Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria-Investing in Innovation Fund, 18681-18709 [2013-07016]

Download as PDF Vol. 78 Wednesday, No. 59 March 27, 2013 Part II Department of Education srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 34 CFR Subtitle A Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria—Investing in Innovation Fund; Applications for New Awards; Investing in Innovation Fund, Development Grants; Rule and Notice VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4717 Sfmt 4717 E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 18682 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Subtitle A RIN 1855–AA09 [Docket No. ED–2012–OII–0027] Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria— Investing in Innovation Fund Office of Innovation and Improvement, Department of Education. ACTION: Final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria. AGENCY: [CFDA Numbers: 84.411A, 84.411B, and 84.411C] SUMMARY: The Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement announces priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria under the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3). The Assistant Deputy Secretary may use one or more of these priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2013 and later years. We clarify and redesign key aspects of the program by incorporating lessons learned from past i3 competitions. Specifically, we intend to improve the i3 program to better achieve its purposes and goal by making changes that will result in accelerating the identification of promising solutions to pressing challenges in K–12 public education, supporting the evaluation of the efficacy of such solutions, and developing new approaches to scaling effective practices to serve more students. DATES: These priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria are effective April 26, 2013. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carol Lyons, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4W203 LBJ, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 453–7122 or by email: i3@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1–800–877– 8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Executive Summary Purpose of This Regulatory Action: The purpose of this action is to establish priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria that will enable effective grant making, resulting in the selection of high-quality applicants who propose to implement activities that are most likely to have a significant national impact on educational reform and VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 improvement. This document refines the selection criteria for the i3 program to better articulate the expectations for the three types of i3 grants, provides greater clarity regarding the program’s evidence standards, widens the range of these standards by broadening the types of evidence that can be used to support Development grants, and identifies a comprehensive set of priorities that the Secretary may select from to use in an i3 grant competition for any given year. Summary of the Major Provisions of This Regulatory Action: This document establishes priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria that allow the Department to improve the design of the i3 program to better achieve its purposes and goals. This document includes 11 priorities that the Secretary may select from when establishing priorities for each type of grant (i.e., Development, Validation, and Scale-up) in an i3 competition in a given year. These priorities represent a range of education topics: • Improving the effectiveness of teachers or principals; • Improving low-performing schools; • Improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education; • Improving academic outcomes for students with disabilities; • Improving academic outcomes for English learners (ELs); • Improving parent and family engagement; • Improving cost-effectiveness and productivity; • Effective use of technology; • Enabling broad adoption of effective practices; serving rural communities; and • Supporting novice applicants. Of these priorities, ten were proposed and one is added in response to public comment. Specifically, in order to expand the reach of the i3 program and encourage entities that have not applied previously for an i3 grant, we add a priority for ‘‘novice i3 applicants,’’ meaning applicants that have never received an i3 grant. The Secretary will consider several factors when selecting the priorities to use in a given competition, including the Department’s policy priorities, the need for new solutions in a particular priority area, the availability of other funding sources to support a particular priority area, and the results and lessons learned from i3 competitions. This document also clarifies and strengthens the requirements and definitions for the i3 program. For example, the i3 program focuses on K– 12 public education. Therefore, we clarify that all i3 grantees must PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 implement practices that serve students who are in grades K–12 at some point during the funding period. Further, we strengthen the project evaluation requirement so that i3 grantees will conduct high-quality evaluations that rigorously measure the effect of an i3supported practice, at the proposed level of scale, on a relevant outcome (as defined in this document). We also revise the evidence standards and definitions so that applicants can better understand what is required to meet each level of evidence. Finally, this document establishes new selection criteria designed to ensure that applications selected for funding have the potential to generate substantial improvements in student achievement and other key outcomes and include well-articulated plans for the implementation and evaluation of the proposed project. Specifically, we include selection factors that consider a proposed project’s significance, the quality of the project design, the management plan, and the project evaluation, as well as the qualifications of key personnel. This document includes some revisions from the proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria (NPP) (published in the Federal Register on December 14, 2012 (77 FR 74407)). We discuss changes from the NPP in greater detail in the Analysis of Comments and Changes. We do not discuss minor technical or editorial changes. Costs and Benefits: The Secretary believes that these priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria do not impose significant costs on eligible local educational agencies (LEAs), nonprofit organizations, or other entities that would receive assistance through the i3 program. The Secretary believes that the costs imposed on applicants by these priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria are limited to paperwork burden related to preparing an application and that the benefits of implementing them outweigh any costs incurred by applicants. The costs of carrying out activities would be paid for with program funds and with matching funds provided by private-sector partners. Thus, the costs of implementation would not be a burden for any eligible applicants, including small entities. Please refer to the Regulatory Impact Analysis section in this preamble for a more complete discussion of the costs and benefits of this regulatory action. This document provides an accounting statement that estimates that approximately $140 million will E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations transfer from the Federal Government to LEAs and nonprofit organizations under this program. Please refer to the accounting statement in this preamble for a more detailed discussion. Purpose of Program: The i3 program is designed to generate and validate solutions to persistent educational challenges and to support the expansion of effective solutions across the country to serve substantially larger numbers of students. The central design element of the i3 program is its multi-tier structure that links the amount of funding that an applicant may receive to the quality of the evidence supporting the efficacy of the proposed project. Applicants proposing practices supported by limited evidence can receive relatively small grants that support the development and initial evaluation of promising practices and help to identify new solutions to pressing challenges; applicants proposing practices supported by evidence from rigorous evaluations, such as large randomized controlled trials, can receive sizable grants to support expansion across the Nation. This structure provides incentives for applicants to build evidence of effectiveness of their proposed projects and to address the barriers to serving more students across schools, districts, and States so that applicants can compete for more sizeable grants. As importantly, all i3 projects are required to generate additional evidence of effectiveness. All i3 grantees must use part of their budgets to conduct independent evaluations (as defined in this document) of their projects. This ensures that projects funded under the i3 program contribute significantly to improving the information available to practitioners and policymakers about which practices work, for which types of students, and in what contexts. The Department awards three types of grants under this program: ‘‘Development’’ grants, ‘‘Validation’’ grants, and ‘‘Scale-up’’ grants. These grants differ in terms of the level of prior evidence of effectiveness required for consideration of funding, the level of scale the funded project should reach, and consequently the amount of funding available to support the project. We provide an overview to clarify the expectations for each grant type: 1. Development grants provide funding to support the development or testing of practices that are supported by evidence of promise (as defined in this document) or strong theory (as defined in this document) and whose efficacy should be systematically studied. Development grants will support new or substantially more effective practices for VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 addressing widely shared challenges. Development projects are novel and significant nationally, not projects that simply implement existing practices in additional locations or support needs that are primarily local in nature. All Development grantees must evaluate the effectiveness of the project at the level of scale proposed in the application. 2. Validation grants provide funding to support expansion of projects supported by moderate evidence of effectiveness (as defined in this document) to the national or regional level (as defined in this document). Validation grants must further assess the effectiveness of the i3-supported practice through a rigorous evaluation, with particular focus on the populations for and the contexts in which the practice is most effective. We expect and consider it appropriate that each applicant will propose to use the Validation funding to build its capacity to deliver the i3-supported practice, particularly early in the funding period, to successfully reach the level of scale proposed in its application. Additionally, we expect each applicant to address any specific barriers to the growth or scaling of the organization or practice (including barriers related to cost-effectiveness) in order to deliver the i3-supported practice at the proposed level of scale and provide strategies to address these barriers as part of its proposed scaling plan. All Validation grantees must evaluate the effectiveness of the practice that the supported project implements and expands. We expect that these evaluations will be conducted in a variety of contexts and for a variety of students, will identify the core elements of the practice, and will codify the practices to support adoption or replication by the applicant and other entities. 3. Scale-up grants provide funding to support expansion of projects supported by strong evidence of effectiveness (as defined in this document) to the national level (as defined in this document). In addition to improving outcomes for an increasing number of high-need students, Scale-up grants will generate information about the students and contexts for which a practice is most effective. We expect that Scale-up grants will increase practitioners’ and policymakers’ understanding of strategies that allow organizations or practices to expand quickly and efficiently while maintaining their effectiveness. Similar to Validation grants, all Scaleup grantees must evaluate the effectiveness of the i3-supported PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18683 practice that the project implements and expands; this is particularly important in instances in which the proposed project includes changing the i3supported practice in order to more efficiently reach the proposed level of scale (for example, by developing technology-enabled training tools). The evaluation of a Scale-up grant must identify the core elements of, and codify, the i3-supported practice that the project implements to support adoption or replication by other entities. We also expect that evaluations of Scale-up grants will be conducted in a variety of contexts and for a variety of students in order to determine the context(s) and population(s) for which the i3-supported practice is most effective. Program Authority: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Division A, Section 14007, Pub. L. 111–5. We published a notice of proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for this program in the Federal Register on December 14, 2012 (77 FR 74407). That notice contained background information and our reasons for proposing the particular priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria. Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria, 37 parties submitted comments. We group major issues according to subject. Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes. Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and of any changes in the priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria since publication of the proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria follows. Priorities Priorities—General Comment: Two commenters expressed support for the i3 program’s proposed approach of selecting from a variety of priorities, each containing several possible project focus areas, rather than using broad priorities as we have in the past. One commenter stated that the approach was strategic and would allow the Department to consider the sequencing of priority areas across years. One commenter stated that the proposed approach would allow flexibility and creativity that would facilitate wholesale transformation of the education field. Two commenters disagreed with the proposed approach. One stated that allowing the Department to select from a wide range of priorities and focus E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 18684 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations areas renders the priorities meaningless, and recommended that the Department focus on a smaller range of priorities that are designed to close achievement gaps in low-performing schools. Another commenter expressed concern that the Department’s proposed approach would narrow the range of projects funded under the i3 program by limiting the focus of the priorities to preconceived ideas of what works best in education. The commenter suggested that focusing on areas of acute need or encouraging applicants to address particular challenges would disadvantage applicants proposing more comprehensive approaches. Discussion: We appreciate the support from commenters regarding the proposed structure of the priorities. The flexibility to select from a variety of possible project focus areas (i.e., the subparts under each priority) within a given priority will allow the Secretary to prioritize areas based on the education environment in a given year. This flexibility will ensure that the i3 program reflects priorities that are important and relevant to the field on an ongoing basis. We recognize that the priorities have several subparts; however the priorities will not be rendered meaningless because the notice inviting applications for each competition will provide a concise list of the priorities that establish a coherent and manageable focus. Further, we do not agree that this approach will narrow the range of projects funded under the i3 program, nor will it disadvantage comprehensive projects because the priorities— although specific about the need or challenge a project must address—do not prescribe the intervention or practice that an applicant could propose. Moreover, the i3 program may include a broader priority if the particular issue warrants it. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter stated that achieving college, career, and citizenship-ready skills should be the core focus of the i3 program. The commenter explained that these skills are necessary for deeper learning and lifelong success. The commenter suggested that requiring all i3 projects to produce measures aligned with these outcomes would benefit the i3 program because the Department could then make comparisons across projects. Discussion: We agree that it is essential for students to be prepared to think critically, solve complex problems, and communicate effectively. While these ‘‘deeper learning’’ skills are important for long-term success, given the diversity of the projects under the i3 VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 program, applicants have discretion in determining the specific outcomes and measures that are relevant to their proposed projects. Moreover, nothing in the authorizing statute or the priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria for this program prohibits eligible applicants from using deeper learning outcomes to evaluate their projects. In addition, subparts (d) and (e) of proposed priority 8 (Effective Use of Technology) are explicitly focused on the types of skills that are of interest to the commenter. Further, ARRA established the i3 program to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to improve student achievement or student growth, close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, or increase high school graduation rates. Although we are not requiring all applicants to respond to any one specific measure, all i3 grantees are required to implement practices that are designed to improve one of these measures for high-need students (as defined in this document). By providing grantees the discretion to determine which measure is most appropriate to their projects, we avoid compelling grantees to adopt measures that do not fit their project and strike a reasonable balance between providing an opportunity to compare similar projects without greatly limiting the types of projects that we could fund. Changes: None. Comment: A few commenters recommended the Department add other priorities, including priorities that focus on improving college access, transitioning between secondary and postsecondary schooling, promoting diversity, and implementing new models for teaching and learning that are based on the science of learning and research on youth development. One commenter noted the absence of a priority focused on assessment literacy and suggested that the Department either create an additional priority focused on building educators’ assessment literacy or include references to assessment literacy in proposed priorities 1 (Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals), 2 (Improving Low-Performing Schools), 3 (Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education), and 5 (Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners (ELs)), as well as the definitions of ‘‘highly effective teacher’’ and ‘‘highly effective principal.’’ The commenter also discussed the Accessible Portable Item Profile (APIP) standards and the importance of ensuring that the delivery of digital test content is tailored to each PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 student’s specific accessibility needs so that students can demonstrate what they know and can do. The commenter suggested the Department consider whether the use of APIP should be a separate priority or a requirement for any applicant addressing proposed priorities 2 (Improving Low-Performing Schools), 4 (Improving Academic Outcomes for Students with Disabilities), 5 (Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners (ELs)), 7 (Improving Cost Effectiveness and Productivity), and 8 (Effective Use of Technology). Discussion: Although we recognize the importance of the issues and topics mentioned by the commenters, we decline to include additional priorities or revise the proposed priorities in the ways suggested. As noted in the NPP, in any i3 competition we may include priorities from the notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637) (Supplemental Priorities). Because the Supplemental Priorities include priorities on increasing postsecondary success, including the academic preparation for and persistence in postsecondary education, and promoting diversity, we conclude that it is not necessary for the Department to develop new priorities to address these areas here. In addition, there is nothing in the priorities that would preclude an eligible applicant from proposing projects that promote school and classroom diversity, provided that the proposed project otherwise meets the requirements in the relevant priority. Further, because promoting diversity aligns with many of the other priorities we establish, we do not think it is necessary to add a new priority to address this topic. We also do not consider it necessary to create a separate priority that focuses on new models for teaching and learning because many of the priorities in this document would allow applicants to propose new models for teaching and learning while addressing a content-specific challenge. For example, under priority 1 (Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals), we include a subpart on developing new models for teacher preparation. Similarly, under priority 9 (Effective Use of Technology), we include a subpart on developing and implementing technology-enabled strategies for teaching and learning concepts and content that are difficult to teach using traditional approaches. We E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations think that the development and implementation of new models for teaching and learning is most effective when the models address a specific challenge. With regard to the recommendation that we include assessment literacy in several priority areas, although we agree that it is important for teachers and principals to understand and use data and assessment results to improve teaching, we do not think it is necessary to prescribe assessment literacy as a requirement because nothing prohibits applicants from addressing it under the priorities as written. Similarly, with regard to the APIP standards, we agree that assessments should be designed to be accessible to all students and that the use of standards to ensure interoperability is critical to the portability of assessments. While we expect any i3 grant that is developing and implementing assessments to consider accessibility standards, given the variety of projects that can be funded under the i3 program, we do not think it is appropriate for the Department to prescribe a specific set of standards. Changes: None. Comment: Four commenters suggested revisions to several of the proposed priorities that would encourage the use of the principles of universal design for learning (UDL). Specifically, these commenters provided revised text incorporating UDL into subparts under proposed priorities 1 (Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals), 2 (Improving Low-Performing Schools), 3 (Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education), 4 (Improving Academic Outcomes for Students with Disabilities), 5 (Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners (ELs)), 6 (Improving Parent and Family Engagement), and 8 (Effective Use of Technology). One commenter explained that these revisions would support the inclusion of students with disabilities and their interests in general education and the i3 program. Discussion: There is nothing in the priorities precluding an eligible applicant from proposing projects that use principles of UDL or that support greater inclusion of students with disabilities, provided that the proposed project otherwise meets the requirements of the relevant priority. Given the variety of projects that can be funded under the i3 program and our intent to maximize the number of potential applicants, we do not want to prescribe a specific principle of learning. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 Changes: None. Comment: One commenter recommended the Department revise priorities 1 (Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals), 3 (Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education), 5 (Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners (ELs)), and 8 (Effective Use of Technology) to add specific references to the use of high-quality, multiplatform digital content and services. The commenter explained that digital tools make learning accessible to all students and are essential to teacher preparation and development. Further, the commenter stated that multiplatform digital content improves the services provided to students with different learning needs. Discussion: There is nothing in these priorities that would preclude an eligible applicant from proposing projects that utilize multiplatform digital content and services, provided that the proposed project otherwise meets the requirements of the relevant priority. Given the variety of projects that can be funded under the i3 program and our intent to maximize the number of potential applicants, we do not want to prescribe specific tools or approaches that must be used. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter supported the inclusion of subparts focused on capacity building in proposed priority 2 (Improving Low-Performing Schools) and recommended the Department include similar provisions under proposed priorities 1 (Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals), 3 (Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education), 4 (Improving Academic Outcomes for Students with Disabilities), 5 (Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners (ELs)), and 6 (Improving Parent and Family Engagement). The commenter stated that projects under these priorities would benefit from a similar capacity building to support external relationships at the partner, district, or State level. Discussion: The i3 program supports the expansion and scaling of effective programs by providing sufficient funding to build organizational capacity and to overcome barriers to reaching additional students. The different tiers of i3 grants provide a continuum for funding effective programs that spans initial, localized development to implementation on a national scale. The hope is that more effective practices will replace less effective practices and lead to increases in student achievement and improvements in other student PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18685 outcomes. Thus, a general expectation under the i3 program, particularly for the Scale-up and Validation grants, is that applicants consider how to build their capacity both internally and externally to scale their projects to serve more students. For that reason, we do not think it is necessary to include subparts in all of the priorities identified by the commenter in order to encourage grantees to build external relationships. Additionally, one of the goals of the i3 program is to demonstrate how to effectively build capacity amongst key entities in K–12 public education (e.g., educators, schools, parents) in order to improve student achievement for highneed students. However, the Department believes that this is best accomplished without being overly prescriptive about the role of outside entities. We proposed two subparts under priority 2 (Improving Low-Performing Schools) that are specific to capacity building and external partners because initiatives to turn around lowperforming schools often benefit from the involvement of diverse stakeholders. To clarify that the intent of these subparts is to improve school-, district-, and State-level capacity to support school turnaround efforts, we are making technical revisions to subparts (e) and (f) of the priority. Changes: We have revised subpart (e) under priority 2 (Improving LowPerforming Schools) to clarify that projects must support the efforts of lowperforming schools or districts in their turnaround efforts by increasing access to, and use of, high-quality partners. We also have revised subpart (f) under this priority to clarify that projects must be designed to increase district- or Statelevel capacity to turn around lowperforming schools, which would encompass, among other things, improvements to State and district support and oversight of turnaround efforts. Comment: One commenter questioned whether the Department has the authority to include priorities or definitions that reference diverse student populations, racial and ethnic groups, and gender. The commenter further stated that it is generally illegal for government programs to show favoritism or use classifications based on race, ethnicity, or sex. Discussion: We agree that priority 3 (Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education), and the requirement that all i3 grants implement projects that are designed to improve student achievement for high-need students (as E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 18686 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations defined in this document) support investments in and encourage innovative strategies that are designed to increase access to rigorous educational opportunities for high-need students or individuals traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. However, we do not agree that this priority and requirement show any favoritism toward a specific population group. Furthermore, recipients of any Department of Education funding, including i3 funds, must comply with all of the nondiscrimination requirements set forth in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. On December 2, 2011, the Departments of Education and Justice jointly issued guidance that explains how educational institutions can use generalized racebased approaches (i.e., approaches that employ racial criteria, such as the overall racial composition of neighborhoods, but do not involve decision-making on the basis of any individual student’s race or treat individual students differently because of their race) within the framework of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The ‘‘Guidance on the Voluntary Use of Race to Achieve Diversity and Avoid Racial Isolation in Elementary and Secondary Schools’’ is available on the Department’s Web site at www.ed.gov/ ocr/docs/guidance-ese-201111.pdf. For additional information and assistance on civil rights laws that may impose additional requirements on recipients and subrecipients of Federal financial assistance, visit www2.ed.gov/policy/ gen/leg/recovery/notices/civilrights.html. Changes: None. Comment: In response to the Department’s specific request for comment, a few commenters supported the establishment of a priority for applicants that have never received, or partnered with, an entity that has received a grant under the i3 program. The commenters stated that such a priority would increase the pool of innovative applicants. However, one commenter expressed concern that such a priority would discourage applicants from partnering with multiple entities. The commenter also suggested that entities proposing to provide effective services to students should be encouraged to continue to partner with multiple entities regardless of whether they have been part of an i3 grant in the past. Discussion: We recognize that the dual goals of supporting practices that are both innovative and evidence-based VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 have the potential to limit the universe of applicants. In order to expand the reach of the i3 program and encourage entities that have not applied previously for an i3 grant, we will add a priority for ‘‘novice i3 applicants,’’ meaning applicants that have never received an i3 grant. Although this priority will provide an incentive for new applicants, we do not think it will discourage applicants with multiple partners from applying for i3 grants, particularly given the high volume of applications the i3 program, particularly the Development grant competition, typically receives. However, because we do not want to discourage applicants from seeking partnerships, we will focus the priority only on entities that have never received an i3 grant directly. Changes: We have established a priority (Supporting Novice i3 Applicants) for an eligible applicant that has never directly received a grant under this program. We may use this priority to establish a separate competition for applicants that have never received an i3 grant or to select an application that meets this priority over an application of comparable merit that does not meet this priority (see 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)). Proposed Priority 1—Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals Comment: One commenter recommended including this priority because it supports projects that will bring more highly effective teachers into high-need schools. Discussion: We appreciate the commenter’s support for this priority, and agree with the importance of ensuring that students have access to highly effective teachers and principals. That is why this priority focuses on all dimensions of the teacher and principal career path and seeks to identify effective methods for recruiting, preparing, supporting, evaluating, and retaining effective principals and teachers, particularly at schools that serve high-need students. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter proposed specific revisions to several of the subparts under this priority to focus more on school leadership, including developing new or improved models for principal preparation, such as leading instruction, aligning resources across classrooms, managing talent, and increasing teacher retention. The commenter proposed adding a new subpart to support projects that develop models of teacher and principal certification and licensure. The commenter also suggested that we revise subpart (c) to include models for the PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 induction and support of novice principals in addition to novice teachers. Discussion: We agree with the commenter about the importance of strong school leadership. Therefore, we have revised the priority to include a new subpart that specifically focuses on principal preparation and to clarify that projects under subpart (c) may propose models of induction and support that serve either teachers or principals. However, we decline to add a subpart regarding the development of models for teacher and principal certification and licensures. Certification and licensure are typically State-level functions, and it is not clear that an applicant for an i3 program could or should develop such models, particularly as eligible entities for i3 grants do not include State agencies. Changes: We have created a new subpart (c) that specifically focuses on principal preparation and training. Additionally, we have revised proposed subpart (c) to include models of induction and support that serve principals and re-designated it as subpart (d). With the addition of the new subpart, we re-designate proposed subparts (d)–(i) so that they are now labeled (e)–(j), respectively. Comment: One commenter recommended that the Department require that projects focus on the recruitment of teachers to also address teacher retention. The commenter stated that the greater challenge in high-need, low-performing schools is teacher retention. Thus, according to the commenter, in order for recruitment efforts to be cost-effective, projects must also include components that provide ongoing investment in newly recruited teachers to ensure that they remain in the profession for a minimum of three to five years. The commenter also suggested that this priority focus on programs that begin recruitment and preparation for future teachers as early as middle and high school. Discussion: We agree with the commenter that recruitment without effective induction, support, or other retention strategies would have a limited impact. However, we also recognize that the parties responsible for recruitment tend to be different than those responsible for retention. That is why we include different subparts under the priority to focus on the different dimensions of a teacher’s career path. Although subpart (a) focuses on recruitment models and subpart (d) (initially proposed as subpart (c)) addresses models of induction and support to increase teacher retention, nothing in either E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations subpart prohibits an applicant from proposing to address both recruitment and retention. With regard to adding a subpart to this priority for projects that begin teacher recruitment as early as middle or high school, it is not clear that a project with this approach could be implemented and evaluated in the maximum funding period for a grant. The Department’s current regulations authorize the Secretary to approve a project period up to 60 months (see 34 CFR 75.250). As most teachers complete postsecondary education, a project focusing on teacher recruitment with middle school students would need a minimum of 120 months (assuming one year of middle school, four years of high school, four years of postsecondary education, and one year of work). Thus, the necessary project period would be significantly longer than what the Department’s current regulations allow and we do not think it would be prudent to add a subpart that would require a waiver of the regulations in order to use it. In addition, we are not aware of research that indicates that recruitment at such an early age is likely to be particularly effective. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter suggested revising subpart (b) of this priority to specify that teacher training include practices addressing family and community engagement. Discussion: We agree with the commenter about the importance of including parent and community engagement in teacher training programs. However, we think that training is most effective when it is specific to the needs of the students and the surrounding community. For that reason, we already include teacher training related to parent and family engagement at the school- or districtlevel instead of the pre-service or preparation stage. Specifically, subpart (b) under priority 6 (Improving Parent and Family Engagement) would support projects implementing initiatives that are designed to enhance skills and competencies of school staff to build relationships and collaborate with families. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter suggested revising proposed subpart (f) to specify that the supports must be evidencebased and address cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral barriers to student achievement. The commenter also recommended adding a new subpart under this priority for projects that develop high-quality pathways into schools. These would include nonuniversity-based programs that recruit, VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 select, train, and recommend teachers or principals to the State for certification and licensure, and full-time residency programs that develop national service members, community volunteers, and part-time educators to become credentialed teachers. Discussion: The i3 program already requires that all projects meet certain evidence standards. Therefore, we do not think it is necessary to specify in this priority that the projects must be evidence-based. With regard to the second recommendation, as nonuniversity-based programs could address subpart (a) under this priority, we do not think it is necessary to create a separate subpart that targets a specific type of entity or program. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter recommended that proposed subpart (g), increasing the equitable distribution of effective teachers or principals across schools, should also include efforts to increase the actual number of effective teachers within a high-need district. The commenter noted that, without an equal emphasis on increasing the number of effective teachers, a project could meet this priority by redistributing a relatively small number of highly effective teachers. The commenter stated that professional learning communities and induction programs for early career teachers should be supported in order to increase the number of effective teachers within a high-need district. Discussion: We agree with the commenter that the initial wording for proposed subpart (g) (now subpart (h)) could result in projects that redistribute only a small number of highly effective teachers without significantly increasing students’ access to them. Therefore, we have revised the subpart to focus on student access to effective teachers or principals. We also agree with the commenter about the importance of increasing the total number of effective teachers in high-need districts. However, as subparts (b), (c), and (g) (initially proposed as subpart (f)) would support projects designed to increase the number of highly effective teachers, we do not think it is necessary to include the specific strategies recommended by the commenter in current subpart (h) (initially proposed as subpart (g)). Changes: We have revised current subpart (h) (initially proposed as subpart (g)) under this priority to clarify that projects addressing this subpart must increase the equitable access to effective teachers or principals for lowincome and high-need students, which may include increasing the equitable PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18687 distribution of effective teachers or principals for low-income and highneed students across schools. Comment: None. Discussion: Under this priority, subpart (i) (initially proposed as subpart (h)) addresses the development and implementation of models that improve school conditions for teaching and learning. We intend for this subpart to promote the development and implementation of projects that allow highly effective teachers to serve more students. With this change, we have removed the explicit reference to improving conditions for teaching and learning because we consider it to be included in the identified strategies. For example, a new staffing model that relieves effective teachers of some of their administrative responsibilities in order to enable them to teach online classes to students in another school could extend the influence of highly effective teachers. We also have revised this subpart to clarify that, in addressing this subpart, projects could focus on developing and implementing strategies that allow effective teachers either to serve more students or reduce the burdens or challenges that impede them from doing so. Changes: We have revised subpart (i) (initially proposed as subpart (h)) to clarify the types of projects it is intended to address. Specifically, this subpart will support projects that extend highly effective teachers’ reach to serve more students, including strategies such as new course designs, staffing models, technology platforms, or new opportunities for collaboration that allow highly effective teachers to reach more students, or approaches or tools that reduce administrative and other burdens while maintaining or improving teacher effectiveness and efficiency. Comment: One commenter stated that the demographic shift in the Nation is increasing the number of multilingual and multicultural classrooms and recommended that the Department address this shift by incorporating language into this priority addressing preparing teachers to work with diverse populations. Discussion: We agree that it is important that teachers are prepared to work with diverse student populations, particularly given current demographic shifts. There is nothing that would preclude an eligible applicant from proposing projects that improve the effectiveness of teachers by increasing their ability to work with diverse student populations. However, in order to ensure flexibility for all potential applicants responding to this priority, E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 18688 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations we decline to specify the types of student populations, which could include diverse student populations, with whom teachers must be prepared work. Changes: None. Comment: Two commenters proposed the addition of a new subpart for projects that would improve the development of teachers and external partners working to implement expanded learning opportunities in schools. Another commenter expressed support for several of the subparts but recommended the addition of a new subpart for projects that develop models for labor-management partnerships designed to improve teacher effectiveness by having expert teachers mentor and evaluate their peers. Discussion: The commenters’ recommendations for new subparts are already addressed by other priorities. For example, subpart (a) of priority 2 (Improving Low-Performing Schools) supports projects that expand learning opportunities for both teachers and students. Similarly, applicants could propose projects that focus on labormanagement partnerships and peer evaluations under subpart (f) (initially proposed as subpart (e)), provided the proposed projects otherwise meet the requirements of the subpart. Thus, we do not think it is necessary to add new subparts under priority 1 (Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals). Changes: None. Comment: One commenter expressed concern that this priority does not encourage teachers to use practices that would drive the development and implementation of new ‘‘learning environments.’’ The commenter recommended the i3 program support projects that would equip teachers with knowledge of the science of learning and youth development and with the skills needed to analyze data and develop assessments, to advance the use of expanded learning time, to collaborate effectively, and to make better use of technology. Discussion: We agree that it is important for teachers to have the knowledge and skills suggested by the commenter. However, because these topics are addressed in other priorities, we decline to add additional subparts under this priority. For example, priority 2 (Improving Low-Performing Schools) includes subparts that focus on extending and enhancing learning time and priority 8 (Effective Use of Technology) includes subparts that focus on developing methods and resources to increase the use and integration of technology to improve teaching and learning. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 Changes: None. Comment: None. Discussion: As part of our internal discussion of the comments on this priority, we noted that a number of the proposed subparts refer to ‘‘developing’’ models or methods. As all i3 grantees must implement the practices they develop to serve students who are in grades K–12 at some point during the funding period, we have revised these subparts to clarify that the projects under these subparts must both develop and implement the proposed models or methods. Changes: We have revised subparts (a), (b), and (d) (initially proposed as subpart (c)) from ‘‘developing’’ to ‘‘developing and implementing’’ in order to clarify our intent that applications addressing these subparts must implement the practices that they develop during the project period. Comment: None. Discussion: As part of our internal discussion of the comments on this priority, we noted that subpart (f) (initially proposed as subpart (e)), included an inconsistency in the use of ‘‘teachers or principals.’’ Specifically, the subpart focused on designing and implementing ‘‘teacher or principal evaluation systems,’’ but also referred to feedback that guides professional development for ‘‘teachers and principals.’’ To ensure that applicants understand that they may focus on teachers or principals when submitting projects under this subpart, we have revised it so that we consistently refer to ‘‘teachers or principals.’’ Changes: We have revised subpart (f) (initially proposed as subpart (e)) from ‘‘* * * guides professional development for teachers and principals’’ to ‘‘* * * guides professional development for teachers or principals’’ in order to clarify our intent that applications addressing this subpart may focus on either teacher or principal evaluation systems. Proposed Priority 2—Improving LowPerforming Schools Comment: One commenter recommended that the Department revise this proposed priority to include the use of arts education to academically engage students as an example of strengthening the instructional program in a whole-school model. The commenter also recommended adding a subpart for projects proposing to develop arts education programs and improve the skills of arts educators. Another commenter offered a similar recommendation, suggesting the Department revise subparts (a) and (d) PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 of this priority to include a focus on student’s health and nutrition as a part of designing whole-school models. Discussion: Subpart (a) provides examples of strategies that may be used in whole school models. However, these strategies are broad, concerning changes to a school’s design, instructional program, staffing, or culture. We do not think it is appropriate for the Department to prescribe the specifics of how applicants must implement these strategies (e.g., arts education), because we want to ensure applicants have as much flexibility as possible to propose whole-school models that best meet the needs of the students and schools they are proposing to serve. As nothing in this priority prohibits an applicant from proposing to use arts education to strengthen the instructional program in a whole-school model, we do not believe an additional subpart is necessary. We agree with the commenter that a student’s health and nutrition affects the student’s ability to learn. That is why proposed subpart (a) references strategies that address non-academic factors that affect student learning and proposed subpart (d) focuses on services and strategies that address nonacademic barriers to student learning. Because health and nutrition services may be addressed under this priority, we do not think it is necessary to create a separate subpart that focuses only on health services. Moreover, as noted previously, applicants should have the flexibility to identify the specific nonacademic barriers and strategies to address those barriers that are relevant to their particular project. However, we have revised subpart (d) to clarify that projects also may focus on mitigating the effects of poverty, including health and nutrition issues, on student engagement in learning. In addition, because we think it is important that the social supports provided under this priority relate to improved student outcomes, we have revised subpart (d) to focus on the intended outcomes rather than the specific type of strategies that an applicant must be use. Changes: We have revised subpart (d) to focus on projects that are designed to improve students’ non-cognitive abilities and enhance student engagement in learning, or that mitigate the effects of poverty, including physical, mental, or emotional health issues, on student engagement in learning. Comment: One commenter discussed the distinction between whole-school reform efforts and ‘‘wraparound’’ social supports that might result in targeted E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations interventions that do not affect all students in a school. The commenter encouraged the Department to look beyond whole-school efforts because some interventions may not be as efficient or effective if offered to an entire school population. Discussion: We agree that wholeschool reform models may not be the most appropriate option for all schools. That is why under this priority we include multiple subparts that address different types of interventions for turning around low-performing schools. However, we disagree with the commenter’s conclusion that a wholeschool reform model requires that all students receive the same set of services or interventions. For example, a whole school reform model could strengthen a school’s instructional program by providing personalized learning experiences that address each student’s unique needs. Under this scenario, a whole school reform model would be used to provide each student with a unique, as opposed to identical, set of services. Additionally, we consider wholeschool reform to be a powerful and important approach that is effective, in certain contexts, in improving student outcomes. Therefore, we believe it is important to include a subpart in this priority that specifically addresses whole-school reform models and have revised subpart (a) to clarify that the intent is to support projects that lead to significant and sustained improvement in individual student performance and overall school performance and culture. Although we agree that whole-school reform efforts are distinct from targeted approaches to reforming low-performing schools, we also believe that it is essential for applicants to ensure that their proposed projects complement the broader turnaround efforts of the school, LEA, or State. We have revised the requirements of this priority to clarify this expectation. Changes: We have revised subpart (a) to clarify that projects addressing subpart (a) must implement processes that lead to significant and substantial improvement in individual student performance and overall school performance and culture. In addition, we have provided examples of the types of strategies applicants may incorporate into their proposed whole-school models. We also have revised the requirements of priority 2 to include a condition that projects complement broader reform efforts for turning around low-performing schools. Comment: Five commenters recommended the Department revise the language in subpart (a) ‘‘redesigning the VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 school day, week, or year’’ to ‘‘extending or expanding the school day, week, or year’’ in order to clarify that before-, after-, and summer school programs would meet this priority. Three of these commenters also suggested a similar revision to subpart (e). One commenter noted that extending the school year might reduce summer learning loss, and provide additional time for high school students to focus more on work-based learning, service-learning, or various other learning opportunities. Discussion: Applicants may propose projects under subpart (a) that redesign the school day by extending or expanding the school day, week, or year, including before-, after-, and summer school programs, provided their proposed projects meet the requirements of the priority. We decline to change the language of subpart (a) as the commenter suggested because we do not think adding time to the school day, week, or year, unless done in conjunction with other strategies or reforms, is sufficient to meet the requirements of this priority. However, we recognize that extending learning time is one way that schools can change their organizational design, and we have therefore revised subpart (b) to include a greater focus on organizational design. As proposed, subpart (b) focused on changing elements of a school’s organizational design to mitigate non-academic barriers to learning through strategies such as differentiating staff roles, changing student groups, or enhancing instructional time. Because subpart (a) addresses particular approaches for school turnaround that can be undertaken within a school’s existing organization, we have modified subpart (b) to include a greater focus on extending and enhancing instructional time and the organizational implications associated with improving instruction by extending learning time. Changes: We have revised subpart (b) to support projects that would change elements of the school’s organizational design to improve instruction by differentiating staff roles and extending and enhancing instructional time. Comment: One commenter suggested that, in addition to increasing the rigor of instructional practices, subpart (a) should address students’ access to rigorous coursework at the secondary level. The commenter also recommended that the Department create a new subpart under this priority to support competency-based systems that measure the effects of these practices on increasing graduation rates and student learning. PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18689 Discussion: Nothing in this priority prohibits an applicant from proposing to strengthen the instructional program in a whole-school model by increasing students’ access to rigorous coursework at the secondary level or implementing a competency-based system. Because these activities are permissible under subpart (a) and we want to ensure applicants have as much flexibility as possible to propose whole-school models that best meet the needs of the students and schools they are proposing to serve, we do not think it is necessary to revise subpart (a) or establish a separate subpart that addresses only these approaches. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter suggested adding personalized instruction enabled by technology as an example of a reform strategy in subpart (a). The commenter noted that using differentiated instructional content allows for the effective and efficient use of data in determining the needs of students struggling in low-performing schools. Discussion: As noted in response to a prior comment on priority 2, we do not think it is appropriate for the Department to prescribe how applicants would strengthen the instructional programs because we think it is important for applicants to have as much flexibility as possible to propose whole-school models that best meet the needs of the students and schools they are proposing to serve. To that end, we provide applicants discretion in proposing how they would strengthen the instructional program in a wholeschool model; and nothing prohibits applicants from using personalized instruction. For these reasons, we decline to revise subpart (a). However, we have revised subpart (a) under priority 8 (Effective Use of Technology) to clarify that to meet subpart (a), projects must focus on personalized instruction. As the subpart language maintains that the learning experiences must be adaptive and self-improving, we do not think this change loses the subpart’s focus on learning experiences that improve or adapt based on students’ needs in real-time. Changes: We have revised subpart (a) under priority 8 (Effective Use of Technology) to clarify that the learning experiences must be personalized to individual students’ learning needs, as opposed to simply providing adaptive learning experiences. Comment: Three commenters suggested that the Department clarify that the reference to external partners in subpart (e) includes results-driven organizations, intermediaries, E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 18690 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations professional providers, national service members, and community volunteers. Discussion: We think an applicant is best suited to select the external providers or partners for its project. Because we do not want to narrow the potential for external partnerships, we decline to list the types of external partners with which an applicant may work. To ensure projects under subpart (e) are designed to increase schools’ and districts’ access to high-quality partners, we have revised this subpart to focus on the intended outcomes for schools and districts rather than on developing the capacity of external partners. Changes: As noted in response to a prior comment on priority 2, we have revised subpart (e) to clarify that projects addressing it must support lowperforming schools or districts in their turnaround efforts by increasing access to and use of high-quality partners. Comment: One commenter recommended this priority be revised to support fundamental changes to schools’ governance and management structures that impede school innovations or educator and student engagement. Discussion: Subpart (f) under this priority supports projects that are designed to increase capacity at the school, district, and State levels to improve the support and oversight for turnaround efforts. Thus, projects could include a focus on improving governance and management structures that may impede a school’s turnaround efforts. To clarify that applicants may propose a variety of approaches under this subpart (e.g., changing governance and management structures), we have revised it to focus on the intended outcomes of increased capacity (i.e., better support and oversight), thus encouraging applicants to develop approaches that are appropriate to their specific contexts and challenges. Changes: As noted previously, we have revised subpart (f) to clarify that projects must be designed to increase district- or State-level capacity to turn around low-performing schools, including improvements to State and district support and oversight of turnaround efforts. Comment: None. Discussion: Although recent reports indicate that the Nation’s dropout rate is decreasing, the rate is still much higher than in other developed countries. To address this, we have added a subpart that specifically focuses on serving lowperforming high schools and their turnaround efforts. This subpart is written broadly to provide applicants discretion in how best to serve these VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 schools and may include projects that focus on the use of early warning indicators to identify students who are at risk of dropping out. Changes: We have added subpart (g) to this priority for projects that support the implementation of turnaround efforts in secondary schools. Proposed Priority 3—Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Comment: Two commenters expressed general support for this priority. One commenter stated that K– 12 education must continue to be a priority in Federal programs and noted that the i3 program has the potential to identify effective science instruction programs that could make use of informal learning institutions, such as science centers and museums. One commenter reflected on the need for high quality teachers in STEM subject areas, and applauded the Department’s recognition of this need. Discussion: We appreciate the commenter’s support for this priority and agree with the importance of ensuring students’ access to high-quality STEM education. That is why this priority focuses on students’ access to rigorous STEM coursework and learning, redesigning STEM course content and instructional practices, and improving the STEM teacher pipeline. With regard to the need for high quality teachers in STEM subject areas, subpart (c) targets projects that propose to develop new methods and resources for recruiting individuals with STEM expertise into teaching. Also, as noted previously, all i3 grantees must implement (as well as develop) practices that serve K–12 students at some point during the funding period. Thus, we have revised this subpart to clarify that the projects must develop and implement methods and resources for recruiting individuals with STEM expertise into teaching. Similarly, we have revised subpart (g) to clarify that teachers or educators of STEM subjects who participate in projects addressing subpart (g) must receive, not just have increased opportunities for, high-quality preparation and teacher development. Changes: We have revised subpart (c) to focus on projects that develop and implement new methods and resources for recruiting individuals with STEM expertise into teaching. We also have revised subpart (g) to clarify that projects addressing subpart (g) must increase the number of individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM, including minorities, individuals with disabilities, and PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 women, who are teachers or educators of STEM subjects and receive highquality preparation or professional development. Comment: Three commenters recommended that the Department include increased access to coursework in environmental literacy as a subpart under this priority. The commenters stressed that environmental literacy is critical to the Nation’s economy and noted the correlation between environmental education and student engagement and achievement in STEM subjects. Discussion: We recognize the importance of environmental education, and it is part of STEM education. As subpart (a) focuses on providing students with increased access to rigorous and engaging coursework in STEM, which could include environmental education, and in order to ensure applicants have flexibility in responding to this subpart, we do not think it is appropriate to add a separate subpart that focuses only on one STEM subject. Changes: None. Comment: Two commenters discussed concerns regarding student access to STEM education. One commenter recommended that the Department encourage the development and use of more online learning tools to increase access to the most effective STEM courses, while the other commenter suggested that the Department amend subparts (a), (b), and (d) to require applicants to use highquality multiplatform digital content and services. Discussion: Nothing in this priority or the authorizing statute prohibits an applicant from proposing to use online learning or multiplatform digital content to increase student access to STEM content. Thus, applicants have the discretion to propose to use the approaches specified by the commenter. We decline to make the proposed revisions, however, because we do not want to prescribe the specific tools or approaches an applicant must use to increase students’ access to STEM content. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter recommended that, in addition to a focus on expanding opportunities for high-quality out-of-school and extended-day activities under subpart (e), the Department require STEMrelated community problem-solving and service learning. Additionally, the commenter suggested the Department include a subpart for projects designed to integrate STEM learning across other K–12 academic areas. E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Discussion: Nothing in this priority or the authorizing statute prohibits an applicant from proposing to use service learning in responding to subpart (e), so long as the proposed project is designed to provide students with opportunities for deliberate practice that increases STEM learning, engagement, and expertise. We decline to make the proposed, specific revisions because we do not want to narrow or prescribe the types of out-of-school or extended-day activities that an applicant may propose. Similarly, we decline to add a subpart that would require applicants to integrate STEM learning into other K–12 academic areas because we do not want to prescribe how applicants would propose to increase student access to rigorous or engaging coursework in STEM. Further, nothing in the statute or priorities prohibits an applicant from proposing a project that integrates STEM learning across other K–12 academic areas. For example, under subparts (a) and (b) of this priority as well as subpart (a) of priority 2 (Improving Low-Performing Schools), an applicant could propose integrating STEM across other K–12 academic areas, provided the applicant meets the requirements of the priority under which it is submitting its application. Changes: None. Comment: Two commenters recommended adding language to subpart (e) that would increase opportunities for high-quality expanded learning opportunities, including extending the day, week, or year, or before-, after-, or summer school programs. The commenters stated that implementing expanded learning opportunities will provide students with a well-rounded education that focuses on multiple STEM subjects. Discussion: We agree that expanding STEM learning opportunities may include extending the school day, week, or year, or implementing before-, after-, or summer school programs. Therefore, we have revised the priority to include this as an example of an approach that may be used to address subpart (e). Changes: We have revised subpart (e) to clarify that expanding STEM learning opportunities may include extending the day, week, or year, or implementing before- or after-school or summer learning programs. Proposed Priority 4—Improving Academic Outcomes for Students With Disabilities Comment: Four commenters proposed specific revisions to this proposed priority to reinforce the importance of ensuring that students with disabilities VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 are provided with opportunities to participate and progress in general education classrooms. Additionally, the commenters suggested that subpart (d) include transition and postsecondary programs, and they suggested including two new subparts addressing postschool employment data collection and the implementation of school-wide initiatives that benefit all students, such as UDL, multi-tiered systems of supports, and positive behavior interventions and supports. Discussion: We agree with the commenters about the importance of providing students with disabilities with opportunities to participate in general education; and therefore have revised subpart (c) accordingly. Specifically, we clarify that projects must be designed to accelerate student achievement and the appropriate transition from restrictive settings to more inclusive settings or general education classes or programs, including strategies that improve student learning and developmental outcomes (i.e., academic, social, emotional, or behavioral). We also note that these projects may include appropriate strategies to prevent unnecessary suspensions and expulsions from these more inclusive settings, classes, or programs. With regard to the commenters’ recommendation to focus on collecting data on postsecondary and post-school employment outcomes, we agree that the data collection on, and understanding the indicators that predict success of, students with disabilities in their transition to postsecondary education is important. However, given that the i3 program focuses on K–12 education and that the Secretary may only award grants with project periods up to 60 months (see 34 CFR 75.250), we do not think it is reasonable to add a subpart that focuses only on post-secondary school employment data. As such, we have revised subpart (d), but we decline to propose a new subpart focused solely on employment data. With regard to the commenters’ recommendation that we add a subpart on school-wide initiatives that include multi-tiered systems of support, we agree it is important that the various systems of support for students with disabilities and their families are coordinated across all service providers, including schools, health care providers and social service agencies. That is why we included proposed subpart (a). However, we recognize that as proposed, subpart (a) focused only on technical assistance programs. Therefore, we have revised this subpart PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18691 to provide for a broader focus that may include school-wide programs. Changes: We have revised three subparts under this priority. Subpart (a) has been revised to support projects that implement coherent systems of support that appropriately coordinate and integrate programs to address the needs of children and youth with disabilities and improve the quality of for those children and their families. Subpart (c) has been revised to support projects that design and implement strategies that improve student achievement for students with disabilities in inclusive settings, including accelerating student development and the transition from restrictive settings to inclusive settings, including general education classes or programs. Subpart (d) has been revised to support projects that improve secondary and postsecondary data collection and tracking of academic and related outcomes for students with disabilities to understand their transition into postsecondary education and the factors associated with their success. Comment: One commenter expressed support for this proposed priority and encouraged the Department to fund projects that would produce information about interventions that are successful in decreasing the achievement gap between students with disabilities and students without disabilities. Discussion: All i3 grantees are required to participate in communities of practice and to produce evaluations about the implementation and efficacy of their projects. Therefore, we do not think it is necessary to create a separate requirement under this priority for projects to produce information about interventions that are successful in decreasing the achievement gap between students with disabilities and students without disabilities. Changes: None. Proposed Priority 5—Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners (ELs) Comment: One commenter stated that teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) often do not have the necessary content knowledge to be the primary educators for ELs. For this reason, the commenter expressed concern that the proposed priority would not produce significant change because it focuses too much on improving ELs’ vocabulary. According to the commenter, the priority would be improved if it included systematic reforms that ensure students who are ELs are not marginalized. The commenter recommended systemic E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 18692 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations reforms that include, for example, specific supports and processes to improve ELs’ transition between K–12 grades and from K–12 to postsecondary education. Discussion: We recognize that systematic reforms are the most comprehensive approach to addressing ELs’ learning needs. However, we also recognize that schools and LEAs may have different needs regarding how to best improve academic outcomes for ELs. That is why under this priority we include multiple subparts that address different types of interventions, ranging from systematic reform to specific gaps or challenges for addressing ELs’ learning needs. For example, subpart (d) allows for a systematic approach because it focuses on projects that provide school-wide professional development for teachers, administrators, and other personnel in schools with a significant percentage of students who are ELs. Because a subpart under this priority does allow for projects that focus on systematic reform to improve student achievement for ELs and because we think it is important to also include subparts that focus on specific gaps, we conclude that is not appropriate for the Department to prescribe that applicants must only address ELs’ needs through systematic reform. Additionally, because one of the primary goals of the i3 program is to identify and document best practices, we think it is important to maintain subparts under this priority that would support projects that focus on specific challenges, needs, or gaps that affect all students, including students who are ELs. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter recommended that the priority include a subpart to develop and strengthen teacher preparation programs that provide substantial clinical experiences and develop curricula to prepare teachers of ELs. Specifically, the commenter stated that the way in which language is used for academic purposes within a given domain and the differences of individual ELs are important; and, as a result, more attention is needed to developing teachers who can meet the widely differing needs of ELs when the teachers enter the classroom. Discussion: Although we agree that teachers entering the classroom should be prepared to meet the needs of all of their students, including ELs, we think the limited funds available for the i3 program should be focused on improving the skills of current EL educators rather than on improving VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 teacher preparation programs’ focus on ELs in particular. Therefore, we decline to make the changes recommended by this commenter. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter expressed support for this proposed priority, particularly subparts (c) and (d); and recommended revising subpart (d) to also focus on improving the capacity of schools and districts to increase the number of teachers trained to work with linguistically diverse students. Discussion: We agree that it is important for schools and districts to consider ways to increase the number of current teachers trained to work with ELs. We believe that this is already reflected in the current priorities. For example, nothing prohibits an applicant from focusing on increasing the number of teachers trained to work with ELs under subparts (a) and (b) of priority 1 (Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals). Moreover, in order to avoid the marginalization of ELs, this priority incorporates school-level interventions that respond to student needs. Changes: None. Comment: In response to the Department’s specific request for comment, three commenters recommended the Department allow applicants to propose projects that address instruction in English and a language other than English to meet subpart (c). One commenter stated that using a student’s native language to learn a second language is consistent with practices in many States and districts that employ dual-language immersion and other bilingual methodologies. Thus, the commenter suggested that limiting subpart (c) to projects addressing instruction in English only may reduce the number of entities that could apply. Similarly, another commenter stated that the Department’s rules should not limit school districts to a predetermined instructional methodology because this could limit the potential for learning about effective instructional strategies under the i3 program. One commenter urged the Department to encourage applicants to consider all products and processes available when addressing this proposed priority. Discussion: The Department appreciates the commenters’ responses to this request for comment. We conclude that we will continue to use the phrase, ‘‘English or English and another language’’ to ensure that we do not inadvertently limit the potential applicants under subpart (c) of this priority. Changes: None. PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 Comment: One commenter expressed concern that the proposed priority reinforces false stereotypes by referring to limitations or impediments of ELs. To address this concern, the commenter provided revised text to focus on the range of academic language that all students must master to fully engage in their learning. The commenter also suggested clarifying that applicants applying under subpart (e) must focus on all students who enter school as ELs so that long-term outcomes of former ELs are considered. Discussion: We agree with the commenter and have revised subpart (b) to clarify that projects funded under it need to provide sufficient exposure to, engagement in, and acquisition of academic language and literacy practices necessary for preparing ELs to be college and career ready. We also have revised subpart (e) as the commenter suggested. Changes: We have revised subpart (b) to clarify the skills a project needs to address with regards to ELs’ acquisition of academic language and literacy practices. We also have revised subpart (e) to clarify that teacher evaluation systems implemented under this priority define and measure the effectiveness of teachers of students who at some point have been identified as ELs (i.e., both current and former ELs). Proposed Priority 6—Improving Parent and Family Engagement Comment: One commenter expressed support for the proposed priority, and appreciated the focus on providing training to families to support their children’s academic success, as well as professional development for administrators and teachers designed to improve relationships between parents and school staff. Discussion: We appreciate the commenter’s support for this priority. Subpart (a) addresses the need for building parents’ and families’ awareness of their role in improving their children’s educational outcomes while subpart (b) focuses on projects designed to build relationships between parents and school staff. Together these subparts aim to increase family engagement to improve support for student and school achievement. In order to further clarify that improving students’ academic outcomes is the ultimate goal of this priority, we have included specific academic outcomes under subpart (a). Changes: We have revised subpart (a) to clarify that training for parents and families must provide the skills and strategies that will help parents and E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations families improve their children’s academic outcomes, including increased engagement and persistence in school. Comment: Three commenters recommended that the Department include, under subpart (a), training for parents and families of students with disabilities on ways to participate and make progress in a grade-level general education curriculum in the least restrictive environment. Discussion: All i3 grantees must implement practices designed to improve academic outcomes for highneed students (as defined in this document). Therefore, projects addressing this priority must serve highneed students, which may include students with disabilities. Nothing in this priority precludes an applicant from proposing projects that focus on parents and families of students with disabilities, provided that the proposed project otherwise meets the requirements of the priority and therefore we are not changing the subpart language as requested. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter suggested revising subpart (d) to specify that the data and information collected on students’ progress must include targeted ‘‘parent-level’’ metrics, such as math and verbal achievement, high school graduation rates, college enrollment rates, and number of credits accumulated. Discussion: Although we appreciate the commenter’s recommendation that the Department specify the data and information that projects under subpart (d) would need to collect, we do not want to narrow the projects that could be proposed or funded under this priority by prescribing a required list of metrics. Moreover, nothing in the statute or priorities would preclude an applicant from including ‘‘parent-level’’ metrics in addition to information about students’ progress and performance. However, we share the commenter’s underlying concern that data about student performance should, among other things, be relevant and useful to parents. Access to data does not ensure its relevance or usefulness to parents. Thus, we have revised subpart (d) to clarify that the projects must improve both parents’ access to and use of data about students’ progress and performance, as opposed to only improving parents’ access to data. Changes: We have revised subpart (d) to clarify that projects addressing subpart (d) must develop tools or practices that provide students and parents with improved, ongoing access to, and use of, data and other VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 information about students’ progress and performance. Comment: One commenter stated that the i3 program should make explicit allowance for the training and professional development of teachers, school leaders, and other school-based personnel regarding acquisition and maintenance of the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities required to effectively engage families and communities to improve student outcomes. To that end, the commenter provided specific revisions that require evidence-based initiatives and access to meaningful data to track students’ progress. Additionally, the commenter proposed two new subparts under this priority: (1) Purposefully connecting the school with the family and community through a school-based facilitator, and (2) implementing initiatives that develop family and community leadership to sustain school improvements. Discussion: We agree with the commenter about the importance of enhancing teachers’ abilities to effectively engage families to improve student outcomes. That is why subpart (b) supports projects designed to enhance the skills and competencies of school staff to build relationships and collaborate with parents and families. With regard to the commenter’s proposal to require evidence-based initiatives and access to meaningful data to track students’ progress, we note that this program requires projects to meet specific evidence standards. Similarly, all i3 grantees are required to conduct evaluations that estimate the impact of their projects on student outcomes. Therefore, we do not think it is necessary to specify evidence or data collection requirements under this priority. We appreciate the commenter’s recommendation that we add two new subparts. However, as subpart (c) does not preclude projects that would support connecting school-based facilitators with families and the community, or projects that would develop and implement initiatives that bolster family and community leadership for sustained school improvement, we do not think it is appropriate to add new subparts that could limit applicants’ flexibility in designing their proposed projects. Additionally, although we recognize the importance of community engagement, we conclude that it is not necessary for the Department to revise this priority to address it because the Supplemental Priorities include a priority that does so and the i3 program could use that priority. See priority 5 of the PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18693 Supplemental Priorities, Improving School Engagement, School Environment, and School Safety and Improving Family and Community Engagement. Changes: None. Comment: None. Discussion: As part of our internal discussion of the comments about this priority, we noted that proposed subpart (b) refers to ‘‘school and other administrative staff.’’ In order to ensure applicants understand that we consider teachers to be school staff, we have revised subpart (b) to explicitly list teachers in addition to school and other administrative staff. Changes: We have revised subpart (b) to clarify that, when addressing this subpart, applicants must implement initiatives that are designed to enhance the skills and competencies of teachers, and of school and other administrative staff in building relationships and collaborating with students’ families, particularly those who have been underengaged with the school(s) in the past, in order to support student achievement and school improvement. Proposed Priority 7—Improving CostEffectiveness and Productivity Comment: One commenter expressed concern about the focus on costeffectiveness because it may emphasize budgetary issues over educational ‘‘ends.’’ Discussion: We appreciate and recognize the commenter’s concern; however, it is essential for schools and LEAs to closely examine their spending practices and reallocate resources to use them more efficiently and costeffectively. The i3 program’s focus on cost-effectiveness is consistent with the Department’s broader initiative to encourage and support schools, LEAs, and States to ‘‘do more with less’’ through the adoption of promising practices and the responsible use of resources. We do not intend for this focus to overshadow the importance of the i3 program’s requirement of implementing projects designed to improve student achievement. Additionally, we establish selection criteria that peer reviewers will use to consider the likelihood that a proposed project will achieve what it is designed to achieve and the extent to which a proposed project substantially improves outcomes. By using such criteria to evaluate applications, the Department encourages the adoption of costeffective practices while also providing peer reviewers a mechanism to consider the cost and expected outcomes together. Changes: None. E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 18694 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Comment: One commenter suggested revising this priority to specify the ways in which projects are to improve costeffectiveness, including schoolcommunity partnerships. Discussion: Under section 14007 of the ARRA, in order to be eligible for i3 grants, applicants must demonstrate that they have established partnerships with the private sector and that the private sector will provide matching funds to help bring results to scale. Moreover, we recognize that using external partnerships is one approach to improving cost-effectiveness. However, because nothing in the ARRA or this priority precludes an applicant from proposing projects that improve costeffectiveness through such partnerships, we do not think it is appropriate to prescribe that applicants must use school-community partnerships to meet this priority. Changes: None. Proposed Priority 8—Effective Use of Technology Comment: One commenter expressed strong support for this proposed priority, and recommended that applicants applying under any of the other proposed priorities also identify how technology would be used to advance the proposed projects. The commenter specifically cited proposed priorities 1 (Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals), 2 (Improving Low-Performing Schools), and 6 (Improving Parent and Family Engagement) as priorities under which applicants should be expected to address the use of technology in their applications and receive preference for doing so. Discussion: While we encourage applicants to propose projects that use technology effectively, we do not think it is appropriate to require all applicants to design their projects around the use of technology. Nothing in any priority or the authorizing statute prohibits an applicant from proposing to use technology in a proposed project, provided that the use of technology is necessary for carrying out the proposed project and that the project otherwise meets the requirements of the priority. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter stated that the topics included in the subparts under this priority have been addressed and improved over time. The commenter further stated that adopting existing, effective uses of technology, such as online or blended learning, must be promoted. Discussion: The i3 program aims to support expanding effective practices to serve more students across schools, VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 districts, and States and to identify new solutions to pressing challenges. With that goal in mind, we designed this priority to support projects that focus on adopting or augmenting existing practices or developing new practices that use technology effectively to improve student achievement. Changes: None. Comment: Two commenters recommended that the Department add a new subpart under this priority for projects that integrate technology into expanded learning opportunities. Discussion: Nothing in the authorizing statute or this priority precludes an applicant from proposing a project that integrates technology into expanded learning opportunities, provided that the project otherwise addresses the requirements of the priority. For example, applicants have discretion to propose such projects under subpart (e). We think that the applicants are best suited to determine how to integrate the effective use of technology into their proposed projects, and we do not think it is appropriate to create a subpart that focuses only on integrating technology to expand learning opportunities. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter agreed with the focus on using technology to improve instruction and increase access to high-quality learning opportunities. But the commenter also stated that the priority should be strengthened by encouraging applicants to approach technology acquisition and use in a manner that would provide teachers more time for individualized instruction and for establishing student-centered classrooms. The commenter also recommended that applicants addressing this priority should be expected to provide implementation strategies that would ensure that technology would be used to promote equity rather than exacerbate existing student achievement gaps. The commenter also stated that applicants should be required to ensure equitable access to the necessary technology so that no students are excluded due to a lack or shortage of the necessary technology. Discussion: We agree with the commenter’s recommendation that this priority support projects designed to use technology to provide students more time for individualized instruction. Therefore, we have modified subpart (a) to clarify that the learning experiences must be personalized and focus on students with a variety of learning needs. We also agree that applicants proposing projects under this priority PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 should consider how the proposed implementation strategies would ensure equitable access to the technology. Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) addresses equitable access by requiring all applicants to provide a statement that identifies access barriers to participation in their projects and identifies solutions to overcome those barriers. With regard to the commenter’s concern about shortage of the necessary technology, we use selection criteria to consider the extent to which the applicant has planned for sufficient resources to carry out the project. For example, the selection criterion on the quality of the management plan includes a selection factor that considers the extent to which the applicant demonstrates it will have the resources to operate the project at the proposed level of scale during the grant period. This selection factor provides peer reviewers with a mechanism to consider whether an applicant has sufficient resources to carry out the project, which may include whether the applicant’s plan ensures equitable access to the technology being implemented. However an applicant chooses to ensure full and equitable access to the technology being used in the proposed project, we do not want projects funded under this priority to exacerbate inequities for students. Thus, we have revised subpart (b) to clarify that projects must provide students and teachers with equitable access to ‘‘anytime, anywhere’’ learning materials and experiences. We have also revised subpart (c) to include closing achievement gaps as a required outcome for projects addressing the subpart. Both of these revisions mitigate the risk that existing inequities or gaps would be compounded by projects addressing this priority. Changes: We have revised subpart (b) to require applicants to propose projects that provide students and teachers with equitable ‘‘anytime, anywhere’’ access to learning materials and experiences. We have revised subpart (c) to require that projects must, in addition to improving student achievement (as defined in this document), also be designed to close achievement gaps. Comment: Three commenters stated that technology is critically important to improving instruction for students with disabilities, and recommended that the Department revise subparts (c) and (f) to require that technology methods, resources, and integration be consistent with principles of UDL. Discussion: We recognize and agree that technology is an effective tool for E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations improving instruction for students with disabilities. However, we do not think it is appropriate to prescribe a single approach or principle that all applicants must use when integrating technology into their projects. Additionally, nothing in the statute or the priority prohibits an applicant from using the approach or principle it determines to be most suitable for its project. In order to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, any technology used by recipients must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. For additional information about the application of these laws to technology, please refer to www.ed.gov/ocr/letters/ colleague-201105-ese.pdf and www.ed.gov/ocr/docs/dcl-ebook-faq201105.pdf. Provided the requirements of the civil rights laws and the priority are met, an applicant may propose a project under this priority that uses technology methods, resources, and integration that are consistent with the principles of UDL. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter urged the Department to include in the priority other educators who may not be teachers of record, such as media specialists or instructional aides, but who have instructional responsibilities in projects that are designed to use technology to improve instructional effectiveness. Discussion: Nothing in the authorizing statute or this priority prohibits eligible applicants from including staff who are not teachers but have instructional responsibility in their projects. We decline to specifically reference these educators in the priority to ensure applicants have the maximum flexibility when developing their proposals. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter described this priority as ‘‘strongly written and comprehensive.’’ Although the commenter applauded the Department’s commitment to encouraging adaptive learning experience and ‘‘anytime, anywhere’’ access to academic content and learning, the commenter suggested the Department clarify that technological tools are understood to be used for both instructional and assessment purposes. Discussion: The Department agrees that ‘‘anytime, anywhere’’ access to academic content may include technological tools that are used for purposes of instruction, assessment, or both. Because we do not want to limit the types of content and learning that VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 may be used in projects under subpart (b), we have revised this subpart to focus on access to learning materials and experiences instead of access to ‘‘academic content.’’ Changes: We have revised subpart (b) to focus on learning materials and experiences. Comment: None. Discussion: As part of our internal discussion of the comments about this priority, we noted that proposed subpart (f) did not include a reference to the intended outcomes for projects integrating technology with the implementation of college- and careerready standards. In order for the use or integration of technology to be effective, we believe it is important that projects addressing this subpart focus on improving student and teacher outcomes. Thus, to correct this oversight, we have revised subpart (f) to include these outcomes, as we have done with other subparts, and to clarify that embedded, real-time assessments and feedback for students and teachers are examples of projects that could be proposed under this subpart. Change: We have revised subpart (f) to clarify that projects integrating technology with the implementation of rigorous college- and career-ready standards must be designed to increase student achievement (as defined in this document), student engagement, and teacher efficacy, such as by providing embedded, real-time assessment and feedback to students and teachers. Comment: None. Discussion: As part of our internal discussion of the comments on this priority, we noted an oversight in how subpart (d) was phrased. Specifically, the subpart only referred to the outcome that would need to be achieved, but did not clarify that projects addressing it would need to implement strategies to achieved the stated outcomes. As all i3 grantees must implement the practices that serve students who are in grades K– 12 at some point during the funding period, we have revised this subpart to clarify that the projects addressing it must implement strategies that improve student proficiencies. Changes: We have revised subpart (d) in order to clarify our intent that applications addressing this subpart must implement strategies that improve student proficiencies in complex skills, such as critical thinking and collaboration across academic disciplines. Proposed Priority 9—Formalizing and Codifying Effective Practices Comment: A few commenters suggested clarifying that, under this PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18695 proposed priority, an applicant must address the proposed practice’s effectiveness for all learners and identify the practice’s critical components for different teaching and learning environments as well as for diverse learners. Discussion: A primary goal of this priority is to enable broad adoption of effective practices. We agree with the commenters that an applicant addressing this priority needs to evaluate different forms of a practice in order to determine whether the practice may be adapted for diverse learners. However, we recognize that some practices may be developed for, or targeted to, the needs of a specific student population and, by its very nature, may not be relevant or effective for students outside of that target group. For these reasons, we have revised the priority to clarify that applicants must address whether the proposed practice is effective for diverse learners; however, we decline to revise subpart (c) to require that applicants develop materials and tools on how to implement the practice effectively for all learners. Changes: To clarify the goal of this priority, we have changed its title from ‘‘Formalizing and Codifying Effective Practices’’ to ‘‘Enabling Broad Adoption of Effective Practices.’’ Further, in response to comments, we have revised subpart (b) to clarify that applicants addressing this priority must identify the adaptability of the practice’s critical components to diverse learners as well as to different teaching and learning environments. Comment: One commenter expressed support for the Department’s placing a high priority on sharing and disseminating effective practices under this proposed priority. However, the commenter encouraged the Department to only use this priority for the Validation and Scale-up competitions because projects under those categories are based on moderate and strong evidence of effectiveness. Discussion: By establishing this priority, the Department may use it for any of the three types of grants under the i3 program (i.e., Development, Validation, and Scale-up). We agree with the commenter that this priority is most appropriate for i3 Scale-up and Validation grants because projects funded in those grant categories must be supported, respectively, by strong and moderate evidence of effectiveness. However, we decline to specify that the priority will be used only for a subset of i3 competition because we do not want to unnecessarily limit when this E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 18696 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 priority can be used in future i3 competitions. The Department will consider several factors, including the level of evidence or research available, when determining which of the priorities would be most appropriate for the different types of grants offered in any given year under the i3 program. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter urged the Department to allow current i3 grantees to apply to extend their grants under this priority, which would allow for additional years of implementation and data collection. The commenter explained that such an approach would allow third-party evaluators to collect the data necessary to demonstrate what educational elements are required to fundamentally change a student’s academic trajectory. Without the option of extending current i3 grants, the commenter stated a concern that the opportunity to learn from these grants would be limited. Discussion: We appreciate the commenter’s concern. Although we agree with the commenter about the importance of maximizing the opportunity to learn from current i3 grantees, the Department’s current regulations authorize the Secretary to approve a project period up to 60 months (see 34 CFR 75.250). We decline, however, to make the suggested change for two reasons. First, the Department has, under limited circumstances, allowed for a waiver of the 60-month project period. More importantly, the Department published a notice of proposed rulemaking on December 14, 2012 that proposed amending this regulation to address this specific situation. We have concluded that the proposed revisions to EDGAR are the appropriate place to address this issue. Changes: None. Proposed Priority 10—Serving Rural Communities Comment: One commenter expressed support for the proposed priority because it is not limited to projects that improve high school graduation rates and college enrollment rates and, therefore, offers a broader focus than the previous rural priority used by the i3 program. However, another commenter expressed concern that urban education is not given a similar priority under the proposed priorities as rural education, and suggested the Department utilize a separate slate for rural applicants rather than establishing a separate rural priority. Discussion: We aim to ensure that projects serving high-need students in VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 diverse contexts, including urban, suburban, and rural communities, are eligible to compete for i3 funding. However, we acknowledge that rural communities face unique challenges (e.g., e more limited resources than urban and suburban communities to complete for Federal funds). We also recognize that the solutions to educational challenges may be different in rural areas than in urban and suburban communities and that there is a need for solutions that are unique to rural communities. For these reasons, we have established this priority to provide a mechanism for the Department to consider rural projects under a separate funding category, which is effectively the same as considering them as part of a separate slate, while also providing applicants proposing rural projects the ability to select among the same absolute priorities as other applicants. This approach does not advantage or disadvantage rural or non-rural applicants—it just ensures that both sets of applicants are competing against other applicants that face similar problems and challenges. Changes: None. Requirements Comment: Several commenters proposed revisions to the types of entities that could apply for and receive a grant under the i3 program. Four commenters requested that the Department change the categories of eligible applicants for i3 grants to include nonprofit organizations applying on their own. The commenters stated that nonprofit organizations should have the ability to develop and implement i3 grants alone, as opposed to being eligible only in partnership with LEAs or schools. However, another commenter expressed concern that the i3 program has become a revenue source for nonprofit organizations, and recommended that the Department allow only LEAs to apply as the lead applicant and fiscal agent for i3 grants. Two commenters recommended the Department change the eligible applicants for i3 grants to include (1) tribal educational agencies (TEAs), (2) a nonprofit organization in partnership with one or more TEAs, and (3) a nonprofit organization in partnership with one or more Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools. These commenters also stated that the Department should clarify that BIE schools meet the definition of ‘‘LEA’’ under the i3 program. Discussion: Section 14007(a)(1) of the ARRA specifies the types of entities that PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 are eligible to apply for funding under this program. They are: (a) An LEA (b) A partnership between a nonprofit organization and— (1) One or more LEAs; or (2) A consortium of schools. The Department has no authority to revise or expand these statutorily prescribed eligibility requirements. However, we do want to clarify that, as public schools, BIE schools are eligible to be part of the consortium of schools in a partnership applying for an i3 grant. A BIE school may also be eligible to apply as an LEA on its own, or in partnership with a nonprofit organization as an LEA, because the definition of ‘‘local educational agency’’ in section 9101(26) of the ESEA includes a provision under which a BIE school may be considered an LEA. If a BIE school is an LEA, the BIE school would be able to apply as an eligible LEA on its own, or in partnership with a nonprofit organization as an LEA, consistent with the requirements for eligible applicants under section 14007(a)(1). Changes: None. Comment: Two commenters recommended the Department require any LEA located on Indian lands to consult with the appropriate tribes and provide them with adequate time to comment on the application prior to its submission. The commenters explained that an LEA’s engagement with the tribe should include direct input regarding native student education, ongoing consultation and partnership, and the sharing of best practices. The commenters stated that any LEA that does not participate in this consultation should be ineligible to receive an i3 grant. Discussion: We agree that any LEA located on tribal lands, or proposing to address native student education of a particular tribe or tribes, should coordinate with the appropriate tribe(s) when developing an application and implementing the project. Although under the i3 program such coordination is not required, we consider collaboration and coordination among project partners to be important to the success of any project. For that reason, we include a factor under the Quality of the Management Plan selection criterion that considers the extent to which the applicant demonstrates that it will have the resources to operate the project at the proposed level of scale both during the project period and beyond the length of the grant, including the demonstrated commitment of any partners and evidence of broad support from stakeholders critical to the E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations project’s long-term success. Therefore, we do not feel it is necessary to make consultation an eligibility requirement. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter criticized the requirement that nonprofit organizations must identify partner districts or schools before an i3 grant is awarded because this undermines the development of effective partnerships. The commenter stated that it is critically important for nonprofit organizations proposing to conduct turnaround projects to ensure that the participating superintendents and principals are committed to the project, but the nonprofit organization is in a stronger position to select partners after receiving a grant, not before. The commenter proposed that the Department require applicants who are nonprofit organizations to specify the types of districts or schools that will participate in the project without identifying specific partners. Discussion: As noted previously, section 14007(a)(1) of the ARRA specifies the entities eligible for funding under this program. Because the ARRA specifies that a nonprofit organization is only eligible to receive an i3 grant in partnership with one or more LEAs or a consortium of schools, we cannot award a nonprofit organization an i3 grant without any identified LEAs or schools. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter requested that the Department clarify that entities implementing programs that serve outof-school youth, such as students beyond the compulsory school age or students participating in alternative education programs, are eligible to apply for i3 grants. One commenter questioned the value of requiring that i3 projects to serve K– 12 students and expressed concern that this requirement may result in applicants changing the focus on their planned interventions to serve a population for whom the intervention is not designed. The commenter further stated that this requirement conflicts with the requirement that i3 projects be supported by evidence of effectiveness, and distracts from the i3 program goal of learning what works in education. Discussion: This requirement clarifies that the i3 program focuses on K–12 education. Although grantees are not prohibited from serving out-of-school youth or students who are beyond compulsory school age, all grantees must implement practices that serve students who are in grades K–12 at some point during the funding period. We do not agree with the comment that this requirement conflicts with the VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 required evidence standards or the program goal of learning what works in education. This requirement aims to ensure that all i3 grants support students in grades K–12, but it does not require applicants to propose projects that are not designed to serve students in the target population. As long as K– 12 students are served by the grantee at some point during the funding period, it is within the applicant’s discretion to determine what intervention will best address the competition’s priority and meet the needs of the targeted student population. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter expressed support for the Department’s proposal to strengthen the evidence standards required for eligibility; and two other commenters expressed concern regarding the proposed evidence standards themselves. One of these commenters questioned whether tying the evidence definitions to the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Evidence Standards was limiting because new innovations that show promise would not be able to move beyond the Development grant level. One commenter stated that the evidence definitions needed to be weakened to be more practical. Discussion: A unique design feature of the i3 program is how it links funding to the quality and extent of existing evidence showing the likelihood of a proposed practice improving student outcomes. We recognize that the new definitions narrow the allowable evaluation methodologies at the strong and moderate evidence of effectiveness levels; but note that the new evidence standards also broaden the types of evidence that can be used at the Development level. Considering the level of public investment and the expectations that Scale-up and Validation projects serve students at a national or regional level, we believe it is reasonable to require such projects to have evidence of their effectiveness that uses evaluation methodologies that are most likely to support causal conclusions. Moreover, this evidence requirement provides incentives for entities to conduct rigorous, highquality evaluations of existing widespread practices so that they can move beyond the Development grant level. Changes: None. Comment: Two commenters stated that the requirement that an eligible nonprofit organization must have a record of significantly improving student achievement, attainment, or retention is limiting because it seems to exclude nonprofit organizations that (1) PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18697 demonstrate success in designing and implementing programs similar to those for which there is moderate evidence of success and (2) are implementing programs that reflect programs supported by evidence of promise or strong theory but for which no direct evaluation exists. Both commenters suggested that the Department allow nonprofit organizations to implement these programs. Discussion: The comment references two different eligibility requirements: (1) Eligible applicants must have a record of significantly improving student achievement, attainment, or retention; and (2) the requirement that i3 grants be supported by evidence— Scale-up grants must be supported by strong evidence of effectiveness, Validation grants must be supported by moderate evidence of effectiveness, and Development grants must be supported by evidence of promise or strong theory. While we recognize these requirements appear similar, we think it is important to distinguish them in order to address the comments fully. First, the requirement for applicants to have a record of significantly improving student achievement, attainment, or retention is statutory, and the Department has no authority to revise or remove it. Specifically, section 14007(b)(1) through (b)(3) and section 14007(c) of the ARRA require that, to be eligible for an i3 grant, an applicant have a record of improving student achievement. Second, while the requirement that applicants have a record of significantly improving student achievement refers to the applicant’s past work with LEAs and schools, the evidence standards refer to evidence that the proposed intervention is effective. That is, the applicant must provide information on its history of working to improve student outcomes, as well as the evidence of effectiveness of the proposed intervention. We consider both of these requirements important to the i3 program goal of identifying and supporting the replication of best practices in education. Finally, while we have provided specific definitions for each level of evidence, we have not prescribed specific measures that must be used to meet the statutory eligibility requirement. We consider the applicant to be best suited to present information on how its past work has significantly improved student achievement and to determine the metrics it uses to measure those accomplishments. This approach provides an applicant with the discretion to demonstrate its record of improving student achievement but E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 18698 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations maintains the program’s structure of linking the amount of funding that an applicant may receive to the quality of the evidence supporting the efficacy of the proposed project. As noted earlier, this structure provides incentives for applicants to build evidence of effectiveness of their proposed projects. Changes: None. Comment: Two commenters proposed that the Department revise the statutory eligibility requirement to require an eligible applicant to have a record of significantly closing the achievement gaps between groups of students described in section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA and students not in the subgroup (e.g., the gap between students with disabilities and students without disabilities). Discussion: As explained previously, we have no authority to revise or expand the statutorily prescribed eligibility requirements; and, therefore, we cannot require applicants to have a record of significantly closing the achievement gaps between students in a particular subgroup and students not in that particular subgroup. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter expressed support for the Department’s proposal to strengthen the evaluation requirement. Discussion: We appreciate the support for requiring each i3 grantee to conduct an evaluation that will produce an estimate of the impact of the i3supported practice (as implemented at the proposed level of scale) on a relevant outcome (as defined in this document). This requirement also aims to increase the evidence available on existing practices. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter expressed concern about the amount and timing of the matching requirement. The commenter stated that the requirement for matching funds conflicts with the Department’s interest in identifying imaginative approaches to improving education. Discussion: Section 14007(b)(3) of the ARRA specifically requires a privatesector match for grants awarded under this program. We understand the commenter’s concern about the challenges of securing significant private-sector investments. This concern, however, is addressed by the flexibility provided in the ‘‘Cost Sharing or Matching’’ requirement, which allows the Secretary to determine the required amount of private-sector matching funds or in-kind contributions that eligible applicants must obtain under an i3 competition in a given year. Moreover, the requirement now provides additional flexibility for the VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 Secretary to announce in the notice inviting applications when and how selected eligible applicants must submit evidence of the private-sector matching funds. We expect the determination of the amount of the private-sector match, as well as the determination of when and how evidence of the private-sector match must be submitted, will be based on an assessment of the capacity and resources available in that particular year. In addition, an eligible applicant continues to have the option, under this requirement, to request in its application that the Secretary decrease the private-sector match amount that a particular applicant must provide. Changes: None. Comment: Three commenters recommended that the i3 program require that any learning materials, professional development, or tools created with i3 funding be made publicly available as open educational resources. The commenters specifically cited the Creative Commons Attribution license as an exemplar because, according to the commenter, it is both consistent with the Department of Labor’s policy and clarifies how all users can access and use resources developed with Federal funds. One commenter stated that, although the Department’s current regulations reserve the right to make content available for government purposes, a policy similar to the Creative Commons Attribution license would provide a more immediate indication of the return on investment in i3-funded projects. Discussion: The Department’s regulations on project materials and copyrightable intellectual property produced with grant funds apply to all grants awarded under this program. Specifically, under 34 CFR 75.621, grantees may copyright project materials produced with Department grant funds. However, 34 CFR 74.36 and 80.34 state that the Department retains a nonexclusive and irrevocable license to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use project materials developed with grant funds for government purposes. Together these regulations allow i3 grantees to copyright innovative project materials, thereby providing an incentive for the grantees to disseminate those materials through the commercial marketplace, while also recognizing that any such materials are the result of a public investment to promote learning, and can, if necessary, be made available to the public by the Department. Further, one of the primary objectives of the i3 program is to identify and document best practices that can be shared and replicated. One way we do so is through the requirement that all i3 PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 grantees participate in communities of practice. In addition, we establish priority 9 (Enabling Broad Adoption of Effective Practices) under which an applicant must share knowledge about the practice broadly and support the implementation of the practice in other settings and locations. We believe that the approach set out in the Department’s current regulations properly balances the intellectual property interests of grantees and the public’s interest in ensuring that copyrightable material produced with Department grant funds is widely disseminated. For these reasons, we decline to make the suggested change. Changes: None. Definitions Comment: One commenter urged the Department to include definitions for ‘‘community engagement’’ and ‘‘family engagement,’’ and proposed definitions for the terms. The commenter’s proposed definitions describe qualities of effective engagement and include explicit references to engagement being an ongoing or continuous process. Discussion: We appreciate the commenter’s recommendation. However, we also recognize that the range of projects aimed at improving parent and family engagement is vast, and that the meaning of ‘‘parent and family engagement’’ is evolving. To ensure that we do not limit or narrow the types of projects that could be submitted under this program, we decline to provide a specific definition. Moreover, because priority 6 (Improving Parent and Family Engagement) focuses on specific gaps or needs related to parent and family engagement, it does not seem necessary to further define these terms. Finally, because community engagement is not part of the priorities under this program, we conclude that it is not necessity to establish a definition. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter expressed concern that the current definition of ‘‘high-need student’’ encompasses any student who functions below gradelevel. The commenter suggested the Department revise this definition to mean students with traditional achievement gaps, including lowincome students, racial and ethnic minority students, ELs, or students with disabilities. Discussion: The definition of ‘‘highneed student’’ could include students with traditional achievement gaps, including low-income students, racial and ethnic minority students, ELs, or students with disabilities. However, given the diversity of the projects that E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations could be funded under the i3 program, we think it is important that an applicant have the discretion to determine which students are at risk of educational failure, and to discuss how the proposed project will meet the needs of those students. Changes: None. Comment: Three commenters recommended that the Department revise the examples of supplemental measures provided in the definition of ‘‘highly effective principal’’ to include the percentage of students with disabilities educated in general classrooms. Discussion: The supplemental measures listed in the definition of ‘‘highly effective principal’’ are examples and not exhaustive. Applicants have the discretion to consider other measures, including the percentage of students with disabilities in general education classrooms. Because of this, and because of the Department’s interest in maintaining consistency in the definition of ‘‘highly effective principal’’ across various Department programs, we decline to revise the definition to include additional examples of supplemental measures. Changes: None. Comment: A few commenters proposed revisions to the definition of ‘‘highly effective teacher.’’ One commenter stated that the proposed definition narrowly conforms to the traditional role of a teacher lecturing a classroom and must be broadened to include all educators. As student learning occurs at individual rates, and because learning can happen any time and in any place, the commenter suggested that a teacher’s effectiveness rating should be more flexible and allow for differentiated timetables for content mastery, consistent with the learning at any time, any place, and any pace. Another commenter stated that the proposed definition fails to reflect the new world of teaching because it does not recognize that multiple adults affect student learning in schools using a differential staffing model. One commenter recommended the definition be revised to clarify that the measures of effectiveness for highly effective teachers be based on standards for teaching that relate to student learning. The commenter suggested that, in addition to student growth, standards created by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium should be included as measures of teacher effectiveness. Three commenters recommended that the Department revise the definition of VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 ‘‘highly effective teacher’’ to incorporate additional supplemental measures that are specific to teachers of students with disabilities, including knowledge and implementation of the principles of UDL and assessments that measure effectiveness of addressing diverse learners’ needs. Discussion: We recognize that the classroom teacher is not the only individual to affect student achievement, and that learning may occur outside of the traditional classroom. However, as the definition of ‘‘highly effective teacher’’ refers to ‘‘student growth,’’ we conclude that the definition would not need to take into consideration differentiated timetables for content mastery because the definition for ‘‘student growth’’ does not prescribe the two or more points in time that needs to be used to measure a change in student achievement. Further, because multiple measures may be used to determine teacher effectiveness, we do not agree it is necessary to prescribe that applicants use a specific set of teaching standards. The list of supplemental measures provided in the definition of ‘‘highly effective teacher’’ provides examples and is not exhaustive. Applicants have the discretion to consider other measures, including measures proposed by the commenters. Because the use of the proposed supplemental measures is possible under the current definition and because of the Department’s interest in maintaining consistency in the definition of ‘‘highly effective teachers’’ across Department programs, we decline to revise the definition to include additional examples of supplemental measures. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter suggested that the Department broaden the types of assessments used in the definition of ‘‘student achievement.’’ The commenter stated that assessments specified in the definition should be as robust as the skills students are expected to demonstrate, including assessments that measure a student’s ability to: master core content, think critically and solve complex problems, collaborate with peers, be self-directed, and integrate feedback. Three commenters recommended that the Department revise the definitions of ‘‘student achievement’’ and ‘‘student growth’’ to include measures that are evidence-based and comparable across student groups. Discussion: We agree that students need to be proficient in a robust set of skills. That is why the definition of ‘‘student achievement’’ includes, in addition to the assessments required PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18699 under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA, other measures of student learning. Because other measures of student learning may be used under the current definition, and because of the Department’s interest in maintaining consistency in the definitions of ‘‘student achievement’’ and ‘‘student growth’’ across Department programs, we decline to revise the definition. Changes: None. Comment: None. Discussion: As part of our internal review, we noted that we inadvertently omitted the definition for ‘‘nonprofit organization’’ from the notice of proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection. As we did not propose, or have any intention of making, a change to this definition, we have added the definition that we have used in prior i3 competitions. Changes: We have defined ‘‘nonprofit organization’’ to mean an entity that meets the definition of ‘‘nonprofit’’ under 34 CFR 77.1(c), or an institution of higher education as defined by section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. Comment: None. Discussion: We have revised the definitions of ‘‘moderate evidence of effectiveness’’ and ‘‘strong evidence of effectiveness’’ by adding the phrase ‘‘and overriding’’ to the second parenthetical in sections (a) and (b) of both definitions. The purpose of our adding this phrase is to clarify the meaning of the parenthetical, which was intended to apply only to studies with unfavorable outcomes that were so substantial as to call into question the potential effectiveness of the intervention. The modification to the parenthetical makes clear the narrow scope of the parenthetical. Changes: We have revised the second parenthetical in sections (a) and (b) of the definitions of ‘‘moderate evidence of effectiveness’’ and ‘‘strong evidence of effectiveness’’ to add the phrase ‘‘and overriding.’’ The parenthetical now reads ‘‘with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse.’’ Selection Criteria The Department did not receive any comments on the proposed selection criteria. Therefore, we make no changes to the selection criteria. FINAL PRIORITIES: Priority 1—Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals. E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 18700 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address one or more of the following priority areas: (a) Developing and implementing new methods and sources for recruiting: (1) Highly effective teachers (as defined in this document); (2) Highly effective principals (as defined in this document); or (3) Highly effective teachers and principals (as defined in this document). (b) Developing and implementing models for teacher preparation that deepen pedagogical knowledge and skills which have been demonstrated to improve student achievement (as defined in this document), such as knowledge of instructional practices or knowledge and skills in classroom management, or that deepen pedagogical content knowledge. (c) Developing and implementing models for principal preparation that deepen leadership skills which have been demonstrated to improve student achievement (as defined in this document). (d) Developing and implementing models of induction and support for improving the knowledge and skills of novice teachers or novice principals to accelerate student performance, including but not limited to strategies designed to increase teacher retention or improve teacher or principal effectiveness. (e) Creating career pathways with differentiated opportunities and roles for teachers or principals, which may include differentiated compensation. (f) Designing and implementing teacher or principal evaluation systems that provide clear, timely, and useful feedback, including feedback that identifies areas for improvement and that guides professional development for teachers or principals. (g) Developing supports for the ongoing development and performance improvement of teachers, principals, or instructional leaders, such as local and virtual communities, tools, training, and other mechanisms. (h) Increasing the equitable access to effective teachers or principals for lowincome and high-need students (as defined in this document), which may include increasing the equitable distribution of effective teachers or principals for low-income and highneed students across schools. (i) Extending highly effective teachers’ reach to serve more students, including strategies such as new course designs, staffing models, technology platforms, or new opportunities for collaboration that allow highly effective teachers to reach more students, or approaches or VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 tools that reduce administrative and other burden while maintaining or improving effectiveness. (j) Projects addressing pressing needs related to improving teacher or principal effectiveness. Priority 2—Improving Low-Performing Schools. Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address one or more of the following priority areas: (a) Designing whole-school models and implementing processes that lead to significant and sustained improvement in individual student performance and overall school performance and culture. These models may incorporate such strategies as providing strong school leadership; strengthening the instructional program; embedding professional development that provides teachers with frequent feedback to increase the rigor and effectiveness of their instructional practice; redesigning the school day, week, or year; using data to inform instruction and improvement; establishing a school environment that promotes a culture of high expectations; addressing non-academic factors that affect student achievement; and providing ongoing mechanisms for parent and family engagement. (b) Changing elements of the school’s organizational design to improve instruction by differentiating staff roles and extending and enhancing instructional time. (c) Recruiting, developing, or retaining highly effective staff, specifically teachers, principals, or instructional leaders, to work in lowperforming schools. (d) Implementing programs, supports, or other strategies that improve students’ non-cognitive abilities (e.g., motivation, persistence, or resilience) and enhance student engagement in learning or mitigate the effects of poverty, including physical, mental, or emotional health issues, on student engagement in learning. (e) Supporting the turnaround efforts of low-performing schools or districts by increasing access to, and use of, highquality partners. (f) Increasing district- or State-level capacity to turn around low-performing schools, including improvements to State and district support and oversight of turnaround efforts. (g) Projects that support the implementation of turnaround efforts in secondary schools. (h) Projects addressing pressing needs related to improving low-performing schools. Other requirements related to Priority 2: PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 To meet this priority, a project must serve schools among (1) the lowestperforming schools in the State on academic performance measures; (2) schools in the State with the largest within-school performance gaps between student subgroups described in section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA; or (3) secondary schools in the State with the lowest graduation rate over a number of years or the largest within-school gaps in graduation rates between student subgroups described in section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA. Additionally, projects funded under this priority must complement the broader turnaround efforts of the school(s), LEA(s), or State(s) where the projects will be implemented. Priority 3—Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address one or more of the following priority areas: (a) Providing students with increased access to rigorous and engaging coursework in STEM. (b) Redesigning STEM course content and instructional practices to engage students and increase student achievement (as defined in this document). (c) Developing and implementing new methods and resources for recruiting individuals with content expertise in STEM subject areas into teaching. (d) Increasing the high-quality preparation of, or professional development for, teachers or other educators in STEM subjects, through activities that include building content and pedagogical content knowledge. (e) Expanding high-quality out-ofschool and extended-day activities, including extending the day, week, or year, or before- or after- school, or summer learning programs, that provide students with opportunities for deliberate practice that increase STEM learning, engagement, and expertise. (f) Increasing the number of individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM, including minorities, individuals with disabilities, and women and girls, who access rigorous and engaging coursework in STEM and are prepared for postsecondary study in STEM. (g) Increasing the number of individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM, including minorities, individuals with disabilities, and women, who are teachers or educators of STEM subjects and receive high-quality preparation or professional development. (h) Projects addressing pressing needs for improving STEM education. E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations Priority 4—Improving Academic Outcomes for Students with Disabilities. Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address one or more of the following priority areas: (a) Implementing coherent systems of support that appropriately coordinate and integrate programs to address the needs of children and youth with disabilities and improve the quality of service for those children and their families. (b) Designing and implementing teacher evaluation systems that define and measure effectiveness of special education teachers and related service providers. (c) Designing and implementing strategies that improve student achievement (as defined in this document) for students with disabilities in inclusive settings, including strategies that improve learning and developmental outcomes (i.e., academic, social, emotional, or behavioral) and the appropriate transition from restrictive settings to inclusive settings or general education classes or programs, and appropriate strategies to prevent unnecessary suspensions and expulsions. (d) Improving secondary and postsecondary data collection and tracking of academic and related outcomes for students with disabilities to understand their transition into postsecondary education and the factors associated with their success. (e) Projects addressing pressing needs related to improving academic outcomes for students with disabilities. Priority 5—Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners (ELs). Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address one or more of the following priority areas: (a) Increasing the number and proportion of ELs successfully completing courses in core academic subjects by developing, implementing, and evaluating new instructional approaches and tools that are sensitive to the language demands necessary to access challenging content, including technology-based tools. (b) Aligning and implementing the curriculum and instruction used in grades 6–12 for language development and content courses to provide sufficient exposure to, engagement in, and acquisition of academic language and literacy practices necessary for preparing ELs to be college- and careerready. (c) Preparing ELs to be on track to be college- and career-ready when they graduate from high school by developing comprehensive, developmentally appropriate, early VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 learning programs (birth-grade 3) that are aligned with the State’s high-quality early learning standards, designed to improve readiness for kindergarten, and support development of literacy and academic skills in English or in English and another language. (d) Developing and implementing school-wide professional development for teachers, administrators, and other personnel in schools in which a significant percentage of students are ELs. (e) Designing and implementing teacher evaluation systems that define and measure the effectiveness of teachers of students who at some point have been identified as ELs (i.e., both current and former ELs). (f) Projects addressing pressing needs related to improving academic outcomes for ELs. Priority 6—Improving Parent and Family Engagement. Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address one or more of the following priority areas: (a) Developing and implementing initiatives that train parents and families in the skills and strategies that will support their students in improving academic outcomes, including increased engagement and persistence in school. (b) Implementing initiatives that are designed to enhance the skills and competencies of teachers, and of school and other administrative staff, in building relationships and collaborating with students’ families, particularly those who have been underengaged with the school(s) in the past, in order to support student achievement and school improvement. (c) Implementing initiatives that cultivate sustainable partnerships and increase connections between parents and school staff in order to support student achievement and school improvement. (d) Developing tools or practices that provide students and parents with improved, ongoing access to, and use of, data and other information about students’ progress and performance. (e) Projects addressing pressing needs related to improving student outcomes by improving parent and family engagement. Priority 7—Improving CostEffectiveness and Productivity. Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address one of the following areas: (a) Substantially improving student outcomes without commensurately increasing per-student costs. (b) Maintaining student outcomes while substantially decreasing perstudent costs. PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18701 (c) Substantially improving student outcomes while substantially decreasing per-student costs. Other requirements related to Priority 7: An application addressing this priority must provide— (1) A clear and coherent budget that identifies expected student outcomes before and after the practice, the cost per student for the practice, and a clear calculation of the cost per student served; (2) A compelling discussion of the expected cost-effectiveness of the practice compared with alternative practices; (3) A clear delineation of one-time costs versus ongoing costs and a plan for sustaining the project, particularly ongoing costs, after the expiration of i3 funding; (4) Identification of specific activities designed to increase substantially the cost-effectiveness of the practice, such as re-designing costly components of the practice (while maintaining efficacy) or testing multiple versions of the practice in order to identify the most costeffective approach; and (5) A project evaluation that addresses the cost-effectiveness of the proposed practice. Priority 8—Effective Use of Technology. Under this priority, we will provide funding to projects that use technology to address one or more of the following priority areas: (a) Providing access to learning experiences that are personalized, adaptive, and self-improving in order to optimize the delivery of instruction to learners with a variety of learning needs. (b) Providing students and teachers with equitable ‘‘anytime, anywhere’’ access to learning materials and experiences that they otherwise would not have access to, such as rigorous coursework that is not offered in a particular school, or effective professional development activities or learning communities enabled by technology. (c) Developing new methods and resources for teacher preparation or professional development that increase teachers’ abilities to utilize technology to enhance their knowledge and skills to improve student achievement (as defined in this document) and to close achievement gaps. (d) Implementing strategies that improve student proficiencies in complex skills, such as critical thinking and collaboration across academic disciplines. E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 18702 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations (e) Developing and implementing technology-enabled strategies for teaching and learning concepts and content (e.g., systems thinking) that are difficult to teach using traditional approaches, such as models and simulations, collaborative virtual environments, or ‘‘serious games’’. (f) Integrating technology with the implementation of rigorous college- and career-ready standards to increase student achievement (as defined in this document), student engagement, and teacher efficacy, such as by providing embedded, real-time assessment and feedback to students and teachers. (g) Projects that increase the use of technology for effective teaching and learning. Priority 9—Enabling Broad Adoption of Effective Practices. Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that enable broad adoption of effective practices. An application proposing to address this priority must, as part of its application: (a) Identify the practice or practices that the application proposes to prepare for broad adoption, including formalizing the practice (i.e., establish and define key elements of the practice), codifying (i.e., develop a guide or tools to support the dissemination of information on key elements of the practice), and explaining why there is a need for formalization and codification. (b) Evaluate different forms of the practice to identify the critical components of the practice that are crucial to its success and sustainability, including the adaptability of critical components to different teaching and learning environments and to diverse learners. (c) Provide a coherent and comprehensive plan for developing materials, training, toolkits, or other supports that other entities would need in order to implement the practice effectively and with fidelity. (d) Commit to assessing the replicability and adaptability of the practice by supporting the implementation of the practice in a variety of locations during the project period using the materials, training, toolkits, or other supports that were developed for the i3-supported practice. Priority 10—Serving Rural Communities. Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address one of the absolute priorities established for a particular i3 competition and under which the majority of students to be served are enrolled in rural local educational agencies (as defined in this document). VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 Priority 11—Supporting Novice i3 Applicants. Eligible applicants that have never directly received a grant under this program. Types of Priorities: When inviting applications for a competition using one or more priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal Register. The effect of each type of priority follows: Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)). Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)). Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)). Final Requirements: 1. Innovations that Improve Achievement for High-Need Students: All grantees must implement practices that are designed to improve student achievement (as defined in this document) or student growth (as defined in this document), close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, increase high school graduation rates (as defined in this document), or increase college enrollment and completion rates for high-need students (as defined in this document). 2. Innovations that 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. 3. Eligible Applicants: Entities eligible to apply for i3 grants include either of the following: (a) An LEA. (b) A partnership between a nonprofit organization and— PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 (1) One or more LEAs; or (2) A consortium of schools. Statutory Eligibility Requirements: Except as specifically set forth in the Note about Eligibility for an Eligible Applicant that Includes a Nonprofit Organization that follows, to be eligible for an award, an eligible applicant must— (a)(1) 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 (2) Have demonstrated success in significantly increasing student academic achievement for all groups of students described in that section; (b) Have made significant improvements in other areas, such as high school graduation rates (as defined in this document) or increased recruitment and placement of highquality teachers and principals, as demonstrated with meaningful data; (c) Demonstrate that it has established one or more partnerships with the private sector, which may include philanthropic organizations, and that organizations in the private sector will provide matching funds in order to help bring results to scale; and (d) 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 specifies that an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization meets the requirements in paragraphs (a) and (b) 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 E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations 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 i3 grant an LEA or a consortium of schools that meets the requirements in paragraphs (a) and (b) of the eligibility requirements in this document. In addition, the authorizing statute specifies that an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization meets the requirements of paragraph (c) of the eligibility requirements in this document if the eligible applicant demonstrates that it will meet the requirement for private-sector matching. 4. Cost-Sharing or Matching Funds: 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. The Secretary may consider decreasing the matching requirement in the most exceptional circumstances. The Secretary will provide instructions for how to request a reduction of the matching requirement in the notice inviting applications. 5. Evidence Standards: To be eligible for an award, an application for a Development grant must be supported by one of the following: (a) Evidence of promise (as defined in this document); (b) Strong theory (as defined in this document); or (c) Evidence of promise (as defined in this document) or strong theory (as defined in this document). 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 this document) or strong theory (as defined in this document). To be eligible for an award, an application for a Validation grant must be supported by moderate evidence of VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 effectiveness (as defined in this document). To be eligible for an award, an application for a Scale-up grant must be supported by strong evidence of effectiveness (as defined in this document). 6. 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. 7. Limit 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 twoyear 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. For example, in a year when the maximum award value for a Scale-up grant is $25 million and the maximum award value for a Development grant is $5 million, no grantee may receive in a single year new grants totaling more than $30 million. 8. 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. 9. Evaluation: The grantee must conduct an independent evaluation (as defined in this document) 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 this document). The grantee must make broadly available digitally and free of charge, through formal (e.g., peerreviewed 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. PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18703 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. 10. 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. 11. 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. Final Definitions: The Assistant Deputy Secretary establishes the following definitions for this program. We may apply one or more of these definitions in any year in which this program is in effect. Consortium of schools means two or more public elementary or secondary schools acting collaboratively for the purpose of applying for and implementing an i3 grant jointly with an eligible nonprofit organization. Evidence of promise means there is empirical evidence to support the theoretical linkage between at least one critical component and at least one relevant outcome presented in the logic model (as defined in this document) for the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice. Specifically, evidence of promise means the following conditions are met: (a) There is at least one study that is either a— (1) Correlational study with statistical controls for selection bias; (2) Quasi-experimental study (as defined in this document) that meets the E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 18704 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations 1; or (3) Randomized controlled trial (as defined in this document) that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with or without reservations; 2 and (b) Such a study found a statistically significant or substantively important (defined as a difference of 0.25 standard deviations or larger), favorable association between at least one critical component and one relevant outcome presented in the logic model for the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice. High-need student means a student at risk of educational failure or otherwise in need of special assistance and support, such as students who are living in poverty, who attend high-minority schools (as defined in this document), who are far below grade level, who have left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are English learners. High-minority school is defined by a school’s LEA in a manner consistent with the corresponding State’s Teacher Equity Plan, as required by section 1111(b)(8)(C) of the ESEA. The applicant must provide, in its i3 application, the definition(s) used. High school graduation rate means a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1) and may also include an extended-year adjusted cohort graduation rate consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1)(v) if the State in which the proposed project is implemented has been approved by the Secretary to use such a rate under Title I of the ESEA. Highly effective principal means a principal whose students, overall and for each subgroup as described in section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the ESEA (economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, migrant students, students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, and students of each gender), achieve high rates (e.g., one and one-half grade levels in an academic year) of student growth. 1 See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/ DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19. 2 See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/ DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 Eligible applicants may include multiple measures, provided that principal effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, based on student growth. Supplemental measures may include, for example, high school graduation rates; college enrollment rates; evidence of providing supportive teaching and learning conditions, support for ensuring effective instruction across subject areas for a well-rounded education, strong instructional leadership, and positive family and community engagement; or evidence of attracting, developing, and retaining high numbers of effective teachers. Highly effective teacher means a teacher whose students achieve high rates (e.g., one and one-half grade levels in an academic year) of student growth. Eligible applicants may include multiple measures, provided that teacher effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, based on student academic growth. Supplemental measures may include, for example, multiple observation-based assessments of teacher performance or evidence of leadership roles (which may include mentoring or leading professional learning communities) that increase the effectiveness of other teachers in the school or LEA. Independent evaluation means that the evaluation is designed and carried out independent of, but in coordination with, any employees of the entities who develop a process, product, strategy, or practice and are implementing it. Innovation means a process, product, strategy, or practice that improves (or is expected to improve) significantly upon the outcomes reached with status quo options and that can ultimately reach widespread effective usage. Large sample means a sample of 350 or more students (or other single analysis units) who were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group, or 50 or more groups (such as classrooms or schools) that contain 10 or more students (or other single analysis units) and that were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group. Logic model (also referred to as theory of action) means a well-specified conceptual framework that identifies key components of the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice (i.e., the active ‘‘ingredients’’ that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the relationships among the key components and outcomes, theoretically and operationally. Moderate evidence of effectiveness means one of the following conditions is met: PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 (a) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that: meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations; 3 found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant outcome (as defined in this document) (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse); and includes a sample that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice. (b) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that: meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations; 4 found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant outcome (as defined in this document) (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse); includes a sample that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice; and includes a large sample (as defined in this document) and a multisite sample (as defined in this document). (Note: multiple studies can cumulatively meet the large and multisite sample requirements as long as each study meets the other requirements in this paragraph). Multi-site sample means more than one site, where site can be defined as an LEA, locality, or State. National level describes the level of scope or effectiveness of a process, product, strategy, or practice that is able to be effective in a wide variety of communities, including rural and urban areas, as well as with different groups (e.g., economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic groups, migrant populations, individuals with disabilities, English learners, and individuals of each gender). Nonprofit organization means an entity that meets the definition of 3 See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/ DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19. 4 See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/ DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19. E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 ‘‘nonprofit’’ under 34 CFR 77.1 (c), or an institution of higher education as defined by section 101 (a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. Quasi-experimental design study means a study using a design that attempts to approximate an experimental design by identifying a comparison group that is similar to the treatment group in important respects. These studies, depending on design and implementation, can meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations 5 (they cannot meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations). Randomized controlled trial means a study that employs random assignment of, for example, students, teachers, classrooms, schools, or districts to receive the intervention being evaluated (the treatment group) or not to receive the intervention (the control group). The estimated effectiveness of the intervention is the difference between the average outcome for the treatment group and for the control group. These studies, depending on design and implementation, can meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations.6 Regional level describes the level of scope or effectiveness of a process, product, strategy, or practice that is able to serve a variety of communities within a State or multiple States, including rural and urban areas, as well as with different groups (e.g., economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic groups, migrant populations, individuals with disabilities, English learners, and individuals of each gender). For an LEAbased project to be considered a regional-level project, a process, product, strategy, or practice must serve students in more than one LEA, unless the process, product, strategy, or practice is implemented in a State in which the State educational agency is the sole educational agency for all schools. Relevant outcome means the student outcome or outcomes (or the ultimate outcome if not related to students) that the proposed project is designed to improve, consistent with the specific goals of the project and the i3 program. Rural local educational agency means a local educational agency (LEA) that is eligible under the Small Rural School Achievement (SRSA) program or the 5 See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found at the following link: ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19. 6 See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found at the following link: ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) program authorized under Title VI, Part B of the ESEA. Eligible applicants may determine whether a particular LEA is eligible for these programs by referring to information on the Department’s Web site at www2.ed.gov/nclb/freedom/local/ reap.html. Strong evidence of effectiveness means that one of the following conditions is met: (a) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that: meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations; 7 found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant outcome (as defined in this document) (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse); includes a sample that overlaps with the populations and settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice; and includes a large sample (as defined in this document) and a multi-site sample (as defined in this document). (Note: multiple studies can cumulatively meet the large and multi-site sample requirements as long as each study meets the other requirements in this paragraph). (b) There are at least two studies of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed, each of which: meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations; 8 found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant outcome (as defined in this document) (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the studies or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse); includes a sample that overlaps with the populations and settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice; and includes a large sample (as defined in this document) and a multi-site sample (as defined in this document). Strong theory means a rationale for the proposed process, product, strategy, 7 See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/ DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19. 8 See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/ DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19. PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18705 or practice that includes a logic model (as defined in this document). Student achievement means— (a) For grades and subjects in which assessments are required under ESEA section 1111(b)(3): (1) a student’s score on such assessments and may include (2) other measures of student learning, such as those described in paragraph (b), provided they are rigorous and comparable across schools within an LEA. (b) For grades and subjects in which assessments are not required under ESEA section 1111(b)(3): alternative measures of student learning and performance such as student results on pre-tests, end-of-course tests, and objective performance-based assessments; student learning objectives; student performance on English language proficiency assessments; and other measures of student achievement that are rigorous and comparable across schools within an LEA. Student growth means the change in student achievement (as defined in this document) for an individual student between two or more points in time. An applicant may also include other measures that are rigorous and comparable across classrooms. Final Selection Criteria: The Secretary establishes the following selection criteria for evaluating an application under this program. We may apply one or more of these criteria in any year in which this program is in effect. We propose that the Secretary may use: • One or more of the selection criteria established in the notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria; • Any of the selection criteria in 34 CFR 75.210; criteria based on the statutory requirements for the i3 program in accordance with 34 CFR 75.209; or • Any combination of these when establishing selection criteria for each particular type of grant (Development, Validation, and Scale-up) in any i3 competition. We propose that the Secretary may further define each criterion by selecting specific factors for it. The Secretary may select these factors from any selection criterion in the list above. In the notice inviting applications, the application package, or both we will announce the specific selection criteria that apply to a competition and the maximum possible points assigned to each criterion. (a) Significance. In determining the significance of the proposed project, the Secretary will E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 18706 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations consider one or more of the following factors: (1) The extent to which the proposed project addresses a national need. (2) The extent to which the proposed project addresses a challenge for which there is a national need for solutions that are better than the solutions currently available. (3) The extent to which the proposed project would implement a novel approach as compared with what has been previously attempted nationally. (4) The extent of the expected impact of the project on relevant outcomes (as defined in this document), including the estimated impact of the project on student outcomes (particularly those related to student achievement (as defined in this document)) and the breadth of the project’s impact, compared with alternative practices or methods of addressing similar needs. (5) The extent to which the proposed project demonstrates that it is likely to have a meaningful impact on relevant outcomes (as defined in this document), particularly those related to student achievement (as defined in this document), if it were implemented and evaluated in a variety of settings. (6) The extent to which the proposed project will substantially improve on the outcomes achieved by other practices, such as through better student outcomes, lower cost, or accelerated results. (7) The importance and magnitude of the proposed project’s expected impact on a relevant outcome (as defined in this document), particularly one related to student achievement (as defined in this document). (8) The likelihood that the project will have the estimated impact, including the extent to which the applicant demonstrates that unmet demand for the proposed project or the proposed services will enable the applicant to reach the proposed level of scale. (9) The feasibility of national expansion if favorable outcomes are achieved. (b) Quality of the Project Design. In determining the quality of the project design, the Secretary will consider one or more of the following factors: (1) The extent to which the proposed project addresses the national need and priorities the applicant is seeking to meet. (2) The extent to which the proposed project addresses the absolute priority the applicant is seeking to meet. (3) The clarity and coherence of the project goals, including the extent to which the proposed project articulates an explicit plan or actions to achieve its VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 goals (e.g., a fully developed logic model of the proposed project). (4) The extent to which the proposed project has a clear set of goals and an explicit plan or actions to achieve the goals, including identification of any elements of the project logic model that require further testing or development. (5) The extent to which the proposed project will produce a fully codified practice, including a fully articulated logic model of the project by the end of the project period. (6) The clarity, completeness, and coherence of the project goals and whether the application includes a description of project activities that constitute a complete plan for achieving those goals, including the identification of potential risks to project success and strategies to mitigate those risks. (7) The extent to which the applicant addresses potential risks to project success and strategies to mitigate those risks. (8) The extent to which the applicant will use grant funds to address a particular barrier or barriers that prevented the applicant, in the past, from reaching the level of scale proposed in the application. (9) The extent to which the project would build the capacity of the applicant to scale up and sustain the project or would create an organization capable of expanding if successful outcomes are achieved. (10) The sufficiency of the resources to support effective project implementation, including the project’s plan for ensuring funding after the period of the Federal grant. (11) The sufficiency of the resources to support effective project implementation. (c) Quality of the Management Plan. In determining the quality of the management plan, the Secretary will consider one or more of the following factors: (1) The extent to which the management plan articulates key responsibilities and well-defined objectives, including the timelines and milestones for completion of major project activities, the metrics that will be used to assess progress on an ongoing basis, and annual performance targets the applicant will use to monitor whether the project is achieving its goals. (2) The clarity and coherence of the applicant’s multi-year financial and operating model and accompanying plan to operate the project at a national level (as defined in this document) during the project period. (3) The clarity and coherence of the applicant’s multi-year financial and PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 operating model and accompanying plan to operate the project at a national or regional level (as defined in this document) during the project period. (4) The extent to which the applicant demonstrates that it will have the resources to operate the project at the proposed level of scale during the project period and beyond the length of the grant, including the demonstrated commitment of any partners and evidence of broad support from stakeholders critical to the project’s long-term success (e.g., State educational agencies, teachers’ unions). (5) The extent of the demonstrated commitment of any key partners or evidence of broad support from stakeholders whose participation is critical to the project’s long-term success. (d) Personnel. When evaluating the personnel of the proposed project, the Secretary will consider one or more of the following factors: (1) The adequacy of the project’s staffing plan, particularly for the first year of the project, including the identification of the project director and, in the case of projects with unfilled key personnel positions at the beginning of the project, that the staffing plan identifies how critical work will proceed. (2) The qualifications and experience of the project director and other key project personnel and the extent to which they have the expertise to accomplish the proposed tasks. (3) The extent to which the project director has experience managing large, complex, and rapidly growing projects. (4) The extent to which the project director has experience managing large, complex projects. (5) The extent to which the project director has experience managing projects of similar size and scope as the proposed project. (e) Quality of the Project Evaluation. In determining the quality of the project evaluation, the Secretary will consider one or more of the following factors: (1) The clarity and importance of the key questions to be addressed by the project evaluation, and the appropriateness of the methods for how each question will be addressed. (2) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well implemented, produce evidence about the project’s effectiveness that would meet the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations.9 9 See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook. (Version 2.1, September E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations (3) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well implemented, produce evidence about the project’s effectiveness that would meet the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with or without reservations.10 (4) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide valid and reliable performance data on relevant outcomes, particularly student achievement outcomes. (5) The extent to which the evaluation will study the project at the proposed level of scale, including, where appropriate, generating information about potential differential effectiveness of the project in diverse settings and for diverse student population groups. (6) The extent to which the evaluation will study the project at the proposed level of scale, including in diverse settings. (7) The extent to which the evaluation plan includes a clear and credible analysis plan, including a proposed sample size and minimum detectable effect size that aligns with the expected project impact, and an analytic approach for addressing the research questions. (8) The extent to which the evaluation plan includes a clear, well-documented, and rigorous method for measuring implementation of the critical features of the project, as well as the intended outcomes. (9) The extent to which the evaluation plan clearly articulates the key components and outcomes of the project, as well as a measurable threshold for acceptable implementation. (10) The extent to which the evaluation plan will provide sufficient information on the project’s effect as compared to alternative practices addressing similar need. (11) The extent to which the proposed project plan includes sufficient resources to carry out the project evaluation effectively. This document does not preclude us from proposing additional priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements. srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Note: This document does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use one or more of these priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 2011), which can currently be found at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/ DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19. 10 See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/ DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 criteria], we invite applications through a notice in the Federal Register. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether this regulatory action is ‘‘significant’’ and, therefore, subject to the requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ as an action likely to result in a rule that may— (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local or tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to as an ‘‘economically significant’’ rule); (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President’s priorities, or the principles stated in the Executive order. This final regulatory action will have an annual effect on the economy of more than $100 million because Department anticipates more than that amount will be appropriated for i3 and awarded as grants. Therefore, this final action is ‘‘economically significant’’ and subject to review by OMB under section 3(f)(1) of Executive Order 12866. Notwithstanding this determination, we have assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and qualitative, of this final regulatory action and have determined that the benefits justify the costs. We have also reviewed this final regulatory action under Executive Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 13563 requires that an agency— (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits and costs are difficult to quantify); (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into account—among other things PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 18707 and to the extent practicable—the costs of cumulative regulations; (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity); (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must adopt; and (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct regulation, including economic incentives—such as user fees or marketable permits—to encourage the desired behavior, or provide information that enables the public to make choices. Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency ‘‘to use the best available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future benefits and costs as accurately as possible.’’ The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these techniques may include ‘‘identifying changing future compliance costs that might result from technological innovation or anticipated behavioral changes.’’ We are issuing these final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria only on a reasoned determination that their benefits justify their costs. In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches that maximize net benefits. Based on the analysis that follows, the Department believes that this regulatory action is consistent with the principles in Executive Order 13563. We also have determined that this final regulatory action does not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of their governmental functions. In this regulatory impact analysis we discuss the need for regulatory action, the potential costs and benefits, net budget impacts, assumptions, limitations, and data sources, as well as regulatory alternatives we considered. Discussion of Costs and Benefits The Secretary believes that these priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria would not impose significant costs on eligible LEAs, nonprofit organizations, or other entities that would receive assistance through the i3 program. The Secretary also believes that the benefits of implementing the priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria contained in this document outweigh any associated costs. E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 18708 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations The Secretary expects that these priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria will result in selection of high-quality applications to implement activities that are most likely to have a significant national impact on educational reform and improvement. Additionally, the priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria in this document clarify the scope of activities the Secretary expects to support with program funds and the expected burden of work involved in preparing an application and implementing a project under the program. Potential applicants, both LEAs and nonprofit organizations, need to consider carefully the effort that will be required to prepare a strong application, their capacity to implement a project successfully, and their chances of submitting a successful application. Program participation is voluntary. The Secretary believes that the costs imposed on applicants by these priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria would be limited to paperwork burden related to preparing an application and that the benefits of implementing them would outweigh any costs incurred by applicants. The costs of carrying out activities would be paid for with program funds and with matching funds provided by privatesector partners. Thus, the costs of implementation would not be a burden for any eligible applicants, including small entities. Regulatory Alternatives Considered The Department considered using the priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria established for and used during prior i3 competitions instead of establishing these final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria. However, although we maintain the overall purpose and structure of the i3 program, we incorporate changes based on specific lessons learned from the first three competitions. For example, the original i3 priorities were written broadly and generated a wide range of projects in the first three competitions. With this regulatory action, we establish final priorities that provide for a more focused set of projects within areas of acute need. Similarly, the final requirement on cost-sharing and marching provides more flexibility for when and how selected eligible applicants must submit evidence of the private-sector matching funds. We also use this regulatory action to provide clarification on the expectations for the three types of grants under the i3 program (i.e., Development, Validation, and Scale-up) by making changes to the descriptions of the types of grants and the selection criteria. The priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria in this document reflect and promote the purpose of the i3 program. They also align the i3 program, where possible and permissible, with other Departmental priorities. Accounting Statement As required by OMB Circular A–4 (available at www.whitehouse.gov/sites/ default/files/omb/assets/omb/circulars/ a004/a-4.pdf), in the following table we have prepared an accounting statement showing the classification of the expenditures associated with the provisions of this regulatory action. This table provides our best estimate of the changes in annual monetized transfers as a result of this regulatory action. Expenditures are classified as transfers from Federal Government to LEAs and nonprofit organizations. ACCOUNTING STATEMENT CLASSIFICATION OF ESTIMATED EXPENDITURES Category Transfers Annualized Monetized Transfers .............................................................. From Whom To Whom? ........................................................................... srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 Waiver of Delayed Effective Date Under Congressional Review Act These priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria are a major rule for purposes of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) (5 U.S.C. 801, et seq.). Generally, under the CRA, a major rule takes effect 60 days after the date on which the rule is published in the Federal Register. Section 808(2) of the CRA, however, provides that any rule which an agency for good cause finds (and incorporates the finding and a brief statement of reasons therefore in the rule issued) that notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest, shall take effect at such time as the Federal agency promulgating the rule determines. These final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria are needed to implement the i3 program, authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Division A, Section 14007, Public Law 111–5. The Department must make grant VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 $140,011,000 from the Federal Government to LEAs and nonprofit organizations awards under this authority by December 31, 2013, or the funds will lapse. Even under an expedited timeline, it is impracticable for the Department to adhere to a 60-day delayed effective date for this final regulatory action and make awards to qualified applicants by the December deadline. When the 60day delayed effective date is added to the time the Department will need to receive pre-applications (approximately 30 days), review the pre-applications and invite full applications (approximately 60 days), receive full applications (approximately 45 days), review applications (approximately 35 days), approve applications (approximately 50 days), and, finally, provide time for grantees to secure the required private-sector matching funds (approximately 30 days), the Department will not be able to award funds by December 31, 2013. The Department has therefore determined that, under section 808(2) of the CRA, the 60-day delay in the effective date generally required for congressional PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 review is impracticable, contrary to the public interest, and waived for good cause. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal financial assistance. This document provides early notification of our specific plans and actions for this program. Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / Rules and Regulations srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES2 official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:50 Mar 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site. You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 9990 18709 your search to documents published by the Department. Dated: March 21, 2013. James H. Shelton, III, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement. [FR Doc. 2013–07016 Filed 3–26–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P E:\FR\FM\27MRR2.SGM 27MRR2

