Writing Proposals

“Miguel,” asked my assistant superintendent a few years ago, ” could you give me a proposal that shares how you’re going to accomplish everything?” Having done a few implementation plans already–and suffering the tediousness of preparing the paper versions of those–I decided to abbreviate the standard form I use for an implementation plan into something shorter.
In this blog entry, I've included two types of proposals.
I often find myself in a position where I have to quickly throw together a proposal, an implementation plan or, what I affectionately call, “implementation notes.” Each takes a different form, although the purpose of each is to obtain approval/permission to move ahead.
Sometimes, proposals are labelled “executive summaries.” Again, the purpose of each of these documents defines them as proposals rather than anything else, like an executive summary or abstract. For lack of a better title, I’m simply going to name this as a “Type #1: Quick Proposal” form to distinguish it from longer proposal formats.
Type #1: Quick Proposal
This is a really quick proposal form that I put together for a NECC 2008 Professional Learning Leadership initiative. The main headers include Proposal, Research, Cost, Registration Process, and Give Back. It looks like this:
This proposal recommends that SAISD fund attendance at the NECC 2008 Conference taking place June 29-July 2 in San Antonio, Texas for 80 principals and/or campus instructional coordinators.
Administrators play a pivotal role in determining how well technology is used in our schools. Enabling administrators to attend NECC 2008 enables SAISD to define what administrators need to know and be able to do in order to discharge their responsibility as leaders in the effective use of technology in our schools.
“Integrating technology throughout a school system is, in itself, significant systemic reform. We have a wealth of evidence attesting to the importance of leadership in implementing and sustaining systemic reform in schools. It is critical, therefore, that we attend seriously to leadership for technology in schools.”
— Don Knezek, ISTE CEO
School leaders, especially at the campus, need access to professional learning opportunities that help them to better understand the best uses of technology in educational settings. Some research regarding the role of the campus principal and leadership:
  • Obstacles that impede teachers’ ability to adopt and integrate tech into their teaching include lack of time, expertise, access, resources and support.
  • Technology’s greatest impact on student learning appears only after teachers have sufficient skills coupled with an understanding of how various technologies can be used as cognitive tools, and are able to weave tech experiences into their daily practice. This more robust level of understanding comes over time.
  • Administrators do not appear prepared for their emerging role in technology and their lack of understanding and resources sometimes creates barriers to change and improvement.
  • In many districts, superintendents have remained withdrawn from the technology discussions, leaving to staff the leadership roles of planning and implementing technology.
  • Expect principals to take the lead in ensuring that all teachers in their building work towards adopting technology.
  • Get principals to make sure that teachers included technology goals in their individual professional development plans.
    Source: Shuldman, M. (Summer, 2004) Superintendent Conceptions of Institutional Conditions That Impact Teacher Technology Integration. Journal of Research on Technology in Education.
Based on this research, as well as others not cited here, it is clear that the role of the principal in effecting use of technology in classrooms is incredibly important.
The cost of sending approximately 80 campus principals and/or campus instructional coordinators is based on a cost of $285 for every 10 staff members. For 80 participants, the cost is $22,800.
Registration Process
To register campus leaders for the NECC 2008 Conference, the Office of Instructional Technology Services will take the following steps:
1.Notify principals and campus instructional coordinators that there are 80 slots available on a first-come, first-served for NECC 2008 registration. Participants would be expected to register via the Office of Instructional Technology Services and submit critical information needed by no later than Friday, May 16, 2008. Registration is now open online at
2.Once funding source(s) is provided by the Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, the Office of Instructional Technology Services will register campus leadership who have registered by Friday, May 16, 2008.
Give Back
Participants at NECC 2008 will be expected to deliver 2, two-hour presentations about what they learned at NECC 2008 and submit a short form sharing how they are going to implement that learning at their campus for the 2008-2009 school year. Give back completion must be recorded by December, 2008.

