Subpart 7 – Star Schools Program

SEC. 5471  |  SEC. 5472  |  SEC. 5473  |  SEC. 5474  |  SEC. 5475  |  SEC. 5476  |  SEC. 5477

SEC. 5471. SHORT TITLE.

    This subpart may be cited as the ‘Star Schools Act’.

SEC. 5472. PURPOSES.

    The purposes of this subpart are the following:

      (1) To encourage improved instruction in mathematics, science, and foreign languages as well as other subjects (such as literacy skills and vocational education).

      (2) To serve underserved populations, including disadvantaged, illiterate, limited English proficient populations, and individuals with disabilities through a Star Schools program under which grants are made to eligible telecommunication partnerships to enable such partnerships —

        (A) to develop, construct, acquire, maintain, and operate telecommunications audio and visual facilities and equipment;

        (B) to develop and acquire educational and instructional programming; and

        (C) to obtain technical assistance for the use of such facilities and instructional programming.

SEC. 5473. GRANT PROGRAM AUTHORIZED.

    (a) AUTHORIZATION- The Secretary, in conjunction with the Office of Educational Technology, is authorized to make grants, in accordance with the provisions of this subpart, to eligible entities to pay the Federal share of the cost of the following:

      (1) Development, construction, acquisition, maintenance, and operation of telecommunications facilities and equipment.

      (2) Development and acquisition of live, interactive instructional programming.

      (3) Development and acquisition of preservice and inservice teacher training programs based on established research regarding teacher-to-teacher mentoring, and ongoing, in-class instruction.

      (4) Establishment of teleconferencing facilities and resources for making interactive training available to teachers.

      (5) Obtaining technical assistance.

      (6) Coordination of the design and connectivity of telecommunications networks to reach the greatest number of schools.

    (b) DURATION AND AMOUNT-

      (1) IN GENERAL- A grant under this section may not exceed —

        (A) 5 years in duration (subject to subsection (c)); and

        (B) $10,000,000 in any single fiscal year.

    (c) RENEWAL-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Grants awarded under subsection (a) may be renewed for a single additional period of 3 years.

      (2) CONTINUING ELIGIBILITY- In order to be eligible to receive a grant renewal under this subsection, a grant recipient shall demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Secretary, in an addendum to its application submitted under section 5474, that the grant recipient will —

        (A) continue to provide services in the subject areas and geographic areas assisted with funds received under this subpart for the previous grant period; and

        (B) use all grant funds received under this subpart for the 3 year renewal period to provide expanded services by —

          (i) increasing the number of students, schools, or school districts served by the courses of instruction assisted under this part in the previous fiscal year;

          (ii) providing new courses of instruction; and

          (iii) serving new populations of underserved individuals, such as children or adults who are disadvantaged, have limited English proficiency, are individuals with disabilities, are illiterate, or lack secondary school diplomas or their recognized equivalent.

      (3) SUPPLEMENT, NOT SUPPLANT- Grant funds received under this subsection shall be used to supplement, and not supplant, services provided by the grant recipient under this subpart in the previous fiscal year.

    (d) RESERVATIONS-

      (1) INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAMMING- At least 25 percent of the funds made available to the Secretary for any fiscal year under this subpart shall be used for the cost of instructional programming.

      `(2) LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY ASSISTANCE- At least 50 percent of the funds available in any fiscal year under this subpart shall be used for the cost of facilities, equipment, teacher training or retraining, technical assistance, or programming, for local educational agencies that are eligible to receive assistance under part A of title I.

    `(e) FEDERAL SHARE-

      `(1) AMOUNT- The Federal share of the cost of projects funded under this section shall not exceed the following amounts:

        `(A) 75 percent for the first and second years for which an eligible telecommunications partnership receives a grant under this subpart.

        `(B) 60 percent for the third and fourth such years.

        `(C) 50 percent for the fifth such year.

      `(2) REDUCTION OR WAIVER- The Secretary may reduce or waive the corresponding non-Federal share under paragraph (1) upon a showing of financial hardship.

    `(f) REQUIRED LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY PARTICIPATION- The Secretary is authorized to make a grant under this section to any eligible entity, if at least one local educational agency is participating in the proposed program.

