Distance Education Technical Assistance – Division of Adult Education Grant Competition Webinar

Welcome to the Federal State Leadership
Distance Education Technical Assistance Grant Competition Informational Webinar. The contents of this webinar compliment, but do not replace, the request for grant
application guidelines. This webinar will be recorded and posted on the Division
of Adult Education Grant Competition’s web page. We will not be answering
questions during this webinar. We will provide information at the end on how to
submit questions. This webinar will provide information on the grant application review and award processes. We will provide a general overview of
the required activities and other requirements for the grantee. Finally, we
will provide suggested resources and grant tips. The current Pennsylvania
professional development system consists of several leadership projects that each
focus on one aspect of statewide professional development needs. The
projects are designed to work together to provide seamless support to local
programs. To address current needs of the field and the requirements of WIOA, the
division will fund one project to provide technical assistance to the
division and to local programs for distance education. Title 2 of the
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, WIOA, provides funds to be awarded
through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, PDE, Office of Post-secondary
and Higher Education, Division of Adult Education, to provide adult basic
education services throughout the Commonwealth. A portion of these funds, up
to 12.5% of the federal grant award, is to be used to
support state leadership activities under Section 223 of WIOA. PDE will use a
portion of these funds to fund a project to provide technical assistance to
programs funded by the division to provide high quality distance education
in accordance with the vision, policy, and guidelines. Under this request for grant
applications, the maximum total amount available for the distance education
technical assistance grant is $150,000. The
ultimate goal of division funding is to provide high-quality adult education and
family literacy programs that lead to student success. The purpose of the
distance education technical assistance grant is to support programs to achieve
this goal. Section 223 of WIOA establishes required and allowable
activities to be supported with state leadership funds. The activities that
will be supported by the work of this project are the provision of technical
assistance to support instructional and programmatic practices for distance
education and the use of technology for instruction. The maximum funding
available for this grant is $150,000. Applicants may apply for less than the maximum dollar amount, however, agencies are not
in competition to provide services at the lowest cost. The goal is to provide
services that ultimately increase the success of students in adult education
and family literacy programs through supporting local programs to offer
quality distance education. The project funded under this priority will: provide
support to programs in planning, implementing, and evaluating the distance
learning portion of their programming; provide support to instructors in providing distance education; identify and manage a list of
division-approved distance products and curricula; identify and share other
quality distance education resources with the field of adult education; and
provide technical assistance to the division in the selection of approved
curricula and on the development of distance education policy. When deciding
whether to apply, applicants should consider whether they will be able to
provide all of the services and activities described within the maximum
amount available. No additional funding will be available. Applicants for this
funding must have documented experience in the delivery of services that are
outlined in the priority. Each applicant’s experience with proposed
activities will be taken into account when making funding decisions. Successful applicants will be required to submit documentation that verifies experience
and education requirements have been met. All successful applicants will have
expertise in the following areas: adult education, the federally funded adult
basic and family literacy education system, professional development and
training for educators, and technologically delivered professional
development. The project will be led by a director who has experience in adult
education as a program administrator and experience in distance education. Other
individuals working on this project must have experience in the field of adult
education and experience in distance education. This project must have a plan
for personnel changes that ensures that newly hired staff meet the required
level of education and experience as outlined in the proposal. All applications will be reviewed, except
those that are incomplete or not completed by the application deadline. Grant applications will be reviewed and scored by a team of
three individuals, including staff from PDE and peer reviewers. Peer reviewers
will be non-applicants who have past experience in adult education or the
provision of professional development or distance education. Reviewers will be
screened for conflict of interest and will not benefit financially from grant
awards. The grant period will be for a term of one year – July 1, 2018 through
June 30, 2019 – with the option to renew for up to two additional years. Funding
for the renewal years will be negotiated annually and provided through annual
contract renewals. PDE reserves the right to shorten or extend the 3-year grant
cycle as the situation warrants. Each year’s renewal option and grant amount
will be based on several criteria, including the amount of the annual
appropriation. Funds will be awarded to the highest-scoring applicant with a
