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Notice

Applications for New Awards; Investing in Innovation Fund, Development Grants

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ACTION:

Notice.

Overview Information: Investing in Innovation Fund, Development grants Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2012.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.411P (Development grants Pre-Application). 84.411C (Development grants Full Application).

Note:

In order to receive an Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) Development grant, an entity must submit a pre-application. The pre-application is intended to reduce the burden of submitting a full i3 application. Pre-applications will be reviewed and scored by peer reviewers using selection criteria designated in this notice. Only entities that have submitted a top-rated pre-application will be eligible to submit a full i3 application.

DATES:

Pre-Applications Available: February 27, 2012.

Deadline for Notice of Intent to Submit Pre-Application: March 15, 2012.

Deadline for Transmittal of Pre-applications: April 9, 2012.

Full Applications Available: If you are selected to submit a full application, we will transmit the full application package and instructions to you.

Deadline for Transmittal of Full Applications: Only entities that submitted a top-rated pre-application as scored by the peer reviewers and as identified by the Department will be eligible to submit a full i3 application. The Department will announce on its Web site the deadline date for transmission of full applications.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: 60 calendar days after the deadline date for transmittal of full applications.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The Investing in Innovation Fund, established under section 14007 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), provides funding to support (1) local educational agencies (LEAs), and (2) nonprofit organizations in partnership with (a) one or more LEAs or (b) a consortium of schools. The purpose of this program is to provide competitive grants to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth (as defined in this notice), closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.

These grants will (1) allow eligible entities to expand and develop innovative practices that can serve as models of best practices, (2) support partnerships between eligible entities and the private sector and philanthropic community, and (3) support eligible entities in identifying and documenting best practices that can be shared and taken to scale based on demonstrated success.

Under this program, the Department awards three types of grants: “Scale-up” grants, “Validation” grants, and “Development” grants. The three grant types differ in the evidence that an applicant is required to submit in support of its proposed project; the expectations for “scaling up” successful projects during or after the grant period, either directly or through partners; and the funding that a successful applicant is eligible to receive. This notice invites applications for Development grants. The Department anticipates publishing notices inviting applications for the other types of i3 grants (i.e., Validation and Scale-up grants) in the spring of 2012.

Development grants provide funding to support high-potential and relatively untested practices, strategies, or programs whose efficacy should be systematically studied. An applicant must provide evidence that the proposed practice, strategy, or program, or one similar to it, has been attempted previously, albeit on a limited scale or in a limited setting, and yielded promising results that suggest that more formal and systematic study is warranted. An applicant must provide a rationale for the proposed practice, strategy, or program that is based on research findings or reasonable hypotheses, including related research or theories in education and other sectors. These requirements mean that applications for Development grants do not require the same level of evidence to support the proposed project as is required for Validation or Scale-up grants.

As it did in the FY 2011 i3 Development competition, the Department is including in the FY 2012 i3 Development competition competitive preference priorities that focus on technology and productivity. With the technology priority, the Department indicates its continuing interest in Development projects that have the potential to dramatically improve student achievement by taking full advantage of advances in diverse fields such as the learning sciences (e.g., cognitive science, educational psychology), computer science, and personal technology. These advances offer real promise for affordable, personalized education, the benefits of which have been acknowledged for decades, notably in Benjamin Bloom's 1984 article “The 2 Sigma Problem: The Search for Methods of Group Instruction as Effective as One-to-One Tutoring.”

More recently, the Department's National Education Technology Plan 2010 [1] highlighted the potential of “connected teaching” that makes it possible to extend the reach of the most effective teachers by using online tools. The National Education Technology Plan 2010 also highlighted the need for high-quality learning resources that can reach learners wherever and whenever they are needed. Similarly, the 2010 report of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Prepare and Inspire,[2] called for “deeply digital” materials that combine simulations, probes, multimedia, and other digital resources in coherent ways; instructional platforms that provide customized paths for different learners, including integrated assessments and continuous feedback; and tools that help teachers grade work, solicit student feedback, and create lesson plans.

With respect to the productivity priority, because districts and schools remain under financial pressure, the Department is also particularly interested in approaches that achieve the same or better outcomes while substantially reducing costs. For this reason, we will again give priority to applications for projects designed to increase productivity.

We also remind LEAs of the continuing applicability of the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for students who may be served under i3 grants. Programs proposed in applications in which LEAs participate must be consistent with the rights, protections, and processes of IDEA for students who are receiving special education and related services or are being evaluated for such services.

As described later in this notice, in connection with making competitive grant awards, an applicant is required, as a condition of receiving assistance under this program, to make civil rights assurances, including an assurance that its program or activity will comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Department's section 504 implementing regulations, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Regardless of whether students with disabilities are specifically targeted as “high-need” students under a particular application for a grant program, recipients are required to comply with the nondiscrimination requirements of these laws. Among other things, the nondiscrimination requirements of these laws include an obligation that recipients ensure that students with disabilities are not discriminated against because benefits provided to all students under the recipient's program are inaccessible to students because of their disability. The Department also enforces Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title II implementing regulations, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities, with respect to certain public educational entities.

Changes for the FY 2012 i3 Development Competition: The Department has made several changes to the FY 2012 i3 Development competition that prospective applicants should note.

First, as previously described, the FY 2012 i3 Development competition will use a pre-application process. In the past, the i3 competition has received many more applications than it can fund, particularly in the Development category. Under the pre-application process, peer reviewers will read and score the shorter pre-application against an abbreviated set of selection criteria, and only the entities that submit the highest-scoring pre-applications will be invited to submit full applications. These entities will be given more time to complete their submission. The pre-application process thus requires fewer resources for applicants that are judged to be less competitive, while providing additional time for applicants that are judged to be more competitive to improve their proposal. We also anticipate that the shorter pre-application will simplify the application process for applicants from districts or other organizations with fewer resources.

An entity that is invited to submit a full application for a Development grant must include the following information in its full application: an estimate of the number of students to be served by the project; evidence of the applicant's ability to implement and appropriately evaluate the proposed project; and information about its capacity (i.e., qualified personnel, financial resources, management capacity) to further develop and bring the project to a larger scale directly or through partners, either during or following the grant period, if positive results are obtained. We recognize that LEAs are not typically responsible for taking to scale their practices, strategies, or programs. However, all applicants can and should partner with others to disseminate and take to scale their effective practices, strategies, and programs.

The Department will screen pre- and full applications that are submitted for Development grants in accordance with the requirements in this notice, and it will determine which applications have met the eligibility and other requirements in the notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for this program, published in the Federal Register on March 12, 2010 (75 FR 12004-12071) (2010 i3 NFP). Peer reviewers will review all pre- and full applications for Development grants that are submitted by the established deadlines.

