Living Classroom Fund Application Guide

Application Guide (PDF)     Budget Template (Excel)     Application Form

The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) and the Ontario Association of Continuing Education School Board Administrators (CESBA) are pleased to invite applications for funding to support collaboration between long-term care homes and PSW education providers to expand and sustain the Living Classroom education model across Ontario.

The Living Classroom Fund has specific eligibility requirements. Before completing your application for funding, please read the following Application Guide carefully.

Application deadline: Monday, March 4, 2024 at 5:00 pm EST

All parts of the application form must be complete and all required attachments must be received by the application deadline. Late applications will not be accepted.

Future Funding Opportunities
The RIA and CESBA will be offering multiple opportunities to apply for Living Classroom funding over the next two years. Eligible applicants may apply more than once.

Questions?
For more information about the Living Classroom Fund or to request support, please email livingclassroom@the-ria.ca.

NOTE: This funding opportunity is currently available only for Living Classrooms that offer (or intend to offer) a Personal Support Worker (PSW) certificate program.


PART 1: Lead Applicant Details

In this section:

  • Start by selecting your Organization Type.
  • Enter your organization name.
  • Enter your organization’s address.
  • Enter your name, job title and contact details.
  • Briefly describe your role with respect to planning and/or managing the Living Classroom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for funding?

Applications will be accepted from any of the following provincially recognized organizations in Ontario:

  • long-term care home
  • long-term care corporate office
  • public college
  • career college
  • Indigenous learning institute
  • school board
Who should complete the application form?

The application form should be completed by the lead applicant.

The lead applicant is the organization that will receive and manage funding for the Living Classroom, including disseminating funding to the partner organization(s). The lead applicant is accountable for reporting on how the funds are spent and for ensuring that any required program evaluation activities are completed.

Reporting and evaluation requirements will be outlined in the Letter of Agreement that successful applicants will be required to sign before payment is released. For more information, see PART 6: AGREEMENT below.

Joint applications are strongly encouraged

The Living Classroom is a partnership model that integrates education into a long-term care home to support workforce development (for more information, see DEFINITIONS below).

Applicants to the Living Classroom Fund are strongly encouraged to submit a joint application (long-term care home and education partner). 

A letter of support is required from your Living Classroom partner

A signed letter of support from your Living Classroom partner organization is required (unless you do not yet have a confirmed partner).

If you do not have a confirmed Living Classroom partner, select the option “We do not have a Living Classroom partner” under PART 2 below.

Can partner organizations apply for funding separately?

Yes, we will accept separate applications from Living Classroom partners. However, a letter of support from your partner organization is still required for each application, and the total combined funding amount for both applications should not exceed $100,000.

If separate applications are submitted, each application will require its own Letter of Agreement and each individual applicant must meet the funding requirements, including separate reporting.

Note that funding approval for one application does not guarantee approval for the partner’s application.

What if you don’t have a Living Classroom partner?

A letter of support is not required if your organization is interested in exploring the Living Classroom model, but you have not yet confirmed a partner organization. 

Under PART 2: LIVING CLASSROOM PARTNER, select the option “We do not have a Living Classroom partner.”

If you need support to find a Living Classroom partner, we can help! To request support with partnership development, select that option in PART 5: RELATED TRAINING AND SUPPORT and provide any relevant details in the comment box.

Can a national LTC corporate office apply for funding?

Yes, national LTC organizations that have an Ontario corporate office are eligible to apply for Living Classroom funding. However, all funds must be applied to support Ontario Living Classrooms only.

Can an organization apply for multiple Living Classroom locations?

Each application for  funding must apply to a single Living Classroom location. Organizations with more than one Living Classroom location may submit multiple applications.

What education programs can be supported through this funding?

This funding opportunity is currently available only for Living Classrooms that offer (or intend to offer) a Personal Support Worker (PSW) certificate program.

The Living Classroom Fund is designed to increase the number of PSWs who graduate from Living Classrooms and choose to work in long-term care (LTC). While we recognize that some Living Classrooms may also offer nursing and/or other education programs that are needed to meet LTC workforce demands, funding is currently available only for PSW Living Classrooms.

