Promise Neighborhoods

Current Section
 Office of Innovation and Improvement Home
2011 Promise Neighborhoods

CONTEXT: The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), is seeking individuals to serve as peer reviewers for the FY 2011 Promise Neighborhoods planning and implementation grant competitions. Promise Neighborhoods is a competitive grant program that supports cradle-to-career services designed to improve educational and developmental outcomes for students in distressed urban and rural neighborhoods. Evidence shows that children who are low-income and grow up in high-poverty neighborhoods face education and life challenges above and beyond those faced by children who are low-income and grow up in neighborhoods with low levels of poverty. President Obama, the Department, and Congress have responded to this challenge by introducing Promise Neighborhoods to support the transformation of high-poverty communities into communities of opportunity. The Department of Education is pleased that Congress has appropriated nearly $30 million to support a new set of planning grants and implementation grants. Qualified peer reviewers must meet the criteria listed below. NOTE: Even if you applied to be a peer reviewer last year, please complete the Peer Review Application Form as directed below by Monday, August 8, 2011 to be considered for this new competition in 2011.

WHO: We are seeking peer reviewers from various backgrounds and professions, including: State or district education officials, PK-12 teachers and principals, college or university educators, researchers, evaluators, community development practitioners, social entrepreneurs, strategy consultants with experience in the nonprofit or social sectors, and grant makers or managers. Peer reviewers may have expertise in various geographies, including urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities. The selected reviewers should have expertise in at least one of the following areas: education reform, community and youth development, strategy and policy, and grant application review.

Education Reform:

  • Experience designing, evaluating, or implementing effective educational programs (early learning, K-12, or college) that focus on teaching and learning inside and outside of the classroom for underserved neighborhoods or students.

  • Breadth of knowledge about current comprehensive school improvement strategies and research findings, including how to apply those strategies and research findings in a variety of settings.

  • Expertise in effective early learning programs and systems, particularly those for underserved students.

Community and Youth Development:

  • Experience designing, evaluating, or implementing effective community and youth programs for underserved neighborhoods or students (from early learning through college), which may include but not be limited to initiatives in the areas of health, public safety, housing, financial asset building, internet usage and connectivity, arts and humanities, adult education, and community/family engagement.

  • Breadth of knowledge about the current strategies and research findings regarding youth development, and how to apply those strategies and research findings in a variety of settings

  • Understanding of and experience with integrating effective youth and community development programs in schools and education programs.

Strategy and Policy:

  • Knowledge of effective operational and organizational/management infrastructures (e.g. people, processes, accountability structures, technology systems, program and grant management).

  • Knowledge of how to create and implement an effective business plan.

  • Knowledge of or experience with building effective partnerships in a variety of sectors (education, legislative, private sectors, etc.) and successfully engaging diverse groups of stakeholders.

  • Experience building capacity and financial sustainability in organizations.

  • Experience developing policy to support comprehensive community change.


  • Experience reviewing grant applications.

WHAT: Peer reviewers will independently read, score, and provide written comments for planning and/or implementation grant applications submitted to the U.S. Department of Education under the Promise Neighborhoods program. Planning grants are designed to support eligible applicants in the development of plans for a "continuum of cradle-through-college-to-career solutions," with strong schools at the center, so that all children will have the tools, resources, and supports to succeed academically. Implementation grants will support the development and implementation of a continuum of solutions of both educational programs and family and community supports. The application review will be conducted electronically from the reviewer's location.

REQUIREMENTS: In addition to the skills, attributes and expertise highlighted above, peer reviewers must also meet the following requirements:

  • Availability: Reviewers will need to dedicate approximately 50 hours of time for reading, scoring, developing comments, and discussing assigned applications over a three-week period in late September or early October.

  • Tools: Each reviewer must have access to the Internet, a phone, a printer and have the ability to interact within the web environment.

  • Quality of review: Each reviewer must provide detailed, objective, constructive, and timely written reviews for each assigned application. These reviews will be used to recommend applications for funding. They will also be shared with each applicant and the comments regarding winning applicants will be made available to the general public following the reviews. Reviewers' names also will be made public following the announcement of awards.

Reviewers will receive an honorarium for their time and effort, contingent upon satisfactory completion of the above requirements and consistent with the required schedule.

IF INTERESTED: If you would like to be considered as a peer reviewer, please click here and complete the Peer Reviewer Application Form as well as send your resume to the email address provided in the Peer Review Application Form by Monday, August 8, 2011. Please do not exceed the five-page limit for resumes.

If you have any questions about the peer review process, please contact us by email:

PROGRAM INFORMATION: For more information about the Promise Neighborhoods Program, go to

Print this page Printable view Bookmark  and Share
Last Modified: 07/18/2011