Best Practices Booklet - Uses of Grant Funds

Best Practices Booklet - Uses of Grant Funds

advisory, peer review, career education, best practices, recognition
  • Workforce Training
  • Accountability
  • Strategic Planning
Federal grant accountability
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Colorado Community College System (CO)
http://www.cccs.edu
http://www.coloradostateplan.com/index.htm
  1. Go to http://www.coloradostateplan.com/index.htm
  2. Scroll down to this sentence, "If you are an administrator looking for "Best Practices" on the key issues identified for the Colorado State Plan, follow this link." and click on the link to see reports developed by the field council.

Volunteers review federal grant Local Plans and select best uses of funds. Teams visit the selected sites and prepare reports. Peer recognition motivates continuous improvement.

  • State Agencies

PURPOSE

Perkins federal funds are formula funds and have been available for so long that they are taken for granted. In the past, the funds tended to be used for program maintenance. A new project-based design for grant fund Local Plans was implemented and a paradigm shift was needed. A field based advisory council was implemented to support innovation and to facilitate strategic use of the grant funds. Business and industry council members especially liked to visit sites and see the use of the funds in action.

  • A strategic deployment of the funds at the local level to facilitate continuous improvement in performance metrics, student success, teaching methods, program innovation, responsiveness to business and industry needs; and production of an exemplary workforce.

  • Gender equity in career fields.

  • Increased academic rigor in career and technical education (CTE) and collaborative interactions between academic faculty and career and technical education faculty.

  • Innovative ideas for program design, educational delivery, student engagement, gender equity in all career fields, learning strategies, meeting rapidly changing industrial needs.

  • A well-educated, critical thinking, and creative Colorado workforce.

DESCRIPTION

A cost effective method to evaluate results of the uses of the grant funds in a fair and non-threatening manner. Business and industry representatives enjoy onsite visits and become advocates of the programs and the funds. Peers learn from each other. Models of best fund usage are provided to all eligible grant recipients. The public and policymakers can see how the funds are used to enhance career and technical education program quality. The volunteers act as a liaison between the state’s grant director and the sub-recipients. The visits by the volunteers are not audits or monitoring so the atmosphere is relaxed and open. The volunteers can provide insight to state staff about professional development needs. The process becomes an indirect train the trainer system that distributes best strategies and adds voices from the field to promote innovation and continuous improvement. The selected sites can share the publication with their own boards and constituents and be proud of the recognition. More sets of eyes are watching how the money is being used.

A formal council composed of practitioners and business and industry meets 3 times per year. The council reviews state performance metrics results to understand areas of strength and areas of needed attention. Later the council reviews Local Plans which describe each institution's plans for the uses of the federal grant. The council reaches consensus of which plans stand out as exceptional. A field council developed rubric has been used and improved over time for this evaluative process. Teams from the field council volunteer to visit the selected sites. A template or outline is used to organize the notetaking during the onsite visits. The first draft of the report is provided to the state agency 's Manager of Communications and his edits are reviewed by the grant director. A graphics designer builds a booklet cover and continuous improvements to the booklet have evolved over time. The booklet recognizes the council members and is compiled of all onsite visit reports. Printed copies of the booklet are distributed at the state career and technical administrators conference and made available in quantity to the selected sites. The individual site reports are posted to the CCCS Career and Technical Education website, and are aligned to the state's strategies for the uses of the funds. New reports are featured on the website and the previous year's reports are archived at the same website. The third meeting of the council is used to brainstorm trends, barriers, professional development needs, and solutions based on their experiences from reviewing Local Plans and visiting local institutions.

Low cost, collaborative, engaging stakeholders, non-threatening, easy to duplicate

RESULTS

  • Increased quality of grant Local Plans

  • Reactions from the selected institution

  • Continued commitment of council members to process over time

  • Perkins Performance Metrics results at the state level

  • Continuous updates to content and methods of local administrators professional development

Fast and easy access to federal legislator from our state to how the funds are used; good partnerships between secondary and postsecondary CTE; great ideas from the council about focus areas and training needs; a core of field level personnel who advocate for innovative and strategic uses of the federal funds; a productive/non-threatening communication channel between the state grant director and the local recipients.

The longer it is used, the more the local grant recipients try to be the exemplary selected model.

RESOURCES AND LESSONS LEARNED

Meeting supplies; some travel funds for the volunteers; a rubric that aligns to the state's needs and goals; an organized notetaking layout so the reports have some consistency in design; enthused and dedicated volunteers who enjoy seeing other institutions and learning from their visits.

  • lunch for council at 2 meetings

  • mileage, hotel, meals if travel is out of metro area

  • time of state director to organize and coordinate the meetings and to connect the visiting teams to the selected recipient

  • Evaluation of Local Plans requires a full day meeting

  • All council members cannot read all Local Plans so teams of 2 or 3 review a set and then open discussion occurs

  • Onsite visits should be scheduled shortly after the selections have been notified.

  • Each visiting team needs a chair or lead person to work with the selected recipient for the logistics of the onsite visit

  • Limit number selected so that each selected recipient can receive an onsite visit.

  • Give this process a couple of years to build and keep it going.

  • Always, always proof the proof and have someone else proofread again.

  • Make this fun for the visited site - assure them this is not an audit or monitoring visit and that the visits should not interfere with their normal routine.

  • Continuously recruit council members but do not limit time on the committee - long time members bring great history to the process

  • Do not meet more than 3 times per year - two may be our next step.

We are exploring conference calls or webex meetings; we would like to find more business and industry volunteers; we are wondering if we need a printed booklet; we are experimenting with a newly designed rubric for use with this fiscal year's process.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

http://www.coloradostateplan.com/Perkins/PerkinsAct.pdf

Lorrie Toni
Perkins Director
Colorado Community College System
9101 E. Lowry Blvd.
Denver, Colorado 80230
Phone: 303-595-1565
Fax: 720-858-2544

lorrie.toni@cccs.edu

Lorrie Toni
Perkins Director
Colorado Community College System
9101 E. Lowry Blvd.
Denver, Colorado 80230
Phone: 303-595-1565
Fax: 720-858-2544

lorrie.toni@cccs.edu