[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 199 (Thursday, October 15, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 62053-62064]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-26290]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Applications for New Awards; Personnel Development To Improve 
Services and Results for Children With Disabilities--Personnel 
Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related 
Services

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

ACTION: Notice.

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    Overview Information:
    Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children 
with Disabilities--Personnel Preparation in Special Education, Early 
Intervention, and Related Services
    Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 
2016.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.325K.


DATES: Applications Available: October 15, 2015.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: December 14, 2015.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: February 12, 2016.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The purposes of this program are to (1) help 
address State-identified needs for personnel preparation in special 
education, early intervention, related services, and regular education 
to work with children, including infants and toddlers, with 
disabilities; and (2) ensure that those personnel have the necessary 
skills and knowledge, derived from practices that have been determined 
through scientifically based research and experience, to be successful 
in serving those children.
    Priority: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(iv), this priority 
is from allowable activities specified in the statute (see sections 662 
and 681 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)).
    Absolute Priority: For FY 2016 and any subsequent year in which we 
make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this 
competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 
75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority.
    This priority is:
    Personnel Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and 
Related Services.
    Background:
    The purpose of the Personnel Preparation in Special Education, 
Early Intervention, and Related Services priority is to improve the 
quality and increase the number of personnel who are fully credentialed 
to serve children, including infants and toddlers, with disabilities--
especially in areas of chronic personnel shortage--by supporting 
projects that prepare special education, early intervention, and 
related services personnel at the baccalaureate, master's, and 
specialist levels. State demand for fully credentialed special 
education, early intervention, and related services personnel to serve 
infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities exceeds the available 
supply (Bruder, 2004a; Bruder, 2004b; McLeskey & Billingsley, 2008; 
McLeskey, Tyler, & Flippin, 2004). These shortages of fully 
credentialed personnel can negatively affect the quality of services 
provided to infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities and their 
families (McLeskey et al., 2004).
    Personnel preparation programs that prepare personnel to enter the 
fields of special education, early intervention, and related services 
as fully credentialed personnel who are well qualified, have the 
necessary competencies, and effectively use evidence-based practices to 
improve outcomes for children with disabilities are critical to 
overcoming the personnel shortages in these fields. Federal support of 
these personnel preparation programs is needed to increase the supply 
of personnel with the necessary competencies to effectively serve 
infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities and their families, 
and to make sure students with disabilities have access to and meet 
college- and career-ready standards.
    Consistent with the Ready to Work Initiative: Job-Driven Training 
and American Opportunity,\1\ the Department is particularly interested 
in supporting personnel preparation programs that meet the needs of 
working professionals, people with child care considerations, career 
switchers, or people living in geographically isolated areas in order 
to expand the reach of training programs and promote diversity in the 
special education workforce.
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    \1\ Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity 
(July 2014). Available at: www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/skills_report.pdf.
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    Priority:
    Except as provided for Focus Area D projects that allow a one-year 
planning period, to meet this priority, an applicant must propose a 
project associated with a pre-existing baccalaureate, master's, or 
specialist degree personnel preparation program that will prepare and 
support scholars \2\ to complete, within the project period of the 
grant, a degree, State certification, professional license, or State 
endorsement in special education, early intervention, or a related 
services field. Projects also can be associated with personnel 
preparation programs that (a) prepare individuals to be assistants in

[[Page 62054]]

