When an email from Resource Associates arrived in her inbox, Sandra J. DuPree didn’t realize that opening the message would open doors for her students, too.
Dr. DuPree is the Executive Director at Hyde Leadership Charter School in Brooklyn, New York. Like every charter school, Hyde – Brooklyn has a unique focus. “Our focus is character education,” she says. “We believe that every child is gifted with a unique potential.”
This focus is the foundation of the school’s curriculum and has shaped the school’s educational approach since it opened nine years ago to students in Kindergarten and first grade. Since then, the school has grown year-over-year. Though it currently serves Kindergarten through fifth grade, Hyde – Brooklyn will be expanding to include sixth graders during the 2018-19 school year.
As Hyde – Brooklyn grows, so must its services. Grants are essential to this. “Grants allow us to expand the scope of our work,” Dr. DuPree explains. “With grants, we can enhance programming, ultimately providing a range of new learning opportunities for students.”
<h3?Finding and Winning Grants That Support School Needs
When Dr. DuPree received an email from Resource Associates, she had never worked with a grant- writing firm before. But she was intrigued. “It was a wild card,” she remembers. “I knew that I could write a grant, but I did not have the time to dedicate to it and I was unfamiliar with the process inside and out.”
The email prompted her to make a call, and that call encouraged her to invite the firm into Hyde – Brooklyn’s grant-writing process, which is now a close collaboration between Dr. DuPree, her team and Resource Associates.
“We’ve applied for a total of five grants with help from Resource Associates and we’ve been awarded two,” Dr. DuPree says. “And, we have others in the pipeline. For the most part, we dedicate grant awards to professional development, supplies, materials, and personnel to support new initiatives.”
The first grant Hyde – Brooklyn received after collaborating with Resource Associates was the Elementary and Secondary Schools Counseling Grant, one the school and its students desperately needed.
Hyde – Brooklyn is located in the East New York area. “We have a high percentage of low-income families and families in shelters,” Dr. DuPree says. “New York is an expensive city, so we see a lot of families relocating seeking to improve their quality of life and we have a growing number of families living
Dr. DuPree says families are attracted to Hyde – Brooklyn because it provides a safe space and a quality education compared to other options in the area. The Elementary and Secondary Schools Counseling Grant has helped Hyde – Brooklyn make its students and their families feel even more secure.
Thanks to grant funds, Hyde – Brooklyn can now offer more robust counseling services. Among many things, the grant made possible the hiring of a second full-time school counselor to close the student-to-counselor gap and enabled the creation of a Positive Action Committee designed to address predictors of youth problem behaviors to positively impact student and school achievement. Hyde – Brooklyn also was able to develop a boy’s mentoring program for after-school support and partner with organizations in the community to offer counseling outside of school. “Overall, the grant enabled 30 additional students to receive case management services and provided counseling-based workshops to students’ families,” says Dr. DuPree.
In October 2018, Hyde – Brooklyn secured another grant opportunity: Art-tastic: Arts Integration Initiative Grant. The Hyde Leadership Charter School – Brooklyn’s curriculum is inherently designed to develop students’ unique potential through programs such as visual arts, fitness, dance, music and technology. Art-tastic will help Hyde – Brooklyn engrain art even more deeply into its curriculum.
Once fully implemented, the impact of Art-tastic will be wide. “The grant includes the integration of visual arts, theatre, and technology,” Dr. DuPree says. Particularly for the school’s high percentage of Title I students (92 percent) the technology component opens many doors and will change how students engage in the learning process. Students will have direct access to technology such as Chromebooks, cameras and smartboards to connect with the world outside of the classroom. Dr. DuPree says students will be able to participate in virtual field trips and collaborate with other students online, even if those students are across the country, or across the globe.
The grant also assists with staffing, and the school will hire an art specialist with the grant funds. “That art specialist will work with teachers to implement artistic components into our regular programs,” Dr. DuPree explains.
Today, Hyde – Brooklyn and, more importantly, its students, reaps the benefits of grant funds secured with help from Resource Associates. Dr. DuPree hopes to pay that good fortune forward.
“When I see great RFPs, I share them with colleagues,” she says. “Oddly, when they do not follow up, I often think that they probably have the same mindset I had a few years ago before I opened that email and called Resource Associates. It is totally worth reaching out to Resource Associates for assistance. I encourage people to take that first step.”