[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 240 (Monday, December 15, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 74071-74079]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-29358]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Applications for New Awards; State Personnel Development Grants 
(SPDG) Program

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice.

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    Overview Information: State Personnel Development Grants (SPDG) 
Program Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year 
(FY) 2015.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.323A.


DATES: 
    Applications Available: December 15, 2014.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: January 29, 2015.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: March 30, 2015.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The purpose of this program, authorized by the 
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), is to assist State 
educational agencies (SEAs) in reforming and improving their systems 
for personnel preparation and professional development in early 
intervention, educational, and transition services in order to improve 
results for children with disabilities.
    Priorities: This notice contains two absolute priorities. Absolute 
Priority 1 is from the notice of final priorities and definitions for 
this program, published in the Federal Register on August 2,

[[Page 74072]]

2012 (77 FR 45944). In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(iv), 
Absolute Priority 2 is from sections 651 through 655 of IDEA.
    Absolute Priorities: For FY 2015 and any subsequent year in which 
we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this 
competition, these priorities are absolute priorities. Under 34 CFR 
75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet both of these 
priorities.
    These priorities are:
    Absolute Priority 1--Effective and Efficient Delivery of 
Professional Development.
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority to assist SEAs in reforming and 
improving their systems for personnel (as that term is defined in 
section 651(b) of IDEA) preparation and professional development of 
individuals providing early intervention, educational, and transition 
services in order to improve results for children with disabilities.
    In order to meet this priority, an applicant must demonstrate in 
the SPDG State Plan it submits as part of its application under section 
653(a)(2) of IDEA that its proposed project will--
    (1) Use evidence-based (as defined in this notice) professional 
development practices that will increase implementation of evidence-
based practices and result in improved outcomes for children with 
disabilities;
    (2) Provide ongoing assistance to personnel receiving SPDG-
supported professional development that supports the implementation of 
evidence-based practices with fidelity (as defined in this notice); and
    (3) Use technology to more efficiently and effectively provide 
ongoing professional development to personnel, including to personnel 
in rural areas and to other populations, such as personnel in urban or 
high-need local educational agencies (LEAs) (as defined in this 
notice).
    Absolute Priority 2--State Personnel Development Grants.
    Statutory Requirements. To meet this priority, an applicant must 
meet the following statutory requirements:
    1. State Personnel Development Plan.
    An applicant must submit a State Personnel Development Plan that 
identifies and addresses the State and local needs for the personnel 
preparation and professional development of personnel, as well as 
individuals who provide direct supplementary aids and services to 
children with disabilities, and that--
    (a) Is designed to enable the State to meet the requirements of 
section 612(a)(14) and section 635(a)(8) and (9) of IDEA;
    (b) Is based on an assessment of State and local needs that 
identifies critical aspects and areas in need of improvement related to 
the preparation, ongoing training, and professional development of 
personnel who serve infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children with 
disabilities within the State, including--
    (1) Current and anticipated personnel vacancies and shortages; and
