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Notice

Applications for New Awards; Supporting Effective Educator Development Grant Program

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AGENCY:

Office of Innovation and Improvement, Department of Education

ACTION:

Notice.

Overview Information:

Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Grant Program

Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2015.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.367D

Dates:

Applications Available: February 10, 2015.

Deadline for Notice of Intent To Apply: March 12, 2015.

Dates of Informational Webinars: The SEED program intends to hold Webinars designed to provide technical assistance to interested applicants. Detailed information regarding these meetings will be provided on the SEED Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/​programs/​edseed/​index.html.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 13, 2015.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: June 10, 2015.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The SEED program provides funding for grants to National Not-for-Profit Organizations for projects that support teacher or principal training or professional enhancement activities and that are supported by at least Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness. The purpose of the program is to increase the number of Highly Effective Teachers and Principals by developing or expanding the implementation of practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or Student Growth. These grants will allow eligible entities to develop, expand, and evaluate practices that can serve as models of best practices that can be sustained and disseminated.

Priorities: This competition includes four absolute priorities, one of which is required for all applicants, and four competitive preference priorities. Absolute Priority 1 and Competitive Preference Priority 1 are from 34 CFR 75.226. Absolute Priorities 2 through 4 and Competitive Preference Priorities 2 and 3 are from the notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for this program, published in the Federal Register on February 12, 2013 (78 FR 9815) (“SEED NFP”). Competitive Preference Priority 4 is from the Department's notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions, published in the Federal Register on December 10, 2014 (79 FR 73425) (“Supplemental Priorities”).

Absolute Priorities: For FY 2015 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 Absolute Priority 1 and meet one or more of Absolute Priorities 2 through 4.

These priorities are:

Absolute Priority 1: Supporting Practices and Strategies for Which There Is Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness.

Projects that are supported by Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness.

Note:

The Department has updated the Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness definition since the previous SEED competition.

Absolute Priority 2: Teacher or Principal Recruitment, Selection, and Preparation.

This priority funds projects that will create or expand practices and strategies that increase the number of Highly Effective Teachers or Highly Effective Principals by recruiting, selecting, and preparing talented individuals to work in schools with high concentrations of High-need Students. Projects must include activities that focus on creating Start Printed Page 7424or expanding high-performing teacher preparation programs, principal preparation programs, or both. Activities may include but are not limited to expanding clinical experiences, redesigning and implementing program coursework to align with State standards and district requirements for P-12 teachers, providing induction and other support for program participants in their classrooms and schools, and developing strategies for tracking the effect program graduates have on the achievement of their students or the performance of their schools.

In addition, an applicant must propose a plan demonstrating a rigorous, competitive selection process to determine which aspiring teachers or principals participate in the applicant's proposed activities.

Absolute Priority 3: Professional Development for Teachers of Academic Subjects.

This priority funds projects that will create or expand practices and strategies that increase the number of Highly Effective Teachers by providing professional development opportunities to teachers, including special education teachers, in schools with high concentrations of High-need Students. Projects must focus on increasing Student Achievement in academic subjects by providing high-quality professional development to teachers. The academic subjects that may be addressed through professional development under this priority include foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, physical education, geography, environmental education, and financial literacy.

Applicants are required to describe the need of the proposed districts to be served for teacher professional development in the selected high-need academic subjects and to demonstrate alignment of the proposed projects with State standards.

In addition, applicants must describe how they plan to measure the impact the professional development has on teacher effectiveness. Applicants must determine teacher effectiveness through a rigorous, transparent, and fair evaluation in which performance is differentiated using multiple measures of effectiveness and based in significant part on Student Growth.

Note:

The list of subjects provided in this priority is illustrative. Applicants may propose to address other academic subjects or areas, such as writing, reading, or mathematics, which partner schools and districts have demonstrated to be high-need.

Absolute Priority 4: Advanced Certification and Advanced Credentialing.

This priority funds projects that will create or expand practices and strategies based on advanced certification or advanced credentialing that increase the number of Highly Effective Teachers, Highly Effective Principals, or both, who work in schools with high concentrations of High-need Students.

Applicants are required to focus their proposed projects on encouraging and supporting teachers, principals, or both, who seek a nationally recognized, standards-based advanced certificate or advanced credential through high-quality professional enhancement projects designed to improve teaching and learning for teachers who may take on Career Ladder Positions, principals, or both who would serve as models, mentors, and coaches for other teachers, principals, or both working in schools with high concentrations of High-need Students.

