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Notice

Applications for New Awards; Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program

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Full Text of Announcement Back to Top

I. Funding Opportunity Description Back to Top

Purpose of Program: The Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program supports high-quality programs designed to develop and improve literacy skills for children and students from birth through 12th grade within the attendance boundaries of high-need local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) intends to support innovative programs that promote early literacy for young children, motivate older children to read, and increase student achievement by using school libraries, distributing free books to children and their families, and offering high-quality literacy activities.

Many schools and districts across the Nation do not have school libraries that deliver high-quality literacy programming to children and their families. Additionally, many schools do not have qualified library media specialists and library facilities. Where facilities do exist, they are often under-resourced and lack adequate books and other materials. In many communities, high-need children and students have limited access to appropriate age- and grade-level reading material in their homes.

The IAL program supports the implementation of high-quality plans for childhood literacy activities and book distribution efforts that are supported by at least one study that meets the definition of scientifically valid research (as defined in this notice).

Proposed projects under the IAL program, based on those plans, may include, among other things, activities that—

(a) Increase access to a wide range of literacy resources (either print or electronic) that prepare young children to read, and provide learning opportunities to all participating students;

(b) Provide high-quality childhood literacy activities with meaningful opportunities for parental engagement, including encouraging parents to read books often with their children in their early years of school and of life, and teaching parents how to use literacy resources effectively;

(c) Strengthen literacy development across academic content areas by providing a wide range of literacy resources spanning a range of both complexity and content (including both literature and informational text) to effectively support reading and writing;

(d) Offer appropriate educational interventions for all readers with support from school libraries or not-for-profit organizations;

(e) Foster collaboration and joint professional development opportunities for teachers, school leaders, and school library personnel with a focus on using literacy resources effectively to support reading and writing and academic achievement. For example, an approach to professional development within the IAL program might be collaboration between library and school personnel to plan subject-specific pedagogy that is differentiated based on each student's developmental level and is supported by universal design for learning (as defined in this notice), technology, and other educational strategies; and

(f) Provide resources to support literacy-rich academic and enrichment activities and services aligned with State college- and career-ready academic content standards and the comprehensive statewide literacy plan (SLP) (as defined in this notice).

The IAL program is carried out under the legislative authority of the Fund for Improvement of Education (FIE), Title V, Part D, Subpart 1, Sections 5411 through 5413 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) (20 U.S.C. 7243-7243b). FIE supports nationally significant programs to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education at the State and local levels and to help all children meet challenging State college- and career-ready academic content standards.

In accordance with the Conference and Senate Reports [1] accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, and subject to the submission of sufficient applications that meet the requirements of this notice, the Department will award no less than 50 percent of FY 2012 funds to applications from LEAs (on behalf of school libraries) for high-quality school library projects that increase access to a wide range of literacy resources (either print or electronic) and provide learning opportunities to all students.

Priorities: This competition includes one absolute priority and four competitive preference priorities. Competitive preference priority 1 is from the notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637). We establish the absolute priority and competitive preference priorities 2, 3, and 4 in this notice.

Absolute Priority: For FY 2012 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet this priority.

This priority is:

Absolute Priority—High-quality plan for innovative approaches to literacy that include book distribution, childhood literacy activities, or both, and that is supported by at least one study that meets the definition of scientifically valid research (as defined in this notice).

To meet this priority an applicant must submit a plan that includes the information listed below, and the Department's reviewers must be able to determine from that information that the plan is supported by at least one study that meets the definition of scientifically valid research (as defined in this notice). The required applicant information is as follows:

(a) A description of the proposed book distribution, childhood literacy activities, or both, that are designed to improve the literacy skills of children and students by one or more of the following—

(i) promoting early literacy and preparing young children to read;

(ii) developing and improving students' reading ability; and

(iii) motivating older children to read.

(b) The age or grade spans from birth through 12th grade of children and students to be served within the attendance boundaries of high-need LEAs (as defined in this notice);

(c) A detailed description of the key goals, the activities to be undertaken and rationale for those activities, the timeline, the parties responsible for implementing the activities, and the credibility of the plan (as judged, in part, by the information submitted as supporting evidence); and

(d)(i) A description of how the proposed project is supported by the cited study; and (ii) the name of and citation for the supporting study that is relevant to the applicant's proposed project. Applications will be reviewed and scored on the selection criteria, and then will be reviewed to determine eligibility under the absolute priority in this notice.

Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2012 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, these priorities are competitive preference priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award an additional 5 points to an application that meets either Priority 1 or 4. We award up to an additional 5 points to an applicant that meets Priority 2 and up to an additional 5 points to an applicant that meets Priority 3. A total of up to 15 additional points may be awarded.

These priorities are:

Competitive Preference Priority 1—Turning Around Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools (5 points).

Under this priority, we give competitive preference to projects that are designed to address one or more of the following priority areas:

(a) Improving student achievement (as defined in this notice) in persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in this notice).

(b) Increasing graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment rates for students in persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in this notice).

(c) Providing services to students enrolled in persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in this notice).

Note:

For the purposes of this priority, the Department considers schools that are identified as Tier I or Tier II schools under the School Improvement Grants program (see 75 FR 66363) as part of a State's approved FY 2009 or FY 2010 applications to be persistently lowest-achieving schools. A list of these Tier I and Tier II schools can be found on the Department's Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/index.html.

Competitive Preference Priority 2—Technology (5 Points)

Under this priority, we give competitive preference to projects that are designed to improve reading readiness in children or student achievement (as defined in this notice) through the use of high-quality digital tools or materials, which may include preparing teachers or school library personnel to use the technology to improve instruction, as well as developing, implementing, or evaluating digital tools or materials.

Competitive Preference Priority 3—Improving Early Learning Outcomes (5 Points)

Under this priority, we give competitive preference to projects that are designed to improve school readiness and success for high-need children (as defined in this notice) from birth through 3rd grade (or for any age group of high-need children within this range) through a focus on language and literacy development, including encouraging parents to read books often with their children in their early years of school and of life.

Competitive Preference Priority 4—Serving Rural LEAs (5 Points)

Under this priority, we give competitive preference to projects that are designed to provide high-quality literacy programming, or distribute books, or both, to students served by a rural local educational agency (as defined in this notice).

Definitions: Some of the definitions in this notice are from the notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486) and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637); those are identified at the end of the definition. The definition of “preschool” is from 34 CFR 77.1. Definitions without a citation we establish in this notice.

Comprehensive statewide literacy plan means a plan (which may be a component or modification of the plan submitted under the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy formula grant program, CFDA 84.371B) that addresses the literacy and language needs of children from birth through 12th grade, including English learners and students with disabilities; aligns literacy policies, resources, and practices; contains clear instructional goals; and sets high expectations for all students and student subgroups.

Graduation rate means a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1) and may also include an extended-year adjusted cohort graduation rate consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1)(v) if the State in which the proposed project is implemented has been approved by the Secretary to use such a rate under Title I of the ESEA. (76 FR 27640).

High-need children and high-need students means children and students at risk of educational failure, such as children and students who are living in poverty, who are English learners, who are far below grade level or who are not on track to becoming college- or career-ready by graduation, who have left school or college before receiving, respectively, a regular high school diploma or a college degree or certificate, who are at risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who are pregnant or parenting teenagers, who have been incarcerated, who are new immigrants, who are migrant, or who have disabilities. (76 FR 27640).

High-need local educational agency (LEA) means an LEA, including a charter school or State-administered school that is considered an LEA under State law, in which at least 25 percent of the students aged 0-17 in the geographic area served by the LEA (or, in the case of a charter school that is an LEA, at least 25 percent of the students enrolled in the school) are from families with incomes below the poverty line based on the most recent satisfactory data available from the U.S. Census Bureau at the time this notice is published. These data are Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates for school districts for the most recent income year. A list of LEAs with their family poverty rates (based on these Census Bureau data) is posted on our Web site at www.ed.gov/programs/ial/eligibility.html.

National not-for-profit organization means an agency, organization, or institution owned and operated by one or more corporations or associations whose net earnings do not benefit, and cannot lawfully benefit, any private shareholder or entity. In addition, it means, for the purposes of this program, an organization of national scope that is supported by staff or affiliates at the State and local levels, who may include volunteers, and that has a demonstrated history of effectively developing and implementing literacy activities.

