Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number 84.215S.
Applications Available: December 22, 2008.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: February 24, 2009.
Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: April 27, 2009.
Full Text of Announcement
I. Funding Opportunity Description
Purpose of Program: Under this program we support Federal grants to design and implement character education programs that can be integrated into classroom instruction and that are consistent with State academic content standards. Such programs may be carried out in conjunction with other educational reform efforts, and must take into consideration the views of the parents of the students to be taught under the program and the views of the students. Each application must describe how parents, students, students with disabilities (including those with mental or physical disabilities), and other members of the community, including members of private and nonprofit organizations and faith-based and community organizations, will be involved in the design and implementation of the program and how the eligible entity will work with the larger community to increase the reach and promise of the program.
Priorities: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(iv), this priority is from title V, part D, subpart 3, section 5431 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) (20 U.S.C. 7247), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
Absolute Priority: For FY 2009 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 Start Printed Page 78349CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet this priority.
This priority is:
The design and implementation of character education programs that are able to be—
(a) Integrated into classroom instruction and consistent with State academic content standards; and
(b) Carried out in conjunction with other educational reform efforts.
Competitive Preference Priority: Within this absolute priority, we give competitive preference to applications that address the following priority.
This priority is from the notice of final priorities for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on January 25, 2005 (70 FR 3585).
Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award up to an additional 20 points to an application, depending on how well the application meets this priority. Applicants proposing a quasi-experimental design may receive up to 10 additional points to their final score. Applicants proposing an experimental design may receive up to 20 additional points to their final score. When using the priority to give competitive preference to an application, the Secretary will review applications using a two-stage process. In the first stage, the application will be reviewed without taking the priority into account. In the second stage of review, the applications rated highest in stage one will be reviewed for competitive preference.
This priority is:
The Secretary establishes a priority for projects proposing an evaluation plan that is 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, when feasible, the project must 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 participant—e.g., students, teachers, classrooms, or schools—with non-participants having similar pre-program characteristics.
In cases where random assignment is not possible and participation in the intervention is determined by a specified cutting point on a quantified continuum of scores, 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.
Points awarded under this priority will be determined by the quality of the proposed evaluation method. 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 matched comparison, 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.
In general, depending on the implemented program or project, under a competitive preference priority, random assignment evaluation methods will receive more points than matched comparison evaluation methods.
As used in this notice—
Scientifically based research (section 9101(37) NCLB):
(A) Means research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs; and
(B) Includes research that—
(i) Employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment;
(ii) Involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn;
(iii) Relies on measurements or observational methods that provide reliable and valid data across evaluators and observers, across multiple measurements and observations, and across studies by the same or different investigators;
(iv) Is evaluated using experimental or quasi-experimental designs in which individuals, entities, programs, or activities are assigned to different conditions and with appropriate controls to evaluate the effects of the condition of interest, with a preference for random-assignment experiments, or other designs to the extent that those designs contain within-condition or across-condition controls;
(v) Ensures that experimental studies are presented in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a minimum, offer the opportunity to build systematically on their findings; and
(vi) Has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review. Random assignment or experimental design means random assignment of students, teachers, classrooms, or schools to participate in a project being evaluated (treatment group) or not participate in the project (control group). The effect of the project is the difference in outcomes between the treatment and control groups.
Quasi-experimental designs include several designs that attempt to approximate a random assignment design.
Carefully matched comparison groups design means a quasi-experimental design in which project participants are matched with non-participants based on Start Printed Page 78350key characteristics that are thought to be related to the outcome.
Regression discontinuity design means a quasi-experimental design that closely approximates an experimental design.
In a regression discontinuity design, participants are assigned to a treatment or control group based on a numerical rating or score of a variable unrelated to the treatment such as the rating of an application for funding. Eligible students, teachers, classrooms, or schools above a certain score (“cut score”) are assigned to the treatment group and those below the score are assigned to the control group. In the case of the scores of applicants' proposals for funding, the “cut score” is established at the point where the program funds available are exhausted.
Single subject design means a design that relies on the comparison of treatment effects on a single subject or group of single subjects. There is little confidence that findings based on this design would be the same for other members of the population.
Treatment reversal design means a single subject design in which a pre-treatment or baseline outcome measurement is compared with a post-treatment measure. Treatment would then be stopped for a period of time, a second baseline measure of the outcome would be taken, followed by a second application of the treatment or a different treatment. For example, this design might be used to evaluate a behavior modification program for disabled students with behavior disorders.
Multiple baseline design means a single subject design to address concerns about the effects of normal development, timing of the treatment, and amount of the treatment with treatment-reversal designs by using a varying time schedule for introduction of the treatment and/or treatments of different lengths or intensity.
Interrupted time series design means a quasi-experimental design in which the outcome of interest is measured multiple times before and after the treatment for program participants only.
Due to the very short timeframe that applicants have to select a proposed evaluator for the competitive preference priority, we remind applicants that they can, under 34 CFR 80.36, use informal procedures to select a proposed contractor for this purpose. For example, section 80.36 authorizes simple informal procedures to select contractors for contracts under the simplified acquisition threshold of $100,000. 34 CFR 80.36(d)(1). The regulations only require that you request offers from an adequate number of sources. In addition, even if you expect that the evaluation of your project would cost more than $100,000, the regulations recognize special cases where a contractor must be selected within a very limited time period. Again, you need to request proposals from an adequate number of qualified sources and select the contractor whose proposal is most advantageous to the program, considering price and other selection factors. In these situations, if informal solicitation does not result in an adequate number of proposals, you may select a single bidder so long as you document the facts that formed the basis for your decision. 34 CFR 80.36(d)(1), (3), (4).
