Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.
Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities and Technical Assistance on State Data Collection—National Technical Assistance Center to Increase the Participation and Improve the Performance of Students with Disabilities on State and Districtwide Assessments.
Notice inviting applications for a new award for fiscal year (FY) 2016.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.326G.
Applications Available: July 21, 2016.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 22, 2016.
Full Text of Announcement
I. Funding Opportunity Description
Purpose of Programs: The purpose of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities program is to promote academic achievement and to improve results for children with disabilities by providing technical assistance (TA), supporting model demonstration projects, disseminating useful information, and implementing activities that are supported by scientifically based research. The purpose of the Technical Assistance on State Data Collection program is to improve the capacity of States to meet the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) data collection and reporting requirements.
Priorities: This notice contains two absolute priorities. In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(v), Absolute Priority 1 is from allowable activities specified or otherwise authorized in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (see sections 663 and 681(d) of the IDEA, 20 U.S.C. 1463 and 1481(d)). Absolute Priority 2 is from the notice of final priorities and requirements for the Technical Assistance on State Data Collection program (NFP) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.
Absolute Priorities: These priorities are absolute priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet these priorities.
These priorities are:
Absolute Priority 1—Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities—National Technical Assistance Center to Increase the Participation and Improve the Performance of Students with Disabilities on State and Districtwide Assessments.
The purpose of this priority is to fund a cooperative agreement to establish and Start Printed Page 47367operate a National Technical Assistance Center to Increase the Participation and Improve the Performance of Students with Disabilities on State and Districtwide Assessments (Center).
Section 612(a)(16) of the IDEA requires that all students with disabilities are included in all general State and districtwide assessments, including assessments described under section 1111 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments where necessary and as indicated in their respective individualized education programs. In accordance with Federal law, there are multiple ways for students with disabilities to participate in State and districtwide assessments: General assessments, general assessments with accommodations, and alternate assessments that are based on alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.
Further, research shows that (1) instruction for students with disabilities is increasingly aligned with State academic content standards, (2) State and districtwide assessment data are more frequently used to make educational decisions for these students, and (3) participating in State and districtwide assessments and being included in accountability systems may have positive effects on educational results for students with disabilities (Aron & Loprest, 2012; Courtade, Spooner, & Browder, 2012; Kurz, Elliott, Lemons, Zigmond, Kloo, & Kettler, 2014). However, teachers cannot simply wait until the results of State and districtwide assessments become available to make educational decisions. In addition to analyzing results from State (typically summative) assessments, formative assessments are increasingly being used before, during, and after instruction to help teachers understand their students' learning and improve their own instructional practices (Conderman & Hedin, 2012).
Despite the progress State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) have made in including students with disabilities in assessments and accountability systems, SEAs and LEAs continue to face challenges, such as integrating data from dissimilar tests (e.g., general, accommodated, and alternate) into a single accountability system, developing consistent SEA and LEA policies on assessment accommodations that provide maximum accessibility while maintaining test reliability and validity, and analyzing and using formative and summative assessment data to improve instruction and accountability for students with disabilities.
Furthermore, one of the most complex challenges faced by SEAs and LEAs is developing and administering English language proficiency (ELP) assessments to students who are both English Learners (ELs) and students with disabilities (U.S. Department of Education, 2014). Properly identifying these students is also a significant challenge if their disabilities are masked by their limited English proficiency, or vice versa. Improper identification may lead to inappropriate instruction, assessment, and accommodation for these students. Linguistic and cultural biases may also affect the validity of assessment for ELs with disabilities (Lane & Leventhal, 2015).
Finally, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) notes that in many schools, there may be unnecessary testing and insufficient clarity of purpose applied to the task of assessing students, including students with disabilities, consuming too much instructional time and creating undue stress for educators and students. (For more information, see the Department's February 2, 2016, letter to Chief State School Officers available at: www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/saa/16-0002signedcsso222016ltr.pdf.)