In addition, the effectiveness of teachers or principals who receive advanced certification or credentialing must be determined through a rigorous, transparent, and fair evaluation in which performance is differentiated using multiple measures of effectiveness and based in significant part on Student Growth.

Finally, an applicant must propose a plan demonstrating a rigorous, competitive selection process to determine which teachers or principals participate in the applicant's proposed activities.

Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2015 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, these priorities are competitive preference priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i) we award an additional five points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 1. We award an additional one point to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 2. We award an additional two points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 3. We award up to an additional four points to an application, depending on how well the application meets Competitive Preference Priority 4. The total number of points an application may receive for addressing the competitive preference priorities is 12. These points are in addition to any points the application earns under the selection criteria. Addressing these competitive preference priorities is optional, and applicants may choose to respond to none, one, two, three, or all four of the competitive preference priorities for this competition.

These priorities are:

Competitive Preference Priority 1: Supporting Practices and Strategies for Which There Is Strong Evidence of Effectiveness (0 or 5 points).

Projects that are supported by strong evidence of effectiveness (as defined in this notice).

Note:

The Department has updated the Strong Evidence of Effectiveness definition since the previous SEED competition.

Competitive Preference Priority 2: Improving Efficiency (Cost-Effectiveness) (0 or 1 point).

Projects that will identify strategies for providing cost-effective, high-quality services at the State, regional, or local level by making better use of available resources. Such projects may include innovative and sustainable uses of technology, modification of school schedules and teacher compensation systems, use of Open Educational Resources, or other strategies.

Competitive Preference Priority 3: Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education (0 or 2 points).

This priority funds projects that address one or both of the following priority areas:

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

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

In addition, applicants must describe how they plan to measure the impact the proposed project activities have on teacher effectiveness. Applicants must determine teacher effectiveness through a rigorous, transparent, and fair evaluation in which performance is differentiated using multiple measures of effectiveness and based in significant part on Student Growth.

Note:

The Department encourages applicants to provide a thoughtful, in-depth response to the priority area(s) under Competitive Preference Priority 3 to which they are well-suited to respond. Applicants may choose to respond to one or both of the priority areas and are not required to respond to each priority area in order to receive the maximum available points under this competitive preference priority.

Competitive Preference Priority 4: Supporting High-Need Students (0 to 4 points). Start Printed Page 7425

This priority funds projects that are designed to improve:

(a) Academic outcomes;

(b) Learning environments; or

(c) Both,

For one or more of the following groups of students:

(i) Students served by Rural Local Educational Agencies.

(ii) Students with disabilities.

(iii) English learners.

(iv) Students in Lowest-performing Schools.

(v) Students who are living in poverty and are served by schools with high concentrations of students living in poverty.

(vi) Disconnected Youth or migrant youth.

(vii) Students who are members of federally recognized Indian tribes.

Note:

The Department encourages applicants to provide a thoughtful, in-depth response to the priority area(s) under Competitive Preference Priority 4 to which they are well-suited to respond. Applicants may choose to respond to one or more of the priority areas and are not required to respond to each priority area in order to receive the maximum available points under this competitive preference priority.

Definitions

The following definitions are from the SEED NFP, the Supplemental Priorities, and 34 CFR 77.1. The source of each definition is noted in parentheses following the text of the definition.

Career ladder positions means school-based instructional leadership positions designed to improve instructional practice, which teachers may voluntarily accept, such as positions described as master teacher, mentor teacher, demonstration or model teacher, or instructional coach, and for which teachers are selected based on criteria that are predictive of the ability to lead other teachers. (SEED NFP)

Disconnected youth means low-income individuals, ages 14-24, who are homeless, are in foster care, are involved in the justice system, or are not working or not enrolled in (or at risk of dropping out of) an educational institution. (Supplemental Priorities)

High-minority school means a school as that term is defined by a local education agency (LEA), which must define the term in a manner consistent with its State's Teacher Equity Plan, as required by section 1111(b)(8)(C) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). The applicant must provide the definition(s) of “High-minority Schools” used in its application. (Supplemental Priorities)

High-need students means students who are 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 have left school before receiving a Regular High School Diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are English learners. (Supplemental Priorities)

