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Deadline: April 13, 2017

U.S. Department of Education: Education Innovation and Research Program – Early-phase grants

The Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Program provides funding to create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-initiated innovations to improve student achievement and attainment for high-need students; and rigorously evaluate such innovations. The EIR program is designed to generate and validate solutions to persistent educational challenges and to support the expansion of effective solutions to serve substantially larger numbers of students. EIR projects are expected to generate information regarding their effectiveness in order to inform EIR grantees’ efforts to learn about and improve upon their efforts, and to help similar, non-EIR efforts across the country benefit from EIR grantees’ knowledge.

The EIR Program awards three types of grants: Early-phase, Mid-phase, and Expansion. These grants differ in terms of the level of prior evidence of effectiveness required for consideration for funding, the expectations regarding the kind of evidence and information funded projects should produce, the level of scale funded projects should reach.

Early-phase grants provide funding to support the development, iteration, implementation, and feasibility testing of practices that are expected to be novel and significant relative to others that are underway nationally. Early-phase grants are not intended simply to implement established practices in additional locations or address needs that are unique to one particular context. The goal is to determine whether and in what ways relatively newer practices can improve student achievement for high-need students. In order to leverage existing information that can inform which kinds of practices could have a meaningful impact on underserved students, Early-phase applicants must demonstrate a rationale for their project. In addition, like all EIR grantees, Early-stage grantees are expected to conduct an independent evaluation.

The Early-phase EIR Program has six absolute priorities. Early-phase applicants must address Absolute Priority 1, and also must address one additional Absolute Priority.

  • Absolute Priority 1—Supporting high-need students: Projects are designed to improve academic outcomes for high-need students.
  • Absolute Priority 2—Improving school climate: Projects are designed to improve student outcomes through reducing or eliminating disparities in school disciplinary practices for particular groups of students, including students of color and students with disabilities, or reducing or eliminating the use of exclusionary discipline (e.g., suspensions, expulsions, and unnecessary placements in alternative education programs) by identifying and addressing the root causes of those disparities or uses and promoting alternative disciplinary practices that address the disparities or uses.
  • Absolute Priority 3—Promoting diversity: Projects are to designed to help Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) prepare students for success in a diverse society by increasing the diversity of students enrolled in the individual schools in the LEAs.
  • Absolute Priority 4—Increasing postsecondary preparedness: Projects are designed to increase the number and proportion of K–12 high-need students who are academically and socially prepared for and subsequently enroll in college, other postsecondary education, or other career and technical education.
  • Absolute Priority 5—Improving the effectiveness of principals: Projects are designed to increase the number and percentage of highly effective principals by creating or expanding practices and strategies to recruit, select, prepare, and support individuals to significantly improve instruction in schools.
  • Absolute Priority 6—Re-engagement of disconnected youth: Projects are designed to improve student achievement through strategies that provide disconnected youth with high-quality educational opportunities.

Amount: A total of $180,000,000 is available, of which approximately $141,000,000 would be used for new awards under the Early-phase, Mid-phase, and Expansion competitions. The range of Early-phase grants is $700,000–$800,000 per year. The average award size for Early-phase grants is $3,750,000 for the entirety of the project period, with the maximum award of $4,000,000 for the entire project period. The project period is up to five years. Approximately 24–38 Early-phase grants will be awarded. A cost share must be provided from federal, state, local, or private sources, in an amount equal to 10 percent of funds provided under the grant, which may be provided in cash or through in-kind contributions.

Eligibility: Local Educational Agencies (LEAs); State Educational Agencies (SEAs); nonprofit organizations; the Bureau of Indian Education; a consortium of SEAs or LEAs; an SEA, an LEA, a consortium of SEAs or LEAs; or the the Bureau of Indian Education, in partnership with a nonprofit organization, a business, an educational service agency, or an institution of higher education.

Link: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=290711

Note: The deadline for the notice of intent to apply is February 13, 2017.

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