These and other complex challenges will continue to arise in this dynamic landscape as States adopt college- and career-ready academic content standards and develop new, valid, more instructionally useful and inclusive assessments aligned to these standards. Developing these new assessments has been and will continue to be challenging and time-consuming, and States and LEAs need support in identifying and implementing effective practices for including children with disabilities in State and districtwide assessments. Moreover, methods for analyzing and effectively using State and districtwide assessment data to improve instruction and accountability for students with disabilities will continue to need further development and refinement. In this regard, the Department notes that SEA personnel also need assistance in analyzing and using assessment data to better achieve the State Identifiable Measurable Result(s) (SIMR), which were described in their IDEA Part B State Systemic Improvement Plans (SSIPs) that were developed in accordance with section 616(b) of IDEA and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) guidance on Indicator B-17 of the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2013 through FFY 2018 IDEA Part B State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR).
In addition, SEA personnel need assistance to provide TA to LEAs to analyze and use State and districtwide assessment data to improve instruction of students with disabilities to better achieve the SIMR.
The purpose of this priority is to fund a cooperative agreement to support the establishment and operation of a National Technical Assistance Center to Increase the Participation and Improve the Performance of Students with Disabilities on State and Districtwide Assessments (Center) to address national, State, and local assessment issues related to students with disabilities. The Center must achieve, at a minimum, the following expected outcomes to ensure the inclusion of students with disabilities in State and districtwide assessments and accountability systems:
Knowledge Development Outcomes
(a) Increased body of knowledge to collect, analyze, synthesize, and disseminate relevant information regarding State and districtwide assessment of students with disabilities on topics such as:
(1) The inclusion of students with disabilities in accountability systems;
(2) Assessment accommodations;
(3) Alternate assessments;
(4) Universal design of assessments;
(5) Technology-based assessments;
(6) Formative assessments;
(7) Competency-based assessments;
(8) Methods for analyzing and reporting assessment data;
(9) Application of growth models in assessment programs;
(10) Uses of formative and summative assessment data to inform instructional programs for students with disabilities; and
(11) Assessing ELs with disabilities, including ensuring that all ELs with Start Printed Page 47368disabilities receive appropriate accommodations, as needed, on ELP assessments, and that the results of ELP assessments for students with disabilities are validly used in making accountability determinations under the ESEA.
Note: In order to meet the requirements of paragraph (a), the Center will conduct a comprehensive review of existing research on practices supported by evidence available from a variety of reliable sources, such as findings from research funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), including the National Research and Development Center on Assessment and Accountability for Special Education (NCASSE) and other federally funded and non-federally funded sources.
(b) Increase the capacity of SEA and LEA personnel to assess SEA and LEA needs, and track SEA and LEA activities and trends, related to including students with disabilities in State and districtwide assessments, including, as appropriate, improving the skills of SEA and LEA personnel related to any of the topics listed in paragraph (a) of the Knowledge Development Outcomes section of this priority.
Technical Assistance and Dissemination Outcomes
(a) Increased capacity of SEA and LEA personnel, to collect and analyze formative and summative assessment data on the performance of students with disabilities.
(b) Increased capacity of SEA and LEA personnel to use formative and summative assessment data to evaluate and improve educational policies and increase accountability for students with disabilities.
(c) Increased capacity of LEA personnel to use formative and summative assessment results in instructional decision-making to improve teaching and learning for students with disabilities; and
(d) Increased awareness of SEA and LEA personnel, and national policymakers, regarding how students with disabilities are included in and benefit from current and emerging approaches to State and districtwide assessment, including topics listed in paragraph (a) of the Knowledge Development Outcomes section of this priority.
In addition to these program requirements, to be considered for funding under this absolute priority, applicants must meet the application and administrative requirements under Absolute Priority 1 and Absolute Priority 2 Common Requirements.
Absolute Priority 2— Targeted and Intensive Technical Assistance to States on the Analysis and Use of Formative and Summative Assessment Data to Support Implementation of States' Identified Measurable Result(s).
The purpose of this priority is to assist States in analyzing and using formative and summative assessment data to support the implementation of the SIMR as described in their SSIP.