    (2) The number of preservice and inservice programs;
    (c) Is integrated and aligned, to the maximum extent possible, with 
State plans and activities under the Elementary and Secondary Education 
Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA); the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as 
amended; and the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA);
    (d) Describes a partnership agreement that is in effect for the 
period of the grant, which agreement must specify--
    (1) The nature and extent of the partnership described in 
accordance with section 652(b) of IDEA and the respective roles of each 
member of the partnership, including, if applicable, an individual, 
entity, or agency other than the SEA that has the responsibility under 
State law for teacher preparation and certification; and
    (2) How the SEA will work with other persons and organizations 
involved in, and concerned with, the education of children with 
disabilities, including the respective roles of each of the persons and 
organizations;
    (e) Describes how the strategies and activities the SEA uses to 
address identified professional development and personnel needs will be 
coordinated with activities supported with other public resources 
(including funds provided under Part B and Part C of IDEA and retained 
for use at the State level for personnel and professional development 
purposes) and private resources;
    (f) Describes how the SEA will align its personnel development plan 
with the plan and application submitted under sections 1111 and 2112, 
respectively, of the ESEA;
    (g) Describes strategies the SEA will use to address the identified 
professional development and personnel needs and how such strategies 
will be implemented, including--
    (1) A description of the programs and activities that will provide 
personnel with the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of, and 
improve the performance and achievement of, infants, toddlers, 
preschoolers, and children with disabilities; and
    (2) How such strategies will be integrated, to the maximum extent 
possible, with other activities supported by grants funded under 
section 662 of IDEA;
    (h) Provides an assurance that the SEA will provide technical 
assistance to LEAs to improve the quality of professional development 
available to meet the needs of personnel who serve children with 
disabilities;
    (i) Provides an assurance that the SEA will provide technical 
assistance to entities that provide services to infants and toddlers 
with disabilities to improve the quality of professional development 
available to meet the needs of personnel serving those children;
    (j) Describes how the SEA will recruit and retain highly qualified 
teachers and other qualified personnel in geographic areas of greatest 
need;
    (k) Describes the steps the SEA will take to ensure that 
economically disadvantaged and minority children are not taught at 
higher rates by teachers who are not highly qualified; and
    (l) Describes how the SEA will assess, on a regular basis, the 
extent to which the strategies implemented have been effective in 
meeting the performance goals described in section 612(a)(15) of IDEA.
    2. Partnerships.
    Required Partners.
    Applicants must establish a partnership with LEAs and other State 
agencies involved in, or concerned with, the education of children with 
disabilities, including--
    (a) Not less than one institution of higher education; and
    (b) The State agencies responsible for administering Part C of 
IDEA, early education, child care, and vocational rehabilitation 
programs.
    Other Partners.
    An SEA must work in partnership with other persons and 
organizations involved in, and concerned with, the education of 
children with disabilities, which may include--
    (a) The Governor;
    (b) Parents of children with disabilities ages birth through 26;
    (c) Parents of nondisabled children ages birth through 26;
    (d) Individuals with disabilities;
    (e) Parent training and information centers or community parent 
resource centers funded under sections 671 and 672 of IDEA, 
respectively;
    (f) Community-based and other nonprofit organizations involved in 
the education and employment of individuals with disabilities;

