[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 166 (Friday, August 26, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 53563-53594]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-21756]



[[Page 53563]]

Vol. 76

Friday,

No. 166

August 26, 2011

Part III





Department of Education





Department of Health and Human Services





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 Applications for New Awards; Race to the Top--Early Learning 
Challenge; Notice

Federal Register / Vol. 76 , No. 166 / Friday, August 26, 2011 / 
Notices

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES


Applications for New Awards; Race to the Top--Early Learning 
Challenge

AGENCIES: Department of Education and Department of Health and Human 
Services.

ACTION: Notice.

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Overview Information

    Race to the Top--Early Learning Challenge Notice inviting 
applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2011.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.412.

    Dates: Applications Available: August 26, 2011.
    Date of Meetings for Potential Applicants: To assist States in 
preparing the application and to respond to questions, the Department 
of Education (ED) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 
(collectively, the Departments) intend to host a Webinar with potential 
applicants on September 1, 2011, to review the requirements, selection 
criteria, and priorities for this competition. The Departments also 
plan to host a Technical Assistance Planning Workshop for potential 
applicants on September 13, 2011, in Washington, DC. Registration 
information and additional details for the September 1, 2011, Webinar; 
the September 13, 2011, workshop; and any other technical assistance 
events are on the Race to the Top-Early Learning (RTT-ELC) Web site at 
http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: October 19, 2011.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: December 19, 2011.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the RTT-ELC program is to 
improve the quality of early learning and development and close the 
achievement gap for children with high needs. The RTT-ELC grant 
competition focuses on improving early learning and development for 
young children by supporting States' efforts to increase the number and 
percentage of low-income and disadvantaged children in each age group 
of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers enrolled in high-quality early 
learning and development programs; and designing and implementing an 
integrated system of high-quality early learning and development 
programs and services.
    Background: A critical focus of the Obama Administration is 
supporting America's youngest learners and helping ensure that 
children, especially young children with high needs, such as those who 
are low-income, English learners, and children with disabilities or 
developmental delays, enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and 
in life. A robust body of research demonstrates that high-quality early 
learning and development programs and services can improve young 
children's health, social emotional and cognitive outcomes, enhance 
school readiness, and help close the wide school readiness gap 
1 2 that exists between children with high needs and their 
peers at the time they enter kindergarten.3 4
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    \1\ Camilli, G., Vargas, S., Ryan, S., & Barnett, W. S. (2010). 
Meta-analysis of the effects of early education interventions on 
cognitive and social development. Teachers College Record, 112(3), 
579-620.
    \2\ Reynolds, A.J., Temple, J.A., Ou, S., Arteaga, I.A., & 
White, B.A.B. (2011). School-based early childhood education and 
age-28 well-being: effects by timing, dosage, and subgroups. 
Science, Retrieved from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/06/08/science.1203618.abstract_doi:_10.1126/science.1203618.
    \3\ Princiotta, D., Flanagan, K. D., and Germino Hausken, E. 
(2006). Fifth Grade: Findings From The Fifth-Grade Follow-up of the 
Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 
(ECLS-K). (NCES 2006-038) U.S. Department of Education.
    \4\ Halle, T., Forry, N., Hair, E., Perper, K., Wandner, L., 
Wessel, J., & Vick, J. (2009). Disparities in Early Learning and 
Development: Lessons from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study--
Birth Cohort (ECLS-B). Washington, DC: Child Trends.
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    To address this school readiness gap, the Administration has 
identified, as high priorities, strengthening the quality of early 
learning and development programs and increasing access to high-quality 
early learning programs for all children, including those with high 
needs. This commitment to early education is reflected in the RTT-ELC 
competition that we are announcing in this notice.
    On May 25, 2011, Secretaries Duncan and Sebelius announced the RTT-
ELC, a new $500 million State-level grant competition to be held in 
2011 and authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 
2009 (ARRA), as amended by section 1832(b) of the Department of Defense 
and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011. The Departments are 
administering this competition jointly. At its core, RTT-ELC 
demonstrates a strong commitment by the Administration to stimulate a 
national effort to make sure all children enter kindergarten ready to 
succeed. Through the RTT-ELC, the Administration seeks to help close 
the achievement gap between children with high needs and their peers by 
supporting State efforts to build strong systems of early learning and 
development that provide increased access to high-quality programs for 
the children who need it most. This competition represents an 
unprecedented opportunity for States to focus deeply on their early 
learning and development systems for children from birth through age 
five. It is an opportunity to build a more unified approach to 
supporting young children and their families--an approach that 
increases access to high-quality early learning and development 
programs and services, and helps ensure that children enter 
kindergarten with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions toward 
learning they need to be successful.
    The RTT-ELC competition does not create new early learning and 
development programs, nor is it a vehicle for maintenance of the status 
quo. Rather, the RTT-ELC program will support States that demonstrate 
their commitment to integrating and aligning resources and policies 
across all of the State agencies that administer public funds related 
to early learning and development. It will further provide incentives 
to the States that commit to and implement high-quality early learning 
and development programs statewide.
    As explained more fully elsewhere in this notice, given the tight 
timeline for obligating funds and in order to provide States maximum 
time to prepare their applications for this competition, notice-and-
comment rulemaking is being waived for this competition. Specifically, 
we are waiving rulemaking for the priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria for this new competition under 
section 437(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA). 
However, we have solicited public participation in two important ways 
as we developed an approach to conducting and implementing this 
competition. First, we invited the public to provide general input on 
the program from May 25 through June 30 on the ED.gov Blog. In response 
to this invitation, we received a total of 199 responses, which we 
considered in our development of this notice. From July 1 to July 11, 
we posted on ED's Web site a draft Executive Summary of the 
competition, which included draft competition priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria, and we invited public input on 
each of these elements of the competition. During this period, we 
received 349 responses reflecting the

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viewpoints of a variety of individuals and early childhood, health, and 
education organizations. These we also considered in our development of 
this notice.

Current State Early Learning and Development Systems

    Many early learning and development programs and services co-exist 
within States, including Head Start/Early Head Start programs, the 
Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program (pursuant to the Child 
Care and Development Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9858 et seq.)), State-
funded preschool, programs authorized under section 619 of part B of 
the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and part C of 
IDEA, and other State and locally supported programs. Each of these 
programs has its own funding stream and accompanying requirements, 
standards, expectations, policies, and procedures. Each also has its 
own unique strengths and makes unique contributions to young children 
and their families. For States, the challenges to be addressed by RTT-
ELC are to sustain and build on the strengths of these programs, 
acknowledge and appreciate their differences, reduce inefficiency, 
improve quality, and ultimately deliver a coordinated set of services 
and experiences that support young children's success in school and 
beyond.

The RTT-ELC Vision for State Early Learning and Development Systems

    Through the RTT-ELC competition, we intend to fund applications 
that demonstrate a State's commitment and capacity to building a 
statewide system that raises the quality of early learning and 
development programs so that all children receive the support they need 
to enter kindergarten ready to succeed. Just as career and college 
readiness were at the heart of ED's Race to the Top Phase 1 and Phase 2 
competitions, a commitment to building school readiness for children 
entering kindergarten is at the heart of this competition.
    As was the case with Race to the Top Phase 1 and Phase 2, the bar 
to receive an RTT-ELC grant will be high. And just as those first two 
phases of Race to the Top were organized around State commitments to 
four specific reform assurances articulated in the ARRA, RTT-ELC is 
organized around five key areas of reform. These five key areas 
represent the foundation of an effective early learning and development 
reform agenda that is focused on school readiness and ongoing academic 
success. They are central to this competition's priorities, 
requirements, and selection criteria, and are as follows:
    (A) Successful State Systems;
    (B) High-Quality, Accountable Programs;
    (C) Promoting Early Learning and Development Outcomes for Children;
    (D) A Great Early Childhood Education Workforce; and
    (E) Measuring Outcomes and Progress.
    The first two of these, (A) and (B), are core areas of focus for 
this competition. As such, they are referred to throughout this notice 
as ``Core Areas,'' and applicants are required to respond to all 
selection criteria under these Core Areas. The reform areas in (C), 
(D), and (E) are areas where applicants will direct targeted attention 
to specific activities that are relevant to their State's context. In 
this notice, we refer to these areas as ``Focused Investment Areas,'' 
and applicants are required to address each Focused Investment Area but 
not all of the selection criteria under them. A discussion of the five 
key areas of reform follows.
A. Successful State Systems
    Successful State early learning and development systems are built 
on broad-based stakeholder participation and effective governance 
structures. They are guided by clearly articulated goals and strategies 
designed to deliver a coordinated set of programs, policies, and 
services that are responsive to the needs of children and families and 
effectively prepare young children for school success. The RTT-ELC 
competition will support States that demonstrate a commitment to 
creating and implementing a successful statewide early learning and 
development system and that effectively organize and align that system 
to provide the diversity of services and supports needed by children 
and families. Such a system can provide continuity and consistent 
levels of quality across delivery mechanisms and levels of care and 
education. Thus, under the priorities established for this competition, 
States must propose and implement ambitious plans for successful State 
systems of early learning and development that will have broad impact 
and can--
     Improve program quality and outcomes for young children;
     Increase the number of children with high needs attending 
high-quality early learning and development programs; and
     Help close the achievement gap between children with high 
needs and their peers by supporting efforts to increase kindergarten 
readiness.
B. High-Quality, Accountable Programs
    The RTT-ELC competition will support States that develop a common 
set of program standards used statewide. This will help align programs 
such as Head Start, CCDF, IDEA, and Title I of the Elementary and 
Secondary Act (ESEA), and State-funded preschool to create a more 
unified statewide system of early learning and development. In 
addition, each State grantee must design and implement a tiered quality 
rating and improvement system that is based on consistent and demanding 
statewide program standards and that establishes meaningful program 
ratings. RTT-ELC promotes broad participation in the State's tiered 
quality rating and improvement system across a range of programs, 
active program improvement, and the publication of program ratings so 
that families can make informed decisions about which programs can best 
serve the needs of their children.
C. Promoting Early Learning and Development Outcomes for Children
    The RTT-ELC competition is based on the premise that effective 
programs and services for young children must be built on a set of 
early learning and development standards that define what children 
should know and be able to do at different stages of development. These 
standards provide guidelines, articulate developmental milestones, and 
set expectations for the healthy growth and development of young 
children. This competition rewards States that will implement high-
quality early learning and development standards and comprehensive 
systems of assessments aligned with these standards. The implementation 
of these standards and assessments will ensure that early childhood 
educators have the information they need to understand and support 
young children's growth and development across a broad range of domains 
so that significantly more young children enter kindergarten ready to 
succeed.
    Improving early learning and development outcomes also requires 
that children are healthy and supported by their families. Services 
that address health and family supports are thus critical, and health 
and family engagement are key elements in high-quality early learning 
and development programs. RTT-ELC is designed to support States that 
focus on increasing access to quality programs and services that 
promote health and engage families in the care and education of their 
young children.