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 59 (Wednesday, March 27, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 18681-18709]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-07016]



[[Page 18681]]

Vol. 78

Wednesday,

No. 59

March 27, 2013

Part II





Department of Education





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34 CFR Subtitle A





 Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria--
Investing in Innovation Fund; Applications for New Awards; Investing in 
Innovation Fund, Development Grants; Rule and Notice

Federal Register / Vol. 78 , No. 59 / Wednesday, March 27, 2013 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 18682]]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Subtitle A

RIN 1855-AA09
[Docket No. ED-2012-OII-0027]


Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection 
Criteria--Investing in Innovation Fund

AGENCY: Office of Innovation and Improvement, Department of Education.

ACTION: Final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria.

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    [CFDA Numbers: 84.411A, 84.411B, and 84.411C]

SUMMARY: The Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement 
announces priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
under the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3). The Assistant Deputy 
Secretary may use one or more of these priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria for competitions in fiscal year 
(FY) 2013 and later years.
    We clarify and redesign key aspects of the program by incorporating 
lessons learned from past i3 competitions. Specifically, we intend to 
improve the i3 program to better achieve its purposes and goal by 
making changes that will result in accelerating the identification of 
promising solutions to pressing challenges in K-12 public education, 
supporting the evaluation of the efficacy of such solutions, and 
developing new approaches to scaling effective practices to serve more 
students.

DATES: These priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria are effective April 26, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carol Lyons, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4W203 LBJ, Washington, DC 
20202. Telephone: (202) 453-7122 or by email: i3@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Executive Summary

    Purpose of This Regulatory Action: The purpose of this action is to 
establish priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
that will enable effective grant making, resulting in the selection of 
high-quality applicants who propose to implement activities that are 
most likely to have a significant national impact on educational reform 
and improvement. This document refines the selection criteria for the 
i3 program to better articulate the expectations for the three types of 
i3 grants, provides greater clarity regarding the program's evidence 
standards, widens the range of these standards by broadening the types 
of evidence that can be used to support Development grants, and 
identifies a comprehensive set of priorities that the Secretary may 
select from to use in an i3 grant competition for any given year.
    Summary of the Major Provisions of This Regulatory Action: This 
document establishes priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria that allow the Department to improve the design of 
the i3 program to better achieve its purposes and goals.
    This document includes 11 priorities that the Secretary may select 
from when establishing priorities for each type of grant (i.e., 
Development, Validation, and Scale-up) in an i3 competition in a given 
year. These priorities represent a range of education topics:
     Improving the effectiveness of teachers or principals;
     Improving low-performing schools;
     Improving science, technology, engineering, and 
mathematics (STEM) education;
     Improving academic outcomes for students with 
disabilities;
     Improving academic outcomes for English learners (ELs);
     Improving parent and family engagement;
     Improving cost-effectiveness and productivity;
     Effective use of technology;
     Enabling broad adoption of effective practices; serving 
rural communities; and
     Supporting novice applicants.
    Of these priorities, ten were proposed and one is added in response 
to public comment. Specifically, in order to expand the reach of the i3 
program and encourage entities that have not applied previously for an 
i3 grant, we add a priority for ``novice i3 applicants,'' meaning 
applicants that have never received an i3 grant.
    The Secretary will consider several factors when selecting the 
priorities to use in a given competition, including the Department's 
policy priorities, the need for new solutions in a particular priority 
area, the availability of other funding sources to support a particular 
priority area, and the results and lessons learned from i3 
competitions.
    This document also clarifies and strengthens the requirements and 
definitions for the i3 program. For example, the i3 program focuses on 
K-12 public education. Therefore, we clarify that all i3 grantees must 
implement practices that serve students who are in grades K-12 at some 
point during the funding period. Further, we strengthen the project 
evaluation requirement so that i3 grantees will conduct high-quality 
evaluations that rigorously measure the effect of an i3-supported 
practice, at the proposed level of scale, on a relevant outcome (as 
defined in this document). We also revise the evidence standards and 
definitions so that applicants can better understand what is required 
to meet each level of evidence.
    Finally, this document establishes new selection criteria designed 
to ensure that applications selected for funding have the potential to 
generate substantial improvements in student achievement and other key 
outcomes and include well-articulated plans for the implementation and 
evaluation of the proposed project. Specifically, we include selection 
factors that consider a proposed project's significance, the quality of 
the project design, the management plan, and the project evaluation, as 
well as the qualifications of key personnel.
    This document includes some revisions from the proposed priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria (NPP) (published in 
the Federal Register on December 14, 2012 (77 FR 74407)). We discuss 
changes from the NPP in greater detail in the Analysis of Comments and 
Changes. We do not discuss minor technical or editorial changes.
    Costs and Benefits: The Secretary believes that these priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria do not impose 
significant costs on eligible local educational agencies (LEAs), 
nonprofit organizations, or other entities that would receive 
assistance through the i3 program.
    The Secretary believes that the costs imposed on applicants by 
these priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria are 
limited to paperwork burden related to preparing an application and 
that the benefits of implementing them outweigh any costs incurred by 
applicants. The costs of carrying out activities would be paid for with 
program funds and with matching funds provided by private-sector 
partners. Thus, the costs of implementation would not be a burden for 
any eligible applicants, including small entities. Please refer to the 
Regulatory Impact Analysis section in this preamble for a more complete 
discussion of the costs and benefits of this regulatory action.
    This document provides an accounting statement that estimates that 
approximately $140 million will

[[Page 18683]]

transfer from the Federal Government to LEAs and nonprofit 
organizations under this program. Please refer to the accounting 
statement in this preamble for a more detailed discussion.
    Purpose of Program: The i3 program is designed to generate and 
validate solutions to persistent educational challenges and to support 
the expansion of effective solutions across the country to serve 
substantially larger numbers of students. The central design element of 
the i3 program is its multi-tier structure that links the amount of 
funding that an applicant may receive to the quality of the evidence 
supporting the efficacy of the proposed project. Applicants proposing 
practices supported by limited evidence can receive relatively small 
grants that support the development and initial evaluation of promising 
practices and help to identify new solutions to pressing challenges; 
applicants proposing practices supported by evidence from rigorous 
evaluations, such as large randomized controlled trials, can receive 
sizable grants to support expansion across the Nation. This structure 
provides incentives for applicants to build evidence of effectiveness 
of their proposed projects and to address the barriers to serving more 
students across schools, districts, and States so that applicants can 
compete for more sizeable grants.
    As importantly, all i3 projects are required to generate additional 
evidence of effectiveness. All i3 grantees must use part of their 
budgets to conduct independent evaluations (as defined in this 
document) of their projects. This ensures that projects funded under 
the i3 program contribute significantly to improving the information 
available to practitioners and policymakers about which practices work, 
for which types of students, and in what contexts.
    The Department awards three types of grants under this program: 
``Development'' grants, ``Validation'' grants, and ``Scale-up'' grants. 
These grants differ in terms of the level of prior evidence of 
effectiveness required for consideration of funding, the level of scale 
the funded project should reach, and consequently the amount of funding 
available to support the project. We provide an overview to clarify the 
expectations for each grant type:
    1. Development grants provide funding to support the development or 
testing of practices that are supported by evidence of promise (as 
defined in this document) or strong theory (as defined in this 
document) and whose efficacy should be systematically studied. 
Development grants will support new or substantially more effective 
practices for addressing widely shared challenges. Development projects 
are novel and significant nationally, not projects that simply 
implement existing practices in additional locations or support needs 
that are primarily local in nature.
    All Development grantees must evaluate the effectiveness of the 
project at the level of scale proposed in the application.
    2. Validation grants provide funding to support expansion of 
projects supported by moderate evidence of effectiveness (as defined in 
this document) to the national or regional level (as defined in this 
document). Validation grants must further assess the effectiveness of 
the i3-supported practice through a rigorous evaluation, with 
particular focus on the populations for and the contexts in which the 
practice is most effective. We expect and consider it appropriate that 
each applicant will propose to use the Validation funding to build its 
capacity to deliver the i3-supported practice, particularly early in 
the funding period, to successfully reach the level of scale proposed 
in its application. Additionally, we expect each applicant to address 
any specific barriers to the growth or scaling of the organization or 
practice (including barriers related to cost-effectiveness) in order to 
deliver the i3-supported practice at the proposed level of scale and 
provide strategies to address these barriers as part of its proposed 
scaling plan.
    All Validation grantees must evaluate the effectiveness of the 
practice that the supported project implements and expands. We expect 
that these evaluations will be conducted in a variety of contexts and 
for a variety of students, will identify the core elements of the 
practice, and will codify the practices to support adoption or 
replication by the applicant and other entities.
    3. Scale-up grants provide funding to support expansion of projects 
supported by strong evidence of effectiveness (as defined in this 
document) to the national level (as defined in this document). In 
addition to improving outcomes for an increasing number of high-need 
students, Scale-up grants will generate information about the students 
and contexts for which a practice is most effective. We expect that 
Scale-up grants will increase practitioners' and policymakers' 
understanding of strategies that allow organizations or practices to 
expand quickly and efficiently while maintaining their effectiveness.
    Similar to Validation grants, all Scale-up grantees must evaluate 
the effectiveness of the i3-supported practice that the project 
implements and expands; this is particularly important in instances in 
which the proposed project includes changing the i3-supported practice 
in order to more efficiently reach the proposed level of scale (for 
example, by developing technology-enabled training tools). The 
evaluation of a Scale-up grant must identify the core elements of, and 
codify, the i3-supported practice that the project implements to 
support adoption or replication by other entities. We also expect that 
evaluations of Scale-up grants will be conducted in a variety of 
contexts and for a variety of students in order to determine the 
context(s) and population(s) for which the i3-supported practice is 
most effective.

