Statewide Distance Learning Project – Division of Adult Education Grant Competition Webinar

Welcome to the Statewide Distance Learning Project Grant Competition Webinar. The contents of this
webinar complement, but do not replace, the request for grant application
guidelines. Interested applicants should also carefully read the Adult Education
and Family Literacy Guidelines for program year 2018-19,
and division of adult education policies on the division of adult education grant
competitions webpage, before deciding to submit an application. The guidelines
have already been posted, the policies will be posted shortly. This webinar will
be recorded and posted on the division of adult education grant competitions
webpage we will not answer 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 and allowable activities and
other requirements for grantees. Finally, we will provide suggested resources and
grant tips. Here are some key dates related to this grant: on February 17,
2018, a notice of availability of grant funds was posted in the Pennsylvania
Bulletin. Posting in the bulletin allows us to reach the greatest number of
potential applicants. PDE posted the request for grant application guidelines
for the statewide distance learning project grant to the division of adult
education grant competition’s webpage this past Friday, February 23rd. the
grant’s competition webpage also contains several resource documents
and links to the Pennsylvania WIOA combined state plan and regional and
local workforce plans. We are now holding the webinar today, February 27th. The
grant applications will be available in eGrants on Wednesday, February 28th. If
you log into eGrants before that date you will not see the grant listed. We
have posted PDFs of the grant content on the grant competitions webpage for
your reference; however, the grant applications will be submitted via the eGrants system. The deadline for applicants to complete the grant application is
April 3rd, 2018 at 2 p.m. Please note the 2:00 p.m. deadline. The Federal adult
Education and Family Literacy Act Title 2 of the Workforce Innovation and
Opportunity Act (WIOA) provides funds to be awarded through the Pennsylvania
Department of Education Bureau of Post-secondary and Adult Education,
Division of Adult Education to provide adult basic education services
throughout the state. PDE is making available up to $400,000 of these funds to support 1 distance learning direct service
program to provide adult basic education services at a distance to Pennsylvania
residents as directed by the division. PDE
has elected to support a program dedicated to providing adult basic
education at a distance to meet the needs of residents who are unable to
access face-to-face instruction in their areas of need. The technical assistance
guide for performance accountability under the Workforce Innovation and
Opportunity Act defines distance education as: A formal
learning activity where students and instructors are separated by geography,
time, or both, for the majority of the instructional period. Distance learning
materials are delivered through a variety of media, including, but not
limited to: print, audio recording, video tape, broadcasts, computer software,
web-based programs, and other online technology. Teachers support distance
learners through communication via mail, telephone, email, or online technologies
and software. The successful applicant for the grant funding opportunity for
the statewide distance learning project must provide all of the following
services at a distance through a variety of media: adult basic education (ABE),
adult secondary education (ASE), and high school equivalency (HSE) test preparation instruction to individuals who are
unable to attend face-to-face instruction at a local program, English
as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to individuals who are unable to attend
face-to-face instruction at a local program, high school level math
instruction, which refers to Level E of the college and career readiness
standards for adult education in mathematics, to supplement math
instruction at local programs, support services to help students persist in
distance education, support services to help students identify education and
career goals, develop employability skills, and successfully transition to
post-secondary education or training and/or
employment as appropriate, and integration of workforce preparation
activities into instruction and Support Services.
Workforce preparation activities are designed to help students develop
critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills,
digital literacy skills, and self-management skills, including
competencies in using information and resources, working with others, and
understanding systems. The successful applicant for the distance learning
grant will not be required to serve as a partner in a local PA career link site;
however, it should ensure that it is providing career services to program
participants. An eligible applicant must have demonstrated effectiveness in
providing adult basic and literacy activities and helping students achieve
the listed outcomes: adult basic and literacy activities are academic
instruction below the post-secondary level that increased students’ ability
to read, write, and speak in English and perform mathematics. Applicants must
provide quantitative data related to their provision of adult basic and
literacy activities and student outcomes for the immediate preceding three
program years. In other words, applicants must have provided adult basic education
services for at least the last three years. The services do not have to have
been provided with the vision funds, however. Applicants must provide data
that demonstrate the applicant’s success in helping students achieve the
following outcomes: improve skills in mathematics, reading, writing, and/or
English language proficiency, earn a high school equivalency credential, get a job,
retain a job, and enter post-secondary education or training. The data must
include the number of individuals in each cohort, the number of those
individuals who successfully achieved the outcome, and the
resulting outcome. Applicants will also have to provide an explanation of the
criteria used to assign individuals to each cohort and to determine achievement
of the outcome, as well as how the data were collected. Entities that are not
able to provide the data needed for demonstrated effectiveness are not
eligible providers and will not be able to receive grant funds. Refer to the
Request for Grant Applications for a list of eligible applicants. A consortium
or coalition of eligible applicants may apply for the grant. For the purposes of
this competition, a consortium or coalition of agencies is defined as a
main grantee with one or more sub- grantees. The main grantee will serve as
both the fiscal agent for the grant and as a provider of some of the services
proposed in the grant application. The main grantee is responsible for ensuring
that all activities provided are completed as proposed and is responsible
for monitoring and compliance of the sub- grantees. Answers in the grant
application should reflect the work of the consortium or coalition as a whole,
rather than treat each entity separately. Refer to section 205.4 of the
adult education and Family Literacy guidelines for more
information about the responsibilities of the main grantee in a consortium or
coalition. Participants in the distance learning projects services cannot be
enrolled or be required to be enrolled in secondary education. All participants
must demonstrate a need for basic skills development based on the results of one
of the approved standardized assessment administered before instruction
starts. Participants must be at least 16 years
old. Please note that in Pennsylvania, the compulsory school age is 17, therefore, 16
year olds are generally required to be enrolled in school.