    `(g) ASSISTANCE OBTAINING SATELLITE TIME- The Secretary may assist recipients of grants made under this section in acquiring satellite time, where appropriate, as economically as possible.

SEC. 5474. APPLICATIONS.

    (a) SUBMISSION- Each eligible entity that desires to receive a grant under section 5473 shall submit an application to the Secretary, at such time, in such manner, and containing or accompanied by such information as the Secretary may reasonably require.

    (b) CONTENTS- An application submitted under subsection (a) shall include each of the following:

      (1) A description of how the proposed program will assist all students to have an opportunity to meet challenging State academic achievement standards, how such program will assist State and local educational reform efforts, and how such program will contribute to creating a high-quality system of educational development.

      (2) A description of the telecommunications facilities and equipment and technical assistance for which assistance is sought, which may include —

        (A) the design, development, construction, acquisition, maintenance, and operation of State or multistate educational telecommunications networks and technology resource centers;

        (B) microwave, fiber optics, cable, and satellite transmission equipment or any combination thereof;

        (C) reception facilities;

        (D) satellite time;

        (E) production facilities;

        (F) other telecommunications equipment capable of serving a wide geographic area;

        (G) the provision of training services to instructors who will be using the facilities and equipment for which assistance is sought, including training in using such facilities and equipment and training in integrating programs into the classroom curriculum; and

        (H) the development of educational and related programming for use on a telecommunications network.

      (3) In the case of an application for assistance for instructional programming, a description of the types of programming that will be developed to enhance instruction and training and provide an assurance that such programming will be designed in consultation with professionals (including classroom teachers) who are experts in the applicable subject matter and grade level.

      (4) A description of how the eligible entity has engaged in sufficient survey and analysis of the area to be served to ensure that the services offered by the eligible entity will increase the availability of courses of instruction in English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, arts, history, geography, or other disciplines.

      (5) A description of the professional development policies for teachers and other school personnel to be implemented to ensure the effective use of the telecommunications facilities and equipment for which assistance is sought.

      (6) A description of the manner in which historically underserved students (such as students from low-income families, limited English proficient students, students with disabilities, or students who have low literacy skills) and their families, will participate in the benefits of the telecommunications facilities, equipment, technical assistance, and programming assisted under this subpart.

      (7) A description of how existing telecommunications equipment, facilities, and services, where available, will be used.

      (8) An assurance that the financial interest of the United States in the telecommunications facilities and equipment will be protected for the useful life of such facilities and equipment.

      (9) An assurance that a significant portion of any facilities and equipment, technical assistance, and programming for which assistance is sought for elementary schools and secondary schools will be made available to schools or local educational agencies that have a high number or percentage of children eligible to be counted under part A of title I.

      (10) An assurance that the applicant will use the funds provided under this subpart to supplement, and not supplant, funds available for the purposes of this subpart.

      (11) A description of how funds received under this subpart will be coordinated with funds received for educational technology in the classroom.

      (12) A description of the activities or services for which assistance is sought, such as —

        (A) providing facilities, equipment, training services, and technical assistance;

        (B) making programs accessible to students with disabilities through mechanisms such as closed captioning and descriptive video services;

        (C) linking networks around issues of national importance (such as elections) or to provide information about employment opportunities, job training, or student and other social service programs;

        (D) sharing curriculum resources between networks and development of program guides which demonstrate cooperative, cross-network listing of programs for specific curriculum areas;

        (E) providing teacher and student support services, including classroom and training support materials which permit student and teacher involvement in the live interactive distance learning telecasts;

        (F) incorporating community resources, such as libraries and museums, into instructional programs;

        (G) providing professional development for teachers, including, as appropriate, training to early childhood development and Head Start teachers and staff and vocational education teachers and staff, and adult and family educators;

        (H) providing programs for adults to maximize the use of telecommunications facilities and equipment;

        (I) providing teacher training on proposed or established models of exemplary academic content standards in mathematics and science and other disciplines as such standards are developed; and

        (J) providing parent education programs during and after the regular school day which reinforce a student’s course of study and actively involve parents in the learning process.

      (13) A description of how the proposed program as a whole will be financed and how arrangements for future financing will be developed before the program expires.

