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Notice

Overview Information; Race to the Top Fund; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 59836

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.395A.

DATES:

Applications Available: November 18, 2009.

Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply for Phase 1: December 8, 2009.

Date of Meeting for Potential Applicants: The Department intends to hold two technical assistance planning workshops. The first will be in Denver, Colorado, on December 3, 2009. The second will be in the Washington, DC area on December 10, 2009. We recommend that applicants attend one of these two workshops.

Deadlines for Transmittal of Applications:

Phase 1. Applications: January 19, 2010.

Phase 2 Applications: June 1, 2010. Phase 2 applicants addressing selection criterion (B)(1)(ii)(b) may amend their June 1, 2010 application submission through August 2, 2010 by submitting evidence of having adopted common standards after June 1, 2010. No other information may be submitted after June 1, 2010 in an amended application.

Deadlines for Intergovernmental Review:

Phase 1 Applications: March 18, 2010.

Phase 2 Applications: August 2, 2010.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Race to the Top Fund, a competitive grant program authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), is to encourage and reward States that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform; achieving significant improvement in student outcomes, including making substantial gains in student achievement, closing achievement gaps, improving high school graduation rates, and ensuring student preparation for success in college and careers; and implementing ambitious plans in four core education reform areas:

(a) Adopting internationally-benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the workplace;

(b) Building data systems that measure student success and inform teachers and principals in how they can improve their practices;

(c) Increasing teacher effectiveness and achieving equity in teacher distribution; and

(d) Turning around our lowest-achieving schools.

Priorities: These priorities are from the notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for this program, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

Absolute Priority: For FY 2010, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority. Applicants should address this priority throughout their applications.

Priority 1: Absolute Priority—Comprehensive Approach to Education Reform.

To meet this priority, the State's application must comprehensively and coherently address all of the four education reform areas specified in the ARRA as well as the State Success Factors Criteria in order to demonstrate that the State and its participating LEAs are taking a systemic approach to education reform. The State must demonstrate in its application sufficient LEA participation and commitment to successfully implement and achieve the goals in its plans; and it must describe how the State, in collaboration with its participating LEAs, will use Race to the Top and other funds to increase student achievement, decrease the achievement gaps across student subgroups, and increase the rates at which students graduate from high school prepared for college and careers.

Competitive Preference Priority: For FY 2010, this priority is a competitive preference priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award 15 additional points to applications that meet this priority. Applicants should address this priority throughout their applications.

Priority 2: Competitive Preference Priority—Emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

To meet this priority, the State's application must have a high-quality plan to address the need to (i) offer a rigorous course of study in mathematics, the sciences, technology, and engineering; (ii) cooperate with industry experts, museums, universities, research centers, or other STEM-capable community partners to prepare and assist teachers in integrating STEM content across grades and disciplines, in promoting effective and relevant instruction, and in offering applied learning opportunities for students; and (iii) prepare more students for advanced study and careers in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics, including by addressing the needs of underrepresented groups and of women and girls in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Invitational Priorities: For FY 2010, these priorities are invitational priorities. With an invitational priority, we signal our interest in receiving applications that meet the priority; however, consistent with 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1), we do not give an application that meets an invitational priority preference over other applications.

Priority 3: Invitational Priority—Innovations for Improving Early Learning Outcomes.

The Secretary is particularly interested in applications that include practices, strategies, or programs to improve educational outcomes for high-need students who are young children (pre-kindergarten through third grade) by enhancing the quality of preschool programs. Of particular interest are proposals that support practices that (i) improve school readiness (including social, emotional, and cognitive); and (ii) improve the transition between preschool and kindergarten.

Priority 4: Invitational Priority—Expansion and Adaptation of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems.

The Secretary is particularly interested in applications in which the State plans to expand statewide longitudinal data systems to include or integrate data from special education programs, English language learner programs,[1] early childhood programs, at-risk and dropout prevention programs, and school climate and culture programs, as well as information on student mobility, human resources (i.e., information on teachers, principals, and other staff), school finance, student health, postsecondary education, and other relevant areas, with the purpose of connecting and coordinating all parts of the system to allow important questions related to policy, practice, or overall effectiveness to be asked, answered, and incorporated into effective continuous improvement practices.

The Secretary is also particularly interested in applications in which States propose working together to adapt one State's statewide longitudinal data system so that it may be used, in whole or in part, by one or more other States, rather than having each State build or continue building such systems independently.

Priority 5: Invitational Priority—P-20 Coordination, Vertical and Horizontal Alignment. Start Printed Page 59837

The Secretary is particularly interested in applications in which the State plans to address how early childhood programs, K-12 schools, postsecondary institutions, workforce development organizations, and other State agencies and community partners (e.g., child welfare, juvenile justice, and criminal justice agencies) will coordinate to improve all parts of the education system and create a more seamless preschool-through-graduate school (P-20) route for students. Vertical alignment across P-20 is particularly critical at each point where a transition occurs (e.g., between early childhood and K-12, or between K-12 and postsecondary/careers) to ensure that students exiting one level are prepared for success, without remediation, in the next. Horizontal alignment, that is, coordination of services across schools, State agencies, and community partners, is also important in ensuring that high-need students (as defined in this notice) have access to the broad array of opportunities and services they need and that are beyond the capacity of a school itself to provide.

Priority 6: Invitational Priority—School-Level Conditions for Reform, Innovation, and Learning.

The Secretary is particularly interested in applications in which the State's participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) seek to create the conditions for reform and innovation as well as the conditions for learning by providing schools with flexibility and autonomy in such areas as—

(i) Selecting staff;

(ii) Implementing new structures and formats for the school day or year that result in increased learning time (as defined in this notice);

(iii) Controlling the school's budget;

(iv) Awarding credit to students based on student performance instead of instructional time;

(v) Providing comprehensive services to high-need students (as defined in this notice) (e.g., by mentors and other caring adults; through local partnerships with community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, and other providers);

(vi) Creating school climates and cultures that remove obstacles to, and actively support, student engagement and achievement; and

(vii) Implementing strategies to effectively engage families and communities in supporting the academic success of their students.

Final Requirements: The following requirements are from the notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

Application Requirements:

(a) The State's application must be signed by the Governor, the State's chief school officer, and the president of the State board of education (if applicable). States will respond to this requirement in the application, Section III, Race to the Top Application Assurances. In addition, the assurances in Section IV must be signed by the Governor.

(b) The State must describe the progress it has made over the past several years in each of the four education reform areas (as described in criterion (A)(3)(i)).

(c) The State must include a budget that details how it will use grant funds and other resources to meet targets and perform related functions (as described in criterion (A)(2)(i)(d)), including how it will use funds awarded under this program to—

(1) Achieve its targets for improving student achievement and graduation rates and for closing achievement gaps (as described in criterion (A)(1)(iii)); the State must also describe its track record of improving student progress overall and by student subgroup (as described in criterion (A)(3)(ii)); and

(2) Give priority to high-need LEAs (as defined in this notice), in addition to providing 50 percent of the grant to participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) based on their relative shares of funding under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) for the most recent year as required under section 14006(c) of the ARRA. (Note: Because all Race to the Top grants will be made in 2010, relative shares will be based on total funding received in FY 2009, including both the regular Title I, Part A appropriation and the amount made available by the ARRA).

(d) The State must provide, for each State Reform Conditions Criterion (listed in this notice) that it chooses to address, a description of the State's current status in meeting that criterion and, at a minimum, the information requested as supporting evidence for the criterion and the performance measures, if any (see Appendix A).

(e) The State must provide, for each Reform Plan Criterion (listed in this notice) that it chooses to address, a detailed plan for use of grant funds that includes, but need not be limited to—

(1) The key goals;

(2) The key activities to be undertaken and rationale for the activities, which should include why the specific activities are thought to bring about the change envisioned and how these activities are linked to the key goals;

(3) The timeline for implementing the activities;

(4) The party or parties responsible for implementing the activities;

(5) The information requested in the performance measures, where applicable (see Appendix A), and where the State proposes plans for reform efforts not covered by a specified performance measure, the State is encouraged to propose performance measures and annual targets for those efforts; and

(6) The information requested as supporting evidence, if any, for the criterion, together with any additional information the State believes will be helpful to peer reviewers in judging the credibility of the State's plan.

(f) The State must submit a certification from the State Attorney General that—

(1) The State's description of, and statements and conclusions concerning State law, statute, and regulation in its application are complete, accurate, and constitute a reasonable interpretation of State law, statute, and regulation; and

(2) At the time the State submits its application, the State does not have any legal, statutory, or regulatory barriers at the State level to linking data on student achievement or student growth to teachers and principals for the purpose of teacher and principal evaluation.

(g) When addressing issues relating to assessments required under the ESEA or subgroups in the selection criteria, the State must meet the following requirements:

(1) For student subgroups with respect to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the State must provide data for the NAEP subgroups described in section 303(b)(2)(G) of the National Assessment of Educational Progress Authorization Act (20 U.S.C. 9622) (i.e., race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, disability, and limited English proficiency). The State must also include the NAEP exclusion rate for students with disabilities and the exclusion rate for English language learners, along with clear documentation of the State's policies and practices for determining whether a student with a disability or an English language learner should participate in the NAEP and whether the student needs accommodations;

(2) For student subgroups with respect to high school graduation rates, college enrollment and credit accumulation rates, and the assessments required under the ESEA, the State must provide data for the subgroups described in section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v)(II) of the ESEA (i.e., economically Start Printed Page 59838disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency); and

(3) When asked to provide information regarding the assessments required under the ESEA, States should refer to section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA; in addition, when describing this assessment data in the State's application, the State should note any factors (e.g., changes in cut scores) that would impact the comparability of data from one year to the next.

