- Early Learning Career Pathways Initiative: Credentialing in the Early Care and Education Field PDF (15MB)
The Office of Early Learning (OEL) is the principal office charged with supporting the Department’s Early Learning Initiative with the goal of improving the health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes for children from birth through third grade, so that all children, particularly those with high needs, are on track for graduating from high school college- and career-ready.
OEL is headed by a Deputy Assistant Secretary who reports directly to the Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education and advises the Assistant Secretary, Deputy Assistant Secretaries, and other top officials of the Department on policy and administrative issues related to early learning.
In administering the programs assigned to it, OEL establishes cooperative relationships with other Departmental Principal Offices and with other Federal agencies and governmental and nongovernmental organizations as appropriate. For example, OEL jointly administers the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grants with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Currently, OEL oversees the following grant programs:
The purpose of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) program is to improve the quality of early learning and close the achievement gap for children with high needs. The RTT-ELC grant program focuses on improving early learning for young children by supporting States’ efforts to increase the number and percentage of children from low-income families and disadvantaged children in each age group of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers enrolled in high-quality early learning programs and designing and implementing an integrated system of high-quality early learning programs and services.
The Preschool Development Grants competition supports States to (1) build or enhance a preschool program infrastructure that would enable the delivery of high-quality preschool services to children, and (2) expand high-quality preschool programs in targeted communities that would serve as models for expanding preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. These grants would lay the groundwork to ensure that more States are ready to participate in the Preschool for All formula grant initiative proposed by the Administration.
The program supports the development of early childhood centers of excellence that focus on all areas of development, especially on the early language, cognitive, and pre-reading skills that prepare children for continued school success and that serve primarily children from low-income families.
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Financiamiento mediante la Ley Estadounidense de Recuperación y Reinversión (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act):
$4.35 mil millones
Los Estados, el Distrito de Columbia y Puerto Rico.
Tipo de subvención:
Para mayores informes:
El Fondo Carrera a la Cima de $4.35 mil millones constituye la mayor inversión federal por concurso de la historia de la reforma educativa. Premiará a los estados por sus logros en el pasado y creará incentivos para mejoras en el futuro, y retará a los estados a crear estrategias integrales para abordar los cuatro aspectos centrales de la reforma que impulsarán mejoras en las escuelas:
Las adjudicaciones en la Carrera a la Cima se destinarán a los Estados que lideran con planes ambiciosos y, al mismo tiempo alcanzables, para implantar una reforma educativa coherente, contundente y completa en estos aspectos. Estos Estados ayudarán a innovar con reformas efectivas y darán el ejemplo para los Estados y los distritos escolares locales de todo el país.
El Departamento realizará dos vueltas del concurso. El plazo para las solicitudes de la primera vuelta vencerá el 19 de enero de 2010. Los revisores evaluarán las solicitudes y el Departamento dará a conocer los adjudicatarios de la primera vuelta de financiamiento para abril de 2010. El plazo para las solicitudes de la segunda vuelta vencerá el 1 de junio de 2010, y se darán a conocer todos los adjudicatarios para septiembre de 2010. Los Estados que presentan solicitud para la primera vuelta pero que no resultan adjudicatarios podrán volver a presentar solicitud en la segunda vuelta (junto con los Estados que presentan solicitud por primera vez en la segunda vuelta). Los adjudicatarios de la primera vuelta reciben subvenciones completas por lo cual no podrán solicitar financiamiento adicional en la segunda vuelta.
El Departamento planea realizar otro concurso de $350 millones en la Carrera a la Cima que convocará posteriormente.
FY 2009 funding:
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
Type of Grant:
The program provides grants to states to design, develop, and implement
statewide P-20 longitudinal data systems to capture, analyze, and use
student data from preschool to high school, college, and the workforce.