related services professions (e.g., physical therapist assistants, 
occupational therapist assistants) or educational interpreters; or (b) 
provide an alternate route to certification or that support dual 
certification (special education and regular education) for teachers. 
For purposes of this priority, the term ``personnel preparation 
program'' refers to the program with which the applicant's proposed 
project is associated.
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    \2\ For the purposes of this priority, the term ``scholar'' 
means an individual who is pursuing a degree, license, endorsement, 
or certification related to special education, related services, or 
early intervention services and who receives scholarship assistance 
under section 662 of IDEA (see 34 CFR 304.3(g)).
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    To be considered for funding under the Personnel Preparation in 
Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services absolute 
priority, all program applicants must meet the application requirements 
contained in the priority. All projects funded under this absolute 
priority also must meet the programmatic and administrative 
requirements specified in the priority.
    The requirements of this priority are as follows:
    (a) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Significance of the Project,'' how--
    (1) The project addresses national, State, regional, or district 
shortages of personnel who are fully qualified to serve children with 
disabilities, ages birth through 21, including high-need children with 
disabilities,\3\ by preparing special education, early intervention, or 
related services personnel at the baccalaureate, master's, or 
specialist levels. To address this requirement, the applicant must--
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    \3\ For the purposes of this priority, ``high-need children with 
disabilities'' refers to children (ages birth through 21, depending 
on the State) who are eligible for services under IDEA, and who may 
be further disadvantaged and at risk of educational failure because 
they: (1) Are living in poverty, (2) are far below grade level, (3) 
are at risk of not graduating with a regular high school diploma on 
time, (4) are homeless, (5) are in foster care, (6) have been 
incarcerated, (7) are English learners, (8) are pregnant or 
parenting teenagers, (9) are new immigrants, (10) are migrant, or 
(11) are not on track to being college- or career-ready by 
graduation.
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    (i) Present appropriate and applicable national, State, regional, 
or district data demonstrating the need for the personnel the applicant 
proposes to prepare; and
    (ii) Present data on the effectiveness of the personnel preparation 
program to date in areas such as: The average amount of time it takes 
for program participants to complete the program; the percentage of 
program graduates finding employment related to their preparation 
within one year of graduation; the effectiveness of program graduates 
in providing special education, early intervention, or related 
services, which could include data on the learning and developmental 
outcomes of children with disabilities they serve; and the percentage 
of program graduates who maintain employment for three or more years in 
the area for which they were prepared and who are fully qualified under 
IDEA.
    Note: Data on the effectiveness of a personnel preparation program 
should be no older than five years prior to the start date of the 
project proposed in the application. When reporting percentages, the 
denominator (i.e., total number of students or program graduates) must 
be provided.
    (2) The project will increase the number of personnel who 
demonstrate the competencies needed to provide high-quality 
instruction, evidence-based interventions, and services for children 
with disabilities, ages birth through 21, including high-need children 
with disabilities, that result in improvements in learning and 
developmental outcomes (e.g., academic, social, emotional, behavioral), 
and successful transition to postsecondary education and the workforce. 
To address this requirement, the applicant must--
    (i) Identify the competencies \4\ that special education, early 
intervention, or related services personnel need in order to provide 
high-quality services using evidence-based instruction and 
interventions that will: Lead to improved learning and developmental 
outcomes; ensure access to college- and career-ready standards; lead to 
successful transition to college and career for children with 
disabilities, including high-need children with disabilities; and 
maximize the use of effective technology to deliver instruction, 
interventions, and services;
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    \4\ For the purposes of this priority, the term ``competencies'' 
means what a person knows and can do: The knowledge, skills, and 
dispositions necessary to effectively function in a role (National 
Professional Development Center on Inclusion, 2011). These 
competencies should ensure that personnel are able to use 
challenging national and State content standards, child achievement 
and functional standards, and State assessments, to improve 
instructional practices, services, and learning and developmental 
outcomes (e.g., academic, social, emotional, behavioral) and 
college- and career-readiness of children with disabilities.
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    (ii) Demonstrate that the identified competencies are supported by 
evidence of promise \5\ that they will result in improved outcomes for 
children with disabilities; and
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    \5\ Under 34 CFR 77.1, ``evidence of promise'' means there is 
empirical evidence to support the theoretical linkage(s) between at 
least one critical component and at least one relevant outcome 
presented in the logic model for the proposed process, product, 
strategy, or practice. Specifically, ``evidence of promise'' means 
the conditions in both paragraphs (i) and (ii) of this definition 
are met:
    (i) There is at least one study that is a--
    (A) Correlational study with statistical controls for selection 
bias;
    (B) Quasi-experimental design study that meets the What Works 
Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations; or
    (C) Randomized controlled trial that meets the What Works 
Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with or without reservations.
    (ii) The study referenced in paragraph (i) of this definition 
found a statistically significant or substantively important 
(defined as a difference of 0.25 standard deviations or larger) 
favorable association between at least one critical component and 
one relevant outcome presented in the logic model for the proposed 
process, product, strategy, or practice.
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    (iii) Provide the conceptual framework of the personnel preparation 
program, including any empirical support, that will promote the 
acquisition of the identified competencies (see paragraph (a)(2)(i) of 
this priority) needed by special education, early intervention, or 
related services personnel, and how these competencies relate to the 
proposed project.
    (b) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Quality of Project Services,'' how--
    (1) The project will recruit and retain high-quality scholars and 
ensure equal access and treatment for eligible project participants who 
are members of groups who have traditionally been underrepresented 
based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. To 
meet this requirement, the applicant must--
    (i) Describe the selection criteria the applicant will use to 
identify high-quality applicants for admission in the program;
    (ii) Describe the recruitment strategies the applicant will use to 
attract high-quality applicants and any specific recruitment strategies 
targeting high-quality applicants from traditionally underrepresented 
groups, including individuals with disabilities;
    (iii) Describe strategies the applicant would use to recruit and 
retain working professionals, people with child care considerations, 
career switchers, or people living in geographically isolated areas to 
more easily participate in the proposed personnel preparation program, 
using the Job-Driven Checklist \6\ as a tool to maximize opportunities 
for job-driven training; and
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    \6\ Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity 
(July 2014). Available at: www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/skills_report.pdf.
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    (iv) Describe the approach, including mentoring, monitoring, and 
accommodations, the applicant will use to support scholars to complete 
the personnel preparation program.

[[Page 62055]]

