[Federal Register: April 11, 1996 (Volume 61, Number 71)]
[Page 16173-16175]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Part III

Department of Education


Challenge Grants for Technology in Education; Notices

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[CFDA No. 84.303A]

Challenge Grants for Technology in Education; Notice Inviting 
Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 1996

    Purpose of Program: The Challenge Grants for Technology in 
Education Program provides grants to consortia that are working to 
improve and expand new applications of technology to strengthen the 
school reform effort, improve student achievement, and provide 
sustained professional development of teachers, administrators, and 
school library media personnel.
    Eligible Applicants: Only consortia may receive grants under this 
program. Consortia shall include at least one local educational agency 
(LEA) with a high percentage or number of children living below the 
poverty line. They may also include other local educational agencies, 
State educational agencies, institutions of higher education, 
businesses, academic content experts, software designers, museums, 
libraries, and other appropriate entities.

    Note: In each consortium a participating LEA shall submit the 
application on behalf of the consortium and serve as the fiscal 
agent for the grant.

    Deadline for Receipt of Applications: June 21, 1996.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: August 20, 1996.
    Applications Available: April 22, 1996.
    Estimated Available Funds: $23,000,000.
    Estimated Range of Awards: $500,000 to $2,000,000 per year.
    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $1,000,000 per year.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 23.
    Project Period: 5 years.

    Note: The Department of Education is not bound by any of the 
above estimates in this notice. The Department is currently 
operating under the terms of a Continuing Resolution for fiscal year 
(FY) 1996. That Continuing Resolution, P.L. 104-122, does not make 
funds available for this competition. The Secretary anticipates, 
however, that the final appropriation for FY 1996 will include 
approximately $23 million for this competition. The actual amount 
available will be determined by final congressional action on April 
24, 1996, or later. The award of grants pursuant to this competition 
will depend upon the availability of funds.

    Maximum Award: The Secretary does not consider an application that 
proposes a budget exceeding $2,000,000 for any 12-month budget period.
    Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR Parts 74, 75 (except 34 
CFR 75.102(b), 75.200(b)(3), 75.210, and 75.217), 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 
and 85.
    Other Requirements: The requirements in the notice of selection 
criteria, selection procedures, and application procedures published in 
this issue of the Federal Register.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Challenge Grants for Technology in 
Education Program is authorized under Title III, section 3136, of the 
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (20 U.S.C. 
6846). This FY 1996 competition supports the second round of grants 
under this program.
    As catalysts for change, grants under this program will support 
communities of educators, parents, industry partners, and others who 
are working to transform their schools into information-age learning 
centers. These challenge grants will support the development and 
innovative use of technology and new learning content in specific 
communities. Each effort should clearly focus on integrating innovative 
learning technologies into the curriculum to improve learning 
productivity in the community.
    The Secretary believes that the information superhighway is 
creating new possibilities for extending the time, the place, and the 
resources for learning. Challenge grant communities can use it to 
develop first-class learning environments that provide affordable 
access to quality education and training. Especially promising 
possibilities are anticipated from a creative synthesis of ideas 
generated by educators and software developers, telecommunications 
firms and hardware manufacturers, entertainment producers, and others 
who are extending the possibilities for creating new learning 
    Challenge grant communities need not be limited by geography. The 
information superhighway can be used to create virtual learning 
communities linking schools, colleges, libraries, museums, and 
businesses across the country or around the world. Students of all 
ages, no matter where they live, could tap vast electronic libraries 
and museums containing text and video images, music, art, and language 
instruction. They could work with scientists and scholars around the 
globe who can help them use mapping tools, primary historical 
documents, or laboratory experiments to develop strong research and 
problem solving skills.
    The Secretary encourages each community to view this competition as 
an opportunity to act on its most ambitious vision for education 
reform. It is essential, however, to guard against a future in which 
some communities have access to vast technological resources, while 
others do not. Low-income neighborhoods and other areas with the 
greatest need for technology should not be left behind in the 
acquisition of knowledge and skills needed for productive citizenship 
in the 21st century. A failure to include those communities will put 
their future, and the future of the country, at risk. For this reason, 
the Secretary gives special consideration to applications from 
consortia which are developing effective responses to the learning 
technology needs of areas with a high number or percentage of 
disadvantaged students or the greatest need for educational technology.

Project Activities

    The statute authorizes the use of funds for activities similar to 
the following activities:
    (a) Developing, adapting, or expanding existing and new 
applications of technology to support the school reform effort.
    (b) Funding projects of sufficient size and scope to improve 
student learning and, as appropriate, support professional development, 
and provide administrative support.
    (c) Acquiring connectivity linkages, resources, and services, 
including the acquisition of hardware and software, for use by 
teachers, students, and school library media personnel in the classroom 
or in school library media centers, in order to improve student 
learning by supporting the instructional program offered by such agency 
to ensure that students in schools will have meaningful access on a 
regular basis to such linkages, resources, and services.
    (d) Providing ongoing professional development in the integration 
of quality educational technologies into school curriculum and long-
term planning for implementing educational technologies.
    (e) Acquiring connectivity with wide area networks for purposes of 
accessing information and educational programming sources, particularly 
with institutions of higher education and public libraries.
    (f) Providing educational services for adults and families.

