RFP #TA-05 (Archived/Bidding Closed)


School Innovation Fund: New Schools / School Redesign Partnerships


PLEASE NOTE THIS IMPORTANT CHANGE TO APPLICANT REQUIREMENTS: The requirement that LEAs must submit a letter of intent by 7/26/2011 has been removed. Regardless of whether a Letter of Intent has been submitted, eligible LEAs may submit applications, received at NYSED no later than 5:00 pm, on 8/31/2011.


Application


Purpose

The purposes of the School Innovation Fund are to increase high school graduation, college persistence, and college graduation rates by increasing the availability of new high quality seats for students at most risk for dropout, disengagement, and poor academic performance.

Eligibility*: Requirements

Local Education Agencies that serve Tier III schools. A Tier III school is any Title 1 school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that is not designated as persistently lowest-achieving (PLA) at the time of award. In addition, the LEA must be engaged in an eligible partnership and in proposing a new school or a whole-school redesign. An eligible LEA must submit a separate application for each Tier III school within the district for which it desires a grant. If a funded school becomes a PLA during the time period of award for this grant, this funding program will be discontinued. LEAs are limited to a maximum of 10 awards. A single three-year award may not exceed $2,500,000.

* The State Education Department does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, religion, creed, disability, martial status, veteran status, national origin, race, gender, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or sexual orientation in its educational programs, services and activities. Portion of any publication designed for distribution can be made available in a variety of formats, including Braille, large print or audiotape, upon request. Inquiries regarding this policy of nondiscrimination should be directed to the Department’s Office for Diversity, Ethics, and Access, Room 530, Education Building, Albany, NY 12234.

Funding


Estimated funds available:

$40,000,000 over a three year period

Estimated number of awards:

20-25

* Awards will be made subject to the availability of funding by the US Department of Education

Application Due Date

LEAs must submit a Letter of Intent designating the schools for which applications will be submitted. The Letter of Intent must be emailed to SIFGRANT@mail.nysed.gov and received by 7/26/2011.

Applications must be received at the New York State Education Department by 8/31/2011. Submit one (1) original of the completed application to:

New York State Education Department
Grants Management Processing Unit
Room 674 EBA
Albany, NY 12234

Attn. School Innovation Fund: New Schools / School Redesign Partnerships

And email one PDF copy to SIFGRANT@mail.nysed.gov. Emails must be received no later than 5:00pm, on 8/31/2011.

Project Period

  • October 1, 2011 to June 30, 2014

  • Initial project period (planning phase) will be October 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012

  • Grant awards will include an NYSED option for a 1-year extension

  • The implementation phase will be July 1 2012 to June 30, 2013 and July 1 2013 to July 1 2014. (For successful applicants with an already established new-school, phasing in a new cohort, the implementation period may begin in year one, contingent upon an approved performance agreement.)

  • A separate FS-10 budget must be submitted for each year of the project period. A FS-10 for the first year only must be submitted with this application.

Additional Information

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Background

In order to fully develop a robust and coherent system of education for the students of New York State, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) is committed to dramatically improve the State’s lowest performing schools and create new, innovative, high-quality education options for all students. In December of 2009, the New York State Board of Regents approved a bold reform agenda to meet these aims. This grant application, funded through New York State’s Race to the Top (RTT) initiative, will contribute to the following goals of the Regents reform agenda:

  • Provide every student with a world-class curriculum that synthesizes rigorous content and skills to prepare students for college, the global economy, 21st century citizenship, and lifelong learning

  • Work with school districts to implement strategies for closing chronically underperforming schools in order to dramatically improve student outcomes

  • Raise graduation rates for at-risk student populations (particularly English language learners, students with disabilities, low-income students, African-American and Latino students) through the redesign and launch of schools to increase student engagement and to ensure college and career readiness

Purpose

The purposes of the School Innovation Fund are to increase high school graduation, college persistence, and college graduation rates by increasing the availability of new high quality seats for students at most risk for dropout, disengagement, and poor academic performance.

