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U.S. Department of Education: Innovative Approaches to Literacy

Deadline: May 18, 2018

The Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program supports high-quality programs designed to develop and improve literacy skills for children and students from birth through 12th grade in high-need local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools. The program aims to promote innovative literacy programs that support the development of literacy skills in low-income communities, including programs that: (1) develop and enhance effective school library programs, which may include providing professional development for school librarians, books, and up-to-date materials to high-need schools; (2) provide early literacy services, including pediatric literacy programs through which, during well-child visits, medical providers trained in research-based methods of early language and literacy promotion provide developmentally appropriate books and recommendations to parents to encourage them to read aloud to their children starting in infancy; and (3) provide high-quality books on a regular basis to children and adolescents from low-income communities to increase reading motivation, performance, and frequency. The IAL program supports the implementation of high-quality plans for childhood literacy activities and book distribution efforts that demonstrate a rationale.

The program has one absolute priority and two competitive preference priorities, as follows:

Absolute priority: High-quality plan for innovative approaches to literacy that includes book distribution, childhood literacy activities, or both.

Competitive preference priority 1: Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education, with a particular focus on computer science. To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a project designed to improve student achievement or other educational outcomes in one or more of the following areas: science, technology, engineering, math, or computer science. The project must address one or more of the following priority areas:

  • Utilizing technology for educational purposes in communities served by rural LEAs or other areas identified as lacking sufficient access to such tools and resources
  • Utilizing technology to provide access to educational choice
  • Working with schools, municipal libraries, or other partners to provide new and accessible methods of accessing digital learning resources, such as by digitizing books or expanding access to such resources to a greater number of children or students
  • Making coursework, books, or other materials available as open educational resources or taking other steps so that such materials may be inexpensively and widely used

Competitive preference priority 2: Serving rural LEAs. To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a project designed to provide high-quality literacy programming, or distribute books, or both, to students served by a rural LEA.

Amount: A total of $26,730,000 is available to make awards as follows:

  • Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and Consortia of LEAs: Up to 30 awards will be made that range from $175,000-$750,000 and average $500,000.
  • National Nonprofit (NNP) Organizations, Consortia of NNP Organizations, and Consortia NNP Organizations and LEAs: Two to six awards will be made that range from $1,500,000-$5,000,000 and average $3,000,000.

Eligibility: Applicants must: (1) be one of the following: a high-need LEA, a NNP organization that serves children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need LEAs, a consortium of LEAs, or the Bureau of Indian Education; and (2) Coordinate with school libraries in developing project proposals.

Note: High-need LEA means:

  • An LEA in which at least 20 percent of the students aged 5-17 in the school attendance area of the LEA are from families with incomes below the poverty line, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates for school districts for the most recent income year (Census list).
  • For an LEA that is not included on the Census list, such as a charter school LEA, an LEA for which the State Educational Agency (SEA) determines that 20 percent of the students aged 5-17 in the LEA are from families with incomes below the poverty line.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=303758

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