2014-2016 Educator Excellence Innovation Program

Word Version

Competitive Grant Funding Available

 

November 22, 2013

TO THE ELIGIBLE APPLICANT ADDRESSED:

SUBJECT:              Request for Application # 701-14-101

                              2014-2016 Educator Excellence Innovation Program

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is requesting applications under request for application (RFA) # 701-14-101, 2014-2016 Educator Excellence Innovation Program.

Eligible Applicants

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is requesting applications under Request for Applications (RFA) #701-14-101 from Texas school districts and open-enrollment charter schools, including the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Texas School for the Deaf, for the 2014-2016 Educator Excellence Innovation Program (EEIP) grant. Districts or open-enrollment charter schools that have been assigned a rating of "Substandard Achievement" in the 2011-2012 Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) are not eligible to apply for the educator excellence innovation program. Additional eligibility requirements apply, as described in the RFA.

Purpose of Program

This purpose of this program is to improve educator effectiveness in Texas public schools through the funding of innovative practices that target the entire timeline of a teacher's career.  The grant awardees will improve student performance by fostering open, supportive and collaborative campus cultures that allow teachers to seek and attain growth within their field. These new models of recruitment, preparation, hiring, induction, evaluation, professional development, compensation, career pathways and retention will be evaluated for their effectiveness in fostering effective teaching and improving student performance, especially among students attending Title I-funded schools with high levels of economically disadvantaged enrollment, so that best practices can be scaled across the state.

Required practices include induction and mentoring, evaluation, professional development and collaboration, and strategic compensation and retention.  Preferred practices include recruiting and hiring, and career pathways.

This program seeks to provide resources to those applicants that, but for the funds provided by the grant, could not implement the effective and innovative practices detailed in their local educator excellence innovation plan.  The submitted application should directly address the applicant's need for the grant to successfully carry out these practices.

This program also seeks to grant funds to those applicants that submit well-designed and comprehensive plans.  Plans must address the following four required practices to be considered for a grant: Induction and Mentoring, Evaluation, and Professional Development and Collaboration, and Strategic Compensation and Retention.  Applicants will also receive favorable consideration for successfully addressing each of the following two preferred practices in addition to the four required practices: Recruiting and Hiring, and Career Pathways.

Because the successful implementation of these practices requires support from all levels of district faculty and staff, applicants must demonstrate that affected personnel groups support both the decision to participate in the grant program and the general plan parameters.

To ensure the legislative intent of geographical diversity for grant recipients is met, no more than four applicants from a single education service center (ESC) region can receive a grant, unless there are not enough eligible applicants from other ESC regions, in which case awarding grants to more than four applicants from a single ESC region may be necessary to fully implement the program.  Applying districts and open-enrollment charter schools will be assigned to the region in which they geographically are located when executing this provision.  Once the fourth applicant from a region is deemed to be a grant recipient, all other applicants from that region who had not yet been deemed a recipient will no longer be considered for a grant award, except in the scenario detailed above, where not enough eligible applications from other regions are received.

As stated in statute and administrative rule, grant recipients may renew their plan for three additional consecutive school years without resubmitting the plan for approval.  Applicants should prepare to implement their local educator excellence innovation plan for a total of four years with grant award assistance, although awards are subject to the continuation and the amount of state appropriations for this program during the third and fourth years of the grant cycle.  In lieu of submitting an application for the third and fourth years of the grant cycle, grant recipients will submit a year three and year four program budget.  Continuation in the grant program is also conditional to grant recipients adhering both to the rules in the provisions in 19 TAC §102.1073, Educator Excellence Innovation Program, and the conditions outlined in the Application Guidelines of the RFA.

Applicants should apply for the amount of funding needed to cover the annual costs associated with implementing the practices detailed in their local educator excellence innovation plan.  Please see allowable activities and unallowable activities in the RFA for guidance on types of costs for which applicants may seek grant funds.  In each budget year within the application, applicants must indicate equal total cost amounts.  Applicants cannot indicate different total cost amounts in different budget years (e.g., if year one total costs are $500,000, year two total costs must be $500,000), although the breakdown of how costs are allocated within a budget may vary from year to year.

Project Funding

Funding will be provided for only those districts who are awarded, on a competitive basis, a grant. It is anticipated that approximately 30 grants will be awarded.  Grants can range from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum $1 million per year and will vary depending on the funding needs, as indicated in their application, of districts awarded grants.  The total amount of funds dedicated to this project is $24 million for the April 1, 2014, to August 31, 2016, project period. This project is funded 100 percent from state funds.

Project Period

The 2014-2016 Educator Excellence Innovation Program (EEIP) grants will be awarded in the spring of 2014 and during the 2014-2015and 2015-2016 school years. Applicants should plan for a start date of no earlier than April 1, 2014, and an end date of no later than August 31, 2016.

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.  Special consideration will be given to applicants that meet the following criteria: (1) demonstrate that, but for the grant funds, the local educator excellence innovation plan could not be implemented; (2) describe a comprehensive, aligned effort that facilitates the instructional growth of all educators on participating campuses; (3) demonstrate that affected personnel groups support both the decision to participate in the grant program and the general plan parameters; and (4) include participating campuses that have a significant proportion of enrolled students classified as economically disadvantaged.  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.

Applicants' Conference

An applicants' conference will be held by webinar on Monday, January 6, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.. To reserve a webinar seat, go to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/468994090. The system requirements for PC-based attendees are Windows 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, or Vista. The requirements for Macintosh-based attendees are Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or later. Each person attending will be required to sign a register setting out the representative's name, email address, telephone number, and job title and the name of the school district for which the representative works.

The entire applicants' conference will be digitally recorded. Prospective applicants who are not able to attend the applicants' conference may download the presentation to their computer desktop.

Questions relevant to the RFA may be sent to Tim Regal at Tim.Regal@tea.texas.gov or faxed to (512) 463-7795 prior to Friday, December 20, 2013. These questions along with other information will be addressed in the presentation. The conference 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.

Reporting Requirements

LEAs 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 LEA to be identified as "high risk."

The reporting requirements for this grant are posted on the TEA Grant Opportunities website at http://burleson.tea.state.tx.us/GrantOpportunities/forms/GrantProgramSearch.aspx. 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 website. 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 website in the format of frequently asked questions (FAQs) at http://burleson.tea.state.tx.us/GrantOpportunities/forms. 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

Four 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, January 23, 2014, 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,

 

Michele Moore
Associate Commissioner
Educator Leadership and Quality