Posted: Wed, 01/15/2014 - 11:21am Updated: Fri, 02/02/2018 - 4:01pm

Digital Learning GrantsWith the recent release of the IDOE’s 2018 Strategic Priorities and the growing emphasis on STEM at the state and national levels, the 2018 Digital Learning Grant will focus on supporting districts implementing STEM instructional models within their digital learning environment. The Digital Learning Grant (up to $75,000) is open to districts that have assessed their current digital implementation and are prepared to take the next steps to provide a nationally vetted, research-based curriculum advancing STEM and/or computer science and may include curriculum needs, expanding and providing professional development, expanding grade levels or replicating successes from pilot STEM projects as well as purchasing devices.

This year’s application will open January 8th and will close February 2, 2018.  Public and public charter school corporations are eligible to apply.  Districts with a currently active Innovation Planning Grant (IPG) or were recipients of the Digital Learning Grant in 2016 or 2017 are NOT eligible for this year’s grant.  See ineligible list here.  Applicants who are successful with the online application will be invited to Indianapolis to participate in the second step of the evaluation process, the proposal pitch. In the pitch, district teams of up to four members have ten minutes to present their proposal, and then respond to ten minutes of questions and discussion with the scoring panel. Pitch days are scheduled for March 6 & 7, 2018.

Answered Questions
With the focus of this year’s Digital Learning Grant on advancing STEM curriculum models and opportunities for students, should a district apply if the STEM content areas were not the major focus of digital learning efforts?
This year’s funding for Digital Learning Grants is meant to help districts make substantive moves forward in opportunities and attainment in the STEM content areas. While this focus is more narrow than in years past, it does point to an important and growing emphasis in the state on these disciplines. The 2018 DLG proposals should have advances in STEM as an organizing feature of the grant narrative.  The Department understands that a district may be connecting potential DLG funding to other opportunities for funding and support to produce a larger impact. In other words, districts applying for the 2018 DLG should make a compelling case for how this funding will advance opportunities and attainment for students in the STEM disciplines even if it is part of a larger initiative with multiple funding streams or in-kind contributions. Proposals should make clear how the requested funding contributes to the overall efforts of the school or district to advance STEM.
In last year's application we only asked for money to buy devices. Is that why we didn't get the grant?
An application like this raises questions of balance as well as sustainability. You don't have to include budget items for professional development, instructional model, leadership, and infrastructure, but if your application doesn't make it clear that your district is also addressing these issues, you are not a good candidate for money to purchase hardware. An application that devotes the entire budget to hardware also has the burden of proving that the district has a plan to maintain and refresh these devices without future grant dollars.
Is there additional insight you can give to help us prepare an application for this year's application?
We shared the best of what we learned from previous grant winning districts in the blog post: Making the Pitch. Additionally, you might consider seeking guidance from a district that received the grant last year, or looking at the Digital Learning Profiles of previous recipients. The Office of eLearning frequently shares resources (like SETDA's Guide to Implementing Digital Learning) through our accounts on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.
If we received an Innovation Planning Grant (IPG), are we eligible to apply?
Yes, with the exception of currently active IPG awardees (2017). The Digital Learning Grant is the logical next step for those districts that have built a strong plan for implementation. Districts that successfully completed the IPG are encouraged to apply.
How can we be certain we are eligible/ineligible for this grant?
Districts that have received the Digital Learning Grant (DLG) in the past two years or are currently active recipients of the Innovation Planning Grant (IPG) are not eligible for the DLG this year. Here is the official list of districts NOT eligible for this year's grant.
Can we have a copy of the rubric that will be used to score the applications?
Download a copy here: DLGRubric2018.pdf
If we are awarded the grant, what are the start and end dates for spending the money?
The start date is May 15, 2018. The end date will be September 30, 2019.

Closed: February 2, 2018 (4:00 P.M., EDT)

Round One Notifications: February 19, 2018

Pitch Round: March 6 & 7, 2018

Final Notifications: March 9, 2018

For additional questions, please email Candice Dodson, cdodson@doe.in.gov.