FR Doc 2011-5704[Federal Register: March 11, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 48)]
[Notices]               
[Page 13371-13377]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr11mr11-48]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Overview 
Information; Personnel Development To Improve Services and Results for 
Children With Disabilities--Paraprofessional Preservice Program 
Improvement Grants; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for 
Fiscal Year (FY) 2011

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

    Dates:
    Applications Available: March 11, 2011.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 25, 2011.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: June 24, 2011.

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 highly qualified personnel--in 
special education, related services, early intervention, and regular 
education--to work with infants, toddlers, and children 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)(v), this priority 
is from allowable activities specified in the statute or otherwise 
authorized in the statute (see sections 662 and 681 of the Individuals 
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (20 U.S.C. 1462 and 1481)).
    Absolute Priority: For FY 2011 and any subsequent year in which we 
make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, 
this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we 
consider only applications that meet this priority.
    This priority is:
    Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children 
with Disabilities--Paraprofessional Preservice Program Improvement 
Grants (84.325N).
    Background:
    Paraprofessionals provide important services to children with 
disabilities ages birth through 21 and their families. In early 
intervention (EI) programs, preschools, and elementary, middle, and 
high schools, paraprofessionals provide instructional support, modify 
instructional materials, implement behavioral management plans, assist 
in the implementation of postsecondary education transition plans, and 
collect data to monitor children's development and learning (Kellegrew, 
Pacifico-Banta, & Stewart, 2008; Mikulecky & Baber, 2005; Shkodriani, 
2003). Kellegrew, Pacifico-Banta, and Stewart (2008) and Shkodriani 
(2003) note that paraprofessionals have become increasingly responsible 
for other activities involving children with disabilities, such as 
participating in the development of their Individualized Family Service 
Plans and Individualized Education Programs; providing direct services 
to children and their families, including small group instruction and 
one-on-one tutoring; and assisting with classroom management. Westat 
(2002) reported that the average paraprofessional works in five 
different classes per week and serves 21 students, 15 of whom have 
disabilities; consequently, it is important that paraprofessionals are 
prepared to meet professional qualifications that will enable them to 
provide effective services to all children, including students with 
disabilities.
    Section 635(a)(9) of Part C of IDEA, section 612(a)(14)(B) of Part 
B of IDEA, and 34 CFR 300.156(b)(1) of the IDEA Part B regulations 
require States to provide assurances that they have established 
paraprofessional qualifications that are consistent with State-approved 
or State-recognized certification, licensing, registration, or other 
comparable requirements that apply to the professional discipline in 
which those personnel are providing early intervention, special 
education, or related services. In a 2004 survey of coordinators for 
the Part C infants and toddlers program under IDEA, half of the 
respondents indicated that their State had added or created new 
professional categories, particularly at the paraprofessional level, 
such as EI associates and EI assistants (Center to Inform Personnel 
Preparation Policy and Practice in Early Intervention and Preschool 
Education, 2004a). Additionally, many States are trying to identify 
preservice preparation opportunities for paraprofessionals in EI or are 
working on strategies to increase the quality of preservice programs 
(Kellegrew et al., 2008).
    Despite these efforts and the critical roles that paraprofessionals 
play in the lives of children with disabilities, overall scant 
attention has been paid to ensuring that early childhood or K through 
12 paraprofessional preservice programs adequately prepare 
paraprofessionals to serve children with disabilities and their 
families. Coordinators for the Part B, section 619 preschool program 
under IDEA have expressed concern about the adequacy of 
paraprofessionals' preparation, particularly to work with young 
children with disabilities and their families (Center to Inform 
Personnel Preparation Policy and Practice in Early Intervention and 
Preschool Education, 2004b). Although national professional 
organizations (e.g., the Division for Early Childhood of the Council 
for Exceptional Children and the National Association for the Education 
of Young Children) have personnel standards that could be used to guide 
the preparation of paraprofessionals working with young children with 
disabilities and their families, many of the certificate or associate 
degree programs that prepare paraprofessionals have not yet met these 
standards or do not offer practicum experiences in working with 
children with disabilities and their families (Chang, Early, & Winton, 
2005). Further, according to Giangreco (2010), paraprofessionals in 
elementary and secondary special education settings are