As detailed in the background section for Absolute Priority 1, research indicates that SEAs and LEAs continue to face challenges in analyzing and using formative and summative assessment data to improve instruction and accountability for students with disabilities. SEAs also need assistance analyzing State assessment data submitted as part of the SSIP and the SIMR in accordance with section 616 of IDEA and OSEP guidance. Beginning in the FFY 2013 SPP/APR, States must provide, as part of Phase I of the SSIP, a statement of the result(s) the State intends to achieve through implementation of the SSIP, which is referred to as the SIMR for Children with Disabilities. The State must establish “measurable and rigorous” targets for each successive year of the SPP (FFYs 2014 through 2018). The end target (for FFY 2018) must demonstrate improvement over the FFY 2013 baseline data. At least 42 States have focused their SIMR on improving academic achievement as measured by assessment results for children with disabilities. These States will need assistance in analyzing and using State assessment data to promote academic achievement and to improve results for children with disabilities.
The purpose of this priority is to (1) assist States in analyzing and using assessment data to better achieve the SIMR as described in their IDEA Part B SSIPs, and (2) assist State efforts to provide TA to LEAs in analyzing and using State and districtwide assessment data to better achieve the SIMR, as appropriate. The Center must achieve, at a minimum, the following expected outcomes:
(a) Increased capacity of SEA personnel to analyze and use assessment data to better achieve the SIMR described in the IDEA Part B SSIP, including using assessment data to evaluate and improve educational policy, inform instructional programs, and improve instruction for students with disabilities; and
(b) Increased capacity of SEA personnel to provide TA to LEAs in the analysis and use of State and districtwide assessment data to improve instruction of students with disabilities and better achieve the SIMR.
Absolute Priority 1 and Absolute Priority 2 Common Requirements:
In addition to the program requirements contained in both absolute priorities, to be considered for funding applicants must meet the following application and administrative requirements.
(a) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Significance of the Project,” how the proposed project will—
(1) Address the needs of SEAs and LEAs to analyze and use formative and summative assessment data in instructional decision-making to improve teaching and learning for students with disabilities. To meet this requirement the applicant must—
(i) Present applicable national, State, and local data demonstrating the needs of SEAs and LEAs to analyze and use formative and summative assessment data in instructional decision-making to improve teaching and learning for students with disabilities;
(ii) Demonstrate knowledge of current educational issues and policy initiatives related to analyzing and using formative and summative assessment data in instructional decision-making to improve teaching and learning for students with disabilities;
(iii) Describe the current level of implementation related to analyzing and using formative and summative assessment data in instructional decision-making to improve teaching and learning for students with disabilities.
(2) Improve the analysis and use of formative and summative assessment data to improve teaching and learning for students with disabilities.
(b) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of the Project Services,” how the proposed project will—
(1) Ensure equal access and treatment for members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. To meet this requirement, the applicant must describe how it will—
(i) Identify the needs of the intended recipients for TA and information; and
(ii) Ensure that products and services meet the needs of the intended Start Printed Page 47369recipients (e.g., by creating materials in formats and languages accessible to the stakeholders served by the intended recipients);
(2) Achieve its goals, objectives, and intended outcomes. To meet this requirement, the applicant must provide—
(i) Measurable intended project outcomes; and
(ii) The logic model by which the proposed project will achieve its intended outcomes;
(3) Use a conceptual framework to develop project plans and activities, describing any underlying concepts, assumptions, expectations, beliefs, or theories, as well as the presumed relationships or linkages among these variables, and any empirical support for this framework;
Note: While section 77.1(c) of the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) contains a definition for “logic model,” OSEP, based upon its experience in this area, has been using the above definition as standard language for the OSEP Technical Assistance and Dissemination (TA&D) program priorities. OSEP's definition establishes a difference between logic models and conceptual frameworks whereas 34 CFR 77.1(c) considers the model to be one and the same. The following Web sites provide more information on logic models: www.osepideasthatwork.org/logicModel and www.osepideasthatwork.org/resources-grantees/program-areas/ta-ta/tad-project-logic-model-and-conceptual-framework.
