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INFORMATIONAL LETTER:  113

POLICY CODE: DDA

TO:                  Superintendents of Schools

Please share with Curriculum Coordinators, Middle School Principals, Junior High School Principals, and High School Principals.

FROM:            Susan Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             March 20, 2006

RE:                   Improving Teacher Quality State Grants Application

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce the availability of grants to increase the percentage of highly qualified teachers and to increase the content expertise of teachers in high need Local Education Agencies (LEAs).  The Maine Department of Education invites proposals that contain validated ways of addressing the complex issues surrounding the teaching and learning of reading and writing  across content areas in grades 4 - 12, supporting students as they move along the continuum of handling more complex and sophisticated reading material.  Proposals must reflect an understanding and identification of the needs and issues involved, as well as local educational, political, economic, and social context in which the needs exist.  In addition, proposals must have well-defined goals and activities that promote interaction among faculty, teachers, and others, particularly those teachers who do not meet the definition of “highly qualified”.  The proposals should cost-effectively meet the needs of a significant number of teachers.

The Improving Teacher Quality competitive grant has specified that particular partners be involved.  The objective is to combine the strong disciplinary expertise of the college of arts and sciences faculty and the instructional/pedagogical expertise of the college of education faculty in order to improve student achievement in a high need LEA through professional development.  The grants provide funding for three months with the opportunity for funding for up to two and one fourth years at approximately $345,000(total) per year.  These grants are made available to eligible partnerships consisting of, at a minimum, one high need LEA, one Institute of Higher Education teacher and principal preparation division and one college of arts and sciences.  Additional partners may include other LEAs, educational training organizations, another IHE, a non-profit cultural organization, an entity carrying out a pre-kindergarten program, a teacher organization, a principal organization, or a business.  These grants are made available through the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, Title II, Part A of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.  (CFDA # 84.367A)

The following LEAs have been determined to be eligible to apply for this grant period:

SAD 13           Bingham
SAD 14           Danforth
SAD 19           Lubec
SAD 24           Van Buren
SAD 37           Harrington
SAD 38           Dixmont
SAD 41           Milo
SAD 46           Dexter
SAD 59           Madison
SAD 70           Hodgdon
SAD 74           Anson
Augusta
Eastport
Great Salt Bay CSD
Harmony
Jonesport
Machias
Palermo
Pembroke
South Aroostook CSD
Steuben
Wesley

Application packages will be mailed to Superintendents and Principals of eligible LEAs by March 20, 2006.  A complete application package will be available on our website on March 17, 2006.  It is estimated that up to three partnerships may receive funding.  The deadline for submitting a proposal is 2 p.m. on May 12, 2006.  Partnerships will be notified of awards by June 2, 2006.

A grant information workshop will be held via the ATM system on Wednesday, March 29, 2006 between 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.  Interactive ATM sites will be Madison Area High School, South Aroostook High School and Jonesport-Beals High School.  If you would like to receive a broadcast transmission, please respond via e-mail to: barbara.moody@maine.gov no later than March 24, 2006.  Check with your site coordinator to make sure your site is available during this time.  If you are receiving a broadcast, you will only be able to hear and see what is being transmitted from the original site which will be room 103A in the Burton Cross State Office Building in Augusta.  If you would like to attend this grant information workshop in Augusta,  please email: barbara.moody@maine.gov no later than Friday, March 24, 2006.

Since the Improving Teacher Quality Grant is a competitive process, questions cannot be answered on an individual basis.  All questions must be submitted in writing to Barbara Moody, Title IIA Coordinator at barbara.moody@maine.gov.   All questions and answers will be posted on the following web page so that all potential applicants may receive the same information:  http://www.maine.gov/education/nclb/titleii.htm. The deadline for submitting questions is May 5, 2006.  Please check the web page frequently to view new questions and answers.