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Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Overview Information

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State Personnel Development Grants Program

Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2006 (to be awarded in FY 2007)

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.323A.

Dates: Applications Available: November 27, 2006.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 29, 2007.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: May 29, 2007.

Eligible Applicants: A State educational agency (SEA) of one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or an outlying area (United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). Current State Program Improvement Grant grantees with multi-year awards who wish to apply for a grant under the State Personnel Development Grants Program may do so, subject to section 651(e) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which prohibits a State requesting a continuation award under the State Improvement Grant Program, as in effect prior to December 3, 2004, from receiving any other award under this program authority for that fiscal year.

Estimated Available Funds: $28,600,000.

Estimated Range of Awards: In the case of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, award amounts will be not less than $500,000, nor more than $4,000,000. In the case of an outlying area, awards will be not less than $80,000.

Note:

Consistent with 34 CFR § 75.104(b) of the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), we will reject, without consideration or evaluation, any application that proposes a project funding level for any fiscal year that exceeds the stated maximum award amount of $4,000,000 for that fiscal year.

We will set the amount of each grant after considering—

(1) The amount of funds available for making grants;

(2) The relative population of the State or outlying area;

(3) The types of activities proposed by the State or outlying area;

(4) The alignment of proposed activities with section 612(a)(14) of IDEA;

(5) The alignment of proposed activities with State plans and applications submitted under sections 1111 and 2112, respectively, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA); and

(6) The use, as appropriate, of scientifically-based research and instruction.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $1,020,000, excluding outlying areas.

Estimated Number of Awards: 28.

Note:

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

Project Period: Not less than one year and not more than five years.Start Printed Page 68572

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The purpose of this program is to assist SEAs in reforming and improving their systems for personnel preparation and professional development in early intervention, educational, and transition services in order to improve results for children with disabilities.

Priorities: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(v) this priority is from the notice of final priority for this program published in the Federal Register on June 9, 2006 (71 FR 33578).

Absolute Priority: For FY 2006 this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR § 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority.

Priority: The Assistant Secretary establishes a priority to assist SEAs in reforming and improving their personnel preparation and professional development systems for teachers, principals, administrators, related services personnel, paraprofessionals, and early intervention personnel. The intent of this priority is to improve educational results for children with disabilities through the delivery of high quality instruction and the recruitment, hiring, and retention of highly qualified special education teachers.

In order to meet this priority an applicant must demonstrate that the project for which it seeks funding—

(1) Provides professional development activities that improve the knowledge and skills of personnel as defined in section 651(b) of IDEA in delivering scientifically-based instruction to meet the needs of, and improve the performance and achievement of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children with disabilities; (2) Implements practices to sustain the knowledge and skills of personnel who have received training in scientifically-based instruction; and (3) Implements strategies that are effective in promoting the recruitment, hiring, and retention of highly qualified special education teachers in accordance with section 602(10) and section 612(a)(14) of IDEA.

Projects funded under this priority must also:

(a) Budget for a three-day Project Directors' meeting in Washington, DC during each year of the project;

(b) Budget $4,000 annually for support of the State Personnel Development Grants Program Web site currently administered by the University of Oregon (http://www.signetwork.org); and

(c) If a project receiving assistance under this program authority maintains a Web site, include relevant information and documents in a form that meets a government or industry-recognized standard for accessibility.

Statutory Requirements

State Personnel Development Plan

Applicants must submit a State Personnel Development Plan that identifies and addresses the State and local needs for personnel preparation and professional development of personnel, as well as individuals who provide direct supplementary aids and services to children with disabilities, and that—

(a) Is designed to enable the State to meet the requirements of section 612(a)(14) and section 635(a) (8) and (9) of IDEA;

(b) Is based on an assessment of State and local needs that identifies critical aspects and areas in need of improvement related to the preparation, ongoing training, and professional development of personnel who serve infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children with disabilities within the State, including—

(i) Current and anticipated personnel vacancies and shortages; and

(ii) The number of preservice and inservice programs; and

(c) Is integrated and aligned, to the maximum extent possible, with State plans and activities under the ESEA, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA);

(d) Describes a partnership agreement that is in effect for the period of the grant, which agreement shall specify—

(i) The nature and extent of the partnership described in accordance with section 652(b) of IDEA and the respective roles of each member of the partnership, including, if applicable, an individual, entity, or agency other than the SEA that has the responsibility under State law for teacher preparation and certification; and

(ii) How the SEA will work with other persons and organizations involved in, and concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, including the respective roles of each of the persons and organizations;

