[Federal Register: March 28, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 60)]
[Page 15051-15053]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Part III

Department of Education


Technology Innovation Challenge Grants; Inviting Applications for New 
Awards for Fiscal Year 1997; Notice

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[CFDA No. 84.303A]

Technology Innovation Challenge Grants; Notice Inviting 
Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 1997

    Purpose of Program: The Technology Innovation Challenge Grants 
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 
    Eligible Applicants: Only consortia may receive grants under this 
program. Consortia must 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: May 30, 1997.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: July 30, 1997.
    Applications Available: March 31, 1997.
    Estimated Available Funds: $18,000,000.
    Estimated Range of Awards: $500,000 to $1,500,000 per year.
    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $900,000 per year.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 20.
    Project Period: 5 years.

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

    Maximum Award: The Secretary does not consider an application that 
proposes a budget exceeding $1,500,000 for one or more 12-month budget 
    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: It is the policy of the Department of Education 
not to solicit applications before the publication of a final rule. 
However, in this case it is essential to solicit applications at this 
time in order to give applicants sufficient time to prepare 
applications and subsequently to provide sufficient time to review 
applications and select grantees. A notice of proposed selection 
criteria, selection procedures, and application procedures was 
published in the Federal Register on February 26, 1997 (62 FR 8687). At 
this time the Department of Education has received only one 
nonsubstantive comment in response to that notice. If any substantive 
changes are made in the final notice, applicants will be given an 
opportunity to revise or resubmit their applications.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Technology Innovation Challenge 
Grants 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 1997 competition supports the third round of 
grants under this program.

    As catalysts for change, grants under this program support 
communities of educators, parents, industry partners, and others who 
are working to transform their schools into information-age learning 
centers. The Technology Innovation Challenge Grants support the 
development and innovative use of technology and new learning content 
in specific communities. Each effort clearly focuses 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. Technology Innovation Challenge Grant 
communities can 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 communities.
    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 must 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, in the final 
selection of applications for funding the Secretary may consider the 
extent to which each application demonstrates an effective response to 
the learning technology needs of areas with a high number or percentage 
of disadvantaged students or the greatest need for educational 
    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 that agency 
to ensure that students in schools will have meaningful access on a 
regular basis to those 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.

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    Note: Section 14503 of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
Act of 1965, as amended (20 U.S.C. 8893), is applicable to the 
Technology Innovation Challenge Grant Program. Section 14503 
requires that an LEA, SEA, or educational service agency receiving 
financial assistance under this program must provide private 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 Technology Innovation Challenge Grant projects. 
Each application must describe the ways in which the proposed 
project will address the needs of private school children and 

Selection Criteria

    In evaluating applications for grants under this program 
competition, the Secretary has proposed using the following unweighted 
selection criteria, as described in the notice of proposed selection 
criteria, selection procedures, and application procedures for this 
program that will be published in final in a later issue of the Federal 
    (a) Significance. The Secretary reviews each proposed project for 
its significance by determining the extent to which the project--
    (1) Offers a clear vision for the use of technology to help all 
students learn to challenging standards;
    (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 improve teaching and student 
    (4) Will ensure continuous professional development for teachers, 
administrators, and other individuals to further the use of technology 
in the classroom, library, or learning settings in the community;
    (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 among teachers, 
students, parents, and others, which contribute to State or local 
education goals for school improvement, and expand markets for high-
quality educational technology or content;
    (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, 
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 4:00 p.m. (Eastern 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.

    Note: All applications must be received on or before the 
deadline date. This requirement takes exception to EDGAR, 34 CFR 
75.102. In accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (5 
U.S.C. 553), it is the practice of the Secretary to offer interested 
parties the opportunity to comment on proposed regulations. However, 
this amendment makes procedural changes only and does not establish 
new substantive policy. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A), 
proposed rulemaking is not required.
800-872-5327) for applications. For information contact Technology 
Innovation Challenge Grants, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, 
D.C. 20202-5544. Telephone (202) 208-3882. Individuals may fax requests 
for applications to: (202) 208-4042. 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 application notices for discretionary grant competitions, can 
be viewed on the Department's electronic bulletin board (ED Board), 
telephone (202) 260-9950; on the Internet Gopher Server (at gopher://
gcs.ed.gov); or on the World Wide Web (at http://gcs.ed.gov). 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: March 24, 1997.
Marshall Smith,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational Research and Improvement.
[FR Doc. 97-7905 Filed 3-27-97; 8:45 am]