P-12

Prekindergarten through Grade 12 Education

2011-2013 Literacy Zone Initiative: WIA Title II Federal Adult Education and Family Literacy Act


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Purpose of Program

Literacy Zone is a reform initiative to close the achievement gap in urban and rural communities of concentrated poverty and high concentrations of families and adults with limited literacy skills or English language proficiency. Literacy Zones are intended to provide a systemic focus in communities to meet the literacy needs of adults and families.

Eligible Applicants

Public school districts, Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES), community-based organizations, educational opportunity centers, literacy volunteer agencies, institutions of higher education, libraries, public housing authorities, not-for-profits and Consortiums of such agencies.

Funding

Source: WIA Title II Adult Education and Family Literacy Act; Estimated Funds Available: $5,000,000.
Estimated Size of Awards: $325,000 New York City and Long Island (10 awards); $250,000 Rest of State (7 awards)

Project Period

March 1, 2011 – February 28, 2013

Questions & Answers

Questions and answers are now posted PDF icon (61 KB)

Application Due Date

Submit one original and 2 copies of the complete proposal postmarked by October 15, 2010 to:

New York State Education Department
Grants Management, Room 674EBA
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234
Attention: Literacy Zone Initiative: WIA Title II

Use the Application Checklist to ensure a complete application package. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Date Posted

August 31, 2010

General Information

Literacy Zones is a reform initiative developed by the New York State Board of Regents and the State Education Department to close the achievement gap in urban and rural communities of concentrated poverty and high concentrations of families and individuals with limited literacy or English language proficiency. Literacy Zones are intended to provide a systemic focus on meeting the literacy needs of communities, from birth through adult. Funds are available through this Request for Proposals (RFP) for eligible applicants to provide instructional programs in adult literacy below the post-secondary level and support services, such as educational counseling and guidance.

Mandatory Requirements

  1. Each applicant must geographically define the Literacy Zone it proposes to serve and must use funds to provide effective adult education in the Literacy Zone. The geographic scope of a Literacy Zone is defined as a neighborhood, zip code, school district, or community; not a county, borough, region, or city. While a Literacy Zone may encompass more than one zip code, the intent is to mobilize services in small areas of concentrated poverty and/or concentrations of limited English language proficiency. Where services extend over more than one zip code, the zip codes should be adjacent. Applicants must justify poverty, literacy and English language proficiency need, and family and community needs in the proposed Literacy Zone using such factors as census data, public assistance and food stamp eligibility, community health data, school lunch eligibility, planning data, and data that identifies gaps in accessing benefits, services and supports such as attainment of the Earned Income Tax Credits, health insurance, and food stamps.

  2. Applicants must include public assistance recipients in the population served.

  3. SED is committed to raising performance in underperforming schools. Applicants may apply for a Literacy Zone if there is no School Under Registration Review (SURR) or School In Need of Improvement (SINI) located in the Literacy Zone. However, if a SURR/SINI is located within the Literacy Zone, an applicant must include the SURR/SINI(s) as part of the coordinated plan for raising literacy and English language proficiency, P-16 through adult in order to be eligible to apply for these funds. The most current list of schools is available at:
    http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/nyc/APA/SURR/SURR_home.html
    http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/irts/accountability/sini/

  4. Applicants must also establish one or more Family Welcome Center(s) in the Literacy Zone that provides access to a variety of coordinated services and benefits, which support students and their families, and open pathways out of poverty.

  5. Every Literacy Zone must have a guiding coalition of stakeholders that includes government, education and community leaders with a clear commitment to developing the Literacy Zone over the next two years. Applicants must detail the role of the guiding coalition in the planning and implementation of the Literacy Zone, provide letters of commitment from all stakeholders, and provide evidence of strategic planning. These letters should provide detailed evidence of their role in supporting Literacy Zones.