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D. A Great Early Childhood Education Workforce
    In early learning and development settings, nothing matters more to 
children's success than the adults caring for and teaching them, and 
the RTT-ELC competition acknowledges the importance of a strong early 
childhood workforce. Ensuring that children are ready for success in 
kindergarten depends on well-trained adults who have acquired the 
necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively support the 
learning and development of every child. Thus, the competition will 
reward States that work closely with postsecondary institutions and 
other parties to define a set of workforce competencies that are tied 
to the State's early learning and development standards. Further, the 
competition encourages States to increase retention and improve 
educator quality by supporting their workforce with professional 
development, career advancement opportunities, differentiated 
compensation, and incentives to improve their knowledge, skills, and 
abilities.
E. Measuring Outcomes and Progress
    Collecting, organizing, and understanding evidence of young 
children's progress across a range of domains is essential to ensuring 
that early learning and development programs are of high quality and 
that they meet the needs of every child. States are therefore 
encouraged to implement comprehensive data systems and to use the data 
to improve instruction, practices, services, and policies. In addition, 
through both a selection criterion and a competitive preference 
priority, States will be rewarded for implementing kindergarten entry 
assessments statewide that provide information across all domains of 
early learning and development, inform efforts to close the school-
readiness gap, and inform instruction in the early elementary school 
grades.
    By organizing this program around the five key reform areas 
described in this section, the RTT-ELC competition will help lead the 
way for States to challenge and rethink the status quo. Not every State 
will receive an RTT-ELC award through this competition, but every State 
can use this competition as an opportunity to commit to comprehensively 
strengthening its early learning and development system and ensuring 
that more children, including those with high needs, have access to 
high-quality early learning and development programs and services.
    Priorities: This notice contains five (5) priorities: One (1) 
absolute priority, two (2) competitive preference priorities, and two 
(2) invitational priorities. These priorities are being established for 
the FY 2011 grant competition in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of 
GEPA, 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1).
    Absolute Priority: For FY 2011, this priority is an absolute 
priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that 
meet this priority. Applicants do not write a separate response to this 
priority. Rather, they will address this priority throughout their 
responses to the selection criteria as indicated below. A State meets 
the absolute priority if a majority of reviewers determines that the 
State has met the absolute priority.
    Priority 1: Absolute Priority--Promoting School Readiness for 
Children with High Needs.
    To meet this priority, the State's application must comprehensively 
and coherently address how the State will build a system that increases 
the quality of Early Learning and Development Programs \5\ for Children 
with High Needs so that they enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
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    \5\ Defined terms are used throughout the notice and are 
indicated by capitalization.
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    The State's application must demonstrate how it will improve the 
quality of Early Learning and Development Programs by integrating and 
aligning resources and policies across Participating State Agencies and 
by designing and implementing a common, statewide Tiered Quality Rating 
and Improvement System. In addition, to achieve the necessary reforms, 
the State must make strategic improvements in those specific reform 
areas that will most significantly improve program quality and outcomes 
for Children with High Needs. Therefore, the State must address those 
criteria from within each of the Focused Investment Areas (sections (C) 
Promoting Early Learning and Development Outcomes for Children, (D) A 
Great Early Childhood Education Workforce, and (E) Measuring Outcomes 
and Progress) that it believes will best prepare its Children with High 
Needs for kindergarten success.
    Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2011, these priorities 
are competitive preference priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), up 
to ten (10) additional points will be awarded to an application 
depending on the extent to which the application meets Competitive 
Preference Priority 2, and ten (10) additional points (all or nothing) 
to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 3. 
Applicants that choose to address Competitive Preference Priority 2 
must provide a narrative in the space provided in the application, and 
applicants that choose to address Competitive Preference Priority 3 
must do so in Table \6\ (A)(1)-12, or by writing to selection criterion 
(E)(1).
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    \6\ Tables referenced in this notice are included in the 
application package.
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    These priorities are:
    Priority 2: Competitive Preference Priority--Including all Early 
Learning and Development Programs in the Tiered Quality Rating and 
Improvement System.
    Competitive Preference Priority 2 is designed to increase the 
number of children from birth to kindergarten entry who are 
participating in programs that are governed by the State's licensing 
system and quality standards, with the goal that all licensed or State-
regulated programs will participate. The State will receive points for 
this priority based on the extent to which the State has in place, or 
has a High-Quality Plan to implement no later than June 30, 2015--
    (a) A licensing and inspection system that covers all programs that 
are not otherwise regulated by the State and that regularly care for 
two or more unrelated children for a fee in a provider setting; 
provided that if the State exempts programs for reasons other than the 
number of children cared for, the State may exclude those entities and 
reviewers will score this priority only on the basis of non-excluded 
entities; and
    (b) A Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System in which all 
licensed or State-regulated Early Learning and Development Programs 
participate.
    Priority 3: Competitive Preference Priority--Understanding the 
Status of Children's Learning and Development at Kindergarten Entry.
    To meet this priority, the State must, in its application--
    (a) Demonstrate that it has already implemented a Kindergarten 
Entry Assessment that meets selection criterion (E)(1) by indicating 
that all elements in Table (A)(1)-12 are met; or
    (b) Address selection criterion (E)(1) and earn a score of at least 
70 percent of the maximum points available for that criterion.

    Note: A State will earn all ten (10) competitive preference 
priority points if a majority of reviewers determines that the State 
has met the competitive preference priority. A State earns zero 
points if a majority of reviewers determines that the

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applicant has not met the competitive preference priority. Under 
option (a) above, an applicant does not earn competitive preference 
points if the reviewers determine that the State has not implemented 
a Kindergarten Entry Assessment that meets selection criterion 
(E)(1). Under option (b) above, an applicant does not earn 
competitive preference points if the State earns a score of less 
than 70 percent of the maximum points available for selection 
criterion (E)(1).

    Invitational Priorities: For FY 2011, these priorities are 
invitational priorities. With an invitational priority, we signal our 
interest in receiving applications that meet the priority but, under 34 
CFR 75.105(c)(1), we do not give an application that meets an 
invitational priority preference over other applications.
    Priority 4: Invitational Priority--Sustaining Program Effects in 
the Early Elementary Grades.
    The Departments are particularly interested in applications that 
describe the State's High-Quality Plan to sustain and build upon 
improved early learning outcomes throughout the early elementary school 
years, including by--
    (a) Enhancing the State's current standards for kindergarten 
through grade 3 to align them with the Early Learning and Development 
Standards across all Essential Domains of School Readiness;
    (b) Ensuring that transition planning occurs for children moving 
from Early Learning and Development Programs to elementary schools;
    (c) Promoting health and family engagement, including in the early 
grades;
    (d) Increasing the percentage of children who are able to read and 
do mathematics at grade level by the end of the third grade; and
    (e) Leveraging existing Federal, State, and local resources, 
including but not limited to funds received under Title I and Title II 
of ESEA, as amended, and IDEA.
    Priority 5: Invitational Priority--Encouraging Private-Sector 
Support.
    The Departments are particularly interested in applications that 
describe how the private sector will provide financial and other 
resources to support the State and its Participating State Agencies or 
Participating Programs in the implementation of the State Plan.
    Application Requirements:
    Each applicant must meet the following application requirements:
    (a) The State's application must be signed by the Governor or an 
authorized representative; an authorized representative from the Lead 
Agency; and an authorized representative from each Participating State 
Agency. The State must provide the required signatures in section IV, 
Application Assurances and Certifications of the application.
    (b) The State must submit a certification from the State Attorney 
General or an authorized representative that the State's description 
of, and statements and conclusions in its application concerning, State 
law, statute, and regulation are complete and accurate and constitute a 
reasonable interpretation of State law, statute, and regulation. The 
State must provide this certification in section IV, Application 
Assurances and Certifications of the application.
    (c) The State must complete the budget spreadsheets that are 
provided in the application package and submit the completed 
spreadsheet as part of its application. These spreadsheets should be 
included on the CD or DVD that the State submits as its application.

    Note:  The budget spreadsheets will be used by the Departments 
for budget reviews. However, the reviewers will not judge or score 
these budget spreadsheets. Reviewers will limit their evaluation of 
the State's response to (A)(4)(b) to the information provided by the 
State in the budget section of the application (see section VIII, 
Budget).

    (d) The State must submit preliminary scopes of work for each 
Participating State Agency as part of the executed Memorandum of 
Understanding (MOU) or other binding agreement. (See Appendix C in this 
notice). Each preliminary scope of work must describe the portions of 
the State's proposed plans that the Participating State Agency is 
agreeing to implement. If a State is awarded an RTT-ELC grant, the 
State will have up to 90 days to complete final scopes of work for each 
Participating State Agency. (See section (k) of the Program 
Requirements in this notice.)
    (e) The State must include a budget that details how it will use 
grant funds awarded under this competition, and funds from other 
Federal, State, private, and local sources to achieve the outcomes of 
the State Plan (as described in selection criterion (A)(4)(a)), and how 
the State will use funds awarded under this program to--
    (1) Achieve its targets for increasing the number and percentage of 
Early Learning and Development Programs that are participating in the 
State's Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (as described in 
selection criterion (B)(2)(c)); and
    (2) Achieve its targets for increasing the number and percentage of 
Children with High Needs who are enrolled in Early Learning and 
Development Programs that are in the top tiers of the State's Tiered 
Quality Rating and Improvement System (as described in selection 
criterion (B)(4)(c)).
    (f) The State must provide an overall summary for the State Plan 
and a rationale for why it has chosen to address the selected criteria 
in each Focused Investment Area, including--
     How the State's choices build on its progress to date in 
each Focused Investment Area (as outlined in Tables (A)(1)6-13 and the 
narrative under (A)(1)); and
     Why these selected criteria will best achieve the State's 
ambitious yet achievable goals for improving program quality, improving 
outcomes for Children with High Needs statewide, and closing the 
readiness gap between Children with High Needs and their peers.
    (g) The State, within each Focused Investment Area, must select and 
address--
     Two or more selection criteria within Focused Investment 
Area (C) Promoting Early Learning and Development Outcomes for 
Children; and
     One or more selection criteria within Focused Investment 
Areas (D) A Great Early Childhood Education Workforce and (E) Measuring 
Outcomes and Progress.
    (h) Where the State is submitting a High-Quality Plan, the State 
must include in its application a detailed plan that is feasible and 
has a high probability of successful implementation and includes, but 
need not be limited to--
    (1) The key goals;
    (2) The key activities to be undertaken; the rationale for the 
activities; and, if applicable, where in the State the activities will 
be initially implemented, and where and how they will be scaled up over 
time to eventually achieve statewide implementation;
    (3) A realistic timeline, including key milestones, for 
implementing each key activity;
    (4) The party or parties responsible for implementing each activity 
and other key personnel assigned to each activity;
    (5) Appropriate financial resources to support successful 
implementation of the plan;
    (6) The information requested as supporting evidence, if any, 
together with any additional information the State believes will be 
helpful to peer reviewers in judging the credibility of the plan;
    (7) The information requested in the performance measures, where 
applicable;

[[Page 53568]]

