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Topic: "How do you sustain momentum post funding?"

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Topic started by: Kimberly Descoteaux on 10/23/13

MSPnet recently conducted a survey with the community and a question that came up repeatedly was how do projects successfully sustain their projects after funding ends.

Has your project been successful in sustaining your effort? What strategies have worked? If you are approaching the end of funding and have come up with some excellent ideas that you are in the midst of implementing, please share them! We look forward to hearing from several mature projects.

If you have a different question feel free to start a new topic. Someone in the MSP community of over 9,000 should have an answer -- or at least a suggestion. Your participation is encouraged.

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This topic has 4 posts, showing all.

Sustaining momentum...

posted by: Nancy Shapiro on 10/24/2013 12:45 pm

As we all know, grant funded projects don't follow Newton's laws of motion--a project in motion does not stay in motion when the funding is gone. We've had two MSP grants--partnerships with multiple higher ed institutions (2 year and 4 year) and large school districts (over 130,000 students each).

Some things are easier to sustain than others.
1). The deliverables in the first MSP included a set of curricular materials that were aligned with state science tests--and those curricular and PD materials formed the basis of ongoing PD in that district--so I'd say that was a win.
2) The activities in the second MSP included developing dual enrollment and early college programs--and the state legislature passed a law last year that put a funding model in place to continue dual enrollment programs (we contributed to that, can't claim we are solely responsible for the law).

These are examples of how some aspects of projects can be sustained.
However, it's much more difficult to sustain momentum on individual campuses. Faculty who have been supported may continue working with schools, but if their work is not built into their workload, or reward structure, then it's harder to maintain.

The most promising examples of sustaining higher ed engagement, in my experience, is creating communities of practice among faculty and teachers. Sometimes, these communities of practice cross institutional lines, so that faculty find themselves partnering on new grants with faculty from other institutions who they met during our project. in other cases, I've found that faculty who were tentative or reluctant players initially, are the first up to volunteer when I propose a new project, because they remember the "good times" and are enthusiastic about new projects.

I'd love to hear how others are sustaining momentum--it's an important discussion to have.


posted by: Deborah Hanuscin on 10/30/2013 8:19 pm

Our project has partnered with our state NSTA affiliate, and has been able to hold follow-up sessions in conjunction with their annual conference. This year, we hosted a 'conference within a conference'. This has been a mutually beneficial relationship, and one that has potential to outlast funding.

Sustaining momentum

posted by: Wendy Smith on 10/29/2013 12:25 pm

We have sustained momentum several ways.
1. After a project that created a master's degree program for middle level mathematics teachers (NSF grant), we got an additional grant from NSF that would develop programs for elementary and high school teachers.
2. The courses/degree program from the middle level program (and those from the elementary and secondary programs) are mostly institutionalized into the regular offerings of our university. We have worked with our university foundation to raise private funds to offer tuition fellowships to teachers to offset the cost of taking courses. We also got our university to discount the tuition of summer courses for teachers.
3. We were able to interest private foundations in our state in investing in us and our programs to focus efforts on one particular school district, so have been able to continue our programs past the end of NSF funding in this particular district.

sustaining projects after the MSP grant ends

posted by: Amy Cohen on 10/30/2013 11:23 am

The US Dept of Education runs its version of a Math Science Partnership Program. The money is distributed to states by a formula (not all states qualify) and each state's department of education runs its own competition for grants. The funding is not as generous as NSF funding, but no research component is required and the allowable overhead is much less. I have one such from NJ Dept of Ed - which allows NJ PEMSM to sustain and/or extend its offerings.

My university has also institutionalized the math content courses we developed for NJ PEMSM as masters-level courses in a new curriculum code "Math for Teachers". Our pure and applied math grad programs did not want to list these courses under their curriculum codes the public be confused somehow. Having the new curriculum code makes our outreach to teachers easier to publicize.

Our university fundraisers tell us that the big corporate foundations will support math ed projects only if there is "gold standard" evidence of effectiveness in raising students test scores - large sample, double blind, statistically significant results. This is really hard to accomplish when the interventions are with teachers -- teacher's in our program know they are in our program and talk about it with their kids. Double blind is no good unless the samples are clearly equivalent. And getting equivalent samples of kids' scores is not easy. But we'll keep trying....