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The Learning Beyond the Bell competitive grant opportunity funds are provided through the Iowa Department of Education’s portion from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund to address state-level educational efforts. The purpose of this project is to build, evaluate, enrich and/or sustain evidence-based before-and after-school programming for schools with the most intense needs in Iowa. Anticipated results include increases in attendance rates, achievement in identified content area(s) of need (mathematics or literacy), and student engagement or connectedness. An additional outcome is to decrease identified achievement gaps.

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Eligibility Requirements

To realize the benefits of before- and after-school programming, students need to regularly attend the program, receive explicit academic instruction during their time in the program, and have access to high-quality staff.  In addition, barriers to access need to be considered such as cost, availability, transportation, accessibility, and aligning programs.  Therefore, to take part in this grant opportunity, specific requirements must be met.

All schools are eligible to apply, and are encouraged to partner with community organizations to implement the purpose of this grant. Schools that have the following designations will be given priority.

  • Any school designated as Comprehensive School in Need of Improvement (CSI);
  • Any school designated as Extended Comprehensive School in Need of Improvement  (E-CSI);
  • Any school designated as Targeted School in Need of Improvement (TSI) or Extended Targeted School in Need of Improvement (E-TSI) located within a district that also has one or more schools designated as either CSI or E-CSI.

Eligible schools interested in the Learning Beyond the Bell grant opportunity must develop a plan with a brief description that addresses each of the following:

  1. Need for the program(s) based on student performance, needs of the school and how this fits into the broader picture of the district. 
  2. Program Description that includes a description of the program, including (a) focus (e.g., mathematics, reading) (b) evidence-based interventions to be used, (c) how the school will ensure fidelity of implementation of the selected intervention, and (d) how the program will align with other out-of-school programming. 
  3. Projected Costs for the program, including a budget table that outlines how the funds will be used to carry out evidenced-based before- and after-school activities to advance student achievement. 
  4. Plan for Implementation of the program(s), including (a) a plan to ensure daily attendance, (b) how students will be transported to and from the program, (c) high quality staff that will be providing services, and (d) community partnerships.
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Program Funds

Total Amount of Funds Available: Up to $3,500,000

Schools may apply for any award amount up to $200,000. Grants will be awarded until the funds are exhausted.

The funding period for this grant expires Jan. 28, 2025.

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Learning Beyond the Bell Grant Timeline
March 1, 2024Application opens in Iowa
March 29, 2024Applications closes in
April 16, 2024Grant awards announced.
Aril 16, 2024 to Jan. 28, 2025Spending window. All must be completed by Jan. 28, 2025.
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Learning Beyond the Bell Grant Opportunity - Applicants should thoroughly read prior to completing the application in

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Webinar Recording

Learning Beyond the Bell Grant Opportunity Webinar Recording

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Application available on



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