[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 102 (Thursday, May 26, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 30688-30695]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-13107]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Applications for New Awards; Technology and Media Services for 
Individuals With Disabilities--Research and Development Center on the 
Use of Emerging Technologies To Improve Literacy Achievement for 
Students With Disabilities in Middle School

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

ACTION: Notice.

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Overview Information

    Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 
2011.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.327M.

DATES: 
    Applications Available: May 26, 2011.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 25, 2011.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: September 23, 2011.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The purposes of the Technology and Media 
Services for Individuals with Disabilities program are to: (1) Improve 
results for children with disabilities by promoting the development, 
demonstration, and use of technology; (2) support educational media 
services activities designed to be of educational value in the 
classroom setting to children with disabilities; and (3) provide 
support for captioning and video description that are appropriate for 
use in the classroom setting.
    Priority: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(v), this priority 
is from allowable activities specified in the statute or otherwise 
authorized in the statute (see sections 674(c) and 681(d) of the 
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)).
    Absolute Priority: For FY 2011 and any subsequent year in which we 
make awards from the list of unfunded applicants 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:

Technology and Media Services for Individuals With Disabilities--
Research and Development Center on the Use of Emerging Technologies To 
Improve Literacy Achievement for Students With Disabilities in Middle 
School

Background
    Middle school students with disabilities lag significantly behind 
students without disabilities in reading achievement. For example, the 
2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) found that 8 
percent of 8th grade students with disabilities scored proficient or 
above in reading compared to 35 percent of students without 
disabilities (U.S. Department of Education, 2010b).
    For students with disabilities who are struggling readers, the 
general middle school curriculum offers fewer opportunities for 
developing basic literacy skills than the elementary school curriculum. 
For example, when a student enters middle school, there is a shift from 
developing basic reading skills to applying those skills to learn 
content in which general literacy skills are combined with ``content-
area literacy'' skills, such as specialized vocabulary, basic concepts, 
and content-specific comprehension skills (Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). 
Alleviating reading deficits at the middle school level requires 
integrating instruction to remediate basic skills with academic content 
instruction (Reed, 2009).
    Technology can play a role in remediating academic deficits, and 
has the potential to improve the literacy achievement of students, 
including students with disabilities, at the middle school level (Moran 
et al., 2008; Kim et al., 2006). New technologies such as collaborative 
online environments, multiplayer and alternate reality games, 
electronic books, mobile broadband, augmented reality, learning 
analytics, and personalized Web-based environments offer new forms of 
powerful and engaging learning opportunities (Johnson, et al., 2009; 
Johnson, et al., 2010; Johnson, et al., 2011).
    The Department's Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the 
Elementary and Secondary Education Act emphasizes the importance of 
improving capacity at the State and district levels to support the 
effective use of technology to improve instruction (U.S. Department of 
Education, 2010a). In addition, the National Educational Technology 
Plan (NETP) (U.S. Department of Education, 2010c) emphasizes that 
technology is at the core of virtually all aspects of modern life, and 
that it should play an essential role in 21st century education and 
contribute to the ``revolutionary transformation'' that is needed to 
address critical educational challenges.
    There is, however, a need for continued research, particularly as 
21st century technologies advance and are integrated into instruction. 
Of particular importance is research on how the benefits of emerging 
technologies can be extended to areas of highest need such as 
persistently lowest-achieving schools. The Department has previously 
identified this further need for research in the Supplemental 
Priorities for Discretionary Grant Programs, issued in December 2010. 
Those supplemental priorities included Priority 14 ``Building Evidence 
of Effectiveness'' for projects that propose evaluation plans that are 
likely to produce valid and reliable evidence for, among other areas, 
``identifying and improving practices * * * that may contribute to 
improving outcomes;'' and Priority 6 ``Technology'' for projects 
designed to ``improve student achievement or teacher effectiveness 
through the use of high-quality digital tools or materials, which may 
include * * * developing, implementing, or evaluating digital