[[Page 13372]]

inadequately prepared to work with students with disabilities. Thus, 
improving paraprofessional preservice programs will help to ensure that 
paraprofessionals are adequately prepared to meet the requirements 
under IDEA and in turn, better prepared to meet the needs of children 
with disabilities.
    The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is establishing 
this priority to support projects that will improve preservice programs 
for paraprofessionals who serve children ages birth through five and in 
grades K through 12 by enhancing or redesigning curricula to adequately 
prepare these paraprofessionals to address the needs of children with 
disabilities.
    Priority: The purpose of this priority is to provide Federal 
support to improve the quality of existing paraprofessional certificate 
or associate degree programs. An institution receiving support under 
this priority must enhance or redesign its program curricula so that 
paraprofessionals are well-prepared to work with children with 
disabilities and their families. There are two focus areas under this 
priority. Under focus area A, the Secretary intends to support 
improvement grants for EI, early childhood special education (ECSE), 
and early childhood education (ECE) paraprofessional preservice 
programs. Under focus area B, the Secretary intends to support 
improvement grants for K through 12 paraprofessional preservice 
programs.

    Note: Applicants must identify the specific focus area, A or B, 
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: EI, ECSE, and ECE Paraprofessional Preservice 
Programs.
    The programs under focus area A include certificate or associate 
degree programs at institutions of higher education (IHEs), including 
but not limited to community colleges, that currently prepare EI, ECSE, 
or ECE paraprofessionals to serve children ages birth through five. The 
programs under this focus area must enhance or redesign their curricula 
by: (1) Incorporating evidence-based and competency-based practices and 
content in special education into each course; and (2) providing at 
least one practicum experience in a program that serves children with 
disabilities ages birth through five and their families. 
Paraprofessional students must obtain the knowledge and skills 
necessary to collaborate and work effectively with licensed or 
certified practitioners to provide appropriate services to children 
with disabilities ages birth through five and their families. In 
addition, the programs funded under this focus area must ensure that 
program graduates meet the qualifications for paraprofessionals that 
are consistent with the State standards in accordance with section 
635(a)(9) of Part C of IDEA and 34 CFR 303.360(b) of the IDEA Part C 
regulations or section 612(a)(14)(B) of Part B of IDEA and 34 CFR 
300.156(b) of the IDEA Part B regulations, as appropriate, or in States 
that do not have State standards, meet appropriate national 
professional organization standards for paraprofessionals.
    Focus Area B: K through 12 Paraprofessional Preservice Programs.
    The programs under focus area B include certificate or associate 
degree programs at IHEs, including but not limited to community 
colleges, that currently prepare paraprofessionals to serve students in 
grades K through 12. The programs under this focus area must enhance or 
redesign the curricula by: (1) Incorporating evidence-based and 
competency-based practices and content in special education into each 
course; and (2) providing at least one practicum experience in a 
setting that serves children with disabilities in grades K through 12 
and their families. Paraprofessional students must obtain the knowledge 
and skills necessary to collaborate and work effectively with licensed 
or certified K through 12 practitioners to provide appropriate services 
to children with disabilities in grades K through 12 and their 
families. In addition, the programs funded under this focus area must 
ensure that program graduates meet the qualifications for 
paraprofessionals that are consistent with the State standards in 
accordance with section 612(a)(14)(B) of Part B of IDEA and 34 CFR 
300.156(b) of the IDEA Part B regulations or in States that do not have 
State standards, meet the paraprofessional standards in accordance with 
section 1119 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as 
amended.
    To be considered for funding under the Paraprofessional Preservice 
Program Improvement Grants absolute priority, focus area A or B, 
applicants must meet the application requirements contained in this 
priority. All projects funded under this absolute priority also must 
meet the programmatic and administrative requirements specified in the 
priority.

