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Teacher Practice Networks: The Key to Scaling the Common Core

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RFP Summary

Applications due Monday, April 14, 2014, 5:00 pm PT

To review the full RFP please click here.

Background

While nearly every state in the country has adopted the Common Core Standards in mathematics and literacy, many teachers are still uncertain about how to put them into practice. At the same time, we know that informal and formal teacher networks are perhaps the most trusted and often-cited source of information for teachers in accessing instructional resources.   The Common Core calls for teachers and local administrators to make a set of fundamental instructional shifts in both literacy and mathematics to enable students to meet the new standards. While there have been some good models of implementation of the Common Core in discrete areas, there is still a large need to provide widespread access to good tools to teachers across the country. 

 This RFP is designed to dramatically increase the reach and impact of teacher practice networks focused on supporting teachers to implement the Common Core.   This is the second RFP issued by the College Ready Work team in two years focused on increasing the capacity of teacher practice networks.  We have a network of over 20 teacher practice networks based on an RFP last year with a similar focus and new grantees would join this robust community of practice.


About the College Ready Work Team

The College Ready Work team focuses on creating systems that support good teachers, that help average teachers get better, and new teachers learn the profession so they can be good.  We make investments in tools to improve teacher practice and collaboration, as well as invest in districts/networks interested in redesigning their professional development systems.  We are trying to improve both the supply and demand for high quality professional development and teacher facing tools in the marketplace.   We constantly seek partners who treat teachers as professionals and in particular, use teachers as designers in an effort to increase their individual and collective capacity to accelerate student success.

What is a Teacher Practice Network?

The definition of a teacher practice network for the purpose of this grant is any organization that works directly with teachers having a focus on improving teacher instructional practice.  This grant focuses on networks that reach large numbers of teachers and the teacher practice is focused on improving work around the instructional shifts identified in the Common Core State Standards.  

Goals for this RFP

The Foundation seeks to:

  • Build on early Common Core math and literacy direct implementation strategies developed by the Literacy and Math Design Collaboratives (LDC/MDC) by sponsoring new partners to increase the reach and impact of the LDC/MDC practices and tools Support other innovative approaches to implementing the Common Core that could be implemented across an organization’s network.
  • Identify scalable solutions to supporting large numbers of teachers that travel across networks quickly and broadly.  While face-to-face training is important, we seek organizations that which to experiment with and/or broaden their reach by using different forms of digital technologies such as remote coaching, collaborative platforms or online courses, etc.
  • Measure the impact that active/effective teacher practice networks play in improving teacher effectiveness and student success in specific locations.  We seek to expand the impact of teacher practice networks in districts and states where we may make additional grants to SEAs, LEAs and CMOs to deepen implement Common Core and/or teacher feedback, development and evaluation systems.

Applicant Eligibility

We are accepting applications from organizations that have as part of their core mission and activity to engage large numbers of teachers to share promising instructional practices, research and knowledge.  Organizations that received funding from the Foundation under the “Accelerating the Common Core RFP” that was released in 2013 are not eligible for funding under this RFP.  Applicants must provide evidence that the tools and resources they are promoting within their network are strongly aligned to the Common Core based on research, data or teacher performance measures. Applicants must also demonstrate that they are able to meet the data collection requirements.   Successful applicants must support middle and high school teachers as part of their overall network.  Applications from single member LLCs and individuals will not accepted.

Requirements

Applicants must commit to the following:

  • Robust Implementation of the Common Core by 2015 in their network: Have a rigorous plan and evidence that the majority of teachers in your network have access to supports to drive the instructional shifts required by the Common Core by the end of this grant. 
  • Use a set of common evaluation measures for tracking and improving implementation/impact on teacher practice and student achievement, designed to help us learn about changes in teacher practice due to the Common Core and capture teacher voice around their experience in making these changes. We will require winning applicants to cooperate in the research/measurement of their work
  • Scalable Solutions:  The proposed approach must demonstrate high potential to reach 1000+ of teachers and tens of thousands of students at a reasonable cost. 
  • Participation in knowledge-sharing activities with other RFP grant recipients; possibly including a commitment to a summer 2015 convening.
  • Definition of a financial sustainability plan that describes how systems will/can continue post BMGF funding.
  • Formally document and share learnings with your peers (e.g., via existing collaboration networks, presentations at professional conferences)
  • Secure additional funding to support this work during and beyond the grant period from other sources as needed

Award

$100,000 – $300,000 over 12-18 months to support implementation of the Common Core across a robust teacher network.  Funding will be awarded proportionately to potential reach and impact.

