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K-12Lead of the Week

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Can Community-Based Nonprofits Be A Way Into School Districts?

From the October 29 issue of K-1Leads And Youth Service Markets Report

Announcement: Community Based Organization-Grant Partnership (adult education) Due November, Miami Dade County Public Schools System

Their Description: Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), Division of Adult Education programs are designed to prepare students to enter the career of their choice.... The purpose (of this announcement) ... is to determine qualified... Community Based Organizations....

Supplemental grant dollars provide instructional services that include staff development for classroom teachers, adult education tutors for adult learners... and technology services for both classroom teachers and adult learners....
Grant Funds may be used for most activities to support supplemental education instruction. This includes teachers salaries and benefits, project supplies and materials, equipment and software....

A. Technical Requirements
1. An existing adult education program.... (at least 15 adults for 6 months).
2. An adult conducted by a CPA...

B. Scope of Work
1. Instructional services including traditional classroom instruction, tutorial services, or instruction in a technology lab setting.
2. Teachers compensated by this supplemental funding are required to hold a state of Florida teaching certificate....

Focus Area - Definitions

All grants implemented and managed through M-DCPS School Operations, Division of Adult Education are based on adult literacy. The existing educational program at your organization must meet at least one of the following focus-areas:

Educational Gains in Adult Education.... (individuals who have attained 16 years of age, who are not enrolled... in secondary school....

Corrections.... criminal offenders in correctional institutions and for other institutionalized individuals, including academic programs for basic education, special education programs... English literacy programs and secondary school credit programs.... The term Correctional Institution includes prisons, jails, reformatory, work farm, detention center, or halfway house, community-based detention center, or any other similar institution designed for the confinement or rehabilitation of criminal offenders.....

Literacy for Households.... Interactive Literacy Activities between parents and their children.... Training for parents on how to be the primary teacher for their children.... An age-appropriate education to prepare children for success in school and life....

My Thoughts: The fundamental marketing and sales problem is gaining a toehold in a school district. It is less costly to sell more to a current client than to land a new one. By the same token, the high cost of acquiring a new client often can only be recouped by expanding sales over time.

For the small school improvement provider, the frontal assault on the big RFP is risky. The cost of competing is high, the prospect of a payoff low. The indirect approach, fishing where there are fish, but not other fishermen, works the other way - fewer competitors, lower costs, a better chance of winning. A smaller payoff, but the name of the game is growing sales over time, not one win.

This business opportunity offers one example the indirect approach: 1) the right local nonprofit may enhance the likelihood of winning; 2) there are many ways to generate revenue; 3) it is long-term revenue stream; and 4) there are many routes into mainstream k-12.

Working with local nonprofits can be problematic, but I would argue that this challenge is best addressed in the skills and experience sought when small providers hire marketing reps.

1 Comment

As a representative of an educational vender I ask why send an RFP only to non profit organizations. Many of the solutions that are availabe cost less and provide a better solution. PLTW has turned the term non profit into a joke in the educational arena especially when it comes to those students that need the most help. If we educate the bottom 20% doesn't it make us all better in the long run.

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