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Office of Innovation and Improvement; Overview Information; Teaching American History Grant Program; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2004

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Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.215X.

DATES:

Applications Available: December 23, 2003.

Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: February 5, 2004.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: March 2, 2004.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: May 3, 2004.

Eligible Applicants: Local educational agencies (LEAs)—including charter schools that are considered LEAs under State law and regulations—working in partnership with one or more of the following entities:

  • Institutions of higher education (IHE).
  • Non-profit history or humanities organizations.
  • Libraries and museums.

Estimated Available Funds: Although the Congress has not enacted a final appropriation for FY 2004, the Department is inviting applications for this competition now so that it may be prepared to make awards following final action on the Department's appropriations bill. Based on the congressional action to date, we estimate that $100,000,000 will be available for new awards under this competition. The actual level of funding depends on final congressional action.

Estimated Range of Awards: Total funding for a three-year project period is $350,000-1,000,000 for LEAs with enrollments of less than 300,000 Start Printed Page 74225students; and $500,000-2,000,000 for LEAs with enrollments above 300,000 students.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: Total for all three years is $750,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 100-135.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 36 months.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: Teaching American History grants support projects to raise student achievement by improving teachers' knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of traditional American history. Grant awards assist local educational agencies (LEAs), in partnership with entities that have extensive content expertise, to develop, document, evaluate, and disseminate innovative, cohesive models of professional development. By helping teachers to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of traditional American history as a separate subject matter within the core curriculum, these programs improve instruction and raise student achievement.

Priorities: This competition includes one absolute priority and two invitational priorities that are explained in the following paragraphs. To be considered for funding, each applicant must address the absolute priority regarding Partnerships with Other Agencies or Institutions. These priorities are as follows.

In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(iv), this priority is from section 2351(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Pub. L. 107-110).

Absolute Priority: For FY 2004, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet this priority.

This priority is:

Partnerships With Other Agencies or Institutions

Each applicant must propose to work in collaboration with one or more of the following:

  • IHE.
  • Non-profit history or humanities organizations.
  • Libraries or museums.

Note:

Each applicant is encouraged to include in its application an assurance from appropriate officials of the agency or institution(s) with which it will work in partnership. This assurance may include information about how the partnering agency or institution(s) will help the applicant implement the proposed project.

Under this competition we are particularly interested in applications that address the following priorities. Invitational Priorities: For FY 2004 these priorities are invitational priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1) we do not give an application that meets these invitational priorities a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.

These priorities are:

Invitational Priority 1—Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Evaluation Designs

The Secretary is particularly interested in receiving applications that propose evaluation plans that are based on rigorous scientifically based research methods to assess the effectiveness of a particular intervention. The Secretary intends that this priority will allow program participants and the Department to determine whether the project produces meaningful effects on student achievement or teacher performance.

Evaluation methods using an experimental design are best for determining project effectiveness. Thus, the project should use an experimental design under which participants—e.g., students, teachers, classrooms, or schools—are randomly assigned to participate in the project activities being evaluated or to a control group that does not participate in the project activities being evaluated.

If random assignment is not feasible, the project may use a quasi-experimental design with carefully matched comparison conditions. This alternative design attempts to approximate a randomly assigned control group by matching participants—e.g., students, teachers, classrooms, or schools—with non-participants having similar pre-program characteristics.

In cases where random assignment is not possible and an extended series of observations of the outcome of interest precedes and follows the introduction of a new program or practice, regression discontinuity designs may be employed.

For projects that are focused on special populations in which sufficient numbers of participants are not available to support random assignment or matched comparison group designs, single-subject designs such as multiple baseline or treatment-reversal or interrupted time series that are capable of demonstrating causal relationships can be employed.

Proposed evaluation strategies that use neither experimental designs with random assignment nor quasi-experimental designs using a matched comparison group nor regression discontinuity designs will not be considered responsive to the priority when sufficient numbers of participants are available to support these designs. Evaluation strategies that involve too small a number of participants to support group designs must be capable of demonstrating the causal effects of an intervention or program on those participants.

The proposed evaluation plan must describe how the project evaluator will collect—before the project intervention commences and after it ends—valid and reliable data that measure the impact of participation in the program or in the comparison group.

