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Update on OII’s FY 2016 Grant Competitions & Awards

We are pleased to share that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) is planning to award new grants for the current fiscal year (ending on September 30, 2016), through the following grant competitions: American History and Civics Academies, Charter Schools Program (CSP), Investing in Innovation (i3), Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP), Promise Neighborhoods, Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF), and Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP).

We anticipate announcing these competitions beginning in April and continuing through the year. Grants will be awarded for most programs by September 30; grants under i3 and Promise Neighborhoods will be awarded in the months following. We are excited to provide opportunities for a range of organizations and educators to apply for support in implementing innovative practices to support students. This funding is especially important as schools begin making the transition to a new federal K–12 education framework.

On December 10, 2015 President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in to law. ESSA is an exciting opportunity to build upon the work of OII grantees. For most of OII’s programs, ESSA will serve as the statutory framework beginning next year—in FY 2017. OII’s 2016 competitions, described below, will primarily be administered and awarded under the regulations and statutes in effect prior to ESSA. (The only program that is new this year is American History and Civics Academies; detail below.) The Notices Inviting Applications (NIAs) for each competition will be available via the Federal Register and on each program’s website, and will describe the terms under which the competition will be administered.

The American History and Civics Academies program is the only new program that OII is running this year, consistent with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. This program will provide grants to nonprofit educational organizations, museums, libraries, and research centers to improve the quality of American history and civics education by providing workshops to teachers (via “Presidential Academies”) and students (via “Congressional Academies”).

The Charter Schools Program (CSP) is running two grant competitions this year. The Replication and Expansion of High Quality Charter Schools program expands enrollment in existing charter schools and supports the opening of new charter schools based on successful models. State Educational Agencies (SEAs) can apply for CSP SEA Grants to run state-level charter school programs and award subgrants for the planning, design, and initial implementation of new charter schools, as well as to share information about successful charter school practices. An overview of CSP grants can be found here.

Three Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competitions—Development, Validation, and Scale-up—support school districts and nonprofits to expand the development and implementation of innovative practices. Development grants are for new and promising practices that should be studied further; Validation grants verify the effectiveness of programs with moderate levels of evidence; and Scale-up grants support applicants with the strongest evidence and track records of success.

We are particularly excited to launch the first Promise Neighborhoods grant competition since 2012. Promise Neighborhoods supports nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education and Indian tribes in transforming impoverished communities to give children in these neighborhoods access to great schools and strong systems of family and community supports that will prepare them to attain an excellent education and successfully transition to college and a career.

The Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP) supports the establishment and operation of theme-based magnet schools that promote racial desegregation by supporting the elimination, reduction, and prevention of minority group isolation in schools. In FY 2016, OII anticipates making 8–10 MSAP grant awards (by “front loading” funding for all three years of the grant using 2016 funds), and expects to publish the NIA in April 2016. OII also anticipates conducting another MSAP competition in FY 2017 under ESSA, with an NIA release date targeted for late 2016. For FY 2017, MSAP anticipates awarding a larger cohort of grants, pending future Congressional appropriations, and incorporating the changes in MSAP reflected in ESSA.

The Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) supports the development and implementation of performance-based teacher and principal compensation systems in high-needs schools, aligned to a district’s strategy to support its educators as they help their students learn. This year’s competition will build on the work of the four prior cohorts of TIF grantees.

The Teacher Quality Partnership program supports partnerships between high-need schools and teacher preparation institutions (e.g., colleges and universities) to prepare and support effective educators, either as an extension of an undergraduate degree program or using a “residency” model to give candidates real-world experience and practice as they prepare to become an outstanding educator.

In addition to the above links to specific grant programs, a forecast of ED funding opportunities—beyond OII—can be found here.