The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is requesting applications under request for application (RFA) # 701-11-104 from Texas high-need local educational agencies (LEAs) and/or collaboratives consisting of at least one high-need LEA and at least one other LEA. In order to qualify for high-need status, an LEA must serve at least 2,500 or 21 percent of children from families with incomes below the poverty line, as identified by 2008 U.S. Census data. In addition, the LEA must serve one or more campuses that meet at least one of the following criteria: (1) the campus was identified for improvement or corrective action under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Title I, Section 1116; or (2) the campus's Texas Campus STaR Chart reflects a substantial need for assistance in acquiring and using technology. Eligible applicants must demonstrate technological readiness in the areas defined in the RFA. Current Connections grantees may apply to expand their model demonstration site program but are restricted to applying for no more than $250,000.
Collaboratives eligible to apply for Connections 2 Project Share Grant funding must include at least one high-need LEA that meets the eligibility description stated previously and at least one LEA that can demonstrate technological readiness in the areas defined in the RFA. The collaborative may also include any of the following: an institution of higher education (IHE) that meets further reporting and performance criteria defined in the RFA; a for-profit organization in the technology product or services industry or with expertise in the application of technology for instruction; a public or nonprofit organization with expertise in the application of technology for instruction; or other educational entities such as education service centers (ESCs), libraries, and other LEAs with resources and ability to provide technology-focused programs to participating LEAs. Each LEA may be included in only one application. Only an LEA may apply for a grant as a fiscal agent of the collaborative. For-profit entities, nonprofit entities, ESCs, and IHEs are not eligible to apply as fiscal agents. If the collaborative includes a current Connections grantee, the collaborative is restricted to applying for no more than $250,000.
The purpose of the second cycle of the Connections grant program, Connections 2 Project Share, is to identify campuses that are ready to serve as statewide technology demonstration sites and models for the exemplary use of educational technology for increased student learning. The grant seeks to build connections among schools, teachers, and students by demonstrating model classrooms and schools statewide. A focus of the grant will be the use of digital academic content in lieu of traditional textbooks and the use of resources available through the state's Project Share initiative. Information on Project Share is available at www.projectsharetexas.org.
The Connections 2 Project Share Grant will be implemented during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years. Applicants should plan for a starting date of no earlier than September 1, 2011, and an ending date of no later than June 30, 2013. Funding will be provided for approximately 15 to 20 projects. Each project will receive a maximum of $500,000 for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years. This project is funded 100 percent with federal funds.
Applications will be selected based on the independent reviewers' assessment of each applicant's ability to carry out all requirements contained in the RFA. Reviewers will evaluate applications based on the overall quality and validity of the proposed grant programs and the extent to which the applications address the primary objectives and intent of the project. Applications must address each requirement as specified in the RFA to be considered for funding. Connections 2 Project Share grant applications received by the established deadline date and time will be reviewed. Applications will be selected based on the ability of each applicant to carry out all requirements contained in the RFA. Reviewers will evaluate applications based on the overall quality and validity of the proposed grant programs and the extent to which the applications address the primary objectives and intent of the project. Applications must address each requirement as specified in the RFA to be considered for funding. TEA reserves the right to select from the highest-ranking applications those that address all requirements in the RFA.
TEA is not obligated to approve an application, provide funds, or endorse any application submitted in response to this RFA. This RFA does not commit TEA to pay any costs before an application is approved. The issuance of this RFA does not obligate TEA to award a grant or pay any costs incurred in preparing a response.
RFAs are no longer available in print. The announcement letter and complete RFA will be posted on the TEA Website at http://burleson.tea.state.tx.us/GrantOpportunities/forms for viewing and downloading. In the “Select Search Options” box, select the name of the RFA from the drop-down list. Scroll down to the “Application and Support Information” section to view all documents that pertain to this RFA.
An applicants’ conference will be held on Friday, March 11, 2011 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the Texas Educational Telecommunication Network (TETN) available at each regional education service center (ESC) (TETN Event # 9942). To locate the nearest TETN facility, please contact the TETN site manager at your regional ESC. (The following webpage includes links and contact information for each ESC in Texas: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/ESC/.)
The entire applicants’ conference will be digitally recorded. Prospective applicants who are not able to attend the applicants’ conference may request a password to download a video stream that is viewable on their computer desktop. Applicants should contact the TETN site manager at their local ESC to request the procedures to download the video stream.
Questions relevant to the RFA may be sent to Kathleen H. Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (512) 463-9090 prior to by Tuesday, March 8, 2011. These questions along with other information will be addressed in the presentation. The conference will be open to all potential applicants and will provide prospective applicants an opportunity to receive general and clarifying information about the program and RFA.
The entire applicants’ conference will be digitally recorded. Prospective applicants who are not able to attend the applicants’ conference may download the presentation to their computer desktop.
For clarifying information about the RFA, contact Jeanne Rankin, Division of Discretionary Grants, TEA, (512) 463-9269.
In order to assure that no prospective applicant may obtain a competitive advantage because of acquisition of information unknown to other prospective applicants, any and all questions pertaining to the RFA must be submitted in writing to the TEA contact person.
Copies of the questions and the written answers thereto will be posted on the TEA website in the format of frequently asked questions (FAQs) at http://burleson.tea.state.tx.us/GrantOpportunities/forms. In the “Select Search Options” box, select the name of the program/RFA from the drop-down list. Scroll down to the “Application and Support Information” to view all documents that pertain to this RFA.
Applications must be received in the Document Control Center of TEA by 5:00 PM Central Time, 5:00 p.m. (Central Time), Thursday, April 21, 2011, to be eligible to be considered for funding.