[[Page 74073]]

    (g) Personnel as defined in section 651(b) of IDEA;
    (h) The State advisory panel established under Part B of IDEA;
    (i) The State interagency coordinating council established under 
Part C of IDEA;
    (j) Individuals knowledgeable about vocational education;
    (k) The State agency for higher education;
    (l) Public agencies with jurisdiction in the areas of health, 
mental health, social services, and juvenile justice;
    (m) Other providers of professional development who work with 
infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children with disabilities;
    (n) Other individuals; and
    (o) An individual, entity, or agency as a partner in accordance 
with section 652(b)(3) of IDEA, if State law assigns responsibility for 
teacher preparation and certification to an individual, entity, or 
agency other than the SEA.
    3. Use of Funds.
    (a) Professional Development Activities--Each SEA that receives a 
grant under this program must use the grant funds to support activities 
in accordance with the State's Personnel Development Plan, including 
one or more of the following:
    (1) Carrying out programs that provide support to both special 
education and regular education teachers of children with disabilities 
and principals, such as programs that--
    (i) Provide teacher mentoring, team teaching, reduced class 
schedules and case loads, and intensive professional development;
    (ii) Use standards or assessments for guiding beginning teachers 
that are consistent with challenging State student academic achievement 
and functional standards and with the requirements for professional 
development, as defined in section 9101 of the ESEA; and
    (iii) Encourage collaborative and consultative models of providing 
early intervention, special education, and related services.
    (2) Encouraging and supporting the training of special education 
and regular education teachers and administrators to effectively use 
and integrate technology--
    (i) Into curricula and instruction, including training to improve 
the ability to collect, manage, and analyze data to improve teaching, 
decision-making, school improvement efforts, and accountability;
    (ii) To enhance learning by children with disabilities; and
    (iii) To effectively communicate with parents.
    (3) Providing professional development activities that--
    (i) Improve the knowledge of special education and regular 
education teachers concerning--
    (A) The academic and developmental or functional needs of students 
with disabilities; or
    (B) Effective instructional strategies, methods, and skills, and 
the use of State academic content standards and student academic 
achievement and functional standards, and State assessments, to improve 
teaching practices and student academic achievement;
    (ii) Improve the knowledge of special education and regular 
education teachers and principals and, in appropriate cases, 
paraprofessionals, concerning effective instructional practices, and 
that--
    (A) Provide training in how to teach and address the needs of 
children with different learning styles and children who are limited 
English proficient;
    (B) Involve collaborative groups of teachers, administrators, and, 
in appropriate cases, related services personnel;
    (C) Provide training in methods of--
    (I) Positive behavioral interventions and supports to improve 
student behavior in the classroom;
    (II) Scientifically based reading instruction, including early 
literacy instruction;
    (III) Early and appropriate interventions to identify and help 
children with disabilities;
    (IV) Effective instruction for children with low-incidence 
disabilities;
    (V) Successful transitioning to postsecondary opportunities; and
    (VI) Classroom-based techniques to assist children prior to 
referral for special education;
    (D) Provide training to enable personnel to work with and involve 
parents in their child's education, including parents of low-income and 
limited English proficient children with disabilities;
    (E) Provide training for special education personnel and regular 
education personnel in planning, developing, and implementing effective 
and appropriate individualized education programs (IEPs); and
    (F) Provide training to meet the needs of students with significant 
health, mobility, or behavioral needs prior to serving those students;
    (iii) Train administrators, principals, and other relevant school 
personnel in conducting effective IEP meetings; and
    (iv) Train early intervention, preschool, and related services 
providers, and other relevant school personnel in conducting effective 
individualized family service plan (IFSP) meetings.
    (4) Developing and implementing initiatives to promote the 
recruitment and retention of highly qualified special education 
teachers, particularly initiatives that have proven effective in 
recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers, including programs 
that provide--
    (i) Teacher mentoring from exemplary special education teachers, 
principals, or superintendents;
    (ii) Induction and support for special education teachers during 
their first three years of employment as teachers; or
    (iii) Incentives, including financial incentives, to retain special 
education teachers who have a record of success in helping students 
with disabilities.
    (5) Carrying out programs and activities that are designed to 
improve the quality of personnel who serve children with disabilities, 
such as--
    (i) Innovative professional development programs (which may be 
provided through partnerships with institutions of higher education), 
including programs that train teachers and principals to integrate 
technology into curricula and instruction to improve teaching, 
learning, and technology literacy and that are consistent with the 
definition of professional development in section 9101 of the ESEA; and
    (ii) The development and use of proven, cost-effective strategies 
for the implementation of professional development activities, such as 
through the use of technology and distance learning.
    (6) Carrying out programs and activities that are designed to 
improve the quality of early intervention personnel, including 
paraprofessionals and primary referral sources, such as--
    (i) Professional development programs to improve the delivery of 
early intervention services;
    (ii) Initiatives to promote the recruitment and retention of early 
intervention personnel; and
    (iii) Interagency activities to ensure that early intervention 
personnel are adequately prepared and trained.
    (b) Other Activities--Each SEA that receives a grant under this 
program must use the grant funds to support activities in accordance 
with the State's Personnel Development Plan, including one or more of 
the following:
    (1) Reforming special education and regular education teacher 
certification (including re-certification) or licensing requirements to 
ensure that--
    (i) Special education and regular education teachers have--

[[Page 74074]]

