Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.
The Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2021 for Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities—Interdisciplinary Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children with Disabilities who have High-Intensity Needs, Assistance Listing Number 84.325K. This notice relates to the approved information collection under OMB control number 1820-0028.
Applications Available: April 13, 2021.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 22, 2021.
Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: August 23, 2021.
Pre-Application Webinar Information: The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) will conduct a pre-application informational webinar specific to 84.325K on April 26, 2021, Start Printed Page 19233at 2:00 p.m., Eastern time. A recording of the webinar will be available at www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/osep/new-osep-grants.html within five days after the pre-application webinar.
For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2019 (84 FR 3768) and available at www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-02-13/pdf/2019-02206.pdf.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
For Focus Area A: Sunyoung Ahn, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 5012A, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-5076. Telephone: (202) 245-6460. Email: Sunyoung.Ahn@ed.gov.
For Focus Area B: LaTisha Putney, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 5060D, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-5076. Telephone: (202) 245-6172. Email: LaTisha.Putney@ed.gov.
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
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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, toddlers, and youth 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, to be successful in serving those children.
Priorities: This competition includes one absolute priority and two competitive preference priorities. In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(v), the absolute priority and Competitive Preference Priority 2 are from allowable activities specified in the statute (see sections 662 and 681 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1462 and 1481)). Competitive Preference Priority 1 is from the Department's Administrative Priorities for Discretionary Grant Programs published in the Federal Register on March 9, 2020 (85 FR 13640) (Administrative Priorities).
Absolute Priority: For FY 2021 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:
Interdisciplinary Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children with Disabilities who have High-Intensity Needs.
The purpose of this priority is to increase the number and improve the quality of personnel who are fully credentialed to serve children, including infants, toddlers, and youth with disabilities who have high-intensity needs.
Under this priority, the Department will fund high-quality interdisciplinary 
projects that prepare special education, early intervention, and related services 
personnel at the master's degree, educational specialist degree, or clinical doctoral degree levels for professional practice in a variety of education settings, including natural environments (the home and community settings in which children with and without disabilities participate), early learning programs, classrooms, schools, and distance learning environments. The competition will also prepare personnel who have the knowledge and skills to support each child with a disability in meeting high expectations and to partner with other providers, families, and administrators in meaningful and effective collaborations.
State demand for fully credentialed special education, early intervention, and related services personnel to serve children, including infants, toddlers, and youth with disabilities exceeds the available supply, particularly in high-need schools 
(Boe et al., 2013). These shortages can negatively affect the quality of services provided to children, including infants, toddlers, and youth with disabilities and their families (Boe et al., 2013). These shortages limit the field's ability to ensure that each child has the opportunity to meet challenging objectives and receive an education that addresses individualized needs and is both meaningful and appropriately ambitious, which is essential for preparing them for the future.
The need for personnel with the knowledge and skills to serve children, including infants and toddlers, and youth with disabilities who have high-intensity needs is even greater because specialized or advanced preparation is required to collaboratively design and deliver evidence-based 
instruction and intensive individualized intervention(s) in person and through distance learning technologies in natural environments, classrooms, and schools that address the needs of these individuals (Boe et al., 2013; Browder et al., 2014; McLeskey & Brownell, 2015). Although children, including infants and toddlers, and youth with disabilities who have high-intensity needs may require the combined expertise of numerous professionals (including special Start Printed Page 19234education, early intervention, and related services providers), it is often difficult for personnel from varied professional backgrounds to work together because they lack shared information, understanding, and experience.
Interdisciplinary approaches to personnel preparation provide scholars with experience working and learning in team environments similar to those in which they are likely to work once employed (Smith, 2010). That is, when providing early intervention or special education services under the IDEA, personnel serving children, including infants and toddlers, and youth with disabilities work on interdisciplinary teams with parents, general and special education teachers, early interventionists, and related service providers with the expertise to design, implement, and evaluate instruction, intervention plans, individualized family service plans, and individualized education programs based on the unique learning and developmental needs of each child. To enable personnel to provide efficient, high-quality, integrated services both in person and through distance learning technologies, personnel preparation programs need to embed content, practices, and extensive field or clinical experiences into preservice training that is aligned with the interdisciplinary team-based approaches in which graduates are likely to work. This priority aims to fund interdisciplinary projects that will provide such preparation.