Program Requirements:

Evaluation: The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) will conduct a series of national evaluations of Race to the Top's State grantees as part of its evaluation of programs funded under the ARRA. The Department's goal for these evaluations is to ensure that its studies not only assess program impacts, but also provide valuable information to State and local educators to help inform and improve their practices.

The Department anticipates that the national evaluations will involve such components as—

  • Surveys of States, LEAs, and/or schools, which will help identify how program funding is spent and the specific efforts and activities that are underway within each of the four education reform areas and across selected ARRA-funded programs;
  • Case studies of promising practices in States, LEAs, and/or schools through surveys and other mechanisms; and
  • Evaluations of outcomes, focusing on student achievement and other performance measures, to determine the impact of the reforms implemented under Race to the Top.

Race to the Top grantee States are not required to conduct independent evaluations, but may propose, within their applications, to use funds from Race to the Top to support such evaluations. Grantees must make available, through formal (e.g., peer-reviewed journals) or informal (e.g., newsletters, Web sites) mechanisms, the results of any evaluations they conduct of their funded activities. In addition, as described elsewhere in this notice and regardless of the final components of the national evaluation, Race to the Top States, LEAs, and schools are expected to identify and share promising practices, make work available within and across States, and make data available in appropriate ways to stakeholders and researchers so as to help all States focus on continuous improvement in service of student outcomes.

Participating LEAs Scope of Work: The agreements signed by participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) must include a scope-of-work section. The scope of work submitted by LEAs and States as part of their Race to the Top applications will be preliminary. Preliminary scopes of work should include the portions of the State's proposed reform plans that the LEA is agreeing to implement. If a State is awarded a Race to the Top grant, its participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) will have up to 90 days to complete final scopes of work, which must contain detailed work plans that are consistent with their preliminary scopes of work and with the State's grant application, and should include the participating LEAs' specific goals, activities, timelines, budgets, key personnel, and annual targets for key performance measures.

Making Work Available: Unless otherwise protected by law or agreement as proprietary information, the State and its subgrantees must make any work (e.g., materials, tools, processes, systems) developed under its grant freely available to others, including but not limited to by posting the work on a Web site identified or sponsored by the Department.

Technical Assistance: The State must participate in applicable technical assistance activities that may be conducted by the Department or its designees.

State Summative Assessments: No funds awarded under this competition may be used to pay for costs related to statewide summative assessments.

Program Definitions: These definitions are from the notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for this program, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

Alternative routes to certification means pathways to certification that are authorized under the State's laws or regulations, that allow the establishment and operation of teacher and administrator preparation programs in the State, and that have the following characteristics (in addition to standard features such as demonstration of subject-matter mastery, and high-quality instruction in pedagogy and in addressing the needs of all students in the classroom including English language learners and student with disabilities): (a) Can be provided by various types of qualified providers, including both institutions of higher education and other providers operating independently from institutions of higher education; (b) are selective in accepting candidates; (c) provide supervised, school-based experiences and ongoing support such as effective mentoring and coaching; (d) significantly limit the amount of coursework required or have options to test out of courses; and (e) upon completion, award the same level of certification that traditional preparation programs award upon completion.

College enrollment refers to the enrollment of students who graduate from high school consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1) and who enroll in an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act, Public Law 105-244, 20 U.S.C. 1001) within 16 months of graduation.

Common set of K-12 standards means a set of content standards that define what students must know and be able to do and that are substantially identical across all States in a consortium. A State may supplement the common standards with additional standards, provided that the additional standards do not exceed 15 percent of the State's total standards for that content area.

Effective principal means a principal whose students, overall and for each subgroup, achieve acceptable rates (e.g., at least one grade level in an academic year) of student growth (as defined in this notice). States, LEAs, or schools must include multiple measures, provided that principal effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, by student growth (as defined in this notice). Supplemental measures may include, for example, high school graduation rates and college enrollment rates, as well as evidence of providing supportive teaching and learning conditions, strong instructional leadership, and positive family and community engagement.

Effective teacher means a teacher whose students achieve acceptable rates (e.g., at least one grade level in an academic year) of student growth (as defined in this notice). States, LEAs, or schools must include multiple measures, provided that teacher effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, by student growth (as defined in this notice). Supplemental measures may include, for example, multiple observation-based assessments of teacher performance.

Formative assessment means assessment questions, tools, and processes that are embedded in instruction and are used by teachers and students to provide timely feedback for purposes of adjusting instruction to improve learning.

Graduation rate means the four-year or extended-year adjusted cohort graduation rate as defined by 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1).Start Printed Page 59839

Highly effective principal means a principal whose students, overall and for each subgroup, achieve high rates (e.g., one and one-half grade levels in an academic year) of student growth (as defined in this notice). States, LEAs, or schools must include multiple measures, provided that principal effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, by student growth (as defined in this notice). Supplemental measures may include, for example, high school graduation rates; college enrollment rates; evidence of providing supportive teaching and learning conditions, strong instructional leadership, and positive family and community engagement; or evidence of attracting, developing, and retaining high numbers of effective teachers.

Highly effective teacher means a teacher whose students achieve high rates (e.g., one and one-half grade levels in an academic year) of student growth (as defined in this notice). States, LEAs, or schools must include multiple measures, provided that teacher effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, by student growth (as defined in this notice). Supplemental measures may include, for example, multiple observation-based assessments of teacher performance or evidence of leadership roles (which may include mentoring or leading professional learning communities) that increase the effectiveness of other teachers in the school or LEA.

High-minority school is defined by the State in a manner consistent with its Teacher Equity Plan. The State should provide, in its Race to the Top application, the definition used.

High-need LEA means an LEA (a) that serves not fewer than 10,000 children from families with incomes below the poverty line; or (b) for which not less than 20 percent of the children served by the LEA are from families with incomes below the poverty line.

High-need students means students at risk of educational failure or otherwise in need of special assistance and support, such as students who are living in poverty, who attend high-minority schools (as defined in this notice), who are far below grade level, who have left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are English language learners.

High-performing charter school means a charter school that has been in operation for at least three consecutive years and has demonstrated overall success, including (a) substantial progress in improving student achievement (as defined in this notice); and (b) the management and leadership necessary to overcome initial start-up problems and establish a thriving, financially viable charter school.

High-poverty school means, consistent with section 1111(h)(1)(C)(viii) of the ESEA, a school in the highest quartile of schools in the State with respect to poverty level, using a measure of poverty determined by the State.

High-quality assessment means an assessment designed to measure a student's knowledge, understanding of, and ability to apply, critical concepts through the use of a variety of item types and formats (e.g., open-ended responses, performance-based tasks). Such assessments should enable measurement of student achievement (as defined in this notice) and student growth (as defined in this notice); be of high technical quality (e.g., be valid, reliable, fair, and aligned to standards); incorporate technology where appropriate; include the assessment of students with disabilities and English language learners; and to the extent feasible, use universal design principles (as defined in section 3 of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 3002) in development and administration.

Increased learning time means using a longer school day, week, or year schedule to significantly increase the total number of school hours to include additional time for (a) instruction in core academic subjects, including English; reading or language arts; mathematics; science; foreign languages; civics and government; economics; arts; history; and geography; (b) instruction in other subjects and enrichment activities that contribute to a well-rounded education, including, for example, physical education, service learning, and experiential and work-based learning opportunities that are provided by partnering, as appropriate, with other organizations; and (c) teachers to collaborate, plan, and engage in professional development within and across grades and subjects.[2]

Innovative, autonomous public schools means open enrollment public schools that, in return for increased accountability for student achievement (as defined in this notice), have the flexibility and authority to define their instructional models and associated curriculum; select and replace staff; implement new structures and formats for the school day or year; and control their budgets.

Instructional improvement systems means technology-based tools and other strategies that provide teachers, principals, and administrators with meaningful support and actionable data to systemically manage continuous instructional improvement, including such activities as: instructional planning; gathering information (e.g., through formative assessments (as defined in this notice), interim assessments (as defined in this notice), summative assessments, and looking at student work and other student data); analyzing information with the support of rapid-time (as defined in this notice) reporting; using this information to inform decisions on appropriate next instructional steps; and evaluating the effectiveness of the actions taken. Such systems promote collaborative problem-solving and action planning; they may also integrate instructional data with student-level data such as attendance, discipline, grades, credit accumulation, and student survey results to provide early warning indicators of a student's risk of educational failure.

Interim assessment means an assessment that is given at regular and specified intervals throughout the school year, is designed to evaluate students' knowledge and skills relative to a specific set of academic standards, and produces results that can be aggregated (e.g., by course, grade level, school, or LEA) in order to inform teachers and administrators at the student, classroom, school, and LEA levels.

Involved LEAs means LEAs that choose to work with the State to implement those specific portions of the State's plan that necessitate full or nearly-full statewide implementation, such as transitioning to a common set of K-12 standards (as defined in this notice). Involved LEAs do not receive a share of the 50 percent of a State's grant award that it must subgrant to LEAs in accordance with section 14006(c) of the Start Printed Page 59840ARRA, but States may provide other funding to involved LEAs under the State's Race to the Top grant in a manner that is consistent with the State's application.

Low-minority school is defined by the State in a manner consistent with its Teacher Equity Plan. The State should provide, in its Race to the Top application, the definition used.

Low-poverty school means, consistent with section 1111(h)(1)(C)(viii) of the ESEA, a school in the lowest quartile of schools in the State with respect to poverty level, using a measure of poverty determined by the State.

