Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for an SJ Learns grant?

  • Local Education Agencies (LEAs; public school districts, charter schools, and charter networks/management organizations) serving San José students in TK-3rd grade are eligible to apply as the lead applicant.
  • Community-based organizations (CBO) are considered sub-grantees of the lead applicant. CBOs are encouraged to apply with an eligible LEA.
  • Previously awarded applicants must be in good standing (i.e., they must have complied with all reporting deadlines and expectations, met or made significant progress towards previous grant goals, and have been actively engaged in the Community of Practice).
  • LEAs that have already been awarded funds to support programs during the 2021-22 academic year may apply for additional funding to support new programs only. For this grant opportunity, this stipulation only applies to the Luther Burbank School District.

What are the minimum eligibility requirements?

Expanded Learning Programs must:

  • Be administered at a school site (or school sites) with a minimum of 40% of students who qualify for free or reduced price meals
  • Serve TK- 3rd grade students who are residents of the City of San José and attend public schools
  • Demonstrate a clear strategy for recruitment or referral that utilizes available data, including valid and reliable assessments, to ensure the program enrolls students who are both low-income and performing below (or at-risk of performing below) grade-level standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts.
  • Demonstrate alignment with the LEA’s in-person or distance learning programs, as well as the Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in California.

LEAs must:

  • Demonstrate alignment with SJ Learns strategies and priorities through the Local Control Accountability Plan (or Local Continuity and Attendance Plan; LCAP).
  • Identify a funding source to provide a 1:1 match in LEA funding for every dollar of grant funding. Funding may be from any source other than the City.
  • Use SJ Learns funds to ensure students who qualify for free or reduced price meals are not charged program fees.
  • Participate as a member (or be open to becoming a member) in the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s DataZone project. This is important for the SJ Learns evaluation strategy.
  • Commit to participate in the Expanded Learning Community of Practice.

Will certain proposals be given preference?

In the second stage of the application process (the detailed grant application stage), preference will be given to proposals that:

  • Prioritize schools that serve a higher percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced price meals
  • Prioritize program access for a higher percentage of students who do not meet (or are at risk of not meeting) grade-level standards according to the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)
  • Demonstrate an enhanced commitment/innovative approach to implementing SJ Learns strategies (outlined here) and priorities, including: whole child learning, collaboration, family engagement, and continuous quality improvement.
  • Include both summer and academic year programs
  • Include a focus on student achievement in both Mathematics and English Language Arts
  • Include a clear financial narrative or strategy that shows diversified funding sources other than ASES or 21 Century funds.

How will applications be evaluated?

  • SJ Learns is guided by an Advisory Committee comprised of educational experts and stakeholders representing nonprofits, foundations, schools, and the City of San José. The Advisory Committee will review applications and provide scoring based on a rubric. Applications will be evaluated using a rubric that aligns with the minimum eligibility requirements and the program descriptions provided by applicants. Preference will be given to applicants that provide both academic year and summer programming, serve higher proportions of low income students with academic need, address the SJ Learns priorities, and emphasize the Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in California. The list of Advisory Committee members is available

How many grants will be awarded?

  • The number of grants varies from year to year, and is dependent on the quality of applications received. In the past there have been between 4-5 grants to school districts, serving an average of 10-11 schools.

What types of programs have been funded in the past?

  • Programs have supported students in literacy intervention during the summer and/or academic school year. Programs have used funding to hire credentialed teachers to help prevent summer learning loss, provide intensive tutoring in the after and before school setting, expanded opportunities for kindergarten readiness, and more.

What is the amount awarded to each grantee?

  • There is no set amount given to particular programs. Historically, grants have ranged from $62,000 – $376,000 and depend on the number of students being served and schools participating.

Can the students be charged participation or enrollment fees for programs?

  • LEAs must commit to ensuring that all eligible students are not charged any fees for participating in expanded learning programs. If programs are charging fees, LEAs must make a clear showing that eligible students were given a scholarship or grant to cover costs.

Can funds be used to support students who do not live in San José or don’t meet other funding criteria?

  • SJ Learns funding is intended to serve San José children who are low income and do not meet (or are at risk of not meeting) grade-level standards. Programs that demonstrate outcomes with a high-impact on this population will be given priority.
  • If awarded funds, programs may enroll other students, but LEAs must make a clear showing that SJ Learns funds are only being used to support eligible students, and provide support to ineligible students through other funding sources.

What if a program serves low-income students, but is not administered at a school site with less than 40% of students who qualify for free or reduced price meals?

  • Schools with FRPM below 40% may still be considered. However, applicants should be clear about how programs prioritize access to low-income students.

Why is participation in DataZone required?

  • The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) maintains DataZone to close achievement gaps and promote continuous improvement. DataZone allows SCCOE and participating LEAs to aggregate data to better understand a variety of student outcomes. Three youth-focused City programs (SJ Works, Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force, and SJ Learns) have been working with SCCOE and to understand how City-funded programs impact students’ educational outcomes.