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Cohort 10 Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the 2013-14 Cohort 10 California Mathematics and Science Partnership (CaMSP) grant.

Questions by Subject

Lead Partner

Participation Eligibility

State and Local Projects

Fiscal

Lead Partner

  1. May a local educational agency (LEA)/district that served as the Lead LEA for a Cohort 7 project be the Lead LEA for a RFA 10 project?

Yes, all previously funded LEAs beginning with Cohort 7 are eligible to participate.

  1. If we have been previously funded can we still participate in a consortium application if we only include teachers who have not participated in a previous MSP grant?

    You need to send Lisa Fassett an e-mail at lfassett@cde.ca.gov with the specifics about your request because that will depend on a variety of factors. She will answer questions as to participation of currently funded MSP projects and whether or not they qualify in any way to participate in this project (cohort).

  2. The CDE Web site states the following:

"The California Mathematics and Science Partnership (CaMSP) program will continue to fund previously awarded partnerships (Cohort 8 and 9) up to $1 million, and will fund new partnerships at up to $500,000 to improve the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science through a focus on the integration of STEM disciplines." Does this mean that we could continue with our current Cohort 8 project districts but, a new set of teachers?

The CDE only allows one page for posting funding options per program. What we were trying to communicate in limited space is that we will continue to fund existing partnerships (Cohort 8 and 9) at their original or revised (due to retention rates) budgets. Budgets for Cohort 8 and Cohort 9 projects often were over the $500,000 limit set for RFA 10 projects.

Any Cohort 8 or 9 participating LEAs, teachers, and students are not eligible to apply for RFA 10.

  1. The RFA discusses having a 100 percent Project Director for the LEA dedicated solely to this project. There are many reasons this is difficult. I was wondering if we could have 50 percent Co-Director from the LEA who does coaching and facilitation and 50 percent Co-Director from the institution of higher education (IHE) or Professional Development Provider who would be in charge of coordination, management (fiscally and PD) and facilitation?

No, the expectation and requirement is for a project to employ a single, full-time Project Director.

  1. In terms of Lead LEA eligibility, is the CaMSP designed mainly for county offices of education (COE) to be the Lead LEA?

An LEA may apply individually or as part of a Consortium of LEAs. Further, a COE may apply individually or representing regional LEAs. The role of the COE must be substantial and made explicit.

  1. In the presentation you mentioned that COEs would not need to follow the high needs then another slide said 50 percent of the schools need to be high need.

    A COE can be the project lead, however participating schools and districts need to have at least 50 percent or the participating schools/districts which meet the 40 percent free and reduced lunch qualification. A COE as Lead LEA does not need to meet the free and reduced lunch qualification if they are not providing teachers of their own. However, if schools within the COE that the COE oversees participate, 50 percent of those schools must meet that free and reduced qualification.

  2. Core Partnership versus Regional Collaborative Partnership:

The Core Partnership Lead must be a high-need LEA, submit the application, accept management and fiduciary responsibility for the partnership, and provide a full-time Project Director. The only exception is if a COE applies as the Lead, the COE is not required to be a high-need LEA.

The goal of the Regional Collaborative Partnership is to extend the benefits of the project’s work to involve a regional array of partners: regional K-16 education providers; representatives from business and industry, legislature and government, chambers of commerce, COEs, and community based organizations; and other community members with a stake in STEM education. They provide community support, direction, and recommendations for continuous improvement to the Core Partnership. They also provide a fertile source of LEAs that would be interested in, and prepared for, participating in the expansion phase.

In performance year 2 and 3, the Regional Collaborative Partnership may benefit from the project by participating in webinars or using professional development videos produced by a project.

  1. We are interested in applying as a consortium of high-need LEAs across two counties. We plan to align and share the responsibilities of the Core Partners and share the cost of hiring a full-time Program Director, provide 50 percent match, evaluation and dissemination, etc. Would the core partners and regional partners be one and the same?

It depends. The Core Partners are those implementing the professional development e.g., the IHE, the Professional Development Provider, and the Primary LEA(s). The Regional Partners act as an advisory committee to the Core Partners. We anticipate that most projects will have separate and distinct Core Partners and Regional Collaborative Partners. However, if the LEAs involved are districts and not all schools within those districts are involved in the implementation of the project, it is possible that a Core Partner could also be a Regional Collaborative Partner.

  1. If applying as a consortium of LEAs, must all LEAs be from one California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) region?

If applying as a consortium of LEAs, all LEAs must be in one CCSESA region. If there are specific questions regarding regional participation, please contact the STEM Office at 916-323-5847.

  1. Is the RFA saying that a district couldn't be a partner unless it has 50 percent of their schools at 40 percent or greater Free and Reduced Lunches?

The 50 percent criteria is for the partnering LEAs, be it districts or schools. So 50 percent of the LEAs partnering in the grant must meet the high-need (40 percent free and reduced lunch) definition.

