Technical Assistance Webinar Questions and AnswersAnswers to questions from the Request for Applications (RFA): Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) Grant Technical Assistance Webinar.
Will either a template or guidelines for the Cover Page be provided?
Applications are submitted through an online survey. A Cover Page is not required.
The formatting of the narrative is not clearly stated in the Request for Applications (RFA). Are there specific font or margin requirements? Is there a page limit for any sections?
The online application can be accessed on the California Department of Education (CDE) CLSD RFA web page. There are no specific formatting requirements, but applicants must adhere to the character limits in each part of the application narrative—the survey will not collect data beyond the character limit. Applicants should address the prompts fully and refer to the Evaluation Rubric in Appendix B. Be sure to also refer to the Program Application section in the RFA for a description and additional details for each part of the narrative.
Is there a limit to the number of awards granted to one county office of education (COE)?
A COE may only receive one grant award as a Literacy Lead Agency.
Are school districts allowed to apply for the grant?
Lead applicants for CLSD grants must be COEs.
Can you include more than one priority in your application (since they are related)?
Each application should focus on the statewide literacy priority at the age/grade span selected. Priorities from other age and grade spans may be incorporated, but should not be the primary focus of the proposal.
What is the goal of the grant program?
The goal of the grant program is to align local and state literacy initiatives through a coordinated effort to build state and local capacity over the life of the project and to build local capacity to establish, align, and implement local literacy initiatives that emphasize family and community involvement to address the needs of California’s most vulnerable children.
Will COEs be able to access the statewide literacy needs assessment data for the districts within the COE service area?
The 2019 statewide literacy needs assessment survey was voluntary and a summary of data collected is available within the State Literacy Plan (DOCX). COE applicants are encouraged to engage with local districts and schools to gather data specific to the statewide literacy priorities outlined in the RFA. COEs may choose to follow the Comprehensive Statewide Literacy Needs Assessment (DOCX) process developed by the CDE, or engage in their own local process.
State-level assessment and other required data collections may be accessed through the CDE website. Examples include:
Does the evaluator need to be an external agency?
There is no requirement that grantees hire an external evaluator, however there must be a solid, objective plan in place for evaluating all grant activities (see Part 6 of the RFA).
Can a COE collaborate/form a consortium with COEs outside of their region?
Yes, Literacy Lead Agency applicants may form consortia with other COEs, Institutes of Higher Education (IHEs), community organizations, etc., to promote statewide collaboration and build expertise in literacy instruction.
Can a COE apply to be a Literacy Lead Agency and also be part of a consortia in another lead applicant’s proposal?
A COE can apply to be a Literacy Lead Agency and also participate in a consortium on another lead applicant’s proposal. However, it is important to note that during the selection process, the CDE will select the seven Literacy Lead Agencies that best meet grant objectives, one of which is geographic diversity.
What if my COE has limited expertise and/or capacity to act as a statewide lead, but have a plan in place and strong partnerships to grow into that role?
The CDE encourages potential applicants to think deeply about their current literacy work with districts and how they might improve it, in alignment with one of the seven state literacy priorities, with additional resources over the next three years.
Are Literacy Lead Agencies required to partner with an IHE?
Partnerships should be determined based on a variety of factors to ensure the activities and resources proposed enable the applicant to successfully carry out projects with local districts and eventually scale statewide. Applicants are strongly encouraged to partner with organizations with demonstrated expertise in literacy, which include IHEs. Ultimately, applicants should carefully evaluate their own capacity in the literacy priority identified and build partnerships that best support that priority.
Does each COE in the consortium work with a district or just the lead COE?
The Local Literacy Lead Agency (lead COE) should clearly outline in its application how the partner COEs will work with one or more districts within their regions.
For the letters of support submitted with the application, must these be specific to the CLSD work, or may they be existing agreements between COEs and partner local educational agencies (LEAs) related to school improvement and/or literacy support?
All formal agreements related to CLSD grant activities must be developed specifically for the CLSD grant program.
When applying as a consortium of COE’s for this grant opportunity, will each COE need to submit the required documents or just the lead applicant?
Only the lead applicant will submit the required documents.
If multiple COEs apply, how do the funds get dispersed to partner COEs and other partner agencies?
The CDE will award seven grants to Local Literacy Lead Agencies, as described in the RFA. Each Literacy Lead Agency will disseminate funds to members of a COE consortium and other partners.
Can funding be used to hire additional COE staff?
Yes, please refer to Part 4: Project Staff of the RFA.
Part 2 of the application says that the work and funding cannot supplant existing work. Is that referring to COEs or the districts we are working with?
The supplement not supplant requirement applies to all uses of funding from the CLSD grant.
Can kindergarten through grade five funding be used for instructional coaches? Would the hiring of literacy coaches be viewed as sustainable?
Yes, funding may be used to hire project staff. Projects will be required to utilize evidence-based professional learning strategies, which include coaching and teacher leadership opportunities, for teachers and paraprofessionals in their regions to support the priorities established in the State Literacy Plan. The proposal should also include plans for sustainability after the grant activities end. Table 1 on pages 6–8 of the RFA has more information about allowable uses of funds and the Quality Professional Learning Standards provide guidance on high-quality professional learning.
Will one grant be awarded for each of the seven statewide literacy priorities?
Yes. The grants will be awarded as follows:
- Birth to age five projects that support early childhood education (ECE) programs that promote literacy-rich environments and experiences and support the quality of programs and their capacity to support early language and literacy skills, as well as to increase family support by increasing knowledge, skills, and confidence through family-centered curriculum and literacy activities with special attention to linguistic diversity and equity and access for all. (One grant of $5,626,867)
- Transitional kindergarten through grade five (TK–5) programs that build teacher capacity for Tier 1 literacy instruction, including foundational skills, reading comprehension, and best first reading and writing instruction. (One grant of $5,001,660)
- TK–5 programs that build school capacity for effective literacy and comprehensive English Language Development (ELD) for English learners, including opportunities to develop biliteracy and primary language instruction whenever possible. (One grant of $5,001,660)
- TK–5 programs that build school capacity to support students struggling with reading, including, but not limited to, students with disabilities and students with dyslexia. (One grant of $5,001,660)
- Grades six through twelve (6–12) programs that build teacher capacity across disciplines for literacy instruction, including peer to peer coaching models. (One grant of $5,001,660)
- Grades 6–12 programs that build school capacity for effective literacy and comprehensive ELD for English learners, including opportunities to develop biliteracy and primary language instruction whenever possible. (One grant of $5,001,660)
- Grades 6–12 programs that promote and build school capacity for effective literacy instruction for students with disabilities. (One grant of $5,001,660)
What qualifies as a Needs Assessment? Can a universal screener be used?
The California Comprehensive State Literacy Plan (DOCX) includes detailed information about needs assessments, of which universal screeners can be a part. Applicants are also encouraged to refer to California’s Comprehensive Literacy Needs Assessment (DOCX), which can be adapted for use at the local level.
Please clarify the equitable participation of private schools and if they need to be included in the Needs Assessment and/or the project description.
COEs and consortia of COEs must consult with officials of private schools located within their geographic service area to identify the needs of eligible private school students and teachers, consistent with the requirements in Section 8501 of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The consultation must be timely and meaningful.
What kinds of family literacy strategies are allowed in the grant?
Proposals should provide detail on evidence-based family literacy strategies that are responsive to the needs of the LEAs that will be served throughout the life of the grant. There are many resources for family literacy strategies in the California Comprehensive State Literacy Plan (DOCX) and associated state guidance documents.