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Notice

Applications for New Awards; Personnel Development To Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities-Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel

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AGENCY:

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.

ACTION:

Notice.

Overview Information: Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities—Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel.

Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2016.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.325D.

DATES:

Applications Available: October 9, 2015.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: December 8, 2015.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: February 8, 2016.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The purposes of this program are to (1) help address State-identified needs for personnel preparation in special education, early intervention, related services, and regular education to work with children, including infants and toddlers, with disabilities; and (2) ensure that those personnel have the necessary skills and knowledge, derived from practices that have been determined through scientifically based research and experience, to be successful in serving those children.

Priority: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(iv), this priority is from allowable activities specified in the statute (see sections 662 and 681 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)).

Absolute Priority: For FY 2016 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority.

This priority is:

Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel.

Background: The purpose of the Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel priority is to Start Printed Page 61195support pre-existing programs that prepare special education, early intervention, and related services personnel at the doctoral level who are well-qualified for, and can act effectively in, leadership positions in universities, State educational agencies (SEAs), lead agencies (LAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), early intervention services programs (EIS programs), or schools.

There is a well-documented need for leadership personnel who are prepared at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels to fill faculty and leadership positions in special education, early intervention, and related services (Montrosse & Young, 2012; Robb, Smith, & Montrosse, 2012; Smith, Montrosse, Robb, Tyler, & Young, 2011; Smith, Robb, West, & Tyler, 2010; Woods & Snyder, 2009). In the report Assessing Trends in Leadership: Special Education's Capacity to Produce a Highly Qualified Workforce, Smith et al. (2011) stated:

Although the field has faced a consistent shortage of faculty, the predicted supply/demand imbalance is of historic proportions. To meet projected demand, the nation's doctoral programs will need to produce over six times the current number of SE [special education] doctoral graduates. . . . Unless abated, this shortage will impair the field's capacity to generate new knowledge and produce a sufficient number of SE teacher educators who can in turn produce enough well-prepared teachers to meet the needs of students with disabilities and their families. (p. 38)

Moreover, Smith et al. (2011) report that some special education doctoral programs anticipate one-half to two-thirds of their faculty will retire in the next six years. These leaders teach evidence-based practices to future special education, early intervention, and related services professionals who will work in a variety of educational settings and provide services directly to children and youth with disabilities. These leaders also conduct research to increase the knowledge of effective interventions and services for these children (Robb et al., 2012; Smith et al., 2010; West & Hardman, 2012).

State and local agencies also need leadership personnel who are prepared at the doctoral level to fill special education and early intervention administrator positions. These administrators supervise and evaluate the implementation of evidence-based instructional programs to make sure that State or local agencies are meeting the needs of children with disabilities. Administrators also ensure that schools and programs meet Federal, State, and local requirements for special education, early intervention, and related services (Lashley & Boscardin, 2003).

Federal support can increase the supply of personnel who have the necessary knowledge and skills to assume leadership positions in special education, early intervention, and related services in universities, SEAs, LAs, LEAs, EIS programs, or schools. Critical competencies for special education, early intervention, and related services personnel vary depending on the type of personnel and the requirements of the preparation program but can include, for example, skills needed for postsecondary instruction, administration, policy development, professional practice, leadership, or research. However, all leadership personnel need to have current knowledge of effective interventions and services that improve outcomes for children with disabilities, including high-need children with disabilities.[1]

Priority: The purpose of the Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel priority is to support pre-existing doctoral degree programs and postdoctoral learning experiences that prepare special education, early intervention, and related services personnel who are well-qualified for, and can act effectively in, leadership positions in universities, SEAs, LAs, LEAs, EIS programs, or schools. This priority supports two types of programs:

Type A programs are designed to prepare special education, early intervention, or related services personnel to serve as higher education faculty. Type A programs culminate in a doctoral degree or provide postdoctoral learning opportunities.

Note:

Preparation programs that lead to clinical doctoral degrees in related services (e.g., a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree or Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree) are not included in this priority. These types of preparation programs are eligible to apply for funding under the Personnel Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services priority (CFDA 84.325K) that the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) intends to fund in FY 2016.