[[Page 30689]]

tools or materials'' (U.S. Department of Education, 2010d). This 
priority is consistent with the Supplemental Priorities.
    The purpose of this priority is to support research that 
investigates how emerging 21st century technologies can be used to 
improve literacy achievement for students with disabilities in middle 
school. Specifically, the Center funded under this priority will 
explore how technologies can be used to: (1) Accelerate remediation in 
basic reading skills in conjunction with content-area instruction; (2) 
enhance student motivation, engagement, and self-efficacy related to 
literacy learning; and (3) improve efficiency in the use of educational 
resources (e.g., through the use of open educational resources, 
increasing academic learning time).
    Priority:
    The purpose of this priority is to fund a cooperative agreement to 
support the establishment and operation of a Research and Development 
Center on the Use of Emerging Technologies to Improve Literacy 
Achievement for Students with Disabilities in Middle School (Center). 
Under this priority, the Center will form a consortium with established 
technology developers and researchers to conduct a systematic program 
of research and development on the use of emerging 21st century 
technologies to improve literacy achievement for students with 
disabilities in middle schools, including middle schools that are 
persistently lowest-achieving schools.\1\
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    \1\ For purposes of this priority, the term persistently lowest-
achieving school means, consistent with section 1003(g) of the ESEA, 
School Improvement Grants (74 FR 65618), as determined by the State: 
(i) Any Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or 
restructuring that (a) Is among the lowest-achieving five percent of 
Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring 
or the lowest-achieving five Title I schools in improvement, 
corrective action, or restructuring in the State, whichever number 
of schools is greater; or (b) Is a high school that has had a 
graduation rate as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 
percent over a number of years; and (ii) Any secondary school that 
is eligible for, but does not receive, Title I funds that (a) Is 
among the lowest-achieving five percent of secondary schools or the 
lowest-achieving five secondary schools in the State that are 
eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds, whichever number of 
schools is greater; or (b) Is a high school that has had a 
graduation rate as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 
percent over a number of years. To determine whether a school is a 
lowest-achieving school for purposes of this definition, a State 
must take into account both (i) The academic achievement of the 
``all students'' group in a school in terms of proficiency on the 
State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA in reading/
language arts and mathematics combined; and (ii) The school's lack 
of progress on those assessments over a number of years in the ``all 
students'' group (U.S. Department of Education, 2010b).
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    To be considered for funding under this absolute priority, 
applicants must meet the application requirements contained in this 
priority. The Center funded under this absolute priority also must meet 
the programmatic and administrative requirements specified in the 
priority.
    Application Requirements. An applicant must include in its 
application--
    (a) A theoretical and empirical justification for the technology or 
technologies to be developed and evaluated under the proposed Center. 
This may be a single emerging technology (e.g., a game-based learning 
environment) or a combination of emerging technologies (e.g., a 
collaborative learning environment incorporating multiplayer, game-
based features and learning analytic tools). (For simplicity, the word 
``technology'' will be used hereinafter to refer to the technology or 
combination of technologies to be developed and studied by the Center.) 
In essence, the theoretical and empirical justification must answer the 
following question: What is the evidence that the proposed technology 
has strong potential for substantially improving literacy outcomes for 
middle school students with disabilities? Applicants must--
    (1) Describe the broader education context for the proposed 
technology by including data on, and reviewing research describing, the 
attributes of typical existing practices that the technology will 
enhance or replace; and
    (2) Demonstrate an understanding of how the proposed technology 
would address the shortcomings of existing practices.
    (b) A detailed description of the proposed technology for improving 
literacy achievement for students with disabilities in middle school 
and a theory of change for the proposed technology. Applicants must--
    (1) Specify the key components of the proposed technology (i.e., 
the active ingredients that are hypothesized to be critical to 
achieving the intended results) and describe how they relate to each 
other temporally (or operationally), pedagogically, and theoretically 
(e.g., why A leads to B); and
    (2) Provide a strong theoretical and empirical justification for 
the design and sequencing of the features or components of the 
technology.
    For example, if the applicant proposes to develop and study a 
combination of technologies including a collaborative learning 
environment, game-based learning, and learning analytic tools, the 
applicant must describe the specific components of the technologies 
(e.g. the types of collaboration, the game experiences, the analytics 
to be performed, etc.) and how they might interrelate to produce 
outcomes of interest in this priority (e.g. accelerated remediation in 
basic reading skills and enhanced student motivation, engagement, and 
self-efficacy). Although the specific combination of technologies may 
be new, the applicant must provide theoretical and empirical support 
from existing literature (e.g. on technology-based games and 
motivation, collaborative learning, data-based decision making, etc.) 
to justify the design and features of the proposed technology. This 
example is illustrative only and not intended to constrain or guide the 
selection of technologies. We note that when applicants clearly 
describe the features of a proposed technology and the theory of change 
that guides the technology, reviewers are better able to evaluate 
whether the proposed technology has the potential to substantially 
improve student outcomes relative to current practice.
    (c) A detailed research plan for developing the proposed technology 
and assessing the feasibility of implementing the proposed technology 
in middle schools including middle schools that are persistently 
lowest-achieving schools, and the promise of the proposed technology 
for improving student outcomes. The plan must--
    (i) Describe a systematic, iterative development process to be used 
in the design and refinement of the proposed technology and plans for 
acquiring evidence about the operation of the intervention according to 
the theory of change for the proposed technology;
    (ii) Define the samples and settings that will be used to develop 
the proposed technology, assess the feasibility of the proposed 
technology for use in middle schools by students with disabilities, and 
test the promise of the proposed technology for improving the literacy 
outcomes of students with disabilities. Evidence of the promise of the 
proposed technology may be obtained through a small quasi-experimental 
study incorporating a comparison group with pretest and posttest data, 
a small experimental study, or for low-incidence populations, a series 
of single-subject experimental design studies. Assessment of the 
feasibility of implementation and testing of the promise of the 
technology provides feedback to the Center on the usability of the 
technology in middle schools by students with disabilities and their 
teachers and initial information on the effectiveness of the technology 
for substantially improving student outcomes. These data may result in 
further modification and development of the technology; and

