PRIORITY NOTICE: Maine DOE Announces 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Opportunities

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce the release of a request for proposals (RFP) seeking bids from interested parties to implement comprehensive 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programming in 2021-2022.  It is anticipated that roughly $1.25M will be available to issue grant awards later this year.

Authorized under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Act of 2015, the 21st CCLC program provides competitive grant funding to support before school, after school, and summer learning programs that focus on improving the academic performance of students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12.

The primary purpose of Maine’s 21st CCLC program is to provide funding for school and community partnerships to establish or expand community learning center programs.  These programs provide students in high-need, economically-disadvantaged communities with academic tutoring and enrichment opportunities designed to complement their school-day academic program.  In addition, these programs can provide a broad array of additional support services related to overall student health and well-being.

Local 21st CCLC programs – which can be located in elementary schools, secondary schools or similarly accessible community facilities – provide high quality support services to students during non-school hours.  As such, these programs also support working parents and families by providing safe, supportive learning environments for students at times when school is not in session.

The request for proposal (RFP), which includes information regarding eligibility, program requirements, and more, is available here. An informational webinar for this RFP will be posted to the Department’s application website on January 19, 2021.  It is strongly recommended that interested parties view this presentation, in its entirety, prior to submitting a proposal for 21st CCLC program funding.

Below is the anticipated timeline for the Department’s current 21st CCLC grant competition:

Date Task
January 6, 2021 RFP Released to Public
January 19, 2021 Informational Webinar Posted Online
February 16, 2021 Deadline for Submission of Questions in Response to RFP
March 2, 2021 Interested Parties Submit Letter of Intent to Apply
April 6, 2021 Proposal Deadline
April 2020 Formal Peer Review of Proposals
May 2020 Grant Award Notifications
July 1, 2020 Grant Award Start Date

Please be advised that the dates above are subject to change.  Therefore, interested parties must consult the RFP document for the most accurate dates and deadlines regarding this opportunity.

For more information on the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program, contact State Coordinator, Travis Doughty, at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov.

Priority Notice: Public Comment Welcomed on Additional Title IV, Part A Waiver Opportunities

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) intends to apply for several new waiver options related to Title IV, Part A funds awarded to school districts for the 2020-2021 school year.

Recognizing that many schools and communities continue to face unprecedented challenges this year, the federal government has provided states with additional waiver opportunities related to Title IV, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Pursuant to the authority granted under section 8401(b) of the ESEA, the U.S. Department of Education has invited states apply for waivers for one or more of the following Title IV, Part A program requirements:

  • Section 4106(d) of Title IV, Part A of the ESEA, related to LEA needs assessments for the 2020-2021 school year;
  • Section 4106(e)(2)(C), (D), and (E) of Title IV, Part A of the ESEA, with respect to content-area spending requirements for Title IV, Part A funds awarded in the 2020-2021 school year; and/or
  • Section 4109(b) of Title IV, Part A of the ESEA, with respect to the fifteen percent (15%) spending limitation for technology infrastructure for Title IV, Part A funds awarded during the 2020-2021 school year.

The Maine DOE intends to apply for a waiver to each of the statutory requirements outlined above as part of our continued efforts to provide schools with as much flexibility as possible.  Please note, however, that all other Title IV, Part A statutory requirements not subject to these waivers would remain in effect.

Earlier this year, Maine requested and received a waiver of these provisions for funds awarded to school districts during the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years.  This was accomplished through the waiver authority of section 3511 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Unfortunately, the CARES Act did not provide any authority to extend these waivers beyond the 2019-2020 school year. Accordingly, the federal government has now made this separate opportunity available for states to further waive these requirements for Title IV, Part A funds that were awarded to school districts for the 2020-2021 school year.

As part of the statutory requirements for seeking this waiver, the Maine DOE must solicit and respond to public comment on its waiver request as well as provide evidence of the available comment period.  This 15-day public comment period shall begin on December 9, 2020 and conclude on December 23, 2020.

Comments may be submitted to: travis.w.doughty@maine.gov

Priority Notice: Maine DOE seeks public comment on waiving requirement that 21st CCLC programs operate only during non-school hours

In response to the unprecedented obstacles schools, teachers, students, and their families are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has offered an additional waiver to state education agencies, pursuant to section 4201(b)(1)(A) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).  Under Title IV, Part B of the ESEA, section 4201(b)(1)(A) requiring that 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs operate only during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session.  If granted, this waiver would allow 21st CCLC program providers in Maine to temporarily operate with greater flexibilities to better meet the needs to students and families during the 2020-2021 school year.

This waiver would grant the Maine Department of Education (DOE) temporary authority to permit its 21st CCLC programs to provide supplemental services when school is in session, but students are not receiving in-person instruction.  For example, it would be permitted that a teacher provides additional 21st CCLC-funded academic supports for a group of students during a remote learning day when those students are not otherwise engaged in facilitated instruction with their classroom teacher.