Participating LEAs means LEAs that choose to work with the State to implement all or significant portions of the State's Race to the Top plan, as specified in each LEA's agreement with the State. Each participating LEA that receives funding under Title I, Part A will receive a share of the 50 percent of a State's grant award that the State must subgrant to LEAs, based on the LEA's relative share of Title I, Part A allocations in the most recent year, in accordance with section 14006(c) of the ARRA. Any participating LEA that does not receive funding under Title I, Part A (as well as one that does) may receive funding from the State's other 50 percent of the grant award, in accordance with the State's plan.

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

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

Rapid-time, in reference to reporting and availability of locally-collected school- and LEA-level data, means that data are available quickly enough to inform current lessons, instruction, and related supports.

Student achievement means—

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

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

Student growth means the change in student achievement (as defined in this notice) for an individual student between two or more points in time. A State may also include other measures that are rigorous and comparable across classrooms.

Total revenues available to the State means either (a) projected or actual total State revenues for education and other purposes for the relevant year; or (b) projected or actual total State appropriations for education and other purposes for the relevant year.

America COMPETES Act elements means (as specified in section 6401(e)(2)(D) of that Act): (1) A unique statewide student identifier that does not permit a student to be individually identified by users of the system; (2) student-level enrollment, demographic, and program participation information; (3) student-level information about the points at which students exit, transfer in, transfer out, drop out, or complete P-16 education programs; (4) the capacity to communicate with higher education data systems; (5) a State data audit system assessing data quality, validity, and reliability; (6) yearly test records of individual students with respect to assessments under section 1111(b) of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)); (7) information on students not tested by grade and subject; (8) a teacher identifier system with the ability to match teachers to students; (9) student-level transcript information, including information on courses completed and grades earned; (10) student-level college readiness test scores; (11) information regarding the extent to which students transition successfully from secondary school to postsecondary education, including whether students enroll in remedial coursework; and (12) other information determined necessary to address alignment and adequate preparation for success in postsecondary education.

Program Authority: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Division A, Section 14006, Public Law 111-5.

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 notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grant.

Estimated Available Funds: $4 billion to be awarded in two Phases.

Estimated Range of Awards: $20 million—$700 million.

Note:

The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice. The Department will decide on the size of each State's award based on a detailed review of the budget the State requests, considering such factors as the size of the State, level of LEA participation, and the proposed activities.

Project Period: Up to 48 months.

Budget Guidance: States are encouraged to develop budgets that match the needs they have outlined in their applications.

To support States in planning their budgets, the Department has developed nonbinding budget ranges for each State; these are listed below. These ranges may be used as rough blueprints to guide States as they think through their budgets, but States may prepare budgets that are above or below the ranges specified. The categories were developed by ranking every State according to its share of the national population of children ages 5 through 17, and identifying the natural breaks. Then, based on population, overlapping budget ranges were developed for each category.

Category 1—$350-700 million: California, Texas, New York, Florida.

Category 2—$200-400 million: Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey.

Category 3—$150-250 million: Virginia, Arizona, Indiana, Washington, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Missouri, Maryland, Wisconsin.

Category 4—$60-175 million: Minnesota, Colorado, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, Start Printed Page 59841Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oregon, Connecticut, Utah, Mississippi, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Nevada.

Category 5—$20-75 million: New Mexico, Nebraska, Idaho, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, District of Columbia.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: Eligible applicants are the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico (referred to in this notice as State).

A State must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible to receive funds under this program.

(a) The State's applications for funding under Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund program must be approved by the Department prior to the State being awarded a Race to the Top grant.

(b) At the time the State submits its application, there must not be any legal, statutory, or regulatory barriers at the State level to linking data on student achievement (as defined in this notice) or student growth (as defined in this notice) to teachers and principals for the purpose of teacher and principal evaluation.

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

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package:

You can obtain an application package via the Internet or from the Education Publications Center (ED Pubs). To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: http://www.ed.gov/​programs/​racetothetop/​index.html. To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the following: Education Publications Center, 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), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.

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

If you request an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this program or competition as follows: CFDA 84.395A.

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 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 the application, together with the forms States must submit, are in the application package for this competition.

Page Limit: The application narrative (Section VI) is where the applicant addresses the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate applications. The Department recommends that applicants limit their narrative responses in Section VI of the application to no more than 100 pages of State-authored text, and limit their appendices to no more than 250 pages. The following standards are recommended:

  • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • Each page is numbered.
  • Line spacing is set to 1.5 spacing, and the font used is 12 point Times New Roman.

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: November 18, 2009.

Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: The Department will be able to develop a more efficient process for reviewing grant applications if we have a better understanding of the number of applications we will receive. Therefore, we strongly encourage each potential applicant to send an e-mail notice of its intent to apply for funding for Phase 1 to the e-mail address RacetotheTop@ed.gov by December 8, 2009. The Secretary may issue a deadline for notice of intent to apply for Phase 2 funding at a later time. The notice of intent to apply is optional; States may still submit applications if they have not notified the Department of their intention to apply.

Date of Meeting for Potential Applicants:

To assist States in preparing the application and to respond to questions, the Department intends to host two Technical Assistance Planning Workshops for potential applicants prior to the Phase 1 application submission deadline. The first will be in Denver, Colorado on December 3, 2009. The second will be in the Washington, DC area on December 10, 2009. We recommend that applicants attend one of these two workshops.

The purpose of the workshops would be for Department staff to review the selection criteria, requirements, and priorities with teams of participants responsible for drafting State applications, as well as for Department staff to answer technical questions about the Race to the Top program. The Department plans to release more details regarding the workshops in late November. Updates will be available at the Race to the Top Web site http://www.ed.gov/​programs/​racetothetop. Attendance at the workshops is strongly encouraged. For those who cannot attend, transcripts of the meetings will be available on our Web site. Announcements of any other conference calls or webinars and Frequently Asked Questions will also be available on the Race to the Top Web site.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications:

Phase 1 Applications: January 19, 2010.

Phase 2 Applications: June 1, 2010. Phase 2 applicants addressing selection criterion (B)(1)(ii)(b) may amend their June 1, 2010 application submissions through August 2, 2010 by submitting evidence of having adopted common standards after June 1, 2010. No other information may be submitted in an amended application after June 1, 2010.

Deadlines for Intergovernmental Review:

Phase 1 Applications: March 18, 2010.

Phase 2 Applications: August 2, 2010.

Applications for grants under this competition, as well as any amendments regarding adoption of common standards that Phase 2 applicants may file after June 1 and through August 2, 2010, must be submitted in electronic format on a CD or DVD, with CD-ROM or DVD-ROM preferred. In addition, States must submit an original and one hard copy of Sections III and IV of the application, which include the Race to the Top Application Assurances and the Accountability, Transparency, Reporting and Other Assurances. E-mailed submissions will not be read. For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your electronic application, please refer to section IV.6, Other Submission Requirements in this notice. Evidence, if any, of adoption of common standards submitted after June 1, 2010, but by August 2, 2010, must be submitted using the same submission process described in section IV, Application and Submission Information of this notice.

The Department will 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 Start Printed Page 59842process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.

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 must be submitted by mail or hand delivery. The Department strongly recommends the use of overnight mail. Applications postmarked on the deadline date but arriving late will not be read.

a. Application Submission Format and Deadline. Applications for grants under this competition, as well as any amendments regarding adoption of common standards that Phase 2 applicants may file after June 1 and through August 2, 2010, must be submitted in electronic format on a CD or DVD, with CD-ROM or DVD-ROM preferred. In addition, they must submit a signed original of Sections III and IV of the application and one copy of that signed original. Sections III and IV of the application include the Race to the Top Application Assurances and the Accountability, Transparency, Reporting and Other Assurances.

All electronic application files must be in a .DOC (document), .DOCX (document), .RTF (rich text), or .PDF (Portable Document) format. Each file name should clearly identify the part of the application to which the content is responding. If a State submits a file type other than the four file types specified in this paragraph, the Department will not review that material. States should not password-protect these files.

The CD or DVD should be clearly labeled with the State's name and any other relevant information.

The Department must receive all grant applications by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We will not accept an application for this competition after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Therefore, we strongly recommend that applicants arrange for mailing or hand delivery of their applications in advance of the application deadline date.

b. Submission of Applications by Mail. States may submit their application (i.e., the CD or DVD, the signed original of Sections III and IV of the application, and the copy of that original) by mail (either through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier). We must receive the applications on or before the application deadline date. Therefore, to avoid delays, we strongly recommend sending applications via overnight mail. Mail applications to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.395A) LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.

If we receive an application after the application deadline, we will not consider that application.

c. Submission of Applications by Hand Delivery. States may submit their application (i.e., the CD or DVD, the signed original of Sections III and IV of the application, and the copy of that original) by hand delivery (including via a courier service). We must receive the applications on or before the application deadline date, at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.395A) 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. If we receive an application after the application deadline, we will not consider that application.

d. Envelope requirements and receipt: When an applicant submits its application, whether by mail or hand delivery—

(1) It must indicate on the envelope that the CFDA number of the competition under which it is submitting its application is 84.395A; and

(2) The Application Control Center will mail to the applicant a notification of receipt of the grant application. If the applicant does not receive this notification, it should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

In accordance with EDGAR § 75.216(b) and (c), an application will not be evaluated for funding if the applicant does not comply with all of the procedural rules that govern the submission of the application or the application does not contain the information required under the program.