    (2) The project reflects current research and evidence-based 
practices, and is designed to prepare scholars in the identified 
competencies. To address this requirement, the applicant must--
    (i) Describe how the project will incorporate current research and 
evidence-based practices that improve outcomes (e.g., meeting college- 
and career-ready standards) for children with disabilities (including 
relevant research citations) into the project's required coursework and 
clinical experiences; and
    (ii) Describe how the project will use current research and 
evidence-based professional development practices for adult learners to 
instruct scholars.
    (3) The project is of sufficient quality, intensity, and duration 
to prepare scholars in the identified competencies. To address this 
requirement, the applicant must describe how--
    (i) The components of the proposed project (e.g., coursework, 
clinical experiences, or internships) will support scholars' 
acquisition and enhancement of the identified competencies;
    (ii) The components of the proposed project (e.g., coursework, 
clinical experiences, or internships) will be integrated to allow 
scholars to use their content knowledge in clinical practice, and how 
scholars will be provided with ongoing guidance and feedback; and
    (iii) The proposed project will provide ongoing induction 
opportunities and support to program graduates after completion of the 
personnel preparation program.
    (4) The project will collaborate with appropriate partners, 
including--
    (i) High-need LEAs; \7\ high-poverty schools; \8\ low-performing 
schools, including persistently lowest-achieving schools; \9\ priority 
schools (in the case of States that have received the U.S. Department 
of Education's (Department's) approval of a request for Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), flexibility); \10\ 
or publicly funded preschool programs, including Head Start programs 
and programs serving children eligible for services under IDEA Part C 
and Part B, Section 619, that are located within the geographic 
boundaries of a high-need LEA. The purpose of these partnerships is to 
provide clinical practice for scholars aimed at developing the 
identified competencies; and
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    \7\ For the purposes of this priority, the term ``high-need 
LEA'' means an LEA (a) that serves not fewer than 10,000 children 
from families with incomes below the poverty line; or (b) for which 
not less than 20 percent of the children served by the LEA are from 
families with incomes below the poverty line.
    \8\ For the purposes of this priority, the term ``high-poverty 
school'' means a school in which at least 50 percent of students are 
eligible for free or reduced-price lunches under the Richard B. 
Russell National School Lunch Act or in which at least 50 percent of 
students are from low-income families as determined using one of the 
criteria specified under section 1113(a)(5) of the Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). For middle and 
high schools, eligibility may be calculated on the basis of 
comparable data from feeder schools. Eligibility as a high-poverty 
school under this definition is determined on the basis of the most 
currently available data (www2.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/other/2010-4/121510b.html).
    \9\ For the purposes of this priority, the term ``persistently 
lowest-achieving schools'' means, as determined by the State--
     (a)(1) Any Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or 
restructuring that--
     (i) Is among the lowest-achieving five percent of Title I 
schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring or the 
lowest-achieving five Title I schools in improvement, corrective 
action, or restructuring in the State, whichever number of schools 
is greater; or
     (ii) Is a high school that has had a graduation rate as defined 
in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a number of 
years; and
     (2) Any secondary school that is eligible for, but does not 
receive, Title I funds that--
     (i) Is among the lowest-achieving five percent of secondary 
schools or the lowest-achieving five secondary schools in the State 
that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds, whichever 
number of schools is greater; or
     (ii) Is a high school that has had a graduation rate as defined 
in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a number of 
years.
     (b) To identify the lowest-achieving schools, a State must take 
into account both--
     (i) The academic achievement of the ``all students'' group in a 
school in terms of proficiency on the State's assessments under 
section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA in reading/language arts and 
mathematics combined; and
     (ii) The school's lack of progress on those assessments over a 
number of years in the ``all students'' group.
     For the purposes of this priority, the Department considers 
schools that are identified as Tier I or Tier II schools under the 
School Improvement Grants Program (see 75 FR 66363 [October 28, 
2010]) as part of a State's approved application to be persistently 
lowest-achieving schools. A list of these Tier I and Tier II schools 
can be found on the Department's Web site at www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/index.html.
    \10\ For the purposes of this priority, the term ``priority 
school'' means a school that has been identified by the State as a 
priority school pursuant to the State's approved request for ESEA 
flexibility.
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    (ii) Other programs on campus or at partnering universities for the 
purpose of sharing resources, supporting program development and 
delivery, and addressing personnel shortages.
    (5) The project will use technology, as appropriate, to promote 
scholar learning, enhance the efficiency of the project, collaborate 
with partners, and facilitate ongoing mentoring and support for 
scholars.
    (6) The project will align with and use resources, as appropriate, 
available through technical assistance centers, which may include 
centers funded by the Department.
    (c) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Quality of Project Evaluation,'' how--
    (1) The applicant will use comprehensive and appropriate 
methodologies to evaluate the effectiveness of the project, including 
the effectiveness of project processes and outcomes.
    (2) The applicant will collect, analyze, and use data related to 
specific and measurable goals, objectives, and outcomes of the project. 
To address this requirement, the applicant must describe--
    (i) How scholar competencies and other project processes and 
outcomes will be measured for formative evaluation purposes, including 
proposed instruments, data collection methods, and possible analyses; 
and
    (ii) How data on the quality of services provided by proposed 
project graduates, including data on the learning and developmental 
outcomes (e.g., academic, social, emotional, behavioral, meeting 
college- and career-ready standards) and on growth toward these 
outcomes of the children with disabilities that the project graduates 
serve, will be collected and analyzed.
    Note: Following the completion of the project period, grantees are 
encouraged to engage in ongoing data collection activities.
    (3) The methods of evaluation will produce quantitative and 
qualitative data for objective performance measures that are related to 
the outcomes of the proposed project.
    (4) The methods of evaluation will provide performance feedback and 
allow for periodic assessment of progress towards meeting the project 
outcomes. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe 
how--
    (i) Results of the evaluation will be used as a basis for improving 
the proposed project to prepare special education, early intervention, 
or related services personnel to provide high-quality interventions and 
services to improve outcomes of children with disabilities; and
    (ii) The grantee will report the evaluation results to the Office 
of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in its annual and final 
performance reports.
    (d) Demonstrate, in the narrative under ``Project Assurances,'' or 
appendices, as applicable, that the following program requirements are 
met. The applicant must--
    (1) Include, in the application as Appendix B, syllabi for all 
required coursework of the proposed project, including syllabi for new 
or proposed courses.

