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Texas School Ready Comprehensive Request for Applications

The Children’s Learning Institute (CLI) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is seeking Texas community organizations, child cares, schools, and others to help at-risk children be more prepared for kindergarten through Texas School Ready (TSR) Project. Since 2003, nearly 500,000 children have been positively impacted by TSR Comprehensive - join us and help children in your community!

Every two years, CLI solicits applications from local and regional community organizations that are interested in serving as TSR Comprehensive Lead Agents. In this role, the organizations serve as the hub for TSR Comprehensive in their community, providing direct service delivery to partnered programs using the TSR model. Multiple research studies have confirmed that Texas School Ready positively impacts teacher instructional practices in the classroom, regardless of setting (public school pre-k, Head Start, and private child care classrooms). Teachers participating in TSR are more responsive to the individual needs of the children in their classrooms. They show increases in their use of language-building strategies, including the quality of book reading, general conversations with children, and the use of oral language instruction to build these skills. Even greater gains have been found in emergent literacy instructional practices. Teachers also show better responsive teaching practices, organization of their centers, and the use of lesson plans. 

TSR Comprehensive 2019-21 Request for Applications

Lead Agents partner with early childhood programs in their local communities to provide the following services. When delivered together, these services and materials have been proven to have a positive impact on the instructional practices of early childhood teachers and the school readiness of the children in their classrooms: 

TSR is currently soliciting applications from prospective Lead Agents for the 2019-21 grant cycle. Click below to download the Request for Applications document to learn about TSR Comprehensive and the application process.

RFA button

Applications for TSR Comprehensive are due Friday, April 26, 2019 at 5:00 PM CDT. All applications must be submitted through the TSR Comprehensive application survey.

Direct Link to the application survey:
https://uthtmc.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dgqJfpyIjs9HloF

All questions must be submitted by Friday, April 19, 2019 to tsr.rfa@uth.tmc.edu.

Applications will be reviewed and pre-award letters will be sent to Lead Agents by Friday, May 24, 2019.

Pre-Application Webinar

The Children’s Learning Institute hosted a Pre-Application webinar on Monday, April 1, 2019. All current and prospective lead agents are strongly encouraged to view the webinar.

View the recorded session: https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/5361624814382113032

View the slides from the pre-application webinar.

Learn More about TSR Comprehensive

TSR Coaching Model

Integrating Professional Development Content and Formative Assessment with the Coaching Process: The Texas School Ready Model

Recruitment Documents for Partner Programs

Prospective Lead Agents can use the following information to recruit early childhood programs for TSR Comprehensive. All applications must be accompanied by at least 20 letters of intent from potential partner programs.

Direct link to the Letter of Intent survey: https://uthtmc.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_28Ymorq1bedKQW9 

Recruitment Documents and Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the RFA? Review the information below or send your questions to tsr.rfa@uth.tmc.edu. Our team will update this section with additional information, as needed. Updated: April 19, 2019

Who can apply to be a Lead Agent under TSR Comprehensive?

Lead agents must be state, regional, or local organizations and/or have 501(c)3 status. Eligible applicants include:

  • Public School Districts (see RFA for specific information if you are a school district applying)
  • Open enrollment Charter Schools (see RFA for specific information if you are a charter school applying)
  • Head Start Programs
  • Childcare Programs (for profit/nonprofit, faith and community based)
  • Local Government
  • Community Based Organizations (CBO)
  • Colleges/Universities
  • Education Service Centers (ESC)
  • Local Workforce Development Board (LWDB)

For clarification on your organization's eligibility status, please contact us at tsr.rfa@uth.tmc.edu.

As a public school district or charter school, can we apply under TSR Comprehensive?

Yes, public school districts and charter schools may submit applications to implement TSR Comprehensive. Those who are interested in becoming a Lead Agency through the TSR Comprehensive RFA must keep in mind that only childcare and Head Start teachers will receive the full service model (coaching, incentives, and materials). ISDs and charter schools that have entered or are willing to enter into integrated partnerships with child care and/or Head Start are encouraged to apply for TSR Lead Agency status and supports. Public School teachers that are part of a TSR Lead Agency Partnership will have access to CLI Engage for progress monitoring and professional development but not coaching, incentives, and materials. 

How is the territory or the jurisdiction of a Lead Agent identified?

Potential lead agents select their own “community” to serve. We do not pre-determine areas, allowing lead agents to select their own community of providers to serve, which may be based on regional or local boundaries or other determinants as align with your organization’s goals and mission.

If we would like expand coaching services in my community, would I do so through this application?

Yes, it is appropriate to provide us a picture of your ideal service delivery levels through this application, although funding may or may not be available, depending on the needs statewide. Your proposed implementation plan is reviewed and considered during the application review process.

Can we propose to offer both face-to-face and remote coaching in our community?

