Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Computer Assisted Writing, Instruction, and Testing - Bidder’s Conferences Notes

The two Bidder’s Conferences highlighted particular parts of the RFP, and answered questions from attendees. Below is a summary by page of the issues discussed.

Page 4:
 One-to-one environment does not mean computers must keep the computers all day (and/or night). It means there must be a ratio of one student to one computer while using the program (so a cart of laptops could be shared among two or more classes).
 Purchasing of equipment and applications should occur immediately upon grant award notification. Professional development can begin immediately, and students may begin using the equipment and applications when ready. Full implementation of the project must occur throughout the 2007-2008 school year.

Page 5:
 Projects must involve 9th and/or 10th graders.
 At least 60 students must be involved in the project activities (not including control group).
 Funds requested can be up to $70,000.
 All funds must be expended by June 30, 2007. Project activities are required to extend beyond that time, but all purchases and payments must be made by June 30, 2007.
 One application per LEA. Multiple schools may be included in this application.
 You are NOT eligible to apply if you received a grant under this grant program last year.

Page 6:
 Note all the requirements listed under General Proposal Requirements, but some comments on a few of them:
o Teachers in involved in the project must have full-time access to a laptop, students must have one-to-one access during project activities (not necessarily all day or to take home).
o District must participate (if asked) in pilots for CAPT online.
o District must participate in all project evaluation activities conducted by CSDE through the 2008-2009 school year.
o District must agree to holistically score up to 120 student writing samples. These will be provided by CSDE with a rubric, likely near the beginning and end of the 2007-2008 school year. Note that these samples do not have to be scored by teachers involved in the project – scoring can be done by other qualified teachers in or out of the district.

Page 7:
 It is recommended that special needs students are included in grant activities. 5 extra points are given for consideration of how students with special needs will be included in project activities.
 An original and 8 copies must be submitted.

Grant Elements (Pages 13-15)

There are 10 Grant Elements:
Element 1: School Overview:
 Overview should be brief. The purpose is to give the grant readers a general picture of the school involved in the grant, not provide a lengthy history. Include how this project fits into your school’s goals.

Element 2: Project Summary:
 Include summary, project objectives, number of students and teachers, timeline – include 2006-07 and 2007-08 years. If you plan to continue beyond this period, include these years also.

NOTE the last paragraph – it reiterates that the remainder of the 2006-07 year is to purchase equipment, software, applications, prepare teachers in using the tools and materials, and introduce students to the tools and materials. Full implementation begins in and continues throughout the duration of the 2007-08 school year.

Element 3: Computers/Technical:
 Paragraph form not necessary - can be a bulleted list of computer specifications.
 Describe or list policies already in place that may support project, or new ones you will seek.
 Describe tech support provisions.

Element 4: Laptop Applications:
 List software to be included on computers, such as word processors, graphic organizers, and others that will be used as part of your project.
 Provide name and description of online writing/feedback product you selected and reasoning why this product was picked. Don’t include promotional material from company.
 Multi-year licenses are encouraged.
 List time per week students will use the program

Element 5: Curriculum Integration
 Project can include any subject areas – English, social studies, or other, but must incorporate development of skills described in the CT Curriculum Frameworks for Language Arts.

Element 6: Professional Development
 Professional development should be more than 2-3 days of workshops provided by the company from whom you are purchasing the application. A variety of forms of professional development should be used.

Element 7: Support
 Nothing beyond what is printed was discussed.

Element 8: Project Continuation
 You must describe how you district will continue the project in subsequent years. Here’s where the multi-year licenses come in handy, or other things you are doing that will provide for sustainability.

Element 9: Project Evaluation
 It is permissible for the control group to be from another school.
 Note that there are really two evaluations involved: One evaluation is done by individual grantees for the project described in their proposal. This evaluation is ongoing and includes monitoring and plans for adjustments to the project mid-way if necessary. The other is conducted by CSDE that will involve all awardees. By signing the Agreement Form (Appendix D), the district agrees to participate in these grant evaluation activities.

Element 10: Fiscal Information
 Online writing/feedback application is best placed under instructional supplies, line 611.
 Substitutes and stipends can be paid under this grant, under line 111B.

Scoring Rubric (Appendix E- Pages 27-29)

 There are three sections that have twice the weight of the other sections. These are Project Summary, Computers/Technical, and Curriculum Integration.
 Proposal scorers will use the Appendix E Scoring Rubric to score. Potential grant writers might want to review the rubric as they create their proposals.
 5 points each are provided for inclusion of the signed agreement form (Appendix D) and for including special education teachers/students and strategies for helping special needs students succeed in project activities.