    (8) How the State will address the needs of the different types of 
Early Learning and Development Programs, if applicable; and
    (9) How the State will meet the needs of Children with High Needs, 
as well as the unique needs of special populations of Children with 
High Needs.
    Program Requirements: If a State is awarded an RTT-ELC grant, it 
must meet the following requirements:
    (a) The State must continue to participate in the programs 
authorized under section 619 of part B of IDEA and part C of IDEA; in 
the CCDF program; and in the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home 
Visiting (MIECHV) program (pursuant to section 511 of Title V of the 
Social Security Act, as added by Section 2951 of the Affordable Care 
Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-148)) for the duration of the grant.
    (b) The State is prohibited from spending funds from the grant on 
the direct delivery of health services.
    (c) The State must participate in RTT-ELC grantee technical 
assistance activities facilitated by ED or HHS, individually or in 
collaboration with other State grantees in order to share effective 
program practices and solutions and collaboratively solve problems, and 
must set aside $400,000 from its grant funds for this purpose.
    (d) The State must--
    (1) Comply with the requirements of any evaluation sponsored by ED 
or HHS of any of the State's activities carried out with the grant;
    (2) Comply with the requirements of any cross-State evaluation--as 
part of a consortium of States--of any of the State's proposed reforms, 
if that evaluation is coordinated or funded by ED or HHS, including by 
using common measures and data collection instruments and collecting 
data necessary to the evaluation;
    (3) Together with its independent evaluator, if any, cooperate with 
any technical assistance regarding evaluations provided by ED or HHS. 
The purpose of this technical assistance will be to ensure that the 
validation of the State's Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System 
and any other evaluations conducted by States or their independent 
evaluators, if any, are of the highest quality and to encourage 
commonality in approaches where such commonality is feasible and 
useful;
    (4) Submit to ED and HHS for review and comment its design for the 
validation of its Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (as 
described in selection criteria (B)(5)) and any other evaluations of 
activities included in the State Plan, including any activities that 
are part of the State's Focused Investment Areas, as applicable; and
    (5) Make widely available through formal (e.g., peer-reviewed 
journals) or informal (e.g., newsletters) mechanisms, and in print or 
electronically, the results of any evaluations it conducts of its 
funded activities.
    (e) The State must have a longitudinal data system that includes 
the 12 elements described in section 6401(e)(2)(D) of the America 
COMPETES Act by the date required under the State Fiscal Stabilization 
Fund (SFSF) grant and in accordance with Indicator (b)(1) of its 
approved SFSF plan.
    (f) The State must comply with the requirements of all applicable 
Federal, State, and local privacy laws, including the requirements of 
the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Health Insurance 
Portability Accountability Act, and the privacy requirements in IDEA, 
and their applicable regulations.
    (g) The State must ensure that the grant activities are implemented 
in accordance with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws.
    (h) The State must provide researchers with access, consistent with 
the requirements of all applicable Federal State, and local privacy 
laws, to data from its Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System and 
from the Statewide Longitudinal Data System and the State's coordinated 
early learning data system (if applicable) so that they can analyze the 
State's quality improvement efforts and answer key policy and practice 
questions.
    (i) Unless otherwise protected as proprietary information by 
Federal or State law or a specific written agreement, the State must 
make any work (e.g., materials, tools, processes, systems) developed 
under its grant freely available to the public, including by posting 
the work on a Web site identified or sponsored by ED or HHS. Any Web 
sites developed under this grant must meet government or industry-
recognized standards for accessibility.
    (j) Funds made available under an RTT-ELC grant must be used to 
supplement, not supplant, any Federal, State, or local funds that, in 
the absence of the funds awarded under this grant, would be available 
for increasing access to and improving the quality of Early Learning 
and Development Programs.
    (k) For a State that is awarded an RTT-ELC grant, the State will 
have up to 90 days from the grant award notification date to complete 
final scopes of work for each Participating State Agency. These final 
scopes of work must contain detailed work plans that are consistent 
with their corresponding preliminary scopes of work and with the 
State's grant application, and must include the Participating State 
Agency's specific goals, activities, timelines, budgets, key personnel, 
and annual targets for key performance measures for the portions of the 
State's proposed plans that the Participating State Agency is agreeing 
to implement.
    Program Definitions:
    Children with High Needs means children from birth through 
kindergarten entry who are from Low-Income families or otherwise in 
need of special assistance and support, including children who have 
disabilities or developmental delays; who are English learners; who 
reside on ``Indian lands'' as that term is defined by section 8013(6) 
of the ESEA; who are migrant, homeless, or in foster care; and other 
children as identified by the State.
    Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) means voluntary, common 
standards for a key set of education data elements (e.g., demographics, 
program participation, transition, course information) at the early 
learning, K-12, and postsecondary levels developed through a national 
collaborative effort being led by the National Center for Education 
Statistics. CEDS focus on standard definitions, code sets, and 
technical specifications of a subset of key data elements and are 
designed to increase data interoperability, portability, and 
comparability across Early Learning and Development Programs and 
agencies, States, local educational agencies, and postsecondary 
institutions.
    Comprehensive Assessment System means a coordinated and 
comprehensive system of multiple assessments, each of which is valid 
and reliable for its specified purpose and for the population with 
which it will be used, that organizes information about the process and 
context of young children's learning and development in order to help 
Early Childhood Educators make informed instructional and programmatic 
decisions and that conforms to the recommendations of the National 
Research Council reports on early childhood.
    A Comprehensive Assessment System includes, at a minimum--
    (a) Screening Measures;
    (b) Formative Assessments;
    (c) Measures of Environmental Quality; and
    (d) Measures of the Quality of Adult-Child Interactions.
    Data System Oversight Requirements means policies for ensuring the 
quality,

[[Page 53569]]

privacy, and integrity of data contained in a data system, including--
    (a) A data governance policy that identifies the elements that are 
collected and maintained; provides for training on internal controls to 
system users; establishes who will have access to the data in the 
system and how the data may be used; sets appropriate internal controls 
to restrict access to only authorized users; sets criteria for 
determining the legitimacy of data requests; establishes processes that 
verify the accuracy, completeness, and age of the data elements 
maintained in the system; sets procedures for determining the 
sensitivity of each inventoried element and the risk of harm if those 
data were improperly disclosed; and establishes procedures for 
disclosure review and auditing; and
    (b) A transparency policy that informs the public, including 
families, Early Childhood Educators, and programs, of the existence of 
data systems that house personally identifiable information, explains 
what data elements are included in such a system, enables parental 
consent to disclose personally identifiable information as appropriate, 
and describes allowable and potential uses of the data.
    Early Childhood Educator means any professional working in an Early 
Learning and Development Program, including but not limited to center-
based and family child care providers; infant and toddler specialists; 
early intervention specialists and early childhood special educators; 
home visitors; related services providers; administrators such as 
directors, supervisors, and other early learning and development 
leaders; Head Start teachers; Early Head Start teachers; preschool and 
other teachers; teacher assistants; family service staff; and health 
coordinators.
    Early Learning and Development Program means any (a) State-licensed 
or State-regulated program or provider, regardless of setting or 
funding source, that provides early care and education for children 
from birth to kindergarten entry, including, but not limited to, any 
program operated by a child care center or in a family child care home; 
(b) preschool program funded by the Federal Government or State or 
local educational agencies (including any IDEA-funded program); (c) 
Early Head Start and Head Start program; and (d) a non-relative child 
care provider who is not otherwise regulated by the State and who 
regularly cares for two or more unrelated children for a fee in a 
provider setting. A State should include in this definition other 
programs that may deliver early learning and development services in a 
child's home, such as the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home 
Visiting; Early Head Start; and part C of IDEA.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ Note: Such home-based programs and services will most likely 
not participate in the State's Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement 
System unless the State has developed a set of Tiered Program 
Standards specifically for home-based programs and services.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Early Learning and Development Standards means a set of 
expectations, guidelines, or developmental milestones that--
    (a) Describe what all children from birth to kindergarten entry 
should know and be able to do and their disposition toward learning;
    (b) Are appropriate for each age group (e.g., infants, toddlers, 
and preschoolers); for English learners; and for children with 
disabilities or developmental delays;
    (c) Cover all Essential Domains of School Readiness; and
    (d) Are universally designed and developmentally, culturally, and 
linguistically appropriate.
    Early Learning Intermediary Organization means a national, 
statewide, regional, or community-based organization that represents 
one or more networks of Early Learning and Development Programs in the 
State and that has influence or authority over them. Such Early 
Learning Intermediary Organizations include, but are not limited to, 
Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies; State Head Start 
Associations; Family Child Care Associations; State affiliates of the 
National Association for the Education of Young Children; State 
affiliates of the Council for Exceptional Children's Division of Early 
Childhood; statewide or regional union affiliates that represent Early 
Childhood Educators; affiliates of the National Migrant and Seasonal 
Head Start Association; the National Tribal, American Indian, and 
Alaskan Native Head Start Association; and the National Indian Child 
Care Association.
    Essential Data Elements means the critical child, program, and 
workforce data elements of a coordinated early learning data system, 
including--
    (a) A unique statewide child identifier or another highly accurate, 
proven method to link data on that child, including Kindergarten Entry 
Assessment data, to and from the Statewide Longitudinal Data System and 
the coordinated early learning data system (if applicable);
    (b) A unique statewide Early Childhood Educator identifier;
    (c) A unique program site identifier;
    (d) Child and family demographic information;
    (e) Early Childhood Educator demographic information, including 
data on educational attainment and State credential or licenses held, 
as well as professional development information;
    (f) Program-level data on the program's structure, quality, child 
suspension and expulsion rates, staff retention, staff compensation, 
work environment, and all applicable data reported as part of the 
State's Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System; and
    (g) Child-level program participation and attendance data.
    Essential Domains of School Readiness means the domains of language 
and literacy development, cognition and general knowledge (including 
early mathematics and early scientific development), approaches toward 
learning, physical well-being and motor development (including adaptive 
skills), and social and emotional development.
    Formative Assessment (also known as a classroom-based or ongoing 
assessment) means assessment questions, tools, and processes--
    (a) That are--
    (1) Specifically designed to monitor children's progress in meeting 
the Early Learning and Development Standards;
    (2) Valid and reliable for their intended purposes and their target 
populations;
    (3) Linked directly to the curriculum; and
    (b) The results of which are used to guide and improve 
instructional practices.
    High-Quality Plan means any plan developed by the State to address 
a selection criterion or priority in this notice that is feasible and 
has a high probability of successful implementation and at a minimum 
includes--
    (a) The key goals;
    (b) The key activities to be undertaken; the rationale for the 
activities; and, if applicable, where in the State the activities will 
be initially implemented, and where and how they will be scaled up over 
time to eventually achieve statewide implementation;
    (c) A realistic timeline, including key milestones, for 
implementing each key activity;
    (d) The party or parties responsible for implementing each activity 
and other key personnel assigned to each activity;
    (e) Appropriate financial resources to support successful 
implementation of the plan;

[[Page 53570]]