Yes! Prospective lead agents are encouraged to consider both coaching models to provide service delivery to their community. You could propose to serve some early childhood programs through face-to-face coaching and others with remote coaching. Regardless of the TSR coaching model, teachers will receive intensive, individualized support tailored to their specific instructional needs. In their applications, prospective Lead Agents must indicate and explain their coaching implementation selection in the online application survey. Prospective Lead Agents proposing to serve early childhood programs more than 50 miles from the lead agent’s office are strongly encouraged to consider remote coaching. The best candidates for remote coaching are highly motivated, with some technology skills, since teachers interact with their coaches online and through phone calls. 

Is it possible for more than one lead agent to be selected to serve a specific area or community if we demonstrate a need in the application?

Yes, two eligible organizations can submit a joint application. Another option, depending on your community size, is for each prospective lead agent to select a specific community to support, such as more urban area(s), remote/rural areas, or specific neighborhoods or towns. Depending on the size for the communities, we could support multiple lead agencies in some regions. Be sure to specify the community you would like to target/serve in your application, and you could even include how this could support or supplement other activities happening in your area.

Are income eligibility requirements at program-level or classroom level?

Program-level. As a community, you must serve at least 75% low income children. Each participating site must serve at least 50% at-risk, which allows for recruitment flexibility across all your participants. Both definitions for low income and at-risk are defined using the public prekindergarten eligibility requirements from the Texas Education Agency.

What are their eligibility requirements for home-based child care providers to participate?

You can recruit licensed or registered home-based child care providers to receive specific services through TSR Comprehensive. Listed providers are welcome to access the BEECH courses online for free (they are publicly accessible), but are not eligible to receive additional services.

Can only home-based providers receive services related to BEECH? Does this mean Infant/Toddler teachers will not be allowed to participate?

Only home-based child care providers can receive services (beyond access to the free online courses), including the face-to-face orientation training and incentive of the BEECH kit (provided upon completion of the BEECH online courses). Infant and toddler teachers are able to access the BEECH modules, as well as specific training courses for infant and toddler teachers, on CLI Engage for free. As stated in the RFA, lead agents need to ensure that all teachers at sites participating in TSR Comprehensive have active CLI Engage accounts, so they can access online resources.

Will home-based provider participants be eligible for incentive pay?

For home-based providers, incentives are provided by the BEECH kit, delivered upon completion of the online BEECH courses. Additional incentives are not provided through the grant.

What is the minimum number of children that must be present for home-based providers?

There is no required number of children to be served by participating home-based providers. The only requirements for student participation are for participating preschool classrooms in center-based programs, Head Start, or partnered public school programs.

Do the current participating classrooms filling out the LOI count towards the 20 that are needed for the application?

Yes, any schools with participating classrooms that would like to continue participation for 2019-2021 can count towards the minimum of 20 letters of intent (LOI) for your application. The LOI is also an opportunity for continuing schools to recommend an additional classroom serving preschool-aged children to possibly participate in the future.

Are early childhood programs that previously participated in TSR Comprehensive eligible to be recruited?

Yes, sites that previously participated may be recruited as part of your application. Be sure to confirm that the site is still eligible to participate according to the current eligibility requirements outlined in the RFA, and ensure they indicate previous participation on the letter of intent.

We encourage lead agents to recruit new early childhood programs, so we have a greater reach across the state. Within a specific school or program, a classroom that previously participated with same teacher in place now should not be recruited to participate again, since TSR Comprehensive is a three-year teacher professional development program following a specific model; however, if this center has other preschool classrooms with teachers who did not previously participate, those are eligible.

How can public school or charter school classrooms receive services (including coaching and classroom materials) under TSR Comprehensive?

Public school or charter school classrooms may only receive TSR Comprehensive services (including coaching and classroom materials) if the specific classrooms are in an integrated partnership/collaboration with child care or Head Start. Public schools are eligible for no-cost access to all the tools and resources on CLI Engage, including the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System, classroom observation tools, and professional development originally developed for use in the Texas School Ready Project. Visit cliengage.org for more information.

If we recruit a partnered classroom on a public school campus, can we serve other classrooms at the same school?

Only partnership/collaboration classrooms on a public school campus may participate. If a school has 10 pre-k classrooms and only 3 are partnered (for example with Head Start), only the 3 partnered classrooms are eligible. You could propose to include the ISD-only teachers in eCIRCLE classes as part of your implementation plan, space permitting, or sustainability plan, if you choose to do so. However, these classrooms are teachers are not eligible for coaching or materials through TSR Comprehensive.

Who has to complete the letter of intent?

All partner programs where you have recruited classrooms to participate in the project need to complete the letter of intent online survey. If the lead agency has current classrooms that plan to continue their participation, they too need to fill out the survey.