(4) Be based on current research and make use of practices supported by evidence. To meet this requirement, the applicant must describe—
(i) The current research on the effectiveness of analyzing and using formative and summative assessment data in instructional decision-making to improve teaching and learning for students with disabilities; and
(ii) How the proposed project will incorporate current practices supported by evidence in the development and delivery of its products and services;
(5) Develop products and provide services that are of high quality and sufficient intensity and duration to achieve the intended outcomes of the proposed project. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe—
(i) How it proposes to identify or develop the knowledge base on analyzing and using formative and summative assessment data in instructional decision-making to improve teaching and learning for students with disabilities;
(ii) Its proposed approach to universal, general TA,
which must identify the intended recipients of the products and services under this approach;
(iii) Its proposed approach to targeted, specialized TA,
which must identify—
(A) The intended recipients of the products and services under this approach; and
(B) Its proposed approach to measure the readiness of potential TA recipients to work with the project, assessing, at a minimum, their current infrastructure, available resources, and ability to build capacity at the local level; and
(iv) Its proposed approach to intensive, sustained TA,
which must identify—
(A) The intended recipients of the products and services under this approach;
(B) Its proposed approach to measure the readiness of SEA and LEA personnel to work with the project, including their commitment to the initiative, alignment of the initiative to their needs, current infrastructure, available resources, and ability to build capacity at the SEA and LEA levels;
(C) Its proposed plan for assisting SEAs (and LEAs, in conjunction with SEAs) to build training systems that include professional development based on adult learning principles and coaching; and
(D) Its proposed plan for working with appropriate levels of the education system (e.g., SEAs, regional TA providers, LEAs, schools, and families) to ensure that there is communication between each level and that there are systems in place to support the collection, analysis, and use of formative and summative assessment data in instructional decision-making to improve teaching and learning for students with disabilities;
(E) Its proposed plan for collaborating and coordinating with Department-funded TA investments and IES research and development investments, where appropriate, in order to align complementary work and jointly develop and implement products and services to meet the purposes of this priority;
(6) Develop products and implement services that maximize efficiency. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe—
(i) How the proposed project will use technology to achieve the intended project outcomes;
(ii) With whom the proposed project will collaborate and the intended outcomes of this collaboration; and
(iii) How the proposed project will use non-project resources to achieve the intended project outcomes.
(c) In the narrative section of the application under “Quality of the Evaluation Plan,” include an evaluation plan for the project as described in the following paragraphs. The evaluation plan must describe: Measures of progress in implementation, including the extent to which the project's products and services have reached its target population; and measures of intended outcomes or results of the project's activities in order to assess the effectiveness of those activities.
In designing the evaluation plan, the project must—
(1) Designate, with the approval of the OSEP project officer, a project liaison staff person with sufficient dedicated time, experience in evaluation, and knowledge of the project to work in collaboration with the Center to Improve Project Performance (CIPP),
Start Printed Page 47370the project director, and the OSEP project officer on the following tasks:
(i) Revise, as needed, the logic model submitted in the grant application to provide for a more comprehensive measurement of implementation and outcomes and to reflect any changes or clarifications to the model discussed at the kick-off meeting;
(ii) Refine the evaluation design and instrumentation proposed in the grant application consistent with the logic model (e.g., preparing evaluation questions about significant program processes and outcomes, developing quantitative or qualitative data collections that permit both the collection of progress data, including fidelity of implementation, as appropriate, and progress toward achieving intended outcomes, selecting respondent samples if appropriate, designing instruments or identifying data sources, and identifying analytic strategies); and
(iii) Revise, as needed, the evaluation plan submitted in the grant application such that it clearly—
(A) Specifies the measures and associated instruments or sources for data appropriate to the evaluation questions, suggests analytic strategies for those data, provides a timeline for conducting the evaluation, and includes staff assignments for completion of the plan;
(B) Delineates the data expected to be available by the end of the second project year for use during the project's intensive review for continued funding described under the heading Fourth and Fifth Years of the Project; and
(C) Can be used to assist the project director and the OSEP project officer, with the assistance of CIPP, as needed, to specify the performance measures to be addressed in the project's Annual Performance Report;
(2) Cooperate with CIPP staff in order to accomplish the tasks described in paragraph (1) of this section; and
(3) Dedicate sufficient funds in each budget year to cover the costs of carrying out the tasks described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this section and implementing the evaluation plan.