(e) Describes how the strategies and activities the SEA uses to address identified professional development and personnel needs will be coordinated with activities supported with other public resources (including funds provided under Part B and Part C of IDEA and retained for use at the State level for personnel and professional development purposes) and private resources;

(f) Describes how the SEA will align its personnel development plan with the plan and application submitted under sections 1111 and 2112, respectively, of the ESEA;

(g) Describes those strategies the SEA will use to address the identified professional development and personnel needs and how such strategies will be implemented, including—

(i) A description of the programs and activities that will provide personnel with the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of, and improve the performance and achievement of, infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children with disabilities; and

(ii) How such strategies will be integrated, to the maximum extent possible, with other activities supported by grants funded under section 662 of IDEA;

(h) Provides an assurance that the SEA will provide technical assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) to improve the quality of professional development available to meet the needs of personnel who serve children with disabilities;

(i) Provides an assurance that the SEA will provide technical assistance to entities that provide services to infants and toddlers with disabilities to improve the quality of professional development available to meet the needs of personnel serving those children;

(j) Describes how the SEA will recruit and retain highly qualified teachers and other qualified personnel in geographic areas of greatest need;

(k) Describes the steps the SEA will take to ensure that economically disadvantaged and minority children are not taught at higher rates by teachers who are not highly qualified; and

(l) Describes how the SEA will assess, on a regular basis, the extent to which the strategies implemented have been effective in meeting the performance goals described in section 612(a)(15) of IDEA.

Partnerships

Required Partners

Applicants shall establish a partnership with LEAs and other State agencies involved in, or concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, including—

(a) Not less than one institution of higher education; and

(b) The State agencies responsible for administering Part C of IDEA, early education, child care, and vocational rehabilitation programs.

Other Partners

An SEA shall work in partnership with other persons and organizations Start Printed Page 68573involved in, and concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, which may include—

(a) The Governor;

(b) Parents of children with disabilities ages birth through 26;

(c) Parents of nondisabled children ages birth through 26;

(d) Individuals with disabilities;

(e) Parent training and information centers or community parent resource centers funded under sections 671 and 672 of IDEA, respectively;

(f) Community-based and other nonprofit organizations involved in the education and employment of individuals with disabilities;

(g) Personnel as defined in section 651(b) of IDEA;

(h) The State advisory panel established under Part B of IDEA;

(i) The State interagency coordinating council established under Part C of IDEA;

(j) Individuals knowledgeable about vocational education;

(k) The State agency for higher education;

(l) Noneducational public agencies with jurisdiction in the areas of health, mental health, social services, and juvenile justice;

(m) Other providers of professional development who work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children with disabilities;

(n) Other individuals; and

(o) In cases where the SEA is not responsible for teacher certification, an individual, entity, or agency responsible for teacher certification as defined in section 652(b)(3) of IDEA.

Use of funds

(a) Professional Development Activities—Consistent with this priority, each SEA that receives a State Personnel Development Grant under this program shall use the grant funds to support activities in accordance with the State's Personnel Development Plan, including one or more of the following:

(1) Carrying out programs that provide support to both special education and regular education teachers of children with disabilities and principals, such as programs that—

(i) Provide teacher mentoring, team teaching, reduced class schedules and case loads, and intensive professional development;

(ii) Use standards or assessments for guiding beginning teachers that are consistent with challenging State student academic achievement and functional standards and with the requirements for professional development, as defined in section 9101 of the ESEA; and

(iii) Encourage collaborative and consultative models of providing early intervention, special education, and related services.

(2) Encouraging and supporting the training of special education and regular education teachers and administrators to effectively use and integrate technology—

(i) Into curricula and instruction, including training to improve the ability to collect, manage, and analyze data to improve teaching, decision-making, school improvement efforts, and accountability;

(ii) To enhance learning by children with disabilities; and

(iii) To effectively communicate with parents.