    Program Authority: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 
2009 (ARRA), Division A, Section 14007, Pub. L. 111-5.

    We published a notice of proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria for this program in the Federal 
Register on December 14, 2012 (77 FR 74407). That notice contained 
background information and our reasons for proposing the particular 
priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the proposed 
priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria, 37 
parties submitted comments.
    We group major issues according to subject. Generally, we do not 
address technical and other minor changes.
    Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and 
of any changes in the priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria since publication of the proposed priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria follows.

Priorities

Priorities--General

    Comment: Two commenters expressed support for the i3 program's 
proposed approach of selecting from a variety of priorities, each 
containing several possible project focus areas, rather than using 
broad priorities as we have in the past. One commenter stated that the 
approach was strategic and would allow the Department to consider the 
sequencing of priority areas across years. One commenter stated that 
the proposed approach would allow flexibility and creativity that would 
facilitate wholesale transformation of the education field.
    Two commenters disagreed with the proposed approach. One stated 
that allowing the Department to select from a wide range of priorities 
and focus

[[Page 18684]]

areas renders the priorities meaningless, and recommended that the 
Department focus on a smaller range of priorities that are designed to 
close achievement gaps in low-performing schools. Another commenter 
expressed concern that the Department's proposed approach would narrow 
the range of projects funded under the i3 program by limiting the focus 
of the priorities to preconceived ideas of what works best in 
education. The commenter suggested that focusing on areas of acute need 
or encouraging applicants to address particular challenges would 
disadvantage applicants proposing more comprehensive approaches.
    Discussion: We appreciate the support from commenters regarding the 
proposed structure of the priorities. The flexibility to select from a 
variety of possible project focus areas (i.e., the subparts under each 
priority) within a given priority will allow the Secretary to 
prioritize areas based on the education environment in a given year. 
This flexibility will ensure that the i3 program reflects priorities 
that are important and relevant to the field on an ongoing basis.
    We recognize that the priorities have several subparts; however the 
priorities will not be rendered meaningless because the notice inviting 
applications for each competition will provide a concise list of the 
priorities that establish a coherent and manageable focus. Further, we 
do not agree that this approach will narrow the range of projects 
funded under the i3 program, nor will it disadvantage comprehensive 
projects because the priorities--although specific about the need or 
challenge a project must address--do not prescribe the intervention or 
practice that an applicant could propose. Moreover, the i3 program may 
include a broader priority if the particular issue warrants it.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter stated that achieving college, career, and 
citizenship-ready skills should be the core focus of the i3 program. 
The commenter explained that these skills are necessary for deeper 
learning and lifelong success. The commenter suggested that requiring 
all i3 projects to produce measures aligned with these outcomes would 
benefit the i3 program because the Department could then make 
comparisons across projects.
    Discussion: We agree that it is essential for students to be 
prepared to think critically, solve complex problems, and communicate 
effectively. While these ``deeper learning'' skills are important for 
long-term success, given the diversity of the projects under the i3 
program, applicants have discretion in determining the specific 
outcomes and measures that are relevant to their proposed projects. 
Moreover, nothing in the authorizing statute or the priorities, 
requirements, definitions, or selection criteria for this program 
prohibits eligible applicants from using deeper learning outcomes to 
evaluate their projects. In addition, subparts (d) and (e) of proposed 
priority 8 (Effective Use of Technology) are explicitly focused on the 
types of skills that are of interest to the commenter.
    Further, ARRA established the i3 program to expand the 
implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are 
demonstrated to improve student achievement or student growth, close 
achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, or increase high school 
graduation rates. Although we are not requiring all applicants to 
respond to any one specific measure, all i3 grantees are required to 
implement practices that are designed to improve one of these measures 
for high-need students (as defined in this document). By providing 
grantees the discretion to determine which measure is most appropriate 
to their projects, we avoid compelling grantees to adopt measures that 
do not fit their project and strike a reasonable balance between 
providing an opportunity to compare similar projects without greatly 
limiting the types of projects that we could fund.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A few commenters recommended the Department add other 
priorities, including priorities that focus on improving college 
access, transitioning between secondary and postsecondary schooling, 
promoting diversity, and implementing new models for teaching and 
learning that are based on the science of learning and research on 
youth development.
    One commenter noted the absence of a priority focused on assessment 
literacy and suggested that the Department either create an additional 
priority focused on building educators' assessment literacy or include 
references to assessment literacy in proposed priorities 1 (Improving 
the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals), 2 (Improving Low-
Performing Schools), 3 (Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and 
Mathematics (STEM) Education), and 5 (Improving Academic Outcomes for 
English Learners (ELs)), as well as the definitions of ``highly 
effective teacher'' and ``highly effective principal.'' The commenter 
also discussed the Accessible Portable Item Profile (APIP) standards 
and the importance of ensuring that the delivery of digital test 
content is tailored to each student's specific accessibility needs so 
that students can demonstrate what they know and can do. The commenter 
suggested the Department consider whether the use of APIP should be a 
separate priority or a requirement for any applicant addressing 
proposed priorities 2 (Improving Low-Performing Schools), 4 (Improving 
Academic Outcomes for Students with Disabilities), 5 (Improving 
Academic Outcomes for English Learners (ELs)), 7 (Improving Cost 
Effectiveness and Productivity), and 8 (Effective Use of Technology).
    Discussion: Although we recognize the importance of the issues and 
topics mentioned by the commenters, we decline to include additional 
priorities or revise the proposed priorities in the ways suggested.
    As noted in the NPP, in any i3 competition we may include 
priorities from the notice of final supplemental priorities and 
definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal 
Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 
2011 (76 FR 27637) (Supplemental Priorities). Because the Supplemental 
Priorities include priorities on increasing postsecondary success, 
including the academic preparation for and persistence in postsecondary 
education, and promoting diversity, we conclude that it is not 
necessary for the Department to develop new priorities to address these 
areas here. In addition, there is nothing in the priorities that would 
preclude an eligible applicant from proposing projects that promote 
school and classroom diversity, provided that the proposed project 
otherwise meets the requirements in the relevant priority. Further, 
because promoting diversity aligns with many of the other priorities we 
establish, we do not think it is necessary to add a new priority to 
address this topic.
    We also do not consider it necessary to create a separate priority 
that focuses on new models for teaching and learning because many of 
the priorities in this document would allow applicants to propose new 
models for teaching and learning while addressing a content-specific 
challenge. For example, under priority 1 (Improving the Effectiveness 
of Teachers or Principals), we include a subpart on developing new 
models for teacher preparation. Similarly, under priority 9 (Effective 
Use of Technology), we include a subpart on developing and implementing 
technology-enabled strategies for teaching and learning concepts and 
content that are difficult to teach using traditional approaches. We

[[Page 18685]]

think that the development and implementation of new models for 
teaching and learning is most effective when the models address a 
specific challenge.
    With regard to the recommendation that we include assessment 
literacy in several priority areas, although we agree that it is 
important for teachers and principals to understand and use data and 
assessment results to improve teaching, we do not think it is necessary 
to prescribe assessment literacy as a requirement because nothing 
prohibits applicants from addressing it under the priorities as 
written. Similarly, with regard to the APIP standards, we agree that 
assessments should be designed to be accessible to all students and 
that the use of standards to ensure interoperability is critical to the 
portability of assessments. While we expect any i3 grant that is 
developing and implementing assessments to consider accessibility 
standards, given the variety of projects that can be funded under the 
i3 program, we do not think it is appropriate for the Department to 
prescribe a specific set of standards.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Four commenters suggested revisions to several of the 
proposed priorities that would encourage the use of the principles of 
universal design for learning (UDL). Specifically, these commenters 
provided revised text incorporating UDL into subparts under proposed 
priorities 1 (Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals), 2 
(Improving Low-Performing Schools), 3 (Improving Science, Technology, 
Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education), 4 (Improving Academic 
Outcomes for Students with Disabilities), 5 (Improving Academic 
Outcomes for English Learners (ELs)), 6 (Improving Parent and Family 
Engagement), and 8 (Effective Use of Technology). One commenter 
explained that these revisions would support the inclusion of students 
with disabilities and their interests in general education and the i3 
program.
    Discussion: There is nothing in the priorities precluding an 
eligible applicant from proposing projects that use principles of UDL 
or that support greater inclusion of students with disabilities, 
provided that the proposed project otherwise meets the requirements of 
the relevant priority. Given the variety of projects that can be funded 
under the i3 program and our intent to maximize the number of potential 
applicants, we do not want to prescribe a specific principle of 
learning.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended the Department revise priorities 
1 (Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals), 3 (Improving 
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education), 5 
(Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners (ELs)), and 8 
(Effective Use of Technology) to add specific references to the use of 
high-quality, multiplatform digital content and services. The commenter 
explained that digital tools make learning accessible to all students 
and are essential to teacher preparation and development. Further, the 
commenter stated that multiplatform digital content improves the 
services provided to students with different learning needs.
    Discussion: There is nothing in these priorities that would 
preclude an eligible applicant from proposing projects that utilize 
multiplatform digital content and services, provided that the proposed 
project otherwise meets the requirements of the relevant priority. 
Given the variety of projects that can be funded under the i3 program 
and our intent to maximize the number of potential applicants, we do 
not want to prescribe specific tools or approaches that must be used.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter supported the inclusion of subparts focused 
on capacity building in proposed priority 2 (Improving Low-Performing 
Schools) and recommended the Department include similar provisions 
under proposed priorities 1 (Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or 
Principals), 3 (Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and 
Mathematics (STEM) Education), 4 (Improving Academic Outcomes for 
Students with Disabilities), 5 (Improving Academic Outcomes for English 
Learners (ELs)), and 6 (Improving Parent and Family Engagement). The 
commenter stated that projects under these priorities would benefit 
from a similar capacity building to support external relationships at 
the partner, district, or State level.
    Discussion: The i3 program supports the expansion and scaling of 
effective programs by providing sufficient funding to build 
organizational capacity and to overcome barriers to reaching additional 
students. The different tiers of i3 grants provide a continuum for 
funding effective programs that spans initial, localized development to 
implementation on a national scale. The hope is that more effective 
practices will replace less effective practices and lead to increases 
in student achievement and improvements in other student outcomes. 
Thus, a general expectation under the i3 program, particularly for the 
Scale-up and Validation grants, is that applicants consider how to 
build their capacity both internally and externally to scale their 
projects to serve more students. For that reason, we do not think it is 
necessary to include subparts in all of the priorities identified by 
the commenter in order to encourage grantees to build external 
relationships.
    Additionally, one of the goals of the i3 program is to demonstrate 
how to effectively build capacity amongst key entities in K-12 public 
education (e.g., educators, schools, parents) in order to improve 
student achievement for high-need students. However, the Department 
believes that this is best accomplished without being overly 
prescriptive about the role of outside entities.
    We proposed two subparts under priority 2 (Improving Low-Performing 
Schools) that are specific to capacity building and external partners 
because initiatives to turn around low-performing schools often benefit 
from the involvement of diverse stakeholders. To clarify that the 
intent of these subparts is to improve school-, district-, and State-
level capacity to support school turnaround efforts, we are making 
technical revisions to subparts (e) and (f) of the priority.
    Changes: We have revised subpart (e) under priority 2 (Improving 
Low-Performing Schools) to clarify that projects must support the 
efforts of low-performing schools or districts in their turnaround 
efforts by increasing access to, and use of, high-quality partners.
    We also have revised subpart (f) under this priority to clarify 
that projects must be designed to increase district- or State-level 
capacity to turn around low-performing schools, which would encompass, 
among other things, improvements to State and district support and 
oversight of turnaround efforts.
    Comment: One commenter questioned whether the Department has the 
authority to include priorities or definitions that reference diverse 
student populations, racial and ethnic groups, and gender. The 
commenter further stated that it is generally illegal for government 
programs to show favoritism or use classifications based on race, 
ethnicity, or sex.
    Discussion: We agree that priority 3 (Improving Science, 
Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education), and the 
requirement that all i3 grants implement projects that are designed to 
improve student achievement for high-need students (as

[[Page 18686]]

defined in this document) support investments in and encourage 
innovative strategies that are designed to increase access to rigorous 
educational opportunities for high-need students or individuals 
traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. However, we do not agree 
that this priority and requirement show any favoritism toward a 
specific population group. Furthermore, recipients of any Department of 
Education funding, including i3 funds, must comply with all of the 
nondiscrimination requirements set forth in Title VI of the Civil 
Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Age 
Discrimination Act of 1975. On December 2, 2011, the Departments of 
Education and Justice jointly issued guidance that explains how 
educational institutions can use generalized race-based approaches 
(i.e., approaches that employ racial criteria, such as the overall 
racial composition of neighborhoods, but do not involve decision-making 
on the basis of any individual student's race or treat individual 
students differently because of their race) within the framework of 
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The ``Guidance on the 
Voluntary Use of Race to Achieve Diversity and Avoid Racial Isolation 
in Elementary and Secondary Schools'' is available on the Department's 
Web site at www.ed.gov/ocr/docs/guidance-ese-201111.pdf. For additional 
information and assistance on civil rights laws that may impose 
additional requirements on recipients and subrecipients of Federal 
financial assistance, visit www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/notices/civil-rights.html.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: In response to the Department's specific request for 
comment, a few commenters supported the establishment of a priority for 
applicants that have never received, or partnered with, an entity that 
has received a grant under the i3 program. The commenters stated that 
such a priority would increase the pool of innovative applicants. 
However, one commenter expressed concern that such a priority would 
discourage applicants from partnering with multiple entities. The 
commenter also suggested that entities proposing to provide effective 
services to students should be encouraged to continue to partner with 
multiple entities regardless of whether they have been part of an i3 
grant in the past.
    Discussion: We recognize that the dual goals of supporting 
practices that are both innovative and evidence-based have the 
potential to limit the universe of applicants. In order to expand the 
reach of the i3 program and encourage entities that have not applied 
previously for an i3 grant, we will add a priority for ``novice i3 
applicants,'' meaning applicants that have never received an i3 grant. 
Although this priority will provide an incentive for new applicants, we 
do not think it will discourage applicants with multiple partners from 
applying for i3 grants, particularly given the high volume of 
applications the i3 program, particularly the Development grant 
competition, typically receives. However, because we do not want to 
discourage applicants from seeking partnerships, we will focus the 
priority only on entities that have never received an i3 grant 
directly.
    Changes: We have established a priority (Supporting Novice i3 
Applicants) for an eligible applicant that has never directly received 
a grant under this program. We may use this priority to establish a 
separate competition for applicants that have never received an i3 
grant or to select an application that meets this priority over an 
application of comparable merit that does not meet this priority (see 
34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).

Proposed Priority 1--Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or 
Principals

    Comment: One commenter recommended including this priority because 
it supports projects that will bring more highly effective teachers 
into high-need schools.
    Discussion: We appreciate the commenter's support for this 
priority, and agree with the importance of ensuring that students have 
access to highly effective teachers and principals. That is why this 
priority focuses on all dimensions of the teacher and principal career 
path and seeks to identify effective methods for recruiting, preparing, 
supporting, evaluating, and retaining effective principals and 
teachers, particularly at schools that serve high-need students.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter proposed specific revisions to several of 
the subparts under this priority to focus more on school leadership, 
including developing new or improved models for principal preparation, 
such as leading instruction, aligning resources across classrooms, 
managing talent, and increasing teacher retention. The commenter 
proposed adding a new subpart to support projects that develop models 
of teacher and principal certification and licensure. The commenter 
also suggested that we revise subpart (c) to include models for the 
induction and support of novice principals in addition to novice 
teachers.
    Discussion: We agree with the commenter about the importance of 
strong school leadership. Therefore, we have revised the priority to 
include a new subpart that specifically focuses on principal 
preparation and to clarify that projects under subpart (c) may propose 
models of induction and support that serve either teachers or 
principals.
    However, we decline to add a subpart regarding the development of 
models for teacher and principal certification and licensures. 
Certification and licensure are typically State-level functions, and it 
is not clear that an applicant for an i3 program could or should 
develop such models, particularly as eligible entities for i3 grants do 
not include State agencies.
    Changes: We have created a new subpart (c) that specifically 
focuses on principal preparation and training. Additionally, we have 
revised proposed subpart (c) to include models of induction and support 
that serve principals and re-designated it as subpart (d). With the 
addition of the new subpart, we re-designate proposed subparts (d)-(i) 
so that they are now labeled (e)-(j), respectively.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that the Department require that 
projects focus on the recruitment of teachers to also address teacher 
retention. The commenter stated that the greater challenge in high-
need, low-performing schools is teacher retention. Thus, according to 
the commenter, in order for recruitment efforts to be cost-effective, 
projects must also include components that provide ongoing investment 
in newly recruited teachers to ensure that they remain in the 
profession for a minimum of three to five years. The commenter also 
suggested that this priority focus on programs that begin recruitment 
and preparation for future teachers as early as middle and high school.
    Discussion: We agree with the commenter that recruitment without 
effective induction, support, or other retention strategies would have 
a limited impact. However, we also recognize that the parties 
responsible for recruitment tend to be different than those responsible 
for retention. That is why we include different subparts under the 
priority to focus on the different dimensions of a teacher's career 
path. Although subpart (a) focuses on recruitment models and subpart 
(d) (initially proposed as subpart (c)) addresses models of induction 
and support to increase teacher retention, nothing in either

[[Page 18687]]

subpart prohibits an applicant from proposing to address both 
recruitment and retention.
    With regard to adding a subpart to this priority for projects that 
begin teacher recruitment as early as middle or high school, it is not 
clear that a project with this approach could be implemented and 
evaluated in the maximum funding period for a grant. The Department's 
current regulations authorize the Secretary to approve a project period 
up to 60 months (see 34 CFR 75.250). As most teachers complete 
postsecondary education, a project focusing on teacher recruitment with 
middle school students would need a minimum of 120 months (assuming one 
year of middle school, four years of high school, four years of 
postsecondary education, and one year of work). Thus, the necessary 
project period would be significantly longer than what the Department's 
current regulations allow and we do not think it would be prudent to 
add a subpart that would require a waiver of the regulations in order 
to use it. In addition, we are not aware of research that indicates 
that recruitment at such an early age is likely to be particularly 
effective.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested revising subpart (b) of this 
priority to specify that teacher training include practices addressing 
family and community engagement.
    Discussion: We agree with the commenter about the importance of 
including parent and community engagement in teacher training programs. 
However, we think that training is most effective when it is specific 
to the needs of the students and the surrounding community. For that 
reason, we already include teacher training related to parent and 
family engagement at the school- or district-level instead of the pre-
service or preparation stage. Specifically, subpart (b) under priority 
6 (Improving Parent and Family Engagement) would support projects 
implementing initiatives that are designed to enhance skills and 
competencies of school staff to build relationships and collaborate 
with families.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested revising proposed subpart (f) to 
specify that the supports must be evidence-based and address cognitive, 
social, emotional, and behavioral barriers to student achievement. The 
commenter also recommended adding a new subpart under this priority for 
projects that develop high-quality pathways into schools. These would 
include non-university-based programs that recruit, select, train, and 
recommend teachers or principals to the State for certification and 
licensure, and full-time residency programs that develop national 
service members, community volunteers, and part-time educators to 
become credentialed teachers.
    Discussion: The i3 program already requires that all projects meet 
certain evidence standards. Therefore, we do not think it is necessary 
to specify in this priority that the projects must be evidence-based. 
With regard to the second recommendation, as non-university-based 
programs could address subpart (a) under this priority, we do not think 
it is necessary to create a separate subpart that targets a specific 
type of entity or program.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that proposed subpart (g), 
increasing the equitable distribution of effective teachers or 
principals across schools, should also include efforts to increase the 
actual number of effective teachers within a high-need district. The 
commenter noted that, without an equal emphasis on increasing the 
number of effective teachers, a project could meet this priority by 
redistributing a relatively small number of highly effective teachers. 
The commenter stated that professional learning communities and 
induction programs for early career teachers should be supported in 
order to increase the number of effective teachers within a high-need 
district.
    Discussion: We agree with the commenter that the initial wording 
for proposed subpart (g) (now subpart (h)) could result in projects 
that redistribute only a small number of highly effective teachers 
without significantly increasing students' access to them. Therefore, 
we have revised the subpart to focus on student access to effective 
teachers or principals.
    We also agree with the commenter about the importance of increasing 
the total number of effective teachers in high-need districts. However, 
as subparts (b), (c), and (g) (initially proposed as subpart (f)) would 
support projects designed to increase the number of highly effective 
teachers, we do not think it is necessary to include the specific 
strategies recommended by the commenter in current subpart (h) 
(initially proposed as subpart (g)).
    Changes: We have revised current subpart (h) (initially proposed as 
subpart (g)) under this priority to clarify that projects addressing 
this subpart must increase the equitable access to effective teachers 
or principals for low-income and high-need students, which may include 
increasing the equitable distribution of effective teachers or 
principals for low-income and high-need students across schools.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: Under this priority, subpart (i) (initially proposed as 
subpart (h)) addresses the development and implementation of models 
that improve school conditions for teaching and learning. We intend for 
this subpart to promote the development and implementation of projects 
that allow highly effective teachers to serve more students. With this 
change, we have removed the explicit reference to improving conditions 
for teaching and learning because we consider it to be included in the 
identified strategies. For example, a new staffing model that relieves 
effective teachers of some of their administrative responsibilities in 
order to enable them to teach online classes to students in another 
school could extend the influence of highly effective teachers. We also 
have revised this subpart to clarify that, in addressing this subpart, 
projects could focus on developing and implementing strategies that 
allow effective teachers either to serve more students or reduce the 
burdens or challenges that impede them from doing so.
    Changes: We have revised subpart (i) (initially proposed as subpart 
(h)) to clarify the types of projects it is intended to address. 
Specifically, this subpart will support projects that extend highly 
effective teachers' reach to serve more students, including strategies 
such as new course designs, staffing models, technology platforms, or 
new opportunities for collaboration that allow highly effective 
teachers to reach more students, or approaches or tools that reduce 
administrative and other burdens while maintaining or improving teacher 
effectiveness and efficiency.
    Comment: One commenter stated that the demographic shift in the 
Nation is increasing the number of multilingual and multicultural 
classrooms and recommended that the Department address this shift by 
incorporating language into this priority addressing preparing teachers 
to work with diverse populations.
    Discussion: We agree that it is important that teachers are 
prepared to work with diverse student populations, particularly given 
current demographic shifts. There is nothing that would preclude an 
eligible applicant from proposing projects that improve the 
effectiveness of teachers by increasing their ability to work with 
diverse student populations. However, in order to ensure flexibility 
for all potential applicants responding to this priority,

[[Page 18688]]

we decline to specify the types of student populations, which could 
include diverse student populations, with whom teachers must be 
prepared work.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters proposed the addition of a new subpart for 
projects that would improve the development of teachers and external 
partners working to implement expanded learning opportunities in 
schools. Another commenter expressed support for several of the 
subparts but recommended the addition of a new subpart for projects 
that develop models for labor-management partnerships designed to 
improve teacher effectiveness by having expert teachers mentor and 
evaluate their peers.
    Discussion: The commenters' recommendations for new subparts are 
already addressed by other priorities. For example, subpart (a) of 
priority 2 (Improving Low-Performing Schools) supports projects that 
expand learning opportunities for both teachers and students. 
Similarly, applicants could propose projects that focus on labor-
management partnerships and peer evaluations under subpart (f) 
(initially proposed as subpart (e)), provided the proposed projects 
otherwise meet the requirements of the subpart. Thus, we do not think 
it is necessary to add new subparts under priority 1 (Improving the 
Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals).
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter expressed concern that this priority does 
not encourage teachers to use practices that would drive the 
development and implementation of new ``learning environments.'' The 
commenter recommended the i3 program support projects that would equip 
teachers with knowledge of the science of learning and youth 
development and with the skills needed to analyze data and develop 
assessments, to advance the use of expanded learning time, to 
collaborate effectively, and to make better use of technology.
    Discussion: We agree that it is important for teachers to have the 
knowledge and skills suggested by the commenter. However, because these 
topics are addressed in other priorities, we decline to add additional 
subparts under this priority. For example, priority 2 (Improving Low-
Performing Schools) includes subparts that focus on extending and 
enhancing learning time and priority 8 (Effective Use of Technology) 
includes subparts that focus on developing methods and resources to 
increase the use and integration of technology to improve teaching and 
learning.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: As part of our internal discussion of the comments on 
this priority, we noted that a number of the proposed subparts refer to 
``developing'' models or methods. As all i3 grantees must implement the 
practices they develop to serve students who are in grades K-12 at some 
point during the funding period, we have revised these subparts to 
clarify that the projects under these subparts must both develop and 
implement the proposed models or methods.
    Changes: We have revised subparts (a), (b), and (d) (initially 
proposed as subpart (c)) from ``developing'' to ``developing and 
implementing'' in order to clarify our intent that applications 
addressing these subparts must implement the practices that they 
develop during the project period.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: As part of our internal discussion of the comments on 
this priority, we noted that subpart (f) (initially proposed as subpart 
(e)), included an inconsistency in the use of ``teachers or 
principals.'' Specifically, the subpart focused on designing and 
implementing ``teacher or principal evaluation systems,'' but also 
referred to feedback that guides professional development for 
``teachers and principals.'' To ensure that applicants understand that 
they may focus on teachers or principals when submitting projects under 
this subpart, we have revised it so that we consistently refer to 
``teachers or principals.''
    Changes: We have revised subpart (f) (initially proposed as subpart 
(e)) from ``* * * guides professional development for teachers and 
principals'' to ``* * * guides professional development for teachers or 
principals'' in order to clarify our intent that applications 
addressing this subpart may focus on either teacher or principal 
evaluation systems.