The purpose of this priority is to increase the number and improve the quality of personnel who are fully credentialed to serve children, including infants and toddlers, and youth with disabilities who have high-intensity needs—especially in areas of chronic personnel shortage. The priority will fund high-quality interdisciplinary projects that prepare special education, early intervention, and related services personnel at the master's degree, educational specialist degree, or clinical doctoral degree levels for professional practice in natural environments, early learning programs, classrooms, school settings, and in distance learning environments serving children, including infants and toddlers, and youth with disabilities.
Specifically, an applicant must propose an interdisciplinary project supporting scholars 
from two or more graduate degree programs in either (a) special education or early intervention and one or more related services; or (b) two or more related services.
An interdisciplinary project is a project that delivers core content through shared coursework, group assignments, and extensive and coordinated field and clinical experiences as part of two or more master's degree, educational specialist degree, or clinical doctoral degree programs for scholars. Not all requirements (e.g., courses and field or clinical experiences) of each participating graduate degree program must be shared across all degree programs participating in the interdisciplinary project, but the interdisciplinary project must: (a) Identify the competencies needed to promote high expectations and address the individualized needs of children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs using an interdisciplinary approach to service delivery; (b) outline how the project will build capacity in those areas through shared coursework, group assignments, and extensive and coordinated field or clinical experiences for scholars supported by the proposed project; and (c) identify the aspects of each graduate degree program that are shared across all participating degree programs and those that remain unique to each.
Projects may include individuals who are in degree programs (e.g., general education, early childhood education, administration) and who are cooperating with, but not funded as scholars by, the applicant's proposed interdisciplinary project. These individuals may participate in the shared coursework, group assignments, extensive and coordinated field or clinical experiences, and other opportunities required of scholars and funded by the project (e.g., speaker series, monthly seminars) if doing so does not diminish the benefit for project-funded scholars (e.g., by reducing funds available for scholar support or limiting opportunities for scholars to participate in project activities).
Personnel preparation degree programs that prepare all scholars to be dually certified can qualify under this priority by partnering with at least one additional graduate degree program in related services.
Personnel preparation programs that prepare individuals to be educational interpreters for the deaf at the bachelor's degree level can qualify under this priority and are exempted from (a) the interdisciplinary requirement and (b) the requirement for two or more graduate degree programs. All other priority requirements specified for graduate programs will apply to the bachelor's program. While interdisciplinary projects are not required for educational interpreters, they are encouraged.
Within this absolute priority, the Secretary intends to support interdisciplinary projects under the following two focus areas: (A) Preparing Personnel to Serve Infants, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children with Disabilities who have High-Intensity Needs; and (B) Preparing Personnel to Serve School-Age Children with Disabilities who have High-Intensity Needs.
Applicants must identify the specific focus area (i.e., A or B) under which they are applying as part of the competition title on the application cover sheet (SF 424, line 12). Applicants may not submit the same proposal under more than one focus area. Applicants may submit different proposals in different focus areas.
Focus Area A: Preparing Personnel to Serve Infants, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children with Disabilities who have High-Intensity Needs. This focus area is for interdisciplinary projects that deliver core content through shared coursework, group assignments, and extensive and coordinated field or clinical experiences for scholars across two or more graduate degree programs in either: (a) Early intervention or early childhood special education and related services for infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children with disabilities or developmental delays who have high-intensity needs; or (b) two or more related services to serve infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs.Start Printed Page 19235
Early intervention personnel are those who are prepared to provide services to infants and toddlers with disabilities ages birth to three, and early childhood personnel are those who are prepared to provide services to children with disabilities ages three through five (and in States where the age range is other than ages three through five, we defer to the State's certification for early childhood special education). In States where certification in early intervention is combined with certification in early childhood special education, applicants may propose a combined early intervention and early childhood special education personnel preparation project under this focus area.