V. Application Review Information

Selection Criteria: The selection criteria and scoring rubric for this competition are from the notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register. The reviewers will utilize the scoring rubric (which can also be found in Appendix B of this notice) in applying the following selection criteria:

A. State Success Factors

(A)(1) Articulating State's education reform agenda and LEAs' participation in it: The extent to which—

(i) The State has set forth a comprehensive and coherent reform agenda that clearly articulates its goals for implementing reforms in the four education areas described in the ARRA and improving student outcomes statewide, establishes a clear and credible path to achieving these goals, and is consistent with the specific reform plans that the State has proposed throughout its application;

(ii) The participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) are strongly committed to the State's plans and to effective implementation of reform in the four education areas, as evidenced by Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) (as set forth in Appendix D) [3] or other binding agreements between the State and its participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) that include—

(a) Terms and conditions that reflect strong commitment by the participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) to the State's plans;

(b) Scope-of-work descriptions that require participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) to implement all or significant portions of the State's Race to the Top plans; and

(c) Signatures from as many as possible of the LEA superintendent (or equivalent), the president of the local school board (or equivalent, if applicable), and the local teachers' union leader (if applicable) (one signature of which must be from an authorized LEA representative) demonstrating the extent of leadership support within participating LEAs (as defined in this notice); and

(iii) The LEAs that are participating in the State's Race to the Top plans (including considerations of the numbers and percentages of participating LEAs, schools, K-12 students, and students in poverty) will translate into broad statewide impact, allowing the State to reach its ambitious Start Printed Page 59843yet achievable goals, overall and by student subgroup, for—

(a) Increasing student achievement in (at a minimum) reading/language arts and mathematics, as reported by the NAEP and the assessments required under the ESEA;

(b) Decreasing achievement gaps between subgroups in reading/language arts and mathematics, as reported by the NAEP and the assessments required under the ESEA;

(c) Increasing high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice); and

(d) Increasing college enrollment (as defined in this notice) and increasing the number of students who complete at least a year's worth of college credit that is applicable to a degree within two years of enrollment in an institution of higher education.

(A)(2) Building strong statewide capacity to implement, scale up, and sustain proposed plans: The extent to which the State has a high-quality overall plan to—

(i) Ensure that it has the capacity required to implement its proposed plans by—

(a) Providing strong leadership and dedicated teams to implement the statewide education reform plans the State has proposed;

(b) Supporting participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) in successfully implementing the education reform plans the State has proposed, through such activities as identifying promising practices, evaluating these practices' effectiveness, ceasing ineffective practices, widely disseminating and replicating the effective practices statewide, holding participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) accountable for progress and performance, and intervening where necessary;

(c) Providing effective and efficient operations and processes for implementing its Race to the Top grant in such areas as grant administration and oversight, budget reporting and monitoring, performance measure tracking and reporting, and fund disbursement;

(d) Using the funds for this grant, as described in the State's budget and accompanying budget narrative, to accomplish the State's plans and meet its targets, including, where feasible, by coordinating, reallocating, or repurposing education funds from other Federal, State, and local sources so that they align with the State's Race to the Top goals; and

(e) Using the fiscal, political, and human capital resources of the State to continue, after the period of funding has ended, those reforms funded under the grant for which there is evidence of success; and

(ii) Use support from a broad group of stakeholders to better implement its plans, as evidenced by the strength of statements or actions of support from—

(a) The State's teachers and principals, which include the State's teachers' unions or statewide teacher associations; and

(b) Other critical stakeholders, such as the State's legislative leadership; charter school authorizers and State charter school membership associations (if applicable); other State and local leaders (e.g., business, community, civil rights, and education association leaders); Tribal schools; parent, student, and community organizations (e.g., parent-teacher associations, nonprofit organizations, local education foundations, and community-based organizations); and institutions of higher education.

(A)(3) Demonstrating significant progress in raising achievement and closing gaps: The extent to which the State has demonstrated its ability to—

(i) Make progress over the past several years in each of the four education reform areas, and used its ARRA and other Federal and State funding to pursue such reforms;

(ii) Improve student outcomes overall and by student subgroup since at least 2003, and explain the connections between the data and the actions that have contributed to—

(a) Increasing student achievement in reading/language arts and mathematics, both on the NAEP and on the assessments required under the ESEA;

(b) Decreasing achievement gaps between subgroups in reading/language arts and mathematics, both on the NAEP and on the assessments required under the ESEA; and

(c) Increasing high school graduation rates.

B. Standards and Assessments

State Reform Conditions Criteria

(B)(1) Developing and adopting common standards: The extent to which the State has demonstrated its commitment to adopting a common set of high-quality standards, evidenced by (as set forth in Appendix B)—

(i) The State's participation in a consortium of States that—

(a) Is working toward jointly developing and adopting a common set of K-12 standards (as defined in this notice) that are supported by evidence that they are internationally benchmarked and build toward college and career readiness by the time of high school graduation; and

(b) Includes a significant number of States; and

(ii)(a) For Phase 1 applications, the State's high-quality plan demonstrating its commitment to and progress toward adopting a common set of K-12 standards (as defined in this notice) by August 2, 2010, or, at a minimum, by a later date in 2010 specified by the State, and to implementing the standards thereafter in a well-planned way; or

(b) For Phase 2 applications, the State's adoption of a common set of K-12 standards (as defined in this notice) by August 2, 2010, or, at a minimum, by a later date in 2010 specified by the State in a high-quality plan toward which the State has made significant progress, and its commitment to implementing the standards thereafter in a well-planned way.[4]

(B)(2) Developing and implementing common, high-quality assessments: The extent to which the State has demonstrated its commitment to improving the quality of its assessments, evidenced by (as set forth in Appendix B) the State's participation in a consortium of States that—

(i) Is working toward jointly developing and implementing common, high-quality assessments (as defined in this notice) aligned with the consortium's common set of K-12 standards (as defined in this notice); and

(ii) Includes a significant number of States.

Reform Plan Criteria

(B)(3) Supporting the transition to enhanced standards and high-quality assessments: The extent to which the State, in collaboration with its participating LEAs (as defined in this notice), has a high-quality plan for supporting a statewide transition to and implementation of internationally benchmarked K-12 standards that build toward college and career readiness by the time of high school graduation, and high-quality assessments (as defined in this notice) tied to these standards. State or LEA activities might, for example, include: Developing a rollout plan for the standards together with all of their supporting components; in cooperation with the State's institutions of higher education, aligning high school exit criteria and college entrance requirements with the new standards and assessments; developing or acquiring, disseminating, and implementing high-quality instructional Start Printed Page 59844materials and assessments (including, for example, formative and interim assessments (both as defined in this notice)); developing or acquiring and delivering high-quality professional development to support the transition to new standards and assessments; and engaging in other strategies that translate the standards and information from assessments into classroom practice for all students, including high-need students (as defined in this notice).

C. Data Systems To Support Instruction

State Reform Conditions Criteria

(C)(1) Fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system: The extent to which the State has a statewide longitudinal data system that includes all of the America COMPETES Act elements (as defined in this notice).

Reform Plan Criteria

(C)(2) Accessing and using State data: The extent to which the State has a high-quality plan to ensure that data from the State's statewide longitudinal data system are accessible to, and used to inform and engage, as appropriate, key stakeholders (e.g., parents, students, teachers, principals, LEA leaders, community members, unions, researchers, and policymakers); and that the data support decision-makers in the continuous improvement of efforts in such areas as policy, instruction, operations, management, resource allocation, and overall effectiveness.[5]

(C)(3) Using data to improve instruction: The extent to which the State, in collaboration with its participating LEAs (as defined in this notice), has a high-quality plan to—

(i) Increase the acquisition, adoption, and use of local instructional improvement systems (as defined in this notice) that provide teachers, principals, and administrators with the information and resources they need to inform and improve their instructional practices, decision-making, and overall effectiveness;

(ii) Support participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) and schools that are using instructional improvement systems (as defined in this notice) in providing effective professional development to teachers, principals, and administrators on how to use these systems and the resulting data to support continuous instructional improvement; and

(iii) Make the data from instructional improvement systems (as defined in this notice), together with statewide longitudinal data system data, available and accessible to researchers so that they have detailed information with which to evaluate the effectiveness of instructional materials, strategies, and approaches for educating different types of students (e.g., students with disabilities, English language learners, students whose achievement is well below or above grade level).

D. Great Teachers and Leaders

State Reform Conditions Criteria

(D)(1) Providing high-quality pathways for aspiring teachers and principals: The extent to which the State has—

(i) Legal, statutory, or regulatory provisions that allow alternative routes to certification (as defined in this notice) for teachers and principals, particularly routes that allow for providers in addition to institutions of higher education;

(ii) Alternative routes to certification (as defined in this notice) that are in use; and

(iii) A process for monitoring, evaluating, and identifying areas of teacher and principal shortage and for preparing teachers and principals to fill these areas of shortage.

Reform Plan Criteria

(D)(2) Improving teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance: The extent to which the State, in collaboration with its participating LEAs (as defined in this notice), has a high-quality plan and ambitious yet achievable annual targets to ensure that participating LEAs (as defined in this notice)—

(i) Establish clear approaches to measuring student growth (as defined in this notice) and measure it for each individual student;

(ii) Design and implement rigorous, transparent, and fair evaluation systems for teachers and principals that (a) differentiate effectiveness using multiple rating categories that take into account data on student growth (as defined in this notice) as a significant factor, and (b) are designed and developed with teacher and principal involvement;

(iii) Conduct annual evaluations of teachers and principals that include timely and constructive feedback; as part of such evaluations, provide teachers and principals with data on student growth for their students, classes, and schools; and

(iv) Use these evaluations, at a minimum, to inform decisions regarding—

(a) Developing teachers and principals, including by providing relevant coaching, induction support, and/or professional development;

(b) Compensating, promoting, and retaining teachers and principals, including by providing opportunities for highly effective teachers and principals (both as defined in this notice) to obtain additional compensation and be given additional responsibilities;

(c) Whether to grant tenure and/or full certification (where applicable) to teachers and principals using rigorous standards and streamlined, transparent, and fair procedures; and

(d) Removing ineffective tenured and untenured teachers and principals after they have had ample opportunities to improve, and ensuring that such decisions are made using rigorous standards and streamlined, transparent, and fair procedures.