Proposed Priority 2--Improving Low-Performing Schools

    Comment: One commenter recommended that the Department revise this 
proposed priority to include the use of arts education to academically 
engage students as an example of strengthening the instructional 
program in a whole-school model. The commenter also recommended adding 
a subpart for projects proposing to develop arts education programs and 
improve the skills of arts educators. Another commenter offered a 
similar recommendation, suggesting the Department revise subparts (a) 
and (d) of this priority to include a focus on student's health and 
nutrition as a part of designing whole-school models.
    Discussion: Subpart (a) provides examples of strategies that may be 
used in whole school models. However, these strategies are broad, 
concerning changes to a school's design, instructional program, 
staffing, or culture. We do not think it is appropriate for the 
Department to prescribe the specifics of how applicants must implement 
these strategies (e.g., arts education), because we want to ensure 
applicants have as much flexibility as possible to propose whole-school 
models that best meet the needs of the students and schools they are 
proposing to serve. As nothing in this priority prohibits an applicant 
from proposing to use arts education to strengthen the instructional 
program in a whole-school model, we do not believe an additional 
subpart is necessary.
    We agree with the commenter that a student's health and nutrition 
affects the student's ability to learn. That is why proposed subpart 
(a) references strategies that address non-academic factors that affect 
student learning and proposed subpart (d) focuses on services and 
strategies that address non-academic barriers to student learning. 
Because health and nutrition services may be addressed under this 
priority, we do not think it is necessary to create a separate subpart 
that focuses only on health services. Moreover, as noted previously, 
applicants should have the flexibility to identify the specific non-
academic barriers and strategies to address those barriers that are 
relevant to their particular project.
    However, we have revised subpart (d) to clarify that projects also 
may focus on mitigating the effects of poverty, including health and 
nutrition issues, on student engagement in learning. In addition, 
because we think it is important that the social supports provided 
under this priority relate to improved student outcomes, we have 
revised subpart (d) to focus on the intended outcomes rather than the 
specific type of strategies that an applicant must be use.
    Changes: We have revised subpart (d) to focus on projects that are 
designed to improve students' non-cognitive abilities and enhance 
student engagement in learning, or that mitigate the effects of 
poverty, including physical, mental, or emotional health issues, on 
student engagement in learning.
    Comment: One commenter discussed the distinction between whole-
school reform efforts and ``wraparound'' social supports that might 
result in targeted

[[Page 18689]]

interventions that do not affect all students in a school. The 
commenter encouraged the Department to look beyond whole-school efforts 
because some interventions may not be as efficient or effective if 
offered to an entire school population.
    Discussion: We agree that whole-school reform models may not be the 
most appropriate option for all schools. That is why under this 
priority we include multiple subparts that address different types of 
interventions for turning around low-performing schools. However, we 
disagree with the commenter's conclusion that a whole-school reform 
model requires that all students receive the same set of services or 
interventions. For example, a whole school reform model could 
strengthen a school's instructional program by providing personalized 
learning experiences that address each student's unique needs. Under 
this scenario, a whole school reform model would be used to provide 
each student with a unique, as opposed to identical, set of services.
    Additionally, we consider whole-school reform to be a powerful and 
important approach that is effective, in certain contexts, in improving 
student outcomes. Therefore, we believe it is important to include a 
subpart in this priority that specifically addresses whole-school 
reform models and have revised subpart (a) to clarify that the intent 
is to support projects that lead to significant and sustained 
improvement in individual student performance and overall school 
performance and culture.
    Although we agree that whole-school reform efforts are distinct 
from targeted approaches to reforming low-performing schools, we also 
believe that it is essential for applicants to ensure that their 
proposed projects complement the broader turnaround efforts of the 
school, LEA, or State. We have revised the requirements of this 
priority to clarify this expectation.
    Changes: We have revised subpart (a) to clarify that projects 
addressing subpart (a) must implement processes that lead to 
significant and substantial improvement in individual student 
performance and overall school performance and culture. In addition, we 
have provided examples of the types of strategies applicants may 
incorporate into their proposed whole-school models. We also have 
revised the requirements of priority 2 to include a condition that 
projects complement broader reform efforts for turning around low-
performing schools.
    Comment: Five commenters recommended the Department revise the 
language in subpart (a) ``redesigning the school day, week, or year'' 
to ``extending or expanding the school day, week, or year'' in order to 
clarify that before-, after-, and summer school programs would meet 
this priority. Three of these commenters also suggested a similar 
revision to subpart (e). One commenter noted that extending the school 
year might reduce summer learning loss, and provide additional time for 
high school students to focus more on work-based learning, service-
learning, or various other learning opportunities.
    Discussion: Applicants may propose projects under subpart (a) that 
redesign the school day by extending or expanding the school day, week, 
or year, including before-, after-, and summer school programs, 
provided their proposed projects meet the requirements of the priority. 
We decline to change the language of subpart (a) as the commenter 
suggested because we do not think adding time to the school day, week, 
or year, unless done in conjunction with other strategies or reforms, 
is sufficient to meet the requirements of this priority.
    However, we recognize that extending learning time is one way that 
schools can change their organizational design, and we have therefore 
revised subpart (b) to include a greater focus on organizational 
design. As proposed, subpart (b) focused on changing elements of a 
school's organizational design to mitigate non-academic barriers to 
learning through strategies such as differentiating staff roles, 
changing student groups, or enhancing instructional time. Because 
subpart (a) addresses particular approaches for school turnaround that 
can be undertaken within a school's existing organization, we have 
modified subpart (b) to include a greater focus on extending and 
enhancing instructional time and the organizational implications 
associated with improving instruction by extending learning time.
    Changes: We have revised subpart (b) to support projects that would 
change elements of the school's organizational design to improve 
instruction by differentiating staff roles and extending and enhancing 
instructional time.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that, in addition to increasing 
the rigor of instructional practices, subpart (a) should address 
students' access to rigorous coursework at the secondary level. The 
commenter also recommended that the Department create a new subpart 
under this priority to support competency-based systems that measure 
the effects of these practices on increasing graduation rates and 
student learning.
    Discussion: Nothing in this priority prohibits an applicant from 
proposing to strengthen the instructional program in a whole-school 
model by increasing students' access to rigorous coursework at the 
secondary level or implementing a competency-based system. Because 
these activities are permissible under subpart (a) and we want to 
ensure applicants have as much flexibility as possible to propose 
whole-school models that best meet the needs of the students and 
schools they are proposing to serve, we do not think it is necessary to 
revise subpart (a) or establish a separate subpart that addresses only 
these approaches.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested adding personalized instruction 
enabled by technology as an example of a reform strategy in subpart 
(a). The commenter noted that using differentiated instructional 
content allows for the effective and efficient use of data in 
determining the needs of students struggling in low-performing schools.
    Discussion: As noted in response to a prior comment on priority 2, 
we do not think it is appropriate for the Department to prescribe how 
applicants would strengthen the instructional programs because we think 
it is important for applicants to have as much flexibility as possible 
to propose whole-school models that best meet the needs of the students 
and schools they are proposing to serve. To that end, we provide 
applicants discretion in proposing how they would strengthen the 
instructional program in a whole-school model; and nothing prohibits 
applicants from using personalized instruction. For these reasons, we 
decline to revise subpart (a). However, we have revised subpart (a) 
under priority 8 (Effective Use of Technology) to clarify that to meet 
subpart (a), projects must focus on personalized instruction. As the 
subpart language maintains that the learning experiences must be 
adaptive and self-improving, we do not think this change loses the 
subpart's focus on learning experiences that improve or adapt based on 
students' needs in real-time.
    Changes: We have revised subpart (a) under priority 8 (Effective 
Use of Technology) to clarify that the learning experiences must be 
personalized to individual students' learning needs, as opposed to 
simply providing adaptive learning experiences.
    Comment: Three commenters suggested that the Department clarify 
that the reference to external partners in subpart (e) includes 
results-driven organizations, intermediaries,

[[Page 18690]]

professional providers, national service members, and community 
volunteers.
    Discussion: We think an applicant is best suited to select the 
external providers or partners for its project. Because we do not want 
to narrow the potential for external partnerships, we decline to list 
the types of external partners with which an applicant may work.
    To ensure projects under subpart (e) are designed to increase 
schools' and districts' access to high-quality partners, we have 
revised this subpart to focus on the intended outcomes for schools and 
districts rather than on developing the capacity of external partners.
    Changes: As noted in response to a prior comment on priority 2, we 
have revised subpart (e) to clarify that projects addressing it must 
support low-performing schools or districts in their turnaround efforts 
by increasing access to and use of high-quality partners.
    Comment: One commenter recommended this priority be revised to 
support fundamental changes to schools' governance and management 
structures that impede school innovations or educator and student 
engagement.
    Discussion: Subpart (f) under this priority supports projects that 
are designed to increase capacity at the school, district, and State 
levels to improve the support and oversight for turnaround efforts. 
Thus, projects could include a focus on improving governance and 
management structures that may impede a school's turnaround efforts. To 
clarify that applicants may propose a variety of approaches under this 
subpart (e.g., changing governance and management structures), we have 
revised it to focus on the intended outcomes of increased capacity 
(i.e., better support and oversight), thus encouraging applicants to 
develop approaches that are appropriate to their specific contexts and 
challenges.
    Changes: As noted previously, we have revised subpart (f) to 
clarify that projects must be designed to increase district- or State-
level capacity to turn around low-performing schools, including 
improvements to State and district support and oversight of turnaround 
efforts.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: Although recent reports indicate that the Nation's 
dropout rate is decreasing, the rate is still much higher than in other 
developed countries. To address this, we have added a subpart that 
specifically focuses on serving low-performing high schools and their 
turnaround efforts. This subpart is written broadly to provide 
applicants discretion in how best to serve these schools and may 
include projects that focus on the use of early warning indicators to 
identify students who are at risk of dropping out.
    Changes: We have added subpart (g) to this priority for projects 
that support the implementation of turnaround efforts in secondary 
schools.

Proposed Priority 3--Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and 
Mathematics (STEM) Education

    Comment: Two commenters expressed general support for this 
priority. One commenter stated that K-12 education must continue to be 
a priority in Federal programs and noted that the i3 program has the 
potential to identify effective science instruction programs that could 
make use of informal learning institutions, such as science centers and 
museums. One commenter reflected on the need for high quality teachers 
in STEM subject areas, and applauded the Department's recognition of 
this need.
    Discussion: We appreciate the commenter's support for this priority 
and agree with the importance of ensuring students' access to high-
quality STEM education. That is why this priority focuses on students' 
access to rigorous STEM coursework and learning, redesigning STEM 
course content and instructional practices, and improving the STEM 
teacher pipeline. With regard to the need for high quality teachers in 
STEM subject areas, subpart (c) targets projects that propose to 
develop new methods and resources for recruiting individuals with STEM 
expertise into teaching.
    Also, as noted previously, all i3 grantees must implement (as well 
as develop) practices that serve K-12 students at some point during the 
funding period. Thus, we have revised this subpart to clarify that the 
projects must develop and implement methods and resources for 
recruiting individuals with STEM expertise into teaching. Similarly, we 
have revised subpart (g) to clarify that teachers or educators of STEM 
subjects who participate in projects addressing subpart (g) must 
receive, not just have increased opportunities for, high-quality 
preparation and teacher development.
    Changes: We have revised subpart (c) to focus on projects that 
develop and implement new methods and resources for recruiting 
individuals with STEM expertise into teaching. We also have revised 
subpart (g) to clarify that projects addressing subpart (g) must 
increase the number of individuals from groups traditionally 
underrepresented in STEM, including minorities, individuals with 
disabilities, and women, who are teachers or educators of STEM subjects 
and receive high-quality preparation or professional development.
    Comment: Three commenters recommended that the Department include 
increased access to coursework in environmental literacy as a subpart 
under this priority. The commenters stressed that environmental 
literacy is critical to the Nation's economy and noted the correlation 
between environmental education and student engagement and achievement 
in STEM subjects.
    Discussion: We recognize the importance of environmental education, 
and it is part of STEM education. As subpart (a) focuses on providing 
students with increased access to rigorous and engaging coursework in 
STEM, which could include environmental education, and in order to 
ensure applicants have flexibility in responding to this subpart, we do 
not think it is appropriate to add a separate subpart that focuses only 
on one STEM subject.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters discussed concerns regarding student access 
to STEM education. One commenter recommended that the Department 
encourage the development and use of more online learning tools to 
increase access to the most effective STEM courses, while the other 
commenter suggested that the Department amend subparts (a), (b), and 
(d) to require applicants to use high-quality multiplatform digital 
content and services.
    Discussion: Nothing in this priority or the authorizing statute 
prohibits an applicant from proposing to use online learning or 
multiplatform digital content to increase student access to STEM 
content. Thus, applicants have the discretion to propose to use the 
approaches specified by the commenter. We decline to make the proposed 
revisions, however, because we do not want to prescribe the specific 
tools or approaches an applicant must use to increase students' access 
to STEM content.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that, in addition to a focus on 
expanding opportunities for high-quality out-of-school and extended-day 
activities under subpart (e), the Department require STEM-related 
community problem-solving and service learning. Additionally, the 
commenter suggested the Department include a subpart for projects 
designed to integrate STEM learning across other K-12 academic areas.

[[Page 18691]]

    Discussion: Nothing in this priority or the authorizing statute 
prohibits an applicant from proposing to use service learning in 
responding to subpart (e), so long as the proposed project is designed 
to provide students with opportunities for deliberate practice that 
increases STEM learning, engagement, and expertise. We decline to make 
the proposed, specific revisions because we do not want to narrow or 
prescribe the types of out-of-school or extended-day activities that an 
applicant may propose.
    Similarly, we decline to add a subpart that would require 
applicants to integrate STEM learning into other K-12 academic areas 
because we do not want to prescribe how applicants would propose to 
increase student access to rigorous or engaging coursework in STEM. 
Further, nothing in the statute or priorities prohibits an applicant 
from proposing a project that integrates STEM learning across other K-
12 academic areas. For example, under subparts (a) and (b) of this 
priority as well as subpart (a) of priority 2 (Improving Low-Performing 
Schools), an applicant could propose integrating STEM across other K-12 
academic areas, provided the applicant meets the requirements of the 
priority under which it is submitting its application.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters recommended adding language to subpart (e) 
that would increase opportunities for high-quality expanded learning 
opportunities, including extending the day, week, or year, or before-, 
after-, or summer school programs. The commenters stated that 
implementing expanded learning opportunities will provide students with 
a well-rounded education that focuses on multiple STEM subjects.
    Discussion: We agree that expanding STEM learning opportunities may 
include extending the school day, week, or year, or implementing 
before-, after-, or summer school programs. Therefore, we have revised 
the priority to include this as an example of an approach that may be 
used to address subpart (e).
    Changes: We have revised subpart (e) to clarify that expanding STEM 
learning opportunities may include extending the day, week, or year, or 
implementing before- or after-school or summer learning programs.

Proposed Priority 4--Improving Academic Outcomes for Students With 
Disabilities

    Comment: Four commenters proposed specific revisions to this 
proposed priority to reinforce the importance of ensuring that students 
with disabilities are provided with opportunities to participate and 
progress in general education classrooms. Additionally, the commenters 
suggested that subpart (d) include transition and postsecondary 
programs, and they suggested including two new subparts addressing 
post-school employment data collection and the implementation of 
school-wide initiatives that benefit all students, such as UDL, multi-
tiered systems of supports, and positive behavior interventions and 
supports.
    Discussion: We agree with the commenters about the importance of 
providing students with disabilities with opportunities to participate 
in general education; and therefore have revised subpart (c) 
accordingly. Specifically, we clarify that projects must be designed to 
accelerate student achievement and the appropriate transition from 
restrictive settings to more inclusive settings or general education 
classes or programs, including strategies that improve student learning 
and developmental outcomes (i.e., academic, social, emotional, or 
behavioral). We also note that these projects may include appropriate 
strategies to prevent unnecessary suspensions and expulsions from these 
more inclusive settings, classes, or programs.
    With regard to the commenters' recommendation to focus on 
collecting data on postsecondary and post-school employment outcomes, 
we agree that the data collection on, and understanding the indicators 
that predict success of, students with disabilities in their transition 
to postsecondary education is important. However, given that the i3 
program focuses on K-12 education and that the Secretary may only award 
grants with project periods up to 60 months (see 34 CFR 75.250), we do 
not think it is reasonable to add a subpart that focuses only on post-
secondary school employment data. As such, we have revised subpart (d), 
but we decline to propose a new subpart focused solely on employment 
data.
    With regard to the commenters' recommendation that we add a subpart 
on school-wide initiatives that include multi-tiered systems of 
support, we agree it is important that the various systems of support 
for students with disabilities and their families are coordinated 
across all service providers, including schools, health care providers 
and social service agencies. That is why we included proposed subpart 
(a). However, we recognize that as proposed, subpart (a) focused only 
on technical assistance programs. Therefore, we have revised this 
subpart to provide for a broader focus that may include school-wide 
programs.
    Changes: We have revised three subparts under this priority. 
Subpart (a) has been revised to support projects that implement 
coherent systems of support that appropriately coordinate and integrate 
programs to address the needs of children and youth with disabilities 
and improve the quality of for those children and their families.
    Subpart (c) has been revised to support projects that design and 
implement strategies that improve student achievement for students with 
disabilities in inclusive settings, including accelerating student 
development and the transition from restrictive settings to inclusive 
settings, including general education classes or programs.
    Subpart (d) has been revised to support projects that improve 
secondary and postsecondary data collection and tracking of academic 
and related outcomes for students with disabilities to understand their 
transition into postsecondary education and the factors associated with 
their success.
    Comment: One commenter expressed support for this proposed priority 
and encouraged the Department to fund projects that would produce 
information about interventions that are successful in decreasing the 
achievement gap between students with disabilities and students without 
disabilities.
    Discussion: All i3 grantees are required to participate in 
communities of practice and to produce evaluations about the 
implementation and efficacy of their projects. Therefore, we do not 
think it is necessary to create a separate requirement under this 
priority for projects to produce information about interventions that 
are successful in decreasing the achievement gap between students with 
disabilities and students without disabilities.
    Changes: None.

Proposed Priority 5--Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners 
(ELs)

    Comment: One commenter stated that teachers of English for Speakers 
of Other Languages (ESOL) often do not have the necessary content 
knowledge to be the primary educators for ELs. For this reason, the 
commenter expressed concern that the proposed priority would not 
produce significant change because it focuses too much on improving 
ELs' vocabulary. According to the commenter, the priority would be 
improved if it included systematic reforms that ensure students who are 
ELs are not marginalized. The commenter recommended systemic

[[Page 18692]]

reforms that include, for example, specific supports and processes to 
improve ELs' transition between K-12 grades and from K-12 to 
postsecondary education.
    Discussion: We recognize that systematic reforms are the most 
comprehensive approach to addressing ELs' learning needs. However, we 
also recognize that schools and LEAs may have different needs regarding 
how to best improve academic outcomes for ELs. That is why under this 
priority we include multiple subparts that address different types of 
interventions, ranging from systematic reform to specific gaps or 
challenges for addressing ELs' learning needs. For example, subpart (d) 
allows for a systematic approach because it focuses on projects that 
provide school-wide professional development for teachers, 
administrators, and other personnel in schools with a significant 
percentage of students who are ELs. Because a subpart under this 
priority does allow for projects that focus on systematic reform to 
improve student achievement for ELs and because we think it is 
important to also include subparts that focus on specific gaps, we 
conclude that is not appropriate for the Department to prescribe that 
applicants must only address ELs' needs through systematic reform.
    Additionally, because one of the primary goals of the i3 program is 
to identify and document best practices, we think it is important to 
maintain subparts under this priority that would support projects that 
focus on specific challenges, needs, or gaps that affect all students, 
including students who are ELs.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that the priority include a 
subpart to develop and strengthen teacher preparation programs that 
provide substantial clinical experiences and develop curricula to 
prepare teachers of ELs. Specifically, the commenter stated that the 
way in which language is used for academic purposes within a given 
domain and the differences of individual ELs are important; and, as a 
result, more attention is needed to developing teachers who can meet 
the widely differing needs of ELs when the teachers enter the 
classroom.
    Discussion: Although we agree that teachers entering the classroom 
should be prepared to meet the needs of all of their students, 
including ELs, we think the limited funds available for the i3 program 
should be focused on improving the skills of current EL educators 
rather than on improving teacher preparation programs' focus on ELs in 
particular. Therefore, we decline to make the changes recommended by 
this commenter.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter expressed support for this proposed 
priority, particularly subparts (c) and (d); and recommended revising 
subpart (d) to also focus on improving the capacity of schools and 
districts to increase the number of teachers trained to work with 
linguistically diverse students.
    Discussion: We agree that it is important for schools and districts 
to consider ways to increase the number of current teachers trained to 
work with ELs. We believe that this is already reflected in the current 
priorities. For example, nothing prohibits an applicant from focusing 
on increasing the number of teachers trained to work with ELs under 
subparts (a) and (b) of priority 1 (Improving the Effectiveness of 
Teachers or Principals). Moreover, in order to avoid the 
marginalization of ELs, this priority incorporates school-level 
interventions that respond to student needs.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: In response to the Department's specific request for 
comment, three commenters recommended the Department allow applicants 
to propose projects that address instruction in English and a language 
other than English to meet subpart (c). One commenter stated that using 
a student's native language to learn a second language is consistent 
with practices in many States and districts that employ dual-language 
immersion and other bilingual methodologies. Thus, the commenter 
suggested that limiting subpart (c) to projects addressing instruction 
in English only may reduce the number of entities that could apply. 
Similarly, another commenter stated that the Department's rules should 
not limit school districts to a predetermined instructional methodology 
because this could limit the potential for learning about effective 
instructional strategies under the i3 program. One commenter urged the 
Department to encourage applicants to consider all products and 
processes available when addressing this proposed priority.
    Discussion: The Department appreciates the commenters' responses to 
this request for comment. We conclude that we will continue to use the 
phrase, ``English or English and another language'' to ensure that we 
do not inadvertently limit the potential applicants under subpart (c) 
of this priority.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter expressed concern that the proposed priority 
reinforces false stereotypes by referring to limitations or impediments 
of ELs. To address this concern, the commenter provided revised text to 
focus on the range of academic language that all students must master 
to fully engage in their learning. The commenter also suggested 
clarifying that applicants applying under subpart (e) must focus on all 
students who enter school as ELs so that long-term outcomes of former 
ELs are considered.
    Discussion: We agree with the commenter and have revised subpart 
(b) to clarify that projects funded under it need to provide sufficient 
exposure to, engagement in, and acquisition of academic language and 
literacy practices necessary for preparing ELs to be college and career 
ready. We also have revised subpart (e) as the commenter suggested.
    Changes: We have revised subpart (b) to clarify the skills a 
project needs to address with regards to ELs' acquisition of academic 
language and literacy practices. We also have revised subpart (e) to 
clarify that teacher evaluation systems implemented under this priority 
define and measure the effectiveness of teachers of students who at 
some point have been identified as ELs (i.e., both current and former 
ELs).

Proposed Priority 6--Improving Parent and Family Engagement

    Comment: One commenter expressed support for the proposed priority, 
and appreciated the focus on providing training to families to support 
their children's academic success, as well as professional development 
for administrators and teachers designed to improve relationships 
between parents and school staff.
    Discussion: We appreciate the commenter's support for this 
priority. Subpart (a) addresses the need for building parents' and 
families' awareness of their role in improving their children's 
educational outcomes while subpart (b) focuses on projects designed to 
build relationships between parents and school staff. Together these 
subparts aim to increase family engagement to improve support for 
student and school achievement. In order to further clarify that 
improving students' academic outcomes is the ultimate goal of this 
priority, we have included specific academic outcomes under subpart 
(a).
    Changes: We have revised subpart (a) to clarify that training for 
parents and families must provide the skills and strategies that will 
help parents and

[[Page 18693]]

families improve their children's academic outcomes, including 
increased engagement and persistence in school.
    Comment: Three commenters recommended that the Department include, 
under subpart (a), training for parents and families of students with 
disabilities on ways to participate and make progress in a grade-level 
general education curriculum in the least restrictive environment.
    Discussion: All i3 grantees must implement practices designed to 
improve academic outcomes for high-need students (as defined in this 
document). Therefore, projects addressing this priority must serve 
high-need students, which may include students with disabilities. 
Nothing in this priority precludes an applicant from proposing projects 
that focus on parents and families of students with disabilities, 
provided that the proposed project otherwise meets the requirements of 
the priority and therefore we are not changing the subpart language as 
requested.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested revising subpart (d) to specify 
that the data and information collected on students' progress must 
include targeted ``parent-level'' metrics, such as math and verbal 
achievement, high school graduation rates, college enrollment rates, 
and number of credits accumulated.
    Discussion: Although we appreciate the commenter's recommendation 
that the Department specify the data and information that projects 
under subpart (d) would need to collect, we do not want to narrow the 
projects that could be proposed or funded under this priority by 
prescribing a required list of metrics. Moreover, nothing in the 
statute or priorities would preclude an applicant from including 
``parent-level'' metrics in addition to information about students' 
progress and performance.
    However, we share the commenter's underlying concern that data 
about student performance should, among other things, be relevant and 
useful to parents. Access to data does not ensure its relevance or 
usefulness to parents. Thus, we have revised subpart (d) to clarify 
that the projects must improve both parents' access to and use of data 
about students' progress and performance, as opposed to only improving 
parents' access to data.
    Changes: We have revised subpart (d) to clarify that projects 
addressing subpart (d) must develop tools or practices that provide 
students and parents with improved, ongoing access to, and use of, data 
and other information about students' progress and performance.
    Comment: One commenter stated that the i3 program should make 
explicit allowance for the training and professional development of 
teachers, school leaders, and other school-based personnel regarding 
acquisition and maintenance of the specific knowledge, skills, and 
abilities required to effectively engage families and communities to 
improve student outcomes. To that end, the commenter provided specific 
revisions that require evidence-based initiatives and access to 
meaningful data to track students' progress. Additionally, the 
commenter proposed two new subparts under this priority: (1) 
Purposefully connecting the school with the family and community 
through a school-based facilitator, and (2) implementing initiatives 
that develop family and community leadership to sustain school 
improvements.
    Discussion: We agree with the commenter about the importance of 
enhancing teachers' abilities to effectively engage families to improve 
student outcomes. That is why subpart (b) supports projects designed to 
enhance the skills and competencies of school staff to build 
relationships and collaborate with parents and families.
    With regard to the commenter's proposal to require evidence-based 
initiatives and access to meaningful data to track students' progress, 
we note that this program requires projects to meet specific evidence 
standards. Similarly, all i3 grantees are required to conduct 
evaluations that estimate the impact of their projects on student 
outcomes. Therefore, we do not think it is necessary to specify 
evidence or data collection requirements under this priority.
    We appreciate the commenter's recommendation that we add two new 
subparts. However, as subpart (c) does not preclude projects that would 
support connecting school-based facilitators with families and the 
community, or projects that would develop and implement initiatives 
that bolster family and community leadership for sustained school 
improvement, we do not think it is appropriate to add new subparts that 
could limit applicants' flexibility in designing their proposed 
projects. Additionally, although we recognize the importance of 
community engagement, we conclude that it is not necessary for the 
Department to revise this priority to address it because the 
Supplemental Priorities include a priority that does so and the i3 
program could use that priority. See priority 5 of the Supplemental 
Priorities, Improving School Engagement, School Environment, and School 
Safety and Improving Family and Community Engagement.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: As part of our internal discussion of the comments 
about this priority, we noted that proposed subpart (b) refers to 
``school and other administrative staff.'' In order to ensure 
applicants understand that we consider teachers to be school staff, we 
have revised subpart (b) to explicitly list teachers in addition to 
school and other administrative staff.
    Changes: We have revised subpart (b) to clarify that, when 
addressing this subpart, applicants must implement initiatives that are 
designed to enhance the skills and competencies of teachers, and of 
school and other administrative staff in building relationships and 
collaborating with students' families, particularly those who have been 
underengaged with the school(s) in the past, in order to support 
student achievement and school improvement.

Proposed Priority 7--Improving Cost-Effectiveness and Productivity

    Comment: One commenter expressed concern about the focus on cost-
effectiveness because it may emphasize budgetary issues over 
educational ``ends.''
    Discussion: We appreciate and recognize the commenter's concern; 
however, it is essential for schools and LEAs to closely examine their 
spending practices and reallocate resources to use them more 
efficiently and cost-effectively. The i3 program's focus on cost-
effectiveness is consistent with the Department's broader initiative to 
encourage and support schools, LEAs, and States to ``do more with 
less'' through the adoption of promising practices and the responsible 
use of resources. We do not intend for this focus to overshadow the 
importance of the i3 program's requirement of implementing projects 
designed to improve student achievement. Additionally, we establish 
selection criteria that peer reviewers will use to consider the 
likelihood that a proposed project will achieve what it is designed to 
achieve and the extent to which a proposed project substantially 
improves outcomes. By using such criteria to evaluate applications, the 
Department encourages the adoption of cost-effective practices while 
also providing peer reviewers a mechanism to consider the cost and 
expected outcomes together.
    Changes: None.

[[Page 18694]]

    Comment: One commenter suggested revising this priority to specify 
the ways in which projects are to improve cost-effectiveness, including 
school-community partnerships.
    Discussion: Under section 14007 of the ARRA, in order to be 
eligible for i3 grants, applicants must demonstrate that they have 
established partnerships with the private sector and that the private 
sector will provide matching funds to help bring results to scale. 
Moreover, we recognize that using external partnerships is one approach 
to improving cost-effectiveness. However, because nothing in the ARRA 
or this priority precludes an applicant from proposing projects that 
improve cost-effectiveness through such partnerships, we do not think 
it is appropriate to prescribe that applicants must use school-
community partnerships to meet this priority.
    Changes: None.

Proposed Priority 8--Effective Use of Technology

    Comment: One commenter expressed strong support for this proposed 
priority, and recommended that applicants applying under any of the 
other proposed priorities also identify how technology would be used to 
advance the proposed projects. The commenter specifically cited 
proposed priorities 1 (Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or 
Principals), 2 (Improving Low-Performing Schools), and 6 (Improving 
Parent and Family Engagement) as priorities under which applicants 
should be expected to address the use of technology in their 
applications and receive preference for doing so.
    Discussion: While we encourage applicants to propose projects that 
use technology effectively, we do not think it is appropriate to 
require all applicants to design their projects around the use of 
technology. Nothing in any priority or the authorizing statute 
prohibits an applicant from proposing to use technology in a proposed 
project, provided that the use of technology is necessary for carrying 
out the proposed project and that the project otherwise meets the 
requirements of the priority.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter stated that the topics included in the 
subparts under this priority have been addressed and improved over 
time. The commenter further stated that adopting existing, effective 
uses of technology, such as online or blended learning, must be 
promoted.
    Discussion: The i3 program aims to support expanding effective 
practices to serve more students across schools, districts, and States 
and to identify new solutions to pressing challenges. With that goal in 
mind, we designed this priority to support projects that focus on 
adopting or augmenting existing practices or developing new practices 
that use technology effectively to improve student achievement.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters recommended that the Department add a new 
subpart under this priority for projects that integrate technology into 
expanded learning opportunities.
    Discussion: Nothing in the authorizing statute or this priority 
precludes an applicant from proposing a project that integrates 
technology into expanded learning opportunities, provided that the 
project otherwise addresses the requirements of the priority. For 
example, applicants have discretion to propose such projects under 
subpart (e). We think that the applicants are best suited to determine 
how to integrate the effective use of technology into their proposed 
projects, and we do not think it is appropriate to create a subpart 
that focuses only on integrating technology to expand learning 
opportunities.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter agreed with the focus on using technology to 
improve instruction and increase access to high-quality learning 
opportunities. But the commenter also stated that the priority should 
be strengthened by encouraging applicants to approach technology 
acquisition and use in a manner that would provide teachers more time 
for individualized instruction and for establishing student-centered 
classrooms. The commenter also recommended that applicants addressing 
this priority should be expected to provide implementation strategies 
that would ensure that technology would be used to promote equity 
rather than exacerbate existing student achievement gaps. The commenter 
also stated that applicants should be required to ensure equitable 
access to the necessary technology so that no students are excluded due 
to a lack or shortage of the necessary technology.
    Discussion: We agree with the commenter's recommendation that this 
priority support projects designed to use technology to provide 
students more time for individualized instruction. Therefore, we have 
modified subpart (a) to clarify that the learning experiences must be 
personalized and focus on students with a variety of learning needs.
    We also agree that applicants proposing projects under this 
priority should consider how the proposed implementation strategies 
would ensure equitable access to the technology. Section 427 of the 
General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) addresses equitable access by 
requiring all applicants to provide a statement that identifies access 
barriers to participation in their projects and identifies solutions to 
overcome those barriers.
    With regard to the commenter's concern about shortage of the 
necessary technology, we use selection criteria to consider the extent 
to which the applicant has planned for sufficient resources to carry 
out the project. For example, the selection criterion on the quality of 
the management plan includes a selection factor that considers the 
extent to which the applicant demonstrates it will have the resources 
to operate the project at the proposed level of scale during the grant 
period. This selection factor provides peer reviewers with a mechanism 
to consider whether an applicant has sufficient resources to carry out 
the project, which may include whether the applicant's plan ensures 
equitable access to the technology being implemented.
    However an applicant chooses to ensure full and equitable access to 
the technology being used in the proposed project, we do not want 
projects funded under this priority to exacerbate inequities for 
students. Thus, we have revised subpart (b) to clarify that projects 
must provide students and teachers with equitable access to ``anytime, 
anywhere'' learning materials and experiences. We have also revised 
subpart (c) to include closing achievement gaps as a required outcome 
for projects addressing the subpart. Both of these revisions mitigate 
the risk that existing inequities or gaps would be compounded by 
projects addressing this priority.
    Changes: We have revised subpart (b) to require applicants to 
propose projects that provide students and teachers with equitable 
``anytime, anywhere'' access to learning materials and experiences. We 
have revised subpart (c) to require that projects must, in addition to 
improving student achievement (as defined in this document), also be 
designed to close achievement gaps.
    Comment: Three commenters stated that technology is critically 
important to improving instruction for students with disabilities, and 
recommended that the Department revise subparts (c) and (f) to require 
that technology methods, resources, and integration be consistent with 
principles of UDL.
    Discussion: We recognize and agree that technology is an effective 
tool for

[[Page 18695]]

improving instruction for students with disabilities. However, we do 
not think it is appropriate to prescribe a single approach or principle 
that all applicants must use when integrating technology into their 
projects. Additionally, nothing in the statute or the priority 
prohibits an applicant from using the approach or principle it 
determines to be most suitable for its project.
    In order to comply with the requirements of the Americans with 
Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 
1973, as amended, any technology used by recipients must be accessible 
to individuals with disabilities. For additional information about the 
application of these laws to technology, please refer to www.ed.gov/ocr/letters/colleague-201105-ese.pdf and www.ed.gov/ocr/docs/dcl-ebook-faq-201105.pdf. Provided the requirements of the civil rights laws and 
the priority are met, an applicant may propose a project under this 
priority that uses technology methods, resources, and integration that 
are consistent with the principles of UDL.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter urged the Department to include in the 
priority other educators who may not be teachers of record, such as 
media specialists or instructional aides, but who have instructional 
responsibilities in projects that are designed to use technology to 
improve instructional effectiveness.
    Discussion: Nothing in the authorizing statute or this priority 
prohibits eligible applicants from including staff who are not teachers 
but have instructional responsibility in their projects. We decline to 
specifically reference these educators in the priority to ensure 
applicants have the maximum flexibility when developing their 
proposals.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter described this priority as ``strongly 
written and comprehensive.'' Although the commenter applauded the 
Department's commitment to encouraging adaptive learning experience and 
``anytime, anywhere'' access to academic content and learning, the 
commenter suggested the Department clarify that technological tools are 
understood to be used for both instructional and assessment purposes.
    Discussion: The Department agrees that ``anytime, anywhere'' access 
to academic content may include technological tools that are used for 
purposes of instruction, assessment, or both. Because we do not want to 
limit the types of content and learning that may be used in projects 
under subpart (b), we have revised this subpart to focus on access to 
learning materials and experiences instead of access to ``academic 
content.''
    Changes: We have revised subpart (b) to focus on learning materials 
and experiences.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: As part of our internal discussion of the comments 
about this priority, we noted that proposed subpart (f) did not include 
a reference to the intended outcomes for projects integrating 
technology with the implementation of college- and career-ready 
standards. In order for the use or integration of technology to be 
effective, we believe it is important that projects addressing this 
subpart focus on improving student and teacher outcomes. Thus, to 
correct this oversight, we have revised subpart (f) to include these 
outcomes, as we have done with other subparts, and to clarify that 
embedded, real-time assessments and feedback for students and teachers 
are examples of projects that could be proposed under this subpart.
    Change: We have revised subpart (f) to clarify that projects 
integrating technology with the implementation of rigorous college- and 
career-ready standards must be designed to increase student achievement 
(as defined in this document), student engagement, and teacher 
efficacy, such as by providing embedded, real-time assessment and 
feedback to students and teachers.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: As part of our internal discussion of the comments on 
this priority, we noted an oversight in how subpart (d) was phrased. 
Specifically, the subpart only referred to the outcome that would need 
to be achieved, but did not clarify that projects addressing it would 
need to implement strategies to achieved the stated outcomes. As all i3 
grantees must implement the practices that serve students who are in 
grades K-12 at some point during the funding period, we have revised 
this subpart to clarify that the projects addressing it must implement 
strategies that improve student proficiencies.
    Changes: We have revised subpart (d) in order to clarify our intent 
that applications addressing this subpart must implement strategies 
that improve student proficiencies in complex skills, such as critical 
thinking and collaboration across academic disciplines.