Programs must have evidence that any 16 year olds in the program are not
required to be enrolled in secondary education. In awarding funds, PDE will
prioritize funding through the review and rating process to grant applications
from eligible providers with past effectiveness in providing high-quality
services that improve the skills of eligible participants and help those
participants to earn high school equivalency credentials, gain and retain
employment, and/or transition to post-secondary education or training.
Further, PDE will prioritize funding through the review and rating process.
Grant applications that demonstrate a thorough and detailed plan for providing
the required services, evidence of the applicant’s organizational capacity to
meet all of the programmatic reporting, administrative, and fiscal requirements
of the grant, a variety of instructional options to meet the needs of students,
high-quality instruction that is based on best practices and the college and
career readiness standards for adult education, and is of sufficient intensity
to lead to student outcomes, high-quality student support services that help
students to persist and succeed in adult basic education services and meet their
personal, educational, and career goals, and services that align with the
strategies and goals of the Pennsylvania WIOA combined state plan. Applicants
must demonstrate that they have the required staffing and that the staff
members of the distance learning project are well-trained and meet the minimum
requirements established by PDE. Refer to the program guidelines
section 204 and subsections 204.1-204.7 for
details. Those sections are in the adult education and family literacy guidelines.
The program administrator coordinators, instructional staff, and student support
staff must have at least a bachelor’s degree. All programs are required to have
a data quality specialist. The data quality specialist is not simply a
clerical position doing data entry, this person is responsible for the accuracy
and quality of the data reported to the division of adult education. As a result,
the division has established minimum requirements for this role. The person
serving as the data quality specialist must have a bachelor’s degree or a
post-secondary credential in data management. Any additional data entry
staff who are overseen by the data quality specialist may be clerical staff.
The division recommends that programs have additional data entry staff, if
possible. Beginning in program year 2018- 19, programs will be required to enter
all data within 14 days of the data being collected. Once edata is open for
the year, current staff members without the required credentials who are
currently in these positions may be grandfathered for the same position for
program year 2018-19. The division of adult education is imposing additional
requirements for teachers of mathematics at the college and career readiness
standards Level E. These individuals must have secondary math teaching
certification or a bachelor’s degree or higher that ensures knowledge of
mathematics required of certified math teachers. Refer to section 204 of the
adult education and family literacy guidelines for a link to a document
listing the required knowledge. Applicants for the statewide distance
learning project may apply for up to $400,000. Applicants should only apply
for those funds necessary to provide the required services to the number of
students it proposes to serve based on need and interest. The maximum allowable
cost per contracted student is $2,000. In determining the required amount and
proposed number of students, applicants should consider all possible costs
associated with meeting division policies and guidelines including
assessment. Grant applications will be submitted through PDEs eGrants system.
Section 3 of the Request for Grant Applications guidelines provides details
on getting access to the statewide distance learning project 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 competition’s webpage. Please note that
the grant content document is for reference only, as the applications will
be submitted through eGrants. The eGrants system homepage had several user guides.
In addition, we will post some grant- specific tips to the division of adult
education grant competition’s webpage. The statewide distance learning project
grant application will open on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. The grant application
deadline is April 3rd, 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’. After the grant deadline, grants will be reviewed
and scored. All applications will be reviewed and scored,
except those that are disqualified for one or more of the following reasons: the
applicant does not meet the criteria for eligible applicant, the application is
incomplete, and the application was not completed by the deadline. Review team of
three people will review the grant applications using a scoring rubric. A
summary of the scoring is in Appendix A of the request for grant application
guidelines. All three sections of the grant application (the
narrative, the applicant information section, and the budget) will be reviewed
and scored. In addition, the Pennsylvania State workforce board will review
distance learning project grant applications for consistency with the
strategies and goals of the Pennsylvania WIOA combined state plan. The
division of adult education will provide the appropriate applications and review
tools to the state board after grants are submitted to the division via
eGrants. Applicants should not give their applications to the state board directly.