    Note:  The two focus areas under this priority only support the 
improvement of existing EI, ECSE, and ECE or K through 12 
paraprofessional preservice programs. This priority does not support 
the development of new paraprofessional preservice programs, nor 
does it provide for financial support of paraprofessional students 
during any year of the project. Projects preparing paraprofessionals 
in related services are not eligible under these focus areas.

    Application Requirements for Focus Areas A and B. An applicant must 
include in its application--
    (a) A plan to implement the activities described in the Project 
Activities section of this priority. In this plan applicants must 
describe first-year activities, evidence-based and competency-based 
practices (including relevant research citations of these practices) 
that will be included in the enhanced or redesigned program, a four-
year timeline, and an implementation plan. In addition, the plan must 
indicate the projected number of graduates per academic year;
    (b) A budget that includes attendance at a three-day Project 
Directors' Conference in Washington, DC, during each year of the 
project period; and
    (c) An appendix that includes all course syllabi for the existing 
paraprofessional preservice program.
    Project Activities for Focus Areas A and B. To meet the 
requirements of this priority, the project, at a minimum, must conduct 
the following activities:
    (a) Based on the plan described under paragraph (a) of the 
Application Requirements, enhance or redesign the paraprofessional 
preservice program's curricula by incorporating evidence-based and 
competency-based practices and content in special education into each 
course and by providing at least one practicum experience in a setting 
that serves children with disabilities and their families. The project 
must implement the enhanced or redesigned paraprofessional preservice 
program in the first year of the project; describe the proposed project 
activities associated with implementation of the curricula; and attain 
the approval of the OSEP Project Officer prior to the implementation of 
the program. The improved paraprofessional preservice program must--
    (1) Be aligned to State standards for paraprofessionals, or in 
States that do not have State standards, meet appropriate national 
professional organization standards for paraprofessionals, or if 
appropriate, paraprofessional standards in accordance with section 1119 
of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended; and
    (2) Be designed to ensure that paraprofessional students develop 
knowledge and skills in the following areas:

[[Page 13373]]