    Note: Section 14503 of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
Act of 1965, as amended, (20 U.S.C. 8893) is applicable to the 
Challenge Grant Program. Section 14503 requires that an LEA, SEA, or 
educational service agency receiving financial assistance under this 
program must provide private

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school children and teachers, on an equitable basis, special 
educational services or other program benefits under this program. 
The section further requires SEAs, LEAs, and educational service 
agencies to consult with private school officials during the design 
and development of the Challenge Grant projects. Each application 
should describe the ways in which the proposed project will address 
the needs of private school children and teachers.

Selection Criteria

    In evaluating applications for grants under this program 
competition, the Secretary uses the following unweighted selection 
criteria, as described in the notice of selection criteria, selection 
procedures, and application procedures for this program published 
elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register and repeated below:
    (a) Significance. The Secretary reviews each proposed project for 
its significance by determining the extent to which the project--
    (1) Offers a creative, new vision for using technology to help all 
students learn to challenging standards or to promote efficiency and 
effectiveness in education; and contributes to the advancement of State 
and local systemic educational reform;
    (2) Will achieve far-reaching impact through results, products, or 
benefits that are easily exportable to other settings and communities;
    (3) Will directly benefit students by integrating acquired 
technologies into the curriculum to enhance teaching, training, and 
student achievement or by other means;
    (4) Will ensure ongoing, intensive professional development for 
teachers and other personnel to further the use of technology in the 
classroom, library, or other learning center;
    (5) Is designed to serve areas with a high number or percentage of 
disadvantaged students or other areas with the greatest need for 
educational technology; and
    (6) Is designed to create new learning communities, and expanded 
markets for high-quality educational technology applications and 
    (b) Feasibility. The Secretary reviews each proposed project for 
its feasibility by determining the extent to which--
    (1) The project will ensure successful, effective, and efficient 
uses of technologies for educational reform that will be sustainable 
beyond the period of the grant;
    (2) The members of the consortia or other appropriate entities will 
contribute substantial financial and other resources to achieve the 
goals of the project; and
    (3) The applicant is capable of carrying out the project, as 
evidenced by the extent to which the project will meet the problems 
identified; the quality of the project design, including objectives, 
approaches, evaluation plan, and dissemination plan; the adequacy of 
resources, including money, personnel, facilities, equipment, and 
supplies; the qualifications of key personnel who would conduct the 
project; and the applicant's prior experience relevant to the 
objectives of the project.

Application Deadline

    In order to ensure timely receipt and processing of applications, 
the Secretary requires that an application must be received on or 
before the deadline date announced in this application notice. The 
Secretary will not consider an application for funding if it is not 
received by the deadline date unless the applicant can show proof that 
the application was (1) sent by registered or certified mail not later 
than five days before the deadline date; or (2) sent by commercial 
carrier not later than two days before the deadline date. An applicant 
must show proof of mailing in accordance with 34 CFR 75.102(d) and (e). 
Applications delivered by hand must be received by 2:00 p.m. 
(Washington, D.C. time) on the deadline date. For the purposes of this 
program competition, the Secretary does not apply 34 CFR 75.102(b) 
which requires an application to be mailed, rather than received, by 
the deadline date.

Additional Information

    Prospective applicants may access a summary of questions and 
answers about the competition from the Department of Education's On-
Line Library by using the Department's WWW Server at URL http://
www.ed.gov/ or by using the Internet Gopher Server at GOPHER.ED.GOV 
(under Announcements, Bulletins, and Press Releases). For additional 
help accessing the On-Line Library, call 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-
5327). To receive a hard copy of the summary, fax requests to (202) 
708-6003 or call (202) 708-6001.
    For Applications or Information Contact: Telephone 1-800-USA-LEARN 
(1-800-872-5327) for applications. For information contact Challenge 
Grants for Technology in Education, U.S. Department of Education, 
Washington, D.C. 20202-5544. Telephone (202) 708-6001. Individuals may 
fax requests for applications. Fax (202) 708-6003. Individuals who use 
a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between the hours of 
8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week 
except Federal holidays.
    Information about the Department's funding opportunities, including 
copies of the application notices for discretionary grant competitions, 
can be viewed on the Department's electronic bulletin board (ED Board), 
telephone (202) 260-9950; or on the Internet Gopher Server at 
GOPHER.ED.GOV (under Announcements, Bulletins, and Press Releases). 
However, the official application notice for a discretionary grant 
competition is the notice published in the Federal Register.

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 6846.
    Dated: April 5, 1996.
Sharon P. Robinson,
Assistant Secretary for Educational Research and Improvement.
[FR Doc. 96-9010 Filed 4-10-96; 8:45 am]