First Step Grant Guidelines by HC1203032316



                   FIRST STEP GRANT

                          FISCAL YEAR 2012

Fiscal Year 2012 is a “short year”: contracts will be for January 1 – June 30, 2012

               Application Postmark Deadline:
                     September 15, 2011

    Table of Contents
    Introduction, Guiding Questions; Program Goals….……………….. page 1
    A Successful Plan; Grant Program Details………………...…...…….. pages 2-4
    Explanation of Application Materials………………………………… pages 5-9
    Application Policies, Preparation, and Checklist…...………………. pages 10-11
    WSAC General Info…………………………………………………….. page 11

         711 Capitol Way S, Suite 600 | PO Box 42675 |Olympia, WA 98504-2675
                            360-753-3860 |
           WSAC |Arts in Education | First Step Grant |FY 2012-2013 | Application Guidelines

The First Step Grant provides funding to arts organizations, schools, nonprofits, and
government agencies committed to building community partnerships dedicated to
improving the quality and quantity of arts education for K-12 students in public schools in
Washington State.

The Washington State Arts Commission (WSAC) initiated the First Step Grant in 2005 to
support the early stages of arts education partnerships. This includes newly developed
partnerships, or existing partnerships that are beginning new arts education initiatives; it also
includes partnerships with a relatively limited scope, in terms of the partners’ capacity as well
as the goals and projected impact.

The desire to support these early-stage and smaller partnerships is based primarily on outcomes
from WSAC’s Community Consortium Grants, a funding program that supports larger, broad-
based, multi-faceted community partnerships. The majority of Community Consortia funded by
WSAC have successfully developed supportive partnerships and extensive programming
designed to improve and sustain high quality arts education in their communities.

Because of the success of Community Consortia investments, as well as national research on the
importance of community partnerships to develop sustainable arts education programming,
WSAC is committed to supporting “first step” partnerships that demonstrate strong potential
for growth and/or sustainability. It is WSAC’s hope that some partnerships funded through the
First Step program will eventually develop to the level of the current Community Consortia

For additional background on WSAC’s Arts in Education priorities, we recommend that you
read the guidelines for the Community Consortium Grants, and the Arts Education Research
Initiative (AERI) study, both of which are downloadable from Familiarity
with the Community Consortium guidelines and goals, as well as the “Markers of Quality” and
“Take Action” items in the AERI may be helpful in developing your vision and long-term goals.

WSAC understands the value of arts education for all students; “Arts for Every Student” is one
of the phrases we use to express this belief and our vision. We ask applicants to the First Step
grant program to consider these questions: What is standing in the way of “arts for every student”
in your community? What can you do (what “first steps” can you take) to address this challenge?

    To engage school leadership, arts organizations, and community members in support of
     K-12 arts education
    To encourage and support newer and/or smaller arts education partnerships so that
     foundations will be strengthened and work can be sustained into the future
    To support the development of deeper and longer-term opportunities for learning in
     and through the arts, and systemic support for comprehensive arts education for all

            WSAC |Arts in Education | First Step Grant |FY 2012-2013 | Application Guidelines

       students, and to move beyond arts exposure / arts enrichment programs with lower
       long-term impact.
      To support identification and implementation of the most needed “first steps” towards
       this vision of high quality, sustainable arts education programming.


A strong partnership with potential for growth. The primary partnership should include a
minimum of one school, one professional provider of arts education (an arts organization
and/or professional teaching artists), and the local PTA or other parent representatives. Parent
involvement is a proven element of successful education partnerships; however, if parent
representation is impossible, another community partner may be a suitable substitute. At least
one school principal or district superintendent must be engaged in the project, as demonstrated
by their authorization of this application (if the school/district is the lead applicant) or by their
letter of commitment (if they are one of the primary partners). Broader partnerships are
encouraged when possible, and may include a local business, library, community college or
university, as well as partners pertinent to the project—such as a social service agency involved
in a project serving at-risk youth.