Highly effective principal means a principal whose students, overall and for each subgroup as described in section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v)(II) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended (ESEA) (i.e., economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency), achieve high rates (e.g., one and one-half grade levels in an academic year) of student growth. Eligible applicants may include multiple measures, provided that principal effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, based on student growth. Supplemental measures may include, for example, high school graduation rates; college enrollment rates; evidence of providing supportive teaching and learning conditions, support for ensuring effective instruction across subject areas for a well-rounded education, strong instructional leadership, and positive family and community engagement; or evidence of attracting, developing, and retaining high numbers of effective teachers. (SEED NFP)

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

Large sample means an analytic sample of 350 or more students (or other single analysis units), or 50 or more groups (such as classrooms or schools) that contain 10 or more students (or other single analysis units). (34 CFR 77.1)

Lowest-performing schools means—

For a State with an approved request for flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), Priority Schools or Tier I and Tier II Schools identified under the School Improvement Grants program.

For any other State, Tier I and Tier II schools identified under the School Improvement Grants program. (Supplemental Priorities)

Moderate evidence of effectiveness means one of the following conditions is met:

(a) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations, found a statistically significant favorable impact on a Relevant Outcome (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse), and includes a sample that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice.

(b) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations, found a statistically significant favorable impact on a Relevant Outcome (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse), includes a sample that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice, and includes a Large Sample and a Multi-site Sample. (Note: Multiple studies can cumulatively meet the Large and Multi-site Sample requirements as long as each study meets the other requirements in this paragraph.) (34 CFR 77.1)

Note:

All studies will be reviewed according to existing WWC review protocols in their appropriate topic area (see examples of Protocols by Topic Area: http://ies.ed.gov/​ncee/​wwc/​Publications_​Reviews.aspx?​f=​All%20Publication%20and%20Review%20Types,5;​#pubsearch). Protocols outline the specific processes that are used to determine whether a study meets WWC Evidence Standards. If a given study does not fit an existing topic-specific protocol, the WWC will use one of two Single Study Review protocols to guide the review (For K-12 Studies: http://ies.ed.gov/​ncee/​wwc/​documentsum.aspx?​sid=​234 and for Start Printed Page 7426Postsecondary Studies: (http://ies.ed.gov/​ncee/​wwc/​documentsum.aspx?​sid=​242).

Multi-site sample means more than one site, where site can be defined as an LEA, locality, or State. (34 CFR 77.1)

National level describes the level of scope or effectiveness of a process, product, strategy, or practice that is able to be effective in a wide variety of communities, including rural and urban areas, as well as with different groups (e.g., economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic groups, migrant populations, individuals with disabilities, English learners, and individuals of each gender). (SEED NFP)

National not-for-profit organization means an entity that meets the definition of “nonprofit” under 34 CFR 77.1(c) and is of national scope, meaning that the entity provides services in multiple States to a significant number or percentage of recipients and is supported by staff or affiliates in multiple States. (SEED NFP)

Open educational resources 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. (SEED NFP)

Persistently lowest achieving school means, as determined by the State—

(a)(1) Any Title I school that has been identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under section 1116 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) and 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

(2) 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.

(b) To identify the lowest-achieving schools, a State must take into account both—

(i) The academic achievement of the “all students” group in a school in terms of proficiency on the State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), in reading/language arts and mathematics combined; and

(ii) The school's lack of progress on those assessments over a number of years in the “all students” group. (Supplemental Priorities)

Priority schools means schools that, based on the most recent data available, have been identified as among the lowest-performing schools in the State. The total number of Priority Schools in a State must be at least five percent of the Title I schools in the State. A priority school is—

(a) A school among the lowest five percent of Title I schools in the State based on the achievement of the “all students” group in terms of proficiency on the statewide assessments that are part of the SEA's differentiated recognition, accountability, and support system, combined, and has demonstrated a lack of progress on those assessments over a number of years in the “all students” group;

(b) A Title I-participating or Title I-eligible high school with a graduation rate that is less than 60 percent over a number of years; or

(c) A Tier I or Tier II school under the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program that is using SIG funds to implement a school intervention model. (Supplemental Priorities)