In determining the quality of the evaluation method, we will consider the extent to which the applicant presents a feasible, credible plan that includes the following:

(1) The type of design to be used (that is, random assignment or matched comparison). If it will be matched comparison, the applicant should include in the plan a discussion of why random assignment is not feasible.

(2) Outcomes to be measured.

(3) A discussion of how the applicant plans to assign students, teachers, classrooms, or schools to the project and control group or match them for comparison with other students, teachers, classrooms, or schools.

(4) A proposed evaluator, preferably independent, with the necessary background and technical expertise to carry out the proposed evaluation. (An independent evaluator does not have any authority over the project and is not involved in its implementation.)

Invitational Priority 2—Traditional American History

The Secretary is particularly interested in receiving applications that propose projects that address traditional American history, meaning, for example, projects that teach the significant issues, episodes, and turning points in the history of the United States, and how the words and deeds of individual Americans have determined the course of our Nation. This history teaches how the principles of freedom and democracy, articulated in our founding documents, have shaped—and continue to shape—America's struggles and achievements, as well as its social, political, and legal institutions and relations. Applicants are invited to propose projects that enable students to gain an understanding of these principles and of the historical events and people that best illustrate them. Start Printed Page 74226

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 6721 et seq., Part C, subpart 4, of Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 85, 86, 97, 98 and 99.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: Although the Congress has not enacted a final appropriation for FY 2004, the Department is inviting applications for this competition now so that it may be prepared to make awards following final action on the Department's appropriations bill. Based on the congressional action to date, we estimate that $100,000,000 will be available for new awards under this competition. The actual level of funding depends on final congressional action.

Estimated Range of Awards: Total funding for a three-year project period is $350,000-1,000,000 for LEAs with enrollments of less than 300,000 students; and $500,000-2,000,000 for LEAs with enrollments above 300,000 students.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: Total for all three years is $750,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 100-135.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 36 months.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: Local educational agencies (LEAs)—including charter schools that are considered LEAs under State law and regulations—working in partnership with one or more of the following entities:

  • Institutions of higher education (IHE).
  • Non-profit history or humanities organizations.
  • Libraries and museums.

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

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: Education Publications Center (ED Pubs), P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Telephone (toll free): 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (301) 470-1244. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call (toll free): 1-877-576-7734.

You may also contact ED Pubs at its Web site: http://www.ed.gov/​pubs/​edpubs.html or you may contact ED Pubs at its e-mail address: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.

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

Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of the application package in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting one of the program contact persons listed under For Further Information Contact elsewhere in this notice. However, the Department is not able to reproduce in an alternative format the standard forms included in the application package.

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 program.

Notice of Intent to Apply: The Department will be able to develop a more efficient process for reviewing grant applications if it has a better understanding of the number of LEAs that intend to apply for funding under this competition. Therefore, the Secretary strongly encourages each potential applicant to notify the Department with a short e-mail indicating the applicant's intent to submit an application for funding. The e-mail need not include information regarding the content of the proposed application, only the applicant's intent to submit it. The Secretary requests that this e-mail notification be sent no later than February 5, 2004, to Christine Miller at: TeachingAmericanHistory@ed.gov.

Applicants that fail to provide this e-mail notification may still apply for funding. Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit the application narrative to the equivalent of no more than 25 single-sided, double-spaced pages printed in 12 point font or larger. If the applicant is addressing the invitational priority for evaluation, the narrative must be limited to 30 single-sided, double-spaced pages printed in 12 point font or larger. The page limit does not apply to the title page, the Application for Federal Assistance (ED 424), the one-page abstract, the budget summary form (ED 524) and the narrative budget justification, any curriculum vitae, the bibliography of literature cited, or the assurances and certifications.

Our reviewers will not read any pages of your application that—

  • Exceed the page limit if you apply these standards; or
  • Exceed the equivalent of the page limit if you apply other standards.

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: December 23, 2003.

Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: February 5, 2004.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: March 2, 2004.

The dates and times for the transmittal of applications by mail or hand (including a courier service or commercial carrier) are in the application package for this competition. The application package also specifies the hours of operation of the e-Application Web site.

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

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: May 3, 2004.

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 competition.

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

6. Other Submission Requirements: Instructions and requirements for the transmittal of applications by mail or by hand (including a courier service or commercial carrier) are in the application package for this competition.