  6. Applicants must also coordinate with other types of organizations in the Literacy Zone such as:

    • Education (early childhood through adult)
    • Business and Labor
    • Workforce Development and Local Economic Development
    • Health and Mental Health, including programs that provide health literacy and support a healthy start for children
    • Financial Institutions, including Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) centers
    • Public Broadcasting, Libraries, Museums and other Cultural Institutions
    • County Department of Social Services or New York City Human Resource Administration
    • Community-Based Organizations, service agencies, and foundations
    • Volunteer Organizations and organizations that provide mentoring, service learning, education and research internships, use of licensed professionals as tutors or career models in the school system
    • Independent Living Centers and vocational rehabilitation programs
    • Organizations that provide transition for incarcerated individuals
    • Organizations that provide transition support for returning veterans and their families, including veterans with disabilities
    • Other programs that support community collaborations
  7. Applicants must provide pathways out of poverty for individuals and families living in the Literacy Zone, including the following:

    • A continuum of literacy from early childhood through adult, including strong support for parent involvement in their child’s literacy development at home and engagement with the school system.
    • Assistance and support for at-risk youth to enable them to complete high school and succeed in postsecondary education or advanced training.
    • Postsecondary transition programs that enable out-of-school youth and adults to attain a high school equivalency diploma and succeed in postsecondary education.
    • Programs that enable out-of-school youth and adults who are receiving public assistance, food stamps, or families with family incomes less than 200% of poverty to obtain and retain employment.
    • Transition programs for youth and adults returning to the community from incarceration.
    • Pathways to citizenship and English language proficiency for limited English language adults.
    • Workforce development programs, including apprenticeship, career and technical education, and career pathways.
    • Support for mature workers and senior citizens to enable them to stay out of poverty.
    • Support for individuals with disabilities and their families.
    • Transition support for returning veterans and their veterans, including disabled veterans.

Pathways out of poverty should be tailored to the needs of individuals and families in the proposed Literacy Zone. Applicants are not required to provide those pathways that do not meet the particular needs in the proposed Literacy Zone. The application should address all ten pathways and clearly relate pathways that are being offered to the needs of the Literacy Zone and clearly justify not including specific pathways.

Funding and Project Period

Approximately $5 million per year in federal Workforce Investment Act Title II fund is expected to be available for two years from March 1, 2011 through February 28, 2013 with the option for two one-year renewals. Sixty-five (65) percent of the available funds ($3,250,000) will be reserved for applications from New York City and Long Island and 35 percent ($1,750,000) will be reserved for applications from the rest of State.

Applicants from New York City and Long Island may apply for up to $325,000 per year, per Literacy Zone. Applicants from the rest of State may apply for up to $250,000 per year, per Literacy Zone. An additional five points will be awarded to Literacy Zone applications in counties that currently do not have a funded Literacy Zone.

Only those applications receiving 70 or higher will be eligible for funding.

Literacy Zone funds cannot be used to supplant other federal, State or local funds expended for adult education and family literacy programs and services.

Eligible Applicants

The following organizations are eligible to apply:

  • School districts;
  • Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES);
  • Community-based organizations of demonstrated effectiveness;
  • Volunteer organizations of demonstrated effectiveness;
  • Institutions of higher education;
  • Educational opportunity centers;
  • Libraries;
  • Public housing authorities;
  • Other non-profit agencies and organizations which have the ability to provide literacy services to adults and families; and
  • Consortia of the agencies, organizations, institutions, libraries, or authorities described above.

Payee ID Form

The Payee ID Form is used to establish an identifying number (Agency Code) that enables organizations (e.g., community-based organizations) to receive funds from the State Education Department. This form is to be submitted with each proposal from applicants that are not a BOCES or public school district. (BOCES and public school districts already have Agency Codes for this purpose.) The Payee ID Form may be accessed at http://www.oms.nysed.gov/cafe/forms/.

Vendor Responsibility

State law requires that the award of state contracts be made to responsible vendors. Before an award is made to a not-for-profit entity, a for-profit entity, a private college or university or a public entity not exempted by the Office of the State Comptroller, the Department must make an affirmative responsibility determination. The factors to be considered include: legal authority to do business in New York State; integrity; capacity- both organizational and financial; and previous performance. Before an award of $100,000 or greater can be made to a covered entity, the entity will be required to complete and submit a Vendor Responsibility Questionnaire. School districts, Charter Schools, BOCES, public colleges and universities, public libraries, and the Research Foundation for SUNY and CUNY are some of the exempt entities. For a complete list, see: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/vendrep/documents/vrdocrules.pdf external link icon.

Vendors are invited to file the required Vendor Responsibility Questionnaire online via the New York State VendRep System. To enroll in and use the New York State VendRep System, see the VendRep System instructions at: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/vendrep/vendor_index.htm external link icon or go directly to the VendRep System online at https://portal.osc.state.ny.us/wps/portal external link icon.

For direct VendRep System user assistance, the OSC Help Desk may be reached at 866-370-4672 or 518-408-4672 or by email at helpdesk@osc.state.ny.us.