A core strategy to improve arts education. The plan must have, at its core, one or more specific
strategies to improve teaching and learning in the arts. Examples:
   Develop and/or implement arts curriculum and/or assessments
         Develop / implement hands-on arts lessons for students, taught by professional
            teaching artists
         Develop or update the arts curriculum, plans for integrating the arts into other
            curricular areas, or development of user-friendly lesson plans for teachers
         Develop/implement assessments to measure teaching and learning in the arts
   Provide professional development for classroom teachers and/or teaching artists
         Train classroom teachers to make art, teach art, understand and implement the arts
            EALRs, develop art lesson plans, integrate the arts into other subject areas, and/or
            assess their students’ progress in the arts
         Train local artists to work in the schools, develop lesson plans based on the Arts
            EALRs, integrate the arts into other subject areas, assess their students’ progress in
            the arts, and/or provide training in their art form to classroom teachers
         Create team-building opportunities and coordinated planning sessions for classroom
            teachers, arts specialists, and teaching artists
   Increase community involvement and support
         Engage community members in an audit of current assets, opportunities, and needs
            in K-12 arts education
         Develop education and advocacy sessions for parents and other community
         Develop partnerships with institutions outside of the K-12 system that can support
            K-12 learning (i.e. local colleges/universities, libraries, non-profit organizations, etc.)

            WSAC |Arts in Education | First Step Grant |FY 2012-2013 | Application Guidelines

Alignment with state standards. Arts learning programs supported by WSAC must be aligned
with the guidelines and frameworks for arts education developed by the Office of
Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), and in particular, with the Essential Academic
Learning Requirements (EALRs) in the arts. Providers of professional development and
consultants paid through this grant should have expertise in this area. (OSPI arts info:

Alignment with local needs and resources. The plan should reflect the current local level of
experience, resources, and commitment related to arts education, as well as the local needs.

Realistic Scope. While the strategies above and other examples throughout these guidelines
represent a wide range of opportunities, we do not expect First Step grantees to tackle
everything at once. The plan should have focused and achievable goals that are in alignment
with the partners’ current capacity, the resources provided by this grant, and based on the
priorities identified by the partnership.
 The plan may focus on one grade level, a full school, or the entire district.
 The plan may concentrate on one arts discipline, several arts disciplines, and/or the
    integration of an arts discipline with another subject area.
 First Step funds will not support extra-curricular arts activities, or programs that serve only
    selected students within a school population.

In addition to the resources on the WSAC and OSPI websites, prospective applicants may wish
to look at A Community Audit for Arts Education: Better Schools, Better Skills, Better Communities,
developed by the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education. This booklet was developed to
assist local education, community, and cultural leaders in assessing the status of arts education
in their schools and school districts, and developing consensus around needs and goals. This
tool can help determine areas of focus for your program proposal; in some communities, using
this approach with your partnership team or in a series of community meetings could be a key
component of First Step grant activities. Use of this tool is not required, although if you do use
it, you should reference it in your narrative. Access the booklet at: www.kennedy-

Any Washington State public school, school district, government agency, or non-profit
organization is eligible to submit an application and serve as the fiscal agent for this grant.
(Washington State law prohibits funding of parochial schools.) Although the application must
be submitted by an institution/organization, individual artists, parents, or community members
working in partnership with the school(s) involved are encouraged to initiate projects by
approaching their schools/districts.

           WSAC |Arts in Education | First Step Grant |FY 2012-2013 | Application Guidelines

Applications must be complete, as defined in these guidelines, and submitted by the deadline to
be eligible for consideration. Applicants may receive only one Arts in Education Program grant
per year.

Applicants may receive First Step funding for up to four consecutive years (exceptions noted
below), with the understanding that each subsequent year of programming will demonstrate
progress towards the original goals, and expansion of those goals as appropriate. After several
years of funding in this category, it is hoped that grantees will either be able to sustain the
programs they have developed without WSAC support, or they will have developed their
partnerships and programs to a level appropriate for applying in the Community Consortium
grant category.
The review panel may consider funding for additional years in certain cases. In some instances,
it may be appropriate for grantees to remain in the First Step category for more than four years,
depending on partnership development, access to resources, and other external factors.
Grantees that have been funded for four consecutive years and would like to remain in the First
Step category for an additional year, or are not certain which grant category is the best fit, are
advised to speak with the Arts in Education Program Manager prior to submitting their

Grant awards generally range from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the scope of the program
and its projected impact. Actual grant amounts may vary, depending on WSAC’s available
funds and appropriations from state and federal sources.

Applications must be postmarked by the United States Postal Service (USPS) or delivery
service by September 15, 2011. Applications may also be hand-delivered to the WSAC offices,
and must be received no later than 5pm on September 15, 2011. Applications are not accepted
by email or fax.

A review panel will evaluate applications in October 2011; the panel’s recommendations will be
subsequently presented to the WSAC Board for approval. All applicants will receive notification
as to the status of their application no later than November 10, 2011.

