As schools and districts implement the Common Core State Standards, Inspiration®, InspireData®, Kidspiration® and Webspiration Classroom™ can be used to address the processes and critical thinking skills that are a key component to student success. Inspiration Software products support a range of essential K-12 teaching and learning initiatives that may quality for local, state or federal funding support.
Federal funds are primarily distributed in one of two ways. Many federal funds are distributed based on a formula. For example, Title I funds to local districts are allocated based on the specific poverty level of the district and the cost of education in their state. Other federal funds are distributed on a competitive basis – either nationally or within a state.
Note: This data is based on the FY2012 federal budget. At this time the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) has not been reauthorized. This information is based on the current state of the budget and the existing No Child Left Behind Act.
Purpose: Title I is the largest federal source of funding to districts and schools. Title I provides financial assistance to districts/schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards. Federal funds are currently allocated by statutory formulas.
Use of Funds: Title I funds must be used to help students meet challenging state academic standards by supplementing existing programs and learning resources. Supplemental instructional materials are among the appropriate expenses for Title I.
Purpose: Title I, 1003 (g) School Improvement Grants are used to improve student achievement in Title I schools identified as the lowest performing schools. Funds are to be used to implement major interventions including corrective action or restructuring so as to enable those schools to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) and exit improvement status. Funds are distributed through subgrants to the identified Title I schools.
Use of Funds: Title I schools receiving funding must use funds to implement one of four approved improvement models. Each model has a different level of intervention, but all require fundamental changes to the curriculum and teacher quality to improve student achievement. Supplemental instructional materials and resources are a necessary component of the improvement effort.
Purpose: The purpose of the program is to increase academic achievement by improving teacher and principal quality. The funds are distributed by formula with high-poverty and large districts receiving larger shares and can be used to provide professional development.
Use of Funds: Many districts use their Title II funds to provide professional development to help teachers learn strategies to help students meet high academic standards. Inspiration Software’s professional development offerings could be eligible for this funding source.
Purpose: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services. Part B provides funding by formula for programs for children from 3 to 21 who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Use of Funds: IDEA funds are used to provide a wide variety of programs including early intervention, special education and related services, including assistive technology. Up to 15% of IDEA funds can be used to implement a response to intervention (RTI) program, which provides supplemental instruction to assist students before they are given an individualized education plan. Use of supplemental instructional materials to support student learning is an appropriate use of funding.
Purpose: This program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. The program helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children. Funds are distributed to states and to local district and nonprofit organizations through subgrants.
Use of Funds: Funds from this program can be used for the purchase of remedial education and academic enrichment learning programs. Supplemental learning resources are appropriate expenditures for this fund.
In addition to the above federal funds, four additional sources may be available in your state:
Race to the Top (RTT) is a competitive grant to states focused on advancing reform projects that adopt standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the work place and to compete in the global economy; build data systems that measure student growth and success and inform teachers and principals above how they can improve instruction; recruit, develop, reward and retain effective teachers and principals and turn around lowest-achieving schools.
Race to the Top, Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) is a competitive grant to states focused on improving early learning and development programs for young children by supporting states' efforts to: (1) increase the number and percentage of low-income and disadvantaged children in each age group of infants, toddlers and preschoolers who are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs; (2) design and implement an integrated system of high-quality early learning programs and services; and (3) ensure that any use of assessments conforms with the recommendations of the National Research Council's reports on early childhood. These grants will be announced in early 2012.
Investing in Innovation (i3) is a competitive grant to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.
Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grants is a competitive grant for the creation of comprehensive literacy programs to advance literacy skills — including preliteracy skills, reading and writing — for students from birth through grade 12, including limited-English-proficient students and students with disabilities.
In 2003 and 2004, Microsoft Corporation settled antitrust class action lawsuits with businesses and consumers in several states. As part of the settlement terms, Microsoft agreed to provide vouchers for the purchase of specified hardware and software. In the majority of cases, businesses and individuals did not take advantage of the vouchers, leaving states with substantial unclaimed funds. Provisions in the settlement agreement allow states to give a portion of the unclaimed funds to certain schools to purchase qualifying hardware or software.
Click here to learn more about the California Education Technology Voucher Program
Click here to learn more about the Microsoft-Wisconsin CyPres Program
Click here to learn more about the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement
Visual thinking and learning processes and skills are valuable tools for students across all subject areas and grade levels. Visual learning tools like Inspiration®, InspireData®, Kidspiration® and Webspiration ClassroomTM help students see how ideas are connected and realize how information can be grouped and organized. With visual learning, new concepts are more thoroughly and easily understood when they are linked to prior knowledge. Visual learning helps students organize and analyze information, integrate new knowledge and, most importantly, think critically.