[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 126 (Friday, June 29, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 30708-30716]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-14083]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Applications for New Awards; Educational Technology, Media, and 
Materials for Individuals With Disabilities--Center on Early Science, 
Technology, Engineering, and Math Learning for Young Children With 
Disabilities

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

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice 
inviting applications for a new award for fiscal year (FY) 2018 for 
Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with 
Disabilities--Center on Early Science, Technology, Engineering, and 
Math Learning for Young Children with Disabilities, Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 84.327G.

DATES: 
    Applications Available: June 29, 2018.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 30, 2018.

ADDRESSES: For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an 
application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to 
Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the 
Federal Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 6003) and available at 
www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dawn Ellis, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 5137, Potomac Center Plaza, 
Washington, DC 20202-5108. Telephone: (202) 245-6417. Email: 
dawn.ellis@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The purposes of the Educational Technology, 
Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities Program are to: 
(1) Improve results for students with disabilities by promoting the 
development, demonstration, and use of technology; (2) support 
educational activities designed to be of educational value in the 
classroom for students with disabilities; (3) provide support for 
captioning and video description that is

[[Page 30709]]

appropriate for use in the classroom; and (4) provide accessible 
educational materials to students with disabilities in a timely manner.
    Priority: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(v), this priority 
is from allowable activities specified in the statute (see sections 
674(b)(2) and 681(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 
(IDEA); 20 U.S.C. 1474(b) and 1481(d)).
    Absolute Priority: For FY 2018 and any subsequent year in which we 
make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this 
competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 
75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority.
    This priority is:
    Center on Early Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Learning 
for Young Children with Disabilities.

Background

    The mission of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services (OSERS) is to improve early childhood, educational, and 
employment outcomes and raise expectations for all people with 
disabilities, their families, their communities, and the Nation.
    As early as infancy, young children start developing and testing 
hypotheses about how things work. These inquiry-based skills and the 
quest for understanding form the foundation for early science, 
technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning. Research shows that 
early exposure to STEM learning has positive impacts across 
developmental domains and can positively impact later learning and 
academic performance (Duncan et al., 2007; Mantzicopoulos, Patrick, & 
Samarapungavan, 2008).
    Because of these impacts, experts have recommended that early 
childhood programs intentionally integrate STEM learning into the 
curricula and that it be considered an essential component of a high-
quality early childhood experience (Brenneman, Stevenson-Boyd, & Frede, 
2009; National Research Council, 2009). While there have been recent 
efforts to fund STEM initiatives for early childhood, there has been a 
lack of focus specifically on how to support STEM learning in infants, 
toddlers, and preschool children (young children) with disabilities.
    This focus is necessary, however, because young children with 
disabilities often require specialized supports to engage in STEM 
learning, which can help young children achieve developmental and 
educational outcomes under Parts C and B of the IDEA. Many STEM 
activities require children to use fine and gross motor skills to 
physically engage with objects, have the mobility to participate in 
experiments, or use different senses to explore how something works. 
STEM activities also typically require children to ask questions, have 
focused attention, and solve problems. All of these may pose challenges 
for some young children with disabilities. Yet the hands-on approach 
and active engagement needed for STEM learning is an ideal way for 
young children with disabilities to develop skills and achieve goals 
within their individualized family service plans (IFSPs) or 
individualized education programs (IEPs). Identifying best practices in 
providing STEM learning to young children with disabilities, including 
through the use of technology, would help maximize the benefits to 
them.
    To ensure that young children with disabilities can engage in and 
benefit from STEM learning, this priority will fund a cooperative 
agreement to establish and operate a Center on Early STEM Learning for 
Young Children with Disabilities (the Center). The Center will assemble 
a body of knowledge on the practices and supports, including the use of 
technology, necessary to improve STEM learning for young children with 
disabilities. The Center will also disseminate these practices and 
supports to early childhood programs, administrators, providers, 
families of children with disabilities, and institutions of higher 
education (IHEs).
    This priority is consistent with three priorities from the 
Secretary's Final Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for 
Discretionary Grant Programs, which were published in the Federal 
Register on March 2, 2018 (83 FR 9096): Priority 5--Meeting the Unique 
Needs of Students and Children With Disabilities and/or Those With 
Unique Gifts and Talents; Priority 6--Promoting Science, Technology, 
Engineering, or Math (STEM) Education, With a Particular Focus on 
Computer Science; and Priority 8--Promoting Effective Instruction in 
Classrooms and Schools.