Proposed Priority 9--Formalizing and Codifying Effective Practices

    Comment: A few commenters suggested clarifying that, under this 
proposed priority, an applicant must address the proposed practice's 
effectiveness for all learners and identify the practice's critical 
components for different teaching and learning environments as well as 
for diverse learners.
    Discussion: A primary goal of this priority is to enable broad 
adoption of effective practices. We agree with the commenters that an 
applicant addressing this priority needs to evaluate different forms of 
a practice in order to determine whether the practice may be adapted 
for diverse learners. However, we recognize that some practices may be 
developed for, or targeted to, the needs of a specific student 
population and, by its very nature, may not be relevant or effective 
for students outside of that target group. For these reasons, we have 
revised the priority to clarify that applicants must address whether 
the proposed practice is effective for diverse learners; however, we 
decline to revise subpart (c) to require that applicants develop 
materials and tools on how to implement the practice effectively for 
all learners.
    Changes: To clarify the goal of this priority, we have changed its 
title from ``Formalizing and Codifying Effective Practices'' to 
``Enabling Broad Adoption of Effective Practices.'' Further, in 
response to comments, we have revised subpart (b) to clarify that 
applicants addressing this priority must identify the adaptability of 
the practice's critical components to diverse learners as well as to 
different teaching and learning environments.
    Comment: One commenter expressed support for the Department's 
placing a high priority on sharing and disseminating effective 
practices under this proposed priority. However, the commenter 
encouraged the Department to only use this priority for the Validation 
and Scale-up competitions because projects under those categories are 
based on moderate and strong evidence of effectiveness.
    Discussion: By establishing this priority, the Department may use 
it for any of the three types of grants under the i3 program (i.e., 
Development, Validation, and Scale-up). We agree with the commenter 
that this priority is most appropriate for i3 Scale-up and Validation 
grants because projects funded in those grant categories must be 
supported, respectively, by strong and moderate evidence of 
effectiveness. However, we decline to specify that the priority will be 
used only for a subset of i3 competition because we do not want to 
unnecessarily limit when this

[[Page 18696]]

priority can be used in future i3 competitions.
    The Department will consider several factors, including the level 
of evidence or research available, when determining which of the 
priorities would be most appropriate for the different types of grants 
offered in any given year under the i3 program.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter urged the Department to allow current i3 
grantees to apply to extend their grants under this priority, which 
would allow for additional years of implementation and data collection. 
The commenter explained that such an approach would allow third-party 
evaluators to collect the data necessary to demonstrate what 
educational elements are required to fundamentally change a student's 
academic trajectory. Without the option of extending current i3 grants, 
the commenter stated a concern that the opportunity to learn from these 
grants would be limited.
    Discussion: We appreciate the commenter's concern. Although we 
agree with the commenter about the importance of maximizing the 
opportunity to learn from current i3 grantees, the Department's current 
regulations authorize the Secretary to approve a project period up to 
60 months (see 34 CFR 75.250). We decline, however, to make the 
suggested change for two reasons. First, the Department has, under 
limited circumstances, allowed for a waiver of the 60-month project 
period. More importantly, the Department published a notice of proposed 
rulemaking on December 14, 2012 that proposed amending this regulation 
to address this specific situation. We have concluded that the proposed 
revisions to EDGAR are the appropriate place to address this issue.
    Changes: None.

Proposed Priority 10--Serving Rural Communities

    Comment: One commenter expressed support for the proposed priority 
because it is not limited to projects that improve high school 
graduation rates and college enrollment rates and, therefore, offers a 
broader focus than the previous rural priority used by the i3 program. 
However, another commenter expressed concern that urban education is 
not given a similar priority under the proposed priorities as rural 
education, and suggested the Department utilize a separate slate for 
rural applicants rather than establishing a separate rural priority.
    Discussion: We aim to ensure that projects serving high-need 
students in diverse contexts, including urban, suburban, and rural 
communities, are eligible to compete for i3 funding. However, we 
acknowledge that rural communities face unique challenges (e.g., e more 
limited resources than urban and suburban communities to complete for 
Federal funds). We also recognize that the solutions to educational 
challenges may be different in rural areas than in urban and suburban 
communities and that there is a need for solutions that are unique to 
rural communities. For these reasons, we have established this priority 
to provide a mechanism for the Department to consider rural projects 
under a separate funding category, which is effectively the same as 
considering them as part of a separate slate, while also providing 
applicants proposing rural projects the ability to select among the 
same absolute priorities as other applicants. This approach does not 
advantage or disadvantage rural or non-rural applicants--it just 
ensures that both sets of applicants are competing against other 
applicants that face similar problems and challenges.
    Changes: None.

Requirements

    Comment: Several commenters proposed revisions to the types of 
entities that could apply for and receive a grant under the i3 program. 
Four commenters requested that the Department change the categories of 
eligible applicants for i3 grants to include nonprofit organizations 
applying on their own. The commenters stated that nonprofit 
organizations should have the ability to develop and implement i3 
grants alone, as opposed to being eligible only in partnership with 
LEAs or schools. However, another commenter expressed concern that the 
i3 program has become a revenue source for nonprofit organizations, and 
recommended that the Department allow only LEAs to apply as the lead 
applicant and fiscal agent for i3 grants.
    Two commenters recommended the Department change the eligible 
applicants for i3 grants to include (1) tribal educational agencies 
(TEAs), (2) a nonprofit organization in partnership with one or more 
TEAs, and (3) a nonprofit organization in partnership with one or more 
Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools. These commenters also stated 
that the Department should clarify that BIE schools meet the definition 
of ``LEA'' under the i3 program.
    Discussion: Section 14007(a)(1) of the ARRA specifies the types of 
entities that are eligible to apply for funding under this program. 
They are:
    (a) An LEA
    (b) A partnership between a nonprofit organization and--
    (1) One or more LEAs; or
    (2) A consortium of schools.
    The Department has no authority to revise or expand these 
statutorily prescribed eligibility requirements. However, we do want to 
clarify that, as public schools, BIE schools are eligible to be part of 
the consortium of schools in a partnership applying for an i3 grant. A 
BIE school may also be eligible to apply as an LEA on its own, or in 
partnership with a nonprofit organization as an LEA, because the 
definition of ``local educational agency'' in section 9101(26) of the 
ESEA includes a provision under which a BIE school may be considered an 
LEA. If a BIE school is an LEA, the BIE school would be able to apply 
as an eligible LEA on its own, or in partnership with a nonprofit 
organization as an LEA, consistent with the requirements for eligible 
applicants under section 14007(a)(1).
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters recommended the Department require any LEA 
located on Indian lands to consult with the appropriate tribes and 
provide them with adequate time to comment on the application prior to 
its submission. The commenters explained that an LEA's engagement with 
the tribe should include direct input regarding native student 
education, ongoing consultation and partnership, and the sharing of 
best practices. The commenters stated that any LEA that does not 
participate in this consultation should be ineligible to receive an i3 
grant.
    Discussion: We agree that any LEA located on tribal lands, or 
proposing to address native student education of a particular tribe or 
tribes, should coordinate with the appropriate tribe(s) when developing 
an application and implementing the project. Although under the i3 
program such coordination is not required, we consider collaboration 
and coordination among project partners to be important to the success 
of any project. For that reason, we include a factor under the Quality 
of the Management Plan selection criterion that considers the extent to 
which the applicant demonstrates that it will have the resources to 
operate the project at the proposed level of scale both during the 
project period and beyond the length of the grant, including the 
demonstrated commitment of any partners and evidence of broad support 
from stakeholders critical to the

[[Page 18697]]

project's long-term success. Therefore, we do not feel it is necessary 
to make consultation an eligibility requirement.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter criticized the requirement that nonprofit 
organizations must identify partner districts or schools before an i3 
grant is awarded because this undermines the development of effective 
partnerships. The commenter stated that it is critically important for 
nonprofit organizations proposing to conduct turnaround projects to 
ensure that the participating superintendents and principals are 
committed to the project, but the nonprofit organization is in a 
stronger position to select partners after receiving a grant, not 
before. The commenter proposed that the Department require applicants 
who are nonprofit organizations to specify the types of districts or 
schools that will participate in the project without identifying 
specific partners.
    Discussion: As noted previously, section 14007(a)(1) of the ARRA 
specifies the entities eligible for funding under this program. Because 
the ARRA specifies that a nonprofit organization is only eligible to 
receive an i3 grant in partnership with one or more LEAs or a 
consortium of schools, we cannot award a nonprofit organization an i3 
grant without any identified LEAs or schools.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter requested that the Department clarify that 
entities implementing programs that serve out-of-school youth, such as 
students beyond the compulsory school age or students participating in 
alternative education programs, are eligible to apply for i3 grants.
    One commenter questioned the value of requiring that i3 projects to 
serve K-12 students and expressed concern that this requirement may 
result in applicants changing the focus on their planned interventions 
to serve a population for whom the intervention is not designed. The 
commenter further stated that this requirement conflicts with the 
requirement that i3 projects be supported by evidence of effectiveness, 
and distracts from the i3 program goal of learning what works in 
education.
    Discussion: This requirement clarifies that the i3 program focuses 
on K-12 education. Although grantees are not prohibited from serving 
out-of-school youth or students who are beyond compulsory school age, 
all grantees must implement practices that serve students who are in 
grades K-12 at some point during the funding period.
    We do not agree with the comment that this requirement conflicts 
with the required evidence standards or the program goal of learning 
what works in education. This requirement aims to ensure that all i3 
grants support students in grades K-12, but it does not require 
applicants to propose projects that are not designed to serve students 
in the target population. As long as K-12 students are served by the 
grantee at some point during the funding period, it is within the 
applicant's discretion to determine what intervention will best address 
the competition's priority and meet the needs of the targeted student 
population.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter expressed support for the Department's 
proposal to strengthen the evidence standards required for eligibility; 
and two other commenters expressed concern regarding the proposed 
evidence standards themselves. One of these commenters questioned 
whether tying the evidence definitions to the What Works Clearinghouse 
(WWC) Evidence Standards was limiting because new innovations that show 
promise would not be able to move beyond the Development grant level. 
One commenter stated that the evidence definitions needed to be 
weakened to be more practical.
    Discussion: A unique design feature of the i3 program is how it 
links funding to the quality and extent of existing evidence showing 
the likelihood of a proposed practice improving student outcomes. We 
recognize that the new definitions narrow the allowable evaluation 
methodologies at the strong and moderate evidence of effectiveness 
levels; but note that the new evidence standards also broaden the types 
of evidence that can be used at the Development level. Considering the 
level of public investment and the expectations that Scale-up and 
Validation projects serve students at a national or regional level, we 
believe it is reasonable to require such projects to have evidence of 
their effectiveness that uses evaluation methodologies that are most 
likely to support causal conclusions. Moreover, this evidence 
requirement provides incentives for entities to conduct rigorous, high-
quality evaluations of existing widespread practices so that they can 
move beyond the Development grant level.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters stated that the requirement that an 
eligible nonprofit organization must have a record of significantly 
improving student achievement, attainment, or retention is limiting 
because it seems to exclude nonprofit organizations that (1) 
demonstrate success in designing and implementing programs similar to 
those for which there is moderate evidence of success and (2) are 
implementing programs that reflect programs supported by evidence of 
promise or strong theory but for which no direct evaluation exists. 
Both commenters suggested that the Department allow nonprofit 
organizations to implement these programs.
    Discussion: The comment references two different eligibility 
requirements: (1) Eligible applicants must have a record of 
significantly improving student achievement, attainment, or retention; 
and (2) the requirement that i3 grants be supported by evidence--Scale-
up grants must be supported by strong evidence of effectiveness, 
Validation grants must be supported by moderate evidence of 
effectiveness, and Development grants must be supported by evidence of 
promise or strong theory. While we recognize these requirements appear 
similar, we think it is important to distinguish them in order to 
address the comments fully.
    First, the requirement for applicants to have a record of 
significantly improving student achievement, attainment, or retention 
is statutory, and the Department has no authority to revise or remove 
it. Specifically, section 14007(b)(1) through (b)(3) and section 
14007(c) of the ARRA require that, to be eligible for an i3 grant, an 
applicant have a record of improving student achievement.
    Second, while the requirement that applicants have a record of 
significantly improving student achievement refers to the applicant's 
past work with LEAs and schools, the evidence standards refer to 
evidence that the proposed intervention is effective. That is, the 
applicant must provide information on its history of working to improve 
student outcomes, as well as the evidence of effectiveness of the 
proposed intervention. We consider both of these requirements important 
to the i3 program goal of identifying and supporting the replication of 
best practices in education.
    Finally, while we have provided specific definitions for each level 
of evidence, we have not prescribed specific measures that must be used 
to meet the statutory eligibility requirement. We consider the 
applicant to be best suited to present information on how its past work 
has significantly improved student achievement and to determine the 
metrics it uses to measure those accomplishments. This approach 
provides an applicant with the discretion to demonstrate its record of 
improving student achievement but

[[Page 18698]]

maintains the program's structure of linking the amount of funding that 
an applicant may receive to the quality of the evidence supporting the 
efficacy of the proposed project. As noted earlier, this structure 
provides incentives for applicants to build evidence of effectiveness 
of their proposed projects.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters proposed that the Department revise the 
statutory eligibility requirement to require an eligible applicant to 
have a record of significantly closing the achievement gaps between 
groups of students described in section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA and 
students not in the subgroup (e.g., the gap between students with 
disabilities and students without disabilities).
    Discussion: As explained previously, we have no authority to revise 
or expand the statutorily prescribed eligibility requirements; and, 
therefore, we cannot require applicants to have a record of 
significantly closing the achievement gaps between students in a 
particular subgroup and students not in that particular subgroup.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter expressed support for the Department's 
proposal to strengthen the evaluation requirement.
    Discussion: We appreciate the support for requiring each i3 grantee 
to conduct an evaluation that will produce an estimate of the impact of 
the i3-supported practice (as implemented at the proposed level of 
scale) on a relevant outcome (as defined in this document). This 
requirement also aims to increase the evidence available on existing 
practices.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter expressed concern about the amount and 
timing of the matching requirement. The commenter stated that the 
requirement for matching funds conflicts with the Department's interest 
in identifying imaginative approaches to improving education.
    Discussion: Section 14007(b)(3) of the ARRA specifically requires a 
private-sector match for grants awarded under this program. We 
understand the commenter's concern about the challenges of securing 
significant private-sector investments. This concern, however, is 
addressed by the flexibility provided in the ``Cost Sharing or 
Matching'' requirement, which allows the Secretary to determine the 
required amount of private-sector matching funds or in-kind 
contributions that eligible applicants must obtain under an i3 
competition in a given year.
    Moreover, the requirement now provides additional flexibility for 
the Secretary to announce in the notice inviting applications when and 
how selected eligible applicants must submit evidence of the private-
sector matching funds. We expect the determination of the amount of the 
private-sector match, as well as the determination of when and how 
evidence of the private-sector match must be submitted, will be based 
on an assessment of the capacity and resources available in that 
particular year. In addition, an eligible applicant continues to have 
the option, under this requirement, to request in its application that 
the Secretary decrease the private-sector match amount that a 
particular applicant must provide.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Three commenters recommended that the i3 program require 
that any learning materials, professional development, or tools created 
with i3 funding be made publicly available as open educational 
resources. The commenters specifically cited the Creative Commons 
Attribution license as an exemplar because, according to the commenter, 
it is both consistent with the Department of Labor's policy and 
clarifies how all users can access and use resources developed with 
Federal funds. One commenter stated that, although the Department's 
current regulations reserve the right to make content available for 
government purposes, a policy similar to the Creative Commons 
Attribution license would provide a more immediate indication of the 
return on investment in i3-funded projects.
    Discussion: The Department's regulations on project materials and 
copyrightable intellectual property produced with grant funds apply to 
all grants awarded under this program. Specifically, under 34 CFR 
75.621, grantees may copyright project materials produced with 
Department grant funds. However, 34 CFR 74.36 and 80.34 state that the 
Department retains a non-exclusive and irrevocable license to 
reproduce, publish, or otherwise use project materials developed with 
grant funds for government purposes. Together these regulations allow 
i3 grantees to copyright innovative project materials, thereby 
providing an incentive for the grantees to disseminate those materials 
through the commercial marketplace, while also recognizing that any 
such materials are the result of a public investment to promote 
learning, and can, if necessary, be made available to the public by the 
Department.
    Further, one of the primary objectives of the i3 program is to 
identify and document best practices that can be shared and replicated. 
One way we do so is through the requirement that all i3 grantees 
participate in communities of practice. In addition, we establish 
priority 9 (Enabling Broad Adoption of Effective Practices) under which 
an applicant must share knowledge about the practice broadly and 
support the implementation of the practice in other settings and 
locations. We believe that the approach set out in the Department's 
current regulations properly balances the intellectual property 
interests of grantees and the public's interest in ensuring that 
copyrightable material produced with Department grant funds is widely 
disseminated. For these reasons, we decline to make the suggested 
change.
    Changes: None.

Definitions

    Comment: One commenter urged the Department to include definitions 
for ``community engagement'' and ``family engagement,'' and proposed 
definitions for the terms. The commenter's proposed definitions 
describe qualities of effective engagement and include explicit 
references to engagement being an ongoing or continuous process.
    Discussion: We appreciate the commenter's recommendation. However, 
we also recognize that the range of projects aimed at improving parent 
and family engagement is vast, and that the meaning of ``parent and 
family engagement'' is evolving. To ensure that we do not limit or 
narrow the types of projects that could be submitted under this 
program, we decline to provide a specific definition. Moreover, because 
priority 6 (Improving Parent and Family Engagement) focuses on specific 
gaps or needs related to parent and family engagement, it does not seem 
necessary to further define these terms. Finally, because community 
engagement is not part of the priorities under this program, we 
conclude that it is not necessity to establish a definition.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter expressed concern that the current 
definition of ``high-need student'' encompasses any student who 
functions below grade-level. The commenter suggested the Department 
revise this definition to mean students with traditional achievement 
gaps, including low-income students, racial and ethnic minority 
students, ELs, or students with disabilities.
    Discussion: The definition of ``high-need student'' could include 
students with traditional achievement gaps, including low-income 
students, racial and ethnic minority students, ELs, or students with 
disabilities. However, given the diversity of the projects that

[[Page 18699]]

could be funded under the i3 program, we think it is important that an 
applicant have the discretion to determine which students are at risk 
of educational failure, and to discuss how the proposed project will 
meet the needs of those students.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Three commenters recommended that the Department revise 
the examples of supplemental measures provided in the definition of 
``highly effective principal'' to include the percentage of students 
with disabilities educated in general classrooms.
    Discussion: The supplemental measures listed in the definition of 
``highly effective principal'' are examples and not exhaustive. 
Applicants have the discretion to consider other measures, including 
the percentage of students with disabilities in general education 
classrooms. Because of this, and because of the Department's interest 
in maintaining consistency in the definition of ``highly effective 
principal'' across various Department programs, we decline to revise 
the definition to include additional examples of supplemental measures.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A few commenters proposed revisions to the definition of 
``highly effective teacher.'' One commenter stated that the proposed 
definition narrowly conforms to the traditional role of a teacher 
lecturing a classroom and must be broadened to include all educators. 
As student learning occurs at individual rates, and because learning 
can happen any time and in any place, the commenter suggested that a 
teacher's effectiveness rating should be more flexible and allow for 
differentiated timetables for content mastery, consistent with the 
learning at any time, any place, and any pace. Another commenter stated 
that the proposed definition fails to reflect the new world of teaching 
because it does not recognize that multiple adults affect student 
learning in schools using a differential staffing model.
    One commenter recommended the definition be revised to clarify that 
the measures of effectiveness for highly effective teachers be based on 
standards for teaching that relate to student learning. The commenter 
suggested that, in addition to student growth, standards created by the 
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or the Interstate 
New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium should be included as 
measures of teacher effectiveness.
    Three commenters recommended that the Department revise the 
definition of ``highly effective teacher'' to incorporate additional 
supplemental measures that are specific to teachers of students with 
disabilities, including knowledge and implementation of the principles 
of UDL and assessments that measure effectiveness of addressing diverse 
learners' needs.
    Discussion: We recognize that the classroom teacher is not the only 
individual to affect student achievement, and that learning may occur 
outside of the traditional classroom. However, as the definition of 
``highly effective teacher'' refers to ``student growth,'' we conclude 
that the definition would not need to take into consideration 
differentiated timetables for content mastery because the definition 
for ``student growth'' does not prescribe the two or more points in 
time that needs to be used to measure a change in student achievement. 
Further, because multiple measures may be used to determine teacher 
effectiveness, we do not agree it is necessary to prescribe that 
applicants use a specific set of teaching standards.
    The list of supplemental measures provided in the definition of 
``highly effective teacher'' provides examples and is not exhaustive. 
Applicants have the discretion to consider other measures, including 
measures proposed by the commenters. Because the use of the proposed 
supplemental measures is possible under the current definition and 
because of the Department's interest in maintaining consistency in the 
definition of ``highly effective teachers'' across Department programs, 
we decline to revise the definition to include additional examples of 
supplemental measures.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that the Department broaden the 
types of assessments used in the definition of ``student achievement.'' 
The commenter stated that assessments specified in the definition 
should be as robust as the skills students are expected to demonstrate, 
including assessments that measure a student's ability to: master core 
content, think critically and solve complex problems, collaborate with 
peers, be self-directed, and integrate feedback.
    Three commenters recommended that the Department revise the 
definitions of ``student achievement'' and ``student growth'' to 
include measures that are evidence-based and comparable across student 
groups.
    Discussion: We agree that students need to be proficient in a 
robust set of skills. That is why the definition of ``student 
achievement'' includes, in addition to the assessments required under 
section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA, other measures of student learning. 
Because other measures of student learning may be used under the 
current definition, and because of the Department's interest in 
maintaining consistency in the definitions of ``student achievement'' 
and ``student growth'' across Department programs, we decline to revise 
the definition.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: As part of our internal review, we noted that we 
inadvertently omitted the definition for ``nonprofit organization'' 
from the notice of proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection. As we did not propose, or have any intention of making, a 
change to this definition, we have added the definition that we have 
used in prior i3 competitions.
    Changes: We have defined ``nonprofit organization'' to mean an 
entity that meets the definition of ``nonprofit'' under 34 CFR 77.1(c), 
or an institution of higher education as defined by section 101(a) of 
the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: We have revised the definitions of ``moderate evidence 
of effectiveness'' and ``strong evidence of effectiveness'' by adding 
the phrase ``and overriding'' to the second parenthetical in sections 
(a) and (b) of both definitions. The purpose of our adding this phrase 
is to clarify the meaning of the parenthetical, which was intended to 
apply only to studies with unfavorable outcomes that were so 
substantial as to call into question the potential effectiveness of the 
intervention. The modification to the parenthetical makes clear the 
narrow scope of the parenthetical.
    Changes: We have revised the second parenthetical in sections (a) 
and (b) of the definitions of ``moderate evidence of effectiveness'' 
and ``strong evidence of effectiveness'' to add the phrase ``and 
overriding.'' The parenthetical now reads ``with no statistically 
significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for 
relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the 
intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works 
Clearinghouse.''

Selection Criteria

    The Department did not receive any comments on the proposed 
selection criteria. Therefore, we make no changes to the selection 
criteria.
    FINAL PRIORITIES:
    Priority 1--Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals.

[[Page 18700]]

    Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address 
one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Developing and implementing new methods and sources for 
recruiting:
    (1) Highly effective teachers (as defined in this document);
    (2) Highly effective principals (as defined in this document); or
    (3) Highly effective teachers and principals (as defined in this 
document).
    (b) Developing and implementing models for teacher preparation that 
deepen pedagogical knowledge and skills which have been demonstrated to 
improve student achievement (as defined in this document), such as 
knowledge of instructional practices or knowledge and skills in 
classroom management, or that deepen pedagogical content knowledge.
    (c) Developing and implementing models for principal preparation 
that deepen leadership skills which have been demonstrated to improve 
student achievement (as defined in this document).
    (d) Developing and implementing models of induction and support for 
improving the knowledge and skills of novice teachers or novice 
principals to accelerate student performance, including but not limited 
to strategies designed to increase teacher retention or improve teacher 
or principal effectiveness.
    (e) Creating career pathways with differentiated opportunities and 
roles for teachers or principals, which may include differentiated 
compensation.
    (f) Designing and implementing teacher or principal evaluation 
systems that provide clear, timely, and useful feedback, including 
feedback that identifies areas for improvement and that guides 
professional development for teachers or principals.
    (g) Developing supports for the ongoing development and performance 
improvement of teachers, principals, or instructional leaders, such as 
local and virtual communities, tools, training, and other mechanisms.
    (h) Increasing the equitable access to effective teachers or 
principals for low-income and high-need students (as defined in this 
document), which may include increasing the equitable distribution of 
effective teachers or principals for low-income and high-need students 
across schools.
    (i) Extending highly effective teachers' reach to serve more 
students, including strategies such as new course designs, staffing 
models, technology platforms, or new opportunities for collaboration 
that allow highly effective teachers to reach more students, or 
approaches or tools that reduce administrative and other burden while 
maintaining or improving effectiveness.
    (j) Projects addressing pressing needs related to improving teacher 
or principal effectiveness.
    Priority 2--Improving Low-Performing Schools.
    Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address 
one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Designing whole-school models and implementing processes that 
lead to significant and sustained improvement in individual student 
performance and overall school performance and culture. These models 
may incorporate such strategies as providing strong school leadership; 
strengthening the instructional program; embedding professional 
development that provides teachers with frequent feedback to increase 
the rigor and effectiveness of their instructional practice; 
redesigning the school day, week, or year; using data to inform 
instruction and improvement; establishing a school environment that 
promotes a culture of high expectations; addressing non-academic 
factors that affect student achievement; and providing ongoing 
mechanisms for parent and family engagement.
    (b) Changing elements of the school's organizational design to 
improve instruction by differentiating staff roles and extending and 
enhancing instructional time.
    (c) Recruiting, developing, or retaining highly effective staff, 
specifically teachers, principals, or instructional leaders, to work in 
low-performing schools.
    (d) Implementing programs, supports, or other strategies that 
improve students' non-cognitive abilities (e.g., motivation, 
persistence, or resilience) and enhance student engagement in learning 
or mitigate the effects of poverty, including physical, mental, or 
emotional health issues, on student engagement in learning.
    (e) Supporting the turnaround efforts of low-performing schools or 
districts by increasing access to, and use of, high-quality partners.
    (f) Increasing district- or State-level capacity to turn around 
low-performing schools, including improvements to State and district 
support and oversight of turnaround efforts.
    (g) Projects that support the implementation of turnaround efforts 
in secondary schools.
    (h) Projects addressing pressing needs related to improving low-
performing schools.
    Other requirements related to Priority 2:
    To meet this priority, a project must serve schools among (1) the 
lowest-performing schools in the State on academic performance 
measures; (2) schools in the State with the largest within-school 
performance gaps between student subgroups described in section 
1111(b)(2) of the ESEA; or (3) secondary schools in the State with the 
lowest graduation rate over a number of years or the largest within-
school gaps in graduation rates between student subgroups described in 
section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA. Additionally, projects funded under 
this priority must complement the broader turnaround efforts of the 
school(s), LEA(s), or State(s) where the projects will be implemented.
    Priority 3--Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and 
Mathematics (STEM) Education.
    Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address 
one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Providing students with increased access to rigorous and 
engaging coursework in STEM.
    (b) Redesigning STEM course content and instructional practices to 
engage students and increase student achievement (as defined in this 
document).
    (c) Developing and implementing new methods and resources for 
recruiting individuals with content expertise in STEM subject areas 
into teaching.
    (d) Increasing the high-quality preparation of, or professional 
development for, teachers or other educators in STEM subjects, through 
activities that include building content and pedagogical content 
knowledge.
    (e) Expanding high-quality out-of-school and extended-day 
activities, including extending the day, week, or year, or before- or 
after- school, or summer learning programs, that provide students with 
opportunities for deliberate practice that increase STEM learning, 
engagement, and expertise.
    (f) Increasing the number of individuals from groups traditionally 
underrepresented in STEM, including minorities, individuals with 
disabilities, and women and girls, who access rigorous and engaging 
coursework in STEM and are prepared for postsecondary study in STEM.
    (g) Increasing the number of individuals from groups traditionally 
underrepresented in STEM, including minorities, individuals with 
disabilities, and women, who are teachers or educators of STEM subjects 
and receive high-quality preparation or professional development.
    (h) Projects addressing pressing needs for improving STEM 
education.