Applicants should note, however, that the Department may screen for eligibility at multiple points during the competition process, including before and after peer review, and applicants that are determined ineligible will not receive a grant regardless of peer reviewer scores or comments. If the Department determines that a full application for a Development grant is not supported by a reasonable hypothesis for the proposed project, does not demonstrate the required prior record of improvement, or does not meet any other eligibility requirement, the Department will not consider the application for funding.

Second, the Development competition in FY 2012 includes an absolute priority focused on Parent and Family Engagement. The Department has added this absolute priority because of the critical role that parents and families play in increasing student achievement and supporting school improvement. As various States and districts implement new, more demanding academic content standards, parents' and families' understanding of those standards and the related assessments will be instrumental in helping children improve their academic performance. Therefore, there is a nationwide need for new practices, strategies, and models for building parents', families', and guardians' awareness of their role in improving their children's educational outcomes. There is also a nationwide need for enhancing parents', families', and guardians' knowledge, skills, and abilities to support student learning and school improvement. There is a corresponding need for school staff to support and cultivate environments welcoming to parents and to build relationships that increase parents', families', and guardians' capacity to support their children's educational needs. As with all i3 projects, prospective applicants choosing to address the Parent and Family Engagement priority should keep in mind the importance that i3 places on rigorous evaluation of how the activities that comprise a project, in this case increased parent and family engagement, lead to increased student achievement and school improvement.

Third, the absolute priority focused on teacher and principal effectiveness (Absolute Priority 1) now uses the language from the Improving Effectiveness and Distribution of Effective Teachers or Principals priority established in the May 12, 2011, Federal Register notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs. The language in this supplemental priority offers greater flexibility for projects to improve teacher and principal effectiveness through targeted strategies that address components of the teacher and principal pipeline, rather than its entirety, as required by the Innovations that Support Effective Teachers and Principals priority in the notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for this program, published in the Federal Register on March 12, 2010 (75 FR 12004-12071) (2010 i3 NFP).

Fourth, the Department notes that the removal of an absolute priority focused on the implementation of high academic content standards and high-quality assessments does not indicate that projects with such a focus are not of interest. Many such projects may be responsive to other absolute priorities, and the Department continues to be interested in these projects. For example, strategies that help increase teacher effectiveness or that support increased parental or family engagement with student learning can and should align to the State's academic content standards and their associated assessments.

Priorities: This competition includes five absolute priorities and five competitive preference priorities. These priorities are from the 2010 i3 NFP [3] and from the notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637) (Supplemental Priorities).

Absolute Priorities: For FY 2012 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, these priorities are absolute priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet one of these priorities.

Under this competition for Development grants, each of the five absolute priorities constitutes its own funding category. The Secretary intends to award grants under each absolute priority for which applications of sufficient quality are submitted.

An applicant for a Development grant must choose one of the five absolute priorities contained in this notice and address that priority in its pre-application. Both pre-applications and full applications will be peer reviewed and scored; scores will be rank ordered by absolute priority, so an applicant must identify clearly the single absolute priority on which its proposed project focuses.

These absolute priorities are:

Absolute Priority 1—Improving the Effectiveness and Distribution of Effective Teachers or Principals

Projects that are designed to address one or more of the following priority areas:

(a) Increasing the number or percentage of teachers or principals who are effective or reducing the number or percentage of teachers or principals who are ineffective, particularly in high-poverty schools (as defined in this notice) including through such activities as improving the preparation, recruitment, development, and evaluation of teachers and principals; implementing performance-based certification and retention systems; and reforming compensation and advancement systems.

(b) Increasing the retention, particularly in high-poverty schools (as defined in this notice), and equitable distribution of teachers or principals who are effective.

For the purposes of this priority, teacher and principal effectiveness should be measured using:

(1) Teacher or principal evaluation data, in States or local educational agencies that have in place a high-quality teacher or principal evaluation system that takes into account student growth (as defined in this notice) in significant part and uses multiple measures, that, in the case of teachers, may include observations for determining teacher effectiveness (such as systems that meet the criteria for evaluation systems under the Race to the Top program as described in criterion (D)(2)(ii) of the Race to the Top notice inviting applications (74 FR 59803)); or

(2) Data that include, in significant part, student achievement (as defined in this notice) or student growth data (as defined in this notice) and may include multiple measures in States or local educational agencies that do not have the teacher or principal evaluation systems described in paragraph (1). (Supplemental Priorities) [4]

Absolute Priority 2—Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education

Under this priority, the Department provides funding to support projects that are designed to address one or more of the following areas:

(a) Providing students with increased access to rigorous and engaging coursework in STEM.

(b) Increasing the number and proportion of students prepared for postsecondary or graduate study and careers in STEM.

(c) Increasing the opportunities for high-quality preparation of, or professional development for, teachers or other educators of STEM subjects.

(d) Increasing the number of individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM, including minorities, individuals with disabilities, and women, who are provided with access to rigorous and engaging coursework in STEM or who are prepared for postsecondary or graduate study and careers in STEM.

(e) Increasing the number of individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM, including minorities, individuals with disabilities, and women, who are teachers or educators of STEM subjects and have increased opportunities for high-quality preparation or professional development. (Supplemental Priorities)

Absolute Priority 3—Improving School Engagement, School Environment, and School Safety and Improving Family and Community Engagement

Under this priority, the Department provides funding to support projects that are designed to improve student outcomes by improving parent and family engagement (as defined in this notice). (Supplemental Priorities)

Absolute Priority 4—Innovations That Turn Around Persistently Low-Performing Schools

Under this priority, the Department provides funding to support strategies, practices, or programs that are designed to turn around schools that are in any of the following categories: (a) Persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in the final requirements for the School Improvement Grants program); [5] (b) Title I schools that are in corrective action or restructuring under section 1116 of the ESEA; or (c) secondary schools (both middle and high schools) eligible for but not receiving Title I funds that, if receiving Title I funds, would be in corrective action or restructuring under section 1116 of the ESEA. These schools [6] are referred to as Investing in Innovation Fund Absolute Priority 4 schools.

