Prekindergarten through Grade 12 Education

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Smart Scholars Early College High School Program – Intermediary Request for Proposal (RFP)
Webinar Questions and Answers

  1. Can the Smart Scholars ECHS intermediary be a partnership between a non profit and a for profit organization?

    Yes. The Intermediary RFP does not limit potential intermediaries to not-for profit organizations only. The intermediary can be composed of more than one organization.

  2. What other funding, resources, or tools are offered to the Smart Scholars ECHS schools for professional development?

    There are a variety of funding resources available for professional development in a Smart Scholars ECHS. Currently, New York State schools receive $200 million under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act. These funds are distributed based on the Title II allocation, which is formula-driven. There are also other programs that are competitive. For example, the Title IIA –Higher Education component provides approximately $5.5 million dollars to both schools and colleges in New York State. The federally funded Teacher/Leader Quality Partnerships (TLQP) grants offer $143 million. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) supplied the state with additional dollars.

    New York State has teacher professional development requirements. Certified teachers are required to complete 175 hours of professional development every 5 years, in order to retain their certification in good standing. In addition, each district in the state must approve a professional development plan on an annual or multiyear basis. Districts must provide professional development to all teachers. This provision ensures that professional development is a component of the entire instructional program and that districts have been able to integrate professional development within the school setting.

  3. Is $500,000 the maximum award amount for both Smart Scholars ECHS cohorts or just the first?

    The award for the first cohort of Smart Scholars ECHSs is limited to a maximum of $500,000. A decision on the limit of the second cohort will be made once we assess the success of the first cohort of Smart Scholars ECHS partnerships and of the selected intermediary. The first cohort of partnerships and the intermediary will be funded with private foundation funds made available through the Regents Research Foundation.

    The proposal and selection process of the first cohort of Smart Scholars ECHS will be more flexible than that of the second cohort. The second cohort will be funded through state funds, pending authorization in the 2010-2011 New York State budgt. The RFP will be reviewed by the Office of the State Comptroller, unlike this RFP, and would have to adhere to state guidelines and requirements.

  4. Will Smart Scholars ECHSs expected to be located throughout New York State?

    The Smart Scholars ECHS Partnership RFP states that the University of the State of New York (USNY) reserves the right to award contracts to partnerships rated comparably by reviewers, and that meet RFP requirements, in order to achieve geographic distribution. We have that flexibility with the first cohort of ECHSs to do that. We will not have that flexibility with the second cohort of ECHS because of the restrictions of state funding.

    However, in selecting the second cohort of Smart Scholars ECHS partnerships, we could use a regional approach and set aside funding for each region, based on the number of students in that area. This is typical of many similar RFPs.

    We will decide how to select the second cohort of partnerships after we assess the first cohort. We will also look to the Board of Regents for their advice and expectations.

  5. Will preference be given to intermediary organizations located within New York State?

    No, preference will not be given to organizations that reside within the state. However, preference will be given to those organizations that can demonstrate knowledge of New York State laws and regulations, specifically Part 100 (regulations that govern P-12 schools) and Part 52 (regulations that govern higher education) in Commissioner’s Regulations. These regulations are complex and it is important that the intermediary understands the requirements that these institutions have to work under in order to operate within NYS. Given the timing of the implementation of the Smart Scholars Program, the intermediary will have a steep learning curve to overcome in a short period of time. The intermediary organization will have to provide valuable assistance immediately.

  6. Are Smart Scholars Early College High Schools expected to be “redesigned” schools or “start-up” schools?

    Partnerships can propose existing programs that offer college-level study, or they can propose the creation of a new Smart Scholars school. Partnerships that choose to build on an existing ECHS or program would have to demonstrate the provision of new services and/or a greater number of students served. We expect to see different models and approaches among the Smart Scholars ECHS proposals.

  7. Will staff support be provided for Smart Scholars Early College High School program?

    Kathleen Egan and Gloria Bartowski (Office of Higher Education: Office of College and University Evaluation) have been working on Smart Scholars Early College High School Program and will continue to work with the program to some extent. Grant funds will allow us to hire one full-time professional staff member. This professional staff person will start in the position full-time and then move to part-time status at some point. The professional will be laser-focused on the Smart Scholars program and, with the support of Gloria and Kathleen, they will be able to provide assistance to both the partnership and intermediary. USNY feels very strongly that the ECHS program is worth investing in and has committed to do so.

  8. What will be the role of the professional staff person?

    The roles and responsibilities of the professional staff person are currently under development. However, it is expected that the professional will conduct site visits, and work with the intermediary on state level rubrics for assessment and reporting requirements.

    A clerical support person will also be hired, also funded by the grant.

  9. Who is funding this RFP of the Smart Scholars Early College High School Program?

    This RFP is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, through USNY.

  10. Will the state provide technology infrastructure to the Smart Scholars Early College High Schools?

    We will have the resources to help support the Smart Scholars ECHS throughout the state. If you need further information on technological resources for the purposes of your RFP, submit your questions or requests to INTERMEDRFP@mail.nysed.gov.

Last Updated: September 18, 2009