Vendors opting to file a paper questionnaire can obtain the appropriate questionnaire from the VendRep website: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/vendrep/forms_vendor.htm external link icon or will receive it with the award letter.

NYSED Consortium Policy for State and Federal Discretionary Grant Programs

A proposal from a consortium may include other agencies and organizations, which combine to provide comprehensive services. The proposals must clarify the roles, responsibilities and operating practices of each agency and the lead fiscal agency must provide at least 25% of the instructional program.

Applicants can form a partnership or consortium to apply for the grant. In order to do so, the partnership or consortium must meet the following requirements:

  1. The partnership or consortium must designate one of the participants to serve as the applicant and fiscal agent for the grant. The applicant agency must be an eligible grant recipient. All other consortium members must be eligible grant participants, as defined by the program statute or regulation.
  2. In the event a grant is awarded to a partnership/consortium, the grant or grant contract will be prepared in the name of the applicant agency/fiscal agent, not the partnership/consortium, since the group is not a legal entity.
  3. The applicant agency/fiscal agent must meet the following requirements:
    1. Must be an eligible grant recipient as defined by statute;
    2. Must receive and administer the grant funds and submit the required reports to account for the use of grant funds;
    3. Must require consortium partners to sign an agreement with the fiscal agent that specifically outlines all services each partner agrees to provide.
    4. Must be an active member of the partnership/consortium, except where SUNY or CUNY Research Foundations are the fiscal agent.
    5. Cannot act as a flow-through for grant funds to pass to other recipients. NYSED has established a minimum level of 25% of direct service be provided by the fiscal agent.
    6. Is PROHIBITED from sub-granting funds to other recipients. The fiscal agent is permitted to contract for services with other consortium partners or consultants to provide services that the fiscal agent cannot provide itself.
    7. Must be responsible for the performance of any services provided by the partners, consultants, or other organizations and must coordinate how each plan to participate.

Not-For-Profit (NFP) Prompt Contracting

Chapter 166 of the Laws of 1991 added Article XI-B (The Prompt Contracting Law) to the State Finance Law promoting prompt contracting with NFP organizations.

More specifically, the Prompt Contracting Law sets time frames for processing contracts and related documents; provides for written directives, waivers of interest, and advances/loans to Not-for-Profits (NFPs) when those time frames cannot be met; and requires interest payments to NFPs when contract payments are late due to untimely processing of contracts and no advance or loan was provided. For information on loans for NFPs from the Short-Term Revolving Loan Fund, refer to Bulletin A-268. This bulletin explains the procedure to follow when contracting with NFPs.

Chapter 648 of the Laws of 1992 made several changes to Article XI-B. The 1992 revisions provided more reasonable time frames for processing local grant awards and federally funded contracts; allowed for State agencies and NFPs to waive interest payments under certain circumstances; eliminated interest penalties for contracts executed and funded in whole or in part for services rendered in a prior fiscal year; and limited the amount of time a state agency may suspend time frames to four and one-half months.

Chapter 292 of the Laws of 2007 added further amendments to Article XI-B. The 2007 amendments prohibit State agencies from requiring NFPs, as a prerequisite of the execution of a contract, to waive claims for interest that would otherwise be due; provide that a contract is deemed to continue, and the contract remains in effect when a State agency does not timely notify an NFP of an intent to terminate the contract; require that any waivers of interest be subject to the Office of the State Comptroller’s (OSC’s) approval and provide for the calculation and payment of interest to NFPs when OSC non-approves a waiver of interest; require State agencies to report prompt contracting information to OSC for inclusion in annual reports; and expand the NFP contracting advisory committee to sixteen members, require meetings at least quarterly, and expand the scope of the committee’s responsibility.

A key objective of the Prompt Contracting Law is to expedite the contract process, and corresponding payments with NFPs to avoid service interruptions and financial hardships for these organizations. OSC advises that State agencies take measures to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Prompt Contracting Law. To this end, State agencies should maximize their use of the standard contract boilerplate, including simplified renewal documents, written directives, and valid waivers of interest when contracting with NFPs.

State agencies utilizing waivers of interest should ensure that the waiver is signed and dated by the NFP, includes an explanation for the retroactive contract start date, and satisfies required time frames set by the law.

Note: The Prompt Contracting Law requirements pertain to all grant contracts with NFPs, including those that fall below the $50,000 threshold for the Comptroller’s prior approval.