(d) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Adequacy of Project Resources,” how—
(1) The proposed project will encourage applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability, as appropriate;
(2) The proposed key project personnel, consultants, and subcontractors have the qualifications and experience to carry out the proposed activities and achieve the project's intended outcomes;
(3) The applicant and any key partners have adequate resources to carry out the proposed activities; and
(4) The proposed costs are reasonable in relation to the anticipated results and benefits.
(e) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of the Management Plan,” how—
(1) The proposed management plan will ensure that the project's intended outcomes will be achieved on time and within budget. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe—
(i) Clearly defined responsibilities for key project personnel, consultants, and subcontractors, as applicable; and
(ii) Timelines and milestones for accomplishing the project tasks;
(2) Key project personnel and any consultants and subcontractors will be allocated to the project and how these allocations are appropriate and adequate to achieve the project's intended outcomes;
(3) The proposed management plan will ensure that the products and services provided are of high quality; and
(4) The proposed project will benefit from a diversity of perspectives, including those of families, educators, TA providers, researchers, and policy makers, among others, in its development and operation.
(f) Address the following application requirements. The applicant must—
(1) Include, in Appendix A, a logic model that depicts, at a minimum, the goals, activities, outputs, and intended outcomes of the proposed project. A logic model communicates how a project will achieve its intended outcomes and provides a framework for both the formative and summative evaluations of the project.
(2) Include, in Appendix A, a conceptual framework for the project;
(3) Include, in Appendix A, person-loading charts and timelines, as applicable, to illustrate the management plan described in the narrative;
(4) Include, in the budget, attendance at the following:
(i) A one and one-half day kick-off meeting in Washington, DC, after receipt of the award, and an annual planning meeting in Washington, DC, with the OSEP project officer and other relevant staff during each subsequent year of the project period.
Note: Within 30 days of receipt of the award, a post-award teleconference must be held between the OSEP project officer and the grantee's project director or other authorized representative;
(ii) A two and a half day project directors' meeting in Washington, DC, during each year of the project period;
(iii) Three trips annually to attend Department briefings, Department-sponsored conferences, and other meetings, as requested by OSEP; and
(iv) A one-day intensive 3+2 review meeting in Washington, DC, during the last half of the second year of the project period;
(5) Include, in the budget, a line item for an annual set-aside of five percent of the grant amount to support emerging needs that are consistent with the proposed project's intended outcomes, as those needs are identified in consultation with OSEP.
Note: With approval from the OSEP project officer, the project must reallocate any remaining funds from this annual set-aside no later than the end of the third quarter of each budget period; and
(6) Maintain a Web site that meets government or industry-recognized standards for accessibility.
Fourth and Fifth Years of the Project
In deciding whether to continue funding the project for the fourth and fifth years, the Secretary will consider the requirements of 34 CFR 75.253(a), as well as—
(a) The recommendation of a review team consisting of experts selected by the Secretary. This review will be conducted during a one-day intensive meeting that will be held during the last half of the second year of the project period;
(b) The timeliness and effectiveness with which all requirements of the negotiated cooperative agreement have been or are being met by the project; and
(c) The quality, relevance, and usefulness of the project's products and services and the extent to which the project's products and services are aligned with the project's objectives and likely to result in the project achieving its intended outcomes.
Aron, L., & Loprest, P. (2012). Disability and the education system. The Future of Children, 22 (1), 97-122.
Conderman, G., & Hedin, L. (2012). Classroom assessments that inform instruction. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48 (4), 162-168.
Courtade, G, Spooner, F., Browder, D., & Jimenez, B. (2012). Seven reasons to promote standards-based instruction for students with severe Disabilities: A Reply to Ayres, Lowrey, Douglas, & Sievers (2011). Education and Training Start Printed Page 47371in Autism and Developmental Disabilities,
47 (1), 3-13.
Kurz, A., Elliott, S., Lemons, C., Zigmond, N., Kloo, A., & Kettler, R. (2014). Assessing opportunity-to-learn for students with disabilities in general and special education classes. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 40 (1), 24-39.
Lane, S., & Leventhal, B. (2015). Psychometric challenges in assessing English language learners with disabilities. Review of Research in Education, 39, 165-214.
U.S. Department of Education. (2014). Questions and Answers Regarding Inclusion of English Learners with Disabilities in English Language Proficiency Assessments and Title III Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives. Retrieved from: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sfgp/elswdfaq7182014.doc.