    (f) The information requested as supporting evidence, if any, 
together with any additional information the State believes will be 
helpful to peer reviewers in judging the credibility of the plan;
    (g) The information requested in the performance measures, where 
applicable;
    (h) How the State will address the needs of the different types of 
Early Learning and Development Programs, if applicable; and
    (i) How the State will meet the needs of Children with High Needs, 
as well as the unique needs of special populations of Children with 
High Needs.
    Kindergarten Entry Assessment means an assessment that--
    (a) Is administered to children during the first few months of 
their admission into kindergarten;
    (b) Covers all Essential Domains of School Readiness;
    (c) Is used in conformance with the recommendations of the National 
Research Council \8\ reports on early childhood; and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ National Research Council. (2008). Early Childhood 
Assessment: Why, What, and How. Committee on Developmental Outcomes 
and Assessments for Young Children, C.E. Snow and S.B. Van Hemel, 
Editors. Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Board on Testing 
and Assessment, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and 
Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12446.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (d) Is valid and reliable for its intended purposes and for the 
target populations and aligned to the Early Learning and Development 
Standards.
    Results of the assessment should be used to inform efforts to close 
the school readiness gap at kindergarten entry and to inform 
instruction in the early elementary school grades. This assessment 
should not be used to prevent children's entry into kindergarten.
    Lead Agency means the State-level agency designated by the Governor 
for the administration of the RTT-ELC grant; this agency is the fiscal 
agent for the grant. The Lead Agency must be one of the Participating 
State Agencies.
    Low-Income means having an income of up to 200 percent of the 
Federal poverty rate.
    Measures of Environmental Quality means valid and reliable 
indicators of the overall quality of the early learning environment.
    Measures of the Quality of Adult-Child Interactions means the 
measures obtained through valid and reliable processes for observing 
how teachers and caregivers interact with children, where such 
processes are designed to promote child learning and to identify 
strengths and areas for improvement for early learning professionals.
    Participating State Agency means a State agency that administers 
public funds related to early learning and development and is 
participating in the State Plan. The following State agencies are 
required Participating State Agencies: The agencies that administer or 
supervise the administration of CCDF, the section 619 of part B of IDEA 
and part C of IDEA programs, State-funded preschool, home visiting, 
Title I of ESEA, the Head Start State Collaboration Grant, and the 
Title V Maternal and Child Care Block Grant, as well as the State 
Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care, the State's 
Child Care Licensing Agency, and the State Education Agency. Other 
State agencies, such as the agencies that administer or supervise the 
administration of Child Welfare, Mental Health, Temporary Assistance 
for Needy Families (TANF), Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, the 
Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Adult Education and Family 
Literacy Act (AEFLA) may be Participating State Agencies if they elect 
to participate in the State Plan.
    Participating Program means an Early Learning and Development 
Program that elects to carry out activities described in the State 
Plan.
    Program Standards means the standards that serve as the basis for a 
Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System and define differentiated 
levels of quality for Early Learning and Development Programs. Program 
Standards are expressed, at a minimum, by the extent to which--
    (a) Early Learning and Development Standards are implemented 
through evidence-based activities, interventions, or curricula that are 
appropriate for each age group of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers;
    (b) Comprehensive Assessment Systems are used routinely and 
appropriately to improve instruction and enhance program quality by 
providing robust and coherent evidence of--
    (1) Children's learning and development outcomes; and
    (2) Program performance;
    (c) A qualified workforce improves young children's health, social, 
emotional, and educational outcomes;
    (d) Strategies are successfully used to engage families in 
supporting their children's development and learning. These strategies 
may include, but are not limited to, parent access to the program, 
ongoing two-way communication with families, parent education in child 
development, outreach to fathers and other family members, training and 
support for families as children move to preschool and kindergarten, 
social networks of support, intergenerational activities, linkages with 
community supports and adult and family literacy programs, parent 
involvement in decision making, and parent leadership development;
    (e) Health promotion practices include health and safety 
requirements; developmental, behavioral, and sensory screening, 
referral, and follow up; and the promotion of physical activity, 
healthy eating habits, oral health and behavioral health, and health 
literacy among parents; and
    (f) Effective data practices include gathering Essential Data 
Elements and entering them into the State's Statewide Longitudinal Data 
System or other early learning data system, using these data to guide 
instruction and program improvement, and making this information 
readily available to families.
    Screening Measures means age and developmentally appropriate, 
valid, and reliable instruments that are used to identify children who 
may need follow-up services to address developmental, learning, or 
health needs in, at a minimum, the areas of physical health, behavioral 
health, oral health, child development, vision, and hearing.
    State means any of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and 
Puerto Rico.
    State Plan means the plan submitted as part of the State's RTT-ELC 
application.
    Statewide Longitudinal Data System means the State's longitudinal 
education data system that collects and maintains detailed, high-
quality, student- and staff-level data that are linked across entities 
and that over time provide a complete academic and performance history 
for each student. The Statewide Longitudinal Data System is typically 
housed within the State educational agency but includes or can be 
connected to early childhood, postsecondary, and labor data.
    Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System means the system 
through which the State uses a set of progressively higher Program 
Standards to evaluate the quality of an Early Learning and Development 
Program and to support program improvement. A Tiered Quality Rating and 
Improvement System consists of four components: (a) Tiered Program 
Standards with multiple rating categories that clearly and meaningfully 
differentiate program quality levels; (b) monitoring to evaluate 
program quality based on the Program Standards; (c) supports to help 
programs meet progressively higher standards

[[Page 53571]]

(e.g., through training, technical assistance, financial support); and 
(d) program quality ratings that are publically available; and includes 
a process for validating the system.
    Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework means a set of 
expectations that describes what Early Childhood Educators (including 
those working with children with disabilities and English learners) 
should know and be able to do. The Workforce Knowledge and Competency 
Framework, at a minimum, (a) is evidence-based; (b) incorporates 
knowledge and application of the State's Early Learning and Development 
Standards, the Comprehensive Assessment Systems, child development, 
health, and culturally and linguistically appropriate strategies for 
working with families; (c) includes knowledge of early mathematics and 
literacy development and effective instructional practices to support 
mathematics and literacy development in young children; (d) 
incorporates effective use of data to guide instruction and program 
improvement; (e) includes effective behavior management strategies that 
promote positive social emotional development and reduce challenging 
behaviors; and (f) incorporates feedback from experts at the State's 
postsecondary institutions and other early learning and development 
experts and Early Childhood Educators.
    Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure 
Act, 5 U.S.C. 553, we generally offer interested parties the 
opportunity to comment on proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria. Section 437(d)(1) of GEPA, 
however, allows the Secretary of Education to exempt from rulemaking 
requirements governing the first grant competition under a new or 
substantially revised program authority. This is the first grant 
competition for the RTT-ELC grant program under the revised program 
authority in section 14006 of the ARRA, as amended by section 1832(b) 
of Division B of Public Law 112-10, the Department of Defense and Full-
Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011. The Secretaries have decided 
to forgo public comment under the waiver authority in section 437(d)(1) 
of GEPA in order to ensure timely grant awards.
    However, we have solicited public participation in two important 
ways as we developed an approach to conducting and implementing this 
competition. First, we invited the public to provide general input on 
the program from May 25 through June 30 on the ED.gov Blog. In response 
to this invitation, we received a total of 199 responses which we 
considered in our development of this notice. From July 1 to July 11, 
we posted on ED's Web site a draft Executive Summary of the 
competition, which included draft competition priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria, and we invited public input on 
each of these elements of the competition. In response to this 
invitation, we received 349 responses that reflected the viewpoints of 
a variety of individuals, and early childhood, health, and education 
organizations. Members of the public provided input on all sections of 
the draft selection criteria, priorities, requirements, and definitions 
sections of the draft executive summary.
    These priorities, selection criteria, requirements, and definitions 
will apply to the FY 2011 grant competition and any subsequent year in 
which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this 
competition.
    Program Authority: Sections 14005 and 14006, Division A, of the 
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, as amended by section 
1832(b) of Division B of Public Law 112-10, the Department of Defense 
and Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011.
    Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 80, 82, 
84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99.

II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.
    Estimated Available Funds: $500 million. 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 
this competition.
    Estimated Range of Awards: $50 million-$100 million.

    Note: The Departments are not bound by any estimates in this 
notice.

    Project Period: Up to 48 months.
    Budget Requirements: To support States in planning their budgets, 
the Departments have developed the following budget caps for each 
State. The Secretaries will not consider for funding an application 
from a State that proposes a budget that exceeds the applicable cap set 
for that State. The Departments developed the following categories by 
ranking every State according to its share of the national population 
of children ages birth through five years old from Low-Income families 
and identifying the natural breaks in the rank order. Then, based on 
population, budget caps were developed for each category.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, 2009. 
American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year Public Use Microdata Sample 
(PUMS) data.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Category 1--Up to $100 million--California, Florida, New York, 
Texas.
    Category 2--Up to $70 million--Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, 
Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania.
    Category 3--Up to $60 million--Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, 
Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South 
Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.
    Category 4--Up to $50 million--Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, 
Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, 
Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New 
Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, 
South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming.
    In addition to considering other relevant factors (see 34 CFR 
75.217(d)(3)), the selection of grantees may consider the need to 
ensure that early learning and development systems are developed in 
States with large, high-poverty, rural communities (including States 
with high percentages of high-poverty populations in rural areas and 
States with high absolute numbers of high-poverty individuals in rural 
areas). Awards may be granted to high-quality applications out of rank 
order to meet this need. ED may use any unused funds designated for 
this competition to make awards in Phase 3 of the Race to the Top 
Program.
    The State must include in its budget the amount of funds it intends 
to distribute through Memoranda Of Understanding (MOUs), interagency 
agreements, contracts, or other mechanisms authorized by State 
procurement laws, to localities, Early Learning Intermediary 
Organizations, Participating Programs, or other partners.
    The State must set aside $400,000 from its grant funds for the 
purpose of participating in RTT-ELC grantee technical assistance 
activities facilitated by ED or HHS.

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: States that meet the following 
requirements:
    (a) The Lead Agency must have executed with each Participating 
State Agency an MOU or other binding agreement that the State must 
attach to its application, describing the Participating State Agency's 
level of

[[Page 53572]]

participation in the grant. (See Appendix C of this notice.) At a 
minimum, the MOU or other binding agreement must include an assurance 
that the Participating State Agency agrees to use, to the extent 
applicable--
    (1) A set of statewide Early Learning and Development Standards;
    (2) A set of statewide Program Standards;
    (3) A statewide Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System; and
    (4) A statewide Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework and 
progression of credentials.
    (b) The State must have an operational State Advisory Council on 
Early Care and Education that meets the requirements described in 
section 642B(b) of the Head Start Act (42 U.S.C. 9837b).
    (c) The State must have submitted in FY 2010 an updated MIECHV 
State plan and FY 2011 Application for formula funding under the 
Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program (see 
section 511 of Title V of the Social Security Act, as added by section 
2951 of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-148)).
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost 
sharing or matching.

IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package:
    You can obtain an application package via the Internet or from the 
Education Publications Center (ED Pubs). To obtain a copy via the 
Internet, use the following address: http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge. To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, 
write, fax, or call the following: Education Publications Center, P.O. 
Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. 
FAX: (301) 470-1244. If you use a telecommunications device for the 
deaf (TDD), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.
    You can also contact ED Pubs at its Web site: http://www.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html or at its e-mail address: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.
    If you request an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify 
this program or competition as follows: CFDA 84.412.
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application 
package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, 
or compact disc) by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.
    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements 
concerning the content of the application, together with the forms a 
State must submit, are in the application package for this competition.
    Page Limit: The application narrative (section VI of the 
application) is where the applicant addresses the selection criteria 
that reviewers will use to evaluate applications. We recommend that the 
applicant limit its narrative responses in section VI of the 
application to no more than 150 pages and limit its appendices to no 
more than 150 pages. The Secretaries strongly requests that applicants 
follow the recommended page limits, although the Secretaries will 
consider applications of greater length.
    The following standards are recommended:
     A ``page'' is 8.5'' x 11'', on one side only, with 1'' 
margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
     Each page is numbered.
     Line spacing is set to 1.5 spacing, and the font used is 
12 point Times New Roman.
    3. Submission Dates and Times:
    Applications Available: August 26, 2011.
    Dates of Meetings for Potential Applicants: September 1, 2011; 
September 13, 2011. To assist States in preparing the application and 
to respond to questions, ED and HHS intend to host a Webinar with 
potential applicants on September 1, 2011, to review the requirements, 
selection criteria, and priorities for this competition. The 
Departments also plan to host a Technical Assistance Planning Workshop 
for potential applicants on September 13, 2011, in Washington, DC. To 
minimize travel burdens associated with this workshop and to maximize 
the number of potential applicants who can participate, the Departments 
will also broadcast this workshop live at several other regional 
offices of the Departments across the country. The purpose of the 
workshop will be to allow teams of participants responsible for 
developing the State's application to review with Federal program staff 
the priorities, requirements, and selection criteria for this 
competition and to ask questions about the RTT-ELC competition. We 
strongly encourage all interested State applicants to participate in 
the workshop, either in Washington, DC, or at one of the regional 
offices. For those who cannot attend the workshop in person, a video 
recording of the workshop will be available on the RTT-ELC Web site at 
http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge. The 
Departments may host additional conference calls, workshops, or 
Webinars to answer applicant questions and will be posting Frequently 
Asked Questions (FAQs) and responses on the RTT-ELC Web site. The 
Departments will make available all registration information and 
additional details for the September 1, 2011, Webinar; the September 
13, 2011, workshop; and any other technical assistance events on the 
RTT-ELC Web site at http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: October 19, 2011.
    Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted in 
electronic format on a CD or DVD, by mail or hand delivery. For 
information (including dates and times) about how to submit your 
application by mail or hand delivery, please refer to section IV (7) 
Other Submission Requirements of this notice. We will not consider an 
application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.
    We will provide Congress with the names of the States that have 
submitted applications, as well as post the names of these States on 
the ED's Web site. We will also post all applications submitted by the 
States. Therefore, please ensure that your application does not include 
personally identifiable information, proprietary information, and other 
non-public information.
    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 Departments provide 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: December 19, 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 specify unallowable costs in section 
(b) of Program Requirements in this notice. We reference additional 
regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable 
Regulations section of this notice.
    6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification 
Number, and Central Contractor