If your organization provides (or intends to provide) other education programs in your Living Classroom, feel free to include that information in your application under PART 4: LIVING CLASSROOM DETAILS. Offering a variety of education programs may contribute to the success and sustainability of a Living Classroom.

If your organization provides (or intends to provide) other education programs in your Living Classroom, feel free to include that information in your application under PART 4: LIVING CLASSROOM DETAILS. Offering a variety of education programs may contribute to the success and sustainability of a Living Classroom.

Part 2: Living Classroom Partner

In this section:

  • Indicate whether you already have a Living Classroom partner or not.
  • Provide the name and address of your partner organization.
  • Provide the name, job title, email, and phone number of the partner organization contact person, and briefly describe their role with respect to the Living Classroom.
  • Indicate whether an MOU, operating agreement and/or lease agreement has been signed.
  • Briefly describe the nature of your Living Classroom partnership.
  • Tell us about any related partnerships that are supporting your Living Classroom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we apply if our organization does not yet have a Living Classroom partner?

Yes. If you do not have a confirmed Living Classroom partner, select the option “We do not have a Living Classroom partner.”

If your organization is interested in exploring the Living Classroom model, but you need support to find a partner organization, we can help! See PART 5: RELATED TRAINING AND SUPPORT below to request support for partnership development.

What is the definition of a “new” or “existing” Living Classroom?

An existing Living Classroom is an active classroom location that has produced PSW graduates at any time within the past two years (2022 and/or 2023).

A new Living Classroom is a location that has never hosted a Living Classroom, OR a location that previously hosted a Living Classroom but has not produced any PSW graduates within the past two years (2022 or 2023).

What is the definition of a Living Classroom “location”?

A Living Classroom location is the location of the individual long-term care home where the physical classroom resides. The Living Classroom may be located within or adjacent to the LTC home.

Requests for funding must apply to a single Living Classroom location. Organizations with more than one Living Classroom location may submit multiple applications.

Must the partners have an MOU, operating agreement or lease agreement in place?

No, having a signed agreement(s) in place is not required in order to submit an application for funding. However, formal agreements are highly recommended to guide and sustain successful Living Classroom partnerships. For more information, see the Living Classroom Implementation Guide.

Can multiple long-term care homes collaborate on a distributed or rotating Living Classroom model?

Yes. Smaller student cohorts may be a reality, especially for Living Classrooms in rural, remote and northern communities. Finding creative solutions to ensure sustainability may include collaboration with multiple partners. The Living Classroom model is flexible and can be adapted to meet local needs and resources.

Describe your Living Classroom model under PART 4: LIVING CLASSROOM DETAILS.

Part 3: Funding Request

In this section:

  • Indicate whether the funding will be applied to a new Living Classroom or an existing Living Classroom.
  • Indicate the total amount of funding requested.
  • Select the type of funding you are requesting (from the expense categories listed).
  • Explain how you intend to use the funding.
  • Describe your anticipated project timeline, including key milestones.
  • Identify any challenges you are currently experiencing with respect to PSW education and recruitment.
  • Describe how the funding will help you resolve those challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much funding is available?

Organizations may apply for grants of $30,000 (minimum) to $100,000 (maximum).

  • The application form requires you to specify the total amount of your funding request and to indicate which funding categories you are applying for.
  • Required attachments include a proposed budget (use the Budget Template provided).
What can the funding be used for?

We invite applicants to apply for funding for any expense that contributes directly to planning, starting, enhancing or sustaining your Living Classroom.