Source: OSC A-Bulletin A-316 (update effective January 1, 2008)

Program Services

Funds can be used for programs of instruction in adult basic education, English Language Learning (ELL) for speakers of other languages and adult secondary education (preparation for the General Educational Development (GED) test). The instructional programs that are eligible for funding are those that:

  • Assist adults to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency.
  • Assist adults who are parents to obtain the educational skills necessary to become full partners in the educational development of their children.
  • Assist adults in the completion of a secondary school education and transition into post-secondary education and/or training.
  • Assist adults in obtaining knowledge to make responsible decisions regarding spending, savings and debt management (financial literacy).
  • Assist adults in developing the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions and better navigate the health care system (health literacy).
  • Offer intergenerational (family) literacy programs that integrate all of the following components:
    • adult literacy training for parents that leads to economic self-sufficiency;
    • interactive literacy activities between parents and their children;
    • training for parents regarding how to be the primary teacher for their children and full partners in the education of their children;
    • and age-appropriate education to prepare children for success in school and life experiences.

Please note the following restrictions:

  • Education in a language other than English will not be supported as a stand-alone service. Basic education in another language can only be supported if it is integrated into English Language literacy classes to achieve English language educational gains.
  • Funding under this request for proposals may only be used for adult education purposes.

Eligible program participants include individuals who have attained 16 years of age and are not enrolled or not required to be enrolled in secondary school under NYS law, and who:

  • Lack sufficient mastery of basic educational skills to enable them to function effectively in society; or
  • Do not have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and have not achieved an equivalent level of education; or
  • Are unable to speak, read, or write the English language.

Successful grant applicants will participate in local networking activities to coordinate programs and services with other providers within their Literacy Zone. They will:

  • Develop a coordinated literacy strategy, Pre-Kindergarten through Postsecondary (P-16) and adult, that will raise literacy and English language proficiency for individuals and families throughout the community through connections to adult education; alternative education; incarcerated transition; early childhood programs; high school graduation; and transition to postsecondary education or advanced training.
  • Develop linkages and services to increase the effectiveness of parent involvement with schools, including low-performing schools as identified under Title 1 of No Child Left Behind.
  • Develop linkages with Independent Living Centers and vocational rehabilitation programs to serve individuals with disabilities and their families.
  • Develop linkages with business and labor and coordinate program planning with local workforce development and local economic development systems.
  • Develop partnerships with health and mental health agencies; financial institutions; arts and culture including libraries, public broadcasting and museums; community social service agencies and private not-for-profit; and volunteer sectors, including literacy volunteers and VISTA volunteers .
  • Develop one or more Family Welcome Center(s) that provide on-site or connect to the following services:
    • Adult education classes scheduled to accommodate participants including parents of school-age children.
    • Health literacy instruction to raise the ability of parents and other adults to access the health care system, prevent illness and manage chronic disease.
    • Financial literacy instruction to raise the ability of parents and other adults to manage their money, avoid predatory lending, and build assets.
    • Internet access for students to contact https://www.mybenefits.ny.gov/selfservice/ external link icon and to operate the web-based Adult Student Information System and Technical Support (ASISTS) data system. Programs should have internet access for GED compass, an internet based referral system for GED testing and preparation.
    • Access to We Are New York English language instruction.
    • Access to health information and classes through collaborating with local health professionals.
    • A resource library of culturally sensitive materials for adult education students.
    • Referral services to other educational programs, and medical, legal, counseling, housing, job training, vocational rehabilitation, and career and technical education services.
    • Screening and referral to GED testing.
    • Transition to postsecondary education, workforce development, occupational training or employment.
  • Develop and connect adult education students and their families with pathways out of poverty, including the following:
    • The continuum of literacy services available for students in early childhood through adulthood, including strong support for parent involvement in their child’s literacy development and home and with the school.
    • Assistance and support for at-risk youth to enable them to complete high school and succeed in postsecondary education.
    • Postsecondary transition programs that enable out-of-school youth and adults who lack a high school diploma or the equivalent to attain a GED and succeed in postsecondary education.
    • Programs that enable out of school youth and adults who are receiving public assistance, food stamps, or with family incomes at less than 200% poverty to obtain and retain employment.
    • Workforce development programs including apprenticeship, career and technical education programs, and career pathways that provide sustainable employment.
    • Incarcerated transition for youth and adults returning to the community from incarceration.
    • Pathways to citizenship for limited English language adults and English language instruction and support for highly-skilled immigrants, refugees and asylees to reclaim their professional careers here in the United States.
    • Support for mature workers and senior citizens to enable them to stay out of poverty.
    • Support for individuals with disabilities and their families including pathways to employment.
    • Transition support for veterans and their families, including support for disabled veterans.
  • Develop comprehensive referral arrangements with the following types of organizations:
    • pre-kindergarten through postsecondary education (P-16) and adult agencies and programs, including Partners include the public school system, postsecondary institutions, trade schools, apprenticeship training, Head Start, Liberty Partnerships and Even Start programs, programs that help at risk youth to stay in school and graduate, adult education programs funded by the Education Department that serve the Literacy Zone, career and technical education programs for youth and adults and NCLB Title I programs that have a strong emphasis on supporting parents in meeting their responsibilities under the No Child Left Behind Act.
    • business, labor, workforce development, and local economic development, including connections to One-Stop Career Centers, NYSDOL Bureau of Immigrants Rights case managers, and school-business partnerships.
    • health and mental health agencies, including hospitals, health maintenance organizations, health literacy providers, and, where appropriate, NYS Department of Mental Health Promise Zones.
    • financial institutions, including banks, credit unions and financial literacy providers, as well as Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) centers.
    • arts and cultural institutions, including libraries, public broadcasting, and museums.
    • community and volunteer agencies, including local departments of social services, literacy volunteers, vocational rehabilitation, and independent living centers.