Priority

    The purpose of this priority is to fund a cooperative agreement to 
establish and operate a national Center on Early Science, Technology, 
Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Learning, for Young Children with 
Disabilities to achieve, at a minimum, the following expected outcomes:
    (a) Increased body of knowledge of current evidence-based (as 
defined in this notice) practices (EBPs) for early STEM learning, 
including early computer science learning for young children with 
disabilities;
    (b) Increased use by early childhood programs, providers, and 
families of the current EBPs in early STEM learning for young children 
with disabilities; and
    (c) Increased awareness by faculty in IHEs of the current EBPs in 
early STEM learning for young children with disabilities and increased 
focus on early STEM learning within programs of study within IHEs.
    In addition to these programmatic requirements, to be considered 
for funding under this priority, applicants must meet the application 
and administrative requirements in this priority, which are:
    (a) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Significance,'' how the proposed project will--
    (1) Address the need in the field for knowledge about early STEM 
learning for young children with disabilities and their families. To 
meet this requirement the applicant must--
    (i) Demonstrate knowledge of the current and emerging EBPs in early 
STEM learning for all young children, and specifically around using 
technology to improve access to early STEM learning for young children 
with disabilities and their families; and
    (ii) Demonstrate knowledge of current educational and policy issues 
and national initiatives relating to early STEM learning for all young 
children and their families, and specifically for young children with 
disabilities and their families;
    (2) Address current and emerging capacity needs of early childhood 
programs, providers, and families to select and implement current EBPs 
that will improve early STEM learning for young children with 
disabilities, including using technology to improve their access to 
early STEM learning activities. To meet this requirement, the applicant 
must--
    (i) Present information and data on the current capacity of early 
childhood providers to effectively support early STEM learning in young 
children with disabilities;
    (ii) Present information and data on how early STEM learning is 
included within personnel preparation programs;
    (iii) Demonstrate knowledge of the implementation supports (e.g., 
professional development and training, ongoing consultation and 
coaching, performance assessments, data systems to support decision-
making, administrative supports) that are needed to implement new 
practices within early childhood programs and services; and

[[Page 30710]]