Potential Living Classroom expenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Planning costs (e.g., doing market research, conducting a feasibility assessment, developing a business case, preparing a project budget, etc.)
  • Startup costs (e.g., curriculum development, etc.)
  • Renovations (physical space improvements related to the Living Classroom, including accessibility upgrades)
  • Equipment and supplies (e.g., mannequins, beds, education materials, etc.)
  • Technology to support learning in the Living Classroom (e.g., improved Internet access, computers, etc.)
  • Operating costs
  • Staffing costs for the LTC home (e.g., onsite Living Classroom lead to facilitate scheduling and communications, support staff, resident and family engagement, and integrate student learning activities within the home)
  • Staffing costs for the education provider
  • Marketing and recruitment (e.g., graphic design, printing, advertising costs, open houses, etc.)
  • Evaluation and reporting costs
Can the funding be used to pay for PSW tuition costs?

No, tuition costs are not eligible. Other Ontario programs may be available to support tuition costs for PSW students.

Does the funding need to be spent by a specific deadline?

Funding from Living Classroom grants approved prior to March 31, 2024, must be spent on or before March 31, 2026.

  • Please indicate the estimated start and end dates for your funded program (that is, when you will start spending and when you will finish spending).
  • Depending on the project timeline and activities, funding may be paid in installments, based on deliverables.
Can the funding be applied to previous expenses?

No. Funding can only be applied to expenses incurred after the signing date of your Letter of Agreement.

Are in-kind contributions required?

No, in-kind contributions are not required to be eligible for funding, but are welcome and encouraged.

What details must be included in our proposed budget?

Your proposed budget must indicate quarterly expenses, by category, for the duration of your funded program.

  • All expenses must be in accordance with funding guidelines.
  • Use the Budget Template provided with the Application Guide.

PART 4: Living Classroom Details

In this section:

  • Describe your Living Classroom.
  • Describe the PSW program and/or provide a link to the program information page.
  • Tell us whether the PSW program uses a hybrid delivery model.
  • Indicate in what language(s) the PSW program is offered.
  • Indicate what student population(s) your Living Classroom serves (e.g., francophone, Indigenous, international and/or domestic students).
  • Let us know whether your LTC home has been approved for redevelopment and/or new beds. If yes, provide a description (including number of new beds, current development status, anticipated opening date, etc.)
  • Indicate how many new PSWs you will need to hire as a result.

Frequently Asked Questions

What information should be included in the description of our Living Classroom?

For both new and/or existing Living Classrooms, please provide a concise description. 

  • For new Living Classrooms, describe your future vision for the classroom.
  • For existing Living Classrooms, tell us about the current status. And if this funding will be applied to physical renovations, explain how your Living Classroom will change (e.g., “We currently have a 1000-square-foot room that doubles as lab space and lecture hall. Our renovation will add 500 square feet of dedicated lab space in a separate room.”)

Tell us about each of the following elements of your Living Classroom, if applicable:

  • Location (e.g., “Our LC is located on the ground floor of our LTC home, next to our physical activity space. Students can access the LC through a separate entrance from the parking lot.”
  • Approximate size (e.g., “Our LC includes three rooms, totalling of approximately 5000 square feet.”)>
  • Available learning spaces (e.g., lecture hall, practice lab, computer room, student lounge, faculty office, etc.)
  • Student capacity (e.g., “Our PSW program has capacity to enroll a maximum of 25 students per cohort. We train two cohorts per academic year.”
  • Any other details that help to paint a picture of your Living Classroom.

Part 5: Related Training and Support

In addition to funding, the RIA and CESBA will provide educational materials, training and coaching support to help organizations plan, implement, evaluate and sustain their Living Classroom.

In this section:

  • Describe any anticipated challenges starting and/or sustaining your Living Classroom.
  • Indicate what Living Classroom resources would be helpful for your organization.
  • Describe any additional supports you may require.
  • Include any final comments or questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What related resources are available to support Living Classrooms?

The following resources are currently available on the Living Classroom website:

  • Implementation guide
  • Readiness checklist
  • Infographic describing the benefits of the Living Classroom
  • Video promoting the Living Classroom model
  • Webinar recordings

CESBA can also provide training and curriculum resources to support new school board PSW programs.

RIA and CESBA will be developing additional resources and offering training opportunities as part of the new Living Classroom program. Please let us know if there are any new resources that would be particularly helpful for your Living Classroom.