(3) Providing professional development activities that—

(i) Improve the knowledge of special education and regular education teachers concerning—

(A) The academic and developmental or functional needs of students with disabilities; or

(B) Effective instructional strategies, methods, and skills, and the use of State academic content standards and student academic achievement and functional standards, and State assessments, to improve teaching practices and student academic achievement;

(ii) Improve the knowledge of special education and regular education teachers and principals and, in appropriate cases, paraprofessionals, concerning effective instructional practices, that—

(A) Provide training in how to teach and address the needs of children with different learning styles and children who are limited English proficient;

(B) Involve collaborative groups of teachers, administrators, and, in appropriate cases, related services personnel;

(C) Provide training in methods of—

(I) Positive behavioral interventions and supports to improve student behavior in the classroom;

(II) Scientifically-based reading instruction, including early literacy instruction;

(III) Early and appropriate interventions to identify and help children with disabilities;

(IV) Effective instruction for children with low incidence disabilities;

(V) Successful transitioning to postsecondary opportunities; and

(VI) Classroom-based techniques to assist children prior to referral for special education;

(D) Provide training to enable personnel to work with and involve parents in their child's education, including parents of low income and limited English proficient children with disabilities;

(E) Provide training for special education personnel and regular education personnel in planning, developing, and implementing effective and appropriate individualized education programs (IEPs); and

(F) Provide training to meet the needs of students with significant health, mobility, or behavioral needs prior to serving those students;

(iii) Train administrators, principals, and other relevant school personnel in conducting effective IEP meetings; and

(iv) Train early intervention, preschool, and related services providers, and other relevant school personnel, in conducting effective individualized family service plan (IFSP) meetings.

(4) Developing and implementing initiatives to promote the recruitment and retention of highly qualified special education teachers, particularly initiatives that have been proven effective in recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers, including programs that provide—

(i) Teacher mentoring from exemplary special education teachers, principals, or superintendents;

(ii) Induction and support for special education teachers during their first three years of employment as teachers; or

(iii) Incentives, including financial incentives, to retain special education teachers who have a record of success in helping students with disabilities.

(5) Carrying out programs and activities that are designed to improve the quality of personnel who serve children with disabilities, such as—

(i) Innovative professional development programs (which may be provided through partnerships that include institutions of higher education), including programs that train teachers and principals to integrate technology into curricula and instruction to improve teaching, learning, and technology literacy, which professional development shall be consistent with the definition of professional development in section 9101 of the ESEA; and

(ii) The development and use of proven, cost effective strategies for the implementation of professional development activities, such as through the use of technology and distance learning.

(6) Carrying out programs and activities that are designed to improve the quality of early intervention personnel, including paraprofessionals and primary referral sources, such as— Start Printed Page 68574

(i) Professional development programs to improve the delivery of early intervention services;

(ii) Initiatives to promote the recruitment and retention of early intervention personnel; and

(iii) Interagency activities to ensure that early intervention personnel are adequately prepared and trained.

(b) Other Activities—Consistent with this priority, each SEA that receives a State Personnel Development Grant under this program shall use the grant funds to support activities in accordance with the State's Personnel Development Plan, including one or more of the following:

(1) Reforming special education and regular education teacher certification (including recertification) or licensing requirements to ensure that—

(i) Special education and regular education teachers have—

(A) The training and information necessary to address the full range of needs of children with disabilities across disability categories; and

(B) The necessary subject matter knowledge and teaching skills in the academic subjects that the teachers teach;

(ii) Special education and regular education teacher certification (including recertification) or licensing requirements are aligned with challenging State academic content standards; and

(iii) Special education and regular education teachers have the subject matter knowledge and teaching skills, including technology literacy, necessary to help students with disabilities meet challenging State student academic achievement and functional standards.

(2) Programs that establish, expand, or improve alternative routes for State certification of special education teachers for highly qualified individuals with a baccalaureate or master's degree, including mid-career professionals from other occupations, paraprofessionals, and recent college or university graduates with records of academic distinction who demonstrate the potential to become highly effective special education teachers.

(3) Teacher advancement initiatives for special education teachers that promote professional growth and emphasize multiple career paths (such as paths to becoming a career teacher, mentor teacher, or exemplary teacher) and pay differentiation.

(4) Developing and implementing mechanisms to assist LEAs and schools in effectively recruiting and retaining highly qualified special education teachers.

(5) Reforming tenure systems, implementing teacher testing for subject matter knowledge, and implementing teacher testing for State certification or licensing, consistent with Title II of the HEA.

(6) Funding projects to promote reciprocity of teacher certification or licensing between or among States for special education teachers, except that no reciprocity agreement developed under this priority may lead to the weakening of any State teacher certification or licensing requirement.

(7) Assisting LEAs to serve children with disabilities through the development and use of proven, innovative strategies to deliver intensive professional development programs that are both cost effective and easily accessible, such as strategies that involve delivery through the use of technology, peer networks, and distance learning.

(8) Developing, or assisting LEAs in developing, merit based performance systems, and strategies that provide differential and bonus pay for special education teachers.