Program Guidelines

Programs shall operate in accordance with the following guidelines developed by the New York State Education Department (SED) for adult education programs.

  1. Staff Development
    • Instructional staff members will attend a minimum ten hours of staff development per year, related to their program area.
    • Up to 5% of teachers will be trained in at least one of the eighteen-hour health literacy study circle modules developed by the Harvard School of Public Health. These study circle facilitator guides can be found at: http://www.ncsall.net/?id=25 external link icon. Study circle training will be purchased from the RAEN.
    • Annual Literacy Zone summits will be conducted by NYSED to share best practices in building effective partnerships; providing instruction reading, language, math, health literacy, financial literacy, technological literacy and family literacy; VISTA volunteer training and supports; and increasing parent involvement in their children’s education. Training will be provided to pilot work readiness curricula. Agencies are required to set aside 5% of the budget to support training and summit costs.
  2. High-Quality Information Management Systems
    • Programs will implement an automated individual student record database and will comply with the federal National Reporting System (NRS) requirements for adult education programs. (See Program Accountability).
    • Programs will have staff trained in and will use the Adult Student Information System and Technical Support (ASISTS) for the collection of student data.
    • Programs will implement standard participant assessment and post-testing procedures (see Participant Assessment and Follow-up).
    • Programs will use the standard survey instrument in conducting participant follow-up surveys (see Participant Assessment and Follow-up).
    • Programs will collect and track data through ASISTS using health literacy and financial literacy indicators that will be added to ASISTS in the 2010-11 program year.
  3. Special Requirements for GED Preparation Programs
    • Every individual enrolled in a GED Preparation program shall earn satisfactory scores on the Official Practice Test (OPT) before being referred to take the GED test. Satisfactory OPT scores are a minimum of 410 in each sub-test, and a minimum of 2250 for the total score.
    • All individuals referred to the GED Test must submit a properly completed and signed GED Test Referral Form indicating that the program is referring the individual to take the test.
    • The preparation program’s five digit Program Code must be included on the GED Test Referral Form.
    • OPT and GED data are recorded in ASISTS.

Program Accountability

Under the federal National Reporting System (NRS) for adult literacy programs, New York State, and ultimately local service providers, will be evaluated based on performance indicators. All successful applicants must submit data based on the federal requirements of the National Reporting System (NRS). Information on the NRS may be found on the web page www.nrsweb.org external link icon.

Implementation of the NRS in New York State is through the development of the Adult Student Information System AND Technical Support (ASISTS) participant database. Information about the ASISTS database can be found at the Literacy Assistance Center’s (LAC) website at http://www.lacnyc.org/ALIES/ASISTS/ASISTS.htm. The ASISTS database allows for data to be accessed and reported by sub-population, program, and class. The ASISTS database is mandatory and is available to local provider agencies free of charge, including the related training and technical assistance.