score of at least 68 out of 90. The successful application may require
revisions or submission of additional information prior to approval. Grant
applications will be submitted through PDE’s eGrants system. The grant
requirements section of the request for grant application guidelines provides
details on getting access to the federal state leadership distance education
technical assistance grant application in eGrants. In the meantime, to allow
applicants to review the content of the grant application, we have posted a PDF
of the grant content to the division of adult education grant competitions
webpage. Please note that the grant content document is for reference only, as the
applications will be submitted through eGrants. The eGrants system homepage has several user guides. In addition, we will post
some grant-specific tips to the division of adult education grant competitions
webpage. The statewide distance learning project grant application will open on
Wednesday, February 28, 2018. The grant application deadline is April 3, 2018
at 2 p.m. At that point the eGrants system will close the grant. In order to
complete the grant, all sections must be marked complete. Once all sections are
marked complete, the applicant will click the complete step
button. The eGrants system records the exact time that the applicant clicks the
button. Once the grant has been successfully completed, the status will
be submitted for peer review. Once you begin working on the grants in eGrants,
be sure to read all of the help buttons – they are blue circles with a question
mark in them next to the question. You click on the blue circle, and it will bring
up a box with the help information. The help buttons provide the maximum
characters allowable for the answer, and lists information that must be addressed
in the answer. Note that the maximum characters includes spaces. When
composing the responses for each item in the grant application, make sure the
answers address the information that is being requested. Avoid including
information that is not relevant to the item. Make sure the responses are clear
and concise, and do not assume that the reviewers know your program. Reviewers
should not have to search the answer for the necessary information or try to
interpret agency-specific terminology. Unfortunately eGrants does not allow for
any formatting, bulleted or numbered lists, or paragraphs. The system also has
problems recognizing special characters. Some applicants write the content of
their grant applications in a Word or Pages document and then copy and paste
the information into eGrants. If you choose to do this, make sure the text is
plain text without any formatting before copying and pasting – this will prevent
issues such as apostrophes showing up as question marks and other format
conversion issues. Save often – at the bottom of each section is a ‘save and
continue’ button, which allows you to save the information that has been
entered and keeps you on the same page. The ‘Save’ button will save the
information and take you back to the grant application detail page. The eGrants system times out after 20 minutes of inactivity; however, it occasionally
times out before that and while you are working on the grant. It is important to
save regularly. Before completing the budget, review section 600 – 609 of the
Adult Education and Family Literacy Guidelines. This covers allowable uses of funds, how to allocate allowable costs to the
budget, and other fiscal requirements. Please note that in some cases, the
division of adult education uses the function and object codes differently
than does PDE’s division of federal programs. Applicants must refer to the
Adult Education and Family Literacy Guidelines when completing the budget. The division of adult education uses function code 2300 for administrative
costs which are capped at five percent of the grant amount. The following costs
are administrative costs and must be charged to function code 2300: All
administrative activities related to the grant, including fiscal, personnel, and
grant administration, planning costs, including the costs associated with planning and coordination with workforce system
partners, and costs of contracted professional development for state
leadership project staff. The cost of contracted professional development
refers to funds paid to the larger agency to cover the cost of mandated
agency professional development or training, and the fees paid to outside
professional development providers to provide professional development to the
project staff. It does not refer to project staff time participating in
professional development activities. It also does not refer to the cost of
professional development activities provided to local adult education and
family literacy programs as part of the services of this project to the field. Any restricted indirect costs charged to the grant are also considered
administrative costs and are included in the five percent cap. The division may consider approving a higher amount when the five percent cap is too restrictive to allow for
adequate planning and administration. Applicants that believe that they have a
strong case for a waiver to the five percent cap should budget the expected
administrative costs. The division will consider the request when the successful application is being processed. Approval is not guaranteed, however. This concludes the federal state leadership
distance education technical assistance grant competition webinar. Questions must
be sent to [email protected] The subject line of the email should say
distance education TA project 099. Division of adult education staff
will periodically post responses to submitted questions on the Department of
Education, Division of adult education Grant Competition web page for all
applicants to review. Do not send questions directly to division
staff. Thank you.

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