(9) Supporting activities that ensure that teachers are able to use challenging State academic content standards and student academic achievement and functional standards, and State assessments for all children with disabilities, to improve instructional practices and improve the academic achievement of children with disabilities.

(10) When applicable, coordinating with, and expanding centers established under, section 2113(c)(18) of the ESEA to benefit special education teachers.

(c) Contracts and Subgrants—An SEA that receives a grant under this program—

(1) Shall award contracts or subgrants to LEAs, institutions of higher education, parent training and information centers, or community parent resource centers, as appropriate, to carry out the State plan; and

(2) May award contracts and subgrants to other public and private entities, including the lead agency under Part C of IDEA, to carry out the State plan.

(d) Use of Funds for Professional Development—An SEA that receives a grant under this program shall use—

(1) Not less than 90 percent of the funds the SEA receives under the grant for any fiscal year for the Professional Development Activities described in paragraph (a); and

(2) Not more than 10 percent of the funds the SEA receives under the grant for any fiscal year for the Other Activities described in paragraph (b).

(e) Grants to Outlying Areas—Public Law 95-134, permitting the consolidation of grants to the outlying areas, shall not apply to funds received under this program authority.

Start Authority

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1451 through 1455.

End Authority

Applicable Regulations: (a) EDGAR in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The notice of final priority for this program published in the Federal Register on June 9, 2006 (71 FR 33578).

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally recognized Indian tribes.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $28,600,000.

Estimated Range of Awards: In the case of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, award amounts will be not less than $500,000, nor more than $4,000,000. In the case of an outlying area awards will be not less than $80,000.

Note:

Consistent with 34 CFR § 75.104(b) of EDGAR, we will reject, without consideration or evaluation, any application that proposes a project funding level for any fiscal year that exceeds the stated maximum award amount of $4,000,000 for that fiscal year.

We will set the amount of each grant after considering—

(1) The amount of funds available for making the grants;

(2) The relative population of the State or outlying area;

(3) The types of activities proposed by the State or outlying area;

(4) The alignment of proposed activities with section 612(a)(14) of IDEA;

(5) The alignment of proposed activities with State plans and applications submitted under sections 1111 and 2112, respectively, of the ESEA; and

(6) The use, as appropriate, of scientifically-based research and instruction.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $1,020,000, excluding outlying areas.

Estimated Number of Awards: 28.

Note:

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

Project Period: Not less than one year and not more than five years.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: An SEA of one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or an outlying area (United Start Printed Page 68575States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). Current State Program Improvement Grant grantees with multi-year awards who wish to apply for a grant under the State Personnel Development Grants Program may do so, subject to section 651(e) of IDEA, which prohibits a State requesting a continuation award under the State Improvement Grant Program, as in effect prior to December 3, 2004, from receiving any other award under this program authority for that fiscal year.

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

3. Other: General Requirements—The projects funded under this competition must make positive efforts to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities (see section 606 of IDEA).

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: 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 84.323A.

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 the program contact person 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 (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit Part III to the equivalent of no more than 100 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).

The page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, the references, or the letters of support. However, you must include all of the application narrative in Part III.

We will reject your application if—

  • You apply these standards and exceed the page limit; or
  • You apply other standards and exceed the equivalent of the page limit.

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: November 27, 2006. Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: March 27, 2007.

Applications for grants under this competition may be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov), or in paper format by mail or hand delivery. For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or by mail or hand delivery, please refer to section IV. 6. Other Submission Requirements in this notice.

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

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: May 29, 2007.

4. Intergovernmental Review: This program 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: Applications for grants under this competition may be submitted electronically or in paper format by mail or hand delivery.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

We have been accepting applications electronically through the Department's e-Application system since FY 2000. In order to expand on those efforts and comply with the President's Management Agenda, we are continuing to participate as a partner in the new governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site in FY 2007. The State Personnel Development Grants Program—CFDA Number 84.323A is one of the competitions included in this project. We request your participation in Grants.gov.

If you choose to submit your application electronically, you must use the Grants.gov Apply site at http://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 e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

You may access the electronic grant application for the State Personnel Development Grants Program—CFDA Number 84.323A at: http://www.grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search.