    (i) Collaborating and working effectively with licensed and 
certified professional practitioners, as appropriate.
    (ii) Implementing social-emotional and behavioral interventions and 
classroom management practices.
    (iii) Implementing instructional strategies to support early 
development and learning or academic achievement.
    (iv) Using technology to enhance children's development and access 
to natural learning opportunities or improve student achievement and 
participation in the general education curriculum.
    (v) Observing and collecting data for progress monitoring.
    (vi) Communicating effectively with children and families.
    (vii) Assisting in the implementation of transition plans and 
services across settings from EI to preschool, preschool to elementary 
school, elementary school to secondary school, and secondary school to 
postsecondary education or the workforce, as appropriate.
    (viii) Working with children and families from diverse cultural and 
linguistic backgrounds, including English learners with disabilities 
and high-need children with disabilities \1\ and their families.
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    \1\ For the purpose of this priority, ``high-need children with 
disabilities'' refers to children (ages birth through twenty-one, 
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 are living in poverty, are English learners, 
are far below grade level or who are not on track to becoming 
college- or career-ready by graduation, who have left school or 
college before receiving, respectively, a regular high school 
diploma or a college degree or certificate, who are at risk of not 
graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in 
foster care, who are pregnant or parenting teenagers, who have been 
incarcerated, who are new immigrants, or who are migrant.
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    (3) Be designed to include field-based preservice preparation 
opportunities in high-need LEAs,\2\ high-poverty schools,\3\ or low-
performing schools, including the persistently lowest-achieving 
schools.\4\
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    \2\ For 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.
    \3\ For the purpose 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. 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.
    \4\ For purposes of this priority, the term ``persistently 
lowest-achieving school'' means, as determined by the State: (i) Any 
Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring 
that (a) is among the lowest-achieving five percent of Title I 
schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring or the 
lowest-achieving five Title I schools in improvement, corrective 
action, or restructuring in the State, whichever number of schools 
is greater; or (b) is a high school that has had a graduation rate 
as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a 
number of years; and (ii) any secondary school that is eligible for, 
but does not receive, Title I funds that: (a) Is among the lowest-
achieving five percent of secondary schools or the lowest-achieving 
five secondary schools in the State that are eligible for, but do 
not receive, Title I funds, whichever number of schools is greater; 
or (b) is a high school that has had a graduation rate as defined in 
34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a number of 
years. To identify the persistently 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.
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    (b) Develop and implement a plan to ensure that program faculty 
have the necessary supports, knowledge, and skills to implement the new 
content and to prepare paraprofessional students to work with children 
with disabilities and their families.
    (c) Develop and implement a management plan for instituting the 
improved paraprofessional preservice program that was developed in the 
first year.
    (d) Demonstrate how the improved program will work with other 
projects funded by OSEP and the U.S. Department of Education to 
incorporate existing paraprofessional preparation resources on 
evidence-based practices into the enhanced or redesigned curricula 
(e.g., the IRIS Center for Faculty Enhancements: 
http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu and CONNECT: The Center to Mobilize 
Early Childhood Knowledge: http://community.fpg.unc.edu/connect).
    (e) Submit the revised curriculum and syllabi for courses that are 
included in the improved program to the OSEP Project Officer for 
approval at the end of the first year of the project period.
    (f) Develop and implement a clear, effective plan for evaluating 
project outcomes. This plan must include a description of how the 
project will--
    (1) Measure the extent to which faculty in the program have the 
knowledge and skills necessary to implement the revised curriculum;
    (2) Measure the extent to which graduates of the program have the 
knowledge and skills necessary to provide evidence-based practices and 
services that result in improved outcomes for children with 
disabilities and their families; and
    (3) Use the findings of the evaluation to inform ongoing program 
improvements. Applicants must also clearly describe under the Quality 
of Project Evaluation selection criterion how the findings will be 
reported to OSEP in annual and final performance reports.
    (g) Develop a plan to maintain the improved program once Federal 
funding ends.
    (h) If the project maintains a Web site, include relevant 
information about the improved program and documents in a form that 
meets government or industry-recognized standards for accessibility.
    (i) Maintain ongoing communication with the OSEP Project Officer 
through monthly phone conversations or e-mail communication and 
participate in monthly grantee community of practice teleconferences, 
as directed by OSEP.
    References:

Center to Inform Personnel Preparation Policy and Practice in Early 
Intervention and Preschool Education. (2004a). Study I data report: 
The national landscape of early intervention in personnel 
preparation standards under Part C of the Individuals with 
Disabilities Education Act. Farmington, CT: University of 
Connecticut Health Center. Available at: 
http://www.uconnucedd.org/per_prep_center/publications.html
Center to Inform Personnel Preparation Policy and Practice in Early 
Intervention and Preschool Education. (2004b). Study I data report: 
The national landscape of early childhood special education in 
personnel preparation standards under 619 of the Individuals with 
Disabilities Education Act. Farmington, CT: University of 
Connecticut Health Center. Available at: 
http://www.uconnucedd.org/per_prep_center/publications.html
Chang, F., Early., D., & Winton, P. (2005). Early childhood teacher 
preparation in special education at 2- and 4-year institutions of 
higher education. Journal of Early Intervention, 27(2), 110-124.
Giangreco, M.F. (2010). One-to-one paraprofessionals for students 
with disabilities in inclusive classrooms: Is conventional wisdom 
wrong? Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, 48(1), 1-13. DOI: 
10.1352/1934-9556-48.1.1 Full text pdf available. Posted with 
permission of the American Association on Intellectual and 
Developmental Disabilities http://www.aaidd.org
Kellegrew, D.H., Pacifico-Banta, J., & Stewart, K. (2008). Training 
early intervention assistants in California's community colleges. 
(Issues & Answers Report, REL 2008-No. 060). Washington, DC: US 
Department of Education, Institute of Educational Sciences, National 
Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional 
Educational Laboratory West. Available at: 