  1. Are Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) considered an LEA?

Yes, they are. CMOs may apply as the lead LEA.

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Participation Eligibility

  1. Do potential teachers need to be identified prior to receiving the grant or may they be recruited after it is awarded?

Yes, treatment teachers must be identified and have signed a document committing to an interest in participation in the project for three years. This may be in a list or letter form.

  1. a) The RFA states that each IHE partner must have faculty who represent the STEM disciplines reflected in the work of the project. I am a science educator with substantive background in science, and one of my colleagues is a math educator with substantive background in mathematics. We are housed within a School of Education that is part of the College of Science and Mathematics at Cal Poly. Would we be considered as fulfilling the need to have faculty who represent the STEM disciplines in the project or is there the expectation that there are also faculty who are housed in discipline-specific departments?

The requirement and expectation is for discipline-specific department faculty to be involved in the grant as well as school of education faculty. The law strongly encourages education faculty involvement.

b) Second, if our intent is to work with the integration of math and science and engineering, would there be the expectation that we have a designated faculty member who represents each of those areas? We are involving a faculty member from one of our engineering departments (materials engineering) who has substantial expertise in science and engineering.

The goal is to have a designated faculty member who represents each discipline involved in an application. If the proposal integrates math, science, and engineering, the CDE would expect to see faculty members from each of the three disciplines represented/involved in the grant.

  1. Does the IHE need to be local or may it be outside of California?

Yes, all IHEs involved must be California IHEs.

  1. May an IHE designate their lead contact as a Principal Investigator (PI)?

Yes, the Lead IHE may designate a PI for their project as long as the individual’s background and training is in scientific and administrative oversight necessary to conduct and manage the IHEs portion of a the project.

  1. Can a project span grades such as K-6, 6-12, or 7-12?

Yes, but you will have a different approach for each of those grade spans because of the different credentialing each of the teachers will have. You are going to need to make a case for why you are including those grades for the subject you are integrating.

  1. Do the 6-12 grade group teachers have to be science and mathematics teachers or can we incorporate other disciplines?

You can incorporate disciplines that are part of the integration that you are proposing. If you are integrating technology into science or integrating technology into mathematics or integrating science, mathematics, and technology or integrating all four of the disciplines, include whatever teachers are appropriate for those disciplines. For example, you might have a group of math teachers integrating engineering processes, therefore you would want to have math teachers and/or engineering and technology teachers involved. It will be a learning and sharing experience for all.

  1. The focus of the project examples in the PowerPoint are very narrow. Architectural Robots, for example, we have multiple career pathways and would like to help teachers focus on engineering.

Yes, you can focus on whatever pathways are related to technology and engineering that you have in your district. For example, there’s quite a bit of technology and engineering in agriculture, manufacturing, health care, automotive, etc. Use whatever works for you, make a case for it and it will be considered.

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State and Local Projects

  1. a) May we write a series of STEM modules that would be incorporated into current math classes and also be put together to create a course?

CaMSP partnerships are responsible for improving STEM instruction through the process of implementing high-quality professional development for in-service teachers, based in science and/or math, and integrating engineering and/or technology. Deliverables expected of a grant project include the development of integrated curricular units, modules, and courses. The CDE envisions these (units, modules, courses) will be created by teacher participants as the result or by-product of the professional development provided to them by the grant project.

b) May we use grant funds to pay IHE teams to start the module creation process?

As long as the STEM modules incorporated into current math classes and those used to create a course are a by-product of the professional development, then yes it is allowed. However, grant funds may not be used to pay IHE teams to create modules as IHE module or course creation is not an intended focus of the grant.

  1. This year we are planning an opening of a new middle school with a STEM focus. Because the school will not open until next year, we will not hire our full staff until the spring semester but the application states that we must have a three-year commitment of participating teachers. May we apply for the grant with a contingency that will have the commitment of the staff upon hiring?

Unfortunately, you must have the school in operation at the time of the application. We cannot assume that you will have the commitment of teachers you have not yet even hired. If the federal government continues our funding, perhaps you can apply next year.

  1. Does the regional board need to be in place at the time of the proposal or can it be created if the grant is awarded?

Yes, the Regional Collaborative Partnership must be in place at the time the proposal is submitted for review. In addition, letters of commitment must be included for each partner in order for the application to be considered for funding.

  1. Can grant funds be used to purchase hands-on science materials?

All supplies and materials purchased, hands-on or otherwise, must be used by the in-service treatment teachers only. CaMSP funding does not allow for the purchase of classroom supplies and materials that will be used in the classroom with K-12 students.

  1. The grant references “California State Standards.” For science, are we considering them to be the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)?

Yes, the NGSS were adopted by the State Board of Education on September 4, 2013.

  1. Is it possible for the first quarter of the grant to be a planning phase and, if so, is it possible that a classroom teacher who will be the FTE Project Coordinator still be in the classroom for that planning phase then released for the implementation phase?

