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Home / Retention Grant Overview

Oakland Teacher Retention Grant Program

Due Friday, May 4, 2018 @ 5PM

The Oakland Teacher Retention Grant Program was designed by Oakland teachers for Oakland teachers to put resources directly in their hands to develop innovative approaches to job satisfaction and teacher retention at their school sites.


What would make you want to stay in your school another 3, 5, or 10 years?

Read more below. 

Grant Proposal and Timing

The Oakland Teacher Retention Grant proposals are due by 5 pm on May 4, 2018. Grant teams may submit applications at any point leading up to that date. Grant decisions will be announced by May 23.

Step 1: Complete the Interest Form

Whether you know you definitely want to apply, or aren’t sure yet but are interested, fill out this short interest form (optional). Once you fill out the form, we will send you reminders about grant deadlines and supports offered by Educate78.

Step 2: Build Your Team, Identify Root Causes

A great place to start your retention project is by reviewing your school’s Gallup Teacher Engagement Survey results. In February 2018, over 1,200 Oakland teachers – from both district-run and charter-run schools – participated in this research-based survey. The survey assesses the level of teacher engagement across 12 key dimensions. Schools with a sufficient number of survey respondents will receive a customized report on March 22nd; the report gives teachers and principals actionable information to improve teacher engagement and retention at their sites. If you do not have your school’s report, please ask your principal.

Educate78 has created an easy-to-use, step-by-step toolkit to help schools interpret their results and take action – click here to access the toolkit. While using the toolkit is very helpful, it is not a prerequisite to apply for a teacher retention grant. We have also compiled a list of some partner organizations that are working with Oakland schools. Applicants may connect with these organizations directly if you they think they may be able to help with your retention project.

Step 3: Get Free Training to Develop Strong Projects

Register for these optional (but strongly recommended) sessions:

  • Workshop: Designing an Effective Teacher Retention Program
  • Office Hours on Grant Proposal Writing

See below for more details on the workshops.

Step 4: Submit Your Grant Proposal

Applications are due 5 pm on May 4, 2018. Grant decisions will be announced by May 23rd. There are two applications; please select the one that applies to you:

  • Click here for Year 1 grantees (i.e., if you did not receive a retention grant for the 2017-18 school year), Click here for a PDF version of the Year 1 survey, for your reference.
  • Click here for Continuation Grants (i.e., if you are a current retention grantee). Click here for a PDF version of the Continuation Grants survey, for your reference.

Key Dates

Thursday, March 15

Application period opens

Tuesday, April 10

Grant Proposal Writing Office Hours, 5-7 pm

Saturday, April 14

Grant Proposal Writing Office Hours, 11am-1pm

Thursday, April 19

Workshop: Designing an Effective Teacher Retention Project: 5-8 pm

Tuesday, April 24

Grant Proposal Writing Office Hours, 5-7 pm

Friday, May 4 at 5 pm

Grant applications due

Grant Proposal Support

We intend this grant development process to support meaningful reflection and planning and to not be overly burdensome to complete. If you have a great idea that will improve teacher satisfaction and retention at your school site, we want to support you to plan a strong grant project and to write a strong grant proposal.

We are thrilled to offer free workshops and office hours to support you!

Good food included!

Designing an Effective Teacher Retention Project

Date and time: Thursday, April 19: 5 pm to 8 pm

Location: Impact Hub, 2323 Broadway

  • Analyze your school’s Gallup Teacher Engagement survey data. If your school doesn’t have survey data, don’t worry – we will walk you through a process to identify some teacher engagement and retention opportunities
  • Plan a strong retention project with colleagues at your school site (note: we highly recommend inviting at least one other colleague to join you!)
  • Get coaching and feedback on your ideas from the facilitators, and from current grantees
  • Get to know other Oakland teacher teams designing innovative projects
  • Food included!
  • Ask questions to get clarification on specific sections of grant proposal application
  • Get feedback on already drafted sections of application for clarity and completeness

Time and Date

  • Tuesday, April 10 from 5-7pm
  • Saturday, April 14 from 11am-1pm
  • Tuesday, April 24 from 5-7pm

To sign up, click here. Space is limited!