SED has negotiated core performance targets with the US Department of Education. All program participants must have the goal of advancing an educational functioning level or obtaining a GED or high school diploma. The individual participant can identify other goals as appropriate.

Below are New York State’s targets for 2010-11 that agencies funded under this RFP are, at a minimum, expected to achieve.

New York State’s Performance Targets


Core Outcome Measures

Educational Gain
(Advancing an Educational Functioning Level):

2009-2010
State Targets

2010-2011
State Targets

Adult Basic Education – Beginning Literacy 38 52
Adult Basic Education – Beginning Basic Education 39 48
Adult Basic Education – Intermediate Low 39 45
Adult Basic Education – Intermediate High 33 41
Adult Basic Education – low adult secondary education 36 48
ESL – beginning Literacy EL 36 46
ESL – low beginning EL 55 62
ESL – high beginning EL 52 61
ESL – low Intermediate EL 48 53
ESL – high intermediate EL 48 50
ESL – advanced EL 42 46
Received a GED or Secondary School Diploma (For Adult Secondary Education – High) 85 90
Entered Employment 85 90
Retained Employment 85 90
Entered Post-secondary Education or Training 84 90

In addition to the core outcome measures, the NRS establishes the following secondary outcome measures that SED is requiring for all agencies funded under this RFP.

Required Secondary Outcome Measures

NRS Outcome Measure

2009-2010
Description

Reduction in Public Assistance Participant’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant, or equivalent public assistance grant, is reduced or eliminated.
Achieved Citizenship Skills Participant attains the skills needed to pass the U.S. citizenship exam.
Voting Behavior Participant registers to vote or votes for the first time.
General Involvement in Community Activities Participant increases involvement in any of the following:
  • Attending or organizing meetings of neighborhood, community or political organizations;
  • Volunteering to work for such organizations;
  • Contributing to the support of such organizations; and
  • Volunteering to work on community improvement activities.

NRS Family Literacy Outcome Measures

Description

Examples of Behavioral Outcomes

Increased involvement in children’s education
  • Helping children more frequently with their schoolwork.
  • Increased contact with children’s teachers to discuss children’s education.
  • More involved in children’s school, such as attending school activities and parent meetings and volunteering to work on school projects.
The parent takes an interest in what and how their child is learning. There is an ongoing exchange of information between the parent and child’s teacher.
Increased involvement in children’s literacy-related activities
  • Reading to children.
  • Visiting a library.
  • Purchasing books or magazines for children.
The parent helps the child select books based on the child’s interests and skill level. The parent connects stories to the child’s experiences. The parent finds ways of extending child’s learning beyond what is required in the educational setting.

Participant Assessment and Follow-up

Participant Assessment and follow-up requirements apply to all programs funded under this RFP.

Initial student assessment should take place within the first twelve (12) hours of instruction. All students will be tested at intervals necessary to determine status and progress. The following intervals are recommended:

  • Students in a class that meets for nine (9) hours or less per week should be post-tested at the end of each 100 instructional hours.
  • Students in a class that meets for ten (10) hours or more per week should be post-tested at the end of each 200 instructional hours.
  • Students in a tutorial program should be post-tested at least every fifty- (50) instructional hours.

Student assessment and post-testing should be accomplished with the acceptable standard assessment instruments. These are the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE), version 9-10, the BEST Plus and the BEST Literacy.

Allowable and Non-Allowable Expenditures

Funds provided through this RFP shall in no way duplicate other funding provided by the New York State Education Department or any other federal, State or local government entity. Funds cannot be used to supplant other federal, State or locally funded programs.

Allowable expenditures under this RFP include:

  • Instruction;
  • Administration and supervision of instruction;
  • Up to 50% of the salary of a community partnership coordinator;
  • Counseling and case management;
  • Instructional technology, materials and supplies;
  • Staff development;
  • Assessment, tracking and documenting student outcomes;
  • Networking
  • Rent for program services in the Family Welcome Center
  • Curriculum development incorporating scientifically based research;
  • Coordination and planning for integrated family literacy components.

At least 85% of the grant funds must be used for instruction. Allowable instructional expenditures under this RFP include:

  • Direct instructional cost (salaries of teachers and aides, classroom materials)
  • Assessment, tracking and documenting student outcomes (NRS)
  • Student follow-up activities
  • Instructional technology, materials and supplies
  • Supervision of instruction
  • Staff travel to instructional sites
  • Curriculum development, incorporating scientifically based research
  • Grant funds should include at least a half-time community partnership coordinator and at least one full-time case manager/counselor who increase the effectiveness of instruction by connecting effective adult literacy with benefits, other services and funding streams, instructional enhancements, and connections that increase the National Reporting System outcomes for literacy students served in the Literacy Zone.

