2015-2020 Texas Title I Priority Schools grant, Cycle 4

Word Version

Competitive Grant Funding Available

June 19, 2015

TO THE ELIGIBLE APPLICANT ADDRESSED:

SUBJECT: Request for Application # 701-15-107

2015-2020 Texas Title I Priority Schools grant, Cycle 4

TEA is requesting applications under request for application (RFA) # 701-15-107, 2015-2020 Texas Title I Priority Schools grant, Cycle 4.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants include those campuses that qualify as Title I priority schools and Title I focus schools, and are not currently receiving Texas Title I Priority Schools (TTIPS) funds.

Campuses are identified as priority and focus in the state of Texas flexibility waiver from specific provisions from the U.S. Department of Education Elementary and Secondary Education Act. A list of campuses identified as priority or focus schools is posted on the TEA Grant Opportunities page, with all documents pertaining to this RFA.

A local education agency (LEA) with multiple eligible campuses must submit an application for each eligible campus it wishes to be considered under this grant opportunity.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this program is to provide funding to LEAs for use in eligible schools, in order to substantially raise the achievement of their students and enable the schools to meet annual goals and program-term measurable objectives. Funding is intended for LEAs that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to provide adequate resources that will enable schools to meet the criteria to exit priority or focus status.

Commissioner's Priorities

This program is aligned to several of the Commissioner's priorities.

Program interventions under this grant program are designed to: improve the academic programs in schools, increase teacher and leader effectiveness, increase use of data to drive instruction, increase learning time for students and educators, increase the level and quality of family / community engagement, and improve school climate. High-quality and effective implementation of these interventions can impact these Commissioner priorities:

  • Student readiness and ability to earn postsecondary credits in their high school years;
  • LEA and school expertise in administering the best campus and district accountability system, with great emphasis on ending the academic performance gap;
  • Local administration of a holistic teacher evaluation system that includes support and continued feedback for educators;
  • Schools' opportunity and capacity to support reading/writing mentors through an intense focus on curriculum and instruction, coupled with increased family and community engagement;
  • LEA's experience in flexibilities around using federal funds to advance state, agency and commissioner goals.

Project Funding

The total amount of funding for this project is approximately $45,000,000. Each awarded project could receive up to a maximum of $10,000,000 for operation through the school years of 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020. A maximum funding per year for any applicant is $2,000,000.

Note that funding available and final terms for this project are contingent upon approval from U.S. Department of Education (USDE) for the Texas school improvement grant program state plan. Funding and approval are recognized as final on the date a Grant Award Notification is issued from USDE to TEA.

Project Period

The project period will operate in a pre-implementation period from January 1, 2016 through August 31, 2016; in full-implementation during the school years of 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019; and in a sustainability period through the school year of 2019-2020. Funding is available to grantees through all periods.

Pre-award costs are permitted from October 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015.

Note that the timeline for this project is contingent upon the final approval from USDE for the Texas school improvement grant program state plan, as indicated by the issuance of a Grant Award Notification from USDE to TEA.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be selected based on the independent reviewers' assessment of each applicant's ability to carry out all requirements contained in the RFA. Reviewers will evaluate applications based on the overall quality and validity of the proposed grant programs and the extent to which the applications address the primary objectives and intent of the project. Applications must address each requirement as specified in the RFA to be considered for funding.

Applications will be scored using the standard review criteria, as described in TEA Grants Administration General and Fiscal Guidelines. In addition to the standard review criteria, applications will be scored on the following grant-specific criteria:

  • Level of ability to benefit from grant resources, as demonstrated through district commitments and vision for school reform, and existing structures that will allow reform to take hold.
  • Family and community member involvement in project planning, intervention selection, and ongoing program engagement.
  • Methods for selecting highest quality staff and external providers for the project; and methods for providing rigorous oversight of external providers.
  • Level of capacity gains that will create lasting positive change to campus practices and can be sustained beyond the grant period.
  • Quality of intervention design and strength at which interventions fulfill all requirements of the federal School Improvement Grant model selected.