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    (2) Ensure that the proposed number of scholars to be recruited 
into the program can graduate from the program by the end of the 
grant's project period. The described scholar recruitment strategies, 
including recruitment of individuals with disabilities, the program 
components and their sequence, and proposed budget must be consistent 
with this project requirement.
    (3) Ensure scholars will not be selected based on race or national 
origin/ethnicity. Per the Supreme Court's decision in Adarand 
Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200 (1995), the Department does 
not allow the selection of individuals on the basis of race or national 
origin/ethnicity. For this reason, grantees must ensure that any 
discussion of the recruitment of scholars based on race or national 
origin/ethnicity distinguishes between increasing the pool of 
applicants and actually selecting scholars.
    (4) Ensure that the project will meet the requirements in 34 CFR 
304.23, particularly those related to informing all scholarship 
recipients of their service obligation commitment. Failure by a grantee 
to properly meet these requirements would be a violation of the grant 
award that could result in sanctions, including the grantee being 
liable for returning any misused funds to the Department. Specifically, 
the grantee must prepare, and ensure that each scholarship recipient 
signs, the following two documents:
    (i) A Pre-Scholarship Agreement prior to the scholar receiving a 
scholarship for an eligible program (Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) Control Number 1820-0686); and
    (ii) An Exit Certification immediately upon the scholar leaving, 
completing, or otherwise exiting that program (OMB Control Number 1820-
0686).
    (5) Ensure that prior approval from the OSEP project officer will 
be obtained before admitting additional scholars beyond the number of 
scholars proposed in the application and before transferring a scholar 
to another OSEP-funded grant.
    (6) Ensure that the project will meet the statutory requirements in 
section 662(e) through 662(h) of IDEA.
    (7) Ensure that at least 65 percent of the total requested budget 
over the five years will be used for scholar support.
    (8) Ensure that the institution of higher education (IHE) will not 
require scholars enrolled in the program to work (e.g., as graduate 
assistants) as a condition of receiving support (e.g., tuition, 
stipends) from the proposed project, unless the work is specifically 
related to the acquisition of scholars' competencies and the 
requirements for completion of their personnel preparation program. 
This prohibition on work as a condition of receiving support does not 
apply to the service obligation requirements in section 662(h) of IDEA.
    (9) Ensure that the budget includes attendance of the project 
director at a three-day project directors' meeting in Washington, DC, 
during each year of the project.
    (10) Ensure that if the project maintains a Web site, relevant 
information and documents are in a format that meets government or 
industry-recognized standards for accessibility.
    (11) Ensure that annual data will be submitted on each scholar who 
receives grant support (OMB Control Number 1820-0686). The primary 
purposes of the data collection are to track the service obligation 
fulfillment of scholars who receive funds from OSEP grants and to 
collect data for program performance measure reporting under the 
Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA). Applicants are 
encouraged to visit the Personnel Development Program Data Collection 
System (DCS) Web site at https://pdp.ed.gov/osep for further 
information about this data collection requirement. Typically, data 
collection begins in January of each year, and grantees are notified by 
email about the data collection period for their grant, although 
grantees may submit data as needed, year round. This data collection 
must be submitted electronically by the grantee and does not supplant 
the annual grant performance report required of each grantee for 
continuation funding (see 34 CFR 75.590). Data collection includes the 
submission of a signed, completed Pre-Scholarship Agreement and Exit 
Certification for each scholar funded under an OSEP grant (see 
paragraph (4) of this section, subparagraphs (i) and (ii)).
    Focus Areas:
    Within this absolute priority, the Secretary intends to support 
projects under the following four focus areas: (A) Preparing Personnel 
to Serve Infants, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children with 
Disabilities; (B) Preparing Personnel to Serve School-Age Children with 
Low Incidence Disabilities; (C) Preparing Personnel to Provide Related 
Services to Children, Including Infants and Toddlers, with 
Disabilities; and (D) Preparing Personnel in Minority Institutions of 
Higher Education to Serve Children, Including Infants and Toddlers, 
with Disabilities. Interdisciplinary projects are encouraged to apply 
under Focus Area A, B, C, or D. Interdisciplinary projects are projects 
that deliver core content through coursework and clinical experiences 
shared across disciplines.
    Note: Applicants must identify the specific focus area (i.e., A, B, 
C, or D) under which they are applying as part of the competition title 
on the application cover sheet (SF form 424, line 4). Applicants may 
not submit the same proposal under more than one focus area.
    Focus Area A: Preparing Personnel To Serve Infants, Toddlers, and 
Preschool-Age Children with Disabilities. OSEP intends to fund six 
awards under this focus area. For the purpose of Focus Area A, early 
intervention personnel are those who are prepared to provide services 
to infants and toddlers with disabilities ages birth to three, and 
early childhood personnel are those who are prepared to provide 
services to children with disabilities ages three through five (and in 
States where the age range is other than ages three through five, we 
will defer to the State's certification for early childhood). In States 
where certification in early intervention is combined with 
certification in early childhood, applicants may propose a combined 
early intervention and early childhood personnel preparation project 
under this focus area. We encourage interdisciplinary projects under 
this focus area. For purposes of this focus area, interdisciplinary 
projects are projects that deliver core content through coursework and 
clinical experiences shared across disciplines for early intervention 
providers or early childhood special educators and related services 
personnel to serve infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children with 
disabilities. Projects preparing only related services personnel to 
serve infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children with disabilities 
are not eligible under this focus area (see Focus Area C). Scholars in 
the program should be able to demonstrate the competencies outlined in 
a State's Workforce Knowledge and Competency Framework,\11\ as 
appropriate.
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    \11\ For the purposes of this priority, ``Workforce Knowledge 
and Competency Framework'' has the meaning given it in the notice 
inviting applications for new awards for FY 2013 Race to the Top-
Early Learning Challenge (78 FR 53992) published in the Federal 
Register on August 30, 2013: 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.

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[[Page 62057]]