[[Page 30690]]

    (iii) Explicitly, but not necessarily exclusively, address the 
needs of students with disabilities in middle schools that are 
persistently lowest-achieving schools, recognizing that these schools 
often face challenges in technology innovation and implementation. The 
Center may, for example, develop technology that can be adapted to a 
school's level of achievement and technology readiness, develop 
strategies for establishing affiliations with high-performing schools 
to support the use of emerging technology in low-performing schools, or 
simply set aside a portion of the Center's resources to develop 
technology specifically suited to middle schools that are persistently 
lowest-achieving schools.
    (d) A detailed research plan for testing the efficacy of the 
proposed technology for improving literacy outcomes of students with 
disabilities. This plan must--
    (i) Define the sample to be selected, a portion of which must be 
middle schools that are persistently lowest-achieving schools, and 
sampling procedures to be employed, including justification for 
exclusion and inclusion criteria;
    (ii) Describe strategies to increase the likelihood that 
participants (including schools, teachers, and students) will remain in 
the study over the course of the evaluation (i.e., reduce attrition);
    (iii) Describe the design of the evaluation. Studies using random 
assignment to intervention and comparison conditions have the strongest 
internal validity for causal conclusions and, thus, are preferred 
whenever they are feasible. When a randomized trial is proposed, the 
applicant must clearly state and present a convincing rationale for the 
unit of randomization (e.g., student, classroom, teacher, or school). 
Applicants must explain the procedures for assignment of groups (e.g., 
schools) or participants to intervention and comparison conditions and 
how the integrity of the assignment process will be ensured.
    Applicants may propose a quasi-experimental design (e.g., a 
regression discontinuity design) rather than a randomized trial when 
randomization is not possible. Applicants must justify that the 
proposed design permits drawing causal conclusions about the effect of 
the intervention on the intended outcomes. Applicants must discuss how 
selection bias will be minimized or modeled. To this end, the specific 
assumptions made by the design should be well justified. Applicants 
must explicitly discuss the threats to internal validity that are not 
addressed convincingly by the design and how conclusions from the 
research will be tempered in light of these threats;
    (iii) Address the statistical power of the evaluation design to 
detect a reasonably expected and minimally important effect. When 
justifying what constitutes a reasonably expected effect, applicants 
must indicate clearly (e.g., by including the statistical formula) how 
the effect size was calculated;
    (iv) Justify the appropriateness of the chosen measures. Applicants 
must provide information on the reliability and validity of the 
proposed measures, the procedures for and the timing of the data 
collection, and indicate procedures to guard against bias entering into 
the data collection process;
    (v) Describe how the applicant will assess the fidelity of 
implementation of the proposed technology in middle schools and how 
fidelity data will be incorporated into analyses of the impact of the 
intervention;
    (vi) Demonstrate consideration to the selection of the 
counterfactual. Comparisons of interventions against other conditions 
are only meaningful to the extent that one can tell what the comparison 
group receives or experiences (e.g., regular instruction only, regular 
instruction including a different technology product); and
    (vii) Describe data analysis procedures. For quantitative data, 
specific statistical procedures must be described. The relation between 
hypotheses, measures, and independent and dependent variables should be 
clear. For qualitative data, the specific methods used to index, 