      (14) An assurance that a significant portion of any facilities, equipment, technical assistance, and programming for which assistance is sought for elementary schools and secondary schools will be made available to schools in local educational agencies that have a high percentage of children counted for the purpose of part A of title I.

      (15) An assurance that the applicant will provide such information and cooperate in any evaluation that the Secretary may conduct under this subpart.

      (16) Such additional assurances as the Secretary may reasonably require.

    (c) APPROVAL- In approving applications submitted under subsection (a) for grants under section 5473, the Secretary shall —

      (1) to the extent feasible, ensure an equitable geographic distribution of services provided under this subpart.

      (2) give priority to applications describing programs that —

        (A) propose high-quality plans, will provide instruction consistent with State academic content standards, or will otherwise provide significant and specific assistance to States and local educational agencies undertaking systemic education reform;

        (B) will provide services to programs serving adults, especially parents, with low levels of literacy;

        (C) will serve schools with significant numbers of children counted for the purposes of part A of title I;

        (D) ensure that the eligible entity will —

          (i) serve the broadest range of institutions, programs providing instruction outside of the school setting, programs serving adults, especially parents, with low levels of literacy, institutions of higher education, teacher training centers, research institutes, and private industry;

          (ii) have substantial academic and teaching capabilities, including the capability of training, retraining, and inservice upgrading of teaching skills and the capability to provide professional development;

          (iii) provide a comprehensive range of courses for educators to teach instructional strategies for students with different skill levels;

          (iv) provide training to participating educators in ways to integrate telecommunications courses into existing school curriculum;

          (v) provide instruction for students, teachers, and parents;

          (vi) serve a multistate area; and

          (vii) give priority to the provision of equipment and linkages to isolated areas; and

        (E) involve a telecommunications entity (such as a satellite, cable, telephone, computer, or public or private television stations) participating in the eligible entity and donating equipment or in-kind services for telecommunications linkages.

SEC. 5475. OTHER GRANT ASSISTANCE.

    (a) SPECIAL STATEWIDE NETWORK-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary, in conjunction with the Office of Educational Technology, may provide assistance to a statewide telecommunications network if such network —

        (A) provides 2-way full-motion interactive video and audio communications;

        (B) links together public colleges and universities and secondary schools throughout the State; and

        (C) meets any other requirements determined appropriate by the Secretary.

      (2) MATCHING CONTRIBUTION- A statewide telecommunications network assisted under paragraph (1) shall contribute, either directly or through private contributions, non-Federal funds equal to not less than 50 percent of the cost of such network.

    (b) SPECIAL LOCAL NETWORK-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary is authorized to provide assistance, on a competitive basis, to a local educational agency, or a consortium of such agencies, to enable such agency or consortium to establish a high-technology demonstration program.

      (2) PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS- A high-technology demonstration program assisted under paragraph (1) shall —

        (A) include 2-way full-motion interactive video, audio, and text communications;

        (B) link together elementary schools and secondary schools, colleges, and universities;

        (C) provide parent participation and family programs;

        (D) include a staff development program; and

        (E) have a significant contribution and participation from business and industry.

      (3) MATCHING REQUIREMENT- A local educational agency or consortium receiving a grant under paragraph (1) shall provide, either directly or through private contributions, non-Federal matching funds equal to not less than 50 percent of the amount of the grant.

    (c) TELECOMMUNICATIONS PROGRAMS FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION-

      (1) AUTHORITY- The Secretary is authorized to award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities to develop and operate one or more programs that provide online access to educational resources in support of continuing education and curriculum requirements relevant to achieving a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent. The program authorized by this subsection shall be designed to advance adult literacy, secondary school completion, and the acquisition of specified competency by the end of the 12th grade.

      (2) APPLICATIONS- Each eligible entity desiring a grant under this subsection shall submit an application to the Secretary. The application shall include each of the following:

        (A) A demonstration that the applicant will use publicly funded or free public telecommunications infrastructure to deliver video, voice, and data in an integrated service to support and assist in the acquisition of a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent.

        (B) An assurance that the content of the materials to be delivered is consistent with the accreditation requirements of the State for which such materials are used.

