STEM Classroom and Labs Grant
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School Facilities

2018 STEM Classroom and Labs Grant

Form Package 855

Printable copy of STEM (RFP) Guidelines & Resources

Application open July 11, 2018
Application closes October 15, 2018 4 P.M.

Word Version of Application

Washington STEM will be hosting a webinar July 16, 12 P.M. - 1 P.M.

The 2015-2017 Washington State Legislature established the STEM Pilot Project Grant to provide under-resourced school districts the funds to construct or modernize science lab learning spaces.

Building from the success of the STEM Pilot Grant program, the 2018 Washington State Legislature appropriated $10 million in capital funding for STEM Capital Grants (ESSB6090 Section 5005). Grants will be available to school districts for public school facilities servicing students in grades nine through twelve, or any combination thereof. Funds will be used to construct classrooms or labs, as additions to existing school buildings, or to modernize specialized STEM facilities.

The intent of the STEM Capital Grants is to help districts meet graduation requirements regarding lab science credits. Information about the graduation requirement and associated definition of laboratory science is provided below.

Graduation requirement. By 2019, graduating seniors will be expected to complete three science credits, two of which are specified as “lab” credits. Meanwhile, the state has adopted new K-12 learning standards in science which, for the first time, include considerable emphasis on engineering and the integration of engineering with natural and physical sciences. The learning standards also call for students to engage in disciplinary practices. That is, as students learn core ideas they will engage in the science and engineering disciplines in ways that approximate the practices of working STEM professionals. Consequently, the emphasis on laboratory science is heightened in K-12 schools, especially at the high school level. This solicitation is designed to provide support for schools to not only meet the new graduation requirement of two (2) lab sciences but also support the teaching of science and engineering in a manner consistent with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Laboratory science. Following the State Board of Education’s definition of laboratory science (WAC 180-51-068, adopted 7/2014), “labs” are construed broadly. "Laboratory science" means any instruction that provides opportunities for students to interact directly with the material world, or with data drawn from the material world, using the tools, data collection techniques, models and theories of science. A laboratory science course meeting the requirement of section (3) may include courses conducted in classroom facilities specially designed for laboratory science, or coursework in traditional classrooms, outdoor spaces, or other settings which accommodate elements of laboratory science as identified in this subsection; This definition allows districts flexibility in offering science laboratory courses. Laboratory courses do not need to be offered in a dedicated laboratory facility, but could also be conducted in a traditional classroom, outdoors, or in a combination of settings. State Board of Education FAQ (

Lab learning experiences in outdoor spaces, may include conducting biodiversity surveys, water quality studies, environmental mitigation, etc. In many fields of study, students may conduct labs within computer models and simulations of natural systems (e.g., astronomical, genomic, climatic) and designed systems (e.g., transportation, agriculture). Accordingly, laboratory science education can be bolstered with well-designed spaces and a wide variety of material support, including the tools and materials students and teachers may use to conduct labs. Other significant resources, in addition to the classroom space itself, are critical to effective teaching aligned with the new science learning standards. These may include storage and preparation space, supplies, and equipment for measurement and data collection; appropriate access to computers and software; and a master schedule that supports work on projects over time (NRC, 2005).

Grant Eligibility

  1. Public school districts within Washington State that have not previously received a STEM Capital Grant award in the last three years (2015-2017) are eligible to apply.
  2. School districts may only submit one grant application; however, it may include projects at multiple schools within the district that serve students in grades nine through twelve, or any combination thereof.

Grant Criteria and Requirements

  1. Grants are for the design, renovation, and modernization of existing space or construction of additional square footage of classroom space specifically for science and science lab learning experiences in public schools.
  2. In the case of construction of additional square footage of classroom space, the new construction must be connected to an existing building. It cannot be a standalone new building.
  3. If the project is an outdoor classroom space, that space must be connected to an existing building and must include structural components such as a covering, electricity, and water.
  4. Districts must demonstrate a lack of sufficient space of STEM classrooms or labs or that their current STEM classrooms or labs are insufficient for students to meet statutory graduation requirements. The State Board of Education (SBE) adopted rules implementing Career and College Ready Graduation Requirements effective for the class of 2019 and include completion of three science credits, two of which are specified as “lab” credits.
  5. Districts must demonstrate that either existing science or STEM faculty are in place and are prepared to deliver a lab based, interactive, project-based STEM curriculum in the proposed specialized STEM facilities in a manner consistent with the Washington State 2013 Science Learning Standards OR that they have a plan and budget in place to recruit and prepare faculty to do so.
  6. Allowable project costs, in addition to the construction, under this grant program may include project management costs; design costs; furnishings, fixtures, and non-consumable equipment; and necessary utility and information technology systems upgrades to support specialized STEM facilities.
  7. Districts must have a secured private donation (non-public including local, state, or federal funds) of cash, like-kind, or equipment in a value of no less than $100,000 prior to receiving funds.
  8. Additional square footage funded through this grant program is excluded from the school district’s inventory of available educational space for determining eligibility for state assistance for new construction for: (a) five years following acceptance of the project by the school district board of directors; or (b) the date of the final review of the latest study and survey of the affected school district following acceptance of the project by the school district board of directors; whichever date is earliest.
  9. District indirect charges are not allowed. In-house labor costs will not be reimbursed. If work will be completed or equipment installed with in-house labor, applicants should not include the labor in the cost of the request.