Funded proposals for Fiscal Year 2012 must be implemented and completed between January 1
and June 30, 2012.

            WSAC |Arts in Education | First Step Grant |FY 2012-2013 | Application Guidelines

WSAC Staff determine eligibility of applications received, based on the criteria listed above.
Eligible applications are forwarded to a review panel composed of experts in arts education
programming. Panelists will rate each application based on the overall program goals defined
in these guidelines, and the additional criteria identified for each section of your application. A
detailed explanation of the review criteria is posted on our website. Applications are reviewed
in detail by each panelist individually, and by the panel as a group. Panel recommendations are
forwarded to the Board of the Washington State Arts Commission for approval.

On the WSAC website ( you will find the following useful information:
    “Grant Tips and Budget Sample”, with tips on preparing your application and budget
    Arts Education Research Initiative booklet and report
    The Roster of Teaching Artists, which lists teaching artists recommended for WSAC

Information on EALRs in the Arts is available on the Office of the Superintendent of Public
Instruction’s website:


WSAC’s Arts in Education Program Manager is available to answer questions about the
guidelines and the application process: please contact Lisa Jaret at 360-586-2418 or Please plan to schedule an appointment with sufficient lead-time before
the application deadline if you have extensive questions or would like to have a draft of your
application reviewed.


Please download the separate Word document, “First Step Application Form”. There are three
pages, which must be filled out electronically, without altering page formatting.
    a) Application Cover Page: contact information for the lead application and the primary
       personnel involved in managing the project. Be sure to have the authorizing official sign
       the original copy of this page in blue ink before making copies of your application
    b) Project Information: project summary and background details. (Check-boxes on this form
       can be marked by double-clicking on them.)
    c) First Step Partnership: a snapshot of your key partners and supporters.

           WSAC |Arts in Education | First Step Grant |FY 2012-2013 | Application Guidelines

Please download the separate Excel document, “First Step Budget Form”. This form is
intentionally locked in order to encourage one-page budgets submitted in a common format.
However, if you cannot fit your budget into this form, please contact the Arts in Education
office for version of the form that you can modify.

The budget should indicate all expenses and all income related to your project, not just the
portion of the project for which WSAC funding is requested. A successful application will
include a budget that demonstrates realistic and appropriate planning for both income and

On the budget form, list all cash expenses, all sources of income, and all in-kind support. In-
kind support includes donations of goods and services: goods may include printing services, art
materials, or refreshments contributed by project partners; services may include wages of
project participants for work hours spent on this project. For each line of income and in-kind
support, indicate whether the source is confirmed (“C”) or anticipated (“A”). For each expense
line, indicate specifically which income source will fund that component of your program.
Budgets must identify the funder (or anticipated funder) for each expense, and it is especially
important to be clear about the line items for which you are requesting WSAC funding. The budget
should be mathematically correct, and total cash expenses must equal total cash income. A
sample budget is included in the “Grant Tips and Budget Sample” document, available on the
WSAC website.

Budget Match: Applicants must demonstrate budgetary support for their project that matches
or exceeds the amount of funding requested from WSAC. The maximum amount that may be
requested for First Step grants is $5,000. In-kind support may be used towards this match,
however a cash match, i.e. grants or donations of funds from sources other than WSAC,
demonstrates a higher level of commitment and support.

Rates of Pay: Experienced, professional teaching artists must be paid a professional rate.
Teaching artists from WSAC’s Roster of Teaching Artists will generally expect an average rate
of $50 per hour. It is understood that appropriate rates will vary based on different levels of
experience and different areas of the state; in no instance should a teaching artist on a WSAC-
funded project be paid less than $30 per hour. You are encouraged to consider compensation for
planning meetings and preparation time for independent teaching artists, if there are significant
expectations in this area. Performing groups must be paid their usual rate and should not be
expected to donate time to the project.

Project expenses supported by this grant may include:
 Fees for teaching artists;
 Fees for an arts education consultant or provider of professional development;
 Fees for a consortium coordinator;
 Administrative expenses, including printing costs for lesson plans or other documents, and
   other administrative costs related to project planning and delivery;

           WSAC |Arts in Education | First Step Grant |FY 2012-2013 | Application Guidelines

   Travel expenses for non-local teaching artists or consultants - these expenses should not
    exceed state rates (;
   Fees for professional performing arts groups, student tickets, and transportation expenses
    for exhibitions and performances (when there is a clear connection to the overall arts
    learning plan); and/or
   Materials / Supplies required for lesson implementation.