(D)(3) Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals: The extent to which the State, in collaboration with its participating LEAs (as defined in this notice), has a high-quality plan and ambitious yet achievable annual targets to—

(i) Ensure the equitable distribution of teachers and principals by developing a plan, informed by reviews of prior actions and data, to ensure that students in high-poverty and/or high-minority schools (both as defined in this notice) have equitable access to highly effective teachers and principals (both as defined in this notice) and are not served by ineffective teachers and principals at higher rates than other students; and

(ii) Increase the number and percentage of effective teachers (as defined in this notice) teaching hard-to-staff subjects and specialty areas including mathematics, science, and special education; teaching in language instruction educational programs (as defined under Title III of the ESEA); and teaching in other areas as identified by the State or LEA.

Plans for (i) and (ii) may include, but are not limited to, the implementation of incentives and strategies in such areas as recruitment, compensation, teaching and learning environments, professional development, and human resources practices and processes.

(D)(4) Improving the effectiveness of teacher and principal preparation programs: The extent to which the State has a high-quality plan and ambitious yet achievable annual targets to—

(i) Link student achievement and student growth (both as defined in this notice) data to the students' teachers Start Printed Page 59845and principals, to link this information to the in-State programs where those teachers and principals were prepared for credentialing, and to publicly report the data for each credentialing program in the State; and

(ii) Expand preparation and credentialing options and programs that are successful at producing effective teachers and principals (both as defined in this notice).

(D)(5) Providing effective support to teachers and principals: The extent to which the State, in collaboration with its participating LEAs (as defined in this notice), has a high-quality plan for its participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) to—

(i) Provide effective, data-informed professional development, coaching, induction, and common planning and collaboration time to teachers and principals that are, where appropriate, ongoing and job-embedded. Such support might focus on, for example, gathering, analyzing, and using data; designing instructional strategies for improvement; differentiating instruction; creating school environments supportive of data-informed decisions; designing instruction to meet the specific needs of high-need students (as defined in this notice); and aligning systems and removing barriers to effective implementation of practices designed to improve student learning outcomes; and

(ii) Measure, evaluate, and continuously improve the effectiveness of those supports in order to improve student achievement (as defined in this notice).

E. Turning Around the Lowest-Achieving Schools

State Reform Conditions Criteria

(E)(1) Intervening in the lowest-achieving schools and LEAs: The extent to which the State has the legal, statutory, or regulatory authority to intervene directly in the State's persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in this notice) and in LEAs that are in improvement or corrective action status.

Reform Plan Criteria

(E)(2) Turning around the lowest-achieving schools: The extent to which the State has a high-quality plan and ambitious yet achievable annual targets to—

(i) Identify the persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in this notice) and, at its discretion, any non-Title I eligible secondary schools that would be considered persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in this notice) if they were eligible to receive Title I funds; and

(ii) Support its LEAs in turning around these schools by implementing one of the four school intervention models (as described in Appendix C): Turnaround model, restart model, school closure, or transformation model (provided that an LEA with more than nine persistently lowest-achieving schools may not use the transformation model for more than 50 percent of its schools).

F. General

State Reform Conditions Criteria

(F)(1) Making education funding a priority: The extent to which—

(i) The percentage of the total revenues available to the State (as defined in this notice) that were used to support elementary, secondary, and public higher education for FY 2009 was greater than or equal to the percentage of the total revenues available to the State (as defined in this notice) that were used to support elementary, secondary, and public higher education for FY 2008; and

(ii) The State's policies lead to equitable funding (a) between high-need LEAs (as defined in this notice) and other LEAs, and (b) within LEAs, between high-poverty schools (as defined in this notice) and other schools.

(F)(2) Ensuring successful conditions for high-performing charter schools and other innovative schools: The extent to which—

(i) The State has a charter school law that does not prohibit or effectively inhibit increasing the number of high-performing charter schools (as defined in this notice) in the State, measured (as set forth in Appendix B) by the percentage of total schools in the State that are allowed to be charter schools or otherwise restrict student enrollment in charter schools;

(ii) The State has laws, statutes, regulations, or guidelines regarding how charter school authorizers approve, monitor, hold accountable, reauthorize, and close charter schools; in particular, whether authorizers require that student achievement (as defined in this notice) be one significant factor, among others, in authorization or renewal; encourage charter schools that serve student populations that are similar to local district student populations, especially relative to high-need students (as defined in this notice); and have closed or not renewed ineffective charter schools;

(iii) The State's charter schools receive (as set forth in Appendix B) equitable funding, compared to traditional public schools, and a commensurate share of local, State, and Federal revenues;

(iv) The State provides charter schools with funding for facilities (for leasing facilities, purchasing facilities, or making tenant improvements), assistance with facilities acquisition, access to public facilities, the ability to share in bonds and mill levies, or other supports; and the extent to which the State does not impose any facility-related requirements on charter schools that are stricter than those applied to traditional public schools; and

(v) The State enables LEAs to operate innovative, autonomous public schools (as defined in this notice) other than charter schools.

(F)(3) Demonstrating other significant reform conditions: The extent to which the State, in addition to information provided under other State Reform Conditions Criteria, has created, through law, regulation, or policy, other conditions favorable to education reform or innovation that have increased student achievement or graduation rates, narrowed achievement gaps, or resulted in other important outcomes.

2. Review and Selection Process: The Department will screen applications that are received, as described in this notice, by the designated deadline, and will determine which States are eligible based on whether they have met eligibility requirement (b); the Department will not consider further those applicants deemed ineligible under eligibility requirement (b). As discussed below, States will be screened for eligibility under eligibility requirement (a) at the end of the selection process, before they would be granted awards.

The Department intends to use a two-tiered review process to judge the eligible applications. In the initial tier, the reviewers would consider only the written applications; in the finalist tier, reviewers would consider both the written applications and in-person presentations. In both tiers, the Department would use independent reviewers who have been chosen from a pool of qualified educators, scholars, and other individuals knowledgeable in education reform. The Department will thoroughly screen all reviewers for conflicts of interest to ensure a fair and competitive review process.

In the initial tier, reviewers will read, comment on, and score their assigned applications, using the selection criteria and scoring rubric included in this notice (see Appendix B). The Department will select the finalists after Start Printed Page 59846considering the reviewers' scores. The finalists will move on to the finalist tier of the competition. Applicants who do not move on to the finalist tier will receive their reviewers' comments and scores as soon as possible.

The Department intends to ask each finalist to send a team to Washington, DC to present the State's proposal to a panel of reviewers. The panel will take this opportunity to ask the State's team further questions in order to gain a more comprehensive picture of the State's application proposal, including its plans and its capabilities to implement them. (Exact timing will be announced when the finalists are selected.) A State's presentation team may include up to five individuals; because the panel of reviewers is interested primarily in hearing from, and asking questions of, State leaders who would be responsible for implementing the State's Race to the Top plan, only those individuals who would have significant ongoing roles in and responsibilities in executing the State's plan should present, and in no case could presentation teams include consultants. At the conclusion of the presentation process, reviewers will finalize their scoring of the applications based on the selection criteria and scoring rubric in this notice.

After the review process is complete, the Secretary will select, consistent with 34 CFR 75.217, the grantees after considering the rank order of applications, each applicant's status with respect to the Absolute Priority and eligibility requirement (a), and any other relevant information. All applicants will receive their reviewers' comments and scores.

After awards are made for each phase of the competition, all of the submitted applications (both successful and unsuccessful) will be posted on the Department's Web site, together with the final scores each received. The Department also intends to post on its Web site a transcript and/or video of each finalist's presentation of its proposal.

States that apply in Phase 1 but are not awarded grants may reapply for funding in Phase 2 (together with those States that are applying for the first time in Phase 2). Phase 1 winners receive full-sized awards, and so do not apply for additional funding in Phase 2.

VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices: If an application is successful, the Department will notify the States' U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators and send the applicant a Grant Award Notification (GAN). We may notify the State informally, as well.

If an application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, the Department will notify the State.

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 the approved application as part of the binding commitments under the grant.

3. Reporting: The following requirements are from the notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

A State receiving Race to the Top funds must submit to the Department an annual report which must include, in addition to the standard elements, a description of the State's and its LEAs' progress to date on their goals, timelines, and budgets, as well as actual performance compared to the annual targets the State established in its application with respect to each performance measure. Further, a State receiving funds under this program and its participating LEAs are accountable for meeting the goals, timelines, budget, and annual targets established in the application; adhering to an annual fund drawdown schedule that is tied to meeting these goals, timelines, budget, and annual targets; and fulfilling and maintaining all other conditions for the conduct of the project. The Department will monitor a State's and its participating LEAs' progress in meeting the State's goals, timelines, budget, and annual targets and in fulfilling other applicable requirements. In addition, the Department may collect additional data as part of a State's annual reporting requirements.

To support a collaborative process between the State and the Department, the Department may require that applicants who are selected to receive an award enter into a written performance or cooperative agreement with the Department. If the Department determines that a State is not meeting its goals, timelines, budget, or annual targets or is not fulfilling other applicable requirements, the Department will take appropriate action, which could include a collaborative process between the Department and the State, or enforcement measures with respect to this grant, such as placing the State in high-risk status, putting the State on reimbursement payment status, or delaying or withholding funds.