Through this grant application, NYSED seeks to identify Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and key partner organizations that are jointly committed to the rigorous work required to redesign and turnaround schools into high performing, high quality organizations. Eligible LEAs must partner with one Lead Partner or a Partner Consortium (partner organizations, hereafter) in a proposal to launch a whole new school or a total re-design of an existing school within any one of the following design frameworks:

  1. College Pathways School Design
  2. Full-Service (wrap-around services) Design
  3. Arts and/or Cultural Education School Design
  4. Industry Partnership Design
  5. Virtual/Blended/Online School Design
  6. Education Partnership Organization / Charter Management Organization (EP0/CMO) Design

A Lead Partner should have experience and evidence of success in managing a school change process. A Lead Partner may be a non-profit educational service organization such as a new small-school developer or charter management organization, institution of higher education, or community-based organization that provides direction and shared coordination, oversight, and overall development in the areas of district portfolio management, human capital development, site-based governance, site-based budgeting and financial services, facilities, instructional and non-instructional planning and implementation. At the school level, a Lead Partner has responsibility to coordinate all other supporting partner organizations that interface with the school.

A Partner Consortium, is a team consisting of one to three external partner organizations that work collectively with an “in-district” team to provide direction, coordination, oversight, and overall development in the areas of portfolio management, human capital development, site-based governance, site-based budgeting and financial services, facilities, instructional and non-instructional planning and implementation. Organizations that comprise the consortium must be directly related to the school-design framework being proposed. At least one member of the Partner Consortium must have experience and evidence of success in managing a school change process. Additionally, an applicant may identify any number of supporting external partners that are considered to be critical to the successful design and implementation of the school.

Theory of Action

Commitment and capacity to support dramatic whole school change, from beginning to end, can be fully embedded within essential district – external partner relationships for new school launch / school redesign. With the right match of district and external partner, school systems, structures, and supports will be cohesive and fully integrated into the fabric of the comprehensive educational program, increasing the likelihood of sustainability and student success.

Project Period

Over a three (3) year period it is anticipated that $40,000,000 will be available for this purpose. Approximately 20-25 projects will be funded. Only applicants with the most ambitious plans that exceed a benchmark standard of quality will be funded. LEAs must submit applications in partnership with partner organization(s) that can provide multi-faceted services to support the school launch and at least the first two years of start-up support. Each funded partnership will be required to work with the NYSED State School Turnaround Office, which will provide support in developing key innovation and turnaround partnership agreements at the local level and facilitate sharing of best practices Statewide.

The expected start date of this funding program is October 1, 2011, for a planning phase. The planning phase is expected to end June 30, 2012, and the implementation phase is expected to begin July 1, 2012. New schools will enroll the first cohort of students in September, 2012. LEAs and Lead Partner/Partner Consortium will be required to submit an initial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) upon application and a final MOU by the end of the planning period. Funding past the planning period is contingent upon performance and fully executed partnership MOU and NYSED approved performance agreement. Additionally, LEAs and partner organizations will be held jointly accountable for interim performance indicators and summative student performance metrics through an explicit performance agreement to be finalized and approved by NYSED.

Eligibility: Requirements

Local Education Agencies that serve Tier III schools are eligible to apply for grant funds. A Tier III school is any Title 1 school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that is not designated as persistently lowest-achieving (PLA) at the time of award. In addition, the LEA must be engaged in an eligible partnership and in proposing a new school or a whole-school redesign. An eligible LEA must submit a separate application for each Tier III school within the district for which it desires a grant. If a funded school becomes a PLA during the time period of award for this grant, this funding program will be discontinued.

For the purposes of this grant application, a new school is defined as: A) A newly opening school that will serve at least one full grade-level of students (with plans to phase in others annually) containing a dramatically different, autonomous, school-level (site-based) governance structure, leadership team, instructional staff composition, curriculum, school culture and use of time as compared to the school that it is replacing, including an autonomous school-level (site-based) budget; or B) A newly opened school (within the last three years) that meets the criteria above, but is expanding by phasing in new full grade-level cohorts.

In addition, a whole-school redesign is a planned organizational and comprehensive educational program that differs dramatically from the previously existing comprehensive educational program within the school. In this case, “differs dramatically” means an obvious and radical departure from the governance structure, leadership team, instructional staff composition, curriculum, school culture, and use of time in a manner that is intended to produce dramatic and transformative increases in student achievement.