Type B programs are designed to prepare special education or early intervention administrators to work in SEAs, LAs, LEAs, EIS programs or providers, or schools. Type B programs prepare personnel for positions such as SEA special education administrators, LEA or regional special education directors, school-based special education directors, including those in youth correctional facilities, preschool coordinators, and early intervention coordinators. Type B programs culminate in a doctoral degree or provide postdoctoral learning opportunities.

Note:

The preparation of school principals is not included in this priority.

Note:

Applicants must identify the specific program type, A or B, for which they are applying for funding as part of the competition title on the application cover sheet (SF form 424, item 15). Applicants may not submit the same proposal for more than one program type.

To be considered for funding under the Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel absolute priority, all program applicants must meet the application requirements contained in the priority. All projects funded under this absolute priority also must meet the programmatic and administrative requirements specified in the priority.

The requirements of this priority are as follows:

(a) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Significance of the Project,” how—

(1) The project addresses national, State, regional, or district needs for leadership personnel to administer programs or provide, or prepare others to provide, interventions and services that improve outcomes of children with disabilities, ages birth through 21, including high-need children with disabilities.[2] To address this requirement, the applicant must—

(i) Present appropriate and applicable national, State, regional, or district data demonstrating the need for the leadership personnel the applicant proposes to prepare; and

(ii) Present data on the effectiveness of the doctoral program to date in areas such as: The effectiveness of program graduates as educators of teachers, service providers, or administrators, including any results from evaluating the impact of those teachers, service providers, or administrators on the outcomes of children with disabilities; the average amount of time it takes for Start Printed Page 61196program graduates to complete the program; the percentage of program graduates finding employment directly related to their preparation; and the professional accomplishments of program graduates (e.g., public service, honors, or publications) that demonstrate their leadership in special education, early intervention, or related services.

Note:

Data on the effectiveness of a doctoral program should be no older than five years prior to the start date of the project proposed in the application. When reporting percentages, the denominator (i.e., the total number of students or program graduates) must be provided.

(2) Scholar competencies to be acquired in the program relate to knowledge and skills needed by the leadership personnel the applicant proposes to prepare, including knowledge of technologies designed to provide instruction. To address this requirement, the applicant must—

(i) Identify the competencies needed by leadership personnel in postsecondary instruction, administration, policy development, professional practice, leadership, or research in order to administer programs or provide, or prepare others to provide, interventions and services that improve outcomes of children with disabilities, ages birth through 21, including high-need children with disabilities;

(ii) Demonstrate that the interventions and services of the project's specialized preparation area are supported by evidence of promise [3] that they will result in improved outcomes for children with disabilities; and

(ii) Provide the conceptual framework of the leadership preparation program, including any empirical support, that will promote the acquisition of the identified competencies needed by leadership personnel, including knowledge of technologies designed to provide instruction, and, where applicable, how these competencies relate to the project's specialized preparation area.

(b) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of the Project Services,” how—

(1) The project will recruit and support high-quality scholars. The narrative must—

(i) Describe the selection criteria the applicant will use to identify high-quality applicants for admission in the program;

(ii) Describe the recruitment strategies the applicant will use to attract high-quality applicants and any specific recruitment strategies targeting high-quality applicants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including individuals with disabilities; and

(iii) Describe the approach the applicant will use to help all scholars, including individuals with disabilities, complete the program; and

(2) The project is designed to promote the acquisition of the competencies needed by leadership personnel to administer programs or provide, or prepare others to provide, interventions and services that improve outcomes, including college- and career-readiness of children with disabilities. To address this requirement, the applicant must—

(i) Describe how the components of the project, such as coursework, internship or practicum experiences, research requirements, and other opportunities provided to scholars to analyze data, critique research and methodologies, and practice newly acquired knowledge and skills, will enable the scholars to acquire the competencies needed by leadership personnel for postsecondary instruction, administration, policy development, professional practice, leadership, or research in special education, early intervention, or related services;

(ii) Describe how the components of the project are integrated in order to support the acquisition and enhancement of the identified competencies needed by leadership personnel in special education, early intervention, or related services, including knowledge of technologies designed to provide instruction;