    (iv) Demonstrate knowledge of how to educate, engage, and support 
families of young children with disabilities to implement early STEM 
learning activities;
    (3) Improve the potential for early STEM outcomes for young 
children with disabilities and indicate the likely magnitude or 
importance of these outcomes.
    (b) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Quality of project services,'' how the proposed project will--
    (1) Ensure equal access and treatment for members of groups that 
have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national 
origin, gender, age, or disability. To meet this requirement, the 
applicant must describe how it will--
    (i) Identify the needs of the intended recipients for technical 
assistance (TA) and information;
    (ii) Ensure that services and products meet the needs of the 
intended recipients of the grant;
    (iii) As appropriate, address the needs of young children with 
disabilities who are Native American or are dual language learners 
(i.e., English is not the primary language spoken in the home); and
    (iv) As appropriate, address the needs of military-connected young 
children with disabilities;
    (2) Achieve its goals, objectives, and intended outcomes. To meet 
this requirement, the applicant must provide--
    (i) Measurable intended project outcomes; and
    (ii) In Appendix A, the logic model (as defined in this notice) by 
which the proposed project will achieve its intended outcomes that 
depicts, at a minimum, the goals, activities, outputs, and intended 
outcomes of the proposed project;
    (3) Use a conceptual framework (and provide a copy in Appendix A to 
develop project plans and activities, describing any underlying 
concepts, assumptions, expectations, beliefs, or theories, as well as 
the presumed relationships or linkages among these variables, and any 
empirical support for this framework;
    Note: The following websites provide more information on logic 
models and conceptual frameworks: www.osepideasthatwork.org/logicModel 
and www.osepideasthatwork.org/resources-grantees/program-areas/ta-ta/tad-project-logic-model-and-conceptual-framework.
    (4) Be based on current research and make use of EBPs. To meet this 
requirement, the applicant must describe--
    (i) The current research on practices to support early STEM 
learning for young children with disabilities and the use of technology 
to improve access to early STEM learning for young children with 
disabilities;
    (ii) The current research about adult learning principles and 
implementation science or improvement science that will inform the 
proposed products; and
    (iii) How the proposed project will incorporate current research 
and EBPs in the development and delivery of its products and services;
    (5) Develop products and provide services that are of high quality 
and sufficient intensity and duration to achieve the intended outcomes 
of the proposed project. To address this requirement, the applicant 
must describe--
    (i) How it proposes to identify or develop the knowledge base on:
    (A) EBPs on early STEM learning for young children with 
disabilities;
    (B) Use of technology to improve access to early STEM learning for 
young children with disabilities;
    (C) What young children should know or be able to do in early STEM 
at different ages;
    (D) Integration of early STEM learning into IFSPs under Part C of 
the IDEA and IEPs under Part B of the IDEA; and
    (E) Implementation supports needed for early childhood programs and 
providers to have the capacity to implement the early STEM learning 
practices, and educate, engage, and support families of young children 
with disabilities in implementing opportunities for early STEM 
learning.
    (ii) Its proposed approach to universal, general TA,\1\ which must 
identify the intended recipients of the products and services under 
this approach and should include, at minimum, activities focused on--
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    \1\ ``Universal, general TA'' means TA and information provided 
to independent users through their own initiative, resulting in 
minimal interaction with TA center staff and including one-time, 
invited or offered conference presentations by TA center staff. This 
category of TA also includes information or products, such as 
newsletters, guidebooks, or research syntheses, downloaded from the 
TA center's website by independent users. Brief communications by TA 
center staff with recipients, either by telephone or email, are also 
considered universal, general TA.
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    (A) Developing and disseminating resources, materials, and tools 
for faculty at IHEs to embed current EBPs on early STEM learning for 
young children with disabilities within personnel preparation programs 
of study;
    (B) Developing and disseminating resources, materials, and tools 
for early childhood programs and providers on current EBPs on early 
STEM learning for young children with disabilities, including: How to 
incorporate early STEM learning into IFSPs and IEPs to achieve child 
outcomes identified on the IFSP or IEP; how to use technology to 
increase opportunities for early STEM learning and deliver instruction 
or interventions that promote early STEM learning; and how to work with 
families to help promote early STEM learning with their child; and
    (C) Partnering with national professional organizations, 
foundations, industry and research organizations and centers to 
disseminate information on how young children with disabilities can be 
included in broader early STEM research, policies, and practices, 
including within new curricula and learning materials.
    (iii) Its proposed approach to targeted, specialized TA,\2\ which 
must identify the intended recipients, including the type and number of 
recipients that will receive the products and services under this 
approach; and
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    \2\ ``Targeted, specialized TA'' means TA services based on 
needs common to multiple recipients and not extensively 
individualized. A relationship is established between the TA 
recipient and one or more TA center staff. This category of TA 
includes one-time, labor-intensive events, such as facilitating 
strategic planning or hosting regional or national conferences. It 
can also include episodic, less labor-intensive events that extend 
over a period of time, such as facilitating a series of conference 
calls on single or multiple topics that are designed around the 
needs of the recipients. Facilitating communities of practice can 
also be considered targeted, specialized TA.
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    (6) Develop products and implement services that maximize 
efficiency. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe--
    (i) How the proposed project will use technology to achieve the 
intended project outcomes;
    (ii) With whom the proposed project will collaborate and the 
intended outcomes of this collaboration; and
    (iii) How the proposed project will use non-project resources to 
achieve the intended project outcomes.
    (c) In the narrative section of the application under ``Quality of 
the project evaluation,'' include an evaluation plan for the project as 
described in the following paragraphs. The evaluation plan must 
describe: Measures of progress in implementation, including the 
criteria for determining the extent to which the project's products and 
services have met the goals for reaching its target population; 
measures of intended outcomes or results of the project's activities in 
order to evaluate those activities; and how well the goals or

[[Page 30711]]