Note: OSEP may fund out of rank order high-quality applications from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) 
and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). OSEP also may fund out of rank order high-quality applications to ensure that projects are funded across both Focus Area A and Focus Area B.
Focus Area B: Preparing Personnel to Serve School-Age Children with Disabilities who have High-Intensity Needs. This focus area is for interdisciplinary projects that deliver core content through shared coursework, group assignments, and extensive and coordinated field or clinical experiences to scholars across two or more graduate degree programs in either: (a) Special education and related services for school-age children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs; or (b) two or more related services to serve school-age children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs.
Note: OSEP may fund out of rank order high-quality applications from HBCUs and TCUs. OSEP also may fund out of rank order high-quality applications to ensure that projects are funded across both Focus Area A and Focus Area B.
Focus Areas A and B:
Applicants may use up to the first 12 months of the performance period and up to $100,000 of the first budget period for planning without enrolling scholars. Applicants must clearly provide sufficient justification for requesting program planning time and include the goals, objectives, and intended outcomes of program planning in year one, a description of the proposed strategies and activities to be supported, and a timeline for the work; such as—
(1) Outlining or updating coursework, group assignments, or extensive and coordinated field or clinical experiences needed to support interdisciplinary preparation for special education, early intervention, or related services personnel serving children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs;
(2) Building capacity (e.g., hiring of a field supervisor, providing professional development for field supervisors, and training for faculty);
(3) Purchasing needed resources (e.g., additional teaching supplies or specialized equipment to enhance instruction); or
(4) Establishing relationships with programs or schools to serve as sites for field or clinical experiences needed to support delivery of the proposed interdisciplinary project.
Additional Federal funds may be requested for scholar support and other grant activities occurring in year one of the project, provided that the total request for year one does not exceed the maximum award available for one budget period of 12 months (i.e., $250,000).
Note: Applicants proposing projects to develop, expand, or add a new area of emphasis to special education, early intervention, or related services programs must provide, in their applications, information on how these new areas will be sustained in their programs once Federal funding ends.
Note: Project periods under this priority may be up to 60 months. Projects should be designed to ensure that all proposed scholars successfully complete the program within 60 months of the start of the project. The Secretary may reduce continuation awards for any project in which scholars are not on track to complete the program by the end of that period.
To be considered for funding under this absolute priority, all program applicants must meet the requirements contained in this priority.
To meet the requirements of this priority an applicant must—
(a) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Significance,” how—
(1) The project addresses national, State, regional, or district shortages of personnel who are fully qualified to serve children with disabilities, ages birth through 21, who have high-intensity needs. To address this requirement, the applicant must—
(i) Present data on the quality of each special education, early intervention, or related services personnel preparation degree program participating in the project, in areas such as: The average amount of time it takes for scholars to complete the program; the percentage of program graduates who receive a license, endorsement, or certification related to special education, related services, or early intervention services; the percentage of program graduates finding employment related to their preparation after graduation; the effectiveness of program graduates in providing special education, early intervention, or related services, which could include data on the learning and developmental outcomes of children with disabilities they serve; the percentage of program graduates who maintain employment for two or more years in the area for which they were prepared; and the percentage of employers who rate the preparation of scholars who complete their degree program as adequate or higher; and
(ii) If available for the degree programs participating in the proposed project, present data on the quality of their interdisciplinary approaches to the preparation of special education, early intervention, or related services personnel; and
Note: Data on the quality of a personnel preparation 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., total number of scholars or program graduates) must be provided.