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 and requirements. Section 681(d) of IDEA, however, makes the public comment requirements of the APA inapplicable to Absolute Priority 1 in this notice.
Program Authority: For Absolute Priority 1, 20 U.S.C. 1463 and 1481; for Absolute Priority 2, 20 U.S.C. 1411(c) and 1416(i).
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 Office of Management and Budget 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 in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR 300.702. (e) The NFP, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.
Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally recognized Indian tribes.
Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of higher education (IHEs) only.
II. Award Information
Type of Award: Cooperative agreement.
Estimated Available Funds: $2,000,000.
Note: Applicants must submit a separate Form 524b budget and budget narrative for Absolute Priority 1 only and a separate Form 524b budget and budget narrative for Absolute Priority 2 only. The Secretary will reject any application that does not separately address all the elements of Absolute Priority 1 and Absolute Priority 2 and include separate budgets and budget narratives for Absolute Priority 1 only and Absolute Priority 2 only.
Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2017 from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.
Estimated Range of Awards: $2,000,000.
Estimated Average Size of Awards: $2,000,000.
Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget for either Absolute Priority 1 or Absolute Priority 2 that exceeds $1,000,000 for a single budget period of 12 months, and we will reject and not review any application that proposes a total budget that exceeds $2,000,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.
Estimated Number of Awards: 1.
Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.
Project Period: Up to 60 months.
III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants: SEAs; LEAs, including public charter schools that are considered LEAs under State law; IHEs; other public agencies; private nonprofit organizations; outlying areas; Indian tribes or tribal organizations; and for-profit organizations.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.
3. Other General Requirements:
(a) Recipients of funding under this competition 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 must, with respect to the aspects of their proposed project relating to Absolute Priority 1, 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 the following: ED Pubs, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (703) 605-6794. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.
You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: www.EDPubs.gov or at its email address: email@example.com.
If you request an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.326G.
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 and form 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” × 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.
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 Start Printed Page 47372and 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 this notice and the application package.
3. Submission Dates and Times:
Applications Available: July 21, 2016.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 22, 2016.
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 in 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.
4. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. However, under 34 CFR 79.8(a), we waive intergovernmental review in order to make an award by the end of FY 2016.
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), 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: 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 National Technical Assistance Center to Increase the Participation and Improve the Performance of Students with Disabilities on State and Districtwide Assessments competition, CFDA number 84.326G, 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 National Technical Assistance Center to Increase the Participation and Improve the Performance of Students with Disabilities on State and Districtwide Assessments 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 84.326, not 84.326G).
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 Start Printed Page 47373application 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 application 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 exception 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: David Egnor, U.S. Start Printed Page 47374Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5163, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-5076. 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 84.326G), 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 84.326G), 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 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.
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.
5. Integrity and Performance System: If you are selected under this competition to receive an award that over the course of the project period may exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150,000), under 2 CFR 200.205(a)(2), we must make a judgment about your integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards—that is, the risk posed by you as an applicant—before we make an award. In doing so, we must consider any information about you that is in the integrity and performance system (currently referred to as the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)), accessible through SAM. You may review and comment on any information about yourself that a Federal agency previously entered and that is currently in FAPIIS.
Please note that, if the total value of your currently active grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from the Federal government exceeds $10,000,000, the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, require you to report certain integrity information to FAPIIS semiannually. Please review the requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, if this grant plus all the other Federal funds you receive exceed $10,000,000.
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 Start Printed Page 47375containing 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: Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (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 Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities program. For purposes of this priority, the Center will use these measures, which focus on the extent to which projects provide high-quality products and services, the relevance of project products and services to educational and early intervention policy and practice, and the use of products and services to improve educational and early intervention policy and practice.
Projects funded under this competition are required to submit data on these measures as directed by OSEP.
Grantees will be required to report information on their project's performance in annual and final performance reports to the Department (34 CFR 75.590).
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 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:
David Egnor, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5163, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-5076. Telephone: (202) 245-7334.
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) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. 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.
End Further Info
Dated: July 18, 2016.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2016-17324 Filed 7-20-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P