        (C) To the extent feasible, materials developed in the Federal departments and agencies and under appropriate federally funded programs.

        (D) An assurance that the applicant has the technological and substantive experience to carry out the program.

        (E) Such additional assurances as the Secretary may reasonably require.

SEC. 5476. ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.

    (a) LEADERSHIP, EVALUATION, AND PEER REVIEW-

      (1) RESERVATION OF FUNDS- The Secretary may reserve not more than 5 percent of the amount made available to carry out this subpart for a fiscal year for national leadership, evaluation, and peer review activities, which the Secretary may carry out directly or through grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements.

      (2) LEADERSHIP- Funds reserved for leadership activities under paragraph (1) may be used for —

        (A) disseminating information, including lists and descriptions of services available from grant recipients under this subpart; and

        (B) other activities designed to enhance the quality of distance learning activities nationwide.

      (3) EVALUATION- Funds reserved for evaluation activities under paragraph (1) may be used to conduct independent evaluations of the activities assisted under this subpart and of distance learning in general, including —

        (A) analyses of distance learning efforts (including such efforts that are, or are not, assisted under this subpart); and

        (B) comparisons of the effects (including student outcomes) of different technologies in distance learning efforts.

      (4) PEER REVIEW- Funds reserved for peer review activities under paragraph (1) may be used for peer review of —

        (A) applications for grants under this subpart; and

        (B) activities assisted under this subpart.

    (b) COORDINATION- The Department, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, and any other Federal department or agency operating a telecommunications network for educational purposes, shall coordinate the activities assisted under this subpart with the activities of such department or agency relating to a telecommunications network for educational purposes.

    (c) FUNDS FROM OTHER AGENCIES- The Secretary may accept funds from other Federal departments or agencies to carry out the purposes of this subpart, including funds for the purchase of equipment.

    (d) AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS- Funds made available to carry out this subpart shall remain available until expended.

    (e) CLOSED CAPTIONING AND DESCRIPTIVE VIDEO- The Secretary shall encourage each entity receiving funds under this subpart to provide —

      (1) closed captioning of the verbal content of the entity’s programming, as appropriate; and

      (2) descriptive video of the visual content of the entity’s programming, as appropriate.

SEC. 5477. DEFINITIONS.

    In this subpart:

      (1) EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION- The term educational institution’ means an institution of higher education, a local educational agency, or a State educational agency.

      (2) ELIGIBLE ENTITY- The term eligible entity’ includes any of the following that is organized on a Statewide or multistate basis:

        (A) A public agency or corporation established for the purpose of developing and operating telecommunications networks to enhance educational opportunities provided by educational institutions, teacher training centers, and other entities, except that any such agency or corporation shall represent the interests of elementary schools and secondary schools that are eligible to participate in the program under part A of title I.

        (B) A partnership that will provide telecommunications services and that includes three or more of the following entities, at least one of which shall be an agency described in clause (i) or (ii):

          (i) A local educational agency that serves a significant number of elementary schools and secondary schools that are eligible for assistance under part A of title I, or elementary schools and secondary schools operated or funded for Indian children by the Department of the Interior eligible under section 1121(d)(1)(A).

          (ii) A State educational agency.

          (iii) An adult and family education program.

          (iv) An institution of higher education or a State higher education agency (as that term is defined in section 103 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1003)).

          (v) A teacher training center or academy that —

            (I) provides teacher preservice and inservice training; and

            (II) receives Federal financial assistance or has been approved by a State agency;

          (vi)(I) A public or private entity with experience and expertise in the planning and operation of a telecommunications network, including entities involved in telecommunications through satellite, cable, telephone, or computer; or

          (II) a public broadcasting entity with such experience.

          (vii) A public or private elementary school or secondary school.

      (3) INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAMMING- The term instructional programming’ means courses of instruction and training courses for elementary and secondary students, teachers, and others, and materials for use in such instruction and training that have been prepared in audio and visual form on tape, disc, film, or live, and presented by means of telecommunications devices.

      (4) PUBLIC BROADCASTING ENTITY- The term public broadcasting entity’ has the same meaning given such term in section 397 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 397).

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Last Modified: 09/09/2019