CPIP Grant: Why it is Important and How to Apply?

Classroom Practice Innovative Project Grant: Why it is Important and How to Apply?

Foothills School Division Board of Trustees was inspired by the high quality instruction and excellence in learning they saw every day in all of their schools. The Trustees wondered if there was anything more they could do to address any barriers, as well as, advance opportunities for innovation and creativity in learning across the division. They were so impressed by the imagination and motivation by so many, to create amazing learning experiences. Actions were taken by students, staff, and parents to make this happen. Trustees were moved by the impact of these initiatives, both big and small.  They were compelled to support in any way that they could and took note that,  “In education, the most useful insights and innovations often come from the ground up, from educators who practice in real-world environments.” S. Breakspear

The Trustees realized that these projects had the potential to become bigger and better with a little support. The Board of Trustees governs by holding space so that students, and all that support them, can flourish! So in 2016, Foothills School Division Board of Trustees made a commitment to promote innovative thinking and practices in support of optimizing student learning, achievement and success by establishing the Classroom Practice Innovative Projects Grant (CPIP). The grant is available to students, staff, parents and community members from across the division. The goal of the grant is to enhance and advance innovative learning opportunities for all.  “Innovation is a way of thinking that creates something new and better. Innovation can come from either “invention” (something totally new) or “iteration” (a change of something that already exists), but if it does not meet the idea of “new” and “better”, it is not innovative.”  G. Couros

The Classroom Practice Innovative Project Grant aligns with, embodies and expands the mission of Foothills School Division where Each learner entrusted to our care, has unique gifts and abilities. It is our mission to find out what these are…Explore them... Develop them... Celebrate them! Where there is success, support and engagement for all learners. We are committed to foster a culture of belonging ~ design intellectually engaging learning ~ develop competencies ~ ensure students are literate and numerate ~ design assessment and evaluation to support student independence and self-efficacy ~ collaborate as a learning community to support each learner’s success.

The grant was established over a five year term, from 2016 to 2021 and one million dollars was dedicated to support forward-thinking, cutting-edge educational undertakings by students, staff, and parents. The size of the grant for each project is dependent on the scope of the endeavor and a total of $200,000 is made available each year for all of the design plans. Foothills School Division Board of Trustees is committed to improving opportunities and learning experiences for students. The Classroom Practice Innovative Project Grant has acted as a catalyst for creativity, exploration, and growth in teaching and learning. The number of applications has been vast, variety of projects expansive, quality of undertakings impressive, and impact on learning has been outstanding. This is all evidence of the tremendous success of this initiative launched by the Board of Trustees. 

It is forecasted that many more projects will be supported by this grant as excitement and enthusiasm grows. Because of the success of the grant, applications are now accepted on an ongoing basis, three times throughout the year. Previously, it had only been available on an annual basis. At this point in time, close to 40 different projects from across the division have been supported by the grant. Collaborative teams of students, staff, and parents have accepted the invitation to submit proposals each year. Projects must meet criteria and be aligned to school goals, system goals and priorities, the framework for learning and/or learning competencies. 

Submitted proposals must describe the project and how it will positively impact student learning and support innovation in learning and teaching. A detailed proposed budget and plans for tracking and reporting expenditures, as well as, strategies for sustainability and transferability of instructional practice and student learning once funding is no longer available must be included. Details of how the project will build capacity and collective efficacy amongst staff, students, parents, and community needs to be highlighted. Projects include, a description of opportunities for collaboration and participation, as well as, how the plan will be shared with others. Student voice, choice and perspective are included in each project, as well as, a plan for documenting and sharing progress and impact.

The overall influence of this board initiative has been enormous. It has impacted the educational experiences of so many. The practices and projects that have received the grants have successfully transformed learning and student engagement. If you are a student, staff, or parent that has an idea for a creative and innovative project, we strongly encourage you to make application. Application deadlines for the 2019 – 2020 school year are October 15, February 15 and May 15. All applications must be submitted to the Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services, Caroline Roberts at robertsc@fsd38.ab.ca. Application forms can be downloaded on the Foothills School Division website.