Program Requirements

The application to launch a new school must contain evidence that the LEA has engaged in valid, systematic, and critical processes of district-wide student-population and system/structural needs analysis. Based on the analysis, the LEA must recruit, screen, and select partner organizations that have the skill and capacity to fill identified gaps in essential district systems and structures and fully participate in the co-design, development, and implementation of new or wholly redesigned schools. LEA applicants must submit a separate application for each new school for which it seeks funding. An eligible partnership must involve partner organizations with a proven track record of success in turning around low-achieving schools and/or raising student achievement and the change management process.

Program Requirements Specific to Each Design Framework

LEA-partner organization proposals to launch a new school or total re-design of an existing school must be positioned around any one or combination of the six design frameworks described in this section. The particular design framework proposed and the scope of the re-design must be clearly identified and justified as a valid and well-reasoned solution to identified district gaps and needs in its ability provide a menu of high quality options for students in the context of a larger district portfolio strategy. The following two features must be present across all design frameworks. All new school design frameworks must:

  • Serve low-income youth, first generation college goers, English language learners, students of color, students with disabilities, and other young people underrepresented in higher education

  • Utilize specialized instructional practices that enable diverse learners to achieve college-ready standards. These practices include teaching foundational literacy and numeracy skills in the context of intellectually challenging tasks and providing scaffolding so that students advance continuously to higher levels based on proficiency

College Pathways School Design: College pathway schools are small, autonomous schools, operated in close connection with a postsecondary institution. The schools are designed so that all students have the opportunity to earn college credits tuition free along with a high school diploma. The schools are intended for low-income youth, first-generation college goers, English language learners, students of color, students with disabilities and other young people underrepresented in higher education. College pathway schools:

  • Provide the opportunity for students to earn up to 40 college credits tuition-free along with a high school diploma or are designed at the middle-level to prepare students to take dual enrollment and college-credit bearing courses in a college-pathway high school

  • Utilize organizational practices that reinforce an effort-based, college-going culture in which all students are supported as full members of a community of learners striving to achieve high standards

  • Establish eligibility policies that permit students to take college-level courses in individual subject areas for which they are prepared, based on multiple measures of readiness in those areas

  • Focus counseling on dual enrollment postsecondary options to enable students to make informed choices about their programs of study. (In some cases, high schools preselect courses to ensure they meet career certificate or general education requirements for two-year institutions—and are transferable to four-year colleges.)

  • Ensure that course content, student assessments, and instructor qualifications meet IHE standards

Full-service (wrap-around services) Design: A full-service school is a community school, operating in a public school building, that is open to students, families and the community before, during and after-school, often seven days a week, all year long. It is jointly operated and financed through a partnership between the school system and one or more community agencies. Full-service schools:

  • Are open buildings serving the community beyond the school day (before and after school, evenings, vacations, and summers)

  • Operate jointly through a partnership between the school and one or more community agencies that take the lead in finding and coordinating resources for students and adults in the community

  • Provide access to health, dental and mental health services (either directly via on-site health center and/or through direct services within a neighborhood or community zone)

  • Provide a family resource center and opportunities for parents and families to be involved in the school

  • Ensure that after school and summer enrichment programs reinforce and extend the academic experiences for students and adults

  • Offer social and educational services for families and community members

  • Strengthen the neighborhood’s ability to address its identified needs and wants

Arts and/or Cultural Education Design: Arts and/or cultural education schools provide a specialized educational program and learning environment which integrate content and resources from the arts and/or cultural institutions into traditional core subject areas. Additionally, arts and/or cultural education schools are conducive to artistic and academic excellence for promising students of the arts. Arts and/or cultural education schools:

  • Balance core academic rigor with independent, creative, and artistic thinking and performance

  • Leverage cultural resources within the community, connecting schools to libraries, museums, and practicing artists

  • Include one or more comprehensive partnerships with museums, libraries, or other cultural organizations, a public broadcasting station, or artists in residence

  • Provide instruction by highly qualified educators and artists in the school and in community settings

Industry Partnership Design: Industry partnership schools provide real-world, project-based, personalized learning opportunities for all students, including apprenticeship and career internships and/or work scholarship experiences. These schools will benefit from the coordinated efforts of the LEA and one or more of the following external entities; private business, chambers of commerce, non-profit industry coalitions, unions, and/or economic development organizations. Industry partnership schools:

  • Provide students education and training that will result in a readiness to enter the workforce in specific career fields upon graduation or enter college in specialized technical professions

