These are notes relating to the Texas Education Agency’s Target Tech in Texas (T3) Collaborative Grant. This information was shared over TETN (The Texas Education Telecommunications Network) in May 2009, and a PDF file of that presentation is available. MY RELATED THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. All T3 grant application documents are available from the TEA website.

“Target Tech” refers to the highest level of progress in which schools should be working toward as described on the Texas Campus and Teacher School Technology and Readiness (STaR) Chart.

IN OKLAHOMA WE DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING LIKE THE CAMPUS OR TEACHER STAR CHARTS. WE REALLY NEED SOMETHING LIKE THIS TO HELP EDUCATORS SELF- ASSESS WHERE THEY ARE INDIVIDUALLY WITH TECHNOLOGY, AND TO HELP ADMINISTRATORS ASSESS WHERE THEY ARE WITH RESPECT TO TECHNOLOGY SKILLS AS WELL AS CAMPUS READINESS FOR IMMERSION.

40-100 T3 grant awards are available, ranging in amount from 250K to $1 million. $28 million in all is available to be awarded to schools.
– funds will will “provide more up-to-date and innovative technology to students and educators, enabling schools to focus on improving teaching and learning with educational technology in Texas.”
– goal is to fund movement “toward 21st century classrooms in the state of Texas”

In a 21st Century classroom:

  1. Students have access to appropriate technology and digital resources for technology-integrated curriculum activities on the campus, in the district, at home, or at key locations in the community.
  2. Teachers seamlessly integrate technology in a student-centered learning environment where technology is used to solve real-world problems in collaboration with business, industry, and higher education.
  3. Teachers and students apply technology across all subject areas to provide learning opportunities that are not possible without the technology.
  4. Teachers create and integrate web-based lessons that include TEKS-based content, resources, learning activities, and interactive communications that support learning objectives throughout the curriculum.

T3 funding is available to high-need schools and educational collaborative (THIS MEANS SCHOOLS WHICH DO NOT QUALIFY AS “HIGH NEED” SHOULD STILL BE ABLE TO RECEIVE FUNDING IF THEY ARE PARTNERED WITH OTHER SCHOOLS WHICH ARE HIGH NEED, AND ARE SERVING IN A ROLE LIKE MENTORING OR PROVIDING PD SUPPORT)
– priority points will be assigned by TEA to applicants who apply in collaboratives
– more points will be awarded when the collaborative includes 3 or more high need schools

collaboration for T3 is encouraged, not isolation
– applicants should demonstrate how they are “searching out and identifying common needs, goals and resolutions to create broader participation within the community” as they move “toward 21st Century classrooms”

“high need” districts are defined in T3 as:
– schools “with at least 2500 or 22% of children” from povery families per 2007 census
AND
– include at least 1 TitleI school
OR
– “has a substantial need for assistance in acquiring and using technology as reflected in the Texas Campus STaR Chart”

For more on eligibility see this PDF file

districts can show “Substantial need for assistance in acquiring and using technology” by:

…having levels of progress on the Texas Campus STaR Chart that are not currently meeting the Target Tech level…

– need is shown by the district or school’s level on the STaR chart, which has 4 levels (Target Tech is the top level, or level 4)

A high need district can only be included in ONE T3 application
– each application must include at least 1 high need district

collaboratives must also include at least ONE of the following:

  1. a district which can “demonstrate…teachers…are effectively integrating technology and proven teaching practices into instruction”
  2. a college or university which is NOT low performing (“Institution of Higher education that is in full compliance with the reporting requirements of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that has not been identified as low-performing”)
  3. involvement of a for-profit business which “…has substantial expertise in the application of technology in instruction”
  4. a nonprofit (public or private) with “demonstrated experience in the application of educational technology to instruction”