Proposed projects must include strategies, practices, or programs that are designed to turn around Investing in Innovation Fund Absolute Priority 4 schools through either whole-school reform or targeted approaches to reform. Applicants addressing this priority must focus on either:

(a) Whole-school reform, including, but not limited to, comprehensive interventions to assist, augment, or replace Investing in Innovation Fund Absolute Priority 4 schools, including the school turnaround, restart, closure, and transformation models of intervention supported under the Department's School Improvement Grants program (see Final Requirements for School Improvement Grants as Amended in January 2010 (January 28, 2010) at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/faq.html); or

(b) Targeted approaches to reform, including, but not limited to: (1) Providing more time for students to learn core academic content by expanding or augmenting the school day, school week, or school year, or by increasing instructional time for core academic subjects (as defined in section 9101(11) of the ESEA); (2) integrating “student supports” into the school model to address non-academic barriers to student achievement; or (3) creating multiple pathways for students to earn regular high school diplomas (e.g., by operating schools that serve the needs of over-aged, under-credited, or other students with an exceptional need for support and flexibility pertaining to when they attend school; awarding credit based on demonstrated evidence of student competency; and offering dual-enrollment options). (2010 i3 NFP)

Absolute Priority 5—Improving Achievement and High School Graduation Rates (Rural Local Educational Agencies)

Under this priority, the Department provides funding to support projects that are designed to address accelerating learning and helping to improve high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment rates for students in rural local educational agencies (as defined in this notice). (Supplemental Priorities)

Note:

Absolute Priority 5 aims to support projects that address the unique challenges of serving high-need students in rural LEAs (as defined in this notice). Based on the overall i3 program requirement, set out in Section III.1 of this Notice, and as with all i3 projects, applicants choosing to address this priority must specify how they will serve high-need students. In addition, applicants that choose to respond to Absolute Priority 5 may want to consider identifying in both the pre-application and full application all rural LEAs where the project will be implemented, or explain how the applicant will choose the rural LEAs where the project will be implemented. In full applications, applicants should also identify these rural LEAs on the i3 Applicant Information Sheet and provide information on the applicant's experience and skills, or the experience and skills of their partners, in serving high-need students in rural LEAs in responding to Selection Criterion C. Quality of the Management Plan and Personnel.

Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2012 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, these priorities are competitive preference priorities.

Competitive preference priority points will only be awarded in the review of full applications, not in the review of pre-applications. However, applicants may discuss the competitive priorities that are relevant to their projects in their pre-applications.

Applicants may address more than one of the competitive preference priorities; however, the Department will review and award points only for a maximum of two of the competitive preference priorities in the review of the full applications. Therefore, an entity that is invited to submit a full application must identify in the project narrative section of its full application the priority or priorities it wishes the Department to consider for purposes of earning competitive preference priority points.

Note:

The Department will not review or award points under any competitive preference priority for a full application that (1) fails to clearly identify the competitive preference priority or priorities the applicant wishes the Department to consider for purposes of earning competitive preference priority points, or (2) identifies more than two competitive preference priorities the applicant wishes the Department to consider for purposes of earning competitive preference priority points. An entity that is invited to submit a full application may identify and address a maximum of two competitive preference priorities in the full application that it wishes the Department to consider for purposes of earning competitive preference priority points, regardless of whether that entity identified or addressed any competitive preference priorities in its pre-application.

These competitive preference priorities are:

Competitive Preference Priority 6—Innovations for Improving Early Learning Outcomes (zero or one point)

We give competitive preference to applications for projects that would implement innovative practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to improve educational outcomes for high-need students who are young children (birth through 3rd grade) by enhancing the quality of early learning programs. To meet this priority, applications must focus on (a) improving young children's school readiness (including social, emotional, and cognitive readiness) so that children are prepared for success in core academic subjects (as defined in section 9101(11) of the ESEA); (b) improving developmental milestones and standards and aligning them with appropriate outcome measures; and (c) improving alignment, collaboration, and transitions between early learning programs that serve children from birth to age three, in preschools, and in kindergarten through third grade. (2010 i3 NFP)

Competitive Preference Priority 7—Innovations That Support College Access and Success (zero or one point)

We give competitive preference to applications for projects that would implement innovative practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to enable kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) students, particularly high school students, to successfully prepare for, enter, and graduate from a two- or four-year college. To meet this priority, applications must include practices, strategies, or programs for K-12 students that (a) address students' preparedness and expectations related to college; (b) help students understand issues of college affordability and the financial aid and college application processes; and (c) provide support to students from peers and knowledgeable adults. (2010 i3 NFP)

Competitive Preference Priority 8—Innovations to Address the Unique Learning Needs of Students With Disabilities and Limited English Proficient Students (zero or one point)

We give competitive preference to applications for projects that would implement innovative practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to address the unique learning needs of students with disabilities, including those who are assessed based on alternate academic achievement standards, or the linguistic and academic needs of limited English proficient students. To meet this priority, applications must provide for the implementation of particular practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to improve academic outcomes, close achievement gaps, and increase college- and career-readiness, including increasing high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice), for students with disabilities or limited English proficient students. (2010 i3 NFP)

Competitive Preference Priority 9—Improving Productivity (zero or one point)

We give competitive preference to applications for projects that are designed to significantly increase efficiency in the use of time, staff, money, or other resources while improving student learning or other educational outcomes (i.e., outcome per unit of resource). Such projects may include innovative and sustainable uses of technology, modification of school schedules and teacher compensation systems, use of open educational resources (as defined in this notice), or other strategies. (Supplemental Priorities)

Competitive Preference Priority 10—Technology (zero or one point)

We give competitive preference to applications for projects that are designed to improve student achievement [7] or teacher effectiveness through the use of high-quality digital tools or materials, which may include preparing teachers to use the technology to improve instruction, as well as developing, implementing, or evaluating digital tools or materials. (Supplemental Priorities)

Definitions:

These definitions are from the 2010 i3 NFP and the Supplemental Priorities. We may apply these definitions in any year in which this program is in effect.

Note:

This notice invites applications for Development grants. The following definitions apply to the three types of grants under the i3 program (Scale-up, Validation, or Development). Therefore, some of the definitions included in this section, primarily those related to demonstrations of evidence, may be more applicable to applications for Scale-up and Validation grants.

Definitions Related to Evidence From the 2010 i3 NFP

Carefully matched comparison group design means a type of quasi-experimental study that attempts to approximate an experimental study. More specifically, it is a design in which project participants are matched with non-participants based on key characteristics that are thought to be related to the outcome. These characteristics include, but are not limited to: (1) Prior test scores and other measures of academic achievement (preferably, the same measures that the study will use to evaluate outcomes for the two groups); (2) demographic characteristics, such as age, disability, gender, English proficiency, ethnicity, poverty level, parents' educational attainment, and single- or two-parent family background; (3) the time period in which the two groups are studied (e.g., the two groups are children entering kindergarten in the same year as opposed to sequential years); and (4) methods used to collect outcome data (e.g., the same test of reading skills administered in the same way to both groups).