[[Page 18701]]

    Priority 4--Improving Academic Outcomes for Students with 
Disabilities.
    Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address 
one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Implementing coherent systems of support that appropriately 
coordinate and integrate programs to address the needs of children and 
youth with disabilities and improve the quality of service for those 
children and their families.
    (b) Designing and implementing teacher evaluation systems that 
define and measure effectiveness of special education teachers and 
related service providers.
    (c) Designing and implementing strategies that improve student 
achievement (as defined in this document) for students with 
disabilities in inclusive settings, including strategies that improve 
learning and developmental outcomes (i.e., academic, social, emotional, 
or behavioral) and the appropriate transition from restrictive settings 
to inclusive settings or general education classes or programs, and 
appropriate strategies to prevent unnecessary suspensions and 
expulsions.
    (d) Improving secondary and postsecondary data collection and 
tracking of academic and related outcomes for students with 
disabilities to understand their transition into postsecondary 
education and the factors associated with their success.
    (e) Projects addressing pressing needs related to improving 
academic outcomes for students with disabilities.
    Priority 5--Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners (ELs).
    Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address 
one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Increasing the number and proportion of ELs successfully 
completing courses in core academic subjects by developing, 
implementing, and evaluating new instructional approaches and tools 
that are sensitive to the language demands necessary to access 
challenging content, including technology-based tools.
    (b) Aligning and implementing the curriculum and instruction used 
in grades 6-12 for language development and content courses to provide 
sufficient exposure to, engagement in, and acquisition of academic 
language and literacy practices necessary for preparing ELs to be 
college- and career-ready.
    (c) Preparing ELs to be on track to be college- and career-ready 
when they graduate from high school by developing comprehensive, 
developmentally appropriate, early learning programs (birth-grade 3) 
that are aligned with the State's high-quality early learning 
standards, designed to improve readiness for kindergarten, and support 
development of literacy and academic skills in English or in English 
and another language.
    (d) Developing and implementing school-wide professional 
development for teachers, administrators, and other personnel in 
schools in which a significant percentage of students are ELs.
    (e) Designing and implementing teacher evaluation systems that 
define and measure the effectiveness of teachers of students who at 
some point have been identified as ELs (i.e., both current and former 
ELs).
    (f) Projects addressing pressing needs related to improving 
academic outcomes for ELs.
    Priority 6--Improving Parent and Family Engagement.
    Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address 
one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Developing and implementing initiatives that train parents and 
families in the skills and strategies that will support their students 
in improving academic outcomes, including increased engagement and 
persistence in school.
    (b) Implementing initiatives that are designed to enhance the 
skills and competencies of teachers, and of school and other 
administrative staff, in building relationships and collaborating with 
students' families, particularly those who have been underengaged with 
the school(s) in the past, in order to support student achievement and 
school improvement.
    (c) Implementing initiatives that cultivate sustainable 
partnerships and increase connections between parents and school staff 
in order to support student achievement and school improvement.
    (d) Developing tools or practices that provide students and parents 
with improved, ongoing access to, and use of, data and other 
information about students' progress and performance.
    (e) Projects addressing pressing needs related to improving student 
outcomes by improving parent and family engagement.
    Priority 7--Improving Cost-Effectiveness and Productivity.
    Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address 
one of the following areas:
    (a) Substantially improving student outcomes without commensurately 
increasing per-student costs.
    (b) Maintaining student outcomes while substantially decreasing 
per-student costs.
    (c) Substantially improving student outcomes while substantially 
decreasing per-student costs.
    Other requirements related to Priority 7:
    An application addressing this priority must provide--
    (1) A clear and coherent budget that identifies expected student 
outcomes before and after the practice, the cost per student for the 
practice, and a clear calculation of the cost per student served;
    (2) A compelling discussion of the expected cost-effectiveness of 
the practice compared with alternative practices;
    (3) A clear delineation of one-time costs versus ongoing costs and 
a plan for sustaining the project, particularly ongoing costs, after 
the expiration of i3 funding;
    (4) Identification of specific activities designed to increase 
substantially the cost-effectiveness of the practice, such as re-
designing costly components of the practice (while maintaining 
efficacy) or testing multiple versions of the practice in order to 
identify the most cost-effective approach; and
    (5) A project evaluation that addresses the cost-effectiveness of 
the proposed practice.
    Priority 8--Effective Use of Technology.
    Under this priority, we will provide funding to projects that use 
technology to address one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Providing access to learning experiences that are personalized, 
adaptive, and self-improving in order to optimize the delivery of 
instruction to learners with a variety of learning needs.
    (b) Providing students and teachers with equitable ``anytime, 
anywhere'' access to learning materials and experiences that they 
otherwise would not have access to, such as rigorous coursework that is 
not offered in a particular school, or effective professional 
development activities or learning communities enabled by technology.
    (c) Developing new methods and resources for teacher preparation or 
professional development that increase teachers' abilities to utilize 
technology to enhance their knowledge and skills to improve student 
achievement (as defined in this document) and to close achievement 
gaps.
    (d) Implementing strategies that improve student proficiencies in 
complex skills, such as critical thinking and collaboration across 
academic disciplines.

[[Page 18702]]

    (e) Developing and implementing technology-enabled strategies for 
teaching and learning concepts and content (e.g., systems thinking) 
that are difficult to teach using traditional approaches, such as 
models and simulations, collaborative virtual environments, or 
``serious games''.
    (f) Integrating technology with the implementation of rigorous 
college- and career-ready standards to increase student achievement (as 
defined in this document), student engagement, and teacher efficacy, 
such as by providing embedded, real-time assessment and feedback to 
students and teachers.
    (g) Projects that increase the use of technology for effective 
teaching and learning.
    Priority 9--Enabling Broad Adoption of Effective Practices.
    Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that enable 
broad adoption of effective practices. An application proposing to 
address this priority must, as part of its application:
    (a) Identify the practice or practices that the application 
proposes to prepare for broad adoption, including formalizing the 
practice (i.e., establish and define key elements of the practice), 
codifying (i.e., develop a guide or tools to support the dissemination 
of information on key elements of the practice), and explaining why 
there is a need for formalization and codification.
    (b) Evaluate different forms of the practice to identify the 
critical components of the practice that are crucial to its success and 
sustainability, including the adaptability of critical components to 
different teaching and learning environments and to diverse learners.
    (c) Provide a coherent and comprehensive plan for developing 
materials, training, toolkits, or other supports that other entities 
would need in order to implement the practice effectively and with 
fidelity.
    (d) Commit to assessing the replicability and adaptability of the 
practice by supporting the implementation of the practice in a variety 
of locations during the project period using the materials, training, 
toolkits, or other supports that were developed for the i3-supported 
practice.
    Priority 10--Serving Rural Communities.
    Under this priority, we provide funding to projects that address 
one of the absolute priorities established for a particular i3 
competition and under which the majority of students to be served are 
enrolled in rural local educational agencies (as defined in this 
document).
    Priority 11--Supporting Novice i3 Applicants.
    Eligible applicants that have never directly received a grant under 
this program.
    Types of Priorities:
    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) 
selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of 
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).
    Final Requirements:
    1. Innovations that Improve Achievement for High-Need Students: All 
grantees must implement practices that are designed to improve student 
achievement (as defined in this document) or student growth (as defined 
in this document), close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, 
increase high school graduation rates (as defined in this document), or 
increase college enrollment and completion rates for high-need students 
(as defined in this document).
    2. Innovations that 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.
    3. Eligible Applicants: Entities eligible to apply for i3 grants 
include either of the following:
    (a) An LEA.
    (b) A partnership between a nonprofit organization and--
    (1) One or more LEAs; or
    (2) A consortium of schools.
    Statutory Eligibility Requirements: Except as specifically set 
forth in the Note about Eligibility for an Eligible Applicant that 
Includes a Nonprofit Organization that follows, to be eligible for an 
award, an eligible applicant must--
    (a)(1) 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
    (2) Have demonstrated success in significantly increasing student 
academic achievement for all groups of students described in that 
section;
    (b) Have made significant improvements in other areas, such as high 
school graduation rates (as defined in this document) or increased 
recruitment and placement of high-quality teachers and principals, as 
demonstrated with meaningful data;
    (c) Demonstrate that it has established one or more partnerships 
with the private sector, which may include philanthropic organizations, 
and that organizations in the private sector will provide matching 
funds in order to help bring results to scale; and
    (d) 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 specifies that an 
eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization meets the 
requirements in paragraphs (a) and (b) 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

[[Page 18703]]

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 
i3 grant an LEA or a consortium of schools that meets the requirements 
in paragraphs (a) and (b) of the eligibility requirements in this 
document.
    In addition, the authorizing statute specifies that an eligible 
applicant that includes a nonprofit organization meets the requirements 
of paragraph (c) of the eligibility requirements in this document if 
the eligible applicant demonstrates that it will meet the requirement 
for private-sector matching.
    4. Cost-Sharing or Matching Funds: 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.
    The Secretary may consider decreasing the matching requirement in 
the most exceptional circumstances. The Secretary will provide 
instructions for how to request a reduction of the matching requirement 
in the notice inviting applications.
    5. Evidence Standards: To be eligible for an award, an application 
for a Development grant must be supported by one of the following:
    (a) Evidence of promise (as defined in this document);
    (b) Strong theory (as defined in this document); or
    (c) Evidence of promise (as defined in this document) or strong 
theory (as defined in this document).
    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 this document) or strong theory (as defined in this 
document).
    To be eligible for an award, an application for a Validation grant 
must be supported by moderate evidence of effectiveness (as defined in 
this document).
    To be eligible for an award, an application for a Scale-up grant 
must be supported by strong evidence of effectiveness (as defined in 
this document).
    6. 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.
    7. Limit 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. For example, in a year 
when the maximum award value for a Scale-up grant is $25 million and 
the maximum award value for a Development grant is $5 million, no 
grantee may receive in a single year new grants totaling more than $30 
million.
    8. 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.
    9. Evaluation: The grantee must conduct an independent evaluation 
(as defined in this document) 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 this 
document). 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    Final Definitions:
    The Assistant Deputy Secretary establishes the following 
definitions for this program. We may apply one or more of these 
definitions in any year in which this program is in effect.
    Consortium of schools means two or more public elementary or 
secondary schools acting collaboratively for the purpose of applying 
for and implementing an i3 grant jointly with an eligible nonprofit 
organization.
    Evidence of promise means there is empirical evidence to support 
the theoretical linkage between at least one critical component and at 
least one relevant outcome presented in the logic model (as defined in 
this document) for the proposed process, product, strategy, or 
practice. Specifically, evidence of promise means the following 
conditions are met:
    (a) There is at least one study that is either a--
    (1) Correlational study with statistical controls for selection 
bias;
    (2) Quasi-experimental study (as defined in this document) that 
meets the

[[Page 18704]]

What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations \1\; or
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at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    (3) Randomized controlled trial (as defined in this document) that 
meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with or without 
reservations; \2\ and
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    \2\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    (b) Such a study found a statistically significant or substantively 
important (defined as a difference of 0.25 standard deviations or 
larger), favorable association between at least one critical component 
and one relevant outcome presented in the logic model for the proposed 
process, product, strategy, or practice.
    High-need student means a student at risk of educational failure or 
otherwise in need of special assistance and support, such as students 
who are living in poverty, who attend high-minority schools (as defined 
in this document), who are far below grade level, who have left school 
before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not 
graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster 
care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are 
English learners.
    High-minority school is defined by a school's LEA in a manner 
consistent with the corresponding State's Teacher Equity Plan, as 
required by section 1111(b)(8)(C) of the ESEA. The applicant must 
provide, in its i3 application, the definition(s) used.
    High school graduation rate means a four-year adjusted cohort 
graduation rate consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1) and may also 
include an extended-year adjusted cohort graduation rate consistent 
with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1)(v) if the State in which the proposed project 
is implemented has been approved by the Secretary to use such a rate 
under Title I of the ESEA.
    Highly effective principal means a principal whose students, 
overall and for each subgroup as described in section 
1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the ESEA (economically disadvantaged students, 
students from major racial and ethnic groups, migrant students, 
students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, 
and students of each gender), achieve high rates (e.g., one and one-
half grade levels in an academic year) of student growth. Eligible 
applicants may include multiple measures, provided that principal 
effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, based on student 
growth. Supplemental measures may include, for example, high school 
graduation rates; college enrollment rates; evidence of providing 
supportive teaching and learning conditions, support for ensuring 
effective instruction across subject areas for a well-rounded 
education, strong instructional leadership, and positive family and 
community engagement; or evidence of attracting, developing, and 
retaining high numbers of effective teachers.
    Highly effective teacher means a teacher whose students achieve 
high rates (e.g., one and one-half grade levels in an academic year) of 
student growth. Eligible applicants may include multiple measures, 
provided that teacher effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, 
based on student academic growth. Supplemental measures may include, 
for example, multiple observation-based assessments of teacher 
performance or evidence of leadership roles (which may include 
mentoring or leading professional learning communities) that increase 
the effectiveness of other teachers in the school or LEA.
    Independent evaluation means that the evaluation is designed and 
carried out independent of, but in coordination with, any employees of 
the entities who develop a process, product, strategy, or practice and 
are implementing it.
    Innovation means a process, product, strategy, or practice that 
improves (or is expected to improve) significantly upon the outcomes 
reached with status quo options and that can ultimately reach 
widespread effective usage.
    Large sample means a sample of 350 or more students (or other 
single analysis units) who were randomly assigned to a treatment or 
control group, or 50 or more groups (such as classrooms or schools) 
that contain 10 or more students (or other single analysis units) and 
that were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group.
    Logic model (also referred to as theory of action) means a well-
specified conceptual framework that identifies key components of the 
proposed process, product, strategy, or practice (i.e., the active 
``ingredients'' that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the 
relevant outcomes) and describes the relationships among the key 
components and outcomes, theoretically and operationally.
    Moderate evidence of effectiveness means one of the following 
conditions is met:
    (a) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the 
process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that: meets the 
What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations; \3\ 
found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant 
outcome (as defined in this document) (with no statistically 
significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for 
relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the 
intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works 
Clearinghouse); and includes a sample that overlaps with the 
populations or settings proposed to receive the process, product, 
strategy, or practice.
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    \3\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    (b) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the 
process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that: meets the 
What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations; \4\ 
found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant 
outcome (as defined in this document) (with no statistically 
significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for 
relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the 
intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works 
Clearinghouse); includes a sample that overlaps with the populations or 
settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or 
practice; and includes a large sample (as defined in this document) and 
a multi-site sample (as defined in this document). (Note: multiple 
studies can cumulatively meet the large and multi-site sample 
requirements as long as each study meets the other requirements in this 
paragraph).
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    \4\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    Multi-site sample means more than one site, where site can be 
defined as an LEA, locality, or State.
    National level describes the level of scope or effectiveness of a 
process, product, strategy, or practice that is able to be effective in 
a wide variety of communities, including rural and urban areas, as well 
as with different groups (e.g., economically disadvantaged, racial and 
ethnic groups, migrant populations, individuals with disabilities, 
English learners, and individuals of each gender).
    Nonprofit organization means an entity that meets the definition of

[[Page 18705]]

``nonprofit'' under 34 CFR 77.1 (c), or an institution of higher 
education as defined by section 101 (a) of the Higher Education Act of 
1965, as amended.
    Quasi-experimental design study means a study using a design that 
attempts to approximate an experimental design by identifying a 
comparison group that is similar to the treatment group in important 
respects. These studies, depending on design and implementation, can 
meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations \5\ 
(they cannot meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without 
reservations).
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    \5\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    Randomized controlled trial means a study that employs random 
assignment of, for example, students, teachers, classrooms, schools, or 
districts to receive the intervention being evaluated (the treatment 
group) or not to receive the intervention (the control group). The 
estimated effectiveness of the intervention is the difference between 
the average outcome for the treatment group and for the control group. 
These studies, depending on design and implementation, can meet What 
Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations.\6\
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    \6\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    Regional level describes the level of scope or effectiveness of a 
process, product, strategy, or practice that is able to serve a variety 
of communities within a State or multiple States, including rural and 
urban areas, as well as with different groups (e.g., economically 
disadvantaged, racial and ethnic groups, migrant populations, 
individuals with disabilities, English learners, and individuals of 
each gender). For an LEA-based project to be considered a regional-
level project, a process, product, strategy, or practice must serve 
students in more than one LEA, unless the process, product, strategy, 
or practice is implemented in a State in which the State educational 
agency is the sole educational agency for all schools.
    Relevant outcome means the student outcome or outcomes (or the 
ultimate outcome if not related to students) that the proposed project 
is designed to improve, consistent with the specific goals of the 
project and the i3 program.
    Rural local educational agency means a local educational agency 
(LEA) that is eligible under the Small Rural School Achievement (SRSA) 
program or the Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) program authorized 
under Title VI, Part B of the ESEA. Eligible applicants may determine 
whether a particular LEA is eligible for these programs by referring to 
information on the Department's Web site at www2.ed.gov/nclb/freedom/local/reap.html.
    Strong evidence of effectiveness means that one of the following 
conditions is met:
    (a) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the 
process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that: meets the 
What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations; \7\ 
found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant 
outcome (as defined in this document) (with no statistically 
significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for 
relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the 
intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works 
Clearinghouse); includes a sample that overlaps with the populations 
and settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or 
practice; and includes a large sample (as defined in this document) and 
a multi-site sample (as defined in this document). (Note: multiple 
studies can cumulatively meet the large and multi-site sample 
requirements as long as each study meets the other requirements in this 
paragraph).
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    \7\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    (b) There are at least two studies of the effectiveness of the 
process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed, each of which: 
meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with 
reservations; \8\ found a statistically significant favorable impact on 
a relevant outcome (as defined in this document) (with no statistically 
significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for 
relevant populations in the studies or in other studies of the 
intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works 
Clearinghouse); includes a sample that overlaps with the populations 
and settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or 
practice; and includes a large sample (as defined in this document) and 
a multi-site sample (as defined in this document).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    Strong theory means a rationale for the proposed process, product, 
strategy, or practice that includes a logic model (as defined in this 
document).
    Student achievement means--
    (a) For grades and subjects in which assessments are required under 
ESEA section 1111(b)(3): (1) a student's score on such assessments and 
may include (2) other measures of student learning, such as those 
described in paragraph (b), provided they are rigorous and comparable 
across schools within an LEA.
    (b) For grades and subjects in which assessments are not required 
under ESEA section 1111(b)(3): alternative measures of student learning 
and performance such as student results on pre-tests, end-of-course 
tests, and objective performance-based assessments; student learning 
objectives; student performance on English language proficiency 
assessments; and other measures of student achievement that are 
rigorous and comparable across schools within an LEA.
    Student growth means the change in student achievement (as defined 
in this document) for an individual student between two or more points 
in time. An applicant may also include other measures that are rigorous 
and comparable across classrooms.
    Final Selection Criteria:
    The Secretary establishes the following selection criteria for 
evaluating an application under this program. We may apply one or more 
of these criteria in any year in which this program is in effect. We 
propose that the Secretary may use:
     One or more of the selection criteria established in the 
notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria;
     Any of the selection criteria in 34 CFR 75.210; criteria 
based on the statutory requirements for the i3 program in accordance 
with 34 CFR 75.209; or
     Any combination of these when establishing selection 
criteria for each particular type of grant (Development, Validation, 
and Scale-up) in any i3 competition. We propose that the Secretary may 
further define each criterion by selecting specific factors for it. The 
Secretary may select these factors from any selection criterion in the 
list above. In the notice inviting applications, the application 
package, or both we will announce the specific selection criteria that 
apply to a competition and the maximum possible points assigned to each 
criterion.
    (a) Significance.
    In determining the significance of the proposed project, the 
Secretary will

[[Page 18706]]

consider one or more of the following factors:
    (1) The extent to which the proposed project addresses a national 
need.
    (2) The extent to which the proposed project addresses a challenge 
for which there is a national need for solutions that are better than 
the solutions currently available.
    (3) The extent to which the proposed project would implement a 
novel approach as compared with what has been previously attempted 
nationally.
    (4) The extent of the expected impact of the project on relevant 
outcomes (as defined in this document), including the estimated impact 
of the project on student outcomes (particularly those related to 
student achievement (as defined in this document)) and the breadth of 
the project's impact, compared with alternative practices or methods of 
addressing similar needs.
    (5) The extent to which the proposed project demonstrates that it 
is likely to have a meaningful impact on relevant outcomes (as defined 
in this document), particularly those related to student achievement 
(as defined in this document), if it were implemented and evaluated in 
a variety of settings.
    (6) The extent to which the proposed project will substantially 
improve on the outcomes achieved by other practices, such as through 
better student outcomes, lower cost, or accelerated results.
    (7) The importance and magnitude of the proposed project's expected 
impact on a relevant outcome (as defined in this document), 
particularly one related to student achievement (as defined in this 
document).
    (8) The likelihood that the project will have the estimated impact, 
including the extent to which the applicant demonstrates that unmet 
demand for the proposed project or the proposed services will enable 
the applicant to reach the proposed level of scale.
    (9) The feasibility of national expansion if favorable outcomes are 
achieved.
    (b) Quality of the Project Design.
    In determining the quality of the project design, the Secretary 
will consider one or more of the following factors:
    (1) The extent to which the proposed project addresses the national 
need and priorities the applicant is seeking to meet.
    (2) The extent to which the proposed project addresses the absolute 
priority the applicant is seeking to meet.
    (3) The clarity and coherence of the project goals, including the 
extent to which the proposed project articulates an explicit plan or 
actions to achieve its goals (e.g., a fully developed logic model of 
the proposed project).
    (4) The extent to which the proposed project has a clear set of 
goals and an explicit plan or actions to achieve the goals, including 
identification of any elements of the project logic model that require 
further testing or development.
    (5) The extent to which the proposed project will produce a fully 
codified practice, including a fully articulated logic model of the 
project by the end of the project period.
    (6) The clarity, completeness, and coherence of the project goals 
and whether the application includes a description of project 
activities that constitute a complete plan for achieving those goals, 
including the identification of potential risks to project success and 
strategies to mitigate those risks.
    (7) The extent to which the applicant addresses potential risks to 
project success and strategies to mitigate those risks.
    (8) The extent to which the applicant will use grant funds to 
address a particular barrier or barriers that prevented the applicant, 
in the past, from reaching the level of scale proposed in the 
application.
    (9) The extent to which the project would build the capacity of the 
applicant to scale up and sustain the project or would create an 
organization capable of expanding if successful outcomes are achieved.
    (10) The sufficiency of the resources to support effective project 
implementation, including the project's plan for ensuring funding after 
the period of the Federal grant.
    (11) The sufficiency of the resources to support effective project 
implementation.
    (c) Quality of the Management Plan.
    In determining the quality of the management plan, the Secretary 
will consider one or more of the following factors:
    (1) The extent to which the management plan articulates key 
responsibilities and well-defined objectives, including the timelines 
and milestones for completion of major project activities, the metrics 
that will be used to assess progress on an ongoing basis, and annual 
performance targets the applicant will use to monitor whether the 
project is achieving its goals.
    (2) The clarity and coherence of the applicant's multi-year 
financial and operating model and accompanying plan to operate the 
project at a national level (as defined in this document) during the 
project period.
    (3) The clarity and coherence of the applicant's multi-year 
financial and operating model and accompanying plan to operate the 
project at a national or regional level (as defined in this document) 
during the project period.
    (4) The extent to which the applicant demonstrates that it will 
have the resources to operate the project at the proposed level of 
scale during the project period and beyond the length of the grant, 
including the demonstrated commitment of any partners and evidence of 
broad support from stakeholders critical to the project's long-term 
success (e.g., State educational agencies, teachers' unions).
    (5) The extent of the demonstrated commitment of any key partners 
or evidence of broad support from stakeholders whose participation is 
critical to the project's long-term success.
    (d) Personnel.
    When evaluating the personnel of the proposed project, the 
Secretary will consider one or more of the following factors:
    (1) The adequacy of the project's staffing plan, particularly for 
the first year of the project, including the identification of the 
project director and, in the case of projects with unfilled key 
personnel positions at the beginning of the project, that the staffing 
plan identifies how critical work will proceed.
    (2) The qualifications and experience of the project director and 
other key project personnel and the extent to which they have the 
expertise to accomplish the proposed tasks.
    (3) The extent to which the project director has experience 
managing large, complex, and rapidly growing projects.
    (4) The extent to which the project director has experience 
managing large, complex projects.
    (5) The extent to which the project director has experience 
managing projects of similar size and scope as the proposed project.
    (e) Quality of the Project Evaluation.
    In determining the quality of the project evaluation, the Secretary 
will consider one or more of the following factors:
    (1) The clarity and importance of the key questions to be addressed 
by the project evaluation, and the appropriateness of the methods for 
how each question will be addressed.
    (2) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well 
implemented, produce evidence about the project's effectiveness that 
would meet the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without 
reservations.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook. (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be 
found at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.

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[[Page 18707]]

    (3) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well 
implemented, produce evidence about the project's effectiveness that 
would meet the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with or 
without reservations.\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide 
valid and reliable performance data on relevant outcomes, particularly 
student achievement outcomes.
    (5) The extent to which the evaluation will study the project at 
the proposed level of scale, including, where appropriate, generating 
information about potential differential effectiveness of the project 
in diverse settings and for diverse student population groups.
    (6) The extent to which the evaluation will study the project at 
the proposed level of scale, including in diverse settings.
    (7) The extent to which the evaluation plan includes a clear and 
credible analysis plan, including a proposed sample size and minimum 
detectable effect size that aligns with the expected project impact, 
and an analytic approach for addressing the research questions.
    (8) The extent to which the evaluation plan includes a clear, well-
documented, and rigorous method for measuring implementation of the 
critical features of the project, as well as the intended outcomes.
    (9) The extent to which the evaluation plan clearly articulates the 
key components and outcomes of the project, as well as a measurable 
threshold for acceptable implementation.
    (10) The extent to which the evaluation plan will provide 
sufficient information on the project's effect as compared to 
alternative practices addressing similar need.
    (11) The extent to which the proposed project plan includes 
sufficient resources to carry out the project evaluation effectively.
    This document does not preclude us from proposing additional 
priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject 
to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note:  This document does not solicit applications. In any year 
in which we choose to use one or more of these priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria], we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether 
this regulatory action is ``significant'' and, therefore, subject to 
the requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 
12866 defines a ``significant regulatory action'' as an action likely 
to result in a rule that may--
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, 
or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, 
jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local or 
tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to 
as an ``economically significant'' rule);
    (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another agency;
    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, 
user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof; or
    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles stated in the 
Executive order.
    This final regulatory action will have an annual effect on the 
economy of more than $100 million because Department anticipates more 
than that amount will be appropriated for i3 and awarded as grants. 
Therefore, this final action is ``economically significant'' and 
subject to review by OMB under section 3(f)(1) of Executive Order 
12866. Notwithstanding this determination, we have assessed the 
potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and qualitative, of 
this final regulatory action and have determined that the benefits 
justify the costs.
    We have also reviewed this final regulatory action under Executive 
Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, 
structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in 
Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 
13563 requires that an agency--
    (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination 
that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits 
and costs are difficult to quantify);
    (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, 
consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into 
account--among other things and to the extent practicable--the costs of 
cumulative regulations;
    (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select 
those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential 
economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other 
advantages; distributive impacts; and equity);
    (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather 
than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must 
adopt; and
    (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct 
regulation, including economic incentives--such as user fees or 
marketable permits--to encourage the desired behavior, or provide 
information that enables the public to make choices.
    Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency ``to use the best 
available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future 
benefits and costs as accurately as possible.'' The Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these 
techniques may include ``identifying changing future compliance costs 
that might result from technological innovation or anticipated 
behavioral changes.''
    We are issuing these final priorities, requirements, definitions, 
and selection criteria only on a reasoned determination that their 
benefits justify their costs. In choosing among alternative regulatory 
approaches, we selected those approaches that maximize net benefits. 
Based on the analysis that follows, the Department believes that this 
regulatory action is consistent with the principles in Executive Order 
13563.
    We also have determined that this final regulatory action does not 
unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.
    In this regulatory impact analysis we discuss the need for 
regulatory action, the potential costs and benefits, net budget 
impacts, assumptions, limitations, and data sources, as well as 
regulatory alternatives we considered.

Discussion of Costs and Benefits

    The Secretary believes that these priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria would not impose significant costs 
on eligible LEAs, nonprofit organizations, or other entities that would 
receive assistance through the i3 program. The Secretary also believes 
that the benefits of implementing the priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria contained in this document outweigh 
any associated costs.

[[Page 18708]]

    The Secretary expects that these priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria will result in selection of high-
quality applications to implement activities that are most likely to 
have a significant national impact on educational reform and 
improvement. Additionally, the priorities, requirements, definitions, 
and selection criteria in this document clarify the scope of activities 
the Secretary expects to support with program funds and the expected 
burden of work involved in preparing an application and implementing a 
project under the program. Potential applicants, both LEAs and 
nonprofit organizations, need to consider carefully the effort that 
will be required to prepare a strong application, their capacity to 
implement a project successfully, and their chances of submitting a 
successful application.
    Program participation is voluntary. The Secretary believes that the 
costs imposed on applicants by these priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria would be limited to paperwork 
burden related to preparing an application and that the benefits of 
implementing them would outweigh any costs incurred by applicants. The 
costs of carrying out activities would be paid for with program funds 
and with matching funds provided by private-sector partners. Thus, the 
costs of implementation would not be a burden for any eligible 
applicants, including small entities.

Regulatory Alternatives Considered

    The Department considered using the priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria established for and used during 
prior i3 competitions instead of establishing these final priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria. However, although we 
maintain the overall purpose and structure of the i3 program, we 
incorporate changes based on specific lessons learned from the first 
three competitions. For example, the original i3 priorities were 
written broadly and generated a wide range of projects in the first 
three competitions. With this regulatory action, we establish final 
priorities that provide for a more focused set of projects within areas 
of acute need. Similarly, the final requirement on cost-sharing and 
marching provides more flexibility for when and how selected eligible 
applicants must submit evidence of the private-sector matching funds. 
We also use this regulatory action to provide clarification on the 
expectations for the three types of grants under the i3 program (i.e., 
Development, Validation, and Scale-up) by making changes to the 
descriptions of the types of grants and the selection criteria.
    The priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
in this document reflect and promote the purpose of the i3 program. 
They also align the i3 program, where possible and permissible, with 
other Departmental priorities.

Accounting Statement

    As required by OMB Circular A-4 (available at www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/omb/circulars/a004/a-4.pdf), in the 
following table we have prepared an accounting statement showing the 
classification of the expenditures associated with the provisions of 
this regulatory action. This table provides our best estimate of the 
changes in annual monetized transfers as a result of this regulatory 
action. Expenditures are classified as transfers from Federal 
Government to LEAs and nonprofit organizations.

      Accounting Statement Classification of Estimated Expenditures
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Category                            Transfers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annualized Monetized Transfers.........  $140,011,000
From Whom To Whom?.....................  from the Federal Government to
                                          LEAs and nonprofit
                                          organizations
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Waiver of Delayed Effective Date Under Congressional Review Act

    These priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
are a major rule for purposes of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) (5 
U.S.C. 801, et seq.). Generally, under the CRA, a major rule takes 
effect 60 days after the date on which the rule is published in the 
Federal Register. Section 808(2) of the CRA, however, provides that any 
rule which an agency for good cause finds (and incorporates the finding 
and a brief statement of reasons therefore in the rule issued) that 
notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or 
contrary to the public interest, shall take effect at such time as the 
Federal agency promulgating the rule determines.
    These final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria are needed to implement the i3 program, authorized under the 
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Division A, Section 
14007, Public Law 111-5. The Department must make grant awards under 
this authority by December 31, 2013, or the funds will lapse.
    Even under an expedited timeline, it is impracticable for the 
Department to adhere to a 60-day delayed effective date for this final 
regulatory action and make awards to qualified applicants by the 
December deadline. When the 60-day delayed effective date is added to 
the time the Department will need to receive pre-applications 
(approximately 30 days), review the pre-applications and invite full 
applications (approximately 60 days), receive full applications 
(approximately 45 days), review applications (approximately 35 days), 
approve applications (approximately 50 days), and, finally, provide 
time for grantees to secure the required private-sector matching funds 
(approximately 30 days), the Department will not be able to award funds 
by December 31, 2013. The Department has therefore determined that, 
under section 808(2) of the CRA, the 60-day delay in the effective date 
generally required for congressional review is impracticable, contrary 
to the public interest, and waived for good cause.
    Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the 
objectives of the Executive order is to foster an intergovernmental 
partnership and a strengthened federalism. The Executive order relies 
on processes developed by State and local governments for coordination 
and review of proposed Federal financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free 
Internet access to the

[[Page 18709]]

official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: 
www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as 
all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF 
you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the 
site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: March 21, 2013.
James H. Shelton, III,
Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.
[FR Doc. 2013-07016 Filed 3-26-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P