PDE will take the results of the review by the state board and any related
recommendations to improve alignment into consideration when making the grant
award. The statewide distance learning project grant will be awarded to the
highest-scoring applicant, provided it meets the minimum score of eighty eight
points. The successful grant application will be
approved for a four-year grant cycle. Grant funds will be awarded through
annual one-year notifications of funding, contingent on the availability of funds.
Each year, the grantee will be required to submit a budget and a program year-specific information via the eGrants system in order to receive funding. Each
year’s renewal option and grant amount will be based on the following criteria:
contract compliance, including success in meeting contracted enrollment and
providing the contracted services, evidence of sufficient progress in
meeting the state-imposed performance standards, evidence of continuous program
improvement, compliance with fiscal and programmatic policies and guidelines, and
the amount of the federal appropriation. If the grantee fails to sufficiently
address the above criteria, the contract may be terminated prior to the end of
the grant cycle. PDE reserves the right to shorten or extend the four-year grant
cycle as the situation warrants. The Division of Adult Education has provided
many resources to applicants. Links to the resources are on the Division of
Adult Education Grant Competition’s webpage, which can be accessed by going
to PDE’s website at Select Instruction, then Adult Basic Education
to get to the divisions homepage from then, on the homepage, click on the Division of
Adult Education Grant Competitions link. Applicants should review the resources
both before and during the grant writing process. The resources include the
Request for Grant Application guidelines, the Adult Education and Family Literacy
guidelines, relevant division policies, and the
Pennsylvania WIOA combined state plan. We strongly recommend that all agencies
that are considering applying for the statewide distance learning project
grant carefully read the request for grant application guidelines and the
Adult Education and Family Literacy Guidelines for program year 2018-19
before starting the grant application. Once you begin working on the grant in
eGrants, be sure to read all of the ‘help’ buttons – they’re blue circles with a
question mark in them next to the question. If you click on the circle, it
will bring up a text box with the information in it. The help buttons
provide the maximum characters allowable for the answer and include information
that must be addressed in the answer. Note that the maximum characters
includes spaces. Make sure that all charts and tables are complete 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. Aake 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 application 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 automatically logs users out after 20 minutes of inactivity;
however, the system will sometimes log you out earlier than that and while you
are working on the grant application. So we suggest that you save really
regularly. Every time you enter an answer, hit the ‘save and continue’ button. Applicants have to provide evidence of
effectiveness in two sections of the narratives. All applicants must provide
the data themselves; the division will not do calculations on
behalf of any applicants. In addition to providing quantitative data, applicants
will provide a narrative explanation of the data. The information in the agency
activity summary should reflect the activities that the agency proposes to
provide. The table requires you to propose the number of students you will
enroll in four different components and the dollar amount requested for each. ABE institutional, ASE GED institutional, ABE community-based, and ASE GED
community-based. Institutional refers to services in correctional or other
residential facilities that are not open to the public. ABE includes adult basic
education services from Beginning Literacy Adult Basic Education through
High Intermediate Adult Basic Education, plus all of the ESL educational levels. ASE/GED includes
services only at Low and High Adult Secondary Education levels. Before
completing the budget, review sections 600 to 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 PDEs division of federal
programs. Applicants must refer to the division’s Adult Education and Family
Literacy guidelines when completing the budget. The successful applicant must
ensure that all distance learning participants are assessed according to
division policy. Therefore, the applicant must budget for related costs. WIOA has
specific requirements regarding administrative costs on federally funded
adult basic education grants. The division of adult education uses
function code 2300 for these administrative costs. Under WIOA,
administrative costs are capped at five percent of the grant amount. The
following costs are considered administrative costs, which means they
must be charged to function code 2300: planning costs, including the costs
associated with planning and coordination with workforce system
partners, the PA career link infrastructure costs (paid from the grant,
if any), and costs of contracted professional development. 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. It
does not refer to adult education staff time participating in professional
development activities. It also does not refer to the work of the in-house
professional development specialist and program administrators and coordinators
supporting and leading staff professional development activities. Any
restricted indirect costs charged to the grant are also considered administrative
costs and are included in the five percent cap. WIOA allows the division to
agree to, through negotiations with the local program, 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 successful applications are being
processed. Priority for waivers will be given to costs associated with
administration of the statewide distance learning project grant and coordinating
with the workforce partners. This concludes the statewide distance
learning project grant application webinar. If you have any questions, please
submit them to our resource email address at [email protected],
again that email address: [email protected] Put “statewide distance learning
project” in the subject line. Division of adult education staff will periodically
post responses to the submitted questions on the division of adult
education grant competition’s webpage for all applicants to review. Do not send
questions directly to division staff. Thank you.

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