    (A) The training and information necessary to address the full 
range of needs of children with disabilities across disability 
categories; and
    (B) The necessary subject-matter knowledge and teaching skills in 
the academic subjects that the teachers teach;
    (ii) Special education and regular education teacher certification 
(including re-certification) or licensing requirements are aligned with 
challenging State academic content standards; and
    (iii) Special education and regular education teachers have the 
subject-matter knowledge and teaching skills, including technology 
literacy, necessary to help students with disabilities meet challenging 
State student academic achievement and functional standards.
    (2) Programs that establish, expand, or improve alternative routes 
for State certification of special education teachers for highly 
qualified individuals with a baccalaureate or master's degree, 
including mid-career professionals from other occupations, 
paraprofessionals, and recent college or university graduates with 
records of academic distinction who demonstrate the potential to become 
highly effective special education teachers.
    (3) Teacher advancement initiatives for special education teachers 
that promote professional growth and emphasize multiple career paths 
(such as paths to becoming a career teacher, mentor teacher, or 
exemplary teacher) and pay differentiation.
    (4) Developing and implementing mechanisms to assist LEAs and 
schools in effectively recruiting and retaining highly qualified 
special education teachers.
    (5) Reforming tenure systems, implementing teacher testing for 
subject-matter knowledge, and implementing teacher testing for State 
certification or licensure, consistent with title II of the HEA (20 
U.S.C. 1021 et seq.).
    (6) Funding projects to promote reciprocity of teacher 
certification or licensing between or among States for special 
education teachers, except that no reciprocity agreement developed 
under this absolute priority may lead to the weakening of any State 
teacher certification or licensing requirement.
    (7) Assisting LEAs to serve children with disabilities through the 
development and use of proven, innovative strategies to deliver 
intensive professional development programs that are both cost-
effective and easily accessible, such as strategies that involve 
delivery through the use of technology, peer networks, and distance 
learning.
    (8) Developing, or assisting LEAs in developing, merit-based 
performance systems and strategies that provide differential and bonus 
pay for special education teachers.
    (9) Supporting activities that ensure that teachers are able to use 
challenging State academic content standards and student academic 
achievement and functional standards, and State assessments for all 
children with disabilities, to improve instructional practices and 
improve the academic achievement of children with disabilities.
    (10) When applicable, coordinating with, and expanding centers 
established under section 2113(c)(18) of the ESEA to benefit special 
education teachers.
    (c) Contracts and Subgrants--An SEA that receives a grant under 
this program--
    (1) Must award contracts or subgrants to LEAs, institutions of 
higher education, parent training and information centers, or community 
parent resource centers, as appropriate, to carry out the State 
Personnel Development Plan; and
    (2) May award contracts and subgrants to other public and private 
entities, including the lead agency under Part C of IDEA, to carry out 
the State plan.
    (d) Use of Funds for Professional Development--An SEA that receives 
a grant under this program must use--
    (1) Not less than 90 percent of the funds the SEA receives under 
the grant for any fiscal year for the Professional Development 
Activities described in paragraph (a); and
    (2) Not more than 10 percent of the funds the SEA receives under 
the grant for any fiscal year for the Other Activities described in 
paragraph (b).
    Definitions.
    These definitions are from the notice of final priorities and 
definitions for this program, published in the Federal Register on 
August 2, 2012 (77 FR 45944). We may apply these definitions in any 
year in which this program is in effect.
    Evidence-based refers to practices for which there is strong 
evidence or moderate evidence of effectiveness.
    Fidelity means the delivery of instruction in the way in which it 
was designed to be delivered.
    High-need LEA means, in accordance with section 2102(3) of the 
ESEA, an LEA--
    (a) That serves not fewer than 10,000 children from families with 
incomes below the poverty line (as that term is defined in section 
9101(33) of the ESEA), or for which not less than 20 percent of the 
children served by the LEA are from families with incomes below the 
poverty line; and
    (b) For which there is (1) a high percentage of teachers not 
teaching in the academic subjects or grade levels that the teachers 
were trained to teach, or (2) a high percentage of teachers with 
emergency, provisional, or temporary certification or licensing.

    Program Authority:  20 U.S.C. 1451-1455.

    Applicable Regulations: This application notice (also referred to 
as a notice inviting applications (NIA)) is being published before the 
Department adopts the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost 
Principles, and Audit Requirements in 2 CFR part 200. We expect to 
publish interim final regulations that would adopt those requirements 
before December 26, 2014, and make those regulations effective on that 
date. Because grants awarded under this NIA will likely be made after 
the Department adopts the requirements in 2 CFR part 200, we list as 
applicable regulations both those that are currently effective and 
those that will be effective at the time the Department makes grants.
    The current regulations follow: (a) The Education Department 
General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 
79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The OMB Guidelines to 
Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 
2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department 
in 2 CFR part 3485.
    At the time we award grants under this NIA, the following 
regulations will apply: (a) EDGAR in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 
84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The OMB Guidelines to Agencies on 
Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 
180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR 
part 3485, and the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost 
Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 
200, as adopted and amended in 2 CFR part 3474.
    Regardless of the timing of publication, the following also applies 
to this NIA: The notice of final priorities and definitions for this 
program, published in the Federal Register on August 2, 2012 (77 FR 
45944).

    Note:  The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants 
except federally recognized Indian tribes.


[[Page 74075]]



II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.
    Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested 
$41,630,000 for the SPDG Program for FY 2015, of which we intend to use 
an estimated $9,474,808 for this competition. The actual level of 
funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. However, we are 
inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant 
process if Congress appropriates funds for this program.
    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of 
applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2016 from the list of 
unfunded applicants from this competition.
    Estimated Range of Awards: $500,000--$1,750,000 (for the 50 States, 
the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico). In the 
case of outlying areas (United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American 
Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), awards 
will be not less than $80,000.