Here’s what I ended up with for more detailed work, which I’ll label as “Type #2 – Implementation Notes.” The Type 2 proposal has these headers in it:
  1. Goal
  2. Vision of What Successful Implementation would look like
  3. Background Information
  4. Content Area Focus
  5. Professional Learning
  6. Implementation Phases
  7. Key Areas to Implementation Success
  8. Implementation Timeline which includes a table with action step, office/staff responsible, and a completion date.
  9. Appendix with information such as:
    • Readiness Checklist
    • Hardware Assessment
Below is an example of such a proposal:
Directly impact student achievement through enhancement of the learning tools available to students and their teachers. To achieve this, this initiative will provide an elementary campus chosen by the Offices of Math and Science—judged eligible by their criteria—with 95 Palm Tungsten C Handheld Computers, the necessary peripherals and software, and then assess their impact on student learning. Aside from the goal of impacting student learning, this initiative also seeks to do the following:
1. Ensure an effective use of handheld technology in elementary classroom settings to impact
math, science, and reading.
2. Transform teaching and learning practices as informed by research and best practices.
3. Provide ubiquituous access to handheld technology at the point of need.
Portrait of a Handheld-Enabled Classroom 
Both teachers and students are engaged in an ongoing learning process, in which content area and technology skills are embedded in lesson activities. Classroom instruction is primarily student-centered, but the role of the teacher is vital in guiding and facilitating learning, as well as helping assess student work. Assessment is authentic and ongoing. Expectations of student performance are extremely high. Technology tools are used transparently throughout the curriculum by students as well as teachers to support the learning environment. Classroom work is characterized by a buzz of activity, a high level of intrinsic motivation, and a spirit of discovery as well as a love of learning on the part of all participants. Students demonstrate mastery of required knowledge and skills tof content, tools, audience, and assessment prevails.
Background Information 
Students are expected to demonstrate skills in self-directed learning, thinking, research, and communication as evidenced by the development of innovative products and performances that reflect individuality and creativity. Research on certain uses of handheld computers in the classroom provides reason for both optimism and excitement. Research from SRI published in September 2002 indicates the following:
 93% of teachers believe handhelds have a positive effect on learning.
 75% of teachers who let students take Palms home report an increase in homework completion.
 72% of teachers said handhelds are easier to integrate into classroom activities than desktop
 89% of teachers said handhelds are effective teaching tools.[4]
To ensure the effective use of handheld computers with students at the target level of progress required by the Texas Education Agency in the StaR Chart, the Office of Instructional Technology has been invited to participate in a joint initiative with Curriculum & Instruction Department Office of Math and Science Services.
Content Area Focus 
The campus chosen has included the use of handhelds in its Campus Improvement Plan for Math and other content areas. The Palms will be used to help support Math Investigations throughout the math scope and sequence. Teachers will work with the math department to modify Math Investigation lessons that utilize the Palms.
In addition, handheld computers will be used to enhance the Foss Science Kits and used for
Reading/Language arts activities and Social Studies. The campus will buy the ImagiProbe. The ImagiLab activities have been designed to support discovery by encouraging students to ask questions, make predictions, conduct investigations, and develop lines of inquiry.
In Math Investigations and science there are many areas where “Documents ToGo” spreadsheets can be used to support what is being studied. Part of the Professional Development will focus in the area of specifically applying the Palm to the Math Investigations. This will be done in coordination with the Math and Science Department. The campus intends to purchase Imagineer Probeware to interface with the Palms as well.
Inspiration on the Palms—graphic organizer software–will support a number of curricular areas. Students will have the ability to detail processes to help create a visual picture in their mind. They will also be able to use it as a brain storming tool for writing and for story
webs to help understand the literary elements in a story.
Please note that the software chosen for this initiative met the stringent standards
set by the Software Selection Committee. The software includes ImagiWorks
probes, as well as Inspiration for the Palm. The projects students create can be easily be shared on the web. Participants will learn how to install and maintain the software during training.
Professional Learning 
Participants will attend a 18-hour workshop session initially with additional sessions planned during the 2005-2006 school year. Math and Science Services specialists will also attend training and provide support to this initiative. Participants will also submit copies of their lesson plans online and be shared with others not participating in the project. Professional Learning sessions will also be assessed at levels 4 and 5 of the Five Critical Levels of Professional Development Evaluation (Guskey, Tdevelopment, Corwin Press, Inc). Those levels include the following:
  • Level 4- Participants’ use of new knowledge and skills:
  • Questions Addressed include: Did participants effectively apply the new knowledge and skills?
  • Instruments used will include questionnaires, structured interviews, participant reflections, portfolios, video-or audiotape if appropriate.