(iii) Describe how the components of the project prepare scholars to administer programs or provide, or prepare others to provide, interventions and services that improve outcomes, including college- and career-readiness, of children with disabilities in a variety of settings, including in high-need LEAs; [4] high-poverty schools; [5] low-performing schools, including persistently lowest-achieving schools; [6] priority schools (in the case of States that have received the Department of Education's (Department's) approval of a request for ESEA flexibility); [7] and early childhood programs located Start Printed Page 61197within the geographical boundaries of a high-need LEA;

(iv) Demonstrate, through a letter of support from the partnering agency, school, or program that there is an agreement with one or more high-need LEAs; publicly funded preschool programs, including Head Start programs, located within the geographic boundaries of a high-need LEA; or programs serving children eligible for services under Part C or Part B, section 619 of IDEA located within the geographic boundaries of a high-need LEA, that it will provide scholars with a high-quality internship or practicum experience in a school in a high-need LEA, publicly funded preschool, or early intervention program;

(v) Describe how the project will use resources, as appropriate, available through technical assistance centers, which may include centers funded by the Department; and

(vi) Describe the approach that faculty members will use to mentor scholars with the goal of helping them acquire competencies needed by leadership personnel and promote career goals in special education, early intervention, or related services.

(c) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of the Project Evaluation,” how—

(1) The applicant will evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed leadership project. The applicant must describe the outcomes to be measured for both the project and the scholars, particularly the acquisition of scholar competencies and their impact on the services provided by future teachers, service providers, or administrators; the evaluation methodologies to be employed, including proposed instruments, data collection methods, and possible analyses; and the proposed standards or targets for determining effectiveness;

(2) The applicant will collect, analyze, and use data on current scholars and scholars who graduate from the program to improve the proposed program on an ongoing basis; and

(3) The grantee will report the evaluation results to OSEP in its annual and final performance reports.

(d) Demonstrate, in the narrative under “Required Project Assurances,” or appendices as directed, that the following program requirements are met. The applicant must—

(1) Include in the application appendix—

(i) Course syllabi for all coursework in the major and any required coursework for a minor;

(ii) Course syllabi for all research methods, evaluation methods, or data analysis courses required by the degree program and elective research methods, evaluation methods, or data analysis courses that have been completed by more than one student enrolled in the program in the last five years; and

(iii) For new coursework, proposed syllabi;

Note:

Applicants for Type B programs should provide a syllabus or syllabi for current or proposed courses that provide instruction on, or permit practice with, research and the methodological, statistical, and practical considerations in the use of data on early learning outcomes, student achievement, or growth in student achievement to evaluate the effectiveness of early intervention providers, related services providers, teachers, or principals.

(2) Ensure that the proposed number of scholars to be recruited into the program can graduate from the program by the end of the grant's project period. The described scholar recruitment strategies, including recruitment of individuals with disabilities, the program components and their sequence, and proposed budget must be consistent with this project requirement;

(3) Ensure scholars will not be selected based on race or national origin/ethnicity. Per the Supreme Court's decision in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200 (1995), the Department does not allow the selection of individuals on the basis of race or national origin/ethnicity. For this reason, grantees must ensure that any discussion of the recruitment of scholars based on race or national origin/ethnicity distinguishes between increasing the pool of applicants and actually selecting scholars;

(4) Ensure that the project will meet the requirements in 34 CFR 304.23, particularly those related to informing all scholarship recipients of their service obligation commitment. Failure by a grantee to properly meet these requirements is a violation of the grant award that may result in sanctions, including the grantee being liable for returning any misused funds to the Department. Specifically, the grantee must prepare, and ensure that each scholarship recipient signs, the following two documents:

(i) A Pre-Scholarship Agreement prior to the scholar receiving a scholarship for an eligible program (Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Control Number 1820-0686); and

(ii) An Exit Certification immediately upon the scholar leaving, completing, or otherwise exiting that program (OMB Control Number 1820-0686);

(5) Ensure that prior approval from the OSEP project officer will be obtained before admitting additional scholars beyond the number of scholars proposed in the application and before transferring a scholar to another preparation program funded by OSEP;

(6) Ensure that the project will meet the statutory requirements in section 662(e) through 662(h) of IDEA;

(7) Ensure that at least 65 percent of the total requested budget over the five years will be used for scholar support;

