Updated 4/2/2022

Initiative

What is the initiative; who are the partners?

This initiative will support providers who utilize public funding to improve their pre-kindergarten and/or kindergarten programming so that more children, particularly those in historically marginalized communities, have access to learning environments that are informed by research and responsive to their basic needs. Trust for Learning serves as the initiative funder and technical assistance provider, working with the lead agency (Early Milestones Colorado) to oversee implementation of the initiative and ensure the promotion of best practices and systemic improvements to advance the expansion of ideal learning approaches in public early learning settings in Colorado.

Definitions

What is the definition of a “public setting”?

A public setting is any organization or program that accepts public funding.

Examples of public funding include:

  • Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP)
  • Colorado Preschool Program (CPP)
  • Denver Preschool Program (DPP)
  • Summit Pre-K Program
  • Head Start
  • Public K-12 funding (e.g., Title I, PPR)

Eligible Entities

Who is eligible to apply?

To be eligible, an applicant must be a provider or consortium of providers that:

  • serve/s young children of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten age;
  • receive/s public funding; and
  • has a designated tax-exempt status

Examples of eligible applicants for this grant opportunity may include but are not limited to:

  • Local school districts
  • Licensed child care centers
  • Public libraries
  • After-school or community based organizations

Ineligible Entities: Programs funded entirely through private tuition are ineligible.

Are for-profit programs eligible for funding?

No, only non-profit programs are eligible for this opportunity.

If we are a current school age program that will be changing into a preschool program in the next couple of months can we still apply?

Yes. As long as a program is serving children of pre-K and/or kindergarten age by July 15th (the start of the grant period), we welcome your proposal.

Allowable Expenditures

What can we use grant funds for?

Grant funds may be used for activities such as:

  • training of program leaders, educators, and/or staff in the new approach or in the IL Principles, professional development;
  • purchasing and inventory of needed supplies, materials, and/or curricula to create learning environments in alignment with the chosen approach or the Principles;
  • engaging with the community (e.g. teachers, families, etc.) to ensure support for the transition; and
  • building and strengthening pre-kindergarten/kindergarten partnerships by using funds to allow for staff collaboration

Can the funding be used to train new teachers in a particular model or approach?

Yes, teacher training and professional development are allowable expenditures.

Can an applicant implement a model, curriculum, or approach in one classroom as a pilot and then implement in additional classes in the future? Or must the program be implemented in all classes to start?

Grant funding can be used to pilot a model, curriculum, or other approach aligned to the Principles of Ideal Learning in one class with the intention to expand to other classes in the future.

Interviews

Will applicants be contacted for interviews?

We will contact lead agencies if we need more information about a proposal. This does not represent finalists or “shortlisted” candidates.

Project Selection

How will projects be selected for awards?

All proposals will be peer reviewed, scored, and discussed. Initiative funders will make final decisions on grant awards.

What is the criteria for selection?

There are many pieces of the RFP that provide guidance and insight into what we are looking for in proposals. In general, we are looking for proposals that demonstrate clear interest in and goals for strengthening a program’s alignment with ideal learning principles and improving child outcomes and educator practices.

Grantee projects must serve historically marginalized communities, such as children of color, children with special needs, multilingual learners, rural communities, indigenous populations, and/or children from homes with limited financial means. Priority will be given to projects that:

  • leverage contributions from school districts and local or regional philanthropic partners;
  • involve multiple schools or providers as part of a district or community-wide approach); and/or
  • plan for a preschool to third grade (P-3) approach, including the pre-kindergarten to kindergarten transition

Can the funding be used to train new teachers in a particular model or approach?

Yes, teacher training and professional development are allowable expenditures.

Grant Awards and Future Funding

How many awards will be made?

The number of awards is dependent on the size of awards funded. The maximum amount of funding that will be awarded for all grants is $100,000. Grants ranging from $15,000 to $30,000 will be awarded for use between July 1, 2022, and December 31, 2023. Smaller individual awards may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Application Support

Is there a template for proposals?

Proposals must meet the requirements specified in the RFP, including the submission of a budget for which a template is provided.

Are there opportunities to receive support on an application?

Yes! We are eager to support you so you can submit a successful application. Please reach out to Cathrine Floyd; Early Childhood Partnerships Manager, Trust for Learning at cathrine@trustlearning.org if you have questions or need extra support.

In addition, we will offer drop-in office hours on Wednesday, May 4; Tuesday, May 10; and Wednesday, May 11, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. to address questions related to the RFP and to support applicants in developing proposals. Registration is required for a 15-minute session.

How should the narrative questions be presented? Should the written piece include each question or just refer to the answer by question number?

Please submit your responses to the application narrative questions in a Microsoft Word, Google Doc, or PDF format, and your completed budget template and narrative as a Microsoft Excel file or Google Sheet. There are no requirements as to how the application narrative questions are formatted, though it may be helpful to refer to each question by the question number. Please take care to respond to each question and adhere to the six-page limit.

Is question 11 in the RFP related to strategies and activities table included in the six-page limit?

Yes, your response to question 11 should be included in the six-page limit.

Key Dates

What is the due date for proposals?

Intent to Respond Questionnaire: While an Intent to Respond is not required, we strongly encourage you to complete the questionnaire so we have an idea of the variety of entities who are working on applications and so we can plan accordingly for proposal review. A brief survey noting your intention to apply must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. MST on April 29, 2022.

Submission Deadline: Proposals, including all application components, must be submitted to Early Milestones Colorado via email by 5:00 p.m. on May 27, 2022. Please submit proposals to: knicolaou@earlymilestones.org.

When is the grant period?

All awarded applicants will have from July 15, 2022, through December 31, 2023, to receive funding for and complete their grant activities.

When will awards be announced?

Successful applicants will be notified no later than June 29, 2022.

For More Information

Who should I contact for more information?

More information about the initiative can be found at earlymilestones.org/project/ideal-learning, including the Request for Proposals and the budget template. A recording of the informational webinar will be posted on this page on April 28. For additional questions, please contact Cathrine Floyd; Early Childhood Partnerships Manager, Trust for Learning at cathrine@trustforlearning.org.