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Frequently Asked Program Related Questions - National Professional Development

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  1. Who is eligible to apply for a grant under the NPD Program?
  2. Where does a potential applicant locate resources, information, on the NPD Program?
  3. What is the purpose of the NPD Program?
  4. What activities are allowable under the NPD Program?
  5. What is GPRA?
  6. How should an applicant address the Government Performance and Results Act(GPRA) measures in its application?
  7. What information may be helpful in preparing an application for the NPD Program?
  8. What information should be included in the management plan?
  9. Is an applicant for the NPD Program required to address all the Competitive or Invitational Priorities for the NPD 2011 application?
  10. What information should be included in the project abstract? The project abstract is a two-page, single-spaced summary of your project.
  11. May an applicant propose training for more than one type of personnel?
  12. How are indirect costs calculated for the NPD Program?
  13. What information would be helpful to applicants in developing and describing their evaluation plan?
  14. Are NPD grantees required to use an independent evaluator?
  15. May applicants submit personnel resumes as an appendix to the application?
  16. Are grantees permitted to use funds for a planning period?
  17. Is a proof of partnership a required part of the application?
  18. If awarded a grant, may a grantee count on receiving funding for the full period of five years?
  19. Is the estimated range of awards $275,000 to $400,000 over the period of five years?
  20. How does an applicant address the Notice to all Applicants, Section 427 of the Department of Education's General Education Provisions Act (GEPA)?
  21. How does an applicant comply with Executive Order 12372, the Intergornermental Review of Federal Programs?
  22. What are the reporting requirements for NPD grantees?
  23. How are applications evaluated for funding?
  24. How long does it take the Department of Education to complete the review process and when will funds be available?
  25. What is the definition of a "local educational agency"?
  26. What is the definition of an "institution of higher education"?
  27. How much time does it take to upload an application?
  28. What should an applicant do in order to submit an electronic application on time?
  29. Does an applicant need to register to apply electronically for the NPD Program?
  30. If my organization registered with the Central Contract Registry last year, do we need to repeat the process?
  31. How long does it take register in Grants.gov?

1. Who is eligible to apply for a grant under the NPD Program?

Only institutions of higher education (IHEs), applying in consortia arrangements with one or more local educational agencies (LEAs) or State educational agencies (SEAs), are eligible to apply for a grant under the NPD Program. This means the IHE would be the lead agency and the fiscal agent for the grant.

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2. Where does a potential applicant locate resources, information, on the NPD Program?

Resources can be found at the following websites: http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/. For guidance on ED's discretionary grant process and the laws and regulations that govern it, please refer to “Grant making at ED: Answers to Your Questions about the Discretionary Grants Process” at: http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/about/grantmaking/index.html

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3. What is the purpose of the NPD Program?

This program provides professional development activities intended to improve instruction for students with limited English proficiency and assists education personnel working with such children to meet high professional standards.

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4. What activities are allowable under the NPD Program?

Allowable activities are those that provide professional development for teachers and other educational personnel who are either serving or preparing to serve LEP students. Such activities may include, but are not limited to:  collaborating with local school districts in designing high-quality professional development activities for new teachers; improving teacher training programs to reflect an aligned system of State English language proficiency standards, content standards and assessments; providing programs to assist regular classroom teachers to meet State certification requirements for teachers of LEP students; providing career ladder programs for paraprofessionals.

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5. What is GPRA?

The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993(GPRA)is a straightforward statute that requires all federal agencies to manage their activities with attention to the consequences of those activities. Each agency is to clearly state what it intends to accomplish, identify the resources required, and periodically report their progress to the Congress.  In so doing, it is expected that the GPRA will contribute to improvements in accountability for the expenditures of public funds, improve Congressional decision-making through more objective information on the effectiveness of federal programs, and promote a new government focus on results, service delivery, and customer satisfaction.

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6. How should an applicant address the Government Performance and Results Act(GPRA) measures in its application?

Applicants should develop measurable project objectives, including benchmarks and associated performance measures, reflecting Program Measures and the NPD GPRA Measures. Applicants should consider objectives in developing the program design, the management plan, the budget, and the evaluation plan.

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7. What information may be helpful in preparing an application for the NPD Program?

In responding to the selection criteria and priorities, applicants may wish to consider the following questions application narrative.