Since it started in fiscal year 2005, the program has awarded grants worth
$265 million to 41 states and the District of Columbia. The Recovery
Act competition requires that the data systems have the capacity to link
preschool, K-12, and postsecondary education as well as workforce
data. To receive State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, a state must provide an
assurance that it will establish a longitudinal data system that includes
the 12 elements described in the America COMPETES Act, and any data
system developed with Statewide longitudinal data system funds must
include at least these 12 elements. The elements are:
With such comprehensive data systems, states will be able to monitor
their reforms and make specific changes to advance them. These
data systems will capture data on students from one grade to the next,
measuring whether they are on track to graduate and telling K-12 schools
whether they are preparing their students to succeed in college and
the workforce. The data systems also can help identify teachers who
are succeeding so states can reward them, and find teachers who are
struggling and help them improve.
A request for applications is being published in the Federal Register and
will be available on www.ed.gov.
Eligible Applicants: To be considered for an award under this competition, an applicant must be one or more of the following:
Note: Under the definition of “poverty line” in section 8101(41) of the ESEA, the determination of the percentage of students served by an LEA from families with an income below the poverty line is based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s SAIPE data.
An entity that meets the definition of an LEA in section 8101(30) of the ESEA and that serves multiple LEAs, such as a county office of education, an education service agency, or regional service education agency, must provide the most recent SAIPE data for each of the individual LEAs it serves. To determine whether the entity meets the poverty threshold, the Department will derive the entity’s poverty rate by aggregating the number of students from families below the poverty line (as provided in SAIPE data) in each of the LEAs the entity serves and dividing it by the total number of students (as provided in SAIPE data) in all of the LEAs the entity serves.
An LEA for which SAIPE data are not available, such as a non-geographic charter school, must provide a determination by the State educational agency (SEA) that 20 percent or more of the students aged 5-17 in the LEA are from families with incomes below the poverty line based on the same State-derived poverty data the SEA used to determine the LEA’s allocation under part A of title I of the ESEA.
Note: If you are a nonprofit organization, under 34 CFR 75.51, you may demonstrate your nonprofit status by providing: (1) proof that the Internal Revenue Service currently recognizes the applicant as an organization to which contributions are tax deductible under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; (2) a statement from a State taxing body or the State attorney general certifying that the organization is a nonprofit organization operating within the State and that no part of its net earnings may lawfully benefit any private shareholder or individual; (3) a certified copy of the applicant’s certificate of incorporation or similar document if it clearly establishes the nonprofit status of the applicant; or (4) any item described above if that item applies to a State or national parent organization, together with a statement by the State or parent organization that the applicant is a local nonprofit affiliate.
National not-for-profit organization means an agency, organization, or institution owned and operated by one or more corporations or associations whose net earnings do not benefit, and cannot lawfully benefit, any private shareholder or entity. In addition, it means, for the purposes of this program, an organization of national scope that is supported by staff or affiliates at the State and local levels, who may include volunteers, and that has a demonstrated history of effectively developing and implementing literacy activities.
FY 2023 IAL Notice Inviting Applications (NIA)
FY 2023 IAL Competition Timeline
FY 2023 IAL Application Instructions
The IAL Application Package is available for applicants to download and use as a guide only. This document can also be found on Grants.gov. Unless the applicant qualifies for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, all IAL grant applications must be submitted electronically via Grants.gov.
FY 2023 IAL Application Instructions: PDF
Technical Assistance (TA) Pre-Application Meeting for Prospective Applicants
To assist applicants in preparing applications, the Department will host a TA meeting via Microsoft Teams for applicants interested in applying on:
Tuesday March 21, 2023 at 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern Standard Time
FY 2009 Funding:
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
States, which make subgrants
to school districts
Type of Grant:
Formula to States, and
formula or competitive
subgrants to school districts
The primary goal of the Ed Tech Grants program is to improve student
academic achievement through the use of technology in schools. It is
also designed to help ensure that every student is technologically literate
by the end of eighth grade and to encourage the effective integration of
technology with teacher training and curriculum development.
The ARRA and regular FY 2009 grants provide an unprecedented
opportunity for states, districts, and schools to use innovative strategies to
enhance instruction, facilitate teaching and learning, and improve student
achievement. They also will enable districts to acquire new and emerging
technologies, create new, state-of-the- art learning environments, and
offer new training and more support for teachers so that students acquire
the technological skills they will need to compete in a global economy.