    Note:  We will set the amount of each award after considering--
    (1) The amount of funds available for making the grants;
    (2) The relative population of the State or outlying area;
    (3) The types of activities proposed by the State or outlying 
area;
    (4) The alignment of proposed activities with section 612(a)(14) 
of IDEA;
    (5) The alignment of proposed activities with State plans and 
applications submitted under sections 1111 and 2112, respectively, 
of the ESEA; and
    (6) The use, as appropriate, of scientifically based research 
and instruction.

    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $900,000, excluding the outlying 
areas.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 10.

    Note:  The Department is not bound by any estimates in this 
notice.

    Project Period: Not less than one year and not more than five 
years.

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: An SEA of one of the 50 States, the 
District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or an outlying 
area (United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).

    Note:  Public Law 95-134, which permits the consolidation of 
grants to the outlying areas, does not apply to funds received under 
this competition.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost 
sharing or matching.
    3. Other: General Requirements: The projects funded under this 
program must:
    (a) Make positive efforts to employ and advance in employment 
qualified individuals with disabilities (see section 606 of IDEA);
    (b) Budget for a three-day Project Directors' meeting in 
Washington, DC, during each year of the project;
    (c) Budget $4,000 annually for support of the State Personnel 
Development Grants Program Web site currently administered by the 
University of Oregon (www.signetwork.org); and
    (d) If a project receiving assistance under this program authority 
maintains a Web site, include relevant information and documents in a 
form that meets a government or industry-recognized standard for 
accessibility.

IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an 
application package via the Internet, from the Education Publications 
Center (ED Pubs), or from the program office.
    To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: 
www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/grantapps/index.html.
    To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the following: 
ED Pubs, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 
22304. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (703) 605-6794. If 
you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.
    You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: www.EDPubs.gov or at 
its email address: [email protected].
    If you request an application package from ED Pubs, be sure to 
identify this competition as follows: CFDA Number 84.323A.
    To obtain a copy from the program office, contact the person listed 
under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice.
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application 
package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, 
or compact disc) by contacting the person or team listed under 
Accessible Format in section VIII of this notice.
    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements 
concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you 
must submit, are in the application package for this competition.
    Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) 
is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that 
reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit Part III to 
the equivalent of no more than 100 pages, using the following 
standards:
     A ``page'' is 8.5'' x 11'', on one side only, with 1'' 
margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
     Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) 
all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, 
footnotes, quotations, reference citations, and captions, as well as 
all text in charts, tables, figures, graphs, and screen shots.
     Use a font that is either 12 point or larger.
     Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, 
Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font 
(including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.
    The page limit and double-spacing requirement do not apply to Part 
I, the cover sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the 
narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and 
certifications; or the abstract, (follow the guidance provided in the 
application package for completing the abstract), the table of 
contents, the list of priority requirements, the resumes, the reference 
list, the letters of support, or the appendices. However, the page 
limit and double-spacing requirement do apply to all of Part III, the 
application narrative, including all text in charts, tables, figures, 
graphs, and screen shots.
    We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit, or if 
you apply other standards and exceed the equivalent of the page limit.
    3. Submission Dates and Times:
    Applications Available: December 15, 2014.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: January 29, 2015.
    Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted 
electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For 
information (including dates and times) about how to submit your 
application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery 
if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, please refer to section IV. 7. Other Submission 
Requirements of this notice.
    We do not consider an application that does not comply with the 
deadline requirements.
    Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or 
auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact 
the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII 
of this notice. If the Department provides an

[[Page 74076]]

accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in 
connection with the application process, the individual's application 
remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this 
notice.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: March 30, 2015.
    4. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about 
Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 
12372 is in the application package for this competition.
    5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding 
restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
    6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification 
Number, and System for Award Management: To do business with the 
Department of Education, you must--
    a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a 
Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);
    b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the System for Award 
Management (SAM) (formerly the Central Contractor Registry (CCR)), the 
Government's primary registrant database;
    c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and
    d. Maintain an active SAM registration with current information 
while your application is under review by the Department and, if you 
are awarded a grant, during the project period.
    You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. A DUNS number 
can be created within one to two business days.
    If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or 
organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. 
If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal 
Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a 
new TIN, please allow two to five weeks for your TIN to become active.
    The SAM registration process can take approximately seven business 
days, but may take upwards of several weeks, depending on the 
completeness and accuracy of the data entered into the SAM database by 
an entity. Thus, if you think you might want to apply for Federal 
financial assistance under a program administered by the Department, 
please allow sufficient time to obtain and register your DUNS number 
and TIN. We strongly recommend that you register early.