WSAC funds may not be used for:
 Food and beverages;
 Capital expenses – purchase of equipment; building construction or renovation; or
 Regular salaries for employees of schools, districts, or ESDs. However, appropriate
  percentages of school/district/ESD staff salaries may be listed as in-kind support.

Please Note:
 While supplies and performer fees / student tickets are allowable expenses, expenses in
   these areas should generally be a modest percentage of the overall WSAC request.
 Because a First Step program should ideally involve a number of different arts education
   strategies and providers, no one individual should receive more than 40% of the grant
   request as their pay.

The narrative proposal should be typed on separate paper, using a standard, easy-to-read font
in 11pt or larger, with margins of 1” on all sides, and printed on 8½” x 11” white paper. Please
include the name of the lead applicant at the top of each page. The contents of your narrative
should address the guiding questions and program goals listed on the first page of this packet.

The narrative should be 2-3 pages, and should include the following sections:

The Need: Explain the specific arts education need you have chosen to address, how the
partners identified and selected this area of focus, and the impact that addressing this need will
have on learning in the arts for students and/or teachers.

Project Summary: Summarize your project’s key components and goals – i.e., how you intend
to address the need identified above.

Project Plan: Describe your project, and how it will be developed, implemented, and evaluated.
Address the following questions as appropriate to your project:
      How might this project serve as a building block towards sustainable arts education
         programs in the school(s) in your community? How or why will it lead to increased
         support for arts education and/or a broader arts education plan in the future?
      How will the project partners work collaboratively in an ongoing way?
      How are you ensuring that arts lessons are aligned with EALRs and include valid
         assessment approaches?
      What are the expected student outcomes of your plan?
      Who will manage your project activities?

            WSAC |Arts in Education | First Step Grant |FY 2012-2013 | Application Guidelines

Optional Project Outline: As a summary of your project plan, you may provide a chart or
bullet-point list of your key activities, goals, and project implementation dates. (This must be
included within the three-page limit of the narrative.)

Narrative Notes:
    Be sure that the proposal includes explanations of any project expenses that are listed in
       the budget. (For instance, if consultant fees are listed in the budget, the narrative should
       address what the consultant is being paid for.)
    If your project will serve students who are economically disadvantaged, geographically
       isolated, ethnic, or disabled, please describe the population and the percentage of
       underserved students within your total project.

Resumes should be submitted for 2-3 key project personnel. This may include 1-2 key teaching
artists and/or 1-2 arts education consultants or program coordinators, depending on the focus of
your program and the key contractor fees for which WSAC funds are being requested. Teaching
artists who are on WSAC’s Roster of Teaching Artists are considered pre-approved, and
resumes are not required if your key teaching artists are on WSAC’s Roster.

Resumes should be no more than two pages each, and should address artistic and educational
experience as appropriate.

Two letters of commitment are required. These letters should come from two primary partners
and should indicate the specific nature of their support and the role they will play with this
project. The partners should address whether they are committing financial support, staff time,
and/or other resources – in other words, what are they bringing to the table, and why are they
making this investment? One letter must come from a principal, a district curriculum
supervisor, or a district superintendent; if the lead applicant is a school, the letter would ideally
come from district staff.

If the lead applicant is a non-profit organization, you must submit a copy of the IRS letter
indicating tax-exempt status. Public schools and other government agencies that are lead
applicants do not have to submit proof of tax-exempt status.

           WSAC |Arts in Education | First Step Grant |FY 2012-2013 | Application Guidelines

You may submit one work sample and/or one item of other supplemental material to support
your proposal. These items are not a required component of applications, but may serve to
provide the panel with a deeper understanding of your work. These materials, if submitted,
should demonstrate the quality of arts teaching and arts learning, and/or the quality of the
planning process or a documentation of outcomes.