  • What are the specific responsibilities of schools, districts, IHE, SEA in planning, implementing, and evaluating the proposed project?
  • What resources and support will be provided by each of the contributing partners?
  • Do objectives reflect Program Measures and GPRA Measures?
  • How were teachers, administrators and others involved in planning and designing the project?
  • How does the proposed program curriculum reflect State certification requirements, an aligned system of State K-12 English language proficiency standards, content standards and assessments?
  • How does the proposed program curriculum reflect current research on effective strategies for the development of LEP students’ language, literacy and content knowledge, including the development of academic language skills?
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    8. What information should be included in the management plan?

    The management plan describes how and when, in each project budget period, objectives will be met. In addressing this criterion applicants may want to describe project activities, annual timelines, key milestones, persons responsible for each management activity, and the percentage of time that key staff will devote to project activities. In addition applicants may want to describe the roles of the LEA and its SEA partner(s) in each phase of the proposed project.

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    9. Is an applicant for the NPD Program required to address all the Competitive or Invitational Priorities for the NPD 2011 application?

    Submitting an application that addresses all priorities may result in an unfocussed program design.

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    10. What information should be included in the project abstract? The project abstract is a two-page, single-spaced summary of your project.

    The project abstract is a two-page, single-spaced summary of your project. Include the following:

    1) Name of the IHE
    2) Title of the program
    3) Number and type of participants projected to be served by the project (i.e. Higher education faculty, pre-service teachers, in-service teachers):
    -Type and Number of Participants served each year
    -Type and Number of Participants served by the end of the project
    4) Partners: Include applicable Local Educational Agency (LEA), or State Educational Agency (SEA)
    5) Project Description: Summarize project objectives, activities and expected outcomes
    6) Priorities: Indicate which, if any, of the competitive and the invitational priorities your project will address
    7) Contact:  Project Director’s name, telephone and e-mail.

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    11. May an applicant propose training for more than one type of personnel?

    An applicant may propose training for more than one type of educational personnel, for example, IHE faculty that prepare mainstream teachers and in-service content teachers working toward ESL endorsement or certification. In determining the number and of types of personnel to be trained, applicants should consider the identified needs of the districts to be served and the capacity of the institution to provide services for multiple types of educational personnel. In addition, applicants should also consider that service to multiple types of personnel may require goals, objectives, project activities and evaluation activities for each type of personnel it proposes to serve.

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    12. How are indirect costs calculated for the NPD Program?

    If you are requesting reimbursement for indirect costs, this information is to be completed by your Business Office: 1) indicate whether or not your organization has an Indirect Cost Rate Agreement that was approved by the Federal government 2) indicate the beginning and ending dates covered by the Indirect Cost Rate Agreement. In addition, indicate whether ED or another Federal agency issued the approved agreement. An applicant must specify the name of the Federal agency that issued the approved agreement. Indirect costs are limited to 8% on grants under the NPD Program.

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    13. What information would be helpful to applicants in developing and describing their evaluation plan?

    An applicant may want to consider how the evaluation plan is aligned with project goals and activities described in the Quality of Project Design, and how each objective will be evaluated. In addition an applicant may want to explain the quantitative and qualitative data it expects to produce, including data on GPRA measures; how and when data will be collected, analyzed and reported; and how evaluation results will be used to monitor progress and inform instruction and professional development.

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    14. Are NPD grantees required to use an independent evaluator?

    NPD grantees are not required to use an independent evaluator, although many grantees determine that it is helpful to use an external evaluator in collecting, analyzing and reporting annual and final performance data. In selecting an independent evaluator applicants may want to consider an individual’s experience in evaluating NPD grants.

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    15. May applicants submit personnel resumes as an appendix to the application?

    Applicants should address qualifications of personnel in the narrative response to the key personnel criterion. Applicants are requested not to submit resumes, but instead provide position descriptions for key personnel, including current staff, as well as those it expects to recruit. In addition applicants may want to describe relevant training and experience of key personnel who are current employees, which may include, for example, the project director, the project coordinator, project evaluators, and LEA and SEA partner staff.

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    16. Are grantees permitted to use funds for a planning period?

    Grantees are permitted to use funds for a planning period. An applicant that proposes a planning period should describe the activities it proposes to conduct during the planning period. A grantee may, or may not, serve students during a planning period.

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    17. Is a proof of partnership a required part of the application?

    An IHE is required to work in partnership with an LEA or SEA. Applicants may provide verification as to the extent to which each partner in the proposed project is committed to the implementation and success of the project throughout the years proposed in the application. As part of this requirement, the IHE must identify the entity or entities with which it will collaborate and include in its application an assurance from appropriate officials of those entities that will work with the applicant in implementing the proposal. The applicant is asked to submit a one-page letter of commitment from the partner(s) in an appendix to the application narrative.