Register here for any of the office hours. Office hours are held at the Impact Hub at 2323 Broadway.

Eligibility Criteria

Year 1 grantees (i.e., those who are NOT current grantees):

  • Demonstrated need in terms of student population and teacher retention
  • Grant proposal includes a clearly defined strategy to improve teacher satisfaction and retention at the school site that results in more great teaching and student learning. Strategy is a new approach or will expand an existing successful approach and includes clear goals for increased retention as a result of proposed retention project
  • Grant Design Team members are all Oakland public school employees and include at least two full-time Oakland public school teachers (PreK-12 in district-run or charter-run Oakland schools)
  • Implementation of the grant proposal will occur during the 2018-19 school year
  • Letter of Support included from School Leader
  • Grant proposal clearly how articulates how it will result in more great teaching and student learning

Continuation grantees

(i.e., those who are current grantees and wish to continue their grant)

  • Evidence of impact on teacher retention and satisfaction, for example:
    • Teacher surveys/feedback on impact of work on satisfaction & clear demonstrated teacher buy-in to continue/expand work
    • Actual increased teacher retention
  • School leader has demonstrated this work as a priority (e.g., active participation in check-ins, created time in staff meetings/PD, committed budget $ to support)
  • School commitment of resources toward retention project in 18-19
  • Potential to scale learning/strategies to other schools

Grant award decisions will be made by a Selection Committee of Oakland public school teachers, school leaders, and citywide talent leaders by May 23, 2018.

Funding and Sample Grant Ideas

Teacher teams can apply for one of three tiers of funding to implement their school-level retention strategy.

  • Tier I: up to $5,000 intended for small-scale or lower-cost pilots (e.g., across a grade level or department team, with a specific group of teachers like veteran teachers, to pilot a new retention strategy not tried before)
  • Tier II: up to $10,000 intended for deeper reach in terms of number of participating educators and/or intended impact on teacher satisfaction and retention. This strategy should be part of a schoolwide improvement strategy with school leader support.
  • Tier III: up to $20,000 intended for strategies with strong evidence bases and/or to scale up and refine a successful pilot. Tier III grants should impact a significant number of teachers at the site and be part of a schoolwide improvement strategy with school leader support.

Tier 1: $1,000 – $5,000

  • New teacher online or in-person mentoring
  • High-quality PD experiences for a grade level/ department team
  • Provide basic needs, materials, and equipment teachers identify as lacking, thus contributing to low teacher engagement/ morale

Tier 2: $5,000 – $10,000

  • Cross-department or grade level retreats, data, and collaboration days
  • Professional learning through an external partner (e.g., instructional strategies, equity practices, teacher inquiiry, teacher wellness)
  • School leader or instructional leadership team coaching

Tier 3: $10,000 – $20,000

  • Partner with community organization to build teacher instructional skills in social emotional learning
  • Provide release time to mentor teachers to coach other teachers
  • Create a year-long assistant teacher/ resident teacher program

There are many factors that will increase your retention project’s success. In our experience, the most important of those factors are:

  • Understand the root cause(s) of a school’s teacher engagement and retention challenges. Schools that understand their “root cause” are able to design appropriate solutions, instead of jumping to an innovative but potentially not impactful idea. To identify root causes, teachers can facilitate conversations with fellow teachers, or review their Gallup survey data.
  • Measure early and often: Successful grant teams planned how they would measure success over the year, including surveys, interviews, and observations. With this feedback, they made course corrections during the year, even before year-end retention data was available.
  • Prioritize it: Launching something new requires many team members to take on new work. Successful grant teams made teacher retention a top priority for the year, and saw this work as critical to achieving their school-wide goals – not just “nice to have.”
  • Do what is doable. Teacher retention is affected by many factors – some of which are systemic and community-wide. Try to identify the factors that you can control.
  • Gain support from multiple teachers at a site. To apply for a grant, applicants must form a Grant Team. The purpose of this team is to inform the retention project’s design, and also to help with its implementation.
  • Consider the research. We are particularly inspired by the TNTP report titled The Irreplaceables, which makes the case for focusing retention efforts on “irreplaceable” teachers. For a list of other best practices, see the “resources” section of the Gallup survey toolkit