objectives of the proposed project, as described in its logic model, 
have been met.
    The applicant must provide an assurance that, in designing the 
evaluation plan, it will--
    (1) Designate, with the approval of the OSEP project officer, a 
project liaison staff person with sufficient dedicated time, experience 
in evaluation, and knowledge of the project to work in collaboration 
with the Center to Improve Program and Project Performance (CIP3),\3\ 
the project director, and the OSEP project officer on the following 
tasks:
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    \3\ The major tasks of CIP3 are to guide, coordinate, and 
oversee the design of formative evaluations for every large 
discretionary investment (i.e., those awarded $500,000 or more per 
year and required to participate in the 3+2 process) in OSEP's 
Technical Assistance and Dissemination; Personnel Development; 
Parent Training and Information Centers; and Educational Technology, 
Media, and Materials programs. The efforts of CIP3 are expected to 
enhance individual project evaluation plans by providing expert and 
unbiased TA in designing the evaluations with due consideration of 
the project's budget. CIP3 does not function as a third-party 
evaluator.
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    (i) Revise, as needed, the logic model submitted in the grant 
application to provide for a more comprehensive measurement of 
implementation and outcomes and to reflect any changes or 
clarifications to the model discussed at the kick-off meeting;
    (ii) Refine the evaluation design and instrumentation proposed in 
the grant application consistent with the logic model (e.g., prepare 
evaluation questions about significant program processes and outcomes, 
develop quantitative or qualitative data collections that permit both 
the collection of progress data, including fidelity of implementation, 
as appropriate, and the assessment of project outcomes; and identify 
analytic strategies); and
    (iii) Revise, as needed, the evaluation plan submitted in the grant 
application such that it clearly--
    (A) Specifies the measures and associated instruments or sources 
for data appropriate to the evaluation questions, suggests analytic 
strategies for those data, provides a timeline for conducting the 
evaluation, and includes staff assignments for completion of the plan;
    (B) Delineates the data expected to be available by the end of the 
second project year for use during the project's evaluation (3+2 
review) for continued funding described under the heading Fourth and 
Fifth Years of the Project; and
    (C) Can be used to assist the project director and the OSEP project 
officer, with the assistance of CIP3, as needed, to specify the 
performance measures to be addressed in the project's Annual 
Performance Report;
    (2) Cooperate with CIP3 staff in order to accomplish the tasks 
described in paragraph (1) of this section; and
    (3) Dedicate sufficient funds in each budget year to cover the 
costs of carrying out the tasks described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of 
this section and implementing the evaluation plan.
    (d) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Adequacy of resources and quality of project personnel,'' how--
    (1) The proposed project will encourage applications for employment 
from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been 
underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or 
disability, as appropriate;
    (2) The proposed key project providers, consultants, and 
subcontractors have the qualifications and experience to carry out the 
proposed activities and achieve the project's intended outcomes;
    (3) The applicant and any key partners have adequate resources to 
carry out the proposed activities; and
    (4) The proposed costs are reasonable in relation to the 
anticipated results and benefits.
    (e) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Quality of the management plan,'' how--
    (1) The proposed management plan will ensure that the project's 
intended outcomes will be achieved on time and within budget. To 
address this requirement, the applicant must describe--
    (i) Clearly defined responsibilities for key project providers, 
consultants, and subcontractors, as applicable; and
    (ii) Timelines and milestones for accomplishing the project tasks;
    (2) Key project personnel and any consultants and subcontractors, 
and how these allocations are appropriate and adequate to achieve the 
project's intended outcomes;
    (3) The proposed management plan will ensure that the products and 
services provided are of high quality, relevant, and useful to 
recipients; and
    (4) The proposed project will benefit from a diversity of 
perspectives, including those of researchers, faculty, early childhood 
administrators, providers across different types of early childhood 
programs, families, and policy makers, among others, in its development 
and operation.
    (f) Address the following application requirements. The applicant 
must--
    (1) Include, in Appendix A, providers-loading charts and timelines, 
as applicable, to illustrate the management plan described in the 
narrative;
    (2) Include, in the budget, attendance at the following:
    (i) A one and one-half day kick-off meeting in Washington, DC, 
after receipt of the award, and an annual planning meeting in 
Washington, DC, with the OSEP project officer and other relevant staff 
during each subsequent year of the project period.
    Note: Within 30 days of receipt of the award, a post-award 
teleconference must be held between the OSEP project officer and the 
grantee's project director or other authorized representative;
    (ii) A two and one-half day project directors' conference in 
Washington, DC, during each year of the project period;
    (iii) Three trips annually to attend Department briefings, 
Department-sponsored conferences, and other meetings, as requested by 
OSEP; and
    (iv) A one-day intensive 3+2 review meeting in Washington, DC, 
during the last half of the second year of the project period;
    (3) Include, in the budget, a line item for an annual set-aside of 
five percent of the grant amount to support emerging needs that are 
consistent with the proposed project's intended outcomes, as those 
needs are identified in consultation with, and approved by, the OSEP 
project officer.
    Note: With approval from the OSEP project officer, the project must 
reallocate any remaining funds from this annual set-aside no later than 
the end of the third quarter of each budget period;
    (4) Describe how doctoral students or post-doctoral fellows will be 
engaged in the project to increase the number of future leaders in the 
field who are knowledgeable about early STEM learning for young 
children with disabilities, including the use of technology to increase 
access to early STEM learning; and
    (5) Maintain a high-quality website, with an easy-to-navigate 
design, that meets government or industry-recognized standards for 
accessibility.
    (6) Include, in Appendix A, an assurance that the project will 
assist OSEP with the transfer of pertinent resources and products and 
will maintain the continuity of services during the transition at the 
end of this award period, as appropriate.