Application Procedures: The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) of 1998 (Pub. L. 105-277) and the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 (Pub. L. 106-107) encourage us to undertake initiatives to improve our grant processes. Enhancing the ability of individuals and entities to conduct business with us electronically is a major part of our response to these Acts. Therefore, we are taking steps to adopt the Internet as our chief means of conducting transactions in order to improve services to our customers and to simplify and expedite our business processes.

Some of the procedures in these instructions for transmitting applications differ from those in the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) (34 CFR 75.102). Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to Start Printed Page 74227comment on proposed regulations. However, these amendments make procedural changes only and do not establish new substantive policy. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A), the Secretary has determined that proposed rulemaking is not required.

We are requiring that applications for grants under Teaching American History—CFDA Number 84.215X be submitted electronically using the Electronic Grant Application System (e-Application) available through the Department's e-GRANTS system. The e-GRANTS system is accessible through its portal page at: http://e-grants.ed.gov

If you are unable to submit an application through the e-GRANTS system, you may submit a written request for a waiver of the electronic submission requirement. In your request, you should explain the reason or reasons that prevent you from using the Internet to submit your application. Address your request to: Christine Miller, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5C126, FB-6, Washington, DC 20202-6200. Please submit your request no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.

If, within two weeks of the application deadline date, you are unable to submit an application electronically, you must submit a paper application by the application deadline date in accordance with the transmittal instructions in the application package. The paper application must include a written request for a waiver documenting the reasons that prevented you from using the Internet to submit your application.

Pilot Project for Electronic Submission of Applications: We are continuing to expand our pilot project for electronic submission of applications to include additional formula grant programs and additional discretionary grant competitions. Teaching American History—CFDA Number 84.215X is one of the programs included in the pilot project. If you are an applicant under Teaching American History, you must submit your application to us in electronic format or receive a waiver.

The pilot project involves the use of e-Application. If you use e-Application, you will be entering data online while completing your application. You may not e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us. The data you enter online will be saved into a database. We shall continue to evaluate the success of e-Application and solicit suggestions for its improvement.

If you participate in e-Application, please note the following:

  • When you enter the e-Application system, you will find information about its hours of operation. We strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to initiate an e-Application package.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit a grant application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you submit an application in paper format.
  • You must submit all documents electronically, including the Application for Federal Education Assistance (ED 424), Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.
  • Your e-Application must comply with any page limit requirements described in this notice.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement, which will include a PR/Award number (an identifying number unique to your application).
  • Within three working days after submitting your electronic application, fax a signed copy of the Application for Federal Education Assistance (ED 424) to the Application Control Center after following these steps:

1. Print ED 424 from e-Application.

2. The institution's Authorizing Representative must sign this form.

3. Place the PR/Award number in the upper right hand corner of the hard copy signature page of the ED 424.

4. Fax the signed ED 424 to the Application Control Center at (202) 260-1349.

  • We may request that you give us original signatures on other forms at a later date.

Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of System Unavailability: If you are prevented from submitting your application on the application deadline date because the e-Application system is unavailable, we will grant you an extension of one business day in order to transmit your application electronically, by mail, or by hand delivery. We will grant this extension if—

1. You are a registered user of e-Application and you have initiated an e-Application for this competition; and

2. (a) The e-Application system is unavailable for 60 minutes or more between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date; or

(b) The e-Application system is unavailable for any period of time during the last hour of operation (that is, for any period of time between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time) on the application deadline date.

We must acknowledge and confirm these periods of unavailability before granting you an extension. To request this extension or to confirm our acknowledgement of any system unavailability, you may contact either (1) one of the persons listed elsewhere in this notice under For Further Information Contact (see VII. Agency Contacts) or (2) the e-GRANTS help desk at 1-888-336-8930.

You may access the electronic grant application for Teaching American History at: http://e-grants.ed.gov.

V. Application Review Information

Selection Criteria: The following selection criteria for this program are in 34 CFR 75.210 and 20 U.S.C. 6721:

1. Meeting the statutory requirements. (Total of 50 points)

(a) Project quality (40 points). The Secretary considers the quality of the proposed project by considering how well the applicant describes a plan for development, implementation, and strengthening of programs to teach traditional American history as a separate academic subject (not as a component of social studies) within elementary school and secondary school curricula, including the implementation of activities—

(i) To provide professional development and teacher education activities with respect to American history; and

(ii) To improve the quality of instruction.