Relevant outcome means the student outcome(s) (or the ultimate outcome if not related to students) the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice is designed to improve; consistent with the specific goals of a program. (34 CFR 77.1)

Regular high school diploma means 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. (Supplemental Priorities)

Rural local educational agency means a 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 Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (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 www2.ed.gov/​nclb/​freedom/​local/​reap.html. (Supplemental Priorities)

Strong evidence of effectiveness means one of the following conditions is met:

(a) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations, found a statistically significant favorable impact on a Relevant Outcome (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse), includes a sample that overlaps with the populations and settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice, and includes a Large Sample and a Multi-site Sample. (Note: Multiple studies can cumulatively meet the Large and Multi-site sample requirements as long as each study meets the other requirements in this paragraph.)

(b) There are at least two studies of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed, each of which: Meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations, found a statistically significant favorable impact on a Relevant Outcome (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the studies or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse), includes a sample that overlaps with the populations and settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice, and includes a Large Sample and a Multi-site Sample. (34 CFR 77.1)

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. (SEED NFP)

Student growth means the change in student achievement (as defined in this notice) for an individual student between two or more points in time. An Start Printed Page 7427applicant may also include other measures that are rigorous and comparable across classrooms. (SEED NFP)

Tier I schools means—

(a) A Title I school that has been identified as in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under section 1116 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) and that is identified by the SEA under paragraph (a)(1) of the definition of “persistently lowest achieving school.”

(b) An elementary school that is eligible for Title I, Part A funds that—

(1)(i) Has not made adequate yearly progress for at least two consecutive years; or

(ii) Is in the State's lowest quintile of performance based on proficiency rates on the State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) in reading/language arts and mathematics combined; and (2) Is no higher achieving than the highest-achieving school identified by the SEA under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of the definition of “persistently lowest achieving school.” (Supplemental Priorities)

Tier II schools means—

(a) A secondary school that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title I, Part A funds and is identified by the State educational agency (SEA) under paragraph (a)(2) of the definition of “persistently lowest achieving schools.”

(b) A secondary school that is eligible for Title I, Part A funds that—

(1)(i) Has not made adequate yearly progress for at least two consecutive years; or

(ii) Is in the State's lowest quintile of performance based on proficiency rates on the State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), in reading/language arts and mathematics combined; and

(2)(i) Is no higher achieving than the highest-achieving school identified by the SEA under paragraph (a)(2)(i) of the definition of “persistently lowest achieving school;” 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. (Supplemental Priorities)

Quasi-experimental design study means a study using a design that attempts to approximate an experimental design by identifying a comparison group that is similar to the treatment group in important respects. These studies, depending on design and implementation, can meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations (but not What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations).

What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards means the standards set forth in the What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 3.0, March 2014), which can be found at the following link: http://ies.ed.gov/​ncee/​wwc/​DocumentSum.aspx?​sid=​19. (34 CFR 77.1)

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Program Authority: Pub. L. 113-76, Division H, Title III.

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Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485, and the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended in 2 CFR part 3474. (c) the SEED NFP (78 FR 9815), and (d) the Supplemental Priorities (79 FR 73425).

Note:

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

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $24,125,169.

Estimated Range of Awards: $3,000,000-$8,000,000 per year.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $5,000,000 per year.

Estimated Number of Awards: 3-6 awards.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 36 months.

Note:

In subsequent fiscal years, the Department may decide to extend SEED projects' evaluations beyond the 36 month project period, and provide additional funding, for the purposes of data collection, analysis, and reporting (34 CFR 75.250(b)). This flexibility is not guaranteed and is contingent on available funding in subsequent fiscal years. The Department has discretion in deciding which, if any, SEED projects will receive additional time and funding for the purposes of data collection, analysis, and reporting.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: As established in the SEED NFP (78 FR 9815), to be eligible for a SEED program grant, an entity must be a National Not-for-profit Organization. Each applicant must provide in its application documentation that it is a National Not-for-Profit Organization.