  • Level 5- Student learning outcomes:

    • Questions Addressed include:
    • a) What was the impact on students?;
    • b) Did it affect student performance or achievement?

  • Instruments used include questionnaires, portfolios, and student records.

  • Implementation Phases 
    Although a timeline is provided to frame the implementation, one can observe the progression via multiple phases (shown below).
    Phase 1: Train 5th grade professional staff in the basic use of handhelds
    Phase 2: Train 5th grade professional staff in the use of handhelds for academic purposes
    Phase 3: Train student leaders in basics of handhelds to help facilitate classroom use.
    Phase 4: Deploy handhelds to classrooms
    Phase 5: Support Graebner staff through classroom visits and demonstrations
    Phase 6: Continue Staff development and support throughout the 2005-2006 Academic year
    Key Areas to Implementation Success 
    This plan considers 3 areas to be key to the implementation success of this Initiative. Those areas include the following:
    Infrastructure and Technical Support 
    • Enough Palms to provide ubiquitous access to students
    • At least one syncing station in each classroom
    • Software to support and enhance classroom instruction
    Professional Development 
    • Professional Development for Technical Support Groups
    • Professional Development for Campus Teachers
    • Training of student leaders to provide assistance for teachers in implementation
    Assessment and Evaluation 
    • Ongoing assessment will be provided through the implementation process and conducted by the Office of Math and Science.
    • Teachers participating in the project will also be assessed using the LOTI Instrument in Spring, 2005, as well as the LOTI Walk-Through form.
    • Student assessments will be done through the use of authentic assessment measures (e.g.
    • Student products will also be displayed via a web site managed collaboratively by Math and
    Science Services and Instructional Technology.
    • Teacher developed lessons will be published via the Instructional Technology web site.
    Implementation Timeline 
    [Table omitted but it should have these components:
    Column 1: Action Step
    Column 2: Office Responsible
    Column 3: Completion Date]
    Prompt approval and implementation of this plan will ensure successful implementation. While no plan can anticipate with 100% accuracy the issues that will arise, we can anticipate the Professional Development and Support Structures that need to be set in place. This plan seeks to do this, and your feedback is invited.
    Please submit your comments to:
    Miguel Guhlin, Director
    Office of Instructional Services
    Email: mguhlin@gmail.com
    210-527-1400 ext. 115
    Appendix A: Campus Readiness Checklist
    Hardware Checklist 
    • A computer running at least Windows 98 or MAC OS 9 with functioning internet connection capabilities
    • Functioning internet connectivity in all teachers classrooms
    • Appropriate Software
    • Internet Explorer 5.1 or Higher for PC or MAC
    • A printer for printing student developed projects
    • Appropriate hardware support for computers
    • Willingness to participate in additional training after initial training
    Teacher Participant Expectations 
    • Each teacher will attend 18 hours of professional development (including during school time and after-hours time as appropriate) in support of this initiative.
    • Each teacher will sign a handheld agreement appropriate for the Palm Tungsten C.
    • Each teacher will develop 2 lessons for publication during the Spring, 2004 semester and 3 additional lessons during the 2004-2005 school year.
    • Each participating teacher will be expected to present at the 2005 Students’ Technology Fair with a follow-up presentation at the TCEA 2006 State Conference in Austin.
    Campus Leadership Team and Campus Administrator Expectations 
    • Integration of Learning in Hand initiative into the Campus Improvement Plan for 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 school years.
    • Commitment to support with the purchase of additional hardware (e.g. Wireless access points, Ultra-Thin keyboards) and software as recommended and agreed upon by the Campus Leadership Team.
    • Commitment to support the initiative regardless of campus administrator changes
    • Commitment to replace Palm Tungsten Cs damaged or destroyed—or other peripherals–during the time of the Initiative (2004-2006).

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    Unknown said…
    I think these points are so true.Sample Proposal

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