(2) The project will increase the number of personnel who demonstrate the competencies 
(i) Promote high expectations;
(ii) Differentiate instruction;
(iii) Provide intensive individualized instruction and intervention(s);
(iv) Provide instruction or intervention(s) in person and through distance learning technologies; and
(v) Collaborate with diverse stakeholders using an interdisciplinary team-based approach to address the individualized needs of children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs, ages birth through 21, and designed to achieve improvements in learning or developmental outcomes (e.g., academic, social, emotional, behavioral), and support the successful Start Printed Page 19236transition from early childhood to elementary, elementary to secondary, or transition to postsecondary education and the workforce. To address this requirement, the applicant must—
(A) Identify the competencies that special education, early intervention, or related services personnel need to—
(1) Promote high expectations;
(2) Differentiate instruction;
(3) Provide intensive individualized instruction and intervention(s);
(4) Provide instruction or intervention(s) in person and through distance learning technologies; and
(5) Collaborate with parents, families, and diverse stakeholders using an interdisciplinary team-based approach designed to improve learning and developmental outcomes; ensure access to and progress in academic achievement standards or alternate academic achievement standards, as appropriate; lead to successful transition to college and career for children with disabilities, including children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs; and maximize the use of effective technology, including assistive technology, to deliver instruction, interventions, and services;
(B) Identify the competencies needed by members of interdisciplinary teams to promote high expectations and improve early childhood, educational, and employment outcomes for children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs;
(C) Identify the competencies that personnel need to support inclusion of children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs in the least restrictive and natural environments to the maximum extent appropriate by intentionally promoting high expectations and participation in learning and social activities to foster development, learning, academic achievement, friendships with peers, and sense of belonging;
(D) Identify how scholars will be prepared to develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based instruction and evidence-based interventions delivered in person and through distance learning technologies that improve outcomes for children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs in a variety of settings (e.g., natural environments; public schools, including charter schools; private schools, including parochial schools; and other nonpublic education settings, including home education); and
(E) Provide a conceptual framework for the proposed interdisciplinary personnel preparation project, including any empirical support for project activities designed to promote the acquisition of the identified competencies (see paragraph (a)(2) of the requirements for this priority) needed by special education, early intervention, or related services personnel, and how these competencies relate to the proposed project;
(b) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of project services,” how the project—
(1) Will conduct its planning activities, if the applicant will use any of the allowable first 12 months of the project period for planning;
(2) Will recruit and retain high-quality scholars into each of the graduate degree programs participating in the project and ensure equal access and treatment for eligible project participants who are 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—
(i) Criteria the applicant will use to identify high-quality applicants for admission into each of the graduate degree programs participating in the project;
(ii) Recruitment strategies the applicant will use to attract high-quality applicants, including specific recruitment strategies targeting high-quality applicants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including underrepresented people of color and individuals with disabilities; and
(iii) The approach, including mentoring, monitoring, and accommodations, the applicant will use to support scholars to complete their respective degree programs;
(3) Reflects current evidence-based practices, including practices in the areas of literacy and numeracy development, assessment, behavior, instructional practices, distance learning technologies and pedagogy, and inclusive strategies, as appropriate, and is designed to prepare scholars in the identified competencies. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe how the project will—
(i) Incorporate current evidence-based practices (including relevant research citations) that improve outcomes for children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs into (a) the required coursework and extensive field or clinical experiences for each graduate degree program participating in the project; and (b) the shared coursework, group assignments, and extensive and coordinated field or clinical experiences required for the interdisciplinary portions of the project; and
(ii) Use evidence-based professional development practices for adult learners to instruct scholars through both in-person and online courses and field or clinical experiences;
(4) Is of sufficient quality, intensity, and duration to prepare scholars in the identified competencies. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe how—
(i) The components of (a) each graduate degree program participating in the project; and (b) the shared coursework, group assignments, and extensive and coordinated field or clinical experiences required for the interdisciplinary portions of the proposed project will support scholars' acquisition and enhancement of the identified competencies;
