RFP Number: TA-15

School Innovation Fund Grant (SIF) Round 3
Announcement of Funding Opportunity



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 improving the State's lowest performing schools and creating 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 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 improving chronically underperforming schools in order to dramatically improve student outcomes; and
  • 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.


The purposes of the School Innovation Fund are to increase high school graduation, college and career readiness of high school graduates, 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 in a proposal to launch a whole-school redesign of an existing school within any one of the following design frameworks:

  1. College Pathways School Design
  2. Community-Oriented School (wrap-around services) Design
  3. Arts and/or Cultural Education School Design
  4. Career and Technical Education (CTE) School Design
  5. Virtual/Blended/Online School Design
  6. Network-Affiliated School

A Lead Partner should have experience and evidence of success in managing a school change process. For example, a Lead Partner may be a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), 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 two 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 have a direct role in the implementation of this grant. At least one member of the Partner Consortium must have experience and evidence of success in managing a school change process.

Only applicants with the most ambitious plans that meet or 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 three years of implementation. Each funded partnership will be required to work with the NYSED School Turnaround Office (STO), which will provide support in developing final partnership and performance agreements at the local level and facilitate sharing of best practices statewide.

A core feature of the SIF grant is joint accountability for improved student achievement between an LEA and its Lead Partner or Partner Consortium. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be developed with each partner (drafts of which must be submitted with each application) for the purpose of explicitly identifying partner responsibility, LEA responsibility, and joint LEA and partner responsibility.

In addition, by signing a Performance Agreement (which must also be submitted with the application), the LEA and Lead Partner or Partner Consortium (team of two or three partners) agree to meeting the indicators and performance metrics identified in Attachment B: School-level Baseline Data and Target-Setting Chart and Attachment E: Project Plans, according to the responsibilities explicitly identified in each MOU.

Eligibility: Requirements

This grant is open to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) with one or more eligible Priority Schools. An eligible Priority School is a Priority School that the LEA has designated as implementing a whole-school change model beginning in 2014-2015, that is not receiving a School Improvement Grant (SIG) 1003[g] or a School Innovation Fund (SIF) grant at the time of application. Schools currently receiving, or those that have received a SIF-Round 1 or SIF-Round 2 grant are not eligible to receive a SIF-Round 3 grant. Charter schools identified under the State accountability system are not eligible for award to implement a whole-school change model. LEAs may submit multiple applications in response to this RFP; however, only separate and complete applications for each eligible Priority School will be accepted.

NYSED has also announced a new SIG opportunity for eligible Priority Schools. An LEA may apply for a SIG and SIF for the same eligible Priority School. Should the LEA receive preliminary notice of award for both grants for the same school, the LEA must withdraw from one or the other. LEAs are limited to a maximum of eight (8) awards for this SIF competition. A single three-year award may not exceed $750,000.

A full list of Priority Schools is available at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/accountability/ESEADesignations.html.

*The State Education Department does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, religion, creed, disability, marital 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.


Estimated funds available:


Estimated number of awards:


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

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 whole-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

The full project period for this grant is three years. Continuation funding after each period of the project is contingent upon progress toward meeting achievement goals, leading indicators, fidelity of implementation of required actions, and maintenance of all grant requirements.

Project Periods

Year One Implementation Period

June 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015

Year Two Implementation Period

July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016

Year Three Implementation Period

July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017

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

Application Deadline and Submission Requirements

Letter of Intent
LEAs should submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) designating each identified school and its design framework for which an application will be submitted. The LOI should be submitted electronically through the Review Room portal available at: https://nysed-schoolturnaround.fluidreview.com/. The LOI should be received by 5:00 pm February 14, 2014. (Note: While the LOI is not a requirement for submitting a complete application, NYSED encourages all prospective applicants to submit an LOI to ensure that appropriate resources are available for a timely and thorough review and rating process.)

Full Application Submission
Complete applications must be submitted electronically through the Review Room portal (https://nysed-schoolturnaround.fluidreview.com) no later than 3:00 pm, on February 28, 2014.

In addition, the original, signed application plus one copy must be mailed and postmarked by February 28, 2014. Send to:

New York State Education Department
Contracts Administration Unit, 501 W EB
89 Washington Ave
Albany, New York 12234
Attn: Nell Brady, RFP # TA-15

Review Room Electronic Portal
The Review Room portal will be accessible to applicants on January 13, 2014. Technical questions may be addressed to Tracy Farrell: tfarrell@mail.nysed.gov.

Additional Information


Original RFP Posting Date: January 13, 2014

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Last Updated: February 7, 2014 4:17 PM