Note.

The Secretary encourages the applicant to include a discussion of the specific history content to be covered by the grant; the format in which the applicant will deliver the history content; and the quality of the staff and consultants responsible for delivering these content-based professional development activities. The applicant may also attach curriculum vitae for individuals who will provide the content training to the teachers.

The Secretary also encourages applicants to provide a description of plans to demonstrate how teachers are using the knowledge acquired from project activities to improve the quality of instruction. This description may include plans for reviewing how teachers' lessons planning and classroom teaching are affected by their participation in project activities.

(b) Partnership(s) (10 points). The Secretary considers how well the applicant describes a plan that meets the statutory requirement to carry out activities under the grant in partnership with one or more of the following:

(i) An institution of higher education.

(ii) A nonprofit history or humanities organization.Start Printed Page 74228

(iii) A library or museum.

Note:

The Secretary encourages the applicant to provide the rationale for selecting the partners and explain the specific activities that the partner(s) will contribute to the grant during each year of the project. The Secretary also encourages the applicant to include a memorandum of understanding or detailed letters of commitment from the partner(s) in an appendix to the application narrative.

2. Significance (20 points). The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed project. In determining the significance of the proposed project, the Secretary considers—

(a) The national significance of the proposed project; and

(b) The importance or magnitude of the results or outcomes likely to be attained by the proposed project, especially improvements in teaching and student achievement.

Note:

The Secretary encourages the applicant to discuss the significance of the proposed project, including national significance. For example, the applicant could include information on: the extent to which teachers in the LEA are not certified in history or social studies; student achievement data in American history; and rates of student participation in courses such as Advanced Placement American History.

3. Quality of the management plan (10 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:

(a) 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.

(b) The extent to which the time commitments of the project director and other key project personnel are appropriate and adequate to meet the objectives of the proposed project.

4. Quality of the project evaluation (20 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 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.

Note:

The Secretary encourages applicants to align evaluation plans with the project design explained under the Project Quality criterion.

Note:

The Secretary encourages the applicant to include benchmarks to monitor progress toward specific project objectives and also outcome measures to assess the impact on teaching and learning or other important outcomes for project participants. The Secretary also encourages applicants to identify the individual and/or organization that has agreed to serve as evaluator for the project and describe the qualifications of that evaluator. Applicants are encouraged to indicate (1) what types of data will be collected; (2) when various types of data will be collected; (3) what methods will be used to collect data; (4) what data collection instruments will be developed and when; (5) how the data will be analyzed; (6) when reports of results and outcomes will be available; and (7) how the applicant will use the information collected through the evaluation to monitor the progress of the funded project and to provide accountability information about both success at the initial site and effective strategies for replication in other settings. Applicants are encouraged to devote an appropriate level of resources to project evaluation.

VI. Award Administration Information

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 also notify you informally.

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: 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 specified by the Secretary in 34 CFR 75.118.

4. Performance Measures: We have established one performance indicator for Teaching American History. The indicator is: Students in experimental and quasi-experimental studies of educational effectiveness of Teaching American History projects will demonstrate higher achievement on course content measures and/or statewide U.S. history assessments than students in control and comparison groups.

We will track this indicator through the use of two measures. We will gather data for these measures through those grantees who are using experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation designs.

Measure One: Percentage of students in studies of educational effectiveness who demonstrate higher achievement than those in control and comparison groups.

Measure Two: Percentage of school districts that demonstrate higher educational achievement for students than those in control or comparison groups.

VII. Agency Contacts

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Christine Miller, Alex Stein, Harry Kessler, or Claire Geddes, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5C126, Washington, DC 20202-6200. Telephone: (202) 260-8766 (Christine Miller); (202) 205-9085 (Alex Stein); (202) 708-9943 (Harry Kessler); or (202) 260-8757 (Claire Geddes) or by e-mail: teachingamericanhistory@ed.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.

Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to one of the program contact persons listed in this section.

VIII. Other Information

Electronic Access to This Document: You may view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​news/​fedregister.

To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

Note:

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 on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/​nara/​index.html.

Start Signature
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Dated: December 18, 2003.

Nina S. Rees,

Deputy Under Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.

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[FR Doc. 03-31567 Filed 12-22-03; 8:45 am]

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