No, from Day 1 of the project, the Project Director is expected to work full-time on the grant project.

  1. Can the university also serve as a PI in addition to the LEA?

The focus of this funding is to research teacher content knowledge, pedagogical practices acquired, and student achievement outcomes as a result of the treatment teacher’s involvement and participation in the professional development offered by a project. In RFA 10, all evaluation research will be conducted by a single statewide evaluator. Given the term Principal Investigator (PI) typically describes a university professor engaged in research, we did not employ the use of the term PI in this RFA.

The role of the IHE for purposes of this grant funding is as partner, content and pedagogy expert, and in most cases, the professional development provider. Therefore, the RFA did not explicitly use the term PI. If an IHE partner would like to identify themself as PI, and engage in concurrent research activities on their own time and fund those activities with non-CaMSP funding, then that is acceptable. However, that PI role should have no impact on their role as partner in this project. They may not make additional demands of the project, nor may they be allocated additional funds for any activities specifically for personal PI purposes. Projects indicating this relationship in their applications and in their budgets will be evaluated to make sure that the relationship is appropriate to the goals and requirements of this MSP RFA.

  1. Can we get a bit more clarification on the evaluation part of the RFA? What do we include if we are unsure what instruments Public Works will be using?

Include what you think would work. Since we don’t have a specific tool that we are going to use across the board, we would like to know what you think would be an appropriate tool for your project that will tell us about what you are doing and it will also help to guide us where we are going with Public Works in this. There’s no right answer, but we appreciate you researching what you think would work.

  1. Can the regional partnership build upon a district career advisory committee?

Yes.

  1. In the quasi experimental model does each partnership need a control group?

It will be difficult to find a control group for the kinds of integrated work that we are doing here. To find a control group that is receiving the same treatment as these projects, would be difficult. Public works would recommend that we are going to focus on pre-, mid-, and post assessments, mostly to determine progression of both teachers and students.

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Fiscal

  1. May CaMSP grant funding be used to purchase hardware and or software?

The purpose of the CaMSP funding is to research professional development offered to in-service teacher participants. Therefore, while the funding may pay for the cost of training teacher participants on hardware or software, other/match funds must be used to actually purchase any hardware or software needed.

  1. The Budget forms provided in the RFA cover nearly four performance years and there appears to be overlap each year. How do we report the overlap?

The budget forms are set up to capture costs/planned expenditures for activities relative to each particular Cycle/performance year. While there is overlap in terms of time, there is no overlap in funding. Funding follows the activity and must be charged accordingly.

For example, in July or August of Cycle 2/performance year 2 there will likely be expenditures to close out Cycle 1/performance year 1 which must be charged to the January 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015 budget and expenditures for Cycle 2/performance year 2 Summer Intensive hours which must be charged to the July 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016 budget. If you would like further clarification, please call me and we can walk through it.

  1. The IHE we are partnering with typically charges 23 percent indirect. Is this allowable?

No, a maximum of 8 percent indirect is allowed for this training grant.

  1. How much should be budgeted for our project’s local evaluation?

All projects must allocate 4 percent of their grant ($20,000 for a $500,000 grant) in their budgets for statewide evaluator’s oversight of and assistance with local evaluation.

  1. Is the match requirement based upon 50 percent of the maximum available for a project ($500,000) or 50 percent of a project’s requested budget?

Match is based upon the amount requested by a CaMSP grant project application.

  1. Is there a limit of 50 teacher participants? We think we can get 75-100 but would need to get additional funding, is the 50 teacher per project firm?

No, there is no limit on the number of teacher participants. However, the maximum funding is $500,000. The funding formula is $10,000 per teacher participant. While we encourage you to recruit as many teachers as possible to account for attrition, any more than 50 teachers would require in-kind funding to pay for their participation.

  1. What would you consider matched funds? Do infrastructure contributions count?

Yes, it’s inkind and matching funds. So please show us how you are matching. It’s not hard to show match if you sit down and think about what kind of things your school and district need to do to implement this grant. You will find that there are many things they must do that are over and above what the rest of the school provides. Keep in mind that it must be over and above what the rest of the schools and the districts get, to be a matching fund.

  1. Can you provide some options for small county offices and districts that now have to provide the directors salary per the guidelines of the RFA?

Pull together a consortium and all of you pay a part of the salary. You can pay it through other grants you receive as a consortium. In-kind funding doesn’t have to be from general funds from one district, it can be the whole group coming together with ways to fund. For example, if you have other Title II funding, if you receive Perkins funding, just be creative in the ways you do it. This is considerably less money than we have allocated in the past for this project, but considerably more than anybody else is getting considering that a lot of the categorical programs have been folded into the local control funding formula. So this is a compromise, this grant is an experiment to see what we can do and hopefully it will be sustainable. This is one of our sustainability strategies so that the director doesn’t go away when the funding goes away.

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Questions: STEM Office | stem@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-5847 
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