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2022 EDAI Grant Question and Answers

A task is a component of work that would generally cost a minimum of $5,000 for the Bridge to Outdoor School and Professional Development and High School Leadership grants, and a minimum of $10,000 for the Site Improvement grant. A task can take one or more months to complete or can span over the full grant period (but does not have to). A task will be composed of several activities to complete. For example, a task could be “Outreach and Education.” The activities making up this task could include holding three “family nights” every year, creating and administering a parent/guardian survey, compiling survey feedback, and sending feedback to stakeholders annually. Another example of a task could be “Provide Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access in the dining hall.” The activities making up this task could include a remodel design focusing on wheelchair access and access for those with visual impairments. This could include permanent ramp installation, bathroom remodel, and 120 yards of paved path from an ADA-compliant cabin to the dining hall with appropriate signage.

Please note, the reviewers could partially approve a project proposal by selecting only the tasks that meet the grant criteria.

In an effort to recognize that each district/school, outdoor school provider, and outdoor school site has different needs and contexts, we have not set minimum or maximum request amounts.  We encourage applicants to be both ambitious (to ask, “What funding do we need to undertake a project that truly advances EDAI at outdoor school?”) and realistic (to ask, “Given our organization’s context, including our staffing levels and ability to sustain project outcomes beyond the grant period, how much work can we reasonably expect to accomplish during the grant period?”). Please consider your highest priorities, determine accomplishments that you can achieve within the grant timeframe, and acquire quotes from more than one qualified contractor when developing your estimates.

Yes, a project can include up to 10 different tasks, with different activities to complete those tasks. For example, a site improvement project could address the top accessibility concerns identified within an accessibility audit. One task (which would then be broken into activities) could be improving physical access to the dining hall.  A second task could be related to installing Braille signage along a forest trail, and a third task could involve modifying the grade on a trail leading to a waterfront lesson area. Each task contributes to an overall project goal of improving accessibility at the outdoor school site.

In recognition of the different capabilities of curriculum providers, outdoor school sites, schools, districts, and other organizations to provide matching or in-kind support, we have not established a required minimum amount of in-kind support.  Our review will be guided by the principle that Outdoor School funding must be spent for the primary benefit of students attending outdoor school. When reviewing grant applications, we will consider the value/benefit of the grant project for outdoor school versus non-outdoor school users and whether the matching/in-kind support is appropriate to the proportion of value/benefit for outdoor school students. For example, if outdoor school students are 10% of an organization’s participants/attendees during the year but the organization is requesting EDAI grant funds to cover 100% of the costs of a project that will benefit all participants/attendees (not just outdoor school students), this request is not proportionate to the value/benefit of the project for outdoor school students. Instead, we would like to see a request that includes in-kind/matching funds that make the request more proportional to outdoor school usage/benefit.

Absolutely! The 2022 project can be a new project or concept or continue building on the previously funded project.  The proposal should provide a clear distinction and/or explanation of the relationship to previously funded projects so that there is no confusion or implied double funding.

Yes, though this is not an exhaustive list of examples. You are encouraged to request funds for projects that are appropriate for your contexts and communities, even if they do not appear on this list. Example projects: 

  • Adding/modifying paths that are appropriate for people using wheelchairs, walkers, or other mobility devices.
  • Converting a room into a low sensory environment for students who may need a break from high sensory experiences at outdoor school.
  • Modifying bathroom facilities for gender inclusivity (such as providing all-gender single-stall bathrooms and/or updated bathroom signs) or accessibility (such as upgrading a bathroom to be navigable by a person in a wheelchair and their caregiver).
  • Replacing interpretive signs that stereotype Indigenous peoples, relegate Indigenous peoples to the past, or have erased Indigenous peoples from the story of the site and/or state.

Yes, though this is not an exhaustive list of examples. You are encouraged to request funds for projects that are appropriate for your contexts and communities, even if they do not appear on this list. As described in the call for proposals, the Professional Development and High School Leadership grant opportunity can also include projects related to curriculum improvements. Example projects: 

  • Engaging a facilitator to guide an educator team (such as all of the district staff and teachers that attend outdoor school with students, or the leadership, instructional, and/or field staff at an outdoor school provider or site) in professional learning and action related to EDAI at outdoor school. 
  • Developing a High School Leadership Institute program that builds  leadership skills and confidence in outdoor and professional settings and supports high school leaders in developing their skills to mentor younger  students at outdoor school.
  • Reviewing and revising outdoor school curriculum with a focus on making curriculum more culturally responsive. Projects might include community/stakeholder engagement (such as parent/guardian focus groups), collaboration between organizations (such as outdoor school providers, culturally specific community groups, schools/districts, and government agencies), and pilot testing of new approaches and activities.