A State that receives Race to the Top funds must also meet the reporting requirements that apply to all ARRA-funded programs. Specifically, the State must submit reports, within 10 days after the end of each calendar quarter, that contain the information required under section 1512(c) of the ARRA in accordance with any guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget or the Department (ARRA Division A, Section 1512(c)).

In addition, for each year of the program, the State will submit a report to the Secretary, at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may require, that describes:

○ The uses of funds within the State;

○ How the State distributed the funds it received;

○ The number of jobs that the Governor estimates were saved or created with the funds;

○ The State's progress in reducing inequities in the distribution of highly qualified teachers, implementing a State longitudinal data system, and developing and implementing valid and reliable assessments for English language learners and students with disabilities; and

○ If applicable, a description of each modernization, renovation, or repair project approved in the State application and funded, including the amounts awarded and project costs (ARRA Division A, Section 14008).

4. Evidence and Performance Measures: Appendix A to this notice contains a listing of the evidence and performance measures.

VII. Agency Contact

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Butler, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW., room 3E108, Washington, DC 20202-6400. Telephone: 202-205-3775 or by e-mail: racetothetop@ed.gov.

If a TDD is needed, call the Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information

Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document 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.

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 Start Printed Page 59847following site: http://www.ed.gov/​news/​fedregister. To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site.

Start Signature

Dated: November 10, 2009.

Arne Duncan,

Secretary of Education.

End Signature

Appendix A: Evidence and Performance Measures

A. State Success Factors

(A)(1) Articulating State's education reform agenda and LEAs' participation in it.

Evidence

Evidence for (A)(1)(ii):

  • An example of the State's standard Participating LEA MOU, and description of variations used, if any.
  • The completed summary table indicating which specific portions of the State's plan each LEA is committed to implementing, and relevant summary statistics (see Summary Table for (A)(1)(ii)(b)).
  • The completed summary table indicating which LEA leadership signatures have been obtained (see Summary Table for (A)(1)(ii)(c)).

Evidence for (A)(1)(iii):

  • The completed summary table indicating the numbers and percentages of participating LEAs, schools, K-12 students, and students in poverty (see Summary Table for (A)(1)(iii)).
  • Tables and graphs that show the State's goals, overall and by subgroup, requested in the criterion, together with the supporting narrative. In addition, describe what the goals would look like were the State not to receive an award under this program.

Evidence for (A)(1)(ii) and (A)(1)(iii):

  • The completed detailed table, by LEA, that includes the information requested in the criterion (see Detailed Table for (A)(1)).

Performance Measures

  • None required.

(A)(2) Building strong statewide capacity to implement, scale up, and sustain proposed plans.

Evidence

Evidence for (A)(2)(i)(d):

  • The State's budget, as completed in Section XI of the application. The narrative that accompanies and explains the budget and how it connects to the State's plan, as completed in Section XI of the application.

Evidence for (A)(2)(ii):

  • A summary in the narrative of the statements or actions and inclusion of key statements or actions in the Appendix.

Performance Measures

  • None required.

(A)(3) Demonstrating significant progress in raising achievement and closing gaps.

Evidence

Evidence for (A)(3)(ii): NAEP and ESEA results since at least 2003. Include in the Appendix all the data requested in the criterion as a resource for peer reviewers for each year in which a test was given or data was collected. Note that this data will be used for reference only and can be in raw format. In the narrative, provide the analysis of this data and any tables or graphs that best support the narrative.

Performance Measures

  • None required.

(B) Standards and Assessments

(B)(1) Developing and adopting common standards.

Evidence

Evidence for (B)(1)(i):

  • A copy of the Memorandum of Agreement, executed by the State, showing that it is part of a standards consortium.
  • A copy of the final standards or, if the standards are not yet final, a copy of the draft standards and anticipated date for completing the standards.
  • Documentation that the standards are or will be internationally benchmarked and that, when well-implemented, will help to ensure that students are prepared for college and careers.
  • The number of States participating in the standards consortium and the list of these States.

Evidence for (B)(1)(ii):

For Phase 1 applicants:

  • A description of the legal process in the State for adopting standards, and the State's plan, current progress, and timeframe for adoption.

For Phase 2 applicants:

  • Evidence that the State has adopted the standards. Or, if the State has not yet adopted the standards, a description of the legal process in the State for adopting standards and the State's plan, current progress, and timeframe for adoption.

Performance Measures

  • None required.

(B)(2) Developing and implementing common, high-quality assessments.

Evidence

Evidence for (B)(2):

  • A copy of the Memorandum of Agreement, executed by the State, showing that it is part of a consortium that intends to develop high-quality assessments (as defined in this notice) aligned with the consortium's common set of K-12 standards; or documentation that the State's consortium has applied, or intends to apply, for a grant through the separate Race to the Top Assessment Program (to be described in a subsequent notice); or other evidence of the State's plan to develop and adopt common, high-quality assessments (as defined in this notice).
  • The number of States participating in the assessment consortium and the list of these States.

Performance Measures

  • None required.

(B)(3) Supporting the transition to enhanced standards and high-quality assessments.

Evidence

  • Any supporting evidence the State believes will be helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

  • Optional.

(C) Data Systems to Support Instruction

(C)(1) Fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system.

Evidence

  • Documentation for each of the America COMPETES Act elements (as defined in this notice) that is included in the State's statewide longitudinal data system.

Performance Measures

  • None required.

(C)(2) Accessing and using State data.

Evidence

  • Any supporting evidence the State believes will be helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

  • Optional.

(C)(3) Using data to improve instruction.

Evidence

  • Any supporting evidence the State believes will be helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

  • Optional.

(D) Great Teachers and Leaders

(D)(1) Providing high-quality pathways for aspiring teachers and principals. Start Printed Page 59848

Evidence for (D)(1)(i):

  • A description of the State's applicable laws, statutes, regulations, or other relevant legal documents, including information on the elements of the State's alternative routes (as described in the alternative routes to certification definition in this notice).

Evidence for (D)(1)(ii):

  • A list of the alternative certification programs operating in the State under the State's alternative routes to certification (as defined in this notice), and for each:

○ The elements of the program (as described in the alternative routes to certification definition in this notice).

○ The number of teachers and principals that successfully completed each program in the previous academic year.

○ The total number of teachers and principals certified statewide in the previous academic year.

Performance Measures

  • None required.

(D)(2) Improving teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance.

Evidence

  • Any supporting evidence the State believes will be helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

General goals to be provided at time of application, including baseline data and annual targets:

  • (D)(2)(i) Percentage of participating LEAs that measure student growth (as defined in this notice).
  • (D)(2)(ii) Percentage of participating LEAs with qualifying evaluation systems for teachers.
  • (D)(2)(ii) Percentage of participating LEAs with qualifying evaluation systems for principals.
  • (D)(2)(iv) Percentage of participating LEAs with qualifying evaluation systems that are used to inform:

○ (D)(2)(iv)(a) Developing teachers and principals.

○ (D)(2)(iv)(b) Compensating teachers and principals.

○ (D)(2)(iv)(b) Promoting teachers and principals.

○ (D)(2)(iv)(b) Retaining effective teachers and principals.

○ (D)(2)(iv)(c) Granting tenure and/or full certification (where applicable) to teachers and principals.

○ (D)(2)(iv)(d) Removing ineffective tenured and untenured teachers and principals.

General data to be provided at time of application, including baseline data:

  • Total number of participating LEAs.
  • Total number of principals in participating LEAs.
  • Total number of teachers in participating LEAs.

Data to be requested of grantees in the future:

  • (D)(2)(ii) Number of teachers and principals in participating LEAs with qualifying evaluation systems.
  • (D)(2)(iii) Number of teachers and principals in participating LEAs with qualifying evaluation systems who were evaluated as effective or better in the prior academic year.
  • (D)(2)(iii) Number of teachers and principals in participating LEAs with qualifying evaluation systems who were evaluated as ineffective in the prior academic year.
  • (D)(2)(iv)(b) Number of teachers and principals in participating LEAs with qualifying evaluation systems whose evaluations were used to inform compensation decisions in the prior academic year.
  • (D)(2)(iv)(b) Number of teachers and principals in participating LEAs with qualifying evaluation systems who were evaluated as effective or better and were retained in the prior academic year.
  • (D)(2)(iv)(c) Number of teachers in participating LEAs with qualifying evaluation systems who were eligible for tenure in the prior academic year.
  • (D)(2)(iv)(c) Number of teachers in participating LEAs with qualifying evaluation systems whose evaluations were used to inform tenure decisions in the prior academic year.
  • (D)(2)(iv)(d) Number of teachers and principals in participating LEAs who were removed for being ineffective in the prior academic year.

(D)(3) Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals.

Evidence

Evidence for (D)(3)(i):

  • Definitions of high-minority and low-minority schools as defined by the State for the purposes of the State's Teacher Equity Plan.

Performance Measures

Note:

All information below is requested for Participating LEAs.

Performance Measures for (D)(3)(i):

General goals to be provided at time of application, including baseline data and annual targets:

  • Percentage of teachers in schools that are high-poverty, high-minority, or both (as defined in this notice) who are highly effective (as defined in this notice).
  • Percentage of teachers in schools that are low-poverty, low-minority, or both (as defined in this notice) who are highly effective (as defined in this notice).
  • Percentage of teachers in schools that are high-poverty, high-minority, or both (as defined in this notice) who are ineffective.
  • Percentage of teachers in schools that are low-poverty, low-minority, or both (as defined in this notice) who are ineffective.
  • Percentage of principals leading schools that are high-poverty, high-minority, or both (as defined in this notice) who are highly effective (as defined in this notice).
  • Percentage of principals leading schools that are low-poverty, low-minority, or both (as defined in this notice) who are highly effective (as defined in this notice).
  • Percentage of principals leading schools that are high-poverty, high-minority, or both (as defined in this notice) who are ineffective.
  • Percentage of principals leading schools that are low-poverty, low-minority, or both (as defined in this notice) who are ineffective.