Invitational Priority: Within the absolute priority, we are particularly interested in applications that address the following invitational priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1) we do not give an application that meets this invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.
This priority is:
Faith-based and community organizations.
The Secretary is especially interested in applications that propose to engage faith-based and community organizations in the planning and development of character education programs and the delivery of services under this program.
Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7247.
Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The regulations in 34 CFR 299. (c) The notice of final priority published in the Federal Register on January 25, 2005 (70 FR 3585). (d) The notice of final eligibility requirement for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools discretionary grant programs published in the Federal Register on December 4, 2006 (71 FR 70369).
The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally recognized Indian tribes.
The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of higher education only.
II. Award Information
Type of Award: Discretionary grant.
Estimated Available Funds: The Administration's budget request for FY 2009 does not include funds for this program. However, the Administration requested $23,824,000 for character education activities, of which an estimated $1,277,480 would be made available for this competition. The actual level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant process if Congress appropriates funds for this program.
Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2010 from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.
Estimated Range of Awards: For State educational agencies (SEAs), $500,000-$750,000. For local educational agencies (LEAs), $250,000-$500,000. We anticipate that applicants who request funding at the higher end of these ranges would respond to the competitive preference priority to implement experimental or quasi-experimental designs.
Estimated Average Size of Awards: For SEAs, $600,000 for each 12-month budget period. For LEAs, $350,000 for each 12-month budget period.
Estimated Number of Awards: 2.
The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.
Project Period: Up to 48 months, of which no more than 12 months may be used for planning and program design.
III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants:
(a) An SEA in partnership with—
(1) One or more LEAs; or
(2) One or more—
(i) LEAs; and
(ii) Nonprofit organizations or entities, including faith-based and community organizations, and an institution of higher education (IHE);
(b) An LEA or consortium of LEAs; or
(c) An LEA in partnership with one or more nonprofit organizations or entities, including faith-based and community organizations, and an IHE.
Charter schools that are considered LEAs under State law are also eligible to apply.
The Secretary limits eligibility under this discretionary grant competition to applicants that do not currently have an active grant under the Partnerships in Character Education Program. For the purpose of this eligibility requirement, a grant is considered active until the end of the grant's project or funding period, including any extensions of those periods that extend the grantee's authority to obligate funds.
Participation by Private School Children and Teachers. Each eligible entity that receives a grant under this program shall provide, to the extent feasible and appropriate, for the participation in programs and activities of students and teachers in private elementary and secondary schools.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.Start Printed Page 78351
IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Package: Sharon J. Burton, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 10102, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 245-7867 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the program contact person listed in this section.
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.
3. Submission Dates and Times: Applications Available: December 22, 2008. Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: February 24, 2009.
Applications for grants under this program 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 in paper format by mail or hand delivery, please refer to section IV.6. 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: April 27, 2009.
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 program.
5. Funding Restrictions: Under section 5431(d)(1) of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. 7247(d)(1)), an SEA may not use more than three percent (3%) of the total funds received in any fiscal year for administrative purposes. This does not apply to LEAs. We reference additional regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
6. Other Submission Requirements:
Applications for grants under this program may be submitted electronically or in paper format by mail or hand delivery.
a. Electronic Submission of Applications.
We are participating as a partner in the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site. The Partnerships in Character Education Program, CFDA number 84.215S, is included in this project. We request your participation in Grants.gov.
If you choose to submit your application electronically, you must use the Governmentwide 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 e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.
You may access the electronic grant application for the Partnerships in Character Education 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 84.215S).
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 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 at http://e-Grants.ed.gov/help/GrantsgovSubmissionProcedures.pdf.
- To submit your application via Grants.gov, you must complete all steps in the Grants.gov registration process (see http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp). These steps include (1) registering your organization, a multi-part process that includes registration with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR); (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 submit successfully an application via Grants.gov. In addition you will need to update your CCR registration on an annual basis. This may take three or more business days to complete.
- 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.
- If you submit your application electronically, you must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide 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.Start Printed Page 78352
- If you 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 in this paragraph 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 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 e-mail. 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.
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.
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 following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.215S) 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.
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 84.215S) 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
1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 75.210 in EDGAR and are listed in the application package.
2. Review and Selection Process: Additional factors we consider in selecting an application for an award are included in 20 U.S.C. 7247. We will ensure that, to the extent practicable, the projects for which we provide funding are equally distributed among the geographic regions of the United States, and among urban, suburban and rural areas.
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 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: 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 Start Printed Page 78353most 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 http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), two performance indicators have been established for the Partnerships in Character Education Program. The indicators are (1) the percentage of Partnerships in Character Education Program grantees that use an experimental or quasi-experimental design for their evaluation and (2) the percentage of Partnerships in Character Education Program grantees that use an experimental or quasi-experimental design for their evaluation that are conducted successfully and that yield scientifically valid results. Consequently, applicants for a grant under this program are advised to give careful consideration to these two measures in conceptualizing the design, implementation, and evaluation of their proposed project. If funded, applicants will be asked to report data in their annual performance reports on evaluation outcomes. The Secretary will use this information to assess the overall quality of performance data obtained through rigorous evaluations conducted by grantees, and to respond to reporting requirements concerning this program established in section 5431(h) of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. 7247(h)).
VII. Agency Contact
For Further Information Contact: Sharon J. Burton, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 10102, PCP, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 245-7867 or by e-mail: email@example.com.
If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
VIII. Other Information
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 computer diskette) on request to the program contact person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice. Electronic Access to This Document: You can 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.
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
Dated: December 16, 2008.
Deborah A. Price,
Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
[FR Doc. E8-30388 Filed 12-19-08; 8:45 am]
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