The Maine DOE continues to work diligently to support Maine’s schools and educational communities as the 2020-2021 school year begins.  Given the hybrid instructional approaches many schools have adopted this year, students may benefit from dedicated staff and enhanced resources to help with remote lessons, independent work, and other enrichment opportunities during the portion of the week when remote lessons learning is occurring.  It is for reasons such as these that the Maine DOE has chosen to pursue this waiver.

As part of the statutory requirements for seeking this waiver, the Maine DOE must solicit and respond to public comment on its waiver request as well as provide evidence of the available comment period.  This 15-day public comment period shall begin on September 29, 2020 and conclude on October 14, 2020.

Comments may be submitted to: travis.w.doughty@maine.gov

Maine DOE Seeks Applicants for Paid Professional Learning Opportunity

The Maine Department of Education is seeking applications from qualified individuals interested in learning more about the competitive grant process.  Selected applicants will be trained to serve as peer reviewers who assist the Department in to reviewing, assessing, and scoring competitive grant proposals for the 21st Century Community Leaning Centers (21st CCLC) Program.  The 21st CCLC program is a federally-funded education program that provides competitive funding for schools and communities to develop before-school, after-school, and summer educational programs that support students and their families.

This year’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 21st CCLC program was released to the public on January 2 and is available online at: https://www.4pcamaine.org/century21/FY2020/. The Department anticipates receiving proposals from local education agencies, community-based organizations, and other eligible entities seeking awards under this RFP.

Qualifications:

Applicants will be selected based on their experience in providing effective academic support, enrichment, youth development, and related support services for children and youth.  The most qualified candidates will be individuals who have experience in the administration of high-quality youth development programs within schools and communities.  Examples of the experienced individuals sought include, but are not limited to:

  • 21st CCLC program directors and site coordinators
  • Teachers and principals
  • College and university staff
  • Youth development workers
  • Community resource providers

Please note that an applicant or member of an applicant’s organization will not be selected to serve as a member of the Department’s peer review team.

Required Tasks:

Selected applicants will work individually to read each assigned application and create detailed, objective, constructive, and well-written comments on approximately 10-12 applications based on the criteria established in the RFP. These comments will be turned in to the Department prior to participating in on-site consensus scoring sessions.  Applicants must be able to participate in an online training webinar and review grant applications through a web-based system.  It is anticipated that selected candidates will have a three (3) week window in which to complete the individual review of assigned proposals.  Following the individual review of proposals, each successful applicant will be required to travel to the Maine Department of Education for two scheduled scoring days.  It is during these consensus scoring sessions that the peer review team to score each application.

Selected candidates must complete the following tasks during the following date(s):

Task Date(s) Time(s)
Participate in an online training webinar April 3, 2020 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Review grant applications through a web-based system and provide individual, written comments on each application (which MUST be turned in to the Department) April 6, 2020 –
April 28, 2020
Any Time
Participate in on-site consensus scoring sessions which will be located at the Maine Department of Education in Augusta, ME April 30, 2020;
May 1, 2020
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM;
9:00 AM – Finished

Compensation for Services:

Selected reviewers who complete the required tasks will be reimbursed for travel costs to and from the consensus scoring sessions as well as provided a $85 honorarium per assigned application.

Previous participants have also found that serving as a member of the peer review team is an excellent opportunity for professional development and growth. It is likely that, if selected, applicants will be exposed to new program models, strategies, and practices.  These new concepts may provide ideas and support for ongoing work as well as future grant writing efforts.  Most importantly, the time given to this effort will help ensure the funding of quality education programs for the children and families of Maine.

How to Apply:

Interested parties must contact Travis Doughty at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov to obtain a copy of the 2020 peer reviewer application and then return the completed application along with a current resume or CV.

Pursuant to Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, peer reviewers may not include any applicant, or representative of an applicant, that has or will submit a proposal in response to the current competition.

Deadline:

The Maine Department of Education will continue accepting peer reviewer applications through March 12, 2020 or until the needed positions are filled.  Interested parties are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Contact:

For more information, contact State Coordinator, Travis Doughty at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov or 624-6709.

50+ School and District Leaders Come Together to Enhance Student Support and Instructional Practice

Collaboration and support was the primary focus of three recent technical assistance session held in Ellsworth, Brewer, and Augusta between 50+ school and district leadership teams and the Maine DOE ESEA Federal Program team members.

During the half day sessions, the 100+ participants worked alongside DOE staff, including school leadership coaches, to explore innovative approaches to leveraging federal funds through blending and braiding of ESEA Federal Program allocations, school-wide authority, and additional Title I school improvement funds to supplement and enhance current student support and instructional practice.

“We had great turnout, great conversation, and enthusiasm at these meetings and we are encouraged as we move forward,” said Janette Kirk, Maine DOE Chief of Learning Systems.