    Note:  Once your SAM registration is active, you will need to 
allow 24 to 48 hours for the information to be available in 
Grants.gov and before you can submit an application through 
Grants.gov.

    If you are currently registered with SAM, you may not need to make 
any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN associated with 
your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will need to update 
your registration annually. This may take three or more business days.
    Information about SAM is available at www.SAM.gov. To further 
assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in 
SAM or updating your existing SAM account, we have prepared a SAM.gov 
Tip Sheet, which you can find at: http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/sam-faqs.html.
    In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, 
you must (1) be designated by your organization as an Authorized 
Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with 
Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined at the 
following Grants.gov Web page: www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html.
    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under 
this competition must be submitted electronically unless you qualify 
for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the 
instructions in this section.
    a. Electronic Submission of Applications.
    Applications for grants under the State Personnel Development 
Grants Program competition, CFDA number 84.323A, must be submitted 
electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at 
www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy 
of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and 
submit your application. You may not email an electronic copy of a 
grant application to us.
    We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format 
unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of 
the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no 
later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written 
statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these 
exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that 
is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in 
this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.
    You may access the electronic grant application for the State 
Personnel Development Grants Program competition at www.Grants.gov. You 
must search for the downloadable application package for this 
competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha 
suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.323, not 84.323A).

    Please note the following: 
     When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find 
information about submitting an application electronically through 
the site, as well as the hours of operation.
     Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time 
stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and 
must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 
4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. 
Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your 
application if it is received--that is, date and time stamped by the 
Grants.gov system--after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the 
application deadline date. We do not consider an application that 
does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve 
your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are 
rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by 
the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on 
the application deadline date.
     The amount of time it can take to upload an application 
will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of 
the application and the speed of your Internet connection. 
Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the 
application deadline date to begin the submission process through 
Grants.gov.
     You should review and follow the Education Submission 
Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are 
included in the application package for this competition to ensure 
that you submit your application in a timely manner to the 
Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission 
Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the 
Department's G5 system home page at www.G5.gov.
     You will not receive additional point value because you 
submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize 
you if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your 
application in paper format.
     You must submit all documents electronically, including 
all information you typically provide on the following forms: the 
Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of 
Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information--
Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and 
certifications.
     You must upload any narrative sections and all other 
attachments to your application as files in a PDF (Portable 
Document) read-only, non-modifiable format. Do not upload an 
interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other 
than a read-only,

[[Page 74077]]

non-modifiable PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not 
review that material. Additional, detailed information on how to 
attach files is in the application instructions.
     Your electronic application must comply with any page-
limit requirements described in this notice.
     After you electronically submit your application, you 
will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt 
that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification 
indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the 
Department.) The Department then will retrieve your application from 
Grants.gov and send a second notification to you by email. This 
second notification indicates that the Department has received your 
application and has assigned your application a PR/Award number (an 
ED-specified identifying number unique to your application).
     We may request that you provide us original signatures 
on forms at a later date.

    Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues 
with the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting 
your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov 
Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a 
Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.
    If you are prevented from electronically submitting your 
application on the application deadline date because of technical 
problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension 
until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to 
enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand 
delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing 
instructions described elsewhere in this notice.
    If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC 
time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this 
notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you 
experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk 
Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a 
technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that 
problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 
p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The 
Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether 
your application will be accepted.

    Note:  The extensions to which we refer in this section apply 
only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the 
Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed 
to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before 
the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem 
you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

    Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an 
exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your 
application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application 
through the Grants.gov system because--
     You do not have access to the Internet; or
     You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to 
the Grants.gov system;
    and
     No later than two weeks before the application deadline 
date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the 
application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business 
day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement 
to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception 
prevents you from using the Internet to submit your application.
    If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be 
postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline 
date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must 
receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the 
application deadline date.
    Address and mail or fax your statement to: Jennifer Coffey, U.S. 
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., room 4097, Potomac 
Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2600. FAX: (202) 245-7617.
    Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the 
mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.
    b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.
    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a 
commercial carrier), your application to the Department. You must mail 
the original and two copies of your application, on or before the 
application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: 
U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: 
(CFDA Number 84.323A), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20202-4260.
    You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:
    (1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.
    (2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the 
U.S. Postal Service.
    (3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial 
carrier.
    (4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the 
U.S. Department of Education.
    If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do 
not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:
    (1) A private metered postmark.
    (2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.
    If your application is postmarked after the application deadline 
date, we will not consider your application.