Yes, though this is not an exhaustive list of examples. You are encouraged to request funds for projects that are appropriate for your contexts and communities, even if they do not appear on this list. Example projects:  

  • A school with 60% participation in outdoor school, and educators have noted that the majority of students who do not attend outdoor school are from the LatinX community. The educators keep sending letters to parents/guardians with no or little response. As part of a Bridge to Outdoor School project, the school may hold parent/guardian nights to listen to concerns and discuss possible solutions. As part of these parent/guardian nights, the school might hire translators, engage existing parent networks to advertise the event, and invite the outdoor school provider to attend and answer questions.
  • An Education Service District with one-classroom schools, may request support to develop and start an outdoor school program for their district. This project would be considered for an EDAI grant if its scope was “above and beyond” the development of outdoor school curriculum.  If the ESD staff planned to work with their communities (using one or more of the Self-Evaluation Tools) to develop culturally responsive curriculum, and to train their staff and/or the staff of their providers in the most effective teaching methods for experiential learning.
  • A teacher might recognize that students with behavior plans are not participating in outdoor school. The focus of a related Bridge to Outdoor School grant would depend on the specific barrier(s) to students’ participation. For example, a project might address insufficient paid training for staff to support students in the high stimulation environment at outdoor school, parent/guardian concerns, and/or lack of clear school/district policies about how outdoor school should be included in behavior plans (among many other possibilities depending on the specific nature of the barrier(s)).

OSU will only contract with one organization, therefore there can only be one organization taking the lead in a grant proposal.  However, multiple organizations/partners can collaborate and work together to complete the work proposed. Each partner's costs and roles would be detailed in the application and budget under the tasks they are involved in. The applicant organization will be responsible for contracting with partners, dispersing funds, completing reports, and ensuring the project completes its agreed upon terms.

The Bridge to Outdoor School grant application requires a brief description of the barrier to student participation and how that barrier was identified. The applicant does not need to have a full understanding of the barrier (deeper exploration of the barrier might be part of the grant proposal) but the proposal should identify the basic nature of the barrier. For example, a school might have data indicating that students receiving special education services are participating in outdoor school at lower rates than other students. Example barriers could include: information about outdoor school is not reaching special education teams; additional support is needed for parents/guardians; the selected outdoor school site/provider is unable to accommodate students’ needs; educators aren’t trained to support students using specialty equipment such as all-terrain wheelchairs.

Applicants for the Bridge to Outdoor School grant are encouraged to partner with specific providers, schools and/or districts to collaborate with communities and families experiencing the barriers to identify mutually agreed upon solutions/opportunities to increase participation (for example, collaborating on parent/guardian outreach events and materials).

Grant applicants are required to describe how they will sustain their project outcomes beyond the grant period. If the duties of a person in the new position would need to continue in order for outcomes to be sustained, the applicant would need to describe how that position will be funded once EDAI grant funds expire. For example, if a district wants to add a new position for an equity and inclusion coordinator that works directly with families to plan for the outdoor school experience, the district would need to describe how they will sustain this work and/or position beyond the grant period (for example by funding the position through other sources). Similarly, if an outdoor school provider wants to hire a new position to do equity and inclusion work with schools and families, they would need to describe how they could sustain the outcomes of that work beyond the grant period.

Applicants are allowed to hire or contract with staff to engage in projects that will be sustained beyond the duration of the position or contract even if the position does not continue. For example, a school district might hire a temporary staff person or a contractor to work with families to develop an outdoor school family outreach toolkit. The applicant could include details in their application about how they will structure policies and practices to ensure that this toolkit continues to be used to support students and families after the grant period (and thus after funding for the position/contractor) has ended.

Please note: OSU recommends including a complete/detailed position description if a proposal includes creating a new position.

In general, the Outdoor School program cannot fund 100% of a capital improvement project (a new building).  We will consider grant applications that:

  • request funding for a reasonable portion of the construction costs toward a capital improvement project considering the use of the building by outdoor school students.
  • demonstrate that the new structure is more cost effective than renovation of an existing structure.
  • provide evidence of adequate funding from other sources to complete the project.
  • demonstrate that this capital project will continue to support outdoor school students by showing that the organization has long-term plans for operation that include outdoor school.

Other non-capital construction and improvement applications (paths, ramps, guard rails, ADA remodels, etc.) will be scrutinized using these same requirements.

We are allowing flexibility in how the Self-Evaluation Tools are used. We ask that applicants thoughtfully consider how the Tools (in full or in part) might contribute to the outcomes of a proposed project. For example, a team that has used the Tools extensively (and has had little staff turnover since doing so) might choose to focus their project on one characteristic from a Tool. In the first year after awards are made, they might engage only with that single characteristic from the tool, and in year two or three of their grant-funded project, they might return to the full Tool. Another team that has used the Tools extensively in the past year might decide that their program and/or staff have changed enough in the last year to warrant engaging with the full Tools again in the first year after awards are made. We are open to multiple approaches to using the Tools as part of grant projects. Most importantly, applicants should provide a thoughtful rationale for their chosen approach.

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