(ii) The components of (a) each graduate degree program participating in the project; and (b) the shared coursework, group assignments, and extensive and coordinated field or clinical experiences required for the interdisciplinary portions of the proposed project will be integrated to allow scholars, in collaboration with other team members, to use their knowledge and skills in designing, implementing, and evaluating practices supported by evidence to address the learning and developmental needs of children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs;
(iii) Scholars will be provided with ongoing guidance and feedback during training; and
(iv) The proposed project will provide ongoing induction opportunities and mentoring support to graduates of each graduate degree program participating in the project;
(5) Will engage in meaningful and effective collaboration with appropriate partners representing diverse stakeholders, including—
(i) High-need schools, which may include high-need local educational agencies (LEAs),
schools identified for comprehensive support and Start Printed Page 19237improvement,
and schools implementing a targeted support and improvement plan 
for children with disabilities; early childhood and early intervention programs located within the geographic boundaries of a high-need LEA; and early childhood and early intervention programs located within the geographical boundaries of an LEA serving the highest percentage of schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement or implementing targeted support and improvement plans in the State. The purpose of these partnerships is to provide extensive field or clinical practice for scholars aimed at developing the identified competencies as members of interdisciplinary teams; and
(ii) Other personnel preparation programs on campus or at partnering universities for the purpose of sharing resources, supporting program development and delivery, and addressing personnel shortages;
(6) Will use technology, as appropriate, to promote scholar learning and professional practice, enhance the efficiency of the project, collaborate with partners, and facilitate ongoing mentoring and support for scholars;
(7) Will ensure that scholars understand how to use technology to support children's in-person and distance learning and children's use of educational and assistive technology; and
(8) Will align with and use resources, as appropriate, available through technical assistance centers, which may include centers funded by the Department;
Note: Use the “Find a Center or Grant” link at https://osepideasthatwork.org for information about OSEP-funded technical assistance centers.
(c) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of the project evaluation,” how—
(1) The applicant will use comprehensive and appropriate methodologies to evaluate how well the goals or objectives of the proposed project have been met, including the project processes and outcomes;
(2) The applicant will collect, analyze, and use data related to specific and measurable goals, objectives, and outcomes of the project. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe how—
(i) Scholar competencies and other project processes and outcomes will be measured for formative evaluation purposes, including proposed instruments, data collection methods, and possible analyses; and
(ii) It will collect and analyze data on the quality of services provided by scholars who complete the graduate degree programs involved in this interdisciplinary project and are employed in the field for which they were trained, including data on the learning and developmental outcomes (e.g., academic, social, emotional, behavioral, meeting college- and career-ready standards), and on growth toward these outcomes, of the children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs;
Note: Following the completion of the project period, grantees are encouraged to engage in ongoing data collection activities.
(3) The methods of evaluation will produce quantitative and qualitative data for objective performance measures that are related to the outcomes of the proposed project; and
(4) The methods of evaluation will provide performance feedback and allow for periodic assessment of progress towards meeting the project outcomes. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe how—
(i) Results of the evaluation will be used as a basis for improving the proposed project to prepare special education, early intervention, or related services personnel to provide (a) focused instruction; and (b) intensive individualized intervention(s) in an interdisciplinary team-based approach to improve outcomes of children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs; and
(ii) The grantee will report the evaluation results to OSEP in its annual and final performance reports;
(d) Demonstrate, in the narrative under “Project Assurances” or in the applicable appendices, that the following program requirements are met. The applicant must—
(1) Provide scholar support for participants from two or more graduate degree programs partnering in the proposed interdisciplinary personnel preparation project. Consistent with 34 CFR 304.30, each scholar must (a) receive support for no less than one academic year, and (b) be eligible to fulfill service obligation requirements following degree program completion. Funding across degree programs may be applied differently;
(2) Include in Appendix B of the application—
(i) Table(s) that summarize the required program of study for each degree program and that clearly delineate the shared coursework, group assignments, and extensive and coordinated field or clinical experiences required of all project scholars to support interdisciplinary practice;
(ii) Course syllabi for all coursework in the major of each degree program and all shared courses, group assignments, and extensive coordinated field or clinical experiences required of project scholars; and
