Investing in Innovation Fund (i3)

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Eligibility

Eligibility Criteria

Who May Apply: (by category) Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and Nonprofit organizations

Who May Apply: (specifically) Local Educational Agencies and a partnership between a nonprofit organization and (1) one or more LEAs or (2) a consortium of schools

To be eligible for an award, an eligible applicant must—except as specifically set forth in the Note about Eligibility for an Eligible Applicant that Includes a Nonprofit Organization that follows:

  1. (A) Have significantly closed the achievement gaps between groups of students described in section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA (economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, students with limited English proficiency, students with disabilities); or

    (B) Have demonstrated success in significantly increasing student academic achievement for all groups of students described in that section;

  2. Have made significant improvements in other areas, such as graduation rates or increased recruitment and placement of high-quality teachers and principals, as demonstrated with meaningful data;

  3. Demonstrate that it has established one or more partnerships with the private sector, which may include philanthropic organizations, and that the private sector will provide matching funds in order to help bring results to scale; and

  4. In the case of an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization, provide in the application the names of the LEAs with which the nonprofit organization will partner, or the names of the schools in the consortium with which it will partner. If an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization intends to partner with additional LEAs or schools that are not named in the application, it must describe in the application the demographic and other characteristics of these LEAs and schools and the process it will use to select them.

Note about LEA Eligibility:

For purposes of this program, an LEA is an LEA located within one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Note about Eligibility for an Eligible Applicant that Includes a Nonprofit Organization:

The authorizing statute (as amended) specifies that an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization is considered to have met the requirements in paragraphs (1) and (2) of the eligibility requirements for this program if the nonprofit organization has a record of significantly improving student achievement, attainment, or retention. For an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization, the nonprofit organization must demonstrate that it has a record of significantly improving student achievement, attainment, or retention through its record of work with an LEA or schools. Therefore, an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization does not necessarily need to include as a partner for its Investing in Innovation Fund grant an LEA or a consortium of schools that meets the requirements in paragraphs (1) and (2).

In addition, the authorizing statute (as amended) specifies that an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization is considered to have met the requirements of paragraph (3) of the eligibility requirements for this program if the eligible applicant demonstrates that it will meet the requirement relating to private-sector matching.

Improve Achievement for High-Need Students: All grantees must implement practices that are designed to improve student achievement (as defined in this notice) or student growth (as defined in the 2013 i3 NFP*), close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, increase high school graduation rates (as defined in the 2013 i3 NFP), or increase college enrollment and completion rates for high-need students (as defined in the i3 2013 NFP).

Serve Kindergarten-through-Grade-12 (K-12) Students: All grantees must implement practices that serve students who are in grades K-12 at some point during the funding period. To meet this requirement, projects that serve early learners (i.e., infants, toddlers, or preschoolers) must provide services or supports that extend into kindergarten or later years, and projects that serve postsecondary students must provide services or supports during the secondary grades or earlier.

Evidence Standards: To be eligible for an award, an application for a Development grant must be supported by one of the following:

  1. Evidence of promise (as defined in the 2013 i3 NFP);
  2. Strong theory (as defined in the 2013 i3 NFP); or
  3. Evidence of promise (as defined i the 2013 i3 NFP) strong theory (as defined in the 2013 i3 NFP).

The Secretary will announce in the notice inviting applications which options will be used as the evidence standard for a Development grant in a given competition. Note that under (c), applicants must identify whether the application is supported by evidence of promise (as defined in the 2013 i3 NFP) or strong theory (as defined in the 2013 i3 NFP).

To be eligible for an award, an application for a Validation grant must be supported by moderate evidence of effectiveness (as defined in the 2013 i3 NFP).

To be eligible for an award, an application for a Scale-up grant must be supported by strong evidence of effectiveness (as defined in the 2013 i3 NFP).

Funding Categories: An applicant will be considered for an award only for the type of i3 grant (i.e., Development, Validation, and Scale-up) for which it applies. An applicant may not submit an application for the same proposed project under more than one type of grant.

Cost Sharing or Matching: To be eligible for an award, an applicant must demonstrate that one or more private sector organizations, which may include philanthropic organizations, will provide matching funds in order to help bring project results to scale. An eligible applicant must obtain matching funds or in-kind donations equal to an amount that the Secretary will specify in the notice inviting applications for the specific i3 competition. The Secretary will announce in the notice inviting applications when and how selected eligible applicants must submit evidence of the private-sector matching funds.

Subgrants: In the case of an eligible applicant that is a partnership between a nonprofit organization and (1) one or more LEAs or (2) a consortium of schools, the partner serving as the applicant and, if funded, as the grantee, may make subgrants to one or more entities in the partnership.

Limits on Grant Awards: (a) No grantee may receive more than two new grant awards of any type under the i3 program in a single year; (b) In any two-year period, no grantee may receive more than one new Scale-up or Validation grant; and (c) No grantee may receive in a single year new i3 grant awards that total an amount greater than the sum of the maximum amount of funds for a Scale-up grant and the maximum amount of funds for a Development grant for that year.

Evaluation: The grantee must conduct an independent evaluation (as defined in the 2013 i3 NFP) of its project. This evaluation must estimate the impact of the i3-supported practice (as implemented at the proposed level of scale) on a relevant outcome (as defined in the 2013 i3 NFP). The grantee must make broadly available digitally and free of charge, through formal (e.g., peer-reviewed journals) or informal (e.g., newsletters) mechanisms, the results of any evaluations it conducts of its funded activities. For Scale-up and Validation grants, the grantee must also ensure that the data from its evaluation are made available to third-party researchers consistent with applicable privacy requirements.

In addition, the grantee and its independent evaluator must agree to cooperate with any technical assistance provided by the Department or its contractor and comply with the requirements of any evaluation of the program conducted by the Department. This includes providing to the Department, within 100 days of a grant award, an updated comprehensive evaluation plan in a format and using such tools as the Department may require. Grantees must update this evaluation plan at least annually to reflect any changes to the evaluation. All of these updates must be consistent with the scope and objectives of the approved application.

Participation in "Communities of Practice": Grantees must participate in, organize, or facilitate, as appropriate, communities of practice for the i3 program. A community of practice is a group of grantees that agrees to interact regularly to solve a persistent problem or improve practice in an area that is important to them.

Management Plan: Within 100 days of a grant award, the grantee must provide an updated comprehensive management plan for the approved project in a format and using such tools as the Department may require. This management plan must include detailed information about implementation of the first year of the grant, including key milestones, staffing details, and other information that the Department may require. It must also include a complete list of performance metrics, including baseline measures and annual targets. The grantee must update this management plan at least annually to reflect implementation of subsequent years of the project.

*The link to 2013 i3 NFP can be found HERE.


 
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Last Modified: 03/27/2013