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Notice

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Overview Information; State Personnel Development Grants (SPDG) Program Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

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

DATES:

Applications Available: May 25, 2010.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 9, 2010.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: September 7, 2010.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The purpose of this program, authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended (IDEA), is to assist State educational agencies (SEAs) in reforming and improving their systems for personnel preparation and professional development in early intervention, educational, and transition services in order to improve results for children with disabilities.

Priority: This priority is from the notice of final priority for this program, published in the Federal Register on June 9, 2006 (71 FR 33578).

Absolute Priority: For FY 2010 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet this priority.

This priority is: State Personnel Development Grants Program Priority:

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

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

Projects funded under this priority must also:

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

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

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

Statutory Requirements.

State Personnel Development Plan.

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

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

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

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

(ii) The number of preservice and inservice programs;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(i) Provides an assurance that the SEA will provide technical assistance to Start Printed Page 29328entities that provide services to infants and toddlers with disabilities to improve the quality of professional development available to meet the needs of personnel serving those children;

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

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

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

Partnerships.

Required Partners.

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

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

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

Other Partners.

An SEA must work in partnership with other persons and organizations involved in, and concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, which may include—

(a) The Governor;

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

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

(d) Individuals with disabilities;

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

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

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

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

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

(j) Individuals knowledgeable about vocational education;

(k) The State agency for higher education;

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

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

(n) Other individuals; and

(o) An individual, entity, or agency as a partner in accordance with section 652(b)(3) of IDEA, if State law assigns responsibility for teacher preparation and certification to an individual, entity, or agency other than the SEA.

Use of Funds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(iii) To effectively communicate with parents.

(3) Providing professional development activities that—

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

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

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

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

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

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

(C) Provide training in methods of—

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

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

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

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

(V) Successful transitioning to postsecondary opportunities; and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(i) Teacher mentoring from exemplary special education teachers, principals, or superintendents;Start Printed Page 29329

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(i) Special education and regular education teachers have—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(5) Reforming tenure systems, implementing teacher testing for subject matter knowledge, and implementing teacher testing for State certification or licensure, consistent with Title II of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1021 et seq.).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Competitive Preference Priorities: Within this absolute priority, we give competitive preference to applications that meet one of the following priorities. For FY 2010 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, these priorities are competitive preference priorities.

These priorities are based on allowable activities specified in section 654 of IDEA (20 U.S.C. 1454), the provisions in IDEA that authorize the SPDG Program.

Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i) we award an additional five points to an application that meets one of the following competitive preference priorities. We will award points on an “all or nothing” basis (i.e., five points or zero points) to an applicant that addresses one of the competitive preference priorities in its application based on whether the applicant meets the priority. These points are in addition to any points the application earns under the selection criteria. To be considered for a competitive preference, an applicant must identify in its Start Printed Page 29330application the one competitive preference priority it is seeking to meet.

Competitive Preference Priority 1—Partnerships with LEAs and IHEs to Improve Special Education Teacher Effectiveness.

We give competitive preference to applicants that demonstrate (1) how they will provide evidence-based professional development activities to improve the effectiveness of special education teachers of children with disabilities from low-income or minority backgrounds or children with disabilities who are English learners; (2) how they will track the effectiveness of the professional development activities; and (3) how these professional development activities will incorporate partnerships between one or more LEAs serving high concentrations of these children and one or more institutions of higher education (IHE).

Competitive Preference Priority 2Professional Development Activities for High School Personnel.

We give competitive preference to applicants that demonstrate how they will provide professional development activities to enhance the capacity of personnel, as defined in section 651(b) of IDEA (20 U.S.C. 1451(b)), in high schools with high concentrations of low-income students and students from minority backgrounds to deliver high-quality instruction and improve outcomes for high school youth with disabilities. Examples include professional development activities related to mentoring, post-school transition, and literacy.

Competitive Preference Priority 3—Professional Development for Personnel Who Work with Children Who Need High Levels of Support.

We give competitive preference to applicants that demonstrate how they will provide professional development to enhance the capacity of early intervention personnel, special education and regular education teachers, related services personnel, and school principals to use collaborative and consultative models to serve infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities who need high levels of support to participate successfully in natural environments or in the least restrictive environment.

Start Authority

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

End Authority

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

Note:

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

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $10,000,000. Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2011 from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $500,000-$4,000,000 (for the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico). In the case of an outlying area awards will be not less than $80,000.

Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $4,000,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.

Note:

We will set the amount of each award after considering—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Estimated Number of Awards: 10.

Note:

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

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

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: An SEA of one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or an outlying area (United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).

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

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

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: Education Publications Center (ED Pubs), U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. Fax: (703) 605-6794. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.

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

If you request an application package from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.323A.

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 or team listed under Accessible Format in section VIII of this notice.

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

Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit Part III to the equivalent of no more than 100 pages, using the following standards:

  • A “page” is 8.5″ × 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, abstracts, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
  • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).

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

We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit; or if you apply other standards and exceed the equivalent of the page limit.

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: May 25, 2010.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 9, 2010.Start Printed Page 29331

Applications for grants under this competition may be submitted electronically using the Electronic Grant Application System (e-Application) accessible through the Department's e-Grants site, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery. For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery, please refer to section IV. 6. Other Submission Requirements of this notice.

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

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

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: September 7, 2010.

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. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and Central Contractor Registry: To do business with the Department of Education, (1) you must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN); (2) you must register both of those numbers with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR), the Government's primary registrant database; and (3) you must provide those same numbers on your application.

