, in consultation with parents, staff and District staff, an instructional program to meet the needs of those students. As noted above, D401 is schoolwide at the ECC, Elmwood, John Mills and Elm.
Both schoolwide and targeted assistance programs must use instructional strategies based on evidence-based research and must implement parental-involvement activities.
District 401 uses these grant funds to purchase resources and materials for our K-8 students. These resources include books, digital licenses, Chromebooks and other supplies as needed.
In addition, grant funds are used to pay for professional development for D401 teachers and staff. Professional development topics include social-emotional learning, co-teaching, standards-based grading, competency-based education and other needs that arise based on what the District learns from student data.
Funds from Title I grants are also used for family engagement nights. The goal of these events is to bring families together. Our past evening events have included a STEM night, a literacy night and a game night.
Title II Grants
Title II, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), provides funds intended to increase academic achievement by improving teacher and principal quality.
The legislation focuses on preparing, training and recruiting high-quality teachers, principals and other school leaders.
All Illinois school districts are eligible to participate. Funds may be used to support professional development. They may also be used to support the induction, mentoring, recruiting, hiring and retaining of highly qualified teachers and the reduction of class size.
More specifically, allowable expenditures of Title II, Part A funds include but are not limited to the following:
- Salaries for certified teachers for class-size reduction
- Recruitment, retention, mentoring and induction costs
- Professional development of teachers, principals and other school leaders
- Academic/instructional coaches
- Job fairs and other recruitment events
- Mentor stipends to support new teachers through observations, training and coaching
- Substitutes for teachers, principals or other school leaders to attend Title II-funded professional development
Unallowable expenditures of Title II, Part A funds include but are not limited to the following:
- Salaries for regular class teachers
- Salaries for paraprofessionals, tutors and interventionists
- Equipment (hardware, computers or other devices) not related to training activities
- Other supplies and materials for classroom or student use
- Substitutes for personnel not attending Title II-funded professional development
- Food, meals, drinks for professional development (including working lunches)
- Rental of a venue to provide professional learning unless determined to be a necessary and reasonable expense
In exchange for receiving these funds, districts and schools are held accountable to the public for improvements in academic achievement.
District 401 uses these grant funds to pay for professional development for our teachers and staff. Professional development topics include social-emotional learning, co-teaching, standards-based grading, competency-based education and other needs that arise based on what the District learns from student data.
Title III Grants
Title III, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), aims to ensure that English learners (ELs), including immigrant students, attain English proficiency and develop high levels of academic achievement in English.
This includes meeting the same challenging state academic standards that all children are expected to meet.
Another aim of the legislation is to promote parental, family and community participation in language instruction educational programs designed for the parents, families and communities of English learners.
Title III funds may be used for the following purposes:
- To provide effective language instruction educational programs that meet the needs of ELs and that demonstrate success in increasing English language proficiency and student academic achievement
- To provide effective professional development to classroom teachers, principals and other school leaders to improve the instruction and assessment of ELs
- To provide and implement other effective activities and strategies that enhance or supplement language instruction educational programs for ELs, which shall include parent, family and community engagement activities and may include strategies that serve to coordinate and align related programs.
All services provided to ELs using Title III funds must supplement, and not supplant, the services that must be provided to ELs under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 and other requirements, including those under state or local laws.
District 401 uses these funds to support our EL students. Some of the funds are used specifically for students who are new to the country — i.e., our newcomers. The District purchases materials such as online and physical books in multiple languages as well as professional development resources for the teachers who work with our English learners.