Grant Priorities

Priority funding will be based on but not limited to the following:

  1. Schools served by the project with a high percent of students enrolled in the school free and reduced-price meal program. Washington School Improvement Framework data will be utilized to help determine a holistic approach to student group data. This includes multiple measures of school success, including performance of student groups and student group populations.
  2. Economic conditions within the school district that limits their ability to finance the modernization of STEM classrooms and labs from local funding sources.
  3. The extent that existing STEM facilities are inadequate including the lack of adequate STEM facilities to meet graduation requirements in RCW 28A.150.220, including such factors as the age and condition of existing STEM classroom and lab space, if applicable.
  4. Educational benefits of proposed projects.
  5. Financial reasonableness based on total project cost per square foot.
  6. Demonstration of readiness to proceed that may include, but is not limited to: demonstration that STEM faculty are in place and are qualified to deliver an interactive, project-based STEM curriculum in the proposed specialized STEM facilities OR a plan and budget in place to recruit or train such STEM faculty.
  7. School districts that have experienced decreased enrollments of more than ten percent over the previous five-year period due to inter-district transfers to schools with STEM facilities constructed or modernized in that same time period.

Grant Awards

The total award amount for this round of funding is $10 million. We anticipate budget requests between $100,000 and $2,000,000.

Per the 2018 Washington State Biennium legislation:

  • At least one award will be made to districts located in Southwest Washington. For the purposes of this grant, the Southwest Washington region is defined as districts located in ESD 112 and ESD 113.
  • At least one award will be made to districts located in the Puget Sound region. For the purposes of this grant, the Puget Sound region is defined as districts located within ESD 121, ESD 114, and ESD 189.
  • At least two grant awards will be made to districts located east of the Cascade Mountains. For the purposes of this grant, the east of Cascade Mountains region is defined as districts located in ESD 171, ESD 101, ESD 105, and ESD 123.


The school district applicants will be required to assure the following:

  1. All Federal, state, and local procurement and public works laws will be followed.
  2. If the district receives a grant, the school district board’s letter of support will acknowledge their agreement to provide continued support to sustain the grant requested improvements or program changes.
  3. If the district receives a grant that leads to additional square footage, it will meet the requirements of the Asset Preservation Program (APP, the district board, will fulfill the requirements of APP program)
  4. Grantees agree to participate in post-award evaluation including surveys, interviews, site visits, and reporting.


July 11,2018 - Application opens
July 16, 2018 - RFP informational webinar
October 15, 2018 - Application closes at 4:00PM (PST)
October 15 – November 8, 2018 - Application review period (may include site visits)
November 2018 - Grantees announced
*Dates tentative and subject to change.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted in iGrants, form package 855, Fiscal year 18-19. A word version of the application can be found here for your use in preparing your application. However, applications must be submitted through the OSPI iGrants system.

Review Process

  1. All applications will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness.
  2. Eligible and complete applications will undergo a review process led by Washington STEM. The review committee will consist of a team of qualified experts in science content, building design and construction, and other experts as deemed necessary to adequately and fairly assess each proposal. Applications will be reviewed using the scoring rubric below.
  3. Finalists may undergo review through onsite (school) visits with key district and school personnel.
  4. OSPI reserves the right to look at other factors in grant scoring, depending on applications received, including possible bonus points.

Scoring Criteria

The grant scoring criteria are intended to equitably distribute available funds to schools most in need and/or best prepared to use the funds as intended. Grants will be scored based on the following criteria.

    Project Description School Level Project Description
    The school level description(s) make a clear and compelling case for the proposed classroom improvements or new construction to serve students with STEM learning opportunities.

    Proposed Budget and Private Match

    • Budget is reasonable given the scope of the project and number of students
    • Includes itemized costs and a brief rationale for each expense item
    • Leveraged (private match) resources indicate significant commitment to the goals and outcomes of the proposal

    Education Outcomes
    Limitation of Current Space
    The proposal clearly articulates, with supporting data, the current STEM classroom facilities situation, including the number of students served by the existing facilities, and makes a clear and compelling case for the proposed improvements including the number of students who will be served under the improvements, and how the facility improvements will ensure that students served will meet the graduation requirement of three (3) science credits, two (2) of which are Lab Science and the 2013 Science Learning Standards. Linking Improvements and Materials with STEM Instructional Program and Standards

    The proposal makes a clear and compelling case, with supporting data, for how the proposed improvements and materials link with an instructional program consistent with Washington State 2013 Science Learning Standards, student achievement in science, including course and pathway, and prepares them for postsecondary opportunities to further their STEM learning and career pathways. STEM Faculty Capacity

    The proposal makes a clear and compelling case, with supporting data, for how the current staff capacity (e.g., ratio of qualified science teachers to students) and ability is adequate to implement Washington State 2013 Science Learning Standards in the enhanced or new lab science space, or there is a clear and compelling plan and budget to raise the faculty capacity and ability.

    Scoring Criteria Matrix

Award Certification

After a district has received an official grant award announcement, OSPI will require the following additional items to finalize the district’s commitment to the STEM project:

  1. New-in-Lieu Resolution (if applicable)
  2. Resolution stating the school board is in full support of the STEM grant project (may have been provided at time of application)
  3. Certification letter from Superintendent or School board (depending on district policies) stating all public works requirements will be met and any excess costs above STEM grant award will be covered with local funding

STEM Questions and Answers (PDF)


SBE College and Career Ready Graduation Requirement for Class of 2019 and beyond

SBE Rule re Lab Science Definition

Washington State Science Learning Standards, 2013 (NGSS)

National Research Council Guide to Implementing NGSS, 2015

STEM Learning is Everywhere, NRC, 2015

How Students Learn: Science in the Classroom, NRC, 2005

Trend in Lab Design, 2012, Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) A Program of the National Institute of Building Sciences

NSTA Guide to Planning School Science Facilities, Second Edition, 2007

NSTA Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards Web Seminars, NRC, 2015


Contact Information

Scott Black, School Facilities & Organization, OSPI, 360.725.6268

Previous Grant Information

   Updated 3/4/2019

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