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    18. If awarded a grant, may a grantee count on receiving funding for the full period of five years?

    The actual level of program funding, if any, depends on final Congressional action each fiscal year and whether substantial progress has been made toward meeting the project objectives and program performance measures.

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    19. Is the estimated range of awards $275,000 to $400,000 over the period of five years?

    The estimated range of awards is $275,000 to $400,000 for each year of the grant.

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    20. How does an applicant address the Notice to all Applicants, Section 427 of the Department of Education's General Education Provisions Act (GEPA)?

    First, read the -- Notice to all Applicants‖ included in the application package. Be sure to note the examples. The required response should include a description of the steps the applicant proposes to take to ensure equitable access to and participation in, its Federally assisted program for students, teachers, and other program beneficiaries with special needs.

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    21. How does an applicant comply with Executive Order 12372, the Intergornermental Review of Federal Programs?

    Applicants must first review the State Single Point of Contact (SPOC) list. The list is available through a website link included in this application package. If a State contact is included in the list, the applicant must contact the SPOC to inquire about, and comply with, the State’s process under Executive Order 12372. If the State requests the application for review, check item #19a on the SF 424 and include the date. A copy of the transmittal letter is not required in your application package. If the program is subject to E.O.12372, but has not been selected for review, check #19b. If the program is not covered by the Executive Order, check #19c.

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    22. What are the reporting requirements for NPD grantees?

    Grantees under the NPD Program must submit a final performance report at the end of the project period, 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 specified by the Secretary in FR 75.118.

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    23. How are applications evaluated for funding?

    Professional Development experts evaluate each application. The experts are required to use the program statute, the program selection criteria, and any priorities and other requirements that have been published in the Federal Register as guidance in reviewing the applications. The review panels provide written comments and scores to support their judgments about the quality and impact of the proposed project.

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    24. How long does it take the Department of Education to complete the review process and when will funds be available?

    Most review processes take about four to six months from the deadline date through the issuance of the signed Grant Award Notification. The list of grantees will be published at http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/.

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    25. What is the definition of a "local educational agency"?

    The term ―local educational agency means a public board of education or other public authority that maintains administrative control of public elementary or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district or other political subdivision of a state. An intermediate unit within a State (e.g., a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (a BOCES), assuming it meets the definition of the term local educational agency, may apply for and receive a grant.

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    26. What is the definition of an "institution of higher education"?

    The ESEA, at Section 9101, defines an IHE as follows: ― (24) INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION- The term institution of higher education' has the meaning given that term in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

    Section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, 20 USC 1001 provides that:
    ― (a) Institution of higher education For purposes of this chapter, other than subchapter IV, the term "institution of higher education" means an educational institution in any State that-
    (1) Admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate;
    (2) Is legally authorized within such State to provide a program of education beyond secondary education;
    (3) Provides an educational program for which the institution awards a bachelor's degree or provides not less than a 2-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward such a degree;
    (4) Is a public or other nonprofit institution; and
    (5) is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association, or if not so accredited, is an institution that has been granted preaccreditation status by such an agency or association that has been recognized by the Secretary for the granting of preaccreditation status, and the Secretary has determined that there is satisfactory assurance that the institution will meet the accreditation standards of such an agency or association within a reasonable time.

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    27. How much time does it take to upload an application?

    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.

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    28. What should an applicant do in order to submit an electronic application on time?

    You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for the NPD Program to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system.

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    29. Does an applicant need to register to apply electronically for the NPD Program?

    Yes. To submit your application via Grants.gov, you must complete all steps in the Grants.gov registration process. These steps include (1) registering your organization, a multi-part process that includes registration with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR); (2) registering yourself as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (3) getting authorized as an AOR by your organization. Details on these steps are outlined in the Grants.gov 3-Step Registration Guide (see http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp). You also must provide on your application the same D-U-N-S Number used with this registration.

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    30. If my organization registered with the Central Contract Registry last year, do we need to repeat the process?

    Yes. You will need to update your CCR registration on an annual basis. This may take three or more business days to complete.

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    31. How long does it take register in Grants.gov?

    The registration process may take five or more business days to complete, and you must have completed all registration steps to allow you to submit successfully an application via Grants.gov.

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    Last Modified: 02/07/2012