New Grants Seek Tech Solutions for Reading Instruction for English Learners with Disabilities
- By Kristal Kuykendall
The U.S. Department of Education is now accepting applications for Stepping-Up Technology Implementation grant funds for cooperative projects that use existing technology to improve reading instruction for PreK–12 English Learners with disabilities, through its Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals With Disabilities Program.
Eligible organizations include state education agencies; local education agencies, including public charter schools that operate as LEAs under state law; institutes of higher education; other public agencies; private nonprofit organizations; Native American tribes and tribal organizations; and for-profit organizations.
The deadline to submit application materials is April 25, 2022. The grant requires no cost sharing or matching funds.
The program is for a five-year period, with estimated awards expected to be around $500,000 per year going to cooperative agreements that meet the program’s priorities. Initially, three applicants will be selected in June 2022 for the grants; ED’s website notes that if additional funding is approved by Congress during the next five years, it may revisit the unfunded applications and select additional grantees.
The grants give competitive priority to applicants that have not had a discretionary grant through the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals With Disabilities Program.
Details on application requirements and criteria that will be used to select winning applications can be found on the Federal Register grant announcement page.
A grant application template is available at the ED website, and several webinars guiding potential applicants on completing a successful application are now online at the OSEP Ideas That Work website.
Project Requirements Overview
The program’s absolute priority is to fund three cooperative agreements to establish and operate projects that achieve, at a minimum, the following expected outcomes:
- Proven strategies to effectively implement and integrate an existing accessible technology-based tool or approach, based on at least promising evidence, to deliver and improve reading instruction for English Learners with, and at risk for, disabilities;
- Increased educators’ use and knowledge of technology to deliver effective reading instruction for ELs with, or at risk for, disabilities through professional learning and coaching;
- Increased educator collaboration and professional learning opportunities to use technology to improve reading outcomes of ELs with, and at risk for, disabilities and to engage families to support their child's learning in the classroom and at home; and
- Improved engagement in reading instruction and self-regulated learning opportunities leading to improved reading achievement for ELs with, and at risk for, disabilities.
To be considered for funding under this priority, in the application, applicants must describe how they will:
- Build partnerships with early childhood programs or LEAs, at least one of which is in a rural site, to support educators in the understanding, use, and delivery of a technology-based tool or approach to deliver reading instruction for ELs with, and at risk for, disabilities in PreK–12 instructional settings, including classrooms and remote learning environments;
- Increase the capacity of educators and families to effectively use and deliver a technology-based tool or approach that supports PreK–12 instructional settings, including classrooms and remote learning environments for instruction and professional growth;
- Develop an implementation package of accessible products and resources that will help educators and families to effectively use a technology-based tool or approach; and
- Evaluate whether the technology-based tool or approach meets the project goals and targeted outcomes.
Application & Administrative Requirements
In addition to these programmatic requirements, to be considered for funding under this priority, applicants must meet the application and administrative requirements in this priority, which are:
- Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Significance,” how the proposed project will address the need for a technology-based tool or approach and identify specific gaps and challenges, infrastructure, or opportunities to support educators' development. To meet this requirement the applicant must:
- Identify a fully developed technology-based tool or approach that is based on at least promising evidence;
- Identify how the technology-based tool or approach will improve educators' pedagogy and their capacity to deliver reading instruction or services for ELs with, and at risk for, disabilities in PreK–12 instructional settings, including classrooms and remote learning environments;
- Present applicable national, state, regional, or local data demonstrating the need for the identified technology-based tool or approach to support ELs with, and at risk for, disabilities in PreK–12 instructional settings, including classrooms and remote learning environments;
- Identify current policies, procedures, and practices used by educators that effectively incorporate technology-based tools or approaches to support reading outcomes for ELs with, and at risk for, disabilities;
- Identify systemic barriers, gaps, or challenges, including challenges to using the identified technology-based tool or approach; and
- Describe the potential impact of the identified technology-based tool or approach on educators, families, and children with disabilities.
- Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of project services,” how the proposed project will:
- Ensure equal access and treatment for members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability.
- Achieve its goals, objectives, and intended outcomes. To meet this requirement, the applicant must provide measurable intended project outcomes;
- Be based on current research.
Find additional details and program requirements on the Federal Register grant announcement page.
Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can
be reached at [email protected].