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

3. Evidence Standards: To meet Absolute Priority 1: Supporting Practices and Strategies for Which There Is Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness, each applicant must provide in its application documentation that its proposed project is supported by at least Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness. All applicants must respond to Absolute Priority 1, and one or more of Absolute Priorities 2 through 4, in order to be eligible to receive funding. An applicant that also responds to Competitive Preference Priority 1: Supporting Practices and Strategies for Which There Is Strong Evidence of Effectiveness must provide documentation that its proposed project is supported by Strong Evidence of Effectiveness. An applicant must ensure that all evidence is available to the Department from publically available sources and provide links or references to, or copies of, the evidence in the application. If the Department determines that an applicant has provided insufficient evidence that its proposed project meets the definition of “Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness” or “Strong Evidence of Effectiveness,” the applicant will not have an opportunity to provide additional evidence to support its application.

4. Evaluations: As established in the SEED NFP, an applicant receiving funds under this program must comply with the requirements of any evaluation of the program conducted by the Department. In addition, an applicant receiving funds under this program must make broadly available through formal (e.g., peer-reviewed journals) or informal (e.g., newsletters) mechanisms, in print or electronically, the results of any evaluations it conducts of its funded activities.

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: Richard Wilson, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4W237, Washington, DC 20202-5960 or by email: SEED@ed.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package Start Printed Page 7428in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the program contact person listed in this section.

2.a. 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.

Notice of Intent to Apply: March 12, 2015. The Department will be able to develop a more efficient process for reviewing grant applications if it has a better understanding of the number of entities that intend to apply for funding under this competition. Therefore, the Department strongly encourages each potential applicant to notify the Department by sending a short email message indicating the applicant's intent to submit an application for funding. The email need not include information regarding the content of the proposed application, only the applicant's intent to submit it. The Department requests that this email notification be sent to the SEED program inbox at: SEED@ed.gov.

Eligible entities that fail to provide this email notification may still apply for funding.

Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. We suggest you limit the application narrative to the equivalent of no more than 50 pages, using the following standards:

  • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, except for titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, captions, charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
  • 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 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, or letters of support. However, the page limit does apply to all of the application narrative section [Part III].

b. Submission of Proprietary Information: Given the types of projects that may be proposed in applications for the SEED program, an application may include business information that the applicant considers proprietary. The Department's regulations define “business information” in 34 CFR 5.11.

Because we plan to make successful applications available to the public, you may wish to request confidentiality of business information.

Consistent with Executive Order 12600, please designate in your application any information that you feel is exempt from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act. In the appropriate Appendix section of your application, under “Other Attachments Form,” please list the page number or numbers on which we can find this information. For additional information please see 34 CFR 5.11(c).

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: February 10, 2015.

Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: March 12, 2015.

Dates of Informational Webinars: The SEED program intends to hold webinars designed to provide technical assistance to interested applicants. Detailed information regarding these meetings will be provided on the SEED Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/​programs/​edseed/​index.html.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 13, 2015.

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. 7. Other Submission Requirements of this notice.

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

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

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: June 10, 2015.

4. 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.

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

6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and System for Award Management: 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 System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly 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 SAM 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 to two business days.

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 SAM registration process can take approximately seven business days, but may take upwards of several weeks, depending on the completeness and accuracy of the data entered into the SAM database by an entity. Thus, if you think you might want to apply for Federal financial assistance under a program administered by the Department, please allow sufficient time to obtain and register your DUNS number and TIN. We strongly recommend that you register early.

Note:

Once your SAM registration is active, you will need to allow 24 to 48 hours for the information to be available in Grants.gov and before you can submit an application through Grants.gov.

If you are currently registered with SAM, 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 registration annually. This may take three or more business days.Start Printed Page 7429

Information about SAM is available at www.SAM.gov. To further assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in SAM or updating your existing SAM account, we have prepared a SAM.gov Tip Sheet, which you can find at: http://www2.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​apply/​sam-faqs.html.

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 at the following Grants.gov Web page: www.grants.gov/​web/​grants/​register.html.

7. 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 for grants under the SEED program, CFDA number 84.367D, 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 application for the SEED program at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.367, not 84.367D).

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 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.
  • The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.
  • You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this competition to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov 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 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.

If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether your application will be accepted.

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 Start Printed Page 7430falls 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: Richard Wilson, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4W237, Washington, DC 20202-5960.

FAX: (202) 401-8466.

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 84.367D), 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 84.367D), 550 12th Street SW., Room 7039, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

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

Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:

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

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

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

V. Application Review Information

1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from the SEED NFP and from 34 CFR 75.210, and are as follows:

The maximum score for all the selection criteria is 100 points. The maximum score for each criterion is indicated in parentheses. Each criterion also includes the factors that reviewers will consider in determining the extent to which an applicant meets the criterion.