[[Page 13374]]

http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/projects/project.asp?ProjectID=165
Mikulecky, M.T. & Baber, A. (2005). ECS policy brief: from highly 
qualified to highly competent paraprofessionals: How NCLB 
requirements can catalyze effective program and policy development 
guidelines from the ECS paraprofessional expert. Retrieved January 
22, 2008, from http://www.ecs.org/html/IssueSection.asp?issueid=195&
subissueid=112&ssID=0&s=Selected+Research+%26+Readings
Shkodriani, G. (2003). Training for paraprofessionals: The community 
college role. Retrieved January 22, 2008, from http://hems.aed.org/
docs/Paraprofessionals.pdf
Westat. (2002) Study of personnel needs in special education. 
Retrieved January 23, 2008 from 
http://ferdig.coe.ufl.edu/spense/KeyFindings.doc

    Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure 
Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested 
parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities and 
requirements. Section 681(d) of IDEA, however, makes the public comment 
requirements of the APA inapplicable to the priority in this notice.
    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1462 and 1481.
    Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 
81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99.

    Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants 
except federally recognized Indian tribes.


    Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to IHEs only.

II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Cooperative Agreement.
    Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested 
$90,653,000 for the Personnel Development to Improve Services and 
Results for Children with Disabilities program for FY 2011, of which we 
intend to use an estimated $1,500,000 for the competition announced in 
this notice. 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 2012 from the list of 
unfunded applicants from this competition.
    Estimated Range of Awards: $145,000-150,000.
    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $150,000.
    Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a 
budget exceeding $150,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. The 
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services 
may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal 
Register.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 10.

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

    Project Period: Up to 48 months.

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: IHEs (as defined in section 101 of the 
Higher Education Act of 1965).
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This competition does not require cost 
sharing or matching.
    3. Other: General Requirements--(a) The projects funded under this 
competition must make positive efforts to employ and advance in 
employment qualified individuals with disabilities (see section 606 of 
IDEA).
    (b) Applicants and grant recipients funded under this competition 
must involve individuals with disabilities or parents of individuals 
with disabilities ages birth through 26 in planning, implementing, and 
evaluating the projects (see section 682(a)(1)(A) of IDEA).

IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an 
application package via the Internet, from the Education Publications 
Center (ED Pubs), or from the program office.
    To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: 
http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/grantapps/index.html.
    To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the following: 
ED Pubs, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 
22304. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (703) 605-6794. If 
you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call, toll 
free: 1-877-576-7734.
    You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: 
http://www.EDPubs.gov or at its e-mail address: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.
    If you request an application package from ED Pubs, be sure to 
identify this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.325N.
    To obtain a copy from the program office, contact the person listed 
under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice.
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application 
package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, 
or computer diskette) by contacting the person or team listed under 
Accessible Format in section VIII of this notice.
    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements 
concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you 
must submit, are in 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 the 
application narrative to the equivalent of no more than 50 pages, using 
the following standards:
     A ``page'' is 8.5 x 11, on one side 
only, with 1 margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
     Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) 
all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, 
footnotes, quotations, references, and captions.
     Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller 
than 10 pitch (characters per inch).
     Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, 
Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font 
(including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.
    The page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet; Part II, 
the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part 
IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the 
resumes, the bibliography, the references, or the letters of support. 
However, the page limit does apply to all of the application narrative 
section (Part III).
    We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit or if 
you apply other standards and exceed the equivalent of the page limit.
    3. Submission Dates and Times:
    Applications Available: March 11, 2011.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 25, 2011.
    Applications for grants under this competition may be submitted 
electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov), or in 
paper format by mail or hand delivery. For information (including dates 
and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in 
paper format by mail or hand delivery, please refer to section IV. 7. 
Other Submission Requirements of this notice.
    We do not consider an application that does not comply with the 
deadline requirements.