(8) Ensure that the institution of higher education (IHE) will not require scholars enrolled in the program to work (e.g., as graduate assistants) as a condition of receiving support (e.g., tuition, stipends) from the proposed project, unless the work is specifically related to the acquisition of scholars' competencies and the requirements for completion of their personnel preparation program. This prohibition on work as a condition of receiving support does not apply to the service obligation requirements in section 662(h) of IDEA;

(9) Ensure that the budget includes attendance of the project director at a three-day project directors' meeting in Washington, DC, during each year of the project. The budget may also provide for the attendance of scholars at the same three-day project directors' meetings in Washington, DC;

(10) Ensure that if the project maintains a Web site, relevant information and documents are in a format that meets government or industry-recognized standards for accessibility; and

(11) Ensure that annual data will be submitted on each scholar who receives grant support (OMB Control Number 1820-0686). The primary purposes of the data collection are to track the service obligation fulfillment of scholars who receive funds from OSEP grants and to collect data for program performance measure reporting under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA). Applicants are encouraged to visit the Personnel Development Program Data Collection System (DCS) Web site at https://pdp.ed.gov/​osep for further information about this data collection requirement. Typically, data collection begins in January of each year, and grantees are notified by email about the data collection period for their grant, although grantees may submit data as needed, year round. This data collection must be submitted electronically by the grantee and does not supplant the annual grant performance report required of each grantee for continuation funding (see 34 CFR 75.590). Data collection includes the submission of a signed, completed Pre-Scholarship Agreement and Exit Start Printed Page 61198Certification for each scholar funded under an OSEP grant (see paragraph (4) of this section, subparagraphs (i) and (ii)).

References

Lashley, C., & Boscardin, M. L. (2003). Special education administration at the crossroads: Availability, licensure, and preparation of special education administrators. Gainesville, FL: Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education, University of Florida. Retrieved from www.coe.ufl.edu/​copsse/​docs/​IB-8/​1/​IB-8.pdf.

Montrosse, B.E., & Young, C.J. (2012). Market demand for special education faculty. Teacher Education and Special Education, 35, 140-153.

Robb, S.M., Smith, D.D., & Montrosse, B.E. (2012). A context of the demand for special education faculty: A study of special education teacher preparation programs. Teacher Education and Special Education, 35, 128-139.

Smith, D.D., Montrosse, B.E., Robb, S.M., Tyler, N.C., & Young, C. (2011). Assessing trends in leadership: Special education's capacity to produce a highly qualified workforce. Claremont, CA: IRIS@CGU, Claremont Graduate University.

Smith, D.D., Robb, S.M., West, J., & Tyler, N.C. (2010). The changing education landscape: How special education leadership preparation can make a difference for teachers and their students with disabilities. Teacher Education and Special Education, 33 (1), 25-43.

West, J.E., & Hardman, H.L. (2012). Averting current and future special education faculty shortages: Policy implications and recommendations. Teacher Education and Special Education, 35, 154-160.

Woods, J., & Snyder, P. (2009). Interdisciplinary doctoral leadership training in early intervention. Infants & Young Children, 22 (1), 32-34.

Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553) the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities. Section 681(d) of IDEA, however, makes the public comment requirements of the APA inapplicable to the priority in this notice.

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1462 and 1481.

Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) 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. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 304.

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to IHEs only.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested $83,700,000 for the Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities program for FY 2016, of which we intend to use an estimated $3,500,000 for this competition. The actual level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant process if Congress appropriates funds for this program.

Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2017 from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $225,000-$250,000 per year.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $237,500 per year.

Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $250,000 for a single budget period of 12 months.

Estimated Number of Awards: 14.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 60 months.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: IHEs, private nonprofit organizations.

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

3. Eligible Subgrantees: (a) Under 75.708(b) and (c) a grantee may award subgrants—to directly carry out project activities described in its application—to the following types of entities: IHEs and private nonprofit organizations suitable to carry out the activities proposed in the application.

(b) The grantee may award subgrants to entities it has identified in an approved application.

4. Other General Requirements:

(a) Recipients of funding under this program must make positive efforts to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities (see section 606 of IDEA).

(b) Each applicant for, and recipient of, funding under this program must involve individuals with disabilities, or parents of individuals with disabilities ages birth through 26, in planning, implementing, and evaluating the project (see section 682(a)(1)(A) of IDEA).