[[Page 53573]]

Registry: To do business with the Departments, 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 Departments 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.
    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.
    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under 
this competition must be submitted by mail or hand delivery. We 
strongly recommend the use of overnight mail. Applications postmarked 
on the deadline date but arriving late will not be read.
    a. Application Submission Format and Deadline.
    Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted in 
electronic format on a CD or DVD, with CD-ROM or DVD-ROM preferred. In 
addition, applicants must submit a signed paper original of section IV 
of the application and one copy of that signed original. Autopen, 
copies, .PDFs (Adobe Portable Document Format), and faxed copies of 
signature pages are not acceptable originals. Section IV of the 
application includes the Application Assurances and Certifications.
    We strongly request the applicant to submit a CD or DVD of its 
application that includes the following files:
    1. A single file that contains the body of the application, 
including required budget tables, that has been converted into a .PDF 
(Portable Document) format so that the .PDF is searchable. Note that a 
.PDF created from a scanned document will not be searchable.
    2. A single file in a .PDF format that contains all of the required 
signature pages. The signature pages may be scanned and turned into a 
PDF.
    3. Copies of the completed electronic budget spreadsheets with the 
required budget tables, which should be in a separate file from the 
body of the application. The spreadsheets will not be reviewed by peer 
reviewers but will be used by the Departments for budget reviews.
    Each of these items must be clearly labeled with the State's name 
and any other relevant identifying information. States must not 
password-protect these files.
    We must receive all grant applications by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, 
DC time, on the application deadline date. We will not accept an 
application for this competition after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC 
time, on the application deadline date. Therefore, we strongly 
recommend that applicants arrange for mailing or hand delivery of their 
application in advance of the application deadline date.
    b. Submission of Applications by Mail. States choosing to submit 
their application (i.e., the CD or DVD, the signed paper original of 
section IV of the application, and the copy of that original) by mail 
(either through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) should 
use the following mailing address: U.S. Department of Education, 
Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.412), LBJ 
Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.
    We must receive applications on or before the application deadline 
date. Therefore, to avoid delays, we strongly recommend sending 
applications via overnight mail. If we receive an application after the 
application deadline, we will not consider that application.
    c. Submission of Applications by Hand Delivery.
    States choosing to submit their application (i.e., the CD or DVD, 
the signed paper original of section IV of the application, and the 
copy of that original) by hand delivery (including via a courier 
service) should use the following address: U.S. Department of 
Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.412), 
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. If we receive an application 
after the application deadline, we will not consider that application.
    d. Envelope requirements and receipt: When an applicant submits its 
application, whether by mail or hand delivery--
    (1) It must indicate on the envelope that the CFDA number of the 
competition under which it is submitting its application is 84.412; and
    (2) The Application Control Center will mail to the applicant a 
notification of receipt of the grant application. If the applicant does 
not receive this notification, it should call the Application Control 
Center at (202) 245-6288.
    In accordance with 34 CFR 75.216(b) and (c), an application will 
not be evaluated for funding if the applicant does not comply with all 
of the procedural rules that govern the submission of the application 
or the application does not contain the information required under the 
program.

V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: We will use the following selection criteria 
to evaluate applications submitted under the RTT-ELC competition. The 
maximum score for all the selection criteria and competitive preference 
priorities is 300 points. The maximum score for each selection 
criterion is indicated in parentheses. The reviewers will utilize the 
scoring rubric located in Appendix B of this notice when evaluating the 
following selection criteria:

Core Areas--Sections (A) (Successful State Systems) and (B) (High-
Quality, Accountable Programs)

    States must address in their application all of the selection 
criteria in the Core Areas.
A. Successful State Systems
    (A)(1) Demonstrating past commitment to early learning and 
development. (20 points)
    The extent to which the State has demonstrated past commitment to 
and investment in high-quality, accessible Early Learning and 
Development Programs and services for Children with High Needs, as 
evidenced by the State's--
    (a) Financial investment, from January 2007 to the present, in 
Early Learning and Development Programs, including the amount of these 
investments in relation to the size of the State's population of 
Children with High Needs during this time period;
    (b) Increasing, from January 2007 to the present, the number of 
Children with High Needs participating in Early Learning and 
Development Programs;
    (c) Existing early learning and development legislation, policies, 
or practices; and

[[Page 53574]]

    (d) Current status in key areas that form the building blocks for a 
high quality early learning and development system, including Early 
Learning and Development Standards, Comprehensive Assessment Systems, 
health promotion practices, family engagement strategies, the 
development of Early Childhood Educators, Kindergarten Entry 
Assessments, and effective data practices.
    (A)(2) Articulating the State's rationale for its early learning 
and development reform agenda and goals. (20 points)
    The extent to which the State clearly articulates a comprehensive 
early learning and development reform agenda that is ambitious yet 
achievable, builds on the State's progress to date (as demonstrated in 
selection criterion (A)(1)), is most likely to result in improved 
school readiness for Children with High Needs, and includes--
    (a) Ambitious yet achievable goals for improving program quality, 
improving outcomes for Children with High Needs statewide, and closing 
the readiness gap between Children with High Needs and their peers;
    (b) An overall summary of the State Plan that clearly articulates 
how the High-Quality Plans proposed under each selection criterion, 
when taken together, constitute an effective reform agenda that 
establishes a clear and credible path toward achieving these goals; and
    (c) A specific rationale that justifies the State's choice to 
address the selected criteria in each Focused Investment Area (C), (D), 
and (E), including why these selected criteria will best achieve these 
goals.
    (A)(3) Aligning and coordinating early learning and development 
across the State. (10 points)
    The extent to which the State has established, or has a High-
Quality Plan to establish, strong participation and commitment in the 
State Plan by Participating State Agencies and other early learning and 
development stakeholders by--
    (a) Demonstrating how the Participating State Agencies and other 
partners, if any, will identify a governance structure for working 
together that will facilitate interagency coordination, streamline 
decision making, effectively allocate resources, and create long-term 
sustainability and describing--
    (1) The organizational structure for managing the grant and how it 
builds upon existing interagency governance structures such as 
children's cabinets, councils, and commissions, if any already exist 
and are effective;
    (2) The governance-related roles and responsibilities of the Lead 
Agency, the State Advisory Council, each Participating State Agency, 
the State's Interagency Coordinating Council for part C of IDEA, and 
other partners, if any;
    (3) The method and process for making different types of decisions 
(e.g., policy, operational) and resolving disputes; and
    (4) The plan for when and how the State will involve 
representatives from Participating Programs, Early Childhood Educators 
or their representatives, parents and families, including parents and 
families of Children with High Needs, and other key stakeholders in the 
planning and implementation of the activities carried out under the 
grant;
    (b) Demonstrating that the Participating State Agencies are 
strongly committed to the State Plan, to the governance structure of 
the grant, and to effective implementation of the State Plan, by 
including in the MOUs or other binding agreements between the State and 
each Participating State Agency--
    (1) Terms and conditions that reflect a strong commitment to the 
State Plan by each Participating State Agency, including terms and 
conditions designed to align and leverage the Participating State 
Agencies' existing funding to support the State Plan;
    (2) ``Scope-of-work'' descriptions that require each Participating 
State Agency to implement all applicable portions of the State Plan and 
a description of efforts to maximize the number of Early Learning and 
Development Programs that become Participating Programs; and
    (3) A signature from an authorized representative of each 
Participating State Agency; and
    (c) Demonstrating commitment to the State Plan from a broad group 
of stakeholders that will assist the State in reaching the ambitious 
yet achievable goals outlined in response to selection criterion 
(A)(2)(a), including by obtaining--
    (1) Detailed and persuasive letters of intent or support from Early 
Learning Intermediary Organizations, and, if applicable, local early 
learning councils; and
    (2) Letters of intent or support from such other stakeholders as 
Early Childhood Educators or their representatives; the State's 
legislators; local community leaders; State or local school boards; 
representatives of private and faith-based early learning programs; 
other State and local leaders (e.g., business, community, tribal, civil 
rights, education association leaders); adult education and family 
literacy State and local leaders; family and community organizations 
(e.g., parent councils, nonprofit organizations, local foundations, 
tribal organizations, and community-based organizations); libraries and 
children's museums; health providers; and postsecondary institutions.
    (A)(4) Developing a budget to implement and sustain the work of 
this grant. (15 points)
    The extent to which the State Plan--
    (a) Demonstrates how the State will use existing funds that support 
early learning and development from Federal, State, private, and local 
sources (e.g., CCDF; Title I and II of ESEA; IDEA; Striving Readers 
Comprehensive Literacy Program; State preschool; Head Start 
Collaboration and State Advisory Council funding; Maternal, Infant, and 
Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; Title V MCH Block Grant; TANF; 
Medicaid; child welfare services under Title IV (B) and (E) of the 
Social Security Act; Statewide Longitudinal Data System; foundation; 
other private funding sources) for activities and services that help 
achieve the outcomes in the State Plan, including how the quality set-
asides in CCDF will be used;
    (b) Describes, in both the budget tables and budget narratives, how 
the State will effectively and efficiently use funding from this grant 
to achieve the outcomes in the State Plan, in a manner that--
    (1) Is adequate to support the activities described in the State 
Plan;
    (2) Includes costs that are reasonable and necessary in relation to 
the objectives, design, and significance of the activities described in 
the State Plan and the number of children to be served; and
    (3) Details the amount of funds budgeted for Participating State 
Agencies, localities, Early Learning Intermediary Organizations, 
Participating Programs, or other partners, and the specific activities 
to be implemented with these funds consistent with the State Plan, and 
demonstrates that a significant amount of funding will be devoted to 
the local implementation of the State Plan; and
    (c) Demonstrates that it can be sustained after the grant period 
ends to ensure that the number and percentage of Children with High 
Needs served by Early Learning and Development Programs in the State 
will be maintained or expanded.
B. High-Quality, Accountable Programs
    (B)(1) Developing and adopting a common, statewide Tiered Quality 
Rating and Improvement System. (10 points)

[[Page 53575]]