Experimental study means a study that employs random assignment of, for example, students, teachers, classrooms, schools, or districts to participate in a project being evaluated (treatment group) or not to participate in the project (control group). The effect of the project is the average difference in outcomes between the treatment and control groups.

Independent evaluation means that the evaluation is designed and carried out independent of, but in coordination with, any employees of the entities who develop a practice, strategy, or program and are implementing it. This independence helps ensure the objectivity of an evaluation and prevents even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Interrupted time series design[8] means a type of quasi-experimental study in which the outcome of interest is measured multiple times before and after the treatment for program participants only. If the program had an impact, the outcomes after treatment will have a different slope or level from those before treatment. That is, the series should show an “interruption” of the prior situation at the time when the program was implemented. Adding a comparison group time series, such as schools not participating in the program or schools participating in the program in a different geographic area, substantially increases the reliability of the findings.

Moderate evidence means evidence from previous studies whose designs can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high internal validity) but have limited generalizability (i.e., moderate external validity), or studies with high external validity but moderate internal validity. The following would constitute moderate evidence: (1) At least one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) supporting the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program, with small sample sizes or other conditions of implementation or analysis that limit generalizability; (2) at least one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) that does not demonstrate equivalence between the intervention and comparison groups at program entry but that has no other major flaws related to internal validity; or (3) correlational research with strong statistical controls for selection bias and for discerning the influence of internal factors.

Quasi-experimental study means an evaluation design that attempts to approximate an experimental design and can support causal conclusions (i.e., minimizes threats to internal validity, such as selection bias, or allows them to be modeled). Well-designed quasi-experimental studies include carefully matched comparison group designs (as defined in this notice), interrupted time series designs (as defined in this notice), or regression discontinuity designs (as defined in this notice).

Regression discontinuity design study means, in part, a quasi-experimental study design that closely approximates an experimental study. In a regression discontinuity design, participants are assigned to a treatment or comparison group based on a numerical rating or score of a variable unrelated to the treatment such as the rating of an application for funding. Another example would be assignment of eligible students, teachers, classrooms, or schools above a certain score (“cut score”) to the treatment group and assignment of those below the score to the comparison group.

Strong evidence means evidence from previous studies whose designs can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high internal validity), and studies that in total include enough of the range of participants and settings to support scaling up to the State, regional, or national level (i.e., studies with high external validity). The following are examples of strong evidence: (1) More than one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) experimental study (as defined in this notice) or well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) that supports the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program; or (2) one large, well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) randomized controlled, multisite trial that supports the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program.

Well-designed and well-implemented means, with respect to an experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice), that the study meets the What Works Clearinghouse evidence standards, with or without reservations (see http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/doc.aspx?docid=19&tocid=1 and in particular the description of “Reasons for Not Meeting Standards” at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/Doc.aspx?docId=19&tocId=4#reasons).

Other Definitions From the 2010 i3 NFP

Applicant means the entity that applies for a grant under this program on behalf of an eligible applicant (i.e., an LEA or a partnership in accordance with section 14007(a)(1)(B) of the ARRA).

Consortium of schools means two or more public elementary or secondary schools acting collaboratively for the purpose of applying for and implementing an i3 grant jointly with an eligible nonprofit organization.

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.

High-need student means a student 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, who are far below grade level, who are over-age and under-credited, who have left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a regular high school diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are limited English proficient.

High school graduation rate means a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1) and may also include an extended-year adjusted cohort graduation rate consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1)(v) if the State in which the proposed project is implemented has been approved by the Secretary to use such a rate under Title I of the ESEA.

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.

National level, as used in reference to a Scale-up grant, describes a project that is able to be effective in a wide variety of communities and student populations around the country, including rural and urban areas, as well as with the different groups of students described in section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the ESEA (i.e., economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, migrant students, students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, and students of each gender).

Nonprofit organization means an entity that meets the definition of “nonprofit” under 34 CFR 77.1(c), or an institution of higher education as defined by section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

Official partner means any of the entities required to be part of a partnership under section 14007(a)(1)(B) of the ARRA.

Other partner means any entity, other than the applicant and any official partner, that may be involved in a proposed project.

Regional level, as used in reference to a Scale-up or Validation grant, describes a project that is able to serve a variety of communities and student populations within a State or multiple States, including rural and urban areas, as well as with the different groups of students described in section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the ESEA (i.e., economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, migrant students, students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, and students of each gender). To be considered a regional-level project, a project must serve students in more than one LEA. The exception to this requirement would be a project implemented in a State in which the State educational agency is the sole educational agency for all schools and thus may be considered an LEA under section 9101(26) of the ESEA. Such a State would meet the definition of regional for the purposes of this notice.

Regular high school diploma means, consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1)(iv), the standard high school diploma that is awarded to students in the State and that is fully aligned with the State's academic content standards or a higher diploma and does not include a General Education Development (GED) credential, certificate of attendance, or any alternative award.

Student achievement means—

(a) For tested grades and subjects: (1) A student's score on the State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of 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; and

(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 data for an individual student between two or more points in time. Growth may be measured by a variety of approaches, but any approach used must be statistically rigorous and based on student achievement data, and may also include other measures of student learning in order to increase the construct validity and generalizability of the information.

Definitions From Supplemental Priorities

High-poverty school means a school in which at least 50 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act or in which at least 50 percent of students are from low-income families as determined using one of the criteria specified under section 1113(a)(5) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended. For middle and high schools, eligibility may be calculated on the basis of comparable data from feeder schools. Eligibility as a high-poverty school under this definition is determined on the basis of the most currently available data.

Open educational resources (OER) means teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or repurposing by others.

Parent and family engagement means the systematic inclusion of parents and families, working in partnership with local educational agencies and school staff, in their child's education, which may include strengthening the ability of (a) Parents and families to support their child's education and (b) school staff to work with parents and families.

Rural local educational agency means a local educational agency (LEA) that is eligible under the Small Rural School Achievement (SRSA) program or the Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) program authorized under Title VI, Part B of the ESEA. Eligible applicants may determine whether a particular LEA is eligible for these programs by referring to information on the Department's Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/nclb/freedom/local/reap.html.

Program Authority: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Division A, Section 14007, 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 for this program, published in the Federal Register on March 12, 2010 (75 FR 12004-12071). (c) The notice of final revisions to priorities, requirements, and selection criteria for this program, published in the Federal Register on June 3, 2011 (76 FR 32073) (2011 Notice of Final i3 Revisions). (d) The notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637).

Note:

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

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of higher education only.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Cooperative agreements or discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $140,452,000.

These estimated available funds are the total available for all three types of grants under the i3 program (Scale-up, Validation, and Development).

Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of the applications received, we may make additional awards in FY 2013 or later years from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards:

Scale-up grants: Up to $25,000,000.

Validation grants: Up to $15,000,000.

Development grants: Up to $3,000,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards:

Scale-up grants: $24,000,000.

Validation grants: $14,500,000.

Development grants: $3,000,000.

Estimated Number of Awards:

Scale-up grants: 0-2 awards.

Validation grants: 1-5 awards.

Development grants: 10-20 awards.

Note:

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

Project Period: 36-60 months.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Providing Innovations that Improve Achievement for High-Need Students: All eligible applicants must implement practices, strategies, or programs for high-need students (as defined in this notice). (2010 i3 NFP)

2. Eligible Applicants: Entities eligible to apply for i3 grants include: (a) An LEA or (b) a partnership between a nonprofit organization and (1) one or more LEAs or (2) a consortium of schools. An eligible applicant that is a partnership applying under section 14007(a)(1)(B) of the ARRA must designate one of its official partners (as defined in this notice) to serve as the applicant in accordance with the Department's regulations governing group applications in 34 CFR 75.127 through 75.129. (2010 i3 NFP)

3. Eligibility Requirements: Except as specifically set forth in the Note about Eligibility for an Eligible Applicant that Includes a Nonprofit Organization that follows, to be eligible for an award, an eligible applicant must—

(1)(A) Have significantly closed the achievement gaps between groups of students described in section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA (economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, students with limited English proficiency, students with disabilities); or

(B) Have demonstrated success in significantly increasing student academic achievement for all groups of students described in that section;

(2) Have made significant improvements in other areas, such as graduation rates or increased recruitment and placement of high-quality teachers and principals, as demonstrated with meaningful data;

(3) Demonstrate that it has established one or more partnerships with the private sector, which may include philanthropic organizations, and that the private sector will provide matching funds in order to help bring results to scale; and

(4) In the case of an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization, provide in the application the names of the LEAs with which the nonprofit organization will partner, or the names of the schools in the consortium with which it will partner. If an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization intends to partner with additional LEAs or schools that are not named in the application, it must describe in the application the demographic and other characteristics of these LEAs and schools and the process it will use to select them as either official or other partners. An applicant must identify its specific partners before a grant award will be made. (2010 i3 NFP)

Note:

An entity submitting a full application should provide, in Appendix C, under “Other Attachments Form,” of its full application, information addressing the eligibility requirements described in this section. An applicant must provide, in the full application, sufficient supporting data or other information to allow the Department to determine whether the applicant has met the eligibility requirements. If the Department determines that an applicant has provided insufficient information in its full application, the applicant will not have an opportunity to provide additional information.

Note:

Instructions for the pre-application will be available on the i3 Web site. Entities invited to submit a full application will receive instructions about the full application package.

Note about LEA Eligibility:

For purposes of this program, an LEA is an LEA located within one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. (2010 i3 NFP)

Note about Eligibility for an Eligible Applicant that Includes a Nonprofit Organization:

The authorizing statute (as amended) specifies that an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization is considered to have met the requirements in paragraphs (1) and (2) of the eligibility requirements for this program if the nonprofit organization has a record of significantly improving student achievement, attainment, or retention. For an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization, the nonprofit organization must demonstrate that it has a record of significantly improving student achievement, attainment, or retention through its record of work with an LEA or schools. Therefore, an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization does not necessarily need to include as a partner for its i3 grant an LEA or a consortium of schools that meets the requirements in paragraphs (1) and (2).

In addition, the authorizing statute (as amended) specifies that an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization is considered to have met the requirements of paragraph (3) of the eligibility requirements in this notice if the eligible applicant demonstrates that it will meet the requirement relating to private-sector matching. (2010 i3 NFP)

4. Cost Sharing or Matching: To be eligible for an award, an eligible applicant must demonstrate that it has established one or more partnerships with an entity or organization in the private sector, which may include philanthropic organizations, and that the entity or organization in the private sector will provide matching funds in order to help bring project results to scale. An eligible applicant must obtain matching funds or in-kind donations equal to at least 15 percent of its grant award.[9] Selected eligible applicants must submit evidence of the full amount of private-sector matching funds following the peer review of full applications. An award will not be made unless the applicant provides adequate evidence that the full amount of the private-sector match has been committed or the Secretary approves the eligible applicant's request to reduce the matching-level requirement.

The Secretary may consider decreasing the matching requirement in the most exceptional circumstances, on a case-by-case basis. An eligible applicant that anticipates being unable to meet the full amount of the private-sector matching requirement must include in its application a request to the Secretary to reduce the matching-level requirement, along with a statement of the basis for the request. (2010 i3 NFP, as revised by the 2011 Notice of Final i3 Revisions)

Note:

An entity does not need to include a request for a reduction of the matching-level requirement in its pre-application. However, an applicant that does not provide a request for a reduction of the matching-level requirement in its full application may not submit that request at a later time.

5. Other: The Secretary establishes the following requirements for the i3 program. These requirements are from the 2010 i3 NFP. We may apply these requirements in any year in which this program is in effect.

  • Evidence Standards: To be eligible for an award, an application for a Development grant must be supported by a reasonable hypothesis. (2010 i3 NFP)

Note:

An entity invited to submit a full application should provide, in Appendix D, under “Other Attachments Form,” of its application, information addressing the required evidence standards. An applicant must either ensure that all evidence is available to the Department from publicly available sources and provide links or other guidance indicating where it is available; or, in the full application, include copies of evidence in Appendix D. If the Department determines that an applicant has provided insufficient information, the applicant will not have an opportunity to provide additional information to support its full application.