Fourth and Fifth Years of the Project

    In deciding whether to continue funding the project for the fourth 
and fifth years, the Secretary will consider

[[Page 30712]]

the requirements of 34 CFR 75.253(a), as well as--
    (a) The recommendation of a 3+2 review team consisting of experts 
selected by the Secretary. This review will be conducted during a one-
day intensive meeting that will be held during the last half of the 
second year of the project period;
    (b) The timeliness with which, and how well, the requirements of 
the negotiated cooperative agreement have been or are being met by the 
project; and
    (c) The quality, relevance, and usefulness of the project's 
products and services and the extent to which the project's products 
and services are aligned with the project's objectives and likely to 
result in the project achieving its intended outcomes.

References

Brenneman, K., Stevenson-Boyd, J., & Frede, E. (2009). Mathematics 
and science in preschool: Policies and practice. NIEER Policy Brief 
(Issue 19). Available from http://nieer.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/MathSciencePolicyBrief0309.pdf.
Duncan, G. J., Dowsett, C. J., Claessens, A., Magnuson, K., Huston, 
A., Klebanov, P.,... Japel, C. (2007). School readiness and later 
achievement. Developmental Psychology, 43(6), 1428-1446.
Mantzicopoulos, P., Patrick, H., & Samarapungavan, A. (2008). Young 
children's motivational beliefs about learning science. Early 
Childhood Research Quarterly, 23(3), 378-394. Available from 
www.researchgate.net/profile/Panayota_Mantzicopoulos/publication/222704499_Young_children%27s_motivational_beliefs_about_learning_science/links/0c9605265240e6d71b000000/Young-childrens-motivational-beliefs-about-learning-science.pdf.
National Research Council. (2009). Mathematics learning in early 
childhood: Paths toward excellence and equity. Washington, DC: The 
National Academies Press.

Definitions

    The following definitions are from 34 CFR 77.1:
    Demonstrates a rationale means a key project component included in 
the project's logic model is informed by research or evaluation 
findings that suggest the project component is likely to improve 
relevant outcomes.
    Evidence-based means the proposed project component is supported by 
one or more of strong evidence, moderate evidence, promising evidence, 
or evidence that demonstrates a rationale.
    Experimental study means a study that is designed to compare 
outcomes between two groups of individuals (such as students) that are 
otherwise equivalent except for their assignment to either a treatment 
group receiving a project component or a control group that does not. 
Randomized controlled trials, regression discontinuity design studies, 
and single-case design studies are the specific types of experimental 
studies that, depending on their design and implementation (e.g., 
sample attrition in randomized controlled trials and regression 
discontinuity design studies), can meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) 
standards without reservations as described in the WWC Handbook:
    (i) A randomized controlled trial employs random assignment of, for 
example, students, teachers, classrooms, or schools to receive the 
project component being evaluated (the treatment group) or not to 
receive the project component (the control group).
    (ii) A regression discontinuity design study assigns the project 
component being evaluated using a measured variable (e.g., assigning 
students reading below a cutoff score to tutoring or developmental 
education classes) and controls for that variable in the analysis of 
outcomes.
    (iii) A single-case design study uses observations of a single case 
(e.g., a student eligible for a behavioral intervention) over time in 
the absence and presence of a controlled treatment manipulation to 
determine whether the outcome is systematically related to the 
treatment.
    Logic model (also referred to as a theory of action) means a 
framework that identifies key project components of the proposed 
project (i.e., the active ``ingredients'' that are hypothesized to be 
critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the 
theoretical and operational relationships among the key project 
components and relevant outcomes.
    Moderate evidence means that there is evidence of effectiveness of 
a key project component in improving a relevant outcome for a sample 
that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive that 
component, based on a relevant finding from one of the following:
    (i) A practice guide prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 
of the WWC Handbook reporting a ``strong evidence base'' or ``moderate 
evidence base'' for the corresponding practice guide recommendation;
    (ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 
or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook reporting a ``positive effect'' or 
``potentially positive effect'' on a relevant outcome based on a 
``medium to large'' extent of evidence, with no reporting of a 
``negative effect'' or ``potentially negative effect'' on a relevant 
outcome; or
    (iii) A single experimental study or quasi-experimental design 
study reviewed and reported by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the 
WWC Handbook, or otherwise assessed by the Department using version 2.1 
or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, as appropriate, and that--
    (A) Meets WWC standards with or without reservations;
    (B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive 
(i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome;
    (C) Includes no overriding statistically significant and negative 
effects on relevant outcomes reported in the study or in a 
corresponding WWC intervention report prepared under version 2.1 or 3.0 
of the WWC Handbook; and
    (D) Is based on a sample from more than one site (e.g., State, 
county, city, school district, or postsecondary campus) and includes at 
least 350 students or other individuals across sites. Multiple studies 
of the same project component that each meet requirements in paragraphs 
(iii)(A), (B), and (C) of this definition may together satisfy this 
requirement.
    Project component means an activity, strategy, intervention, 
process, product, practice, or policy included in a project. Evidence 
may pertain to an individual project component or to a combination of 
project components (e.g., training teachers on instructional practices 
for English learners and follow-on coaching for these teachers).
    Promising evidence means that there is evidence of the 
effectiveness of a key project component in improving a relevant 
outcome, based on a relevant finding from one of the following:
    (i) A practice guide prepared by WWC reporting a ``strong evidence 
base'' or ``moderate evidence base'' for the corresponding practice 
guide recommendation;
    (ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC reporting a 
``positive effect'' or ``potentially positive effect'' on a relevant 
outcome with no reporting of a ``negative effect'' or ``potentially 
negative effect'' on a relevant outcome; or
    (iii) A single study assessed by the Department, as appropriate, 
that--
    (A) Is an experimental study, a quasi-experimental design study, or 
a well-designed and well-implemented correlational study with 
statistical controls for selection bias (e.g., a study using regression 
methods to account for differences between a treatment group and a 
comparison group); and

