Guidance for Addressing FY2011 Priorities and Requirements
Significant changes were made in the FY2010 PEP program that also apply to the 2011 competition, so it is critical that you thoroughly read the (CFA) including the "Notice of Final Priorities, Requirements, and Definitions" and "Notice Inviting Applications."
Changes of Note in FY2010/2011
If you wrote/submitted a PEP grant application in previous years that was not funded, and were planning to resubmit it as is or make minimal revisions, please be aware that you need to make significant revisions in order to be competitive in the FY 2010 competition.
Three changes to the FY 2010/2011 PEP program relate to addressing the obesity epidemic in the United States:
Special attention should also be given to these critical components:
To even be considered (reviewed), your application must undertake two activities:
1. Instruction in healthy eating habits and good nutrition
2. Physical fitness activities that include at least one of the following:
- fitness education and assessment to help students understand, improve, or maintain their physical well-being
- instruction in a variety of motor skills and physical activities designed to enhance the physical, mental, and social or emotional development of every student
- development of, and instruction in, cognitive concepts about motor skills and physical fitness that support a lifelong healthy lifestyle
- opportunities to develop positive social and cooperative skills through physical activity participation
- opportunities for professional development for teachers of physical education to stay abreast of the latest research, issues, and trends in the field of physical education
You must make "instruction in healthy eating habits and good nutrition" a meaningful part of your project plan.
Do not address it in a perfunctory manner as it is one of the two activities required for the absolute priority.
Do consider engaging your school district's health education coordinator and food services coordinator in writing this part of your project plan.
Fully consider addressing all or most of the five options for "physical fitness activities". You are only required to address at least one, but addressing more than one will strengthen your application and make it more competitive.
Collection of Body Mass Index Measurement
is a scientifically valid, standardized method to measure weight (healthy weight, overweight, and obesity). Reporting student data to parents educates parents about their student's weight status. Additionally, de-identifying and aggregating data to the school and/or district level informs the public about the weight status of the children and adolescents in that community. See "Competitive Preference Priority #1 – Collection of Body Mass Index Measurement" (applicant is eligible for up to 2 additional points).
If at all possible, address this competitive priority. Many times numerous applications are bunched up with very high scores (e.g. 95 of 100 points), so any additional points that you earn could make the difference in getting funded.
Begin the discussion about BMI data collection with the appropriate officials in your school district ASAP as it may take time to get buy-in and approval. Remember that you must include a signed Program-Specific Assurance (see ).
A Comprehensive and Collaborative Approach
There are many initiatives, programs, and tools being used to fight the obesity epidemic, and many agencies/organizations engaged in the fight. The federal government (including USDE) is committed to maximizing the effect of federal funds (taxpayer dollars) by requiring or recommending a comprehensive and collaborative approach that integrates initiatives, programs, tools, and partners. See "Competitive Preference Priority #2 – Partnerships Between Applicants and Supporting Community Entities" (applicant is eligible for up to 3 additional points) and "Application Requirements", specifically: "Linkage with Local Wellness Policy" and "Linkages with Federal, State, and Local Initiatives."
- If at all possible, address this competitive priority. Many times numerous applications are bunched up with very high scores (e.g. 95 of 100 points), so any additional points that you earn could make the difference in getting funded.
- For Competitive Preference Priority #2, remember that you must include a signed Program-Specific Assurance (partner agreement) for each partnership that you are identifying; fully consider using the sample partner agreements provided in the . In regard to aligning your project with federal, state, and local initiatives, see the required program assurance identified in the and be sure to describe in your project plan how you are and/or are going to align/collaborate with each initiative.
You are not required to address this invitational priority for your application to be considered (reviewed), but you may have an advantage if you do. From the call for applications, "Under an invitational priority, we are particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a preference over other applications."
There is one invitational priority in the FY 2010 PEP program; it is "projects that propose to align their programs with the goals and principles of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) " ().
Please be aware that school participation in the HUSSC is one of the goals of The First Lady's .
Before you start conceptualizing and writing your project narrative, read and understand the Selection Criteria (see ). It is important that you know which elements of the application are most heavily weighted (most possible points) so that you can plan your time and effort accordingly. For the FY 2010/2011 PEP program, maximum possible points per section are:
Need for Project – 10 points
Quality of the Project Design – 50 points
Quality of the Management Plan – 15 points
Quality of Project Evaluation – 25 points
Total = 100 points
Your project design and project evaluation sections must be clear and thorough because they account for 75% of the total possible points. However, keep this in mind: in many grant competitions, all funded grants score in the 90's range. If this were to be the case, it would mean that you could not lose more than a handful of points and still be competitive.
The bottom line is you cannot afford for any of the four sections of your application to be weak! If you need expert assistance with any of the sections, try to get it. For example, you may want to ask one or more college/university faculty/researchers to assist you, particularly with section 1 on need (you will want to use data in this section) and section 4 on project evaluation (data collection).
Read pages 10 and 17 in the . Also read the evaluation-related FAQs in the
All federal agencies (including USDE) must meet the requirements of Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). It will be very important for your Project Evaluation section score that your application clearly outlines and explains how your project team will collect valid and reliable data for the three GPRA measures required for the PEP program.
From the : "Grantees are required to collect and report data on three GPRA measures using uniform data collection methods. For each measure, grantees would be required to collect and aggregate data from four discrete data collection periods throughout each year. If baseline data for these measures are not included in the application, grantees would have an additional data collection period in their first year of operation prior to program implementation to collect baseline data."
Participation in a national evaluation: "The applicant must provide documentation of its commitment to participate in the U.S. Department of Education's evaluation. An LEA applicant must include a letter from the research office or research board approving its participation in the evaluation (if approval is needed), and a letter from the Authorized Representative agreeing to participate in the evaluation." (See ).
PEP is a grant program of the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) not NASPE. Our tips are based on careful review of the FY2010 PEP grant call for applications and the Federal Register Notice of Final Priorities, Requirements, and Definitions (March 29, 2011) and on our experience with writing and winning federal grants (over $13 million) as well as serving as a federal grant reviewer.
NASPE has no information about the PEP grant program other than what is published in the Federal Register and call for applications, no authority over the PEP grant program, and no influence over the review/scoring/selection process. The call for applications provides definitive information about the grant program.