  • Funding Categories: An applicant must state in its application whether it is applying for a Scale-up, Validation, or Development grant. An applicant may not submit an application for the same proposed project under more than one type of grant. An applicant will be considered for an award only for the type of grant for which it applies. (2010 i3 NFP)
  • Subgrants: In the case of an eligible applicant that is a partnership between a nonprofit organization and (1) one or more LEAs or (2) a consortium of schools, the partner serving as the applicant may make subgrants to one or more official partners (as defined in this notice). (2010 i3 NFP)
  • Limits on Grant Awards: (a) No grantee may receive more than two new grant awards of any type under the i3 program in a single year; (b) In any two-year period, no grantee may receive more than one new Scale-up or Validation grant; and (c) No grantee may receive more than $55 million in new grant awards under the i3 program in a single year. (2010 i3 NFP, as revised by the 2011 Notice of Final i3 Revisions)
  • Evaluation: A grantee must comply with the requirements of any evaluation of the program conducted by the Department. In addition, the grantee is required to conduct an independent evaluation (as defined in this notice) of its project and must agree, along with its independent evaluator, to cooperate with any technical assistance provided by the Department or its contractor. The purpose of this technical assistance will be to ensure that the evaluations are of the highest quality and to encourage commonality in evaluation approaches across funded projects where such commonality is feasible and useful. Finally, the grantee must make broadly available through formal (e.g., peer-reviewed journals) or informal (e.g., newsletters) mechanisms, and in print or electronically, the results of any evaluations it conducts of its funded activities. For Scale-up and Validation grants, the grantee must also ensure the data from their evaluations are made available to third-party researchers consistent with applicable privacy requirements. (2010 i3 NFP)
  • Participation in “Communities of Practice”: Grantees are required to participate in, organize, or facilitate, as appropriate, communities of practice for the i3 program. A community of practice is a group of grantees that agrees to interact regularly to solve a persistent problem or improve practice in an area that is important to them. Establishment of communities of practice under the i3 program will enable grantees to meet, discuss, and collaborate with each other regarding grantee projects. (2010 i3 NFP)

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Submission of Proprietary Information: Given the types of projects that may be proposed in applications for the i3 program, some applications may include proprietary information as it relates to confidential commercial information. Confidential commercial information is defined as information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause substantial competitive harm. Upon submission, applicants, in both pre-applications and full applications, should identify any information contained in their application that they consider to be confidential commercial information. Consistent with the process followed in the prior two i3 competitions, we plan on posting the project narrative section of funded Development applications on the Department's Web site. Identifying proprietary information in the submitted application will help facilitate this public disclosure process. Applicants are encouraged to identify only the specific information that the applicant considers to be proprietary and list the page numbers on which this information can be found in the appropriate Appendix section, under “Other Attachments Form,” of their applications. In addition to identifying the page number on which that information can be found, eligible applicants will assist the Department in making determinations on public release of the application by being as specific as possible in identifying the information they consider proprietary. Please note that, in many instances, identification of entire pages of documentation would not be appropriate.

2. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain a pre-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://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html. To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the following: 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) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-877-576-7734.

You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: www.EDPubs.gov or at its email address: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.

If you request a pre-application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this program or competition as follows: CFDA number 84.411P.

Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the pre-application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the person or team listed under Accessible Format in section VIII of this notice.

Note:

The full application package will be made available to entities invited to submit a full application and additional information will be available on the i3 Web site.

3. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this competition. Deadline for Notice of Intent to Submit Pre-Application: March 15, 2012.

We will be able to develop a more efficient process for reviewing grant applications if we know the approximate number of applicants that intend to apply for funding under this competition. Therefore, the Secretary strongly encourages each potential applicant to notify us of the applicant's intent to submit a pre-application by completing a web-based form. When completing this form, applicants will provide (1) the applicant organization's name and address and (2) the one absolute priority the applicant intends to address. Applicants may access this form online at http://go.usa.gov/Qvd. Applicants that do not complete this form may still submit a pre-application.

Page Limit: For the pre-application, the project narrative is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your pre-application. For the full application, the project narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your full applications.

Pre-Application page limit: Applicants should limit the pre-application narrative to no more than seven pages.

Full-Application page limit: Applicants invited to submit a full application should limit the application narrative [Part III] for a Development application to no more than 25 pages. Applicants are also strongly encouraged not to include lengthy appendices for the full application that contain information that could not be included in the narrative. Aside from the required forms, applicants should not include appendices in their pre-applications. Applicants for both pre- and full applications should use 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, and captions.
  • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).
  • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial.

The page limit for the full application 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, or the letters of support for the full application. However, the page limit does apply to all of the application narrative section [Part III] of the full application.

4. Submission Dates and Times:

Pre-Applications Available: February 27, 2012.

Deadline for Notice of Intent to Submit Pre-Application: March 15, 2012.

Informational Meetings: The i3 program intends to hold meetings designed to provide technical assistance to interested applicants for all three types of grants. Detailed information regarding these meetings will be provided on the i3 Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html.

Deadline for Transmittal of Pre-Applications: April 9, 2012.

Deadline for Transmittal of Full Applications: The Department will announce on its Web site the deadline date for transmission of full applications. Under the pre-application process, peer reviewers will read and score the shorter pre-application against an abbreviated set of selection criteria, and only the entities that submit the highest-scoring pre-applications will be invited to submit full applications.

Pre- and full applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, please refer to section IV. 8. Other Submission Requirements of this notice.

We do not consider a pre-application or full 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 pre-application or full application process, the individual's pre-application or full application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review of Full Applications: 60 calendar days after the deadline date for transmittal of full applications.

5. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this competition.

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

7. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and Central Contractor Registry: To do business with the Department of Education, you must—

a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);

b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR), the Government's primary registrant database;

c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and

d. Maintain an active CCR registration with current information while your application is under review by the Department and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.

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.

In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, you must (1) be designated by your organization as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined in the Grants.gov 3-Step Registration Guide (see www.grants.gov/section910/Grants.govRegistrationBrochure.pdf).

8. Other Submission Requirements:

Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

Applications (both pre- and full applications) for grants under the i3 program, pre application CFDA 84.411P and full application CFDA number 84.411C (Development grants), must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.

You may access the electronic grant applications for i3 at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.411, not 84.411C).

Please note the following:

  • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.
  • Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.
  • The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.
  • You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this competition to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 system home page at http://www.G5.gov.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and 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 upload any narrative sections and all other attachments to your application as files in a PDF (Portable Document) read-only, non-modifiable format. Do not upload an interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, non-modifiable .PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material.
  • Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this notice.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department.) The Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send a second notification to you by email. This second notification indicates that the Department has received your application and has assigned your application a PR/Award number (an ED-specified identifying number unique to your application).
  • We may request that you provide us original signatures on forms at a later date.

Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues With the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.

If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.

If you submit an application after 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether your application will be accepted.

Note:

The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the Grants.gov system because—

  • You do not have access to the Internet; or
  • You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Grants.gov system; and
  • No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevent you from using the Internet to submit your application.

If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.

Address and mail or fax your statement to: Carol Lyons, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4W203, Washington, DC 20202-5930. FAX: (202) 205-5631.

Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. 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 84.411C), 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 qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You 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 84.411C), 550 12th Street SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

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

Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:

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

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

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

V. Application Review Information

1. Selection Criteria: This competition has separate selection criteria for pre-applications and full applications. The selection criteria for the Development competition are from the 2010 i3 NFP and from 34 CFR 75.210.[10] The points assigned to each criterion are indicated in the parenthesis next to the criterion. An applicant may earn up to a total of 20 points based on the selection criteria for the pre-application. An applicant may earn up to a total of 100 selection criteria points and up to a total of two competitive preference points for the full application.