[[Page 30713]]

    (B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive 
(i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome.
    Quasi-experimental design study means a study using a design that 
attempts to approximate an experimental study by identifying a 
comparison group that is similar to the treatment group in important 
respects. This type of study, depending on design and implementation 
(e.g., establishment of baseline equivalence of the groups being 
compared), can meet WWC standards with reservations, but cannot meet 
WWC standards without reservations, as described in the WWC Handbook.
    Relevant outcome means the student outcome(s) or other outcome(s) 
the key project component is designed to improve, consistent with the 
specific goals of the program.
    Strong evidence means that there is evidence of the effectiveness 
of a key project component in improving a relevant outcome for a sample 
that overlaps with the populations and settings proposed to receive 
that component, based on a relevant finding from one of the following:
    (i) A practice guide prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 
of the WWC Handbook reporting a ``strong evidence base'' for the 
corresponding practice guide recommendation;
    (ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 
or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook reporting a ``positive effect'' on a 
relevant outcome based on a ``medium to large'' extent of evidence, 
with no reporting of a ``negative effect'' or ``potentially negative 
effect'' on a relevant outcome; or
    (iii) A single experimental study reviewed and reported by the WWC 
using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, or otherwise assessed by 
the Department using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, as 
appropriate, and that--
    (A) Meets WWC standards without reservations;
    (B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive 
(i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome;
    (C) Includes no overriding statistically significant and negative 
effects on relevant outcomes reported in the study or in a 
corresponding WWC intervention report prepared under version 2.1 or 3.0 
of the WWC Handbook; and
    (D) Is based on a sample from more than one site (e.g., State, 
county, city, school district, or postsecondary campus) and includes at 
least 350 students or other individuals across sites. Multiple studies 
of the same project component that each meet requirements in paragraphs 
(iii)(A), (B), and (C) of this definition may together satisfy this 
requirement.
    What Works Clearinghouse Handbook (WWC Handbook) means the 
standards and procedures set forth in the WWC Procedures and Standards 
Handbook, Version 2.1 or 3.0 (incorporated by reference, see 34 CFR 
77.2). Study findings eligible for review under WWC standards can meet 
WWC standards without reservations, meet WWC standards with 
reservations, or not meet WWC standards. WWC practice guides and 
intervention reports include findings from systematic reviews of 
evidence as described in the Handbook documentation.
    Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure 
Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553) the Department generally offers interested 
parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities. Section 
681(d) of IDEA, however, makes the public comment requirements of the 
APA inapplicable to the priority in this notice.
    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1474 and 1481.
    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, 
97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget 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. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost 
Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 
200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR 
part 3474.