[[Page 13375]]

    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: June 24, 2011.
    4. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to 
Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. 
Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under 
Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this 
competition.
    5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding 
restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
    6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification 
Number, and Central Contractor Registry: To do business with the 
Department of Education, you must--
    a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a 
Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);
    b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the Central 
Contractor Registry (CCR), the Government's primary registrant 
database;
    c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and
    d. Maintain an active CCR registration with current information 
while your application is under review by the Department and, if you 
are awarded a grant, during the project period.
    You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. A DUNS number 
can be created within one business day.
    If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or 
organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. 
If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal 
Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a 
new TIN, please allow 2-5 weeks for your TIN to become active.
    The CCR registration process may take five or more business days to 
complete. If you are currently registered with the CCR, you may not 
need to make any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN 
associated with your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will 
need to update your CCR registration on an annual basis. This may take 
three or more business days to complete.
    In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, 
you must (1) be designated by your organization as an Authorized 
Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with 
Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined in the 
Grants.gov 3-Step Registration Guide (see 
http://www.grants.gov/section910/Grants.govRegistrationBrochure.pdf).
    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under 
this competition may be submitted electronically or in paper format by 
mail or hand delivery.
    a. Electronic Submission of Applications.
    We are participating as a partner in the Governmentwide Grants.gov 
Apply site. The Paraprofessional Preservice Program Improvement Grants 
competition, CFDA number 84.325N, is included in this project. We 
request your participation in Grants.gov.
    If you choose to submit your application electronically, you must 
use the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through 
this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application 
package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your 
application. You may not e-mail an electronic copy of a grant 
application to us.
    You may access the electronic grant application for the 
Paraprofessional Preservice Program Improvement Grants 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 
84.325N).
    Please note the following:
     Your participation in Grants.gov is voluntary.
     When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find 
information about submitting an application electronically through the 
site, as well as the hours of operation.
     Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time 
stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must 
be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30 
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 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.
     You should review and follow the Education Submission 
Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are 
included in the application package for this competition to ensure that 
you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov 
system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures 
pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 
system home page at http://www.G5.gov.
     You will not receive additional point value because you 
submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you 
if you submit your application in paper format.
     If you submit your application electronically, you must 
submit all documents electronically, including all information you 
typically provide on the following forms: the Application for Federal 
Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental 
Information for SF 424, Budget Information--Non-Construction Programs 
(ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.
     If you submit your application electronically, you must 
attach any narrative sections of your application as files in a .PDF 
(Portable Document) format only. If you upload a file type other than a 
.PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that 
material.
     Your electronic application must comply with any page-
limit requirements described in this notice.
     After you electronically submit your application, you will 
receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that 
contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification indicates 
receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department.) The 
Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send 
a second notification to you by e-mail. This second notification 
indicates that the Department has received your application and has 
assigned your application a PR/Award number (an ED-specified 
identifying number unique to your application).

[[Page 13376]]

     We may request that you provide us original signatures on 
forms at a later date.
    Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues 
with the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting 
your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov 
Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a 
Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.
    If you are prevented from electronically submitting your 
application on the application deadline date because of technical 
problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension 
until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to 
enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand 
delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing 
instructions described elsewhere in this notice.
    If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC 
time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person 
listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this 
notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you 
experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk 
Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a 
technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that 
problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 
p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The 
Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether 
your application will be accepted.

    Note:  The extensions to which we refer in this section apply 
only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the 
Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed 
to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before 
the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem 
you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

    b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.
    If you submit your application in paper format by mail (through the 
U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier), you must mail the 
original and two copies of your application, on or before the 
application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: 
U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: 
(CFDA Number 84.325N) LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., 
Washington, DC 20202-4260.
    You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:
    (1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.
    (2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the 
U.S. Postal Service.
    (3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial 
carrier.
    (4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the 
U.S. Department of Education.
    If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do 
not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:
    (1) A private metered postmark.
    (2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.
    If your application is postmarked after the application deadline 
date, we will not consider your application.