(iii) Learning outcomes for proposed coursework;
(3) Ensure that a comprehensive set of completed syllabi, including syllabi created or revised as part of a project planning year, are submitted to OSEP by the end of year one of the grant;
(4) Ensure that efforts to recruit a diverse range of scholars, including diversity of race, ethnicity, or national origin, are consistent with applicable law. For instance, grantees may engage in focused outreach and recruitment to increase the diversity of the applicant pool prior to the selection of scholars;
(5) Ensure that the project will meet all requirements in 34 CFR 304.23, particularly those related to (a) informing all scholarship recipients of their service obligation commitment and (b) disbursing scholar support. Failure by a grantee to properly meet these requirements would be a violation of the grant award that could result in sanctions, including the grantee being liable for returning any misused funds to the Department;
(6) 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 OSEP-funded grant;
(7) Ensure that the project will meet the statutory requirements in section 662(e) through (h) of IDEA;
(8) Ensure that at least 65 percent of the total award over the project period (i.e., up to 5 years) will be used for scholar support. Applicants proposing Start Printed Page 19238to use year one for program development may budget for less than 65 percent of the total requested budget over the 5 years for scholar support; such applicants must ensure that 65 percent of the total award minus funds allocated for program development will be used for scholar support;
(9) Ensure that the institution of higher education (IHE) at which scholars are enrolled in the program will not require those scholars 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 or 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;
(10) Ensure that the budget includes attendance of the project director at a three-day project directors' meeting in Washington, DC, or virtually, during each year of the project;
(11) Ensure that the project director, key personnel, and, as appropriate, scholars will actively participate in the cross-project collaboration, advanced trainings, and cross-site learning opportunities (e.g., webinars, briefings) organized by OSEP. This network will be used to build capacity of participants, increase the impact of funding, and promote innovative and interdisciplinary service delivery models across projects;
(12) Ensure that if the project maintains a website, relevant information and documents are in a format that meets government or industry-recognized standards for accessibility; and
(13) 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 Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRA). Applicants are encouraged to visit the Personnel Development Program Data Collection System (DCS) website 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 Certification for each scholar funded under an OSEP grant (see paragraph (5) of these requirements).
Competitive Preference Priorities: Within this absolute priority, we give competitive preference to applications that address the following priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award an additional 3 points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 1, and an additional 2 points to an application that meets Competitive Preference 2. The maximum amount of competitive preference priority points an application can receive under this competition is 5. Applicants should indicate in the abstract which, if any, competitive preference priorities are addressed.
These priorities are:
Competitive Preference Priority 1—Applications from New Potential Grantees (0 or 3 points).
(a) Under this priority, an applicant must demonstrate that the applicant has not had an active discretionary grant under the 84.325K program from which it seeks funds, including through membership in a group application submitted in accordance with 34 CFR 75.127-75.129, five years before the deadline date for submission of applications under the program.
(b) For the purpose of this priority, a grant or contract is active until the end of the grant's or contract's project or funding period, including any extensions of those periods that extend the grantee's or contractor's authority to obligate funds.
Competitive Preference Priority 2—Preparing Nontraditional Scholars (0 or 2 points).
Projects that are designed to intentionally recruit, prepare, and support nontraditional scholars 
to obtain their degree in early intervention, special education, or related services.
Boe, E.E., deBettencourt, L., Dewey, J.F., Rosenberg, M.S., Sindelar, P.T., & Leko, C.D. (2013). Variability in demand for special education teachers: Indicators, explanations, and impacts. Exceptionality, 21 (2), 103-125.
Browder, D.M., Wood, L., Thompson, J., & Ribuffo, C. (2014). Evidence-based practices for students with severe disabilities (Document No. IC-3). http://ceedar.education.ufl.edu/tool/innovation-configurations/.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1400, et seq. (2004).
McLeskey, J., & Brownell, M. (2015). High-leverage practices and teacher preparation in special education (Document No. PR-1). http://ceedar.education.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/High-Leverage-Practices-and-Teacher-Preparation-in-Special-Education.pdf.
National Professional Development Center on Inclusion. (August, 2011). Competencies for early childhood educators in the context of inclusion: Issues and guidance for States. The University of North Carolina, FPG Child Development Institute.
Smith, J. (2010). An interdisciplinary approach to preparing early intervention professionals: A university and community collaborative initiative. Teacher Education and Special Education, 33 (2), 131-142.
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 absolute priority and Competitive Preference Priority 2 in this notice.
Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1462 and 1481.
Note: Projects will be awarded and must be operated in a manner consistent with the nondiscrimination requirements contained in Federal civil rights laws.
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 as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 304. (e) The Administrative Priorities.
Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to IHEs only.
II. Award Information
Type of Award: Discretionary grants.Start Printed Page 19239
Estimated Available Funds: $8,000,000.
Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2022 from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.
Estimated Range of Awards: $200,000-$250,000.
Estimated Average Size of Awards: $225,000.
Maximum Award: We will not make an award exceeding $250,000 for a single budget period of 12 months.
Estimated Number of Awards: 32.
Project Period: Up to 60 months.
Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.
III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants: IHEs and private nonprofit organizations.
Note: If you are a nonprofit organization, under 34 CFR 75.51, you may demonstrate your nonprofit status by providing: (1) Proof that the Internal Revenue Service currently recognizes the applicant as an organization to which contributions are tax deductible under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; (2) a statement from a State taxing body or the State attorney general certifying that the organization is a nonprofit organization operating within the State and that no part of its net earnings may lawfully benefit any private shareholder or individual; (3) a certified copy of the applicant's certificate of incorporation or similar document if it clearly establishes the nonprofit status of the applicant; or (4) any item described above if that item applies to a State or national parent organization, together with a statement by the State or parent organization that the applicant is a local nonprofit affiliate.
2. a. Cost Sharing or Matching: Cost sharing or matching is not required for this competition.
b. Indirect Cost Rate Information: This program uses a training indirect cost rate. This limits indirect cost reimbursement to an entity's actual indirect costs, as determined in its negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, or eight percent of a modified total direct cost base, whichever amount is less. For more information regarding training indirect cost rates, see 34 CFR 75.562. For more information regarding indirect costs, or to obtain a negotiated indirect cost rate, please see www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocfo/intro.html.
c. Administrative Cost Limitation: This program does not include any program-specific limitation on administrative expenses. All administrative expenses must be reasonable and necessary and conform to Cost Principles described in 2 CFR part 200 subpart E of the Uniform Guidance.
3. Subgrantees: A grantee under this competition may not award subgrants to entities to directly carry out project activities described in its application. Under 34 CFR 75.708(e), a grantee may contract for supplies, equipment, and other services in accordance with 2 CFR part 200.
4. 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. Applicants for, and recipients of, funding must, with respect to the aspects of their proposed project relating to the absolute priority, 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. Application Submission Instructions: Applicants are required to follow the Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2019 (84 FR 3768), and available at www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-02-13/pdf/2019-02206.pdf, which contain requirements and information on how to submit an application.
2. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this competition.
3. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
4. Recommended Page Limit: The application narrative is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. We recommend that you (1) limit the application narrative to no more than 50 pages and (2) use the following standards:
- A “page” is 8.5″ × 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
- Double-space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, 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.
The recommended page limit does not apply to the cover sheet; the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; 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 recommended page limit does apply to all of the application narrative, including all text in charts, tables, figures, graphs, and screen shots.
V. Application Review Information
1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are as follows:
(a) Significance (10 points).
(1) The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed project.
(2) In determining the significance of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
(i) The extent to which the proposed project will prepare personnel for fields in which shortages have been demonstrated; and
(ii) The importance or magnitude of the results or outcomes likely to be attained by the proposed project, especially improvements in teaching and student achievement.
(b) Quality of project services (45 points).
(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project.
(2) In determining the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project, the Secretary considers the quality and sufficiency of strategies for ensuring equal access and treatment for eligible project participants who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability.
(3) In determining the quality of the project services, the Secretary considers the following factors:
(i) The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project reflect up-to-date knowledge from research and effective practice;
(ii) The extent to which the training or professional development services to be provided by the proposed project are Start Printed Page 19240of sufficient quality, intensity, and duration to lead to improvements in practice among the recipients of those services;
(iii) The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project involve the collaboration of appropriate partners for maximizing the effectiveness of project services; and
(iv) The extent to which the proposed activities constitute a coherent, sustained program of training in the field.