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


    Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to IHEs only.

II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Cooperative agreement.
    Estimated Available Funds: $1,450,000.
    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of 
applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2019 from the list of 
unfunded applications from this competition.
    Maximum Award: We will not make an award exceeding $1,450,000 for a 
single budget period of 12 months.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 1.

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

    Project Period: Up to 60 months.

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: SEAs; State lead agencies under Part C of 
the IDEA; LEAs, including charter schools that are considered LEAs 
under State law; IHEs; other public agencies; private nonprofit 
organizations; freely associated States and outlying areas; Indian 
Tribes or Tribal organizations; and for-profit organizations.
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost 
sharing or matching.
    3. Subgrantees: Under 34 CFR 75.708(b) and (c) a grantee under this 
competition may award subgrants--to directly carry out project 
activities described in its application--to the following types of 
entities: IHEs and private nonprofit organizations suitable to carry 
out the activities proposed in the application. The grantee may award 
subgrants to entities it has identified in an approved application.
    4. Other General Requirements:
    (a) Recipients of funding under this competition must make positive 
efforts to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with 
disabilities (see section 606 of IDEA).
    (b) Applicants for, and recipients of, funding must, with respect 
to the aspects of their proposed project relating to the absolute 
priority, involve individuals with disabilities, or parents of 
individuals with disabilities ages birth through 26, in planning, 
implementing, and evaluating the project (see section 682(a)(1)(A) of 
IDEA).

IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Application Submission Instructions: For information on how to 
submit an application please refer to our Common Instructions for 
Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, 
published in the Federal Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 6003) and 
available at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.
    2. Intergovernmental Review: This competition 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.
    3. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding 
restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
    4. Recommended Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of 
the

[[Page 30714]]

application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection 
criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. We recommend 
that you (1) limit the application narrative to no more than 70 pages 
and (2) use 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 12 point or larger.
     Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, 
Courier New, or Arial.
    The recommended page limit does 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 recommended page limit does apply to 
all of the application narrative, including all text in charts, tables, 
figures, graphs, and screen shots.

V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition 
are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are as follows:
    (a) Significance (10 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed 
project.
    (2) In determining the significance of the proposed project, the 
Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The extent to which specific gaps or weaknesses in services, 
infrastructure, or opportunities have been identified and will be 
addressed by the proposed project, including the nature and magnitude 
of those gaps or weaknesses;
    (ii) The potential contribution of the proposed project to the 
development and advancement of theory, knowledge, and practices in the 
field of study; and
    (iii) The extent to which the proposed project is likely to build 
local capacity to provide, improve, or expand services that address the 
needs of the target population.
    (b) Quality of project services (35 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be 
provided by the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of the services to be provided by 
the proposed project, the Secretary considers the quality and 
sufficiency of strategies for ensuring equal access and treatment for 
eligible project participants who are members of groups that have 
traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national 
origin, gender, age, or disability.
    (3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be 
achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable;
    (ii) The extent to which there is a conceptual framework underlying 
the proposed research or demonstration activities and the quality of 
that framework;
    (iii) The extent to which the services to be provided by the 
proposed project reflect up-to-date knowledge from research and 
effective practice;
    (iv) The extent to which the design of the proposed project 
includes a thorough, high-quality review of the relevant literature, a 
high-quality plan for project implementation, and the use of 
appropriate methodological tools to ensure successful achievement of 
project objectives; and
    (v) The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed 
project involve the collaboration of appropriate partners for 
maximizing the effectiveness of project services.
    (c) Quality of the project evaluation (15 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be 
conducted of the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary 
considers the following factors:
    (i) The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, 
feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the 
proposed project;
    (ii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation provide for 
examining the effectiveness of project implementation strategies;
    (iii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide 
performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward 
achieving intended outcomes; and
    (iv) The extent to which the methods of evaluation include the use 
of objective performance measures that are clearly related to intended 
outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and qualitative 
data to the extent possible.
    (d) Adequacy of resources and quality of project personnel (20 
points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources for the 
proposed project.
    (2) In determining the, the Secretary considers the extent to which 
the applicant encourages applications for employment from persons who 
are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented 
based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability.
    (3) In determining the adequacy of resources and quality of project 
personnel for the proposed project, the Secretary considers one or more 
of the following factors:
    (i) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, 
of the project director or principal investigator;
    (ii) The qualifications, including relevant training and 
experience, of key project personnel;
    (iii) The adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, 
supplies, and other resources, from the applicant organization or the 
lead applicant organization;
    (iv) The relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in 
the proposed project to the implementation and success of the project; 
and
    (v) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the 
objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed project.
    (e) Quality of the management plan (20 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for 
the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of the management plan for the 
proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives 
of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly 
defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing 
project tasks;
    (ii) The extent to which the time commitments of the project 
director and principal investigator and other key project personnel are 
appropriate and adequate to meet the objectives of the proposed 
project;
    (iii) The adequacy of mechanisms for ensuring high-quality products 
and services from the proposed project; and
    (iv) How the applicant will ensure that a diversity of perspectives 
are brought to bear in the operation of the proposed project, including 
those of parents, teachers, the business community, a variety of 
disciplinary and professional fields, recipients or