    The extent to which the State and its Participating State Agencies 
have developed and adopted, or have a High-Quality Plan to develop and 
adopt, a Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System that--
    (a) Is based on a statewide set of tiered Program Standards that 
include--
    (1) Early Learning and Development Standards;
    (2) A Comprehensive Assessment System;
    (3) Early Childhood Educator qualifications;
    (4) Family engagement strategies;
    (5) Health promotion practices; and
    (6) Effective data practices;
    (b) Is clear and has standards that are measurable, meaningfully 
differentiate program quality levels, and reflect high expectations of 
program excellence commensurate with nationally recognized standards 
\10\ that lead to improved learning outcomes for children; and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ See such nationally recognized standards as:
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2009). Head Start 
Program Performance Standards. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of 
Health and Human Services. PDF retrieved from: 45 CFR Chapter XIII--
1301-1311 http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/Head%20Start%20Program/Program%20Design%20and%20Management/Head%20Start%20Requirements/Head%20Start%20Requirements/45%20CFR%20Chapter%20XIII/45%20CFR%20Chap%20XIII_ENG.pdf.
    U.S. Department of Defense. DoD Instruction 6060.2, Child 
Development Programs (CDPs), January 19, 1993, certified as current 
August 25, 1998 (to be updated Fall 2011). Washington, DC: U.S. 
Department of Defense. Retrieved from: http://www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/portal/page/mhf/MHF/MHF_DETAIL_1?section_id=20.60.500.100.0.0.0.0.0¤t_id=20.60.500.100.500.60.60.0.0.
    American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health 
association, and National Resource Center for Health and Safety in 
Child Care and Early Education. (2011) Caring for Our Children: 
National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for 
Early Care and education Programs. Elk Grove Village, IL; American 
Academy of Pediatrics.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (c) Is linked to the State licensing system for Early Learning and 
Development Programs.
    (B)(2) Promoting Participation in the State's Tiered Quality Rating 
and Improvement System. (15 points)
    The extent to which the State has maximized, or has a High-Quality 
Plan to maximize, program participation in the State's Tiered Quality 
Rating and Improvement System by--
    (a) Implementing effective policies and practices to reach the goal 
of having all publicly funded Early Learning and Development Programs 
participate in such a system, including programs in each of the 
following categories--
    (1) State-funded preschool programs;
    (2) Early Head Start and Head Start programs;
    (3) Early Learning and Development Programs funded under section 
619 of part B of IDEA and part C of IDEA;
    (4) Early Learning and Development Programs funded under Title I of 
the ESEA; and
    (5) Early Learning and Development Programs receiving funds from 
the State's CCDF program;
    (b) Implementing effective policies and practices designed to help 
more families afford high-quality child care and maintain the supply of 
high-quality child care in areas with high concentrations of Children 
with High Needs (e.g., maintaining or increasing subsidy reimbursement 
rates, taking actions to ensure affordable co-payments, providing 
incentives to high-quality providers to participate in the subsidy 
program); and
    (c) Setting ambitious yet achievable targets for the numbers and 
percentages of Early Learning and Development Programs that will 
participate in the Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System by type 
of Early Learning and Development Program (as listed in (B)(2)(a)(1) 
through (5) above).
    (B)(3) Rating and monitoring Early Learning and Development 
Programs. (15 points)
    The extent to which the State and its Participating State Agencies 
have developed and implemented, or have a High-Quality Plan to develop 
and implement, a system for rating and monitoring the quality of Early 
Learning and Development Programs participating in the Tiered Quality 
Rating and Improvement System by--
    (a) Using a valid and reliable tool for monitoring such programs, 
having trained monitors whose ratings have an acceptable level of 
inter-rater reliability, and monitoring and rating the Early Learning 
and Development Programs with appropriate frequency; and
    (b) Providing quality rating and licensing information to parents 
with children enrolled in Early Learning and Development Programs 
(e.g., displaying quality rating information at the program site) and 
making program quality rating data, information, and licensing history 
(including any health and safety violations) publicly available in 
formats that are easy to understand and use for decision making by 
families selecting Early Learning and Development Programs and families 
whose children are enrolled in such programs.
    (B)(4) Promoting access to high-quality Early Learning and 
Development Programs for Children with High Needs. (20 points)
    The extent to which the State and its Participating State Agencies 
have developed and implemented, or have a High-Quality Plan to develop 
and implement, a system for improving the quality of the Early Learning 
and Development Programs participating in the Tiered Quality Rating and 
Improvement System by--
    (a) Developing and implementing policies and practices that provide 
support and incentives for Early Learning and Development Programs to 
continuously improve (e.g., through training, technical assistance, 
financial rewards or incentives, higher subsidy reimbursement rates, 
compensation);
    (b) Providing supports to help working families who have Children 
with High Needs access high-quality Early Learning and Development 
Programs that meet those needs (e.g., providing full-day, full-year 
programs; transportation; meals; family support services); and
    (c) Setting ambitious yet achievable targets for increasing--
    (1) The number of Early Learning and Development Programs in the 
top tiers of the Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System; and
    (2) The number and percentage of Children with High Needs who are 
enrolled in Early Learning and Development Programs that are in the top 
tiers of the Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System.
    (B)(5) Validating the effectiveness of State Tiered Quality Rating 
and Improvement Systems. (15 points)
    The extent to which the State has a High-Quality Plan to design and 
implement evaluations--working with an independent evaluator and, when 
warranted, as part of a cross-State evaluation consortium--of the 
relationship between the ratings generated by the State's Tiered 
Quality Rating and Improvement System and the learning outcomes of 
children served by the State's Early Learning and Development Programs 
by--
    (a) Validating, using research-based measures, as described in the 
State Plan (which also describes the criteria that the State used or 
will use to determine those measures), whether the tiers in the State's 
Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System accurately reflect 
differential levels of program quality; and
    (b) Assessing, using appropriate research designs and measures of 
progress (as identified in the State Plan), the extent to which changes 
in quality ratings are related to progress in children's learning, 
development, and school readiness.

[[Page 53576]]

Focused Investment Areas--Sections (C), (D), and (E)

    Each State must address in its application--
    (1) Two or more of the selection criteria in Focused Investment 
Area (C);
    (2) One or more of the selection criteria in Focused Investment 
Area (D); and
    (3) One or more of the selection criteria in Focused Investment 
Area (E).
    The total available points for each Focused Investment Area will be 
divided by the number of selection criteria that the applicant chooses 
to address in that area, so that each selection criterion is worth the 
same number of points.

C. Promoting Early Learning and Development Outcomes for Children

    The total available points that an applicant may receive for 
selection criteria (C)(1) through (C)(4) is 60. The 60 points will be 
divided by the number of selection criteria that the applicant chooses 
to address so that each selection criterion is worth the same number of 
points. For example, if the applicant chooses to address all four 
selection criteria under this Focused Investment Area, each criterion 
will be worth up to 15 points. If the applicant chooses to address two 
selection criteria, each criterion will be worth up to 30 points.
    The applicant must address at least two of the selection criteria 
within Focused Investment Area (C), which are as follows:
    (C)(1) Developing and using statewide, high-quality Early Learning 
and Development Standards.
    The extent to which the State has a High-Quality Plan to put in 
place high-quality Early Learning and Development Standards that are 
used statewide by Early Learning and Development Programs and that--
    (a) Includes evidence that the Early Learning and Development 
Standards are developmentally, culturally, and linguistically 
appropriate across each age group of infants, toddlers, and 
preschoolers, and that they cover all Essential Domains of School 
Readiness;
    (b) Includes evidence that the Early Learning and Development 
Standards are aligned with the State's K-3 academic standards in, at a 
minimum, early literacy and mathematics;
    (c) Includes evidence that the Early Learning and Development 
Standards are incorporated in Program Standards, curricula and 
activities, Comprehensive Assessment Systems, the State's Workforce 
Knowledge and Competency Framework, and professional development 
activities; and
    (d) The State has supports in place to promote understanding of and 
commitment to the Early Learning and Development Standards across Early 
Learning and Development Programs.
    (C)(2) Supporting effective uses of Comprehensive Assessment 
Systems.
    The extent to which the State has a High-Quality Plan to support 
the effective implementation of developmentally appropriate 
Comprehensive Assessment Systems by--
    (a) Working with Early Learning and Development Programs to select 
assessment instruments and approaches that are appropriate for the 
target populations and purposes;
    (b) Working with Early Learning and Development Programs to 
strengthen Early Childhood Educators' understanding of the purposes and 
uses of each type of assessment included in the Comprehensive 
Assessment Systems;
    (c) Articulating an approach for aligning and integrating 
assessments and sharing assessment results, as appropriate, in order to 
avoid duplication of assessments and to coordinate services for 
Children with High Needs who are served by multiple Early Learning and 
Development Programs; and
    (d) Training Early Childhood Educators to appropriately administer 
assessments and interpret and use assessment data in order to inform 
and improve instruction, programs, and services.
    (C)(3) Identifying and addressing the health, behavioral, and 
developmental needs of Children with High Needs to improve school 
readiness.
    The extent to which the State has a High-Quality Plan to identify 
and address the health, behavioral, and developmental needs of Children 
with High Needs by--
    (a) Establishing a progression of standards for ensuring children's 
health and safety; ensuring that health and behavioral screening and 
follow-up occur; and promoting children's physical, social, and 
emotional development across the levels of its Program Standards;
    (b) Increasing the number of Early Childhood Educators who are 
trained and supported on an on-going basis in meeting the health 
standards;
    (c) Promoting healthy eating habits, improving nutrition, expanding 
physical activity; and
    (d) Leveraging existing resources to meet ambitious yet achievable 
annual targets to increase the number of Children with High Needs who--
    (1) Are screened using Screening Measures that align with the 
Medicaid Early Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment benefit 
(see section 1905(r)(5) of the Social Security Act) or the well-baby 
and well-child services available through the Children's Health 
Insurance Program (42 CFR 457.520), and that, as appropriate, are 
consistent with the Child Find provisions in IDEA (see sections 
612(a)(3) and 635(a)(5) of IDEA);
    (2) Are referred for services based on the results of those 
screenings, and, where appropriate, received follow-up; and
    (3) Participate in ongoing health care as part of a schedule of 
well-child care, including the number of children who are up to date in 
a schedule of well-child care.
    (C)(4) Engaging and supporting families.
    The extent to which the State has a High-Quality Plan to provide 
culturally and linguistically appropriate information and support to 
families of Children with High Needs in order to promote school 
readiness for their children by--
    (a) Establishing a progression of culturally and linguistically 
appropriate standards for family engagement across the levels of its 
Program Standards, including activities that enhance the capacity of 
families to support their children's education and development;
    (b) Increasing the number and percentage of Early Childhood 
Educators trained and supported on an on-going basis to implement the 
family engagement strategies included in the Program Standards; and
    (c) Promoting family support and engagement statewide, including by 
leveraging other existing resources such as through home visiting 
programs, other family-serving agencies, and through outreach to 
family, friend, and neighbor caregivers.