Additionally, any home-based child care providers you recruit to receive services through TSR Comprehensive must complete the home-based child care provider LOI (see the RFA for service delivery to home-based child care providers).

Does the letter of intent need to be submitted online?

Yes, the LOI must be submitted through the LOI survey. Please ensure that your interested programs list your organization as the potential lead agent.

Should letters of intent (LOIs) be submitted prior to submission of application?

Letters of intent from providers must be submitted by the application deadline, Friday, April 26, 2019 at 5:00 CDT.

Will Lead Agents be able to see when or which specific program partners submit a LOI?

At any time, you can contact us at tsr.rfa@uth.tmc.edu to request a list of the sites that have submitted LOIs. We strongly encourage you to remind them to list your organization’s name in the field for “prospective lead agent.” We use information submitted in this field to confirm that your organization has met the minimum recruitment expectation.

Can toddler classrooms participate in TSR?

Only preschool classrooms (those serving three- and four-year-old children) are eligible for TSR Comprehensive service delivery. If a Lead Agent is interested in providing TSR services to toddler classrooms, remember that all classrooms at participating schools/programs have access to the tools and resources on CLI Engage, including professional development resources for infant and toddler teachers.

If our organization is selected as a lead agent, can we recruit other schools/programs that may have been attached to other lead agent applications?

Yes, if your organization is selected as a lead agent, you can choose to partner with additional programs that may not have submitted an LOI as part of your application. Most likely, you will need to recruit additional programs beyond the minimum number required for the application post-award. In this recruitment, programs who committed to another lead agent’s application or others who were not recruited at all may join the community, as long as they meet eligibility requirements (outlined in the RFA).

Does the role of organizational leader include a reimbursement for salary?

No, but this role receives a stipend of $4,000 under the TSR Comprehensive model.

Will fair market value of office space be reimbursed or is it flat rate?

Please refer to Appendix 2 of the RFA for more information.

For face-to-face trainings, does CLI cover all costs?

CLI covers the cost of the materials and trainers.

Will teachers who attend the CIRCLE Preschool Foundation Training receive the CIRCLE Activity Manual?

Yes.

Are all participating classrooms required to use the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System, including Head Start-ISD partnership classrooms?

Yes, all participating classrooms will be required to use the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System and assess the measures we outline in the RFA document. We have almost 900 school districts using CPM, and many Head Start programs, as well. Through our online platform CLI Engage, those organizations can share data for shared classrooms between the ISD, Head Start, and TSR, for instance, if they are all using CPM.

We have some information here on the CLI Engage website: https://cliengage.org/public/training/support/collaboration-and-partnership-classrooms/

Should we include PPCD classrooms in our application?

No, these classrooms are not an ideal fit for TSR Comprehensive model, although Lead Agents should encourage these classrooms to access the free resources on CLI Engage. 

Is there a maximum amount or percentage for indirect, management, or financial costs? Can additional funds be requested?

Please refer to the draft reimbursement guidelines in Appendix 2 of the RFA. Additional IDC, financial, or management reimbursement is not permitted.

If a program wants to request additional reimbursement (page 29 of RFA), should that request be placed in the funding application or should it be requested after the award it made?

If you would like to increase your service delivery, such as increasing the number of staff to be able to support a larger community, be sure to recruit enough classrooms to support this proposed expansion. For other reimbursement, please include this request as part of your application and implementation plan (question 7), with all applicable justification. As outlined in Appendix 2, CLI may approve or deny any request based on justification and funding.

Will CLI allow programs to modify their funding as needed (example, if a budget line item is not expended, will a request to modify the budget be allowed)?

Modifications may be proposed by awarded lead agents, but, as outlined in Appendix 2, CLI may approve or deny any request based on justification and funding.

Is there an anticipated salary increase for mentors built in?

TSR field staff salary cannot exceed the maximum amount allowed in the reimbursement guidelines, Appendix 2 of the RFA.

Can you explain the difference between the "Coordinator" and "Coach" roles in the grant?

Please refer to the RFA, Appendix 1, for job descriptions and responsibilities for the TSR Comprehensive Coordinator and Coach roles. Depending on your community, the coordinator may also provide coaching, in addition to managing the local delivery of TSR Comprehensive.

Important Dates

Application Deadline: Friday, April 26, 2019 at 5:00 PM CDT

Pre-Application Webinar: Monday, April 1, 2019 at 10:30 AM CDT

Question Deadline: Friday, April 19, 2019

Awards announced by Friday, May 24, 2019

Questions? Contact us at: tsr.rfa@uth.tmc.edu 

 

NOTE: The RFA is for organizations interested in delivering TSR Comprehensive to a community of early childhood programs. If you are with an early childhood program and would like to receive TSR Comprehensive for your teachers, please contact us at texasschoolready@uth.tmc.edu to join our waiting list.