Persistently lowest-achieving schools means, as determined by the State: (i) Any Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that (a) is among the lowest-achieving five percent of Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring or the lowest-achieving five Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring in the State, whichever number of schools is greater; or (b) is a high school that has had a graduation rate as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a number of years; and (ii) any secondary school that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title I funds that: (a) Is among the lowest-achieving five percent of secondary schools or the lowest-achieving five secondary schools in the State that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds, whichever number of schools is greater; or (b) is a high school that has had a graduation rate as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a number of years.

To identify the persistently lowest-achieving schools, a State must take into account both: (i) The academic achievement of the “all students” group in a school in terms of proficiency on the State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA in reading/language arts and mathematics combined; and (ii) the school's lack of progress on those assessments over a number of years in the “all students” group. (76 FR 27640).

Preschool means the educational level from a child's birth to the time at which the State provides elementary education. (34 CFR 77.1)

Rural local educational agency means a local educational agency (LEA) that is eligible under the Small Rural School Achievement program (SRSA) or the Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) program authorized under Title VI, Part B of the ESEA at the time of application. Eligible applicants may determine whether a particular LEA is eligible for these programs by referring to information on the Department's Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/nclb/freedom/local/reap.html.

Scientifically based research standards means research standards that (i) apply rigorous, systematic, and objective methodology to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs; and (ii) present findings and make claims that are appropriate to and supported by the methods that have been employed. The term includes, appropriate to the research being conducted: (i) Employing systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment; (ii) involving data analyses that are adequate to support the general findings; (iii) relying on measurements or observational methods that provide reliable data; (iv) making claims of causal relationships only in random assignment experiments or other designs (to the extent such designs substantially eliminate plausible competing explanations for the obtained results); (v) ensuring that studies and methods are presented in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a minimum, to offer the opportunity to build systematically on the findings of the research; (vi) obtaining acceptance by a peer-reviewed journal or approval by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review; and (vii) using research designs and methods appropriate to the research question posed.

Scientifically valid research includes applied research, basic research, and field-initiated research in which the rationale, design, and interpretation are soundly developed in accordance with scientifically based research standards (as defined in this notice).

Student achievement means (a) For tested grades and subjects: (1) A student's score on the State's assessments under the ESEA; and, as appropriate, (2) other measures of student learning, such as those described in paragraph (b) of this definition, provided they are rigorous and comparable across schools.

(b) For non-tested grades and subjects: Alternative measures of student learning and performance, such as student scores on pre-tests and end-of-course tests, and objective performance-based assessments; student learning objectives; student performance on English language proficiency assessments; and other measures of student achievement that are rigorous and comparable across schools.

Universal design for learning (UDL) means a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that (i) Provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and (ii) Reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are English learners.

Waiver of Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities, requirements, and definitions. Section 437(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1), however, allows the Secretary to exempt from rulemaking requirements, regulations governing the first grant competition under a new or substantially revised program authority. This is the first grant competition for this program under the authority in sections 5411 through 5413 of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. 7243-7243b) and therefore qualifies for this exemption. In order to ensure timely grant awards, the Secretary has decided to forgo public comment under section 437(d)(1) of GEPA.

These priorities, requirements, and definitions will apply to the FY 2012 grant competition and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7243-7243b.

Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Education Department debarment and suspension regulations in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637).

II. Award Information Back to Top

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds:$28,599,844.

Estimated Range of Awards to LEAs:$150,000 to $750,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards:$500,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 30.

Estimated Range of Awards to national not-for-profit organizations:$3,000,000 to $14,000,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards:$4,500,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 1-4.

Note:

The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

Project Period: Up to 24 months.

III. Eligibility Information Back to Top

1. Eligible Applicants: Eligible applicants for IAL grants are (1) A high-need LEA (as defined in this notice); (2) a national not-for-profit organization (as defined in this notice) that serves children and students within the attendance boundaries of a high-need LEA; (3) a consortium of one or more national not-for-profit organizations that serve children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need LEAs; or (4) a consortium of high-need LEAs.

