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Selective Public High School Grant Competition


The application period to submit Letters of Interest (LOI) for the Selective Public High School Grant competition is now closed. After review of LOI, selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal.

Selective public high schools provide a uniquely stimulating learning environment for students. Increased exposure to rigorous content, deep engagement, and academically-oriented peer support benefit high achieving students and lead to strong preparation for top colleges and universities. The Foundation recognizes that high performing youth from low to moderate-income families often must overcome challenges regarding access to information and adequate preparation necessary to gain admission to highly selective high schools; and those admitted benefit from sustained, attuned support to graduate successfully.

The Selective Public High School Grant is intended to support the establishment of new programs or enhancement of existing initiatives that prepare academically talented students with financial need to get into and/or through selective public high schools. Examples of possible programs include pipeline programs, out-of-school-time academic enrichment, digital learning strategies, academic mentoring, and other unique leading edge practices to increase access and success.



  • Serve students with financial need who demonstrate strong academic potential through testing, grades, work samples and/or teacher recommendations
  • Present a distinctive, noteworthy program and practices that can be replicated
  • Possess a clear plan to sustain increased access and support for students with financial need beyond the term of the grant
  • Have a deserved reputation for operating high-quality programs that achieve outstanding student outcomes

This grant program provides one-time grants totaling up to $100,000, with the opportunity to use grant funds over the period of two years between June 1, 2018 and May 31, 2020.



  • Direct, program-related expenses
  • Scholarship funding
  • Personnel costs
  • A portion of administrative or overhead costs (not to exceed 15%)
  • Data collection and evaluation



  • Subsidize or supplant the program's existing administrative or scholarship costs, unless such costs are related to the expansion of services to high-achieving students with financial need.
  • Enhance the program's physical plant.
  • Influence legislation, engage in propaganda, or influence the outcomes of any election.



February 8, 2018 Call for Letters of Interest – application opens
March 1, 2018 5pm EST deadline for receipt of project summary
Late March 2018 Selected semifinalists invited to submit full proposals



Your Letter of Interest should be a one-page (up to 700 words) executive summary of the proposed project, and must include the following information:

  • School Overview: A brief overview of your school that demonstrates recognition as a thought leader in education. To what extent does the purpose of this this grant align with your school's mission, goals, and beliefs?
  • Program Description: Describe with specific details the proposed access and success program. What evidence suggests that your proposed program is an effective intervention for high-achieving students with financial need? Name the persons chiefly responsible for the proposed program, provide their titles, and the percentage of time (FTE) they will allocate to this initiative.
  • Student Population: Provide general demographics for the student population to be served, such as grade levels, family income, gender, race/ethnicity and information about the schools and communities from which they come.
  • Selection Criteria: How will you determine the academic and financial eligibility of the students you will serve in the program? Explain your criteria for exceptional academic ability and financial need and the process you will use to reach out to and select students for your proposed program. What is the total number of students you expect to serve directly through this grant each year?
  • Timeline: Detail your proposed timeline for program planning and implementation. Keep in minds that funds can be used over one or two years.



In addition, you will need to upload written proof of your organization's status as an educational/governmental entity or a 501(c)(3) public charity. You may submit one of the following:

  • IRS Affirmation Letter
  • A letter from an authorized government official
  • A copy of the legislative act creating a government body
  • IRS tax determination letter



Carver High School for Engineering and Science, Philadelphia, PA
Carver High School launched Saturday STEM Scholars (SSS) to build academic leadership capacity of 10-12th grade students at Carver and support 7th and 8th grade prospective students through a yearlong bi-weekly STEM exploration program. The program served nearly 60 students over two years by engaging them in collaborative, inquiry-based classes to learn about engineering design, computer science, applied mathematics, sustainability and the environment from Carver teachers and high school peer mentors. Carver's program addresses the limited positive academic peer support network that students from low to moderate-income communities may face by training high schoolers to serve as STEM role models and create stronger bonds with younger students. During the two years of Saturday STEM Scholars, Carver expanded the program to provide additional supports to incoming HSES students such as Saturday tutoring for students accepted as 9th graders to help them transition successfully to high school; this additional support enabled Carver to accept students into HSES who may not have been competitive in the traditional application process.

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and the Ingenuity Project at Poly successfully engaged 900 middle schools students over two years in a 26-week advanced STEM Capstone Challenge. Working closely with nine science teachers at participating schools, the Ingenuity Project designed the program to meet the potential of academically talented youth through curriculum-aligned challenges that include team-based, above-grade level math skills, and the application of technology, innovation and complex problem-solving. As a result, the Capstone Challenge has become a tool for the identification of high achieving students from typically underserved areas across Baltimore City. In just two years, the number of applicants from participating schools has more than tripled, and Ingenuity accepted almost five times the number of students from Capstone schools compared to two years ago. The success of the initiative led Ingenuity to design a math-related capstone challenge and professional development services for K-5 elementary schools in the region to strengthen the pipeline before middle school grades.