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an application package via the Internet or from the Education Publications Center (ED Pubs). To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: www.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​apply/​grantapps/​index.html. To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call: 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, toll free: 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 an application package from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.325D.

Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the 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.

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

Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit Part III to 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, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, reference citations, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, graphs, and screen shots.
  • Use a font that is 12 point or larger.
  • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font (including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.Start Printed Page 61199

The page limit and double-spacing requirements do 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 abstract (follow the guidance provided in the application package for completing the abstract), the table of contents, the list of priority requirements, the resumes, the reference list, the letters of support, or the appendices. However, the page limit and double-spacing requirements do apply to all of Part III, the application narrative, including all text in charts, tables, figures, graphs, and screen shots.

We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit in the application narrative section or if you apply standards other than those specified in the application package.

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: October 9, 2015.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: December 8, 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 Other Submission Requirements section IV 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: February 8, 2016.

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

5. Funding Restrictions: 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), 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 at the following Web site: http://fedgov.dnb.com/​webform. 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 two to five 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 you enter into the SAM database. 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, it may be 24 to 48 hours before you can access the information in, and 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.

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 Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel competition, CFDA number 84.325D, 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 Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel competition 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 84.325, not 84.325D).

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 Start Printed Page 61200submitted 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 www.G5.gov. In addition, for specific guidance and procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov, please refer to the Grants.gov Web site at: www.grants.gov/​web/​grants/​applicants/​apply-for-grants.html.
  • 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 read-only, non-modifiable Portable Document Format (PDF). Do not upload an interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, non-modifiable PDF (e.g., Word, Excel, WordPerfect, etc.) or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material. Please note that this could result in your application not being considered for funding because the material in question—for example, the project narrative—is critical to a meaningful review of your proposal. For that reason it is important to allow yourself adequate time to upload all material as PDF files. The Department will not convert material from other formats to PDF. Additional, detailed information on how to attach files is in the application instructions.
  • 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. Grants.gov will also notify you automatically by email if your application met all the Grants.gov validation requirements or if there were any errors (such as submission of your application by someone other than a registered Authorized Organization Representative, or inclusion of an attachment with a file name that contains special characters). You will be given an opportunity to correct any errors and resubmit, but you must still meet the deadline for submission of applications.

Once your application is successfully validated by Grants.gov, the Department will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send you an email with a unique PR/Award number for your application.

These emails do not mean that your application is without any disqualifying errors. While your application may have been successfully validated by Grants.gov, it must also meet the Department's application requirements as specified in this notice and in the application instructions. Disqualifying errors could include, for instance, failure to upload attachments in a read-only, non-modifiable PDF; failure to submit a required part of the application; or failure to meet applicant eligibility requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your submitted application has met all of the Department's requirements.

  • 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 the problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We will contact you after we determine 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 Start Printed Page 61201exception prevents 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: Celia Rosenquist, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4070, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2600. FAX: (202) 245-7617.

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 84.325D), 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.

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.

We will not consider applications postmarked after the application deadline date.

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 84.325D), 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 program are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are listed in the application package.

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 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. Additional Review and Selection Process Factors: In the past, the Department has had difficulty finding peer reviewers for certain competitions because so many individuals who are eligible to serve as peer reviewers have conflicts of interest. The standing panel requirements under section 682(b) of IDEA also have placed additional constraints on the availability of reviewers. Therefore, the Department has determined that for some discretionary grant competitions, applications may be separated into two or more groups and ranked and selected for funding within specific groups. This procedure will make it easier for the Department to find peer reviewers by ensuring that greater numbers of individuals who are eligible to serve as reviewers for any particular group of applicants will not have conflicts of interest. It also will increase the quality, independence, and fairness of the review process, while permitting panel members to review applications under discretionary grant competitions for which they also have submitted applications. However, if the Department decides to select an equal number of applications in each group for funding, this may result in different cut-off points for fundable applications in each group.

4. Risk Assessment and Special Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 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.Start Printed Page 61202

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 multiyear 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.

(c) Under 34 CFR 75.250(b), the Secretary may provide a grantee with additional funding for data collection analysis and reporting. In this case the Secretary establishes a data collection period.