Five (5) percent of grant funds must be reserved to support an annual Literacy Zone training summit and training costs for work readiness curricula, VISTA volunteer training and support, and other research-based instruction that will be rolled out by SED during the grant period.

Administrative expenditures including indirect costs are limited to five percent (5%) unless the agency’s approved indirect cost rate is higher than five percent. Examples of indirect costs include depreciation on buildings and equipment, the costs of operating and maintaining facilities, and general administration and general expenses, such as the salaries and expenses of executive officers, personnel administration, and accounting/auditing.

Non-allowable expenses include:

  • Advertising for purposes other than the recruitment of students
  • Public relations for other than reporting progress;
  • Promotional items and memorabilia;
  • Meetings relating to fund-raising;
  • General purpose equipment, e.g. office furnishings, air conditioning, reproduction and printing equipment;
  • Student travel;
  • Award certificates;
  • Capital improvements;
  • Food and alcoholic beverages.

No more than 25% of the grant funds may be sub-contracted out.

Method of Awarding Grants

Only complete proposals postmarked on or before due date will be reviewed. A complete proposal is one that contains every item on the Application Checklist in the same order that it is listed on the Application Checklist. In order to be considered for funding, proposals must receive a minimum score of 70 points. In the event of a tie score, the applicant with the highest score in the Project Description portion of the Proposal Narrative will be ranked higher.

Proposed budgets will be reviewed and items deemed inappropriate, unallowable or inconsistent with project or program activities will be eliminated. Budgets that include inappropriate and/or unallowable proposed expenditures will receive a low score.

Applications will be separated into the following two regions: New York City and Long Island, and the rest of the State. Applicants from New York City and Long Island may apply for up to $325,000 per year, per Literacy Zone. Applicants from the rest of State may apply for up to $250,000 per year, per Literacy Zone.

Grants in the amount of the budgets, as adjusted, will be made to the highest ranking applicants in each region until funds reserved for that region are insufficient to fund the next ranking applicant in that region in full. That applicant will be given the opportunity to run a smaller program than proposed in their application. If the applicant declines that opportunity, the next ranking applicant will be offered the opportunity, and so on. If funds remain in a region after all applicants scoring 70 and above are funded, the funds will be allocated to the other region.

The New York State Education Department reserves the right to reject all proposals received or cancel this RFP if it is in the best interest of the Department.

Submission Instructions

Please submit one original and 2 copies of the complete proposal postmarked by October 15, 2010 to:

Grants Management
New York State Education Department
89 Washington Ave, Room 674 EBA
Albany, NY 12234

Use the Application Checklist to ensure that you send a complete application package. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Page Limits and Standards:

The Project Narrative must be no more than ten [10] 8.5” x 11” single-spaced pages with one-inch margins. Double space between the headings and the text. Use a 12-point Times Roman or Arial font. The, Program Target Worksheet, Program Component Worksheet, Program Component Information Sheet, planning calendar, letters of commitment from members of the guiding coalition and partners and the Budget Narrative and Category Forms are not included in this limit.

Applications that do not follow these standards or exceeds the page limit will not be reviewed.

Proposed Budget for a Federal or State Project (FS-10)

The application must include a Budget Form and narrative for each category of expenditure that is required for the grant (Professional Salaries, Support Staff Salaries, Purchased Services, Supplies and Materials, Travel Expenses, Employee Benefits, Indirect Cost, BOCES Services, Minor Remodeling, and Equipment). The Budget Form (FS-10) can be accessed at http://www.oms.nysed.gov/cafe/forms/ The budget narrative and FS-10 form must include sufficient detail to allow reviewers to understand what the funds will be used for and the relationship between the proposed expenditures and project activities and goals.

General information about the categories of expenditures, general information on allowable costs and applicable federal costs principles and administrative regulations are available in the Fiscal Guidelines for Federal and State Aided Grants. Refer to the Application Guidance for additional specific requirements and information about the allowable and non-allowable activities for the program.

Only equipment items with a unit cost that equals or exceeds $5,000 should be included under Equipment, Code 20. Equipment items under $5,000 should be included under Supplies and Materials, Code 45.


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Last Updated: September 24, 2010