summarize, and interpret data must be delineated.
    (e) Evidence of commitment from established technology developers 
and researchers in areas relevant to the Center's mission who express 
their commitment to form a consortium to conduct collaborative research 
and development efforts. The members of the consortium must 
collectively demonstrate high levels of expertise in all of the 
following: development of the emerging technology described in 
paragraphs (a) and (b) of this priority, educational uses of advanced 
technology, addressing the problems of persistently lowest-achieving 
schools, field-based technology research and development, literacy 
pedagogy, and teaching students with disabilities at the middle school 
level.
    (f) A plan for a formative evaluation of the proposed project's 
activities. The plan must describe how the formative evaluation will 
use clear performance objectives to ensure continuous improvement in 
the operation of the proposed project, including objective measures of 
progress in implementing the project and ensuring the quality of 
products and services;
    (g) A budget for a summative evaluation to be conducted by an 
independent third party; and
    (h) A budget for attendance at the following:
    (1) A one and one half-day kick-off meeting to be held in 
Washington, DC, within four weeks after receipt of the award, and an 
annual planning meeting held in Washington, DC, with the Office of 
Special Education Programs (OSEP) Project Officer during each 
subsequent year of the project period.
    (2) A three-day Project Directors' Conference in Washington, DC, 
during each year of the project period.
    (3) Two additional two-day trips annually to attend Department 
briefings, Department-sponsored conferences, and other meetings, as 
requested by OSEP.
    Project Activities. To meet the requirements of this priority, the 
Center, at a minimum, must--
    (a) Establish and maintain a technical work group (TWG) to review 
the research plans and activities of the Center and to provide 
technical advice throughout the project period. At a minimum, the TWG 
must convene annually, whether in person, by phone, or through another 
means. The TWG must include experts in the research methodologies 
employed by the Center, the emerging technology under study, issues 
faced by persistently lowest-achieving middle schools, literacy 
instruction, and instruction for students with disabilities;
    (b) Carry out the research plan developed under Application 
Requirements item (c) to develop the proposed technology, assess the 
feasibility of implementing the proposed technology in middle schools, 
and test the promise of the proposed technology for improving literacy 
outcomes of students with disabilities.
    (c) Carry out the research plan developed under Application 
Requirements item (d) to evaluate the efficacy of the proposed 
technology to improve literacy outcomes of students with disabilities.
    (d) Maintain a Web site that meets government or industry-
recognized standards for accessibility;
    (e) Disseminate information on the activities and findings of the 
Center regionally and nationally through the use of Web sites, 
listservs, publications, presentations, and communities of practice;
    (f) Maintain ongoing communication with the OSEP Project Officer 
through

[[Page 30691]]

monthly phone conversations and e-mail communication; and
    (g) Communicate and collaborate, on an ongoing basis, with 
Department-funded projects and other projects engaged in related 
activities. This collaboration may include the joint development of 
products, coordination of research, and planning and carrying out of 
meetings and events.
Extending the Project for a Fourth and Fifth Year
    The Secretary may extend the Center for up to two additional years 
beyond its original project period of 36 months if the grantee is 
achieving the intended outcomes of the grant, and is making a positive 
contribution to developing and testing emerging technology to improve 
the academic achievement of middle school students with disabilities.

