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Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program Technical Assistance Webinar for the Discretionary Grant Competition U.S. Department of Education Office of Elementary and Secondary Education April 8, 2011
Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) Is a comprehensive literacy development and education program to advance literacy skills, including pre-literacy, reading, and writing, for students from birth through grade 12, including English learners and students with disabilities Authorized by the FY2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Pub. L No ) under the demonstration authority in section 1502 of the ESEA
SRCL Formula Grants There are two parts to this program. First: $10 million in formula funding For the creation/maintenance of comprehensive state literacy teams and the development of comprehensive state literacy plans. Funds awarded October 10, 2010 Draft Literacy Plans submitted February 1, 2011
SRCL Competitive Grants Second: $178 million in competitive funding ONLY to SEAs For competitive subgrants to LEAs and early learning providers to provide literacy services Notice Inviting Applications published in the Federal Register March 10, 2011 ( Notice of Intent to Apply (optional) April 4, 2011 Closing deadline May 9, 2011 Grants to be awarded by September, 2011
SRCL FY2010 Funding The appropriation for Striving Readers is $200 million and breaks down as follows: One-half percent set-asides for BIE and Outlying Areas ($1,000,000 each) Five percent for National Activities ($10,000,000) $10 million for formula grants to SEAs for State Literacy Teams, with no State receiving less than $150,000 Remainder for competitive grants to SEAs (roughly $178 million)
How is this program different? Birth to grade 12 Comprehensive literacy: Considers literacy at all age/grade levels, including difficult transition grades Aligns with State standards Involves working with other agencies, programs, stakeholders Addresses literacy across content areas Broader view of literacy than previous programs – pre-literacy, reading and writing
Striving Readers Adolescent Literacy Important to understand: SRCL is slightly different from the Striving Readers Adolescent Literacy program but funded under the same authority (Section 1502 of the ESEA). The Adolescent Literacy Program was funded from 2005 to Its last appropriation in FY 2009 was roughly $35 million. Awards were made to LEAs in 2006 and SEAs in Its purpose is to build a strong, scientific research base for identifying and replicating strategies that improve adolescent literacy skills.
SRCL Formula Grants State Literacy Teams must develop and implement comprehensive literacy plans that address the needs of children from birth to grade 12, particularly English learners and children with disabilities. $10 million in formula funds for State Literacy Teams was awarded October Under the Title I formula, most States received $150,000. States submitted DRAFT plans to the Department on February 1, The Department will not share comments on plans until after competition but many States have posted their plans on their websites.
SRCL Competitive Grants Who is eligible? State educational agencies (SEAs) A state education agency (SEA), or state department of education, is a formal governmental label for the state-level government agencies within each U.S. state responsible for providing information, resources, and technical assistance on educational matters to schools and residents.
Grant Award Overview Grants to SEAs will be awarded up to 5 years At three years, ED will consider performance indicators to determine funding for years 4-5 Estimated range of awards: $3,000,000 - $70,000,000 per year Estimated number of awards: 3-18 Maximum award amounts Applicants may request up to their categorical award limit per year (see Notice for amounts) Applicants may submit budget for up to five years
Award Limits Per Year, by State Category 1 –up to $70 million: California, Texas Category 2 –up to $50 million: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico Category 3 –up to $30 million: Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington Category 4 –up to $15 million: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Utah Category 5 –up to $8 million: Alaska, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming * These limits were determined by ranking every State according to its share of the national population of children in poverty ages 5 through 17 based on data from Table 1: 2009 Poverty and Median Income EstimatesStates released by the Small Area Estimates Branch of the U.S. Census Bureau in December, 2010.
Award Limits (cont) FAQ- Do the budget limits included in the Notice Inviting Applications cap the total funding that a State can receive for the entire five year grant period, or do the budget limits apply for a single year of the grant? Answer- The budget limits are for each annual performance period, not for the entire grant period. Thus, an applicant may propose a five year budget including annual requests up to the relevant budget cap.
SEA Uses of Funds SEAs may use up to 5% for State leadership activities SEAs must award 95% of funding to LEAs and early childhood providers, using the following formula: 15% for birth to pre-K; 40% for grades K-5; and 40% for grades 6-12, with equitable distribution between middle and high school. SEAs must design a comprehensive literacy program
Is there flexibility in the subgrant percentages? No, the distribution of the funds is set by statute. Each grantee (SEA) must ensure that the total amount of subgrant funds be spent according to the percentages. However, it is not necessary for an SEA to run three separate subgrant competitions for each funding distribution band. For example, SEAs could make comprehensive (B-12) subgrant awards. In application, the SEA should clearly explain how it will design its subgrant competition to ensure compliance with the required funding distribution.
SEA Uses of Funds (cont.) Must fund services to children from birth to grade 12 that have the characteristics of effective literacy instruction through professional development, screening and assessment, targeted interventions for students reading below grade level, and other research-based methods of improving classroom instruction and practice.
Eligibility for Subgrants By statute, eligible entities for subgrants are: LEAs; or, In the case of early literacy, LEAs or other nonprofit providers of early education that partner with a public or private nonprofit organization or agency with a demonstrated record of effectiveness in improving the early literacy development of children from birth through kindergarten entry and in providing professional development in early literacy, giving priority to agencies or other entities serving greater numbers or percentages of disadvantaged children.