Note:

In order to demonstrate that charter schools or State-administered schools are LEAs, applicants must include documentation from their State educational agency confirming LEA status. Subject to the submission of sufficient applications that meet the requirements of this notice, the Department will award no less than 50 percent of the funds to LEAs (on behalf of school libraries) for high-quality school library projects that increase access to a wide range of print and electronic resources and provide learning opportunities to all students. The Secretary reserves the right to fund a sufficient number of high-quality literacy and book distribution projects from LEAs and national not-for-profit organizations.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.

IV. Application and Submission Information Back to Top

1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an application package via the Internet or from the Education Publications Center (ED Pubs). To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/grantapps/index.html. To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the following: ED Pubs, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (703) 605-6794. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.

You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: www.EDPubs.gov or at its email address: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.

If you request an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this program or competition as follows: CFDA number 84.215G.

Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the person or team listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this competition.

Page Limit: The application narrative is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit the application narrative to no more than 25 pages, using the following standards:

  • A “page” is 8.5” x 11”, on one side only, with 1” margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
  • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).
  • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font (including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will be not accepted.

The page limit does not apply to the cover sheet; eligibility information; the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; the assurances and certifications; the one-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, or the letters of support. However, the page limit does apply to all of the application narrative section.

Our reviewers will not read any pages of your application that exceed the page limit.

Note:

The applicant must include in the abstract section of the application package the citation of at least one study used to address paragraph (d)(ii) of the absolute priority.

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: July 11, 2012.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 10, 2012.

Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, please refer to section IV. 7. Other Submission Requirements of this notice.

We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact the person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: October 9, 2012.

4. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR Part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this program.

5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and Central Contractor Registry: To do business with the Department of Education, you must—

a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);

b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR)—and, after May 23, 2012, with the System for Award Management (SAM), the Government's primary registrant database;

c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and

d. Maintain an active CCR or SAM registration with current information while your application is under review by the Department and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.

You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. A DUNS number can be created within one business day.

If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a new TIN, please allow 2-5 weeks for your TIN to become active.

The CCR or SAM registration process may take five or more business days to complete. If you are currently registered with the CCR, you may not need to make any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN associated with your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will need to update your CCR registration on an annual basis. This may take three or more business days to complete. Information about SAM is available at SAM.gov.

In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, you must (1) be designated by your organization as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined at the following Grants.gov Web page: www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp.

7. Other Submission Requirements:

Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

Applications for grants under the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program, CFDA number 84.215G, must be submitted electronically using the Government-wide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.

You may access the electronic grant application for the IAL program at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.215, not 84.215G).

Please note the following:

  • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.
  • Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.
  • The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.
  • You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this competition to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 system home page at www.G5.gov.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your application in paper format.
  • You must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: The Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.
  • You must upload any narrative sections and all other attachments to your application as files in a PDF (Portable Document) read-only, non-modifiable format. Do not upload an interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, non-modifiable PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material. Additional, detailed information on how to attach files is in the application instructions.
  • Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this notice.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department.) The Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send a second notification to you by email. This second notification indicates that the Department has received your application and has assigned your application a PR/Award number (an ED-specified identifying number unique to your application).
  • We may request that you provide us original signatures on forms at a later date.

Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues with the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.

If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.

If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether your application will be accepted.

Note:

The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the Grants.gov system because—

  • You do not have access to the Internet; or
  • You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Grants.gov system; and
  • No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevent you from using the Internet to submit your application.

If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.

Address and mail or fax your statement to: Peter Eldridge, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., room 3E246, Washington, DC 20202-6200. FAX: (202) 260-8969.

Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address:U.S. Department of Education,Application Control Center,Attention: (CFDA Number 84.215G)LBJ Basement Level 1,400 Maryland Avenue SW.,Washington, DC 20202-4260.

You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:

(1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.

(2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.

(3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.

(4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

(1) A private metered postmark.

(2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.

If your application is postmarked after the application deadline date, we will not consider your application.

Note:

The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.

c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.