    Focus Area B: Preparing Personnel To Serve School-Age Children with 
Low Incidence Disabilities. OSEP intends to fund 14 awards under this 
focus area. For the purpose of Focus Area B, personnel who serve 
children with low incidence disabilities are special education teachers 
prepared to serve school-age children with low incidence disabilities, 
including visual impairments, hearing impairments, simultaneous visual 
and hearing impairments, significant intellectual disabilities, 
orthopedic impairments, traumatic brain injury, and persistent and 
severe learning and behavioral problems that need the most intensive 
individualized supports. Programs preparing special education teachers 
to provide services to children with visual impairments or blindness 
that can be appropriately provided in braille must prepare those 
individuals to provide those services in braille, including the Unified 
English Braille Code. Projects preparing educational interpreters are 
eligible under this focus area. We encourage interdisciplinary projects 
under this focus area. For purposes of this focus area, 
interdisciplinary projects are projects that deliver core content 
through coursework and clinical experiences shared across disciplines 
for special education teachers and related services personnel to serve 
school-aged children with low incidence disabilities. Projects 
preparing early intervention or preschool personnel are not eligible 
under this focus area (see Focus Area A).
    Focus Area C: Preparing Personnel To Provide Related Services to 
Children, Including Infants and Toddlers, with Disabilities. OSEP 
intends to fund eight awards under this focus area. Programs preparing 
related services personnel to serve children, including infants and 
toddlers, with disabilities are eligible within Focus Area C. For the 
purpose of this focus area, related services include, but are not 
limited to, psychological services, physical therapy (including therapy 
provided by personnel prepared at the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) 
level), adapted physical education, occupational therapy, therapeutic 
recreation, social work services, counseling services, audiology 
services (including services provided by personnel prepared at the 
Doctor of Audiology (AuD) level), speech and language services, and 
applied behavior analysis services provided by personnel at the Board 
Certified Behavior Specialists level. Preparation programs in States 
where personnel prepared to serve children with speech and language 
impairments are considered to be special educators are eligible under 
this focus area. We encourage interdisciplinary projects under this 
focus area. For purposes of this focus area, interdisciplinary projects 
are projects that deliver core content through coursework and clinical 
experiences shared across disciplines for related services personnel 
who serve children, including infants and toddlers, with disabilities. 
Projects preparing educational interpreters are not eligible under this 
focus area (see Focus Area B).
    Focus Area D: Preparing Personnel in Minority Institutions of 
Higher Education To Serve Children, Including Infants and Toddlers, 
with Disabilities. OSEP intends to fund 10 awards under this focus 
area. Programs in minority IHEs are eligible under Focus Area D if they 
prepare one of the following: (a) Personnel to serve infants, toddlers, 
and preschool-age children with disabilities; (b) personnel to serve 
school-age children with low incidence disabilities, including those 
with persistent and severe learning or behavioral problems that need 
the most intensive individualized supports; or (c) personnel to provide 
related services to children, including infants and toddlers, with 
disabilities. Minority IHEs are IHEs with a minority enrollment of 50 
percent or more, which may include Historically Black Colleges and 
Universities, Tribal Colleges, and Predominantly Hispanic Serving 
Colleges and Universities. We encourage interdisciplinary projects 
under this focus area. For purposes of this focus area, 
interdisciplinary projects are projects that deliver core content 
through coursework and clinical experiences shared across disciplines 
for: (a) Early intervention providers or early childhood special 
educators and related services personnel who serve infants, toddlers, 
and preschool-age children with disabilities; (b) special education 
teachers and related services personnel who serve school-age children 
with low incidence disabilities; or (c) related services personnel who 
serve children, including infants and toddlers, with disabilities. 
Programs in minority IHEs preparing personnel in Focus Area A, B, or C 
are eligible within Focus Area D. Programs preparing high incidence 
special education personnel are not eligible under this priority.
    Note: In Focus Area D, OSEP intends to fund in FY 2016 at least 
three high-quality applications from Historically Black Colleges and 
Universities and, as a result, may fund applications out of rank order.
    Note: A project funded under Focus Area D may budget for less than 
the 65 percent required for scholar support if the applicant can 
provide sufficient justification for a designation less than this 
required percentage. Sufficient justification for proposing less than 
65 percent of the budget for scholar support would include support for 
activities such as program development, program expansion, or the 
addition of a new area of emphasis. Some examples of projects that may 
be eligible to designate less than 65 percent of their budget for 
scholar support include the following:
    (1) A project that is proposing to develop and deliver a newly 
established baccalaureate, master's, and specialist level personnel 
preparation program or add a new area of emphasis may request up to a 
year of funding for program development (e.g., hiring of a new faculty 
member or consultant to assist in course development, providing 
professional development and training for faculty). In the initial 
project year, scholar support would not be required. The project must 
demonstrate that the newly established program or area of emphasis is 
approved and ready for implementation in order to receive continuation 
funds in year two.
    (2) A project that is proposing to expand or enhance an existing 
program may request funding for capacity building (e.g., hiring of a 
clinical practice supervisor, providing professional development and 
training for faculty) or purchasing needed resources (e.g., additional 
teaching supplies or specialized equipment to enhance instruction).
    Note: Applicants proposing projects to develop, expand, or add a 
new area of emphasis to special education or related services programs 
must provide, in their applications, information on how these new areas 
will be sustained once Federal funding ends.

References:

Bruder, M.B. (December, 2004a). The National Landscape of Early 
Intervention in Personnel Preparation Standards under Part C of the 
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Study I Data 
Report). Farmington, CT: A. J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in 
Developmental Disabilities. Retrieved

[[Page 62058]]

from: www.uconnucedd.org/pdfs/projects/per_prep/pp_data_report_study1_partc_11_14_08.pdf.
Bruder, M.B. (December, 2004b). The National Landscape of Early 
Childhood Special Education in Personnel Preparation Standards under 
619 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Study 
I Data Report). Farmington, CT: A.J. Pappanikou Center for 
Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Retrieved from: 
www.uconnucedd.org/pdfs/projects/per_prep/pp_data_report_study1_619_11_19_08%20ccs.pdf.
McLeskey, J., & Billingsley, B. (2008). How does the quality and 
stability of the teaching force influence the research-to-practice 
gap? Remedial and Special Education, 29(5), 293-305.
McLeskey, J., Tyler, N., & Flippin, S.S. (2004). The supply and 
demand for special education teachers: A review of research 
regarding the chronic shortage of special education teachers. 
Journal of Special Education, 38(1), 5-21.
National Professional Development Center on Inclusion. (August, 
2011). Competencies for early childhood educators in the context of 
inclusion: Issues and guidance for States. Chapel Hill, NC: The 
University of North Carolina, FPG Child Development Institute, 
Author.

    Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure 
Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553) the Department generally offers interested 
parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities. Section 
681(d) of IDEA, however, makes the public comment requirements of the 
APA inapplicable to the priority in this notice.

    Program Authority:  20 U.S.C. 1462 and 1481.