SO APPLICANTS SHOULD BRAINSTORM WAYS TEACHERS IN THEIR DISTRICT, OR AT LEAST ONE OF THE SCHOOLS IN THEIR COLLABORATIVE, ARE EFFECTIVELY INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY.
– HOW IS THIS BEING ASSESSED NOW?
– WHAT EXAMPLES OF STUDENT WORK ARE PUBLISHED ONLINE NOW?
– HAVE STUDENTS PARTICIPATED IN STATEWIDE OR REGIONAL TECHNOLOGY CONTESTS?
– HAVE TEACHERS PRESENTED AT LOCAL, REGIONAL, STATE AND NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCES
– HAVE ANY SURVEYS BEEN CONDUCTED BEYOND THE STaR CHART WHICH INDICATE HOW TECHNOLOGY HAS BEEN USED TO SUPPORT INSTRUCTION
– HOW HAVE TEST SCORES CHANGED (IMPROVED) AS A RESULT OF TECHNOLOGY USE AND INTEGRATION
– ARE ANY TEACHERS RECORDING AND SHARING ONLINE CURRICULUM MATERIALS, RECORDED LECTURES, ETC
– HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE TAKING ONLINE COURSES IN REGULAR OR ALTERNATIVE PLACEMENTS?

other groups like libraries and Education Service Centers (ESC) can apply as part of a T3 collaborative
– fiscal agent must be a school district or ESC

Texas campuses “identified for improvement or corrective action under NCLB, Title I, Section 1116″ are listed on this PDF

Four Guiding Principals for the Use of ARRA Funds:

  1. Spend funds quickly to save and create jobs
  2. Improve student achievement though school improvement and reform
  3. Ensure transparency, reporting, and accountability
  4. Invest one-time ARRA funds thoughtfully to minimize the “funding cliff.” (funds are available on a one-time basis, projects that are unsustainable after the funding is gone should not be started)

THIS MAKES THE CASE FOR LESS EXPENSIVE STUDENT DEVICES, LIKE IPOD TOUCHES / ITOUCHES OR NETBOOKS, VERY IMPORANT AND COMPELLING IN A T3 GRANT APPLICATION. DISTRICTS APPLYING FOR T3 HAVE TO BUILD A CONVINCING CASE FOR SUSTAINABILITY AFTER GRANT FUNDING EXPIRES. TWO KEY ELEMENTS WHICH PLAY INTO SUSTAINABILITY ARE:
– LEADERSHIP BUY-IN AND COMMITMENT TO THE PROGRAM
– COST OF MAINTENANCE AND REPLACEMENT FOR UTILIZED TECHNOLOGY DEVICES, AND A SUSTAINABLE PLAN TO LEVERAGE EXISTING/RECURRING DOLLARS, INFUSED PRIVATE-PARTERNSHIP DOLLARS, AND OTHER REVENUE SOURCES TO PROVIDE SUSTAINABILITY

IT WILL MAKE SENSE FOR APPLYING SCHOOLS TO DEMONSTRATE HOW ADMINISTRATION HAS AN ESTABLISHED COMMITMENT TO PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, TEACHER COLLABORATION, SHARED CURRICULUM BUILDING, SHOWCASING OF STUDENT WORK AS WELL AS TEACHER LESSONS, PROJECT-BASED LEARNING, SUPPORT OF TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION VIA THE PROVISION OF TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION COACHES / FACILITATORS / MENTORS, ETC.

TEA’s four primary goals for ARRA fund use:

  1. “Increasing efforts to institute rigorous post-secondary standards and high-quality assessments” (POST SECONDARY IS A REFERENCE TO COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS. THIS IS INTERESTING TEA HAS A GOAL OF IMPACTING THIS, WHEN I THOUGHT THEIR SCOPE WAS K-12?!)
  2. making assessment / testing systems more robust to track student learning/progress longitudinally (“Enhancing pre-kindergarten to post-secondary data systems that track progress and foster continuous improvement”)
  3. improve teacher effectiveness and support “equitable distribution of qualified teachers across the state”
  4. expand “effective interventions” for low performing schools

T3 collaboratives should focus on “research-based methods of delivering educational technology services”

