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School Improvement RFP of the Week (2)

Early Reading First

From the December 31 issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report.

Early Reading First Program Due February 1 (Dec 28) U.S. Department of Education

Their Description:
The Administration has requested $117,666,000 for awards for the Early Reading First program for FY 2008, of which we intend to use an estimated $116,489,340 for this competition... Estimated Range of Awards: $1,500,000–$4,500,000. Estimated Average Size of Awards: $3,000,000. Estimated Number of Awards: 25–77....

This program supports local efforts to enhance the oral language, cognitive, and early reading skills of preschool-aged children, especially those from low income families, through strategies, materials, and professional development that are grounded in scientifically based reading research....

This competition includes one competitive preference priority and three invitational priorities.

Competitive Preference Priority—Novice Applicant.... [W]e award an additional five (5) points to a preapplication and an additional five (5) points to a full application that meets this competitive preference priority... a ‘‘novice applicant’’ as defined in 34 CFR 75.225.

Invitational Priority 1—Intensity... preschool programs that operate fulltime, full-year early childhood educational programs, at a minimum of 6.5 hours per day, 5 days per week, 46 weeks per year, and that serve children for the two consecutive years prior to their entry into kindergarten....

Scientifically based research on increasing the effectiveness of early childhood education programs serving children from low-income families tells us that children attending such programs that have a greater intensity of service make higher and more persistent gains in the language and cognitive domains than children who attend early childhood programs that have lesser intensity of service....

Invitational Priority 2—English Language Acquisition Plan.... For applicants serving children with limited English proficiency, the Secretary is especially interested in applications that include a specific plan for the development of English language proficiency for these children from the start of their preschool experience....

An English language acquisition plan should, at a minimum: (1) Include a description of the applicant’s approach to the development of language... (2) explain the instructional strategies, based on best available valid and reliable research... (3) describe how the project will facilitate the children’s transition to English proficiency... (4) include intensive professional development... and (5) include a timeline that describes benchmarks for the introduction of the development of English language proficiency

Invitational Priority 3—Faith-based Organizations... The Secretary is especially interested in applications that propose to engage faith-based and community organizations in the delivery of services under this program....

Eligible Applicants: Under this competition, eligible applicants are... one or more local educational agencies (LEAs), including charter schools that are considered LEAs under State law, that are eligible to receive a subgrant under the Reading First program (Title
I, Part B, Subpart 1 of the ESEA; (b) one or more public or private organizations or agencies ... located in a community served by an eligible LEA... To qualify under paragraph (b) of this definition, the organization’s or agency’s application must be on behalf of one or more programs that serve preschoolaged children (such as a Head Start program, a child care program, a family literacy program such as Even Start, or a lab school at a university), unless the organization or agency itself operates a preschool program.

Our Thoughts:
$117 million open to for-profit competition. To the readers of RFP of the Week (1), I need not say more.

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