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 
84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The OMB Guidelines to Agencies on 
Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 
180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR 
part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost 
Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 
200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR 
part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 304.
    Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply only to IHEs.

II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.
    Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested 
$83,700,000 for the Personnel Development to Improve Services and 
Results for Children with Disabilities program for FY 2016, of which we 
intend to use an estimated $9,500,000 for this competition. The actual 
level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. 
However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete 
the grant process if Congress appropriates funds for this program.
    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of 
applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2017 from the list of 
unfunded applications from this competition.
    Estimated Range of Awards: See chart.
    Estimated Average Size of Awards: See chart.
    Maximum Award: See chart.
    Estimated Number of Awards: See chart.
    Project Period: See chart.

[[Page 62059]]



                             Personnel Development To Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities (84.325K) Application Notice for Fiscal Year 2016
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                   Maximum
                                                           Deadline for         Deadline for                          Estimated   award for   Estimated
      CFDA number and name            Applications        transmittal of      intergovernmental   Estimated range of   average   each budget  number of    Project  period      Contact person
                                       available           applications            review               awards         size of    period of     awards
                                                                                                                        awards    12 months
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
84.325K Personnel Preparation in  October 15, 2015...  December 14, 2015..  February 12, 2016...
 Special Education, Early
 Intervention, and Related
 Services.
Focus Area A: Preparing           ...................  ...................  ....................  $225,000-$250,000.   $237,500     $250,000          6  Up to 60 mos......  Maryann McDermott
 Personnel To Serve Infants,                                                                                                                                                 202-245-7439
 Toddlers, and Preschool-Age                                                                                                                                                 maryann.mcdermott@e
 Children With Disabilities.                                                                                                                                                  d.gov
                                                                                                                                                                             Potomac Center
                                                                                                                                                                              Plaza, Room 4062.
Focus Area B: Preparing           ...................  ...................  ....................  $225,000-$250,000.   $237,500    $250,000*         14  Up to 60 mos......  Maryann McDermott
 Personnel To Serve School-Age                                                                                                                                               202-245-7439
 Children With Low Incidence                                                                                                                                                 maryann.mcdermott@e
 Disabilities.                                                                                                                                                                d.gov
                                                                                                                                                                             Potomac Center
                                                                                                                                                                              Plaza, Room 4062.
Focus Area C: Preparing           ...................  ...................  ....................  $225,000-$250,000.   $237,500    $250,000*          8  Up to 60 mos......  Sarah Allen
 Personnel To Provide Related                                                                                                                                                202-245-7875
 Services to Children, Including                                                                                                                                             sarah.allen@ed.gov
 Infants and Toddlers, With                                                                                                                                                  Potomac Center
 Disabilities.                                                                                                                                                                Plaza, Room 4105.
Focus Area D: Preparing           ...................  ...................  ....................  $225,000-$250,000.   $237,500    $250,000*         10  Up to 60 mos......  Dawn Ellis
 Personnel in Minority                                                                                                                                                       202-245-6417
 Institutions of Higher                                                                                                                                                      dawn.ellis@ed.gov
 Education To Serve Children,                                                                                                                                                Potomac Center
 Including Infants and Toddlers,                                                                                                                                              Plaza, Room 4092.
 With Disabilities.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding the maximum award for a single budget period of 12 months.
Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.


[[Page 62060]]

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: IHEs and private nonprofit organizations.
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost 
sharing or matching.
    3. Eligible Subgrantees: (a) Under 75.708(b) and (c) a grantee may 
award subgrants--to directly carry out project activities described in 
its application--to the following types of entities: IHEs and private 
nonprofit organizations.
    (b) The grantee may award subgrants to entities it has identified 
in an approved application.
    3. Other General Requirements: (a) Recipients of funding under this 
program must make positive efforts to employ and advance in employment 
qualified individuals with disabilities (see section 606 of IDEA).
    (b) Each applicant for, and recipient of, funding under this 
program must involve individuals with disabilities, or parents of 
individuals with disabilities ages birth through 26, in planning, 
implementing, and evaluating the project (see section 682(a)(1)(A) of 
IDEA).

IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. 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: www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/grantapps/index.html. To obtain a 
copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call: ED Pubs, U.S. Department of 
Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone, toll free: 
1-877-433-7827. FAX: (703) 605-6794. If you use a telecommunications 
device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call, toll free: 
1-877-576-7734.
    You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: www.EDPubs.gov or at 
its email address: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.
    If you request an application package from ED Pubs, be sure to 
identify this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.325K.
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application 
package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, 
or compact disc) by contacting the person or team listed under 
Accessible Format in section VIII of this notice.
    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements 
concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you 
must submit, are in the application package for this competition.
    Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) 
is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that 
reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit Part III to 
no more than 50 pages, using the following standards:
     A ``page'' is 8.5'' x 11'', on one side only, with 1'' 
margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
     Double-space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) 
all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, 
footnotes, quotations, reference citations, and captions, as well as 
all text in charts, tables, figures, graphs, and screen shots.
     Use a font that is 12 point or larger.
     Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, 
Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font 
(including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.
    The page limit and double-spacing requirements do not apply to Part 
I, the cover sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the 
narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and 
certifications; or the abstract (follow the guidance provided in the 
application package for completing the abstract), the table of 
contents, the list of priority requirements, the resumes, the reference 
list, the letters of support, or the appendices. However, the page 
limit and double-spacing requirements do apply to all of Part III, the 
application narrative, including all text in charts, tables, figures, 
graphs, and screen shots.
    We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit in the 
application narrative section or if you apply standards other than 
those specified in the application package.
    3. Submission Dates and Times:
    Applications Available: October 15, 2015.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: December 14, 2015.
    Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted 
electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For 
information (including dates and times) about how to submit your 
application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery 
if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, please refer to Other Submission Requirements in section 
IV of this notice.
    We do not consider an application that does not comply with the 
deadline requirements.
    Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or 
auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact 
the person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII 
of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or 
auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the 
application process, the individual's application remains subject to 
all other requirements and limitations in this notice.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: February 12, 2016.
    4. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about 
Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 
12372 is in the application package for this competition.
    5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding 
restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
    6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification 
Number, and System for Award Management: To do business with the 
Department of Education, you must--
    a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a 
Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);
    b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the System for Award 
Management (SAM) (formerly the Central Contractor Registry), the 
Government's primary registrant database;
    c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and
    d. Maintain an active SAM registration with current information 
while your application is under review by the Department and, if you 
are awarded a grant, during the project period.
    You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet at the 
following Web site: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. A DUNS number can be 
created within one to two business days.
    If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or 
organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. 
If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal 
Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a 
new TIN, please allow two to five weeks for your TIN to become active.
    The SAM registration process can take approximately seven business 
days, but may take upwards of several weeks, depending on the 
completeness and accuracy of the data you enter into the SAM database. 
Thus, if you think you might want to apply for Federal financial 
assistance under a program administered by the Department, please