  • Provide an individualized college and career readiness plan for all students

  • Provide teachers with yearly education-based and career and technical-based professional development

  • Create apprenticeships/internships with local employers based on students’ individualized learning plans

  • Coordinate with local employers to provide job and college placement services for graduates

  • Coordinate with district vocational rehabilitation offices as part of the transition planning process for eligible students with disabilities

Virtual/Blended/Online School Design: A virtual/blended/online school provides learning experiences where high quality, personalized, instructional interaction occurs through digital and/or Internet-connected technology. It delivers a majority of the instructional experience through a digital or Internet-connected learning environment. A blended school design provides any combination of face-to-face and digital, virtual, and/or Internet-connected instructional interaction. Virtual/online and blended school designs provide flexibility of time and place of instruction, in order to meet individual student learning needs. Virtual/Online/Blended schools must:

  • Provide high-quality digital content, virtual and blended courses, that are aligned to the common core and other New York State Standards of Learning for all enrolled students

  • Ensure digital learning involves high quality instructional interactions between teacher and student, student and content, and other students

  • Provide high-quality college or career-prep courses to earn a high school diploma

  • Personalize learning for each student enrolled

  • Allow for a progression of learning and award credit for course completion based on demonstration of competency

  • Allow for flexible scheduling for students to take full advantage of peak learning times and to complete learning experiences

  • Plan and provide for academic and social-emotional development and supports

  • Ensure administrators and teachers have substantial, ongoing, and job-embedded professional development to better utilize technology for teaching

  • Demonstrate a transparent and rigorous process for selecting digital content and course management providers, evaluated by student learning data

  • Demonstrate a sustainable technology infrastructure, including the use of appropriate assistive technology for eligible students with disabilities, for learning and course management

  • Comply with Commissioner’s regulations for online learning

EPO/CMO Design: A school modeled after a successful EPO/CMO design, will be planned and launched in partnership with the EPO/CMO responsible for the original design and network management of similar school designs. The EPO/CMO design must replicate the organizational and education features of the school. Specific shared governance of the school must be explicit in the roles and responsibilities articulated in the final MOU between the LEA and EPO/CMO. EPO/CMO design schools:

  • Become a part of the EPO/CMO network

  • Replicate the organizational and education features of the successful school/network

  • Create a shared governance agreement where LEA and EPO/CMO are jointly accountable for school and student success, with explicit roles and responsibilities articulated in the final MOU

Budget

The applicant must complete the FS-10 Budget Form for the first period of the project (October 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012) with the application. The FS-10 Budget Form and information about the categories of expenditures and general information on allowable costs, applicable cost principles and administrative regulations are available in the Fiscal Guidelines for Federal and State Aided Grants.

In addition, the applicant must complete the 3-Year Budget Summary Chart.

The budget will be reviewed and scored on its appropriateness and completeness. If any inappropriate and/or unallowable items are included in the budget, they will be deleted and the budget will be scored accordingly.

Allowable Activities and Costs

Allowable activities are those activities that are directly related to meeting the overall and individual design framework program requirements. The purchase of non-instructional equipment is not allowed.

Additional Requirements

LEAs receiving a grant must:

  • Administer the grant funds and submit the required reports to account for the use of the funds;

  • Provide targeted training on Education Law 3012-c during the 2011-12 planning phase and agree to fully implement the provisions of Education Law 3012-c during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 (these activities do not need to be budgeted for through this award);

  • Key project personnel must attend two, two-day capacity building events in Albany, NY each project period. (This travel should be budgeted for within the grant);

  • Require partner organization(s) to sign an agreement (preliminary Memorandum of Understanding) that specifically outlines all services each partner agrees to provide;

  • Not act as a flow-through for funds to pass to other entities. LEA level of participation is not less than 20% of the annual budget;

  • If the LEA chooses, up to 15% of grant funds may be used for district-level capacity building activities. (85% must be directed toward the identified school activities);

  • Not sub-grant funds to other entities. The LEA is only permitted to contract for services with the identified partner organizations to provide services that the LEA cannot provide.