[[Page 30715]]

beneficiaries of services, or others, as appropriate.
    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 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 
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 
(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.
    4. Risk Assessment and Specific Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 
200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department 
conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 
3474.10, the Secretary may impose specific 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 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not 
fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not 
responsible.
    5. Integrity and Performance System: If you are selected under this 
competition to receive an award that over the course of the project 
period may exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently 
$150,000), under 2 CFR 200.205(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your 
integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal 
awards--that is, the risk posed by you as an applicant--before we make 
an award. In doing so, we must consider any information about you that 
is in the integrity and performance system (currently referred to as 
the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System 
(FAPIIS)), accessible through the System for Award Management. You may 
review and comment on any information about yourself that a Federal 
agency previously entered and that is currently in FAPIIS.
    Please note that, if the total value of your currently active 
grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from the 
Federal Government exceeds $10,000,000, the reporting requirements in 2 
CFR part 200, Appendix XII, require you to report certain integrity 
information to FAPIIS semiannually. Please review the requirements in 2 
CFR part 200, Appendix XII, if this grant plus all the other Federal 
funds you receive exceed $10,000,000.

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. Open Licensing Requirements: Unless an exception applies, if you 
are awarded a grant under this competition, you will be required to 
openly license to the public grant deliverables created in whole, or in 
part, with Department grant funds. When the deliverable consists of 
modifications to pre-existing works, the license extends only to those 
modifications that can be separately identified and only to the extent 
that open licensing is permitted under the terms of any licenses or 
other legal restrictions on the use of pre-existing works. 
Additionally, a grantee or subgrantee that is awarded competitive grant 
funds must have a plan to disseminate these public grant deliverables. 
This dissemination plan can be developed and submitted after your 
application has been reviewed and selected for funding. For additional 
information on the open licensing requirements please refer to 2 CFR 
3474.20.
    4. 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 multiyear 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.
    5. Performance Measures: 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 Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for 
Individuals with Disabilities program. These measures are:
     Program Performance Measure #1: The percentage of 
Educational Technology, Media, and Materials Program products and 
services judged to be of high quality by an independent review panel of 
experts qualified to review the substantial content of the products and 
services;
     Program Performance Measure #2: The percentage of 
Educational Technology, Media, and Materials Program products and 
services judged to

[[Page 30716]]

be of high relevance to improving outcomes for infants, toddlers, 
children and youth with disabilities;
     Program Performance Measure #3: The percentage of 
Educational Technology, Media, and Materials Program products and 
services judged to be of useful in improving results for infants, 
toddler, children and youth with disabilities;
     Program Performance Measure #4.1: The federal cost per 
unit of accessible educational materials funded by the Educational 
Technology, Media, and Materials Program;
     Program Performance Measure #4.2: The federal cost per 
unit of accessible educational materials from the National 
Instructional Materials Accessibility Center funded by the Educational 
Technology, Media, and Materials Program; and
     Program Performance Measure #4.3: The federal cost per 
unit of video description funded by the Educational Technology, Media, 
and Materials Program.
    Projects funded under this competition are required to submit data 
on these measures as directed by OSEP.
    Grantees will be required to report information on their project's 
performance in annual performance reports and additional performance 
data to the Department (34 CFR 75.590 and 75.591).
    6. 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 award, 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. 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 contacting 
the Management Support Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 
Maryland Avenue SW, Room 5113, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 
20202-2500. 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.You may 
access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of 
Federal Regulations 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 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: June 26, 2018.
Johnny W. Collett,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2018-14083 Filed 6-28-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4000-01-P