General data to be provided at time of application, including baseline data:

  • Total number of schools that are high-poverty, high-minority, or both (as defined in this notice).
  • Total number of schools that are low-poverty, low-minority, or both (as defined in this notice).
  • Total number of teachers in schools that are high-poverty, high-minority, or both (as defined in this notice).
  • Total number of teachers in schools that are low-poverty, low-minority, or both (as defined in this notice).
  • Total number of principals leading schools that are high-poverty, high-minority, or both (as defined in this notice).
  • Total number of principals leading schools that are low-poverty, low-minority, or both (as defined in this notice).

Data to be requested of grantees in the future:

  • Number of teachers and principals in schools that are high-poverty, high-minority, or both (as defined in this notice) who were evaluated as highly effective (as defined in this notice) in the prior academic year.
  • Number of teachers and principals in schools that are high-poverty, high-minority, or both (as defined in this notice) who were evaluated as ineffective in the prior academic year.
  • Number of teachers and principals in schools that are low-poverty, low-minority, or both (as defined in this notice) who were evaluated as highly effective (as defined in this notice) in the prior academic year.Start Printed Page 59849
  • Number of teachers and principals in schools that are low-poverty, low-minority, or both (as defined in this notice) who were evaluated as ineffective in the prior academic year.

Performance Measures for (D)(3)(ii):

General goals to be provided at time of application, including baseline data and annual targets:

  • Percentage of mathematics teachers who were evaluated as effective or better.
  • Percentage of science teachers who were evaluated as effective or better.
  • Percentage of special education teachers who were evaluated as effective or better.
  • Percentage of teachers in language instruction educational programs who were evaluated as effective or better.

General data to be provided at time of application, including baseline data:

  • Total number of mathematics teachers.
  • Total number of science teachers.
  • Total number of special education teachers.
  • Total number of teachers in language instruction educational programs.

Data to be requested of grantees in the future:

  • Number of mathematics teachers in participating LEAs who were evaluated as effective or better in the prior academic year.
  • Number of science teachers in participating LEAs who were evaluated as effective or better in the prior academic year.
  • Number of special education teachers in participating LEAs who were evaluated as effective or better in the prior academic year.
  • Number of teachers in language instruction educational programs in participating LEAs who were evaluated as effective or better in the prior academic year.

(D)(4) Improving the effectiveness of teacher and principal preparation programs.

Evidence

  • Any supporting evidence the State believes will be helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance measures

General goals to be provided at time of application, including baseline data and annual targets:

  • Percentage of teacher preparation programs in the State for which the public can access data on the achievement and growth (as defined in this notice) of the graduates' students.
  • Percentage of principal preparation programs in the State for which the public can access data on the achievement and growth (as defined in this notice) of the graduates' students.

General data to be provided at time of application, including baseline data:

  • Total number of teacher credentialing programs in the State.
  • Total number of principal credentialing programs in the State.
  • Total number of teachers in the State.
  • Total number of principals in the State.

Data to be requested of grantees in the future:

  • Number of teacher credentialing programs in the State for which the information (as described in the criterion) is publicly reported.
  • Number of teachers prepared by each credentialing program in the State for which the information (as described in the criterion) is publicly reported.
  • Number of principal credentialing programs in the State for which the information (as described in the criterion) is publicly reported.
  • Number of principals prepared by each credentialing program in the State for which the information (as described in the criterion) is publicly reported.
  • Number of teachers in the State whose data are aggregated to produce publicly available reports on the State's credentialing programs.
  • Number of principals in the State whose data are aggregated to produce publicly available reports on the State's credentialing programs.

(D)(5) Providing effective support to teachers and principals.

Evidence

  • Any supporting evidence the State believes will be helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

  • Optional.

(E) Turning Around the Lowest-Achieving Schools

(E)(1) Intervening in the lowest-achieving schools and LEAs.

Evidence

Evidence for (E)(1):

  • A description of the State's applicable laws, statutes, regulations, or other relevant legal documents.

Performance Measures

  • None required.

(E)(2) Turning around the lowest-achieving schools.

Evidence

  • The State's historic performance on school turnaround, as evidenced by the total number of persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in this notice) that States or LEAs attempted to turn around in the last five years, the approach used, and the results and lessons learned to date.

Performance Measures

  • The number of schools for which one of the four school intervention models (described in Appendix C) will be initiated each year.

(F) General

(F)(1) Making education funding a priority.

Evidence

Evidence for (F)(1)(i):

  • Financial data to show whether and to what extent expenditures, as a percentage of the total revenues available to the State (as defined in this notice), increased, decreased, or remained the same.

Evidence for (F)(1)(ii):

  • Any supporting evidence the State believes will be helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

  • None required.

(F)(2) Ensuring successful conditions for high-performing charter schools and other innovative schools.

Evidence

Evidence for (F)(2)(i):

  • A description of the State's applicable laws, statutes, regulations, or other relevant legal documents.
  • The number of charter schools allowed under State law and the percentage this represents of the total number of schools in the State.
  • The number and types of charter schools currently operating in the State.

Evidence for (F)(2)(ii):

  • A description of the State's approach to charter school accountability and authorization, and a description of the State's applicable laws, statutes, regulations, or other relevant legal documents.
  • For each of the last five years:

○ The number of charter school applications made in the State.

○ The number of charter school applications approved.

○ The number of charter school applications denied and reasons for the denials (academic, financial, low enrollment, other).

○ The number of charter schools closed (including charter schools that were not reauthorized to operate).

○ The reasons for the closures or non-renewals (academic, financial, low enrollment, other). Start Printed Page 59850

Evidence for (F)(2)(iii):

  • A description of the State's applicable statutes, regulations, or other relevant legal documents.
  • A description of the State's approach to charter school funding, the amount of funding passed through to charter schools per student, and how those amounts compare with traditional public school per-student funding allocations.

Evidence for (F)(2)(iv):

  • A description of the State's applicable statutes, regulations, or other relevant legal documents.
  • A description of the statewide facilities supports provided to charter schools, if any.

Evidence for (F)(2)(v):

  • A description of how the State enables LEAs to operate innovative, autonomous public schools (as defined in this notice) other than charter schools.

Performance Measures

  • None required.

(F)(3) Demonstrating other significant reform conditions

Evidence

Evidence for (F)(3):

  • A description of the State's other applicable key education laws, statutes, regulations, or relevant legal documents.

Performance Measures

  • None required.

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Appendix C. School Intervention Models

There are four school intervention models referred to in Selection Criterion (E)(2): Turnaround model, restart model, school closure, or transformation model. Each is described below.

(a) Turnaround model. (1) A turnaround model is one in which an LEA must—

(i) Replace the principal and grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars/time, and budgeting) to implement fully a comprehensive approach in order to substantially improve student achievement outcomes and increase high school graduation rates;

(ii) Using locally adopted competencies to measure the effectiveness of staff who can work within the turnaround environment to meet the needs of students,

(A) Screen all existing staff and rehire no more than 50 percent; and

(B) Select new staff;

(iii) Implement such strategies as financial incentives, increased opportunities for promotion and career growth, and more flexible work conditions that are designed to recruit, place, and retain staff with the skills necessary to meet the needs of the students in the turnaround school;

(iv) Provide staff with ongoing, high-quality, job-embedded professional development that is aligned with the school's comprehensive instructional program and designed with school staff to ensure that they are equipped to facilitate effective teaching and learning and have the capacity to successfully implement school reform strategies;

(v) Adopt a new governance structure, which may include, but is not limited to, requiring the school to report to a new “turnaround office” in the LEA or SEA, hire a “turnaround leader” who reports directly to the Superintendent or Chief Academic Officer, or enter into a multi-year contract with the LEA or SEA to obtain added flexibility in exchange for greater accountability;

(vi) Use data to identify and implement an instructional program that is research-based and “vertically aligned” from one grade to the next as well as aligned with State academic standards;

(vii) Promote the continuous use of student data (such as from formative, interim, and summative assessments) to inform and differentiate instruction in order to meet the academic needs of individual students;

(viii) Establish schedules and implement strategies that provide increased learning time (as defined in this notice); and

(ix) Provide appropriate social-emotional and community-oriented services and supports for students.

(2) A turnaround model may also implement other strategies such as—

(i) Any of the required and permissible activities under the transformation model; or

(ii) A new school model (e.g., themed, dual language academy).

(b) Restart model. A restart model is one in which an LEA converts a school or closes and reopens a school under a charter school operator, a charter management organization (CMO), or an education management organization (EMO) that has been selected through a rigorous review process. (A CMO is a non-profit organization that operates or manages charter schools by centralizing or sharing certain functions and resources among schools. An EMO is a for-profit or non-profit organization that provides “whole-school operation” services to an LEA.) A restart model must enroll, within the grades it serves, any former student who wishes to attend the school.

(c) School closure. School closure occurs when an LEA closes a school and enrolls the students who attended that school in other schools in the LEA that are higher achieving. These other schools should be within reasonable proximity to the closed school and may include, but are not limited to, charter schools or new schools for which achievement data are not yet available.

(d) Transformation model. A transformation model is one in which an LEA implements each of the following strategies:

(1) Developing and increasing teacher and school leader effectiveness.