[[Page 62061]]

allow sufficient time to obtain and register your DUNS number and TIN. 
We strongly recommend that you register early.
    Note: Once your SAM registration is active, it may be 24 to 48 
hours before you can access the information in, and submit an 
application through, Grants.gov.
    If you are currently registered with SAM, you may not need to make 
any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN associated with 
your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will need to update 
your registration annually. This may take three or more business days.
    Information about SAM is available at www.SAM.gov. To further 
assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in 
SAM or updating your existing SAM account, we have prepared a SAM.gov 
Tip Sheet, which you can find at: http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/sam-faqs.html.
    In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, 
you must (1) be designated by your organization as an Authorized 
Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with 
Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined at the 
following Grants.gov Web page: www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html.
    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under 
this competition must be submitted electronically unless you qualify 
for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the 
instructions in this section.
    a. Electronic Submission of Applications.
    Applications for grants under the Personnel Preparation in Special 
Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services competition, CFDA 
number 84.325K, must be submitted electronically using the 
Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through this 
site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, 
complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You 
may not email an electronic copy of a grant application to us.
    We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format 
unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of 
the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no 
later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written 
statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these 
exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that 
is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in 
this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.
    You may access the electronic grant application for the Personnel 
Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related 
Services competition at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the 
downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA number. 
Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., 
search for 84.325, not 84.325K).
    Please note the following:
     When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find 
information about submitting an application electronically through the 
site, as well as the hours of operation.
     Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time 
stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must 
be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 
p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as 
otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if 
it is received--that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov 
system--after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application 
deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply 
with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from 
Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application 
because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 
4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.
     The amount of time it can take to upload an application 
will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the 
application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we 
strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline 
date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov. In addition, 
for specific guidance and procedures for submitting an application 
through Grants.gov, please refer to the Grants.gov Web site at: 
www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/apply-for-grants.html.
     You should review and follow the Education Submission 
Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are 
included in the application package for this competition to ensure that 
you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov 
system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures 
pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 
system home page at www.G5.gov.
     You will not receive additional point value because you 
submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you 
if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your 
application in paper format.
     You must submit all documents electronically, including 
all information you typically provide on the following forms: The 
Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of 
Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information--Non-
Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and 
certifications.
     You must upload any narrative sections and all other 
attachments to your application as files in a read-only, non-modifiable 
Portable Document Format (PDF). Do not upload an interactive or 
fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, 
non-modifiable PDF (e.g., Word, Excel, WordPerfect, etc.) or submit a 
password-protected file, we will not review that material. Please note 
that this could result in your application not being considered for 
funding because the material in question--for example, the project 
narrative--is critical to a meaningful review of your proposal. For 
that reason it is important to allow yourself adequate time to upload 
all material as PDF files. The Department will not convert material 
from other formats to PDF. Additional, detailed information on how to 
attach files is in the application instructions.
     Your electronic application must comply with any page-
limit requirements described in this notice.
     After you electronically submit your application, you will 
receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that 
contains a Grants.gov tracking number. This notification indicates 
receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department. Grants.gov 
will also notify you automatically by email if your application met all 
the Grants.gov validation requirements or if there were any errors 
(such as submission of your application by someone other than a 
registered Authorized Organization Representative, or inclusion of an 
attachment with a file name that contains special characters). You will 
be given an opportunity to correct any errors and resubmit, but you 
must still meet the deadline for submission of applications.
    Once your application is successfully validated by Grants.gov, the 
Department will retrieve your application from

[[Page 62062]]