ISN’T THE COMMON FOCUS ON “DELIVERY” IN EDUCATION BOTH INTERESTING AND UNFORTUNATE. THE “BANKING MODEL” OF EDUCATION IDENTIFIED BY PAULO FRIERE RIDES YET AGAIN. LEARNING IS ABOUT CONSTRUCTING KNOWLEDGE. DELIVERING CONTENT AND MORE SPECIFICALLY, ACCESSING CONTENT IS DEFINITELY PART OF THE LEARNING PROCESS, BUT IT DOES NOT DEFINE THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE OF LEARNING. THIS IS LIKE MISTAKING THE MILK TRUCK FOR THE COMPLETE EXPERIENCE OF EATING ICE CREAM AT BRAHAM’S (TO USE AN OKLAHOMA EXAMPLE) OR BASKIMIN ROBINS. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MILK TRUCK. WE HAVE TO HAVE THE MILK TRUCK, OR THE ICE CREAM DELIVERY TRUCK, OR WHATEVER IS DELIVERING FOOD AND SUPPLIES TO THE ICE CREAM STORE. PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO THE STORE OR RESTAURANT TO SEE AND EXPERIENCE THE TRUCK’S ARRIVAL. THEY ARE THERE TO EAT ICE CREAM. STUDENTS ARE IN OUR CLASSROOMS TO LEARN. DIFFERENT DELIVERY MODELS CAN AND SHOULD BE USED, BUT THE FOCUS OF THE ACTIVITY IS NOT THE DELIVERY.

costs per student should be less for a collaborative because of larger scale

IF TEXAS REALLY WANTS TO LEVERAGE SCALE, THEN AS THEY DID WITH TXTIP THEY SHOULD REQUIRE VENDORS TO BID AND GIVE VOLUME DISCOUNT PRICES BASED ON A SPECIFIED NUMBER OF STUDENTS. THE LARGER THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS IMMERSED, THE LOWER THE PRICE. TEA IS NOT DOING THAT WITH T3, HOWEVER, AND DIDN’T DO IT WITH THE VISION 2020 GRANTS EITHER FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND.

Benefit of collaboration to the high-need schools: access to “professional development and training, leadership, and
technical support” from partners

partners must “supplement and not supplant” with ARRA funds
– funds must “enhance the educational technology services they [SCHOOL DISTRICTS] already offer”
– THIS MEANS EXISTING PROGRAM COSTS CAN’T SIMPLY BE BORNE BY T3 FUNDS. DISTRICTS ALREADY IMMERSING AT CERTAIN GRADE LEVELS, FOR EXAMPLE, COULDN’T FIND THOSE IMMERSED GRADE LEVELS WITH T3 FUNDS. FUNDS WOULD HAVE TO PAY FOR ADDITIONAL GRADES OR CAMPUSES TO IMMERSE.

Needs Assessment:
– each district must conduct a needs assessment “for students, teachers, librarians, and administrators”
– individual high needs applicants must choose/identify “the Focus Areas that will help them make substantial progress in meeting the Target Tech Level”

Goals / focus areas for each grant:
– collaboratives must assess and identify “common needs of the collaborative” and then pick “Focus Areas that will help each LEA make substantial progress in meeting the Target Tech level”
– at least 1 focus area must be chosen, applicants are encouraged to select multiple focus areas
– Goals in and from the Texas “Long Range Plan for Technology, 2006-2020″ is key/pivotal for T3 applicants to understand and seek to advance

Seven different “Focus Areas” are possible for T3 applicants:

  1. Grades K-8 Technology Applications TEKS, Curriculum Connections,
    Implementation, and Mastery
  2. Grades 9-12 Content Area Connections and Transformed Teaching Practices
  3. Grades 9-12 Technology Applications Courses, 19 TAC Chapter 126
  4. Leadership, Planning, Support, and Communication
  5. Technology, Networks, and Technical Support
  6. Online Learning
  7. School Libraries

WHY ARE “SCHOOL LIBRARIES” A FOCUS AREA? SHOULD THE FOCUS AREA BE INCREASING READING, INCREASING LITERACY SKILLS, IMPROVING WRITING SKILLS, ETC? WHY SHOULD THE FOCUS JUST BE ON THE LIBRARY? (NOTHING AGAINST LIBRARIES AND LIBRARIANS HERE, I JUST QUESTION WHETHER THIS IS AN EQUALLY VALUABLE FOCUS AREA FOR THE GRANT)

I THINK A FOCUS ON “BLENDED LEARNING” WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY APPROPRIATE, IN FACE EVEN MORE APPROPRIATE THAN A FOCUS ON “ONLINE LEARNING.” PERHAPS A GRANT COULD BE CRAFTED WHICH FOCUSED ON BOTH THE TECHNOLOGY TEKS AND ONLINE LEARNING, AND IDENTIFIED THIS APPROACH AS A BLENDED LEARNING FOCUS?

