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iPD Challenge: Leveraging Network Partnerships



RFP Summary

RFP: SOL1109186

Call open for pre-proposals: March 10, 2014

Statement of Interests due: April 11, 2014

Selected organizations invited to apply for grant through a formal RFP:  April 21, 2014

Final grant proposals (by invitation only) due: May 9, 2014

To review the full RFP please click here


Teachers are at the center of our College Ready strategy: from better preparing teachers to enter the profession, to providing current teachers with the tools and supports they need to continually improve their practice. The Common Core, new evaluation systems, and new blended learning technologies are bringing new challenges and opportunities for teachers but we know they need much more robust support systems if they are to alter their practices in order to dramatically increase student success in their classrooms.

Two years ago the College Ready Work team launched an effort focused on redesigning professional development systems in districts as a way to more systematically support teachers.  We called this work “iPD.”  With input from existing partners and consultants, we identified a set of conditions and components for an “iPD” system that is more personalized and calls for higher levels of teacher engagement and collaboration (see Exhibit A).  Fourteen districts and charter management organizations, along with a small group of technical support providers, began the first year of design, planning and implementation to transform their organization through an iPD Challenge. Districts include Jefferson County, Long Beach, Fresno, NYC, DC, Denver Public Schools, Bridgeport, New Haven and Tulsa.  The Charter Management Organizations are Strive, Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, Green Dot, Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC), and Knowledge is Power Prep (KIPP).

The iPD Challenge is designed to help districts:

  • Create much more effective learning systems that include choices and higher quality content, a balance of individual and collective learning, and higher levels of teacher commitment and ownership, informed by more sophisticated data analyses.
    • Increase district use of more effective models of delivery (including use of in-practice feedback, video, simulations, online and blended learning courses, etc.) and new forms of teacher collaboration (i.e. professional learning experiences designed by teachers and led by teachers) to accelerate implementation of the Common Core.
    • Build systems and processes for 1) optimizing existing resources (people, money and time) so the iPD systems are sustainable and supported by teachers; 2) tracking the quality, cost, and efficacy of professional development ; 3) creating supportive policies and structures that remove barriers to innovations that foster high quality teacher learning; and 4) supporting committed leaders in implementation.
    • Create more scalable solutions that travel across networks quickly and more broadly.  All participating districts belong to at least one network and will commit to solutions that can be used across multiple networks rather than boutique solutions that can only be used in one place.
      • Demonstrate how professional learning systems connect specifically to improvement of instruction and learning by individuals and groups (schools, district-wide).

Purpose and Goals

If we are to scale the iPD initiative beyond our direct investment sites, we know we must rely on many partners in the PD ecosystem.  The purpose of this RFP is to invite innovative network partners who have strong district affiliations to join us in our effort to redesign PD systems in districts.  Our goals are to identify new partners and a variety of roles networks might play in scaling components of iPD initiative. 


Network partners are organizations that support multiple school districts and/or charter management organizations, and have a commitment or interest in helping a subset of their members redesign their professional learning systems.

Grant Amount and Uses

Grants will be awarded proportionately to scope, approach, potential reach and scale.  A range for the grants will be identified after the letters of inquiry are received.  Grant awards could be phased, in recognition of an agile design/pilot/implementation cycle if appropriate to the specific work proposed.

Grants can be used for the following but are not limited to:

  • Develop and implement innovative solutions to spread awareness and assess interest in iPD system redesign within your existing member community.
  • Help identified districts assess their readiness and develop strategic implementation plans for iPD system redesign.  The foundation has developed a readiness assessment tool.  Networks may opt to use their own existing tools, or a combination of both.
  • Provide technical assistance on a specific element of iPD to your member community (see system map Exhibit A in RFP).

Experiment with implementation of one of the iPD system redesign components (i.e. new digital technology and tools for coaching).

Network Facilitator Commitments

  • Participate in face to face and virtual knowledge sharing sessions as part of a greater iPD community.
  • Capture case studies & learnings from participants.
  • Participate in evaluation (metrics and/or research relevant to your proposal).

Statement of Interest - How to Apply

Due by 5:00 PST April 11, 2014

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. Select “If you have received an invitation… you may respond here.” on the home page and enter the following information:

Request ID: SOL1109186

Access Code: education2014

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 internal database. After you use it once to submit your documents, you will send all subsequent documents as attachments via email.

Please direct any questions to

Three (3) pages maximum

In three pages or less:

  • Describe your organization: mission, membership (number of districts/teachers served/demographics) and current priorities.
  • Tell us how your work relates to professional development and why this RFP is of interest to you.
  • Discuss your previous contributions/interest in this field as well as capacity to lead this effort.
  • Tell us how you would approach supporting/working with districts/CMOs who want to redesign their PD systems.  What specific aspects of iPD are of interest to you?
  • Identify any potential districts that you may work with.


  • March 10, 2014: Release of Statement of Interest
  • March 25, 2014: Mandatory RFP Webinar and Q&A
  • April 11, 2014: Statement of Interest (2-3 pgs.) due to the Foundation
  • April 21, 2014:  Selected organizations invited to apply for grant through a formal RFP
  • April  24 & 25, 2014: Phone interviews, as needed with applicants
  • May 9, 2014:  Final grant proposals (10-15 pgs.) due to the Foundation
  • May 30, 2014: Grant agreement send to awardees


Funding will be awarded proportionately to potential reach and scale.

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be evaluated and awards issued on the strength of their proposals and supporting materials.  We will select networks based on our priority geographies, capacity and vision for the work, and alignment to iPD.

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