(i) Required activities. The LEA must—

(A) Replace the principal who led the school prior to commencement of the transformation model;

(B) Use rigorous, transparent, and equitable evaluation systems for teachers and principals that—

(1) Take into account data on student growth (as defined in this notice) as a significant factor as well as other factors such as multiple observation-based assessments of performance and ongoing collections of professional practice reflective of student achievement and increased high-school graduations rates; and

(2) Are designed and developed with teacher and principal involvement;

(C) Identify and reward school leaders, teachers, and other staff who, in implementing this model, have increased student achievement and high-school graduation rates and identify and remove those who, after ample opportunities have been provided for them to improve their professional practice, have not done so;

(D) Provide staff with ongoing, high-quality, job-embedded professional development (e.g., regarding subject-specific pedagogy, instruction that reflects a deeper understanding of the community served by the school, or differentiated instruction) that is aligned with the school's comprehensive instructional program and designed with school staff to ensure they are equipped to facilitate effective teaching and learning and have the capacity to successfully implement school reform strategies; and

(E) Implement such strategies as financial incentives, increased opportunities for promotion and career growth, and more flexible work conditions that are designed to recruit, place, and retain staff with the skills necessary to meet the needs of the students in a transformation school.

(ii) Permissible activities. An LEA may also implement other strategies to Start Printed Page 59867develop teachers' and school leaders' effectiveness, such as—

(A) Providing additional compensation to attract and retain staff with the skills necessary to meet the needs of the students in a transformation school;

(B) Instituting a system for measuring changes in instructional practices resulting from professional development; or

(C) Ensuring that the school is not required to accept a teacher without the mutual consent of the teacher and principal, regardless of the teacher's seniority.

(2) Comprehensive instructional reform strategies.

(i) Required activities. The LEA must—

(A) Use data to identify and implement an instructional program that is research-based and “vertically aligned” from one grade to the next as well as aligned with State academic standards; and

(B) Promote the continuous use of student data (such as from formative, interim, and summative assessments) to inform and differentiate instruction in order to meet the academic needs of individual students.

(ii) Permissible activities. An LEA may also implement comprehensive instructional reform strategies, such as—

(A) Conducting periodic reviews to ensure that the curriculum is being implemented with fidelity, is having the intended impact on student achievement, and is modified if ineffective;

(B) Implementing a schoolwide “response-to-intervention” model;

(C) Providing additional supports and professional development to teachers and principals in order to implement effective strategies to support students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment and to ensure that limited English proficient students acquire language skills to master academic content;

(D) Using and integrating technology-based supports and interventions as part of the instructional program; and

(E) In secondary schools—

(1) Increasing rigor by offering opportunities for students to enroll in advanced coursework (such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate; or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses, especially those that incorporate rigorous and relevant project-, inquiry-, or design-based contextual learning opportunities), early-college high schools, dual enrollment programs, or thematic learning academies that prepare students for college and careers, including by providing appropriate supports designed to ensure that low-achieving students can take advantage of these programs and coursework;

(2) Improving student transition from middle to high school through summer transition programs or freshman academies;

(3) Increasing graduation rates through, for example, credit-recovery programs, re-engagement strategies, smaller learning communities, competency-based instruction and performance-based assessments, and acceleration of basic reading and mathematics skills; or

(4) Establishing early-warning systems to identify students who may be at risk of failing to achieve to high standards or graduate.

(3) Increasing learning time and creating community-oriented schools.

(i) Required activities. The LEA must—

(A) Establish schedules and implement strategies that provide increased learning time (as defined in this notice); and

(B) Provide ongoing mechanisms for family and community engagement.

(ii) Permissible activities. An LEA may also implement other strategies that extend learning time and create community-oriented schools, such as—

(A) Partnering with parents and parent organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, health clinics, other State or local agencies, and others to create safe school environments that meet students' social, emotional, and health needs;

(B) Extending or restructuring the school day so as to add time for such strategies as advisory periods that build relationships between students, faculty, and other school staff;

(C) Implementing approaches to improve school climate and discipline, such as implementing a system of positive behavioral supports or taking steps to eliminate bullying and student harassment; or

(D) Expanding the school program to offer full-day kindergarten or pre-kindergarten.

(4) Providing operational flexibility and sustained support.

(i) Required activities. The LEA must—

(A) Give the school sufficient operational flexibility (such as staffing, calendars/time, and budgeting) to implement fully a comprehensive approach to substantially improve student achievement outcomes and increase high school graduation rates; and

(B) Ensure that the school receives ongoing, intensive technical assistance and related support from the LEA, the SEA, or a designated external lead partner organization (such as a school turnaround organization or an EMO).

(ii) Permissible activities. The LEA may also implement other strategies for providing operational flexibility and intensive support, such as—

(A) Allowing the school to be run under a new governance arrangement, such as a turnaround division within the LEA or SEA; or

(B) Implementing a per-pupil school-based budget formula that is weighted based on student needs.

If a school identified as a persistently lowest-achieving school has implemented, in whole or in part within the last two years, an intervention that meets the requirements of the turnaround, restart, or transformation models, the school may continue or complete the intervention being implemented.

Appendix D. Participating LEA Memorandum of Understanding

Background

Participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) in a State's Race to the Top plan are required to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or other binding agreement with the State that specifies the scope of the work being implemented by the participating LEA (as defined in this notice).

To support States in working efficiently with LEAs to determine which LEAs will participate in the State's Race to the Top application, the U.S. Department of Education has produced a model MOU, which is attached. This model MOU may serve as a template for States; however, States are not required to use it. They may use a different document that includes the key features noted below and in the model, and they should consult with their State and local attorneys on what is most appropriate for their State that includes, at a minimum, these key elements.

The purpose of the model MOU is to help to specify a relationship that is specific to Race to the Top and is not meant to detail all typical aspects of State/LEA grant management or administration. At a minimum, a strong MOU should include the following, each of which is described in detail below: (i) Terms and conditions; (ii) a scope of work; and, (iii) signatures.

(i) Terms and conditions: Each participating LEA (as defined in this notice) should sign a standard set of terms and conditions that includes, at a minimum, key roles and responsibilities Start Printed Page 59868of the State and the LEA; State recourse for LEA non-performance; and assurances that make clear what the participating LEA (as defined in this notice) is agreeing to do.

(ii) Scope of work: MOUs should include a scope of work (included in the model MOU as Exhibit I) that is completed by each participating LEA (as defined in this notice). The scope of work must be signed and dated by an authorized LEA and State official. In the interest of time and with respect for the effort it will take for LEAs to develop detailed work plans, the scope of work submitted by LEAs and States as part of their Race to the Top applications may be preliminary. Preliminary scopes of work should include the portions of the State's proposed reform plans that the LEA is agreeing to implement. (Note that in order to participate in a State's Race to the Top application an LEA must agree to implement all or significant portions of the State's reform plans.)

If a State is awarded a Race to the Top grant, the participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) will have up to 90 days to complete final scopes of work (which could be attached to the model MOU as Exhibit II), which must contain detailed work plans that are consistent with the preliminary scope of work and with the State's grant application, and should include the participating LEA's (as defined in this notice) specific goals, activities, timelines, budgets, key personnel, and annual targets for key performance measures.

(iii) Signatures: The signatures demonstrate (a) an acknowledgement of the relationship between the LEA and the State, and (b) the strength of the participating LEA's (as defined in this notice) commitment.

  • With respect to the relationship between the LEA and the State, the State's counter-signature on the MOU indicates that the LEA's commitment is consistent with the requirement that a participating LEA (as defined in this notice) implement all or significant portions of the State's plans.
  • The strength of the participating LEA's (as defined in this notice) commitment will be demonstrated by the signatures of the LEA superintendent (or an equivalent authorized signatory), the president of the local school board (or equivalent, if applicable) and the local teacher's union leader (if applicable).

Please note the following with regard to the State's Race to the Top application:

  • In its application, the State need only provide an example of the State's standard Participating LEA MOU; it does not have to provide copies of every MOU signed by its participating LEAs (as defined in this notice). If, however, States and LEAs have made any changes to the State's standard MOU, the State must provide a description of the changes that were made. Please note that the Department may, at any time, request copies of all MOUs between the State and its participating LEAs.
  • Please see criteria (A)(1)(ii) and (A)(1)(iii), and the evidence requested in the application, for more information and ways in which States will be asked to summarize information about the LEA MOUs.
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Footnotes

1.  The term English language learner, as used in this notice, is synonymous with the term limited English proficient, as defined in section 9101 of the ESEA.

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2.  Research supports the effectiveness of well-designed programs that expand learning time by a minimum of 300 hours per school year. (See Frazier, Julie A.; Morrison, Frederick J. “The Influence of Extended-year Schooling on Growth of Achievement and Perceived Competence in Early Elementary School.” Child Development. Vol. 69 (2), April 1998, pp.495-497 and research done by Mass2020.) Extending learning into before- and after-school hours can be difficult to implement effectively, but is permissible under this definition with encouragement to closely integrate and coordinate academic work between in-school and out-of school. (See James-Burdumy, Susanne; Dynarski, Mark; Deke, John. “When Elementary Schools Stay Open Late: Results from The National Evaluation of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program.” http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/​publications/​redirect_​PubsDB.asp?​strSite=​http://epa.sagepub.com/​cgi/​content/​abstract/​29/​4/​296 Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Vol. 29 (4), December 2007, Document No. PP07-121.)

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3.  See Appendix D for more on participating LEA MOUs and for a model MOU.

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4.  Phase 2 applicants addressing selection criterion (B)(1)(ii) may amend their June 1, 2010 application submission through August 2, 2010 by submitting evidence of adopting common standards after June 1, 2010.

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5.  Successful applicants that receive Race to the Top grant awards will need to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), including 34 CFR Part 99, as well as State and local requirements regarding privacy.

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BILLING CODE 4000-01-P

BILLING CODE 4000-01-C

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P

[FR Doc. E9-27427 Filed 11-17-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-C