Although each retention project should be tailored to each school, here are a few ideas to spark your thinking from current grantees:

Purpose of the Retention Grants Program

Great teachers are essential to prepare our students for success in college, career, and life. Yet as a city, Oakland loses 1 in 5 of our teachers every year. This retention has a negative impact on our students’ learning.[1]  And it’s expensive: about $15,000 to replace a teacher in recruiting, onboarding, and training costs.[2] These resources could be spent on teacher training, classroom supplies, or more competitive compensation to bolster the satisfaction and effectiveness of our city’s educators.

Research suggests that many factors contribute to teacher turnover – preparation, new teacher mentoring, compensation, working conditions, school leadership, autonomy, access to career pathways,[3] to name some of the most widely cited.

We believe Oakland teachers know best what will increase their job satisfaction and retention in their schools and are uniquely positioned to design and pilot solutions to do so.

[1] “How teacher turnover harms student achievement,” Matthew Ronfeldt, Susanna Loeb, Jim Wyckoff, March 2012.

[2]Recruiting and Retaining Teachers: What Matters Most and What Government Can Do,” Linda Darling Hammond

[3] “Who Stays in Teaching and Why: A Review of the Literature on Teacher Retention,” Harvard Graduate School of Education, February 2005; “Greenhouse Schools: How Schools Can Build Cultures Where Students and Teachers Thrive,” TNTP, March 2012; “Recruiting and Retaining Teachers: What Matters Most and What Government Can Do,” Linda Darling Hammond, Accessed 4/26/16.

Ready to Apply or Interested in Learning More?

First step is to fill out the Interest Form and we will email you the application link and support offerings! Or if you’re ready to start:

  • Click here to apply for a Year 1 grant (i.e., if you did not receive a retention grant for the 2017-18 school year). Click here for a PDF version of the Year 1 survey, for your reference.
  • Click here to apply for a Continuation Grant (i.e., if you are a current retention grantee). Click here for a PDF version of the Continuation Grants survey, for your reference


How long does it take to complete an application?

This depends, but in general we recommend reading through the entire application before beginning, and allotting a bit more time than you think it’ll take! You may attend the free workshop and office hours to help write your application.

We’ve tried to make the application as easy as possible to complete, while also gathering enough information that will help us make a well-informed grant decision.

What support will Educate78 provide during the school year?

For new grantees, those unfamiliar with managing grants, we’ll schedule 2 check-ins over the first 3 months of the school year. For other grantees, we’ll schedule a fall and spring check-in. Generally, we encourage grantees to reach out to us to share successes and work through challenges so that your grant project is as successful as possible! For example, we may be able to make introductions or point you toward best practices.

Depending on interest among grantees, we may also pair “like” schools to share best practices or challenges

What should I do if my school’s context changes, and I need to change the scope of our retention project?

If this happens, please contact us and we’ll discuss how to ensure your project meets your school’s current needs.

Should my grant proposal focus on all teachers or a sub-set of teachers?

Your project should address your school’s true retention needs, and may focus on either all teacher or a sub-set of teachers. That said, we are inspired by the TNTP report titled , which makes the case for focusing retention efforts on “irreplaceable” teachers.

Do you fund school supplies and other materials and equipment?

Yes. The Gallup Teacher Engagement Survey notes the importance of “materials and equipment” for employee engagement. However, applicants must make a linkage between “materials and equipment” as a root cause of teacher engagement/retention. Further, if applicants request to use funds for materials and equipment, their projects must also include components that go beyond supplying teachers with materials and equipment.

Are you giving “individual retention grants” this year?


What happens if our school doesn’t use all of the grant money in the 18-19 school year?

We want schools to use their grant award wisely. If it turns out that it’s best to use parts of the award during the 19-20 school year, simply contact Educate78 and we’ll talk about whether this is a good idea.

What is the reimbursement timeframe and process?

We will provide this information once grants are awarded. If you have a specific question or concern, simply contact us.


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