Site Innovation Grants

There are many exciting new tools and strategies being developed today and we want to bring them to our students. Technology moves quickly, and it is often impossible for public schools to keep up, given the pace of budget allocation and other considerations.

DSE is nimble enough to be able to act quickly on great ideas, and our Site Innovation Grants will enable us to pilot new, big ideas that have the potential to reach far beyond the initial school or district site implementation.

What We are Looking For

We want to encourage "outside-the-box" thinking, to promote change by giving ideas a chance to impact learning in a way that is creative and innovative, yet meaningful and effective. Our goal is to increase learning opportunities by funding alternative, experimental, and innovative tools and curriculum for students with special needs. We are looking for proposals that will:

  • Expand the breadth and/or depth of curriculum accessible to IEP students
  • Streamline and/or make the delivery of special education more effective and efficient.

Four Pillars of Emphasis

We will be looking for projects that address one or more of these basic learning areas:

  • Communication
  • Literacy
  • Curriculum (adaptation and access)
  • Technology (using technology to expand or enhance learning opportunities)


Site Innovation Grants 2018-19

  • Math 180 Curriculum ($15,000) Davidson Middle School - San Rafael City Schools
  • IXL Subscriptions ($5,620) - Miller Creek, Vallecito, Dixie, Mary E. Silveira School - Dixie School District
  • Dash and Dot Robot Class Set ($2,400) - San Jose Middle School - Novato Unified School District
  • Everyday Speech, Flocabulary and News-2-U subscriptions ($25,000) - Across all sites in Novato and San Rafael School Districts
  • Virtual Reality Learning Labs with Curriculum ($30,000) - 4 high schools, three districts and MCOE: Tamalpais High School (TUHSD), Novato High School (NUSD), San Rafael High School (SRCS), Compass (MCOE)

Site Innovation Grants for 2017-18

  • New Computer Lab Embodying Universal Design Learning ($22,000) - Grant Grover/COM (serving students ages 18-22)
  • Oversized Interactive Touch Screens ($37,000) - At each of the 5 schools in Ross Valley School District
  • Read and Write for Google Subsription ($3,500) - Dixie School District
  • Eye Gaze Computer Stations for 4 classrooms ($18,000) - serving students from 9 districts across 4 school sites: Redwood High School (TUHSD, SRCS, NUSD), Venetia Valley Middle and Elementary (Kentfield, Mill Valley, Larkspur-Corte Madera, Reed, Ross Valley, SRCS, Shoreline)

Site Innovation Grants for 2016-17

  • Braille Printer ($8,000) - Marin County Office of Education vision specialists
  • Tech Resource Center of Marin Renovation, complete with new, cutting-edge equipment ($100,000) - County-wide access
  • Learning Ally Pilot Reading Program ($30,000) - 6 school districts (subsequently adopted county-wide)

Grant Teams - Application and Implementation

Site Innovation Grants can be anywhere from $5,000 to $75,000 in a given year. We may fund only one project or a dozen. Each application must include a Grant Team - a group of educators, administrators, technology and vendor personnel - who will implement the project. Factors the committee will consider include:

  • The scope of the project - numbers of students impacted
  • Novelty of the approach
  • Demonstration of ability to implement and evaluate

If your team submits a great idea, and yet the proposal hasn't been developed enough, we will work with you to give it a better chance of approval.

What is a Team?

Each Site Innovation Grant must fall into one of these categories:

  • Individual school site - where a number of special educators collaborate on a project or implementation.
  • One district that covers more than one school site
  • A number of districts and school sites.


In order to be elibible to apply, each Grant Team must have at least one member attend an informational session. We will be scheduling several of these each Fall. Evaluation of the grant - quantitatively and qualitatively - is a crucial factor. How do you plan to measure student achievement at the beginning and the end? Given the scale of the funding possibilities, these grants will require more rigorous participation from applicants. Our review committee will be conducting on-site interviews to determine the readiness of the grant team and school site to implement if the application is approved.


You may submit your application any time before the deadline, generally early December of the school year.  Note, THIS IS DIFFERENT from the Classroom Grant schedule. 

How to Apply

1. Download the Site Innovation Grant Application MS Word document to your desktop computer.

Site Innovation Grant Application Form (WORD)

2. OPEN the application on your computer, it should work with MS Word and with Pages).

3. COMPLETE the application, or otherwise provide all the information requested. Incomplete applications will be returned to you if there is time before the deadline for submitting.

5. SAVE the application to your computer renaming it for the last name of the person submitting, "Jones-DSE-Site-Innovation-Application.docx".

6. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. the completed application to us. Attach your MS Word or a pdf of your application in the email.

Note: Your chances of approval depend upon you providing all the information requested and having all the stakeholders lined up and ready to implement.You may include links to URL's that support your request. Projects that involve technology must have an IT team member ready to be interviewed by our IT team proir to our approval meeting to ensure your site/s are capable of supporting your project.

This program is competitive. Properly completed applications can make or break your chances of success.