Note:

In responding to the selection criteria, applicants, for pre- and full applications, should keep in mind that peer reviewers may consider only the information provided in the written application when scoring and commenting on the application. Therefore, applicants should draft their responses with the goal of helping peer reviewers understand:

  • What the applicant is proposing to do, including the single Absolute Priority under which the applicant intends the application to be reviewed;
  • How the proposed project will improve upon existing products, processes, or strategies for addressing similar needs;
  • What the outcomes of the project will be if it is successful; and
  • What the proposed project will cost and why the proposed project is an effective use of funds.

Selection Criteria for the Development Grant Pre-Application:

A. Quality of Project Design (up to 10 points).

The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the project design, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(1) The extent to which the proposed project has a clear set of goals and an explicit strategy, with actions that are (a) aligned with the priorities the eligible applicant is seeking to meet, and (b) expected to result in achieving the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project. (2010 i3 NFP)

(2) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed project. (34 CFR 75.210)

Note:

In responding to this criterion, the Secretary encourages the applicant to describe what the applicant proposes to do in the proposed project, how the applicant will do it, what the project costs are, and why those costs are sufficient and reasonable to achieve the goals, objectives, and outcomes.

B. Significance (up to 10 points).

The Secretary considers the significance of the project. In determining the significance of the project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(1) The extent to which the proposed project represents an exceptional approach to the priority or priorities established for the competition. (34 CFR 75.210)

(2) The potential contribution of the proposed project to the development and advancement of theory, knowledge, and practices in the field of study. (34 CFR 75.210)

Note:

In responding to this criterion, the Secretary encourages applicants to address the likely impact of the proposed project if it is successful and how the project would move the field (as opposed to only the entities or individuals being served with grant funds) forward.

Selection Criteria for the Development Grant Full Application:

A. Quality of the Project Design (up to 25 points).

The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the project design, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(1) The extent to which the proposed project has a clear set of goals and an explicit strategy, with actions that are (a) aligned with the priorities the eligible applicant is seeking to meet, and (b) expected to result in achieving the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project. (2010 i3 NFP)

(2) The eligible applicant's estimate of the cost of the proposed project, which includes the start-up and operating costs per student per year (including indirect costs) for reaching the total number of students proposed to be served by the project. The eligible applicant must include an estimate of the costs for the eligible applicant or others (including other partners) to reach 100,000, 250,000, and 500,000 students. (2010 i3 NFP)

Note:

The Secretary considers cost estimates both (a) to assess the reasonableness of the costs relative to the objectives, design, and potential significance for the total number of students to be served by the proposed project, which is determined by the eligible applicant, and (b) to understand the possible costs for the eligible applicant or others (including other partners) to reach the scaling targets of 100,000, 250,000, and 500,000 students for Development grants. An eligible applicant is free to propose the number of students it will serve under its project, and is expected to reach that number of students by the end of the grant period. The scaling targets, in contrast, are theoretical and allow peer reviewers to assess the cost-effectiveness generally of proposed projects, particularly in cases where an initial investment may be required to support projects that operate at reduced cost in the future, whether implemented by the eligible applicant or any other entity. Grantees are not required to reach these numbers during the grant period.

(3) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed project. (34 CFR 75.210)

(4) The potential and planning for the incorporation of project purposes, activities, or benefits into the ongoing work of the eligible applicant and any other partners at the end of the Development grant. (2010 i3 NFP)

Note:

In responding to this criterion, the Secretary encourages the applicant to address what the applicant proposes to do for the proposed project, how the applicant will do it, what the project costs will be, why the project costs will be sufficient and reasonable to achieve the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project, and how the project costs would change if the project were scaled to serve a larger number of students (i.e., which of the costs are fixed regardless of how many students are served and which of the costs are variable and increase as more students are served). Additionally, an applicant may wish to address why the project costs are reasonable compared to what the project will accomplish, particularly in comparison to similar projects or alternative ways of achieving similar outcomes.

B. Significance (up to 35 points).

The Secretary considers the significance of the project. In determining the significance of the project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(1) The extent to which the proposed project represents an exceptional approach to the priority or priorities established for the competition. (34 CFR 75.210)

(2) The potential contribution of the proposed project to the development and advancement of theory, knowledge, and practices in the field of study. (34 CFR 75.210)

(3) The extent to which the eligible applicant demonstrates that, if funded, the proposed project likely will have a positive impact, as measured by the importance or magnitude of the effect, on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates. (2010 i3 NFP)

Note:

In responding to this criterion, the Secretary encourages the applicant to explain what is exceptional about how the proposed project addresses the absolute priority under which the applicant is submitting its i3 application. Also, the Secretary encourages the applicant to explain how the proposed project fits into existing national and international theory, knowledge, or practice, and how it will move the field (as opposed to only the entities or individuals being served with grant funds) forward. Additionally, the Secretary encourages the applicant to quantify the impact if the proposed project is successful and why the applicant expects the proposed project to have the described impact (i.e., describe what existing evidence or theory supports that level of impact).

C. Quality of the Management Plan and Personnel (up to 20 points).

The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan and personnel for the proposed project. In determining the quality of the management plan and personnel for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(1) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks, as well as tasks related to the sustainability and scalability of the proposed project. (2010 i3 NFP)

(2) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of the project director and key project personnel, especially in managing projects of the size and scope of the proposed project. (34 CFR 75.210)

Note:

In responding to this criterion, the Secretary encourages applicants to address how the team's prior experiences have prepared them for implementing the proposed project successfully.

D. Quality of Project Evaluation (up to 20 points).

The Secretary considers the quality of the project evaluation. In determining the quality of the project evaluation to be conducted, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(1) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide high-quality implementation data and performance feedback, and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes. (2010 i3 NFP)

(2) The extent to which the evaluation will provide sufficient information about the key elements and approach of the project to facilitate further development, replication, or testing in other settings. (2010 i3 NFP)

(3) The extent to which the proposed project plan includes sufficient resources to carry out the project evaluation effectively. (2010 i3 NFP)

Note:

In responding to this criterion, the Secretary encourages applicants to describe the key evaluation questions and address how the proposed evaluation methodologies will allow the project to answer those questions. This may include whether the evaluation would produce information about the effectiveness of the proposed project with the specific student populations being served with grant funds. Further, the Secretary encourages applicants to identify what implementation and performance data the evaluation will generate and how the evaluation will provide data during the period to help indicate whether the project is on track to meet its goals. Finally, applicants should address whether the budget allocates sufficient resources to support the planned evaluation.