D. A Great Early Childhood Education Workforce

    The total available points that a State may receive for selection 
criteria (D)(1) and (D)(2) is 40. The 40 points will be divided by the 
number of selection criteria that the applicant chooses to address so 
that each selection criterion is worth the same number of points. For 
example, if the applicant chooses to address both selection criteria 
under this Focused Investment Area, each criterion will be worth up to 
20 points. If the applicant chooses to address one selection criterion, 
the criterion will be worth up to 40 points.
    The applicant must address at least one of the selection criteria 
within

[[Page 53577]]

Focused Investment Area (D), which are as follows:
    (D)(1) Developing a Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework 
and a progression of credentials.
    The extent to which the State has a High-Quality Plan to--
    (a) Develop a common, statewide Workforce Knowledge and Competency 
Framework designed to promote children's learning and development and 
improve child outcomes;
    (b) Develop a common, statewide progression of credentials and 
degrees aligned with the Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework; 
and
    (c) Engage postsecondary institutions and other professional 
development providers in aligning professional development 
opportunities with the State's Workforce Knowledge and Competency 
Framework.
    (D)(2) Supporting Early Childhood Educators in improving their 
knowledge, skills, and abilities.
    The extent to which the State has a High-Quality Plan to improve 
the effectiveness and retention of Early Childhood Educators who work 
with Children with High Needs, with the goal of improving child 
outcomes by--
    (a) Providing and expanding access to effective professional 
development opportunities that are aligned with the State's Workforce 
Knowledge and Competency Framework;
    (b) Implementing policies and incentives (e.g., scholarships, 
compensation and wage supplements, tiered reimbursement rates, other 
financial incentives, management opportunities) that promote 
professional improvement and career advancement along an articulated 
career pathway that is aligned with the Workforce Knowledge and 
Competency Framework, and that are designed to increase retention;
    (c) Publicly reporting aggregated data on Early Childhood Educator 
development, advancement, and retention; and
    (d) Setting ambitious yet achievable targets for--
    (1) Increasing the number of postsecondary institutions and 
professional development providers with programs that are aligned to 
the Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework and the number of 
Early Childhood Educators who receive credentials from postsecondary 
institutions and professional development providers that are aligned to 
the Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework; and
    (2) Increasing the number and percentage of Early Childhood 
Educators who are progressing to higher levels of credentials that 
align with the Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework.

E. Measuring Outcomes and Progress

    The total available points an applicant may receive for selection 
criteria (E)(1) and (E)(2) is 40. The 40 points will be divided by the 
number of selection criteria that the applicant chooses to address so 
that each selection criterion is worth the same number of points. For 
example, if the applicant chooses to address both selection criteria 
under this Focused Investment Area, each criterion will be worth up to 
20 points. If the applicant chooses to address one selection criterion, 
the criterion will be worth up to 40 points.
    The applicant must address at least one of the selection criteria 
within Focused Investment Area (E), which are as follows:
    (E)(1) Understanding the status of children's learning and 
development at kindergarten entry.
    The extent to which the State has a High-Quality Plan to implement, 
independently or as part of a cross-State consortium, a common, 
statewide Kindergarten Entry Assessment that informs instruction and 
services in the early elementary grades and that--
    (a) Is aligned with the State's Early Learning and Development 
Standards and covers all Essential Domains of School Readiness;
    (b) Is valid, reliable, and appropriate for the target population 
and for the purpose for which it will be used, including for English 
learners and children with disabilities;
    (c) Is administered beginning no later than the start of school 
year 2014-2015 to children entering a public school kindergarten; 
States may propose a phased implementation plan that forms the basis 
for broader statewide implementation;
    (d) Is reported to the Statewide Longitudinal Data System, and to 
the early learning data system, if it is separate from the Statewide 
Longitudinal Data System, as permitted under and consistent with the 
requirements of Federal, State, and local privacy laws; and
    (e) Is funded, in significant part, with Federal or State resources 
other than those available under this grant, (e.g., with funds 
available under section 6111 or 6112 of the ESEA).
    (E)(2) Building or enhancing an early learning data system to 
improve instruction, practices, services, and policies.
    The extent to which the State has a High-Quality Plan to enhance 
the State's existing Statewide Longitudinal Data System or to build or 
enhance a separate, coordinated, early learning data system that aligns 
and is interoperable with the Statewide Longitudinal Data System, and 
that either data system--
    (a) Has all of the Essential Data Elements;
    (b) Enables uniform data collection and easy entry of the Essential 
Data Elements by Participating State Agencies and Participating 
Programs;
    (c) Facilitates the exchange of data among Participating State 
Agencies by using standard data structures, data formats, and data 
definitions such as Common Education Data Standards to ensure 
interoperability among the various levels and types of data;
    (d) Generates information that is timely, relevant, accessible, and 
easy for Early Learning and Development Programs and Early Childhood 
Educators to use for continuous improvement and decision making; and
    (e) Meets the Data System Oversight Requirements and complies with 
the requirements of Federal, State, and local privacy laws.
    2. Review and Selection Process:
    The Departments will screen applications that are received by the 
deadline listed in this notice and will determine which States are 
eligible based on whether they have met the eligibility requirements in 
paragraphs (1)(a), (1)(b), and (1)(c) of section III (Eligibility 
Information) of this notice; the Departments will not consider further 
those applicants deemed ineligible under eligibility requirements in 
paragraphs (1)(a), (1)(b), and (1)(c) of that section.
    The Departments intend to use a peer review process with panels of 
five reviewers per application. Review panels will be created based on 
the number of applications received (e.g., if 35 applications are 
received, reviewers will be sorted into 35 different panels).
    After the review process is complete, the selection of grantees 
will take into account, consistent with 34 CFR 75.217, the rank order 
of applications, each applicant's status with respect to the Absolute 
Priority and the eligibility requirements (1)(a), (1)(b), and (1)(c) of 
section III (Eligibility Information) of this notice; and any other 
relevant information. In addition, consistent with 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), 
we remind potential applicants the evaluation of applications may 
consider the applicant's past performance in carrying out a previous 
reward, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project 
objectives, and compliance with grant conditions, as well as the 
applicant's prior record in submitting

[[Page 53578]]

timely and adequate performance reports. All applicants will receive 
their reviewers' comments and scores.
    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, various 
assurances are required from grantees, 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).
    In addition to considering other relevant factors (see 34 CFR 
75.217(d)(3)), the selection of grantees may consider the need to 
ensure that high-quality early learning and development systems are 
developed in States with large, high-poverty, rural communities 
(including States with high percentages of high-poverty populations in 
rural areas and States with high absolute numbers of high-poverty 
individuals in rural areas). Awards may be granted to high-quality 
applications out of rank order to meet this need.
    We will post all submitted applications (both successful and 
unsuccessful) on ED's Web site, together with the final scores each 
application received. We will post each reviewer's final scores and 
comments on reviewed applications, with the names of reviewers 
redacted.
    3. Special Conditions: Under 34 CFR 80.12, special conditions may 
be imposed on a grant if the 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 part 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 an application is successful, ED will notify 
the State's U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators and send the 
applicant a Grant Award Notification (GAN). We may notify the State 
informally, as well.
    If an application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, ED 
will notify the State.
    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 the approved application as part of the binding 
commitments under the grant.
    3. Reporting:
    (a) Any State that applies for a grant under this competition must 
ensure that it has in place the necessary processes and systems to 
comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should it 
receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if the State 
has an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).
    (b) A State receiving funds under an RTT-ELC grant must submit an 
annual report that must include, in addition to the standard elements, 
a description of the State's progress to date on its goals, timelines, 
and budgets, as well as actual performance compared to the annual 
targets the State established in its application with respect to each 
performance measure. Further, a State receiving funds under this 
program is accountable for meeting the goals, timelines, budget, and 
annual targets established in the application; adhering to an annual 
fund drawdown schedule that is tied to meeting these goals, timelines, 
budget, and annual targets; and fulfilling and maintaining all other 
conditions for the conduct of the project. The Departments will monitor 
a State's progress in meeting the State's goals, timelines, budget, and 
annual targets and in fulfilling other applicable requirements. In 
addition, we may collect additional data as part of a State's annual 
reporting requirements.
    To support a collaborative process with the State, we may require 
that applicants who are selected to receive an award enter into a 
written performance or cooperative agreement. If we determine that a 
State is not meeting its goals, timelines, budget, or annual targets or 
is not fulfilling other applicable requirements, we will take 
appropriate action, which could include establishing a collaborative 
process or taking enforcement measures with respect to this grant, such 
as placing the State in high-risk status, putting the State on 
reimbursement payment status, or delaying or withholding funds.
    4. Evidence and Performance Measures: Appendix A to this notice 
lists the evidence and performance measures.

VII. Agency Contact

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Meredith Farace, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW., room 7E208, Washington, DC 20202-
6400. Telephone: 202-453-6400 or by e-mail: 
RTT.Early.Learning.Challenge@ed.gov.
    If a TDD is needed, call the Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 
1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    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 these Departments 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 these Departments published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: http://www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: August 22, 2011.
Arne Duncan,
Secretary of Education.
Kathleen Sebelius,
Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Appendix A: Evidence and Performance Measures

    Note: All tables referenced in this notice are included in the 
application package.

Core Areas--Sections (A) and (B)

A. Successful State Systems

(A)(1) Demonstrating past commitment to early learning and 
development

    Evidence for (A)(1):
     The completed background data tables providing the 
State's baseline data for--
    [cir] The number and percentage of children from Low-Income 
families in the State, by age (see Table (A)(1)-1 in the 
application);
    [cir] The number and percentage of Children with High Needs from 
special populations in the State (see Table (A)(1)-2 in the 
application); and
    [cir] The number of Children with High Needs in the State who 
are enrolled in Early Learning and Development Programs, by age (see 
Table (A)(1)-3 in the application).
     Data currently available, if any, on the status of 
children at kindergarten entry (across Essential Domains of School 
Readiness, if available), including data on the

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readiness gap between Children with High Needs and their peers.
     Data currently available, if any, on program quality 
across different types of Early Learning and Development Programs.
     The completed table that shows the number of Children 
with High Needs participating in each type of Early Learning and 
Development Program for each of the past 5 years (2007-2011) (see 
Table (A)(1)-4 in the application).
     The completed table that shows the number of Children 
with High Needs participating in each type of Early Learning and 
Development Program for each of the past 5 years (2007-2011) (see 
Table (A)(1)-5 in the application).
     The completed table that describes the current status 
of the State's Early Learning and Development Standards, for each of 
the Essential Domains of School Readiness, by age group of infants, 
toddlers, and preschoolers (see Table (A)(1)-6 in the application).
     The completed table that describes the elements of a 
Comprehensive Assessment System currently required within the State 
by different types of Early Learning and Development Programs or 
systems (see Table (A)(1)-7 in the application).
     The completed table that describes the elements of 
high-quality health promotion practices currently required within 
the State by different types of Early Learning and Development 
Programs or systems (see Table (A)(1)-8 in the application).
     The completed table that describes the elements of a 
high-quality family engagement strategy currently required within 
the State by different types of Early Learning and Development 
Programs or systems (see Table (A)(1)-9 in the application).
     The completed table that describes all early learning 
and development workforce credentials currently available in the 
State, including whether credentials are aligned with a State 
Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework and the number and 
percentage of Early Childhood Educators who have each type of 
credential (see Table (A)(1)-10 in the application).
     The completed table that describes the current status 
of postsecondary institutions and other professional development 
providers in the State that issue credentials or degrees to Early 
Childhood Educators (see Table (A)(1)-11 in the application).
     The completed table that describes the current status 
of the State's Kindergarten Entry Assessment (see Table (A)(1)-12 in 
the application).
     The completed table that describes all early learning 
and development data systems currently used in the State (see Table 
(A)(1)-13 in the application).

Performance Measures

     None required.

(A)(2) Articulating the State's rationale for its early learning 
and development reform agenda and goals.