In addressing each criterion, applicants are encouraged to make explicit connections to relevant aspects of responses to other selection criteria.

A. Significance (10 points). The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed project. In determining the significance of the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

(1) The significance of the proposed project on a National Level.

(2) The potential contribution of the proposed project to the development and advancement of teacher and school leadership theory, knowledge, and practices.

(3) The importance or magnitude of the results or outcomes likely to be attained by the proposed project, especially improvements in teaching and student achievement.

B. Quality of the Project Design and Services (35 points). The Secretary considers the quality of the design and services of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the design and services of the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

(1) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified, aligned, and measurable.

(2) The extent to which the proposed project is part of a comprehensive effort to improve teaching and learning and support rigorous academic standards for students.

(3) The extent to which the training or professional development services to be provided by the proposed project will be of sufficient quality, intensity, and duration to lead to improvements in practice among the recipients of those services.

(4) The extent to which the proposed project will prepare personnel for fields in which shortages have been demonstrated.

(5) The extent to which the proposed project will focus on serving or otherwise addressing the needs of disadvantaged individuals.

C. Quality of the Management Plan and Personnel (20 points). The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for the proposed project and of the personnel who will carry out the proposed project. In determining the quality of the management plan and the project personnel, the Secretary considers:

(1) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of the project director, key project personnel, and project consultants or subcontractors.

(2) 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.

(3) The extent to which the proposed management plan includes sufficient and reasonable resources to effectively carry out the proposed project, including the project evaluation.

D. Sustainability (15 points). The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources to continue the proposed project after the grant period ends. In determining the adequacy of resources and the potential for utility of the proposed project's activities and products by other organizations, the Secretary considers:

(1) The extent to which the proposed project is designed to build capacity and Start Printed Page 7431yield results that will extend beyond the period of Federal financial assistance.

(2) The extent to which the proposed project is likely to yield findings and products (such as information, materials, processes, or techniques) that may be used by other agencies and organizations.

(3) The extent to which the applicant will disseminate information about results and outcomes of the proposed project in ways that will enable others, including the public, to use the information or strategies.

E. Quality of the Project Evaluation (20 points). The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary considers:

(1) The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project.

(2) The extent to which the evaluation includes the use of objective performance measures that are clearly related to the intended outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and qualitative data.

(3) The extent to which the evaluation will provide performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes.

(4) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well-implemented, produce evidence about the project's effectiveness that would meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations.

Note:

We encourage applicants to review the following technical assistance resources on evaluation: (1) WWC 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/​. In addition, we encourage applicants to participate in an optional Webinar hosted by the Institute of Education Sciences on March 6, 2015. This Webinar will discuss strategies for designing and executing well-designed Quasi-experimental Design Studies. Applicants interested in participating in this Webinar may find more information at the following Web site: http://ies.ed.gov/​ncee/​wwc/​event.aspx?​sid=​37.

2. Review and Selection Process: 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 current 2 CFR 3474.10, the Secretary may impose special conditions and, in appropriate circumstances, high-risk 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 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, also.

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

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

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

3. Reporting: (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 SEED program is to support projects by national not-for-profit organizations (as defined in this notice) that are supported by at least moderate evidence of effectiveness (as defined in this notice) to recruit, select, and prepare or provide professional enhancement activities for teachers, principals, or both. We have established the following performance measures for the SEED program: (a) The percentage of teacher and principal participants who serve concentrations of High-need Students; (b) the percentage of participants who serve concentrations of High-need Students and are Highly Effective; (c) the percentage of participants who serve concentrations of High-need Students, are Highly Effective, and serve for at least two years; and (d) the cost per such participant. Grantees will report annually on each measure.

5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: whether a grantee has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, the performance targets in the grantee's approved application. 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

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Richard Wilson, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4W237, Washington, DC 20202-5960. Telephone: (202) 453-6709, or by email: SEED@ed.gov.

If you use a TDD or TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information

Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person Start Printed Page 7432listed 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.

Start Signature

Dated: February 5, 2015.

Nadya Chinoy Dabby,

Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.

End Signature End Further Info End Preamble

[FR Doc. 2015-02710 Filed 2-9-15; 8:45 am]

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