Special consideration (or priority) will be given to certain applicants. TEA will give priority to campuses that have been rated Improvement Required in both the 2014 Accountability Ratings and the 2015 Accountability Ratings, as posted in the Texas Accountability Ratings System for Texas Public Schools and Districts: https://rptsvr1.tea.texas.gov/perfreport/account/; and to campuses that select the state-designed or early-learning model. Twenty priority points will be given to each LEA/campus applying to serve schools that meet these criteria.

TEA reserves the right to select from the highest-ranking applications those that address all requirements in the RFA and that are most advantageous to the project.

TEA is not obligated to approve an application, provide funds, or endorse any application submitted in response to this RFA. This RFA does not commit TEA to pay any costs before an application is approved. The issuance of this RFA does not obligate TEA to award a grant or pay any costs incurred in preparing a response.

How to Apply

This RFA is in paper format. It must be downloaded, completed on the applicant's computer desktop, printed, and submitted by mail or hand delivery. The complete RFA is posted on the TEA Grant Opportunities page at http://burleson.tea.state.tx.us/GrantOpportunities/forms/GrantProgramSearch.aspx for viewing and downloading. In the "Select Search Options" box, select the name of the RFA from the drop-down list. Scroll down to the "Application and Support Information" section to view all documents that pertain to this RFA.

Applicant Resources

Applicant Resources will be publicly available with this RFA on the TEA Grant Opportunities page, no later than August 7, 2015. Prospective applicants will be able to download resource documents from to their desktop to view locally and in full.

Questions relevant to the RFA may be sent to Leticia Govea at leticia.govea@tea.texas.gov no later than the July 22, 2015. These questions along with other information will be addressed in the applicant resource documents. These documents will be open to all potential applicants and will provide prospective applicants an opportunity to receive general and clarifying information about the program and RFA.

Fingerprinting Requirement

Per Section 22.0834 of the Texas Education Code (TEC), any person offered employment by any entity that contracts with TEA or receives grant funds administered by TEA (i.e., a grantee or subgrantee) is subject to the fingerprinting requirement. TEA is prohibited from awarding grant funds to any entity, including nonprofit organizations, that fails to comply with this requirement. For details, refer to the General and Fiscal Guidelines, Fingerprinting Requirement.

Reporting Requirements

Applicants that are awarded grants are responsible for meeting all required deadlines. Failure to meet deadlines may result in loss of funds and could cause the applicant to be identified as "high risk."

The reporting requirements for this grant are posted on the TEA Grant Opportunities page. In the "Select Search Options" box, select the name of the RFA from the drop-down list. Scroll down to "Critical Events" to view all reporting deadlines that pertain to this grant.

For Further Information

In order to assure that no prospective applicant may obtain a competitive advantage because of acquisition of information unknown to other prospective applicants, any and all questions pertaining to the RFA must be submitted in writing to the TEA contact person listed on the TEA Grant Opportunities page. In the "Select Search Options" box, select the name of the program/RFA from the drop-down list. Scroll down to "Contact Information."

Copies of the questions and the written answers thereto will be posted on the TEA Grant Opportunities page in the format of frequently asked questions (FAQs). In the "Select Search Options" box, select the name of the program/RFA from the drop-down list. Scroll down to "Application and Support Information" to view all documents that pertain to this RFA.

Deadline for Receipt of Applications

Six copies of the application, with an original signature on Schedule #1—General Information on three of the copies (blue ink preferred), must be received 5:00 p.m. Central Time, Thursday, August 20, 2015, to be eligible to be considered for funding. Send the application to the following address:

Document Control Center
Division of Grants Administration
Texas Education Agency, William B. Travis Building
1701 North Congress Avenue
Austin TX 78701-1494

 

Sincerely,

 

Sally Partridge
Associate Commissioner
Accreditation and School Improvement