Evidence

    Evidence for (A)(2):
     The State's goals for improving program quality 
statewide over the period of this grant.
     The State's goals for improving child outcomes 
statewide over the period of this grant.
     The State's goals for closing the readiness gap between 
Children with High Needs and their peers at kindergarten entry.
     Identification of the two or more selection criteria 
that the State has chosen to address in Focused Investment Area (C).
     Identification of the one or more selection criteria 
that the State has chosen to address in Focused Investment Area (D).
     Identification of the one or more selection criteria 
that the State has chosen to address in Focused Investment Area (E).
     For each Focused Investment Area (C), (D), and (E), a 
description of the State's rationale for choosing to address the 
selected criteria in that Focused Investment Area, including how the 
State's choices build on its progress to date in each Focused 
Investment Area (as outlined in Tables (A)(1)6-13 and the narrative 
under (A)(1) in the application) and why these selected criteria 
will best achieve the State's ambitious yet achievable goals for 
improving program quality, improving outcomes for Children with High 
Needs statewide, and closing the readiness gap between Children with 
High Needs and their peers.

Performance Measures

     None required.
    (A)(3) Aligning and coordinating early learning and development 
across the State.

Evidence

    Evidence for (A)(3)(a) and (b):
     For (A)(3)(a)(1): An organizational chart that shows 
how the grant will be governed and managed.
     The completed table that lists governance-related roles 
and responsibilities (Table (A)(3)-1 in the application).
     A copy of all fully executed MOUs or other binding 
agreements that cover each Participating State Agency. (MOUs or 
other binding agreements should be referenced in the narrative but 
must be included in the Appendix to the application).

Evidence

    Evidence for (A)(3)(c)(1):
     The completed table that includes a list of every Early 
Learning Intermediary Organization and local early learning council 
(if applicable) in the State and indicates which organizations and 
councils have submitted letters of intent or support (Table (A)(3)-2 
in the application).
     A copy of every letter of intent or support from Early 
Learning Intermediary Organizations and local early learning 
councils. (Letters should be referenced in the narrative but must be 
included in the Appendix with a table.)

Evidence

    Evidence for (A)(3)(c)(2):
     A copy of every letter of intent or support from other 
stakeholders. (Letters should be referenced in the narrative but 
must be included in the Appendix with a table.)

Performance Measures

     None required.
    (A)(4) Developing a budget to implement and sustain the work of 
this grant.

Evidence

    Evidence for (A)(4)(a):
     The completed table listing the existing funds to be 
used to achieve the outcomes in the State Plan (Table (A)(4)-1 in 
the application).
     Description of how these existing funds will be used 
for activities and services that help achieve the outcomes in the 
State Plan.
    Evidence for (A)(4)(b):
     The State's budget (completed in section VIII of the 
application).
     The narratives that accompany and explain the budget, 
and describes how it connects to the State Plan (completed in 
section VIII of the application).

Performance Measures

     None required.

B. High-Quality, Accountable Programs

    (B)(1) Developing and adopting a common, statewide Tiered 
Quality Rating and Improvement System.

Evidence

    Evidence for (B)(1):
     The completed table that lists each set of existing 
Program Standards currently used in the State and the elements that 
are included in those Program Standards (Early Learning and 
Development Standards, Comprehensive Assessment Systems, Qualified 
Workforce, Family Engagement, Health Promotion, Effective Data 
Practices, and Other), (Table (B)(1)-1 in the application).
     To the extent the State has developed and adopted a 
Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System based on a common set 
of tiered Program Standards that meet the elements in criterion 
(B)(1)(a), submit--
    [cir] A copy of the tiered Program Standards;
    [cir] Documentation that the Program Standards address all areas 
outlined in the definition of Program Standards, demonstrate high 
expectations of program excellence commensurate with nationally 
recognized standards, and are linked to the States licensing system;
    [cir] Documentation of how the tiers meaningfully differentiate 
levels of quality.

Performance Measures

     None required.
    (B)(2) Promoting Participation in the State's Tiered Quality 
Rating and Improvement System.

Evidence

     Any supporting evidence the State believes will be 
helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

    Performance Measures for (B)(2)(c):
    General goals to be provided at time of application, including 
baseline data and annual targets:
     Number and percentage of Early Learning and Development 
Programs participating in the statewide Tiered Quality Rating and 
Improvement System, by type of Early Learning and Development 
Program.
    (B)(3) Rating and monitoring Early Learning and Development 
Programs.

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Evidence

     Any supporting evidence the State believes will be 
helpful to peer reviewers

Performance Measures

     None required.
    (B)(4) Promoting Access to High-Quality Early Learning and 
Development Programs for Children with High Needs.

Evidence

     Any supporting evidence the State believes will be 
helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

    Performance Measures for (B)(4)(c):
    General goals to be provided at time of application, including 
baseline data and annual targets:
     Number of Early Learning and Development Programs in 
the top tiers of the Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System, 
by type of Early Learning and Development Program.
     Number and Percentage of Children with High Needs who 
are enrolled in Early Learning and Development Programs that that 
are in the top tiers of the Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement 
System, by type of Early Learning and Development Program.
    (B)(5) Validating the effectiveness of the State Tiered Quality 
Rating and Improvement System.

Evidence

     Any supporting evidence the State believes will be 
helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

     None required.

Focused Investment Areas--Sections (C), (D), and (E)

C. Promoting Early Learning and Development Outcomes for Children

    (C)(1) Developing and using statewide, high-quality Early 
Learning and Development Standards.

Evidence

    Evidence for (C)(1)(a) and (b):
     To the extent the State has implemented Early Learning 
and Development Standards that meet the elements in criteria 
(C)(1)(a) and (b), submit--
    [cir] Proof of use by all types of Early Learning and 
Development Programs in the State;
    [cir] The State's Early Learning and Development Standards for:
    --Infants and toddlers
    --Preschoolers
    [cir] Documentation that the standards are developmentally, 
linguistically and culturally appropriate for all children, 
including children with disabilities and developmental delays and 
English Learners;
    [cir] Documentation that the standards address all Essential 
Domains of School Readiness and that they are of high-quality; and
    [cir] Documentation of the alignment between the State's Early 
Learning and Development Standards and the State's K-3 standards.

Performance Measures

     None required.
    (C)(2) Supporting effective uses of Comprehensive Assessment 
Systems.

Evidence

     Any supporting evidence the State believes will be 
helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

     None required.
    (C)(3) Identifying and addressing the health, behavioral, and 
developmental needs of Children with High Needs to improve school 
readiness.

Evidence

    Evidence for (C)(3)(a):
     To the extent the State has established a progression 
of health standards across the levels of Program Standards that meet 
the elements in criterion (C)(3)(a), submit--
    [cir] The progression of health standards used in the Program 
Standards and the State's plans for improvement over time, including 
documentation demonstrating that this progression of standards 
appropriately addresses health and safety standards; developmental, 
behavioral, and sensory screening, referral, and follow-up; health 
promotion including healthy eating habits, improved nutrition, and 
increased physical activity; oral health; and social and emotional 
development; and health literacy among parents and children;
    Evidence for (C)(3)(b):
     To the extent the State has existing and projected 
numbers and percentages of Early Childhood Educators who receive 
training and support in meeting the health standards, the State 
shall submit documentation of these data. If the State does not have 
these data, the State shall outline its plan for deriving them.

Evidence

    Evidence for (C)(3)(c):
     Any supporting evidence the State believes will be 
helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

     None required.

Evidence

    Evidence for (C)(3)(d):
     Documentation of the State's existing and future 
resources that are or will be used to address the health, 
behavioral, and developmental needs of Children with High Needs. At 
a minimum, documentation must address the screening, referral, and 
follow-up of all Children with High Needs; how the State will 
promote the participation of Children with High Needs in ongoing 
health care as part of a schedule of well-child care; how the State 
will promote healthy eating habits and improved nutrition as well as 
increased physical activity for Children with High Needs; and how 
the State will promote health literacy for children and parents.

Performance Measures

    Performance Measures for (C)(3)(d):
    General goals to be provided at time of application, including 
baseline data and annual targets:
     Number of Children with High Needs Screened;
     Number of Children with High Needs referred for 
services and received follow-up/treatment;
     Number of Children with High Needs that participate in 
ongoing health care as part of a schedule of well-child care;
     Of these participating Children with High Needs, the 
number or percentage of children who are up-to-date in receiving 
services as part of a schedule of well-child care.
    (C)(4) Engaging and supporting families.

Evidence

    Evidence for (C)(4)(a):
     To the extent the State has established a progression 
of family engagement standards across the levels of Program 
Standards that meet the elements in criterion (C)(4)(a), submit--
    [cir] The progression of culturally and linguistically 
appropriate family engagement standards used in the Program 
Standards that includes strategies successfully used to engage 
families in supporting their children's development and learning. A 
State's family engagement standards must address, but need not be 
limited to: Parent access to the program, ongoing two-way 
communication with families, parent education in child development, 
outreach to fathers and other family members, training and support 
for families as children move to preschool and kindergarten, social 
networks of support, intergenerational activities, linkages with 
community supports and adult and family literacy programs, parent 
involvement in decision making, and parent leadership development;
    [cir] Documentation that this progression of standards includes 
activities that enhance the capacity of families to support their 
children's education and development.

Evidence

    Evidence for (C)(4)(b):
     To the extent the State has existing and projected 
numbers and percentages of Early Childhood Educators who receive 
training and support on the family engagement strategies included in 
the Program Standards, the State shall submit documentation of these 
data. If the State does not have these data, the State shall outline 
its plan for deriving them.

Evidence

    Evidence for (C)(4)(c):
     Documentation of the State's existing resources that 
are or will be used to promote family support and engagement 
statewide, including through home visiting programs and other 
family-serving agencies and the identification of new resources that 
will be used to promote family support and engagement statewide.

Performance Measures

     None required.

D. A Great Early Childhood Education Workforce

    (D)(1) Developing a Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework 
and a progression of credentials.

Evidence

    Evidence for (D)(1):

[[Page 53581]]

     To the extent the State has developed a common, 
statewide Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework that meets 
the elements in criterion (D)(1), submit:
    [cir] The Workforce Knowledge and Competencies;
    [cir] Documentation that the State's Workforce Knowledge and 
Competency Framework addresses the elements outlined in the 
definition of Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework in the 
Program Definitions section of this notice and is designed to 
promote children's learning and development and improve outcomes.

Performance Measures

     None required.
    (D)(2) Supporting Early Childhood Educators in improving their 
knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Evidence

     Any supporting evidence the State believes will be 
helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

    Performance Measures for (D)(2)(d): General goals to be provided 
at time of application, including baseline data and annual targets:
     (D)(2)(d)(1): Number of postsecondary institutions and 
professional development providers that are aligned to the State's 
Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework, and the number of 
Early Childhood Educators receiving credentials from those aligned 
postsecondary institutions or professional development providers.
     (D)(2)(d)(2): Number and percentage of Early Childhood 
Educators who are progressing to higher levels of credentials that 
align with the State's Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework.

E. Measuring Outcomes and Progress

    (E)(1) Understanding the status of children's learning and 
development at kindergarten entry.

Evidence

     Any supporting evidence the State believes will be 
helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

     None required.
    (E)(2) Building or enhancing an early learning data system to 
improve instruction, practices, services, and policies.

Evidence

     Any supporting evidence the State believes will be 
helpful to peer reviewers.

Performance Measures

     None required.
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[FR Doc. 2011-21756 Filed 8-25-11; 8:45 am]
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