Who is eligible for subgrants? FAQ: What entities are eligible for subgrants? Who makes this determination? Answer: For subgrants that will serve K-12 only, LEAs are the only eligible entities. An LEA is a local educational agency. This is a legal status determined by State law and is most typically a school district. Charter schools may be LEAs in some States but not in others. For subgrants that will serve birth through pre-K, SEAs must apply the statutory definition (on the previous slide).
Statutory and Program Requirements The Notice Inviting Applications describes two kinds of program requirements: Statutory requirements Additional requirements Applicants are not required to address all requirements in their application, but will be expected to comply with all requirements if funded. Some selection criteria ask applicants to address these additional requirements
Absolute and Competitive Priorities The Notice includes two absolute priorities and one competitive priority. Absolute Priorities – applicant proposals must address Absolute Priorities 1 and 2 in order to be considered for funding. Competitive Priority – applicant may address competitive priority and earn up to an additional five points. To receive points, priority must be addressed explicitly. Points assigned at the judgment of reviewers.
Absolute Priorities Priority 1: Improving Learning Outcomes To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a project that is designed to improve school readiness and success through grade 12 in the area of language and literacy development for disadvantaged students (as defined in the Notice).
Definition of disadvantaged students The term disadvantaged students means children and students at risk of educational failure, such as children and students who are living in poverty, who are limited- English-proficient, who are far below grade level or who are not on track to becoming college- or career-ready by graduation, who have left school before receiving, respectively, a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who are pregnant or parenting teenagers, who have been incarcerated, who are new immigrants, who are migrant, or who have disabilities.
Absolute Priorities (cont) Priority 2: Enabling More Data-Based Decision-Making To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a project that is designed to collect, analyze, and use high- quality and timely data, especially on program participant outcomes, in accordance with privacy requirements, to improve instructional practices, policies, and student outcomes in early learning settings and in elementary and secondary schools
Competitive Priority Applicants that meet the competitive preference priority may receive up to an additional 5 points To meet this priority, an applicant must: (1) propose to use technology - which may include technology to support principles of universal design for learning (as defined in the Notice) - to address student learning challenges; and (2) provide, in its application, an evidence-based (as defined in the Notice) rationale that the proposed technology program, practice, or strategy will increase student engagement and achievement or increase teacher effectiveness
Definition of universal design Universal design for learning (UDL): The term universal design for learning, as defined under section 103 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, means a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that (i) Provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and (ii) Reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are limited- English-proficient.
Selection Criteria There are 4 selection criteria: (A) Quality of State-level activities (37 points) (B) Quality of the State subgrant competition (28 points) (C) Project management (15 points) (D) Adequacy of resources (20 points) Full text of criteria provided in Notice and Application Package. Each criterion has several subcriteria
Quality of State-level activities Includes: How SEA will align activities described in Additional Requirements with its comprehensive literacy plan SEA goals for improving literacy outcomes for all students How SEA will provide technical assistance How SEA will evaluate progress How SEA will disseminate information * For exact wording of criteria, see Notice.
Quality of State subgrant competition Includes: How SEA will run a rigorous, high-quality competition How SEA will give priority to providers serving high-poverty schools or children How SEA will give priority to applications supported by strong evidence How SEA will develop review process and make process publicly available * For exact wording of criteria, see Notice.
Project Management Includes: Adequacy of Management plan Qualifications of key personnel Ensuring a diversity of perspectives in design and implementation * For exact wording of criteria, see Notice.
Adequacy of Resources Includes: Reasonableness of budget in relation to proposed project How applicant plans to award subgrants according to statutory requirements How applicant will leverage other State and Federal funds How applicant will award subgrants of sufficient size * For exact wording of criteria, see Notice.
Tips for Preparing a Strong Application Important to remember that the application is a contract. What is in the application must be implemented unless changes are approved. Suggest you write the application in the order of the criteria. This will make it easier for reviewers to read, understand, and score. Follow the page and font restrictions exactly. Dont assume that readers know anything about the project. Explain everything clearly. Have someone who doesnt know about Striving Readers read your application for feedback.
Tips for Preparing a Strong Application (cont) Dont wait until the last day to submit the application! Applicants should register in Grants.gov now and become familiar with the system. Remember the things that will keep your application from being considered: Applicant is not an eligible entity (SEA) Requesting more than the budget limit for your State per year Missing the deadline (even by a minute) Submitting application by or mail Not addressing the Absolute Priorities Limit attachments to necessary files that support the application narrative (should include indirect cost rate and resumes of key personnel)
State Literacy Plans FAQ: My State submitted a draft literacy plan to the Department in February. Will reviewers consider this? Should I attach my States plan? Answer: Reviewers will not have access to any documents you may have submitted to ED, only what is included in your application. States should not attach their literacy plans. Instead they should describe how their literacy plan addresses the selection criteria, in the project narrative.
Technical Assistance ED will be using a portion of SRCL national activities funds to award a contract for technical assistance in summer, TA provider will help both formula and discretionary grantees to implement comprehensive literacy programs. TA will include individualized assistance, trainings, conferences, collection of performance data, and identification of resources. Contract will be coordinated with OESEs technical assistance initiative. Emphasis on capacity-building and coordination with other TA providers
ESEA Reauthorization The Effective Teaching and Learning: Literacy program ($383.3 million in the Presidents FY12 budget request) would combine SRCL and other literacy programs Would provide competitive grants to SEAs in order to support comprehensive State and local efforts aimed at improving literacy instruction from preschool through grade 12.
For more information For more information about SRCL, including complete application package, see: ers-literacy/index.html ers-literacy/index.html Or contact: Deborah Spitz at Miriam Lund at Katie Chase at