(c) Quality of the project evaluation (25 points).
(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project.
(2) In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary considers the following factors:
(i) The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project;
(ii) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable;
(iii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation include the use of objective performance measures that are clearly related to the intended outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and qualitative data to the extent possible; and
(iv) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes.
(d) Quality of project personnel, quality of the management plan, and adequacy of resources (20 points).
(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the project personnel, the quality of the management plan, and the adequacy of resources for the proposed project.
(2) In determining the quality of project personnel, the Secretary considers the extent to which the applicant encourages 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.
(3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors:
(i) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of key project personnel;
(ii) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks;
(iii) The extent to which the time commitments of the project director and principal investigator and other key project personnel are appropriate and adequate to meet the objectives of the proposed project;
(iv) The adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, supplies, and other resources, from the applicant organization or the lead applicant organization; and
(v) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed project.
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 (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 Specific Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 200.206, before awarding grants under this competition the Department conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 200.208, the Secretary may impose specific conditions, and under 2 CFR 3474.10, 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 $250,000), under 2 CFR 200.206(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 the System for Award Management. 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.
6. In General: In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget's guidance located at 2 CFR part 200, all applicable Federal laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department will review and consider applications for funding pursuant to this notice inviting applications in accordance with—
(a) Selecting recipients most likely to be successful in delivering results based on the program objectives through an objective process of evaluating Federal award applications (2 CFR 200.205);
(b) Prohibiting the purchase of certain telecommunication and video surveillance services or equipment in Start Printed Page 19241alignment with section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 115—232) (2 CFR 200.216);
(c) Providing a preference, to the extent permitted by law, to maximize use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States (2 CFR 200.322); and
(d) Terminating agreements in whole or in part to the greatest extent authorized by law if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or agency priorities (2 CFR 200.340).
VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, also.
If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.
3. Open Licensing Requirements: Unless an exception applies, if you are awarded a grant under this competition, you will be required to openly license to the public grant deliverables created in whole, or in part, with Department grant funds. When the deliverable consists of modifications to pre-existing works, the license extends only to those modifications that can be separately identified and only to the extent that open licensing is permitted under the terms of any licenses or other legal restrictions on the use of pre-existing works. Additionally, a grantee that is awarded competitive grant funds must have a plan to disseminate these public grant deliverables. This dissemination plan can be developed and submitted after your application has been reviewed and selected for funding. For additional information on the open licensing requirements please refer to 2 CFR 3474.20.
4. 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.
5. Performance Measures: For the purposes of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) and reporting under 34 CFR 75.110, 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 preparation programs that incorporate scientifically or evidence-based practices into their curricula; (2) the percentage of scholars completing the preparation program who are knowledgeable and skilled in evidence-based practices that improve outcomes for children with disabilities; (3) the percentage of scholars who exit the preparation program prior to completion due to poor academic performance; (4) the percentage of scholars completing the preparation program who are working in the area(s) in which they were prepared upon program completion; (5) the Federal cost per scholar who completed the preparation program; (6) the percentage of scholars who completed the preparation program and are employed in high-need districts; and (7) the percentage of scholars who completed the preparation program and who are rated effective by their employers.
In addition, the Department will gather information on the following outcome measures: The number and percentage of scholars proposed by the grantee in their application that were actually enrolled and making satisfactory academic progress in the current academic year; the number and percentage of enrolled scholars who are on track to complete the training program by the end of the project's original grant period; and the percentage of scholars who completed the preparation program and are employed in the field of special education for at least two years.
Grantees may be asked to participate in assessing and providing information on these aspects of program quality.
6. 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. Other Information
Accessible Format: On request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format. The Department will provide the requestor with an accessible format that may include Rich Text Format (RTF) or text format (txt), a thumb drive, an MP3 file, braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc, or other accessible format.
Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations at www.govinfo.gov. 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 Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.
You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at www.federalregister.gov.
Start Printed Page 19242Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.
End Supplemental Information
Deputy Director, Office of Special Education Programs. Delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2021-07506 Filed 4-12-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P