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Promise Neighborhoods

Dept. of Ed Releases 2012 Promise Neighborhood Grant Applications

Today the Department of Education announced the latest round of Promise Neighborhoods applications, which will include both planning and implementation grants. The Department expects to distribute 15 planning grants worth up to $500,000 each, and 5-7 implementation grants worth $4 to $6 million each.

The deadline for Notices of Intent To Apply is June 8, and full applications are due on July 27. Pre-application webinars will be held on May 15 and June 12, and forthcoming updates will be posted on the Department's Promise Neighborhoods homepage. Stay tuned to Building Neighborhoods for more timely updates as the Administrations makes more information available.

Obama Administration Opens Together For Tomorrow School Improvement Challenge

A new inter-agency initiative may provide an interesting opportunity for Promise Neighborhood communities. See below for a press release from Department of Education about the initiative.

Together for Tomorrow (TFT), the joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to spur community engagement in turning around our nation’s lowest performing schools, today launched its School Improvement Challenge for the 2012-13 school year on http://TFT.challenge.gov.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the launch today during a town hall in Dubuque, Iowa.  He said, “When it comes to turning around low-performing schools, the Department’s investments and the work of schools and districts aren’t the whole solution.  Our schools need the engagement of communities to support and sustain school improvement.  This Challenge will help foster partnerships to propel school improvement and produce better outcomes for students.”

"For decades, faith and community groups have been critical partners in strengthening schools," said Joshua DuBois, special assistant to the President and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  "In today's global economy, more needs to be done to provide every child an education that will enable them to succeed.  By mobilizing partnerships between faith and community-based groups and local schools, this Challenge will foster a sense of shared responsibility that is key to strengthening educational success for all our students."

“Time after time, we have seen how committed parents and community volunteers can make a powerful difference in the educational outcomes of our students," said Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer.   "Through this Challenge, we will shine the spotlight on the many ways citizens and communities can help young people achieve their best in school and prepare for success in life."

The Challenge is an opportunity for schools and districts, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations to join with other partners in efforts to improve their neediest schools by raising key measurable student outcomes: Attendance, Behavior, Course performance and College access, known as the ABCs.   Plans can be submitted to catalyze new partnerships as well as spotlight and expand exemplary initiatives already working to raise student achievement and strengthen a community culture of educational success.  Plans can encompass a single local community or a regional, state or national effort with multiple sites.   The Challenge is not a new grant program, but rather an approach to better coordinate  resources and efforts, including many through existing Education Department and CNCS programs.

All schools and communities that meet the criteria for the challenge will garner national recognition for their efforts and become part of the Together for Tomorrow learning network.  Selected applications will also be invited to attend a special event in Washington, D.C.

The Challenge announced today is being coordinated by the Education Department and is part of the Administration’s TFT initiative unveiled in February.  Focusing on achieving positive results for students in our nation’s lowest performing schools, TFT aims to change the fundamental relationship between schools and community partners so that education improvement is viewed as everyone’s responsibility.

Applicants have until June 29, 2012, to submit their plans.  Details on the challenge can be found at http://TFT.challenge.gov.

Neighborhood Revitalization in the President’s Budget

With this month’s transition we haven’t had the opportunity to address President’s Obama’s FY 2013 budget, which was released on February 13th.

The budget proposes $100 million for Promise Neighborhoods, $150 million for Choice Neighborhoods, and $20 million for the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation program for the federal fiscal year that begins October 1, 2012.

According to the Administration’s release, “The Budget reflects an integrated and performance-driven approach to distressed urban neighborhoods, where the challenges tied to jobs, education, public safety, and other needs intersect and compound each other.”

Here are some relevant highlights from the release:

Promise Neighborhoods: The Budget includes $100 million of dedicated support for Promise Neighborhoods, modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, which aims to improve college going rates by combining a rigorous K-12 education with a continuum of effective family and community services in an entire neighborhood. This initiative would support comprehensive programs that address the needs of children and youth in a targeted area from before they are born until they attend college.

Choice Neighborhoods: The Budget provides $150 million for the Choice Neighborhoods initiative to continue transformative investments in high-poverty neighborhoods where distressed HUD-assisted public and privately owned housing is located, a $30 million increase from 2012 enacted level. The Budget will reach 4 to 6 neighborhoods with grants that primarily fund the preservation, rehabilitation and transformation of HUD-assisted public and privately-owned multifamily housing, and will also engage local governments, nonprofits, and for-profit developers in partnerships to improve surrounding communities.

Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program: The Budget provides $20 million for the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program, which supports the Administration’s multi-agency Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative by directing resources where they are needed in higher-risk neighborhoods, integrating public safety, housing services, and other investments.

Job Opportunity with U.S. Department of Ed

The Department of Education has asked us to spread the word about a great opportunity to lead its work on Promise Neighborhoods and Full Service Community Schools. The incumbent will perform the following duties:

(1) Direct and oversee all activities for the program grant competitions; awarding of grants; monitoring of grants; as well as directing and overseeing the non-competitive award process. Adapts well to changing situations and circumstances, often in the late stages of completing a project or assignment.

(2) Supervise and manage staff while assisting them in achieving their professional objectives.

(3) Ensures that the implementation support is aligned and consistent with Department policies and initiatives.  Develops strategies to provide technical assistance to Promise Neighborhoods in a manner that maximizes resources; works with offices in the Department, as well as other Federal agencies and organizations, to coordinate efforts and ensure that resources to support Promise Neighborhoods and other entities are used effectively and efficiently.

(4) Represent the program to stakeholders and outside constituencies, including working with other Federal agencies and initiatives. Possesses substantial knowledge of cross-area interaction among issues in educational reform, neighborhood transformation, and understands broader comprehensive issues.

The deadline for applications is Monday, March 5. Read more and apply online here.

Promise Neighborhoods High-scoring Applicant List Posted

The Department of Education has posted the list of all Promise Neighborhoods applicants that scored 80 points or higher in the 2011 competition, both for planning grants and implementation grants. The Department anticipates that peer reviewer scores and comments will be sent by mail to all Promise Neighborhoods applicants during the week of January 30, 2012.

Postscript: Let's say you came close in the implementation grant competition, but did not win a grant. Could you get funded anyway? Maybe. Remember this from the Promise Neighborhoods implementation grant notice?(p. 39625)

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.
Estimated Available Funds: $23,450,000.
These estimated available funds are only for Implementation grants under the Promise Neighborhoods program. Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of the applications received, we may make additional awards in FY 2012 or later years from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.


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by Dr. Radut