We encourage eligible applicants to review the following technical assistance resources on evaluation:

(1) What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/doc.aspx?docid=19&tocid=1; and (2) IES/NCEE Technical Methods papers: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/tech_methods/.

2. Review and Selection Process: In order to receive an i3 Development grant, an entity must submit a pre-application. The pre-application will be reviewed and scored by peer reviewers using two selection criteria established in this notice. Only entities that submitted top-rated pre-applications will be eligible to submit full applications. The Department will inform the entities that submitted pre-applications of their eligibility to submit full applications. Scores received on pre-applications will not carry over to the review of the full application.

As described earlier in this notice, before making awards, the Department will screen pre- and full applications submitted in accordance with the requirements in this notice and will determine which applications have met eligibility and other statutory requirements. This screening process may occur at various stages of the pre-application and full application processes and applicants that are determined ineligible will not receive a grant regardless of peer reviewer scores or comments.

The Department will use independent peer reviewers with various backgrounds and professions including pre-kindergarten-12 teachers and principals, college and university educators, researchers and evaluators, social entrepreneurs, strategy consultants, grant makers and managers, and others with education expertise. The Department will thoroughly screen all reviewers for conflicts of interest to ensure a fair and competitive review process.

Reviewers will read, prepare a written evaluation, and score the assigned pre-applications and full applications, using the respective selection criteria provided in this notice. For Development pre-applications, the Department, depending on the number of submissions, may use a multi-tiered review process. For full applications submitted for Development grants, peer reviewers will review and score the applications based on all four selection criteria. If eligible applicants have chosen to address competitive preference priorities (a maximum of two) for purposes of earning competitive preference priority points, reviewers will review and score those competitive preference priorities as part of the peer review of the full applications. If competitive preference priority points are awarded, those points will be added to the eligible applicant's full application score.

We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.

In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary also requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

3. Special Conditions: Under 34 CFR 74.14 and 80.12, the Secretary may impose special conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 34 CFR parts 74 or 80, as applicable; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices: If your full 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 pre-application is not evaluated, or following the submission of your pre-application you are not invited to submit a full application, we notify you. If your full 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: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).

(b) 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 www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.

4. Performance Measures: The overall purpose of the i3 program is to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth for high-need students. We have established several performance measures for the i3 Development grants.

Short-term performance measures: (1) The percentage of grantees whose projects are being implemented with fidelity to the approved design; (2) the percentage of programs, practices, or strategies supported by a Development grant with ongoing evaluations that provide evidence of their promise for improving student outcomes; (3) the percentage of programs, practices, or strategies supported by a Development grant with ongoing evaluations that are providing high-quality implementation data and performance feedback that allow for periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes; and (4) the cost per student actually served by the grant.

Long-term performance measures: (1) The percentage of programs, practices, or strategies supported by a Development grant with a completed evaluation that provides evidence of their promise for improving student outcomes; (2) the percentage of programs, practices, or strategies supported by a Development grant with a completed evaluation that provides information about the key elements and approach of the project so as to facilitate further development, replication, or testing in other settings; and (3) the cost per student for programs, practices, or strategies that were proven promising at improving educational outcomes for students.

5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.253, the extent to which a grantee has made “substantial progress toward meeting the objectives in its approved application.” This consideration includes the review of a grantee's progress in meeting the targets and projected outcomes in its approved application, and whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget. In making a continuation grant, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

VII. Agency Contact

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carol Lyons, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4W203, Washington, DC 20202-5930. FAX: (202) 205-5631. Telephone: (202) 453-7122 or by email: i3@ed.gov.

If you use a TDD or a TTY, call 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 compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.

Electronic Access to This Document: 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 via the Federal Digital System at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site 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). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

Dated: February 21, 2012.

James H. Shelton, III,

Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.

Footnotes

3.  The 2011 notice of final i3 revisions, which was published in the Federal Register on June 3, 2011 (76 FR 32073), provides the Secretary with the flexibility to choose one or more of the priorities established in the 2010 i3 NFP for use in any i3 competition.

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4.  For purposes of this priority, the Supplemental Priorities define “student achievement” and “student growth” as follows:

“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 schools.

(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 schools.

“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.

Note that the definitions in this footnote apply only to Absolute Priority 1. Elsewhere in this notice the use of these term refers to the i3 definitions established in the 2010 i3 NFP that are provided in the Definitions section of this notice.

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5.  Under the final requirements for the School Improvement Grants program, “persistently lowest-achieving schools” means, as determined by the State, (a) any Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that (i) 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 (ii) 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 (b) any secondary school that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title I funds that (i) 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 (ii) 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. See http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/faq.html.

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6.  In this context, “these schools” refers to the schools described in (a) through (c)in this paragraph.

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7.  For purposes of this priority, the Supplemental Priorities define student achievement as follows:

“Student achievement” means—

(a) For tested grades and subjects: (1) A student's score on the State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of 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 schools; and

(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 schools.

Note that this definition for student achievement applies only to Absolute Priority 1 and Competitive Preference Priority 10. Elsewhere in this notice the use of this term refers to the i3 definition established in the 2010 i3 NFP that is provided in the Definitions section of this notice.

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8.  A single subject or single case design is an adaptation of an interrupted time series design that relies on the comparison of treatment effects on a single subject or group of single subjects. There is little confidence that findings based on this design would be the same for other members of the population. In some single subject designs, treatment reversal or multiple baseline designs are used to increase internal validity. In a treatment reversal design, after a pretreatment or baseline outcome measurement is compared with a post treatment measure, the treatment would then be stopped for a period of time, a second baseline measure of the outcome would be taken, followed by a second application of the treatment or a different treatment. A multiple baseline design addresses concerns about the effects of normal development, timing of the treatment, and amount of the treatment with treatment-reversal designs by using a varying time schedule for introduction of the treatment and/or treatments of different lengths or intensity.

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9.  The 2011 Notice of Final i3 Revisions modified the “Cost Sharing and Matching” requirement established in the 2010 i3 NFP by providing that the Secretary will specify the amount of required private-sector matching funds or in-kind donations in the notice inviting applications for the specific i3 competition. For this competition, the Secretary establishes a matching requirement of at least 15 percent of the grant award.

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10.  The 2011 Notice of Final i3 Revisions establishes that the Secretary may use one or more of the selection criteria established in the 2010 i3 NFP, any of the selection criteria in 34 CFR 75.210, criteria based on the statutory requirements for the i3 program in accordance with 34 CFR 75.209, or any combination of these when establishing selection criteria for each particular type of grant (Scale-up, Validation, and Development) in an i3 competition.

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[FR Doc. 2012-4357 Filed 2-23-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P