March 12, 2014

The Office of Indian Education (OIE) is seeking tribal leader input on the State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) program, one of three discretionary grant programs within the Office of Indian Education at the US Department of Education (ED). The STEP program is a grant program to support tribes’ efforts to meaningfully participate in the education of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children. We invite your input on the questions provided below, and on any other issues that you believe the Department should consider in improving the program.

The program began as a pilot in fiscal year 2012 and we want your input on how we can improve the major elements of this program based on grantees’ experience to-date, for a potential new grant competition in fiscal year 2015, pending Congressional appropriations. We are posting questions regarding any revised requirements, priorities, and selection criteria for STEP on this blog and we encourage all tribes to share their comments with us.

The program would fund the development of collaborative agreements, entered into by tribal education agencies (TEAs), State educational agencies (SEAs) and/or Local education agencies (LEAs), where the TEAs would perform certain State- or LEA-level functions under State-administered Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) formula grant programs for schools located on or near reservations (or former reservations in Oklahoma). It is important to note that the Department is not able to award formula funds, only funds appropriated for this program. Also note that eligible TEA funds under the STEP program do not include formula funds going directly to Local educational agencies.

Please understand that posts must be related to the STEP program and should be as specific as possible and limited to 1,000 characters. All opinions, ideas, suggestions, and comments are considered informal input and ED will not respond to any posts. If you include a link to additional information in your post, we urge you to ensure that the linked information is accessible to all individuals, including individuals with disabilities. We look forward to receiving your ideas and suggestions, however, the input you provide in these posts may or may not be reflected in any final STEP requirements, priorities, or selection criteria or in other policies.

STEP Topic Areas for Consideration
Below are four topic areas which you may respond to as blog comments or you may download a document at the STEP Resources page link: STEP form. Depending on your version of Adobe Acrobat you may be able to fill the document in online before printing. The document can then be printed, scanned and emailed back to: when completed.

If you are inserting your comments in the blog itself, we recommend that you identify the topic number(s). You may also need to submit multiple comments depending on the length of your comments.

Topic I: Would you be in favor of a change in the STEP program, to include the goal of coordination among the SEA, LEA, public schools that are on the tribe’s reservation, and tribally-controlled schools, to facilitate the sharing of information regarding the tribe’s students?

__Yes __No

If yes, what information about students should be shared, and for what purpose(s)?

Topic II: Should this goal be accomplished through:
a) Consortia of tribes applying in concert with SEA(s), LEA(s), and/or schools, to achieve economies of scale and enable a widespread e.g., regional data system.


b) By single grants to TEA-SEA-LEA partnerships?

__a __b

Topic III: Would you be in favor of a change in the STEP program, to include the TEA’s involvement with not only public schools on the reservation, but also nearby off-reservation public schools that serve a certain number or percentage of students from the tribe (under agreement with affected LEAs as well as the SEA)?

__Yes __No

Topic IV: Should the STEP application require a description of the funds and other resources the grantee and its partners will use to sustain the activities funded by the grant, after the grant’s completion e.g., resources from the SEA, LEA, or Tribe)?

__Yes __No

Topic V: We are interested in what level of involvement TEAs should take on under the STEP grants. To complete this activity follow these instructions.

A. Click on the following STEP document link to access the activity.
B. The document that opens up has nine TEA topic area groupings.
C. Within each grouping are three vertical activity boxes and three blank boxes.
D. Number the activity boxes for each grouping from 1 to 3 with “1” your highest priority, “2” your second priority and so on.
E. Rank in priority order all nine topic areas (black boxes) in order of preference with “1” being your highest priority, “2” your second priority and so on.
F. Congratulations! You have identified your tribe’s preferences for administering certain SEA functions within a STEP framework.

Please feel free to explain your preferences, including a description of activities that you are already doing in the public schools. You are not limited to these topic areas in providing comments.

Submitting your STEP form to OIE
You have the following options for submitting your completed form and any additional comments to the Office of Indian Education:

1. Once you fill in the STEP form online click the button on the lower right to open up a blank email. Insert in the address line and click send; or
2. Fill in the document online, print the document and fax to 202-205-0606 or scan and email to:

NOTE: We are posting this document on a moderated site. That means all posts will be reviewed before they are posted. We intend to post all responsive submissions on a timely basis. We reserve the right not to post comments that are unrelated to this request, are inconsistent with ED’s website policies, are advertisements or endorsements, or are otherwise inappropriate. Please do not include links to advertisements or endorsements, as we will delete them before we post your comments. Additionally, to protect your privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses in the body of your comments. For more information, please be sure to read the “comments policy.”

Again, thank you for your interest in this historic opportunity to support American Indian and Alaska Native education. Below are links to EDs linking policy and disclaimer statements.

o Department of Education’s linking policy
o Department of Education’s disclaimer of endorsement


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