Work Samples:
 Work sample video, audio, or still images may be submitted on a CD/DVD, or if your work
   sample can be shared via the internet, you may submit a separate piece of paper that lists
   the website address and the specific URL to get directly to the work to be viewed.
 The panel will generally review work samples for no more than 3-5 minutes per application;
   be sure to indicate clearly the appropriate segments of work samples for the panel to review.
 Arts organizations / teaching artists working in any aspect of performing arts are strongly
   encouraged to submit a video clip on DVD rather than still photos.
 Please note that video must be submitted on DVD; VHS tapes are no longer accepted.
 Please note that WSAC will play work samples on a PC, using a variety of media players as
   needed (Real Player, Windows Media Player, PowerDVD, etc.) You should test all material
   prior to sending; Mac users may want to test their material on a PC before sending.
 All work samples should be clearly labeled with the name of the applicant, the
   artist/group/organization, the title of the work, the date of recording/date of work, and, if
   applicable, the specific role of the artist/group within the piece.

Work Sample Returns. If you would like your work samples returned after the final
Commission decisions are made, please include a self-addressed, postage-paid mailer with your
application; postage and size of return mailer must be correct or the work sample will not be

Supplemental Material:
Other materials that may add depth to your proposal might include:
 Something that demonstrates the quality of arts teaching for your project, such as a lesson
   plan developed by one of your lead teaching artists.
 Something that demonstrates past success with a related project, which would be
   particularly relevant if you’ve received a previous First Step grant. This could include
   curriculum or advocacy documents, or results of assessment or evaluation activities.
 Something that highlights the need you intend to address, or the foundation from which
   you are starting. This could include results of a community survey or a report from the

The panel will review a maximum of two optional items; please do not submit additional work
samples or supplemental materials.

           WSAC |Arts in Education | First Step Grant |FY 2012-2013 | Application Guidelines


We recommend that you allow sufficient time before the deadline to review the contents of your
application packet. If you have questions about what makes your proposal complete, call the
Arts in Education office before the deadline. Keep in mind the following administrative policies:
    Applications postmarked or submitted in person after the deadline are ineligible.
    All required items on the Application Checklist must be received by the deadline, or the
        application will be considered ineligible.
    Applications must be typed and submitted on the forms provided; handwritten
        applications will not be considered.


      Payments for funded proposals will be made after the approved services have been
       provided, and after appropriate documentation and invoice forms have been submitted.
      Every grant recipient must submit a Final Report at the end of the contract period; this is
       a contractual obligation. The Final Report includes a narrative self-evaluation, final
       budget, and project information required by the National Endowment for the Arts.
      Failure to submit the Final Report by the stated deadline may result in a 10% reduction
       in funding on a subsequent WSAC grant.


SEVEN sets of the following applications materials, assembled in the following order:

   □   Application Form (Three pages; First set must have original signature of authorizing official)
   □   Budget Form (One page)
   □   Narrative Proposal (Two-three pages)
   □   Resumes (For 2-3 individuals)
   □   Letters of Commitment (From 2 key organizational partners)

ONE copy of the following application materials, as desired/required:

   □   Optional: Work Sample and/or Supplemental Material
   □   New Applicants Only: IRS letter indicating tax-exempt status

             WSAC |Arts in Education | First Step Grant |FY 2012-2013 | Application Guidelines


All application materials should be printed on white, 8½” x 11” paper. Each of the seven sets of
application materials should be held together with a paper clip or binder clip – please do not
use staples, 3-ring notebooks, plastic covers, file folders, or other forms of binding.

Applications must be postmarked by the United States Postal Service (USPS) or delivery
service by September 15, 2011. Metered mail is not accepted; applications sent through the
regular mail service must have a USPS postmark. Applications are not accepted by email or fax.

Mail application packets to:
       Arts in Education Program
       Washington State Arts Commission
       PO Box 42675
       Olympia, WA 98504-2675

Applications may also be hand-delivered to the WSAC offices, and must be received no later
than 5 pm on September 15, 2011. The street address, for in-person delivery only, is: 711
Capitol Way S, Suite 600, in Olympia.


WSAC Arts in Education Staff:
Lisa Jaret, Program Manager: or call 360-586-2418
Christel Ratliff, Administrative Assistant: or call 360-586-0026
For additional staff listings, go to

WSAC is governed by a board of commissioners comprised of 19 governor-appointed citizens
and 4 legislative members, appointed by their caucus. For a list of current Commissioners and
their biographical information, go to

Accessibility, Diversity, and Nondiscrimination
WSAC complies with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations concerning civil and
human rights. For further information regarding WSAC’s policies on Accessibility, Diversity,
and Nondiscrimination, please go to our accessibility page.

The Washington State Arts Commission’s Arts in Education Program is funded by the Washington State
Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. These guidelines were published by the Washington State
Arts Commission, July 2011. Every effort has been made to publish accurate and timely information.


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