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Call for Peer Reviewers

CALL FOR PEER REVIEWERS – Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program FY 2016 U.S. Department of Education Discretionary Grant Competition

Deadline: December 1, 2015

CONTEXT: The purpose of the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program is to improve children’s literacy by providing books and high-quality childhood literacy activities for children and families living in high need communities. The competition is designed so that funds are awarded to entities that have evidence of effectiveness or high-quality plans for addressing childhood literacy activities. At a minimum, proposed projects may include activities that increase access to a wide range of print and electronic resources that provide learning opportunities to all participating students, but particularly those less likely to have access to such materials at home. Additionally, proposed projects may include scientifically research-based formative and summative assessments, including tools to measure growth in student achievement as well as innovative approaches to improving student literacy; provide high-quality, scientifically research based professional development; or support literacy-rich academic and enrichment activities and services aligned with respective statewide literacy plans or district-wide literacy standards.

Eligible grant recipients may include high-need local educational agencies (LEAs), national not-for-profit organizations and consortia of these agencies and organizations. Applicants are required to coordinate with school libraries in developing their grant applications. The Department expects that at least 50% of IAL funds will be awarded to LEAs.

WHO: The U.S. Department of Education (the Department) seeks peer reviewers with demonstrated experience in the following professions: school and public library media specialists, reading and literacy specialists, Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade (PK-12) teachers and administrators, program evaluators, and PK-12 education consultants. The Department seeks reviewers with experience implementing high quality literacy activities. The Department is also seeking reviewers with knowledge of high needs communities and the challenges faced by students and their families. The Department considers reviewers without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, age or disability.

WHAT: The Department will offer peer reviewers and panel facilitators an honorarium. Peer reviewers will independently read, score, and provide written comments for grant applications submitted to the Department under the IAL program. These reviews will be used to recommend applications for funding. Copies of the reviewer’s comments will be shared with respective applicants following the review; however, Personally Identifiable Information will be redacted. Reviewers must adhere to the requirements listed in this Call for Peer Reviewers.

  • Availability: Each reviewer will need to dedicate approximately 50-60 hours of time for reading, scoring, developing comments, and discussing assigned applications over a two-week period, likely during the weeks of March 7 and March 14, 2016. Reviewers must also participate in the Department’s webinar-based technical assistance to prepare for the review. These webinars are tentatively scheduled for February 22 and February 29.
  • Tools: Each reviewer must have access to the Internet, a phone, a printer and have the ability to interact within the web environment. The review will be conducted totally online.
  • Quality of review: Each reviewer must provide detailed, objective, constructive, and timely written reviews for each assigned application.
You have a conflict of interest and may not serve as a reviewer if:
  • An application will be submitted for this competition in which you will benefit financially from grant funds (if awarded).
  • An application will be submitted for this competition in which your spouse will benefit financially from grant funds (if awarded).
  • You will be participating in the development of an application.
You have a conflict of interest, but one that does not necessarily disqualify you from reviewing, if:
  • You are affiliated with an organization plans to submit an application, but you will not benefit financially from that application.
  • Your spouse is affiliated with an organization that plans to submit an application, but he or she will not benefit financially from that application.
  • An applicant names you as a consultant in an application without your prior knowledge.
  • A situation exists that may be perceived as a conflict, such as reviewing proposals from your region of the country, reviewing proposals in which a family member (other than your spouse) stands to benefit financially, reviewing proposals from an organization or individual with whom you are negotiating employment, etc.

TO APPLY: Send an updated resume, in Word or PDF format, to no later than December 1, 2015. Please include the following in the subject line of your e-mail: "2016 IAL Peer Review". Your resume should include:

  • Full Name
  • Education (list all college degrees, with dates of degrees, institutions, and majors must be listed)
  • All professional position titles, descriptions, and dates in chronological order beginning with, or going back to, your first position after receiving your B.A. or B.S.
  • A detailed description of your current organizational affiliation (s) and position title.
  • Telephone numbers (work, home, and fax [if applicable])
  • Home and work mailing addresses
  • Preferred E-mail address

Please note: If you are retired, please make it clear when you retired, and that you are retired at present, and list all consulting positions or other relevant positions you have held since retirement. There is no need to emphasize grant writing or grant reviewing experience. Please provide a full description of your professional work experience and substantive professional experience that are relevant to this type of work. We are interested in all work you have accomplished involving elementary and secondary education, literacy, library science/library-related, technology, and performance-based measurements and outcomes.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy: The Department’s policy is to provide reasonable accommodation for volunteers, part-time employees, student interns, detailees, and temporary employees who are qualified individuals with disabilities, unless doing so poses an undue hardship. After a candidate is notified of his or her appointment as a reviewer, it is the reviewer’s responsibility to inform the Department in a timely manner of any disability that would require a need for reasonable accommodations in order to perform the duties of the position.

If you have any questions about resume requirements or conflict of interest issues, please contact Beth Yeh at or Daphne Kaplan at

Last Modified: 11/16/2015