Grants.gov and send you an email with a unique PR/Award number for your 
application.
    These emails do not mean that your application is without any 
disqualifying errors. While your application may have been successfully 
validated by Grants.gov, it must also meet the Department's application 
requirements as specified in this notice and in the application 
instructions. Disqualifying errors could include, for instance, failure 
to upload attachments in a read-only, non-modifiable PDF; failure to 
submit a required part of the application; or failure to meet applicant 
eligibility requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your 
submitted application has met all of the Department's requirements.
     We may request that you provide us original signatures on 
forms at a later date.
    Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues 
With the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting 
your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov 
Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a 
Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.
    If you are prevented from electronically submitting your 
application on the application deadline date because of technical 
problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension 
until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to 
enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand 
delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing 
instructions described elsewhere in this notice.
    If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC 
time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person 
listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this 
notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you 
experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk 
Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a 
technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that the 
problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 
p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We will 
contact you after we determine whether your application will be 
accepted.
    Note: The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only 
to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov 
system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully 
register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the 
application deadline date and time or if the technical problem you 
experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.
    Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an 
exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your 
application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application 
through the Grants.gov system because--
     You do not have access to the Internet; or
     You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to 
the Grants.gov system;
    and
     No later than two weeks before the application deadline 
date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the 
application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business 
day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement 
to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception 
prevents you from using the Internet to submit your application.
    If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be 
postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline 
date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must 
receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the 
application deadline date.
    Address and mail or fax your statement to: Mary Ann McDermott, U.S. 
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4062, Potomac 
Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2600. FAX: (202) 245-7617.
    Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the 
mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.
    b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.
    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a 
commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail 
the original and two copies of your application, on or before the 
application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: 
U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: 
(CFDA Number 84.325K), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20202-4260.
    You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:
    (1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.
    (2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the 
U.S. Postal Service.
    (3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial 
carrier.
    (4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the 
U.S. Department of Education.
    If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do 
not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:
    (1) A private metered postmark.
    (2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.
    Note: The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated 
postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your 
local post office.
    We will not consider applications postmarked after the application 
deadline date.
    c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.
    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper 
application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original 
and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the 
application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: 
U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: 
(CFDA Number 84.325K), 550 12th Street SW., Room 7039, Potomac Center 
Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.
    The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily 
between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except 
Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.
    Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications: If you mail 
or hand deliver your application to the Department--
    (1) You must indicate on the envelope and--if not provided by the 
Department--in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix 
letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your 
application; and
    (2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification 
of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this 
notification within 15 business days from the application deadline 
date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application 
Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition 
are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are listed in the application package.
    2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants 
that in

[[Page 62063]]

reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the 
Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance 
of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the 
applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and 
compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider 
whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or 
submitted a report of unacceptable quality.
    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary 
requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal civil 
rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities 
receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education 
(34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
    3. Additional Review and Selection Process Factors: In the past, 
the Department has had difficulty finding peer reviewers for certain 
competitions because so many individuals who are eligible to serve as 
peer reviewers have conflicts of interest. The standing panel 
requirements under section 682(b) of IDEA also have placed additional 
constraints on the availability of reviewers. Therefore, the Department 
has determined that for some discretionary grant competitions, 
applications may be separated into two or more groups and ranked and 
selected for funding within specific groups. This procedure will make 
it easier for the Department to find peer reviewers by ensuring that 
greater numbers of individuals who are eligible to serve as reviewers 
for any particular group of applicants will not have conflicts of 
interest. It also will increase the quality, independence, and fairness 
of the review process, while permitting panel members to review 
applications under discretionary grant competitions for which they also 
have submitted applications. However, if the Department decides to 
select an equal number of applications in each group for funding, this 
may result in different cut-off points for fundable applications in 
each group.
    4. Risk Assessment and Special Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 
200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department 
conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 
3474.10, the Secretary may impose specific conditions and, in 
appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the 
applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of 
unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system 
that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not 
fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not 
responsible.

VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your 
U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award 
Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to 
access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, 
also.
    If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, 
we notify you.
    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify 
administrative and national policy requirements in the application 
package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable 
Regulations section of this notice.
    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of 
an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and 
include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also 
incorporates your approved application as part of your binding 
commitments under the grant.
    3. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, 
you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and 
systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 
should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply 
if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).
    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final 
performance report, including financial information, as directed by the 
Secretary. If you receive a multiyear award, you must submit an annual 
performance report that provides the most current performance and 
financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 
CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance 
reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, 
please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
    (c) Under 34 CFR 75.250(b), the Secretary may provide a grantee 
with additional funding for data collection analysis and reporting. In 
this case the Secretary establishes a data collection period.
    4. Performance Measures: Under GPRA, the Department has established 
a set of performance measures, including long-term measures, that are 
designed to yield information on various aspects of the effectiveness 
and quality of the Personnel Development to Improve Services and 
Results for Children with Disabilities program. These measures include: 
(1) The percentage of Special Education Personnel Development projects 
that incorporate evidence-based practices into their curricula; (2) the 
percentage of scholars completing Special Education Personnel 
Development funded programs who are knowledgeable and skilled in 
evidence-based practices for infants, toddlers, children, and youth 
with disabilities; (3) the percentage of Special Education Personnel 
Development funded scholars who exit preparation programs prior to 
completion due to poor academic performance; (4) the percentage of 
Special Education Personnel Development funded degree/certification 
recipients who are working in the area(s) for which they were prepared 
upon program completion; (5) the percentage of Special Education 
Personnel Development funded degree/certification recipients who are 
working in the area(s) for which they were prepared upon program 
completion and who are fully qualified under IDEA; (6) the percentage 
of Special Education Personnel Development funded degree/certification 
recipients who maintain employment in the area(s) for which they were 
prepared for three or more years and who are fully qualified under 
IDEA; and (7) the Federal cost per fully qualified degree/certification 
recipient.
    In addition, the Department will gather information on the 
following outcome measures: (1) The number and percentage of degree/
certification recipients who are employed in high-need schools; (2) the 
number and percentage of degree/certification recipients who are 
employed in a school for at least two years; and (3) the number and 
percentage of degree/certification recipients who are rated as 
effective by their employers.
    Grantees may be asked to participate in assessing and providing 
information on these aspects of program quality.
    5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 
75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: Whether a grantee 
has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of 
the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is 
consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the 
Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, the 
performance targets in the grantee's approved application.
    In making a continuation award, the Secretary also considers 
whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in 
its approved application, including those applicable

[[Page 62064]]

to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs 
or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the 
Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

VII. Agency Contacts

For Further Information Contact:  See chart in the Award Information 
section in this notice for the name, room number, telephone number, and 
email address of the contact person for each Focus Area of this 
competition. You can write to the Focus Area contact person at the 
following address: U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue 
SW., Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2600.
    If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), 
toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information

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

    Dated: October 9, 2015.
Michael K. Yudin,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2015-26290 Filed 10-14-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4000-01-P