Please note the following:

  • Your participation in Grants.gov is voluntary.
  • 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 time and date stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted, and must be date/time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not consider your application if it is date/time stamped by the Grants.gov system later than 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date/time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30 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 application 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 Start Printed Page 68576to 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 at http://e-Grants.ed.gov/​help/​GrantsgovSubmissionProcedures.pdf.
  • To submit your application via Grants.gov, you must complete all of the steps in the Grants.gov registration process (see http://www.grants.gov/​applicants/​get_​registered.jsp). These steps include (1) registering your organization, (2) registering yourself as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR), and (3) getting authorized as an AOR by your organization. Details on these steps are outlined in the Grants.gov 3-Step Registration Guide (see http://www.grants.gov/​section910/​Grants.govRegistrationBrochure.pdf). You also must provide on your application the same D-U-N-S Number used with this registration. Please note that the registration process may take five or more business days to complete, and you must have completed all registration steps to allow you to successfully submit an application via Grants.gov.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you submit your application in paper format.
  • You may submit all documents electronically, including all information typically included on the following forms: 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. Please note that two of these forms—the SF 424 and the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424—have replaced the ED 424 (Application for Federal Education Assistance). If you choose to submit your application electronically, you must attach any narrative sections of your application as files in a .DOC (document), .RTF (rich text), or .PDF (Portable Document) format. If you upload a file type other than the three file types specified above or submit a password protected file, we will not review that material.
  • Your electronic application must comply with any page limit requirements described in this notice.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive an automatic acknowledgment from Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. The Department will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send you a second confirmation by e-mail that will include 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 System Unavailability

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 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 as described elsewhere in this notice. If you submit an application after 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the deadline date, please contact the person listed elsewhere in this notice under For Further Information Contact, and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number (if available). 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 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:

Extensions referred to 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 deadline date and time or if the technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

If you submit your application in paper format by mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier), you must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the applicable following address:

By mail through the U.S. Postal Service: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.323A), 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260. or

By mail through a commercial carrier: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center—Stop 4260, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.323A), 7100 Old Landover Road, Landover, MD 20785-1506.

Regardless of which address you use, 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, or

(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, or

(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 submit your application in paper format by hand delivery, you (or a courier service) 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 84.323A), 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8 a.m. and 4:30 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 SF 424 the CFDA number—and suffix letter, if any—of the competition under which you are submitting your application.

(2) The Application Control Center will mail a grant application receipt acknowledgment to you. If you do not receive the grant application receipt acknowledgment 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.

Start Printed Page 68577

V. Application Review Information

1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are listed in the application package.

2. Treating A Priority As Two Separate Competitions: In the past, there have been problems in finding peer reviewers without conflicts of interest for competitions in which many entities throughout the country submit applications. The Standing Panel requirements under IDEA also have placed additional constraints on the availability of reviewers. Therefore, the Department has determined that, for some discretionary competitions, applications may be separated into two or more groups and ranked and selected for funding within the specific group. This procedure will ensure the availability of a much larger group of reviewers without conflicts of interest. It also will increase the quality, independence and fairness of the review process and permit panel members to review applications under discretionary competitions for which they have also submitted applications. However, if the Department decides to select for funding an equal number of applications in each group, this may result in different cut-off points for fundable applications in each group.

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: The goal of the State Personnel Development Grants (SPDG) Program is to reform and improve State systems for personnel preparation and professional development in early intervention, educational, and transition services in order to improve results for children with disabilities. Under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), the Department has developed performance measures to assess the success of the program in meeting these goals. These measures are: (1) The percent of personnel receiving professional development through the SPDG program based on scientific- or evidence-based instructional practices; (2) the percentage of SPDG projects that have implemented personnel development/training activities that are aligned with improvement strategies identified in their State Performance Plan (SPP); (3) the percentage of professional development/training activities provided through the SPDG program based on scientific- or evidence-based instructional/behavioral practices; (4) the percentage of professional development/training activities based on scientific- or evidence-based instructional/behavioral practices, provided through the SPDG program, that are sustained through ongoing and comprehensive practices (e.g., mentoring, coaching, structured guidance, modeling, continuous inquiry, etc.); and (5) in States with SPDG projects that have special education teacher retention as a goal, the Statewide percentage of highly qualified special education teachers in State-identified professional disciplines (e.g., teachers of children with emotional disturbance, deafness, etc.) consistent with sections 602(a)(10) and 612(a)(14) of IDEA, who remain teaching after the first three years of employment.

Each grantee must annually report its performance on these measures in the project's annual performance report to the Department in accordance with section 653(d) of IDEA and 34 CFR 75.590.

VII. Agency Contact

For Further Information Contact: Larry Wexler, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 4019, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7571.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) 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 by contacting the following office: The Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363.

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: 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: www.gpoaccess.gov/​nara/​index.html.

Start Signature

Dated: November 20, 2006.

John H. Hager,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. E6-20022 Filed 11-24-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P