References

Balfanz, R. (2009). Putting middle grades students on the graduation 
path: A policy and practice brief. National Middle School 
Association. Retrieved on January 3, 2010 from http://www.nmsa.org/Publications/RMLEOnline/Articles/tabid/101/Default.aspx.
Johnson, L., Levine, A., Smith, R., and Smythe, T. (2009). The 2009 
Horizon Report: K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media 
Consortium.
Johnson, L., Smith, R., Levine, A., and Haywood, K. (2010). 2010 
Horizon Report: K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media 
Consortium.
Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K. 
(2011). 2011 Horizon Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media 
Consortium.
Kim, A. E., Vaughn, S., Klingner, J. K., Woodruff, A. L., Reutebuch, 
C. K., & Kouzekanani, K. (2006). Improving the reading comprehension 
of middle school students with disabilities through computer-
assisted collaborative strategic reading. Remedial and Special 
Education, 27(4), 235-249.
Moran, J., Ferdig, R. E., Pearson, P. D., Wardrop, J., Blomeyer, R. 
L. (2008). Technology and reading performance in the middle-school 
grades: A meta-analysis with recommendations for policy and practice 
Journal of Literacy Research, 40, 6-58.
Reed, D.K. (2009). A synthesis of professional development on the 
implementation of literacy strategies for middle school content area 
teachers. Research in Middle Level Education Online, 32, 1-12. 
Retrieved January 3, 2009 from http://www.nmsa.org/Publications/RMLEOnline/Articles/tabid/101/Default.aspx.
Shanahan, T, & Shanahan, C. (2008). Teaching disciplinary literacy 
to adolescents: Rethinking content-area literacy. Harvard 
Educational Review, 78(1), 40-59.
U.S. Department of Education. (2010a). A Blueprint for Reform: The 
Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. 
Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/blueprint.pdf.
U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, 
National Center for Education Statistics. (2010b). NAEP Data 
Explorer. Retrieved on July 9, 2010, from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naepdata.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. 
(2010c). Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by 
Technology, Washington, DC.
U.S. Department of Education. (2010d). Supplemental Priorities for 
Discretionary Grant Programs. Federal Register, 75(240), December 
15, 2010, pp 78486-78511.

    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 and 
requirements. 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(d).

    Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 
81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99.

    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 institutions of 
higher education (IHEs) only.

II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Cooperative agreement.
    Estimated Available Funds: $1,996,000.
    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of 
applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2012 from the list of 
unfunded applicants from the competition.
    Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a 
budget exceeding $1,996,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. 
The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services may change the maximum amount through a notice published in 
the Federal Register.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 1.

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

    Project Period: Up to 36 months with an optional additional 24 
months based on performance.

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: State educational agencies (SEAs); local 
educational agencies (LEAs), including public charter schools that are 
considered LEAs under State law; IHEs; other public agencies; private 
nonprofit organizations; and for-profit organizations.

    Note:  Because of the challenging nature of the project, the 
Secretary encourages eligible entities with the ability and capacity 
to conduct scientifically valid research to form consortia with any 
other eligible parties (including researchers, developers, etc.) 
that meet the requirements in 34 CFR 75.127 through 75.129 to apply 
under the priority in this notice. A consortium is any combination 
of eligible entities. The Secretary views the formation of consortia 
as an effective and efficient strategy to address the requirements 
of the priority in this notice.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This competition does not require cost 
sharing or matching.
    3. Other: General Requirements--(a) The Center funded under this 
competition must make positive efforts to employ and advance in 
employment qualified individuals with disabilities (see section 606 of 
IDEA).
    (b) Applicants and the grant recipient funded under this 
competition must involve individuals with disabilities or parents of 
individuals with disabilities ages birth through 26 in planning, 
implementing, and evaluating the projects (see section 682(a)(1)(A) of 
IDEA).

IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: Education Publications 
Center (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), 
call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.
    You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: http://www.EDPubs.gov or at its e-mail address: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.
    If you request an application package from ED Pubs, be sure to 
identify this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.327M.
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application 
package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, 
or computer diskette) 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

[[Page 30692]]

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 50 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, references, and captions.
     Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller 
than 10 pitch (characters per inch).
     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 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 one-page abstract, the 
resumes, the bibliography, the references, or the letters of support. 
However, the page limit does apply to all of the application narrative 
section (Part III).
    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: May 26, 2011.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 25, 2011.
    Applications for grants under this competition may be submitted 
electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov), or in 
paper format by mail or hand delivery. For information (including dates 
and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in 
paper format by mail or hand delivery, 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 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: September 23, 2011.
    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 Central Contractor Registry: 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 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 CCR 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 business day.
    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 2-5 weeks for your TIN to become active.
    The CCR registration process may take five or more business days to 
complete. If you are currently registered with the CCR, 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 CCR registration on an annual basis. This may take 
three or more business days to complete.
    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 in the 
Grants.gov 3-Step Registration Guide (see http://www.grants.gov/section910/Grants.govRegistrationBrochure.pdf).
    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under 
this competition may be submitted electronically or in paper format by 
mail or hand delivery.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

    We are participating as a partner in the Governmentwide Grants.gov 
Apply site. The Research and Development Center on the use of Emerging 
Technologies to Improve Academic Achievement for Students with 
Disabilities in Middle School competition, CFDA number 84.327M, is 
included in this project. We request your participation in Grants.gov.
    If you choose to submit your application electronically, you must 
use the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at http://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 e-mail an electronic copy of a grant 
application to us.
    You may access the electronic grant application for the Research 
and Development Center on the use of Emerging Technologies to Improve 
Academic Achievement for Students with Disabilities in Middle School 
competition, CFDA number 84.327M at http://www.Grants.gov. You must 
search for the downloadable application package for this program by the 
CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your 
search (e.g., search for 84.327, not 84.327M).
    Please note the following:
     Your participation in Grants.gov is voluntary.
     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

[[Page 30693]]

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 http://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 submit your application in paper format.
     If you submit your application electronically, 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.
     If you submit your application electronically, you must 
attach any narrative sections of your application as files in a .PDF 
(Portable Document) format only. If you upload a file type other than a 
.PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that 
material.
     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 e-mail. 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.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail

    If you submit your application in paper format by mail (through the 
U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier), 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 84.327M), 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 submit your application in paper format by hand delivery, 
you (or a courier service) 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 
84.327M), 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, 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 program are 
from 34 CFR 75.210 and are listed in the application package.

[[Page 30694]]

    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 
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 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 34 CFR 74.14 and 80.12, the Secretary 
may impose special 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; 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). 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 http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
    4. 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 Technology and Media Services for Individuals with 
Disabilities program. These measures focus on the extent to which 
projects are of high quality, are relevant to improving outcomes of 
children with disabilities, and contribute to improving outcomes for 
children with disabilities. We will collect data on these measures from 
the project funded under this competition.
    The grantee will be required to report information on its project's 
performance in annual performance reports to the Department (34 CFR 
75.590).
    5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award, the 
Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.253, the extent to which a 
grantee has made ``substantial progress toward meeting the objectives 
in its approved application.'' This consideration includes the review 
of a grantee's progress in meeting the targets and projected outcomes 
in its approved application, and whether the grantee has expended funds 
in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and 
budget. 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: David Malouf, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 4114, Potomac Center Plaza 
(PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-6253.
    If you use a TDD, 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 computer diskette) by 
contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 
20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. If you use a TDD, 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: http://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: http://

[[Page 30695]]

www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: May 20, 2011.
Alexa Posny,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2011-13107 Filed 5-25-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P