Selection Criteria

Only applications from eligible applicants will be reviewed.  Applicants will be evaluated and awards issued based on:

  • the potential reach in terms of numbers of teachers, actively engaged in dialog and activities oriented towards improving practice.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the common core instructional shifts and the implications for teacher practice.
  • Familiarity or expertise in common core supports for teachers, such as MDC/LDC, or others.
  • Demonstrated track record of designing/delivering professional development and use of communications/knowledge sharing methods that are multi-modal, and have the potential to scale quickly across large numbers of teachers within and across districts and states. 
  • Demonstrated ability to work alongside and across LEAs.

Key Dates

Activity

Due Date

Notes

RFP Open

March 17

Information can be found on Gates Foundation.org Current Grant Opportunities

RFP Webinar and Q/A

April 2, 10am PST

Webinar access information can be found below

RFP Proposals Due

April 14 – 5:00 pm PST

RFP Application documents need to be submitted through the Applicant Portal

Follow up Phone interviews

May

Phone interviews, as needed with applicants

Notification of Finalists and Declines

May

By email

Notification to Districts about Grant Awards

June

 

Webinar

The Informational Webinar Q&A session occurred on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014. To view (and/or listen) to the recording select one of the options below:

Webinar (audio and video) Playback:
Click the link to see the webinar and hear the audio: PLAY WEBINAR RECORDING

Audio Only Playback:
Call the number, enter the passcode to hear a replay of the audio only:
Replay Phone Number: (719) 457-0820
Replay Passcode: 109489927

How to Apply

Start by clicking the application link below. The first time you visit the portal you will need to create an account. After you enter your information, a temporary password will be emailed to you. Return to the portal to personalize your password and complete your account profile. 

  1. Click on the Application Portal link
  2. Create an Account
  3. Once you are logged in, select “If you have received an invitation… you may respond here.” on the home page and enter the following information: 

Request ID: SOL1109192

Access Code: education2014 

  1. Once you are on the RFP application page follow the instructions below to complete your application. 

Please Note:

  • You can save the application and return to it later by logging in to the Application Portal at any time before the submission deadline with your email address and password. The Request ID and Access Code are only necessary the first time you access the application.
  • You can only hit “submit” once using the application tool, so we suggest iterating on documents offline and submitting your final versions.
    • You will receive a confirmation email once you have successfully submitted your full application materials. If you do not receive the email (check your spam folder), please return to the portal and try again.
    • To view frequently asked questions about submitting your application, click Help on the Application Portal.
    • We use the application portal mainly to create an entry in our database. After you use it once to submit your documents, subsequent documents will be sent as attachments via email. 

Filling out the Online Application 

  1. Getting Started tab - Please review the Guideline and Reference documents noted below. 

Guidelines and Reference

Document

Purpose

A

CCSS Teacher Networks RFP

Invitation to participate and guidelines for the RFP

B

Sample Grant Agreement Terms and Conditions

Provides the Sample Terms and Conditions for the grant.  If you’re proposal is selected, you should be prepared to agree to the terms as stated in this document. 

C

Indirect Cost Policy

Provides guidance about the foundation’s Indirect Cost policy

2.  Describe Project tab - Please fill this out to the best of your ability, using the following guidelines: 

  • Project Title – a short title, including the name of the solution.
  • Project Description – a short description about the solution and any unique features.
  • Project Duration – Please consult the RFP
  • Project Amount – enter the amount you are applying for.  Please consult the RFP Information above for guidance on the maximum amount for each award.
  • Referred By – please note where you heard about this RFP. 

3.  Upload Files tab - Please download, complete and upload the documents noted below using the templates                  provided.

Templates

Document

Purpose

1

Proposal Narrative

Narrative Guidelines and template for narrative responses

2

Budget

Captures broad budget and spending categories for the work

3

Results Framework and  Results Tracker

Results Framework is used to capture a snapshot of the logical relationship between the expected outcomes and outputs and the foundation’s strategic goals

The Results Tracker is developed collaboratively to agree upon targets and on the approach to measuring and tracking results

        4.  Add Contacts tab - Please make sure you add a contact for the person who will sign the grant agreement if           you are awarded a grant in order to facilitate the award process. 

        5. Review and Submit tab – Review all the information and ensure you have uploaded all required documents         then click submit. You should receive a confirmation email (Check your spam).

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