4. Performance Measures: Under GPRA, the Department has established a set of performance measures, including long-term measures, that are designed to yield information on various aspects of the effectiveness and quality of the Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities program. These measures include: (1) The percentage of Special Education Personnel Development projects that incorporate evidence-based practices into their curricula; (2) the percentage of scholars completing Special Education Personnel Development funded programs who are knowledgeable and skilled in evidence-based practices for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities; (3) the percentage of Special Education Personnel Development funded scholars who exit preparation programs prior to completion due to poor academic performance; (4) the percentage of Special Education Personnel Development funded degree/certification recipients who are working in the area(s) for which they were prepared upon program completion; (5) the percentage of Special Education Personnel Development funded degree/certification recipients who are working in the area(s) for which they were prepared upon program completion and who are fully qualified under IDEA; (6) the percentage of Special Education Personnel Development funded degree/certification recipients who maintain employment in the area(s) for which they were prepared for three or more years and who are fully qualified under IDEA; and (7) the Federal cost per fully qualified degree/certification recipient.

In addition, the Department will gather information on the following outcome measures: (1) The number and percentage of degree/certification recipients who are employed in high-need schools; (2) the number and percentage of degree/certification recipients who are employed in a school for at least two years; and (3) the number and percentage of degree/certification recipients who are rated as effective by their employers.

Grantees may be asked to participate in assessing and providing information on these aspects of program quality.

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 in its approved application and budget; 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 award, 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:

Celia Rosenquist, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4070, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2600. Telephone: (202) 245-7373.

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

VIII. Other Information

Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5037, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

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 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: October 6, 2015.

Michael K. Yudin,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

End Signature End Further Info End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  For a definition of “high-need children with disabilities,” please see footnote 2.

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2.  For purposes of this priority, “high-need children with disabilities” refers to children (ages birth through 21, depending on the State) who are eligible for services under IDEA, and who may be further disadvantaged and at risk of educational failure because they: (1) Are living in poverty, (2) are far below grade level, (3) are at risk of not graduating with a regular high school diploma on time, (4) are homeless, (5) are in foster care, (6) have been incarcerated, (7) are English learners, (8) are pregnant or parenting teenagers, (9) are new immigrants, (10) are migrant, or (11) are not on track to being college- or career-ready by graduation.

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3.  Under 34 CFR 77.1, “evidence of promise” means there is empirical evidence to support the theoretical linkage(s) between at least one critical component and at least one relevant outcome presented in the logic model for the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice. Specifically, “evidence of promise” means the conditions in both paragraphs (i) and (ii) of this definition are met:

(i) There is at least one study that is a—

(A) Correlational study with statistical controls for selection bias;

(B) Quasi-experimental design study that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations; or

(C) Randomized controlled trial that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with or without reservations.

(ii) The study referenced in paragraph (i) of this definition found a statistically significant or substantively important (defined as a difference of 0.25 standard deviations or larger) favorable association between at least one critical component and one relevant outcome presented in the logic model for the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice.

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4.  For purposes of this priority, the term “high-need LEA” means an LEA (a) that serves not fewer than 10,000 children from families with incomes below the poverty line; or (b) for which not less than 20 percent of the children served by the LEA are from families with incomes below the poverty line.

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5.  For purposes of this priority, the term “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 (ESEA). 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 (www2.ed.gov/​legislation/​FedRegister/​other/​2010-4/​121510b.html).

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6.  For purposes of this priority, the term “persistently lowest-achieving schools” means, as determined by the State—

(a)(1) 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

(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 persistently lowest-achieving schools, a State must take into account both—

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

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

For the purposes of this priority, the Department considers schools that are identified as Tier I or Tier II schools under the School Improvement Grants Program (see 75 FR 66363) as part of a State's approved application to be persistently lowest-achieving schools. A list of these Tier I and Tier II schools can be found on the Department's Web site at www2.ed.gov/​programs/​sif/​index.html.

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7.  For purposes of this priority, the term “priority school” means a school that has been identified by the State as a priority school pursuant to the State's approved request for ESEA flexibility.

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[FR Doc. 2015-25876 Filed 10-8-15; 8:45 am]

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