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Public Charter Schools Grant Program (PCSGP) Critical Friends Group®

Grants to California Nonprofits, LEAs, Agencies, and
Schools to Improve Educational Outcomes for Students

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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California Department of Education, Charter Schools Division

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

09/22/21 - Midnight for email submissions and postmark for mailed applications


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Grants of up to $40,000 per year to California nonprofit organizations, local educational agencies, school districts, charter and non-charter schools, and educational agencies to support statewide schools. Funding is intended to assist schools, increase the number of high-quality schools, and enhance academic achievement for all students. The goal of the grant is to support Critical Friends Group (CFG) Coaches, tasked with developing regional CFGs for charter schools in California, and to provide professional development opportunities for charter and non-charter schools to improve academic achievement for all students in California.

As a CFG Coach, the grantee will be tasked with creating a regional group of up to ten charter school participants on a regional basis. Proposals must describe a plan to create and facilitate CFGs, and to manage personal and professional obligations. CFG gatherings focus on improving or resolving dilemmas brought by the participants. Rather than working in isolation, CFG participants enjoy the combined wisdom and commitment of the whole group toward resolving problems and developing tangible work products.  All approved CFG Coaches must agree to participate in a required CFG Coaches’ Training with CDE staff. Training and travel costs will be covered by the sub-grant award. The CFG Coach proposed by the applicant must have multiple years of experience working with a high-quality charter school(s).

CFG Coaches will be required to attend and facilitate the following activities:

  • Monthly in-person or virtual participant meetings (at least eight, two-hour sessions);
  • Up to four school site visits to CFG participants (attendance by CFG Coach is optional); and
  • Quarterly CDE progress meetings with other regional CFG Coaches

For information about allowable use of Funds, see Page 10 of the RFP in Supporting Documents, below.

For details about the Scope of the Project, begin on Page 12 of the RFP in Supporting Documents, below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 197810

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Up to 5 sub-grants (one coach per CCSESA geographic region)

Estimated Size of Grant:

Approximately $40,000 per sub-grantee per FY. However, to maximize flexibility in the design of sub-grant projects, the CDE has not established minimum or maximum funding levels for sub-grants. The CDE will evaluate projects on a case-by-case basis.

All successful applicants must participate in CFG Coaches’ Training to become a certified CFG Coach. The registration and travel costs, if required, must be included in the CFG budget. The cost of virtual CFG training is $850 and successful applicants will be provided additional information once sub-grant awards are announced.

Term of Contract:

November 1, 2021, to June 30, 2024, pending the approval of one No-Cost Extension for fiscal year (FY) 2023-24.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants must be local educational agencies (LEAs) including school districts, charter and non-charter schools, county offices of education (COEs), or non-profit charter school support organizations.

The CFG Coach proposed by the applicant must have multiple years of experience working with a high-quality charter school(s). Additionally, the CFG Coach must demonstrate experience with group dynamics, facilitation of group discussions, and willingness/availability to travel.

For definitions of high-quality charter schools, see Page 5 of the RFP in Supporting Documents, below.

For-profit entities may not apply for PCSGP sub-grants.

Pre-proposal Conference:

The CDE will deliver an informational webinar on August 4, 2021, for all interested parties. The webinar will provide information regarding completion of the RFA, completing the Budget Detail and Budget Narrative forms, and provides applicants an opportunity to ask questions of CDE staff.

Pre-Application Information:

- Post RFA on the California Department of Education (CDE) website: Thursday, July 29, 2021
- Technical Assistance Webinar: Overview of RFA and Sub-Grant Budget Training: Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 10:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST)
- CFG application due date (postmarks will be honored): Wednesday, September 22, 2021
- CDE Reviewers evaluate and score all eligible applications: Wednesday, September 8 – Tuesday, September 14, 2021 (Tentative)
- PCSGP Office notifies applicants of application status: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 (Tentative)
- Grant Award Notification (GAN) will be processed after approval of the Budget. Sub-grantees must sign and return the GAN: Approximately 4–6 weeks after approval of the Budget
- Sub-grant award starting date: Monday, November 1, 2021
- Reimbursement payment request process (approximately 6–8 weeks): Begins upon CDE receipt of signed GAN and submission and approval of the first quarterly expenditure report (QER)

The application must include a letter of recommendation from the supervisor of the proposed CFG Coach.

Applicants must have a valid DUNS number and be registered with

Funding description:

Additional information:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Email applications to:

AND mail applications to:
Public Charter Schools Grant Program
California Department of Education
Charter Schools Division
1430 N Street, Suite 5401
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901

Direct questions to:
Alison Ball
phone: 916-319-0222

For technical assistance email or call 916-322-6029

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California

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