    Note:  The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a 
dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with 
your local post office.

    c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.
    If you submit your application in paper format by hand delivery, 
you (or a courier service) must deliver the original and two copies of 
your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, 
to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of 
Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.325N) 
550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 
20202-4260.
    The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily 
between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except 
Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

    Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:  If you 
mail or hand deliver your application to the Department--
    (1) You must indicate on the envelope and--if not provided by 
the Department--in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including 
suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are 
submitting your application; and
    (2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a 
notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not 
receive this notification within 15 business days from the 
application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of 
Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this 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 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, and compliance with grant conditions. The 
Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a 
timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable 
quality.
    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary 
also requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal 
civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or 
activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department 
of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
    3. Additional Review and Selection Process Factors:
    In the past, the Department has had difficulty finding peer 
reviewers for certain competitions because so many individuals who are 
eligible to serve as peer reviewers have conflicts of interest. The 
Standing Panel requirements under IDEA also have placed additional 
constraints on the availability of reviewers. Therefore, the Department 
has determined that, for some discretionary grant competitions, 
applications may be separated into two or more groups and ranked and 
selected for funding within the specific groups. This procedure will 
make it easier for the Department to find peer reviewers by ensuring 
that greater numbers of individuals who are eligible to serve as 
reviewers for any particular group of applicants will not have 
conflicts of interest. It also will increase the quality, independence, 
and fairness of the review process while permitting panel members to 
review applications under discretionary grant competitions for which 
they also have submitted applications. However, if the Department 
decides to select an equal number of applications in each group for 
funding, this may result in different cut-off points for fundable 
applications in each group.
    4. Special Conditions: Under 34 CFR 74.14 and 80.12, the Secretary 
may impose special conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is 
not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; 
has a financial or other management system that does not meet the 
standards in 34 CFR parts 74 or 80, as applicable; has not fulfilled 
the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

[[Page 13377]]

VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your 
U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award 
Notification (GAN). We may notify you informally, also.
    If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, 
we notify you.
    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify 
administrative and national policy requirements in the application 
package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable 
Regulations section of this notice.
    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of 
an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and 
include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also 
incorporates your approved application as part of your binding 
commitments under the grant.
    3. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, 
you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and 
systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 
should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply 
if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).
    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final 
performance report, including financial information, as directed by the 
Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual 
performance report that provides the most current performance and 
financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 
CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance 
reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, 
please go to http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
    4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and 
Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), the Department has established a set of 
performance measures, including long-term measures, that are designed 
to yield information on various aspects of the effectiveness and 
quality of the Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results 
for Children with Disabilities program. These measures include: (1) The 
percentage of projects that incorporate scientifically based or 
evidence-based practices; (2) the percentage of scholars who exit 
paraprofessional preparation programs prior to completion due to poor 
academic performance; (3) the percentage of degree or certification 
recipients who are working in the area(s) for which they were trained 
upon program completion; (4) the percentage of degree or certification 
recipients who are working in the area(s) for which they were trained 
upon program completion and are fully qualified under IDEA; (5) the 
percentage of scholars completing IDEA-funded preservice preparation 
programs who are knowledgeable and skilled in scientifically based or 
evidence-based practices for children with disabilities; and (6) the 
percentage of program graduates who maintain employment for three or 
more years in the area(s) for which they were trained.
    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, the 
Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.253, the extent to which a 
grantee has made ``substantial progress toward meeting the objectives 
in its approved application.'' This consideration includes the review 
of a grantee's progress in meeting the targets and projected outcomes 
in its approved application, and whether the grantee has expended funds 
in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and 
budget. In making a continuation grant, the Secretary also considers 
whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in 
its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil 
rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities 
receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 
100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

VII. Agency Contact

    For Further Information Contact: Shedeh Hajghassemali, U.S. 
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 4091, Potomac 
Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-
7506.
    If you use a TDD, call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, 
at 1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format 
(e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by 
contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 
20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. If you use a TDD, call the FRS, 
toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the 
Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister. To 
use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at 
this site.

    Note: 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 on GPO Access at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.


    Dated: March 4, 2011.
Alexa Posny,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2011-5704 Filed 3-10-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P