SJ Learns Grant Opportunity: Summer 2022 and Academic Year 2022-23

SJ Learns aims to bolster academic achievement by funding promising and innovative expanded learning programs that serve San José public school students in transitional kindergarten (TK) through 3rd grade.  Approximately $850,000 are available for this grant opportunity.

San José Local Education Agencies (LEAs; public school districts, charter schools, and charter networks/management organizations) are invited to submit proposals for funds available for the Summer 2022 and the 2022-2023 academic year through the SJ Learns program. Community-based organizations (CBO) are encouraged to apply with LEAs as lead applicants.

Approximately $850,000 are available for this grant opportunity.

The grant review committee will give preference to proposals that:

  • Prioritize schools that serve a higher percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced price meals.
  • Identify a clear plan to recruit students who do not meet (or are at risk of not meeting) grade-level standards.
  • Demonstrate an enhanced commitment/innovative approach to implementing SJ Learns strategies and priorities.
  • Include both summer and academic year expanded learning programs.
  • 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.

Grant Application – Please submit by October December 3, 2021.
Grant Decisions – In February 2022, grant decisions will be shared with applicants.

Grant Application Process 

Please register for an account at the San Jose Public Library Foundation’s Grant Portal if you do not already have one. Once logged in to the grant portal, you will be on the Apply Page. You can then access the SJ Learns Grant Summer 2022 and AY 2022-2023 application by clicking on the Apply menu on the top of the page and then clicking on the Apply button to the right of it.  Please note the application autosaves as you go and you can access the application as often as needed. Please submit the completed application by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, December 3, 2021.

If others at your organization/partner organizations need to access/edit the proposal, please use the Collaborator feature on the form.
1. Collaborator Video Tutorial (2 minutes long)
2. Collaborator Written Tutorial

You may click here to download the PDF of Grant Application Form Questions.

History of SJ Learns

SJ Learns launched in 2015 by Mayor Sam Liccardo and shaped by the SJ Learns Working Group and Advisory Committee – members included educational experts and stakeholders representing nonprofits, foundations, school districts, county offices of education, and the City of San José.  Since 2015, $6.1 million has been awarded for SJ Learns programs throughout the City. Recognizing the importance of the City’s role in educational programming and funding, the SJ Learns grant opportunity has been annualized.

Historically, SJ Learns has awarded between $62,000 and $376,000 per year to grantees to support summer and academic year expanded learning programs. More information about past awards is available at the SJ Learns Website.

SJ Learns is administered by the San José Public Library Foundation, with support from the San José Public Library’s Education and Digital Literacy Team. The Library team provides leadership for the application process as well as all related administrative, programmatic, and evaluation activities.

SJ Learns Strategies and Priorities

SJ Learns aims to provide LEAs with resources that leverage their own expanded learning program budget, as well as that of any provider(s) it selects, to increase the number of at-risk students who attend high-quality expanded learning programs. Additionally, SJ Learns facilitates dialogue among participating LEAs, school sites, program providers, and the broader learning community to inform understanding around best practices and shape policy. This includes aligning program curriculum with LEA-led learning programs and the California Expanded Learning Quality Standards, developing strategies to scale successful programs, and building sustainable funding streams.

SJ Learns strategies are outlined in the SJ Learns Theory of Change and the SJ Learns Logic Model. 

SJ Learns priorities include: 

  • Whole Child LearningGrantees take a whole child approach to education, ensuring San Jose students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. More information is available at The Whole Child. 
  • CollaborationGrantees partner with city agencies, community-based organizations, businesses, and other entities to improve student outcomes. 
  • Family EngagementGrantees encourage trusting relationships between staff and parents, create a sense of community within programsbuild parents’ capacity to help improve student outcomes, and empower parents to be active decision makers and lifelong advocates on behalf of their children. 
  • Continuous Quality ImprovementGrantees are committed to program improvement and ensure programs are aligned to the Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in California. 

 Community of Practice 

SJ Learns partners with the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation and Cisco Systems’ Community Impact Grant programs to organize an Expanded Learning Community of Practice. All SJ Learns grantees must participate in the Community of Practice, which meets online or in-person at least three times per year.

Who Can Apply

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 (CBOs) are considered sub-grantees of the lead applicant. CBOs are encouraged to collaborate with eligible LEAs throughout the application process.

Minimum Eligibility Requirements

Expanded Learning Programs must: 

  • Be administered at (or by) 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).
  • Ensure that students who are funded with SJ Learns monies 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 to collect program data. This is important for the SJ Learns evaluation strategy. 
  • Commit to participate in the Expanded Learning Community of Practice. 

Additional Notes: 

  • 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).

Information Sessions 

We are offering two options for interested applicants to attend an information session and engage with the SJ Learns team through Q&A. Please register for the time that works best for your schedule. Materials shared during these sessions will also be posted to the website. 

 Wednesday, October 27: 4-4:30pm 

Thursday, October 28: 12:30-1pm 

Key Dates for the 2022-23 Grant Opportunity

  • October 25, 2021 (Monday): Grant Opportunity is posted with access to Application Form
  • December 3, 2021 (Friday): Applications are due
  • February 2022: Funding decisions are shared with applicants


Contact: Amanda Otte
Literacy Program Specialist
San Jose Public Library