Your Questions Answered

Is my district eligible to apply for funding through LiNK?

If at least 49% of students your district serves PreK-12 come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds (receive free or reduced-price lunches), OR if at least 10% of students your district serves PreK-12 are English learners, OR if at least 15% of students your district serves PreK-12 are students with documented disabilities, then your district is eligible to apply. You need only meet one of the above criteria in order to be eligible.

Can my district apply on its own or must we apply as part of a consortium of districts?

If your district serves 5,000 students or more PreK-12, then you are eligible to apply individually. If your district serves fewer than 5,000 students PreK-12, then you may apply as part of a consortium.

Does my consortium have to have at least 5000 students in it?

Not necessarily. Reviewers will be looking to ensure that the project will significantly improve literacy growth and learning for a substantial number of disadvantaged students, but we realize that putting 15-20 districts in a consortium in order to get to 5000 students may spread the funds too thin to be able to make a significant impact on literacy for those districts children and families.

Does every district within a consortium need to meet the eligibility requirements?

Yes.

Can my district apply as part of more than one consortium?

No. We want to be good stewards of these funds and we seek to serve as many students as possible. We also do not want districts funded through more than one consortium that may have competing implementation requirements. Therefore, we ask that districts select the consortium that they believe will best meet their needs if awarded.

How do the consortia work?

This answer will depend in part on the consortium. Some districts may choose to apply with other districts in their area and will submit a thorough plan explaining how their project will be implemented successfully. Other districts may choose to apply as part of a consortium organized by another entity, such as an Educational Service Center. However your district chooses to apply, it will be important that the application materials thoroughly explain how the project will be implemented successfully and contribute to students' literacy growth and learning.

When will the Request for Proposals (RFP) be available for districts and when will they be due?

Due to the federal timeline, we have pushed back our original timeline. We plan to make application materials available in February 2018, and will provide support sessions and webinars to assist districts with their application process. Materials will be due to KSDE in April 2018. Specific dates will be forthcoming, and depend somewhat on the federal timeline.

What kind of support will be available for completing application materials?

KSDE will host both virtual and on-site support sessions during the time applications are being developed. Dates and locations for those sessions will be scheduled by the time application materials are released, and perhaps earlier.

How will applications be reviewed?

We will compile a group of reviewers who are experts in the area of literacy, PreK-12. This will be a group of reviewers who do not have a professional or personal stake in any Kansas districts, so that we can ensure the highest quality review for our applicants and the students and families they serve. At this time, we are planning for the review to take place in May 2018.

When will my district be notified about our award status?

We plan to make awards in June 2018, and will send letters of notification at that time.

Does my district need to apply each year for the next three years?

No. Awards will be made for the entire three years, as long as the applicant is progressing as planned with project implementation.

If awarded, will my district receive the three-year award all at once, or a portion of the funds each year for three years?

KSDE will receive the federal funds in three separate installments, so the same is true for districts and district consortia.

Can my district spend awarded funds on services and materials already in place?

No. The federal register stipulates that these funds are to "supplement, not supplant" services and materials intended to improve literacy growth and learning for PreK-12 students.

Can my district focus all funds on implementing a comprehensive literacy program at the high school level?

No. The federal register stipulates that these funds must be distributed in awarded districts and district consortia in the following manner:

15% to serve children from birth through Age 5

40% to serve students from Kindergarten through Grade 5

40% to serve students in middle and high school, with funds distributed equally between middle and high school

We have heard we need to write a literacy plan. Does the plan need to be specific to my district, or can a service center or consortium write one to be a braod plan for several districts?

Each district should have a Comprehensive Birth-Grade 12 Literacy plan. Guidance for completing a needs assessment and developing a literacy plan has been provided by KSDE for districts who may be unsure about how to complete this work. In some cases, it may be that districts share communities, early learning providers, etc., and therefore may have similar needs with respect to literacy. The literacy plan will guide work that happens in the district, so it is vitally important that each district's plan addresses the needs of their communities, families, and learners.

What should be included in an appendix?

The appendix is for applicants to provide additional documentation to help support their project narrative. Applicants should include their district literacy plan(s) in the appendix. Some additional suggestions include portions of the needs assessment(s) that support the project narrative, letters from external partners about how they plan to support the project, district professional learning plans, and any other documentation that supports the project narrative or the district's/districts' literacy plan(s).

If selected, will I need to hire my own evaluator?

Each subgrantee will select and hire its own external evaluator. Guidance for this requirement will be provided during KSDE webinars and work sessions. Funds for evaluation should be reflected in proposed budgets submitted with application materials.

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