Can the RIA and CESBA provide coaching support for our Living Classroom?

Yes, free coaching support is available on request. Please contact us for more information. See page one of this application guide for contact details.

Can the RIA and CESBA help us with our funding application?

Yes, we can help. Please contact us for more information. See the Call for Applications page for contact details. 

Part 6: Agreement

In this section:

Indicate your agreement with the application process and funding requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the application requirements?
  • Applications will only be accepted from eligible organizations.
  • Applications must be submitted by the application deadline.
  • All parts of the application form must be complete and all required attachments  must be submitted.
  • Your application must include a signed letter of support from your Living Classroom partner, UNLESS you have indicated in PART 2: LIVING CLASSROOM PARTNER that you do not yet have a confirmed Living Classroom partner.
What is the application process?
  • Applications are due by Monday, March 4, 2024, at 5:00 pm EST.
  • Late applications will not be accepted.
  • All funding requests must be submitted using the online application form. (Please let us know if you experience any technical issues or if you have any accessibility requirements and need support to complete your application.)
  • All applicants will be notified about the status of their application on or before March 8.
  • Successful applicants will be required to submit the following documents on or before March 15:
    • Signed Letter of Agreement
    • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) form to enable direct deposit to the lead organization’s bank account
What are the reporting and evaluation requirements?

Detailed reporting and evaluation requirements and dates will be included in the Letter of Agreement and may include the following elements:

  • Baseline survey to be completed at the start of the funding period
  • Sixth-month narrative reports, describing your progress and how the funding has been spent
  • Annual year-end survey
  • Annual one-hour interview

All required reports must be submitted to the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging.

Part 7: Attachments

In this section:

  • Attach a signed letter of support from your Living Classroom partner. If you do not have a Living Classroom partner, a letter of support is not required.
  • Attach your proposed budget, using the Budget Template provided with the Application Guide.

Definitions

Lead Applicant

The lead applicant is the organization that will receive and manage funding for the Living Classroom. The lead applicant is accountable for reporting on how the funds are spent and for ensuring that any required program evaluation activities are completed. Reporting and evaluation requirements will be outlined in the Letter of Agreement that successful applicants will be required to sign before payment is released.

Living Classroom

The Living Classroom is a partnership model that integrates education into a long-term care (LTC) home to support workforce development for senior living. Students, faculty, and those living, visiting and working in the home engage in a culture of shared learning.

Core elements of a successful Living Classroom include the following:

  • Collaboration between a LTC home and education provider based on shared goals and values, including a mutual commitment to share resources, risks and rewards.
  • A formal agreement and well-defined operating protocols, including regular communication.
  • Physical space dedicated to student learning within the LTC home, which may include a practice lab, lecture room, faculty office, student lounge, access to computers, and/or other resources.
  • A curriculum that meets all provincial and/or national PSW education standards, but is enriched by a greater focus on gerontology and by the inclusion of LTC residents and family members as student mentors who are invited to share their lived experience.
  • An interdisciplinary team that is willing to collaborate with an education provider and receptive to student participation in care planning and delivery.
  • Trained preceptors to support student placements.
  • Experiential education opportunities that go above and beyond standard clinical placements in LTC (which are a required element of all PSW certificate programs in Ontario) by integrating educational activities into the LTC home throughout the program.

The Living Classroom model is flexible and may include hybrid learning methods (for example, theory courses delivered virtually and practice labs delivered in person within the LTC home), which allows the model to be adapted to meet the needs of rural and Northern communities.

Ultimately, the Living Classroom is defined by the many benefits it can bring to everyone involved — benefits that are more difficult to achieve in a traditional PSW program. Not all Living Classrooms are the same, but exist along a continuum. The extent to which the potential benefits are realized — in particular by maximizing experiential learning opportunities — is a reflection of how closely an individual Living Classroom aligns with the ideal model.

For a detailed description of the Living Classroom model, see the Living Classroom Implementation Guide.

For more about the benefits of the Living Classroom, see Building a Stronger Workforce in Senior Living.