    Note:  The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a 
dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with 
your local post office.

    c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.
    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper 
application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original 
and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the 
application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: 
U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: 
(CFDA Number 84.323A), 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7039, Potomac Center 
Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.
    The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily 
between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except 
Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

    Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:  If you 
mail or hand deliver your application to the Department--
    (1) You must indicate on the envelope and--if not provided by 
the Department--in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including 
suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are 
submitting your application; and
    (2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a 
notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not 
receive this notification within 15 business days from the 
application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of 
Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition 
are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are listed in the application package.
    2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants 
that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, 
the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past 
performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous

[[Page 74078]]

award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project 
objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may 
also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely 
performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.
    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary 
also requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal 
civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or 
activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department 
of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
    3. Additional Review and Selection Process Factors:
    In the past, the Department has had difficulty finding peer 
reviewers for certain competitions because so many individuals who are 
eligible to serve as peer reviewers have conflicts of interest. The 
standing panel requirements under section 682(b) of IDEA also have 
placed additional constraints on the availability of reviewers. 
Therefore, the Department has determined that for some discretionary 
grant competitions, applications may be separated into two or more 
groups and ranked and selected for funding within specific groups. This 
procedure will make it easier for the Department to find peer reviewers 
by ensuring that greater numbers of individuals who are eligible to 
serve as reviewers for any particular group of applicants will not have 
conflicts of interest. It also will increase the quality, independence, 
and fairness of the review process, while permitting panel members to 
review applications under discretionary grant competitions for which 
they also have submitted applications. However, if the Department 
decides to select an equal number of applications in each group for 
funding, this may result in different cut-off points for fundable 
applications in each group.
    4. Special Conditions: Under current 34 CFR 74.14 and 80.12 and, 
when grants are made under this NIA, 2 CFR 3474.10, the Secretary may 
impose special conditions and, in appropriate circumstances, high-risk 
conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially 
stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or 
other management system that does not meet the standards in 34 CFR 
parts 74 or 80, as applicable or, when grants are awarded, the 
standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not fulfilled the 
conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your 
U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award 
Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to 
access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, 
also.
    If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, 
we notify you.
    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify 
administrative and national policy requirements in the application 
package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable 
Regulations section of this notice.
    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of 
an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and 
include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also 
incorporates your approved application as part of your binding 
commitments under the grant.
    3. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, 
you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and 
systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 
should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply 
if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).
    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final 
performance report, including financial information, as directed by the 
Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual 
performance report that provides the most current performance and 
financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 
CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance 
reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, 
please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
    4. Performance Measures: The goal of the SPDG Program is to reform 
and improve State systems for personnel preparation and professional 
development in early intervention, educational, and transition services 
in order to improve results for children with disabilities. Under the 
Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), the Department 
has established a set of performance measures, including long-term 
measures, that are designed to yield information on various aspects of 
the effectiveness and quality of the SPDG Program. These measures 
assess the extent to which:
     Projects use evidence-based professional development 
practices to support the attainment of identified competencies.
     Participants in SPDG professional development demonstrate 
improvement in implementation of SPDG-supported practices over time.
     Projects use SPDG professional development funds to 
provide activities designed to sustain the use of SPDG-supported 
practices.
     Highly qualified special education teachers, as defined in 
section 602(10) of IDEA that have participated in SPDG supported 
special education teacher retention activities remain as special 
education teachers two years after their initial participation in these 
activities.
    Each grantee funded under this competition must collect and 
annually report data related to its performance on these measures in 
the project's annual and final performance report to the Department in 
accordance with section 653(d) of IDEA and 34 CFR 75.590. Applicants 
should discuss in the application narrative how they propose to collect 
performance data for these measures.
    5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 
75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: whether a grantee 
has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of 
the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is 
consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the 
Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, the 
performance targets in the grantee's approved application. In making a 
continuation grant, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is 
operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved 
application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws 
that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving 
Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 
106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

VII. Agency Contact

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Coffey, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., room 4097, PCP, Washington, DC 
20202-2600. Telephone: (202) 245-6673.
    If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), 
toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format 
(e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by

[[Page 74079]]

contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., room 5037, PCP, Washington, DC 
20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. If you use a TDD or a TTY, call 
the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free 
Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the 
Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System 
at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well 
as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF 
you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the 
site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: December 10, 2014.
Michael K. Yudin,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. 2014-29358 Filed 12-12-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P