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

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

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

7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this competition may be submitted electronically or in paper format by mail or hand delivery.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

If you choose to submit your application to us electronically, you must use e-Application, accessible through the Department's e-Grants Web site at: http://e-grants.ed.gov.

While completing your electronic application, you will be entering data online that will be saved into a database. You may not e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

Please note the following:

  • Your participation in e-Application is voluntary.
  • You must complete the electronic submission of your grant application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. E-Application 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 you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process.
  • The hours of operation of the e-Grants Web site are 6:00 a.m. Monday until 7:00 p.m. Wednesday; and 6:00 a.m. Thursday until 8:00 p.m. Sunday, Washington, DC time. Please note that, because of maintenance, the system is unavailable between 8:00 p.m. on Sundays and 6:00 a.m. on Mondays, and between 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and 6:00 a.m. on Thursdays, Washington, DC time. Any modifications to these hours are posted on the e-Grants Web site.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you submit your application in paper format.
  • You must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: The Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications. You must attach any narrative sections of your application as files in a .DOC (document), .RTF (rich text), or .PDF (Portable Document) format. If you upload a file type other than the three file types specified in this paragraph or submit a password protected file, we will not review that material.
  • Your electronic application must comply with any page limit requirements described in this notice.
  • Prior to submitting your electronic application, you may wish to print a copy of it for your records.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive an automatic acknowledgment that will include a PR/Award number (an identifying number unique to your application).
  • Within three working days after submitting your electronic application, fax a signed copy of the SF 424 to the Application Control Center after following these steps:

(1) Print SF 424 from e-Application.

(2) The applicant's Authorizing Representative must sign this form.

(3) Place the PR/Award number in the upper right hand corner of the hard-copy signature page of the SF 424.

(4) Fax the signed SF 424 to the Application Control Center at (202) 245-6272.

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

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

(1) You are a registered user of e-Application and you have initiated an electronic application for this competition; and

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

(b) E-Application is unavailable for any period of time between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.

We must acknowledge and confirm these periods of unavailability before granting you an extension. To request this extension or to confirm our Start Printed Page 29332acknowledgment of any system unavailability, you may contact either (1) the person listed elsewhere in this notice under For Further Information Contact (see VII. Agency Contact) or (2) the e-Grants help desk at 1-888-336-8930. If e-Application is unavailable due to technical problems with the system and, therefore, the application deadline is extended, an e-mail will be sent to all registered users who have initiated an e-Application.

Extensions referred to in this section apply only to the unavailability of e-Application. If e-Application is available, and, for any reason, you are unable to submit your application electronically or you do not receive an automatic acknowledgment of your submission, you may submit your application in paper format by mail or hand delivery in accordance with the instructions in this notice.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

If you submit your application in paper format by mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier), you must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.323A), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(1) A private metered postmark.

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

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

Note:

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

c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.

If you submit your application in paper format by hand delivery, you (or a courier service) must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.323A), 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

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

Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:

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

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

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

V. Application Review Information

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

2. Review and Selection Process: In the past, the Department has had difficulty finding peer reviewers for certain competitions because so many individuals who are eligible to serve as peer reviewers have conflicts of interest. The Standing Panel requirements under IDEA also have placed additional constraints on the availability of reviewers. Therefore, the Department has determined that, for some discretionary grant competitions, applications may be separated into two or more groups and ranked and selected for funding within specific groups. This procedure will make it easier for the Department to find peer reviewers by ensuring that greater numbers of individuals who are eligible to serve as reviewers for any particular group of applicants will not have conflicts of interest. It also will increase the quality, independence, and fairness of the review process while permitting panel members to review applications under discretionary grant competitions for which they also have submitted applications. However, if the Department decides to select an equal number of applications in each group for funding, this may result in different cut-off points for fundable applications in each group.

VI. Award Administration Information

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

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

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

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

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

4. Performance Measures: The goal of the SPDG Program is to reform and improve State systems for personnel preparation and professional development in early intervention, educational, and transition services in order to improve results for children with disabilities. Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, the Department has developed performance measures to assess the success of the program in meeting these goals. These measures are: (1) The percent of personnel receiving professional development through the SPDG Program based on scientific- or evidence-based instructional practices; (2) the percentage of SPDG projects that have implemented personnel development/training activities that are aligned with improvement strategies identified in their State Performance Plan; (3) the percentage of professional development/training activities provided through the SPDG Program based on scientific- or evidence-based instructional/behavioral practices; (4) the percentage of professional Start Printed Page 29333development/training activities based on scientific- or evidence-based instructional/behavioral practices, provided through the SPDG Program, that are sustained through ongoing and comprehensive practices (e.g., mentoring, coaching, structured guidance, modeling, continuous inquiry, etc.); (5) in States with SPDG projects that have special education teacher retention as a goal, the Statewide percentage of highly qualified special education teachers in State-identified professional disciplines (e.g., teachers of children with emotional disturbance, deafness, etc.), consistent with sections 602(a)(10) and 612(a)(14) of IDEA, who remain teaching after the first three years of employment; and (6) the percentage of SPDG projects that successfully replicate the use of scientific, or evidence-based instructional/behavioral practices in schools; and (7) the percentage of SPDG projects whose cost per personnel receiving professional development on scientific or evidence-based practices is within a specified range.

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

VII. Agency Contact

For Further Information Contact: Jennifer Coffey, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 4096, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-6673.

If you use a TDD, call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information

Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​news/​fedregister. To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site.

Note:

The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/​nara/​index.html.

Start Signature

Dated: May 18, 2010.

Alexa Posny,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 2010-12610 Filed 5-24-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P