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SOAR Act Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Notice of Funding Availability
Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act Grants
CFDA: 84.370C and FAIN: U370C150002
Release Date for Applications: June 6, 2016
Notice of Intent to Apply Due: June 17, 2016
GRANT APPLICATIONS DUE: July 15, 2016 by 5 p.m.

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will issue a Request for Applications to support District of Columbia public charter schools and third-party non-profit charter support organizations that have a substantial impact on the DC public charter school sector. The purpose of funds provided under the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act is to improve school performance and educational outcomes for public charter school students in the District and to provide facility financing in order to increase the number of high-quality public charter school seats. Unless specified, all funds will be awarded through competitive grant competitions.

The following competitive funding opportunities are available:

Academic Quality Grants to Charter Support Organizations
Eligible applicants include non-profit third party organizations and charter school support organizations that have a demonstrated history of success working with DC charter schools on similar projects. Applicants must use funds to support direct and rapid impact on overall charter school academic achievement or on the achievement of historically underperforming subgroups.

Academy Quality Grants to Public Charter Schools
Eligible applicants will be DC public charter schools. Applicants must use funds to increase the proficiency rates and success of public charter school students, either school-wide or for specific subgroups. Project plans must be tailored to meet the specific needs of each charter school and the proposed theory of action must be supported by data. Proposals must also align with the needs identified in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Waiver and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP).

Investing in Public Facility Projects
Eligible applicants will be DC public charter schools seeking funds to support the renovation or reconstruction of a former District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) or other District-owned facility released by the District for lease by public charter schools or to renovate a facility owned by the charter school; eligible applicants must provide documentation of site control. Renovations/reconstruction must be for academic and/or physical fitness space.

Influencing Replication and Growth
Eligible applicants must be seeking to expand into a new campus and cannot be eligible for or be a current Title V, Part B Charter Schools Programs Planning and Implementation subgrantee. Applicants must be a DC public charter school ranked Tier 1 and Tier 2 with a DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB) Performance Management Framework score of 50 or above. Funds must be used to support the replication and expansion of new charter schools by funding planning and development of a new facility to increase the number of high-quality seats available to students.

In addition, the following non-competitive funding opportunity is available:

Academic Quality Grants to Support Early Childhood Education
Eligible applicants will be DC Public Charter School LEAs serving 3- and 4-year-olds. Formula-based funding will be available to support LEAs that serve 3- and 4-year-olds to assist with implementation of supplementary activities that reinforce school readiness, including the development of literacy and mathematics skills, with emphasis on supports to students to increase academic achievement. Funded activities should enhance the quality of preschool or pre-k programming. Eligible LEAs will be pre-identified by OSSE and must have at least a 40 percent enrollment of students in preschool and/or pre-k programs and have met the Title I poverty threshold.

At least $14.09 million in grant funds will be available for these grants. The itemization is expected to be as follows:

  • Academic Quality ̶ $9,303,314.34
    • Early Childhood Education – $603,314.34
    • Charter School Support Organizations ̶ $2,500,000.00
    • Public Charter Schools ̶ $6,200,000.00
  • Investing in Public Facility Projects ̶ $4,086,685.66
  • Influencing Replication and Growth ̶ $700,000.00

Determinations regarding the number of competitive grant awards will be based on the quality and number of applications received and available funding. Successful applicants may be awarded amounts less than requested.

A review panel or panels will be convened to review, score, and rank each application for a competitive grant. The review panel(s) will be composed of external neutral, qualified, professional individuals selected for their expertise, knowledge or related experiences. Each application will be scored against a rubric and applications will have multiple reviewers to ensure accurate scoring. Upon completion of its review, the panel(s) shall make recommendations for awards based on the scoring rubric(s). The State Superintendent or her designee will make all final award decisions.

For more information or questions, please contact:

Katherine Cox
810 First St. NE, Eighth Floor
Email: [email protected]

The Requests for Applications (RFAs) for the competitive grant programs as well as the instructions for completing the Early Childhood formula grant application will be available on OSSE’s website. All applications will be submitted through the Enterprise Grants Management System (EGMS) at grants.osse.dc.gov.