Review and Rating of Applications

Only complete applications from eligible applicants postmarked by the due date will be reviewed and rated by at least two reviewers. The scores of the reviewers will be totaled and then averaged to arrive at the final score for each application. If there is a difference of 20 points or more between the two reviewer’s scores, a third reviewer will review the application and the two highest scores will be averaged to compute the final average score. An application must receive a final average score of 75 to be considered for funding. Applications receiving the minimum required final average score or above will be ranked in order of the final average score.

Budgets will be reviewed and rated on their appropriateness and completeness. Any items in the budget that are deemed unallowable or inappropriate will be eliminated and the budget will be scored accordingly.

Applications will be awarded in rank order of score until funds are insufficient to fund the next ranking application in full. Remaining funds will be offered to that applicant to run a smaller program. In the event of a tie score, the applicant farther along in the differentiated accountability system at the time of the application will be selected (i.e., a school identified in restructuring-advanced would be selected over a school in restructuring, a school in restructuring would be selected over a school identified in corrective action or in need of improvement, etc). The New York State Education Department reserves the right to reject all proposals received or cancel this RFP if it is in the best interest of the Department. If any funded LEAs withdraw or become ineligible within the year of funding, the left-over funds will be used to fund the next highest ranking applications.

Appeals Process

At the conclusion of the rating and ranking process, and the notification to all applicants as to the status of their application, an applicant who has not been awarded funds will have 5 business days request a debriefing by emailing the request to emsccsp@mail.nysed.gov. NYSED staff will summarize the scores identified by the raters and the comments made. This will be emailed to the applicant within 10 business days of receipt of the request.

Entities’ Responsibility

Projects must operate under the jurisdiction of the local board of education or other appropriate governing body and are subject to at least the same degree of accountability as all other expenditures of the local agency. The local board of education or other appropriate governing body is responsible for the proper disbursement of, and accounting for, project funds. Written agency policy concerning wages, mileage and travel allowances, overtime compensation, or fringe benefits, as well as State rules pertaining to competitive bidding, safety regulations, and inventory control must be followed. Supporting or source documents are required for all grant related transactions entered into the local agency's recordkeeping system. Source documents that authorize the disbursement of grant funds consist of purchase orders, contracts, time & effort records, delivery receipts, vendor invoices, travel documentation and payment documents, including check stubs. Supporting documentation for grants and grant contracts must be kept for at least six years after the last payment was made unless otherwise specified by program requirements. Additionally, audit or litigation will "freeze the clock" for records retention purposes until the issue is resolved. All records and documentation must be available for inspection by State Education Department officials or its representatives.

For additional information about grants, please refer to the Fiscal Guidelines for Federal and State Aided Grants.

Required Reports

Recipients of multi-year discretionary grants must work with the NYSED School Turnaround Office to develop a performance agreement. The performance agreement must be signed by the LEA and partner organizations and must be completed within the first six-months of the initial award. The performance agreement will include interim (monthly), quarterly, and annual metrics and benchmark indicators of success. The performance report should demonstrate that substantial progress has been made toward meeting the project goals and the program performance indicators. Once the performance agreement is in place, failure to meet progress interim, quarterly, and annual benchmarks may result in a delayed or stopped payment.

The interim, quarterly, and annual data to be reported may include, but not be limited to:

  • Documentation of regular monthly meetings and outcomes with project advisors, management team and partners;

  • Partnership budgets for establishing Lead, Partner Consortium, and Supporting Partners;

  • Implementation of Chapter 103 of the laws of 2010; teacher and principal evaluation data, and;

  • Baseline and quarterly and/or annually thereafter, data collection, assessment, and as a total school population and by sub-group, including but not limited to:

    • Aggregate student attendance and school average daily attendance
    • Aggregate attendance by instructional staff and staff average daily attendance
    • Instructional staff turnover rate
    • Aggregate in-school and out-of-school suspension rates and average in-school and out-of-school suspension rates by total school and broken down by sub-group
    • Truancy rates
    • Dropout rates
    • Number of students completing advanced coursework by subgroup (e.g., Advanced Placement/ International Baccalaureate, college pathways or dual enrollment classes [high schools only])
    • Student achievement rates
    • State assessment data disaggregated by sub-group
    • Student achievement rates compared to the State
    • Student achievement rates compared to the district
    • Student growth data
    • College readiness data
    • Graduation and transition data
    • Submit final LEA/Parter MOU no later than June 30, 2012.

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Last Updated: May 30, 2012 3:50 PM