Steps for applicants include:
1- conduct a needs assessment
2- select grant focus areas
3- “address questions about program implementation and delivery” per the Texas STaR chart areas, which are:

1- Teaching and Learning
— include “Curriculum Redesign Plan” which encompasses technology skills
— must be transformative, include details about how the grant work will “transform the curriculum and instruction” at the school (not just accommodating uses of technology, but transformative uses that enable learning which would be impossible without the technology)
— all participating districts must agree to submit a “curriculum redesign plan with their first progress report”
2- Educator Preparation and Development
— as with other TitleIID grant funds, 25% of funds must be used for professional development (PD)
— teachers must complete at least 18 hours of PD each year on tech integration
— PD “must be a research based model with detailed plans for implementation”
– PD must be ongoing and NOT focus on hardware/software: focus must be “technology-based pedagogical strategies”
– PD provider “must be available to provide ongoing support”
3- Leadership, Administration, and Instructional Support
– must describe how leadership support will be provided (WELL DUH, NO KIDDING. ISN’T THAT OBVIOUS?!)
– administrator required PD is at least 12 hours per year
– admins must give teachers time to attend PD and “curriculum redesign” meetings
– admins must “show active support” for all phases / aspects
– THIS IS REALLY KEY: administrators must “hold teachers accountable for implementing the effective use of technology”
4- Infrastructure for Technology
– describe means by which infrastructure will be provided to support project goals
– determine if existing infrastructure is adequate
– discuss how infrastructure, if needed, will be upgraded
– ensure appropriate tech support is provided as “technology-based methods of curriculum and instruction” are implemented

Elements of the T3 Grant Proposal are:
1- Needs Assessment and Sustainability Requirements
2- NCLB Title II, Part D Requirements
3- Title Tech Requirements
4- Target Tech Requirements
5- Implementation Requirements
6- Program Assurances
7- Required Program–Related Attachments

External evaluation is required, no more than 8% of grant funds can be used for the evaluation (I’M SURE MOST DISTRICTS WILL TRY AND SPEND FAR LESS THAN THAT ON EVALUATION)

Data must be gathered on “8 mandatory performance measures” in each T3 district:
1- Percent of students whose technology access in the classroom was increased as a result of grant funds.
2- Number of campuses performing at a Target Tech level in Teaching and Learning.
3- Number of campuses performing at a Target Tech level in Educator Preparation and Development.
4- Number of campuses performing at a Target Tech level in Leadership, Administration, and Instructional Support.
5- Number of campuses performing at a Target Tech level in Infrastructure for Technology.
6- Number of campuses that improved their STaR Chart levels as a result of grant funding.
7- Number of district technology personnel. Improved student performance as measured by grade-appropriate assessment.

ARRA reporting requirements must be followed:
– School-by-school Listing of Per- Pupil Educational Expenditures.
– Separate Tracking and Monitoring of ARRA Funds.
– Quarterly Reporting
– Data Elements for Quarterly Reporting.
– Posting the Information on Recovery.gov.
– Electronic Drawdown of ARRA Funds from TEA and Use of FAR Fund Codes.

GET READY FOR MORE TRANSPARENCY T3 WINNERS: YOUR ATA IS GOING ON Recovery.gov!

FAQs can be submitted to TEA through June 22, 2009

Applications are due to TEA by 9 July 2009

intent to submit application forms were due May 29, 2009, but were/are NOT required to apply for the T3 grant

final FAQs will be posted online June 30, 2009

http://www.tea.state.tx.us/technology/ARRA


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