If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.215G) 550 12th Street SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:

If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department—

(1) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and

(2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this notification within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

V. Application Review Information Back to Top

1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this program are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are listed in the following paragraphs. The maximum score for all criteria is 100 points. The maximum possible score for each criterion is indicated in parentheses.

(a) Significance (10 points). The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed project. In determining the significance of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the proposed project is likely to build local capacity to provide, improve, or expand services that address the needs of the target population. (5 points)

(ii) The extent to which the proposed project involves the development or demonstration of promising new strategies that build on, or are alternatives to, existing strategies. (5 points)

(b) Quality of the project design (20 points). The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable. (5 points)

(ii) The extent to which the proposed project will be coordinated with similar or related efforts, and with other appropriate community, State, and Federal resources. (5 points)

(iii) The extent to which the proposed project is part of a comprehensive effort to improve teaching and learning and support rigorous academic standards for students. (5 points)

(iv) The extent to which performance feedback and continuous improvement are integral to the design of the proposed project. (5 points)

(c) Quality of the project services (25 points). The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project. In determining the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The quality and sufficiency of strategies for ensuring equal access and treatment for eligible project participants who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. (10 points)

(ii) The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project are appropriate to the needs of the intended recipients or beneficiaries of those services. (10 points)

(iii) The extent to which the training or professional development services to be provided by the proposed project are of sufficient quality, intensity, and duration to lead to improvements in practice among the recipients of those services. (5 points)

(d) Adequacy of resources (10 points). The Secretary considers the adequacy of the resources for the proposed project. In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed project. (5 points)

(ii) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the number of persons to be served and to the anticipated results and benefits. (5 points)

(e) Quality of the management plan (20 points). The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for the proposed project. In determining the quality of the management plan for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks. (10 points)

(ii) The extent to which the time commitments of the project director and principal investigator and other key project personnel are appropriate and adequate to meet the objectives of the proposed project. (5 points)

(iii) The adequacy of mechanisms for ensuring high-quality products and services from the proposed project. (5 points)

(f) Quality of the project evaluation (15 points). The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the methods of evaluation include the use of objective performance measures that are clearly related to the intended outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and qualitative data to the extent possible. (10 points)

(ii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes. (5 points)

2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.

In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary also requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

Subject to the submission of sufficient applications that meet the requirements of this notice, the Department will award no less than 50 percent of these funds to applications from LEAs (on behalf of school libraries) for high-quality school library projects that increase access to a wide range of print and electronic resources and provide learning opportunities to all students.

3. Special Conditions: Under 34 CFR 74.14 and 80.12, the Secretary may impose special conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 34 CFR parts 74 or 80, as applicable; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

VI. Award Administration Information Back to Top

1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN). We may notify you informally, also.

If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

3. Reporting: (a) If you apply for the grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR Part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).

(b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.

4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), the Department has developed the following performance measures for measuring the overall effectiveness of the IAL program. (1) The percentage of 4-year-old children participating in the project who achieve significant gains in oral language skills. (2) The percentage of participating 3rd-grade students who meet or exceed proficiency on State reading or language arts assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA. (3) The percentage of participating 8th-grade students who meet or exceed proficiency on State reading or language arts assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA. (4) The percentage of participating high school students who meet or exceed proficiency on State reading or language arts assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA.

All grantees will be expected to submit an annual performance report that includes data addressing these performance measures, to the extent that they apply to the grantee's project. For example, a grantee that proposes to improve the quality of school library services for high school students would only be required to report data for measure 4.

5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.253, the extent to which a grantee has made “substantial progress toward meeting the objectives in its approved application.” This consideration includes the review of a grantee's progress in meeting the targets and projected outcomes in its approved application, and whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget. In making a continuation grant, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

VII. Agency Contact Back to Top

For Further Information Contact: Peter Eldridge, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E246, Washington, DC 20202-6200. Telephone: (202) 260-2514 or by email: Peter.Eldridge@ed.gov.

If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information Back to Top

Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice.

Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in the text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

Dated: July 6, 2012.

Deborah S. Delisle,

Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.

[FR Doc. 2012-16930 Filed 7-10-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P

Footnotes Back to Top

1. H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 112-331, at 1150 (2011); S. Rep. No. 112-84, at 182 (2011).

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