State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP)

Office of Indian Education


Discretionary/Competitive Grants

New Resource! From the Comprehensive Center Network, Circles of Reflection are available for the STEP Grant. Please use these resources and this corresponding video to conduct Circles of Reflection for the STEP Grant and to develop an application for the STEP Grant

Program Overview

The purposes of this program are to: (1) Promote increased collaboration between tribal education agencies (TEAs) and the State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) that serve students from the affected tribes; and (2) build the capacity of TEAs to conduct certain administrative functions under certain Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) formula grant programs for eligible schools, as determined by the TEA, SEA, and LEA.

Types of Projects

The absolute funding priorities for the program in FY2020 limit projects to building capacity to administer and coordinate education programs that are designed to do one or more of the following:

  1. Recruit or retain educators, including by supplementing efforts to recruit or retain educators employed by the TEA or by a partnering LEA.
  2. Promote the availability of work-based learning experiences (such as internships, apprenticeships, and fellowships) or career exploration opportunities for elementary and secondary students served by the TEA that align with in-demand industry sectors or occupations (as defined in section 3(23) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014), without providing direct services.
  3. For a TEA located in a State with a State statute specifically authorizing the establishment of charter schools, build TEA capacity necessary to open a new charter school, including a Tribally authorized charter school, such as by developing the charter school concept; writing a mission statement; defining an educational model; establishing a governance structure; developing a budget; establishing curriculum; choosing a location; developing partnerships with key stakeholders; or developing other materials related to applying for a charter from the appropriate authorizing entity.
  4. Build TEA capacity necessary to convert a BIE-operated school to a BIE-funded Tribally-operated school, such as by developing structures necessary to ensure smooth transition of instruction; ensuring necessary and appropriate facilities; developing processes and procedures for oversight of funds and compliance with statute and regulations; and preparing to hire teachers and staff.

Projects may be carried out by either established TEAs (Absolute Priority 2) or TEAs with limited prior experience (Absolute Priority 3).

Contact Information

  • Linda Brake, Ph.D.
    Program Officer
    U.S. Department of Education, OESE
    Office of Indian Education
    400 Maryland Ave SW,
    Washington, DC 20202-633
    (202) 987-0796

    Donna Sabis-Burns, Ph.D.
    Group Leader-Discretionary Grants
    U.S. Department of Education, OESE
    Office of Indian Education
    400 Maryland Avenue SW
    Washington, DC 20202-633
    (202) 453-7077