Under the Ed Tech program, the U.S. Department of Education provides
grants to states following a formula. States may retain up to 5 percent of
their allocations for state-level activities, and must award at least one-half
of the remainder competitively to eligible districts. A state may elect to
award up to 100 percent of the subgrant funds on a competitive basis.
The Department strongly encourages States to award all of the funds
competitively. Larger, competitive grants potentially will have a greater
impact than smaller formula grants awarded across all of a state’s
The U.S. Department of Education published a Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) in the Federal Register on March 14 , 2023 for the fiscal year (FY) 2023 Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Program competition, Assistance Listing Number 84.215G.
For more information about how to apply for an IAL grant, visit the Applicant Information page.
The Department is seeking peer reviewers for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant competition. We are seeking reviewers with demonstrated experience in the following professions: school and public library media specialists, reading and literacy specialists, Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade (PK-12) teachers and administrators, program evaluators, and PK-12 education consultants. The Department seeks reviewers with experience implementing high quality literacy activities. The Department is also seeking reviewers with knowledge of high needs communities and the challenges faced by students and their families. Additionally, the most qualified candidates may have expertise in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, staff development, strategic planning, evaluation and prior experience reviewing grant applications for other Federal programs.
Please read through the instructions and complete the submissions process if you are interested in serving in this round of IAL grant competitions.
The IAL program supports high-quality programs designed to develop and improve literacy skills for children and students from birth through 12th grade in high-need local educational agencies (high-need LEAs) and schools. The Department intends to promote innovative literacy programs that support the development of literacy skills in low-income communities, including programs that:
The Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) program is a $250 million competitive federal grant designed to improve states’ early childhood systems by building upon existing federal, state, and local early care and learning investments. PDG B-5 was established in 2015 through the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). While funding for these programs is appropriated to the Department of Health and Human services (HHS), these programs are jointly administered by HHS and the U.S Department of Education (ED).
The PDG B-5 grant seeks to empower state governments to better leverage federal, state and local early care and education investments. States are not to create another early childhood program, but rather help coordinate early childhood programs and services that already exist in the state according to the identified needs of the state
The Obama administration is providing $3.5 billion to support state and local efforts to reform their lowest-performing schools. In rules proposed on August 26, 2009, districts could use one of three models. A fourth option would be to close a low-performing school and enroll its students in high-performing schools in the district.
Here are examples of successful efforts using each of the three options.
Founded in 2001, AUSL is a nonprofit specializing in teacher preparation and school management. It works in partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to transform chronically underperforming public schools. Using unionized staff, AUSL’s model includes:
AUSL opened its first turnaround school in 2006 at the Sherman School of Excellence. The transition took place in the summer, so the student body remained the same and students did not have to temporarily move to other schools. Since then, Sherman has produced steady gains in the student achievement. AUSL’s second turnaround school was the Harvard School of Excellence. Before AUSL’s turnaround in 2007, Harvard ranked in the bottom five out of more than 3,000 Illinois elementary schools. Harvard has produced steady gains in student achievement.
Contact: Dr. Donald Feinstein, Executive Director, AUSL, 3400 N. Austin Avenue, Chicago, IL 60634, 773-534-0129
Green Dot, which runs charter schools in Los Angeles, partnered with the L.A. Unified school district to turn around Locke High School. Locke was considered one of L.A.’s most troubled and chronically underperforming public high schools. Only 5 percent of its entering 9th graders would graduate and enroll in four-year colleges and universities. On September 11, 2007, the LAUSD school board voted to give Green Dot operational control of Locke High School. Green Dot is the first outside organization to operate a traditional public school in the district.
In 2008, Locke reopened as eight small college-prep academies known as the Locke Family of High Schools. Five of the schools are housed on the main campus, with three schools located on satellite campuses. Green Dot adopted a college-focused curriculum and provided extensive remediation for the large number of students who arrive at 9th grade working at below grade level.
As part of the turnaround, only 40 of the school’s 120 teachers remained in the school. Principals can be hired and fired at will, and principals have more control over the staffing in their schools as well. In the first year, Locke showed modest gains in test scores, but tested significantly more students (38 percent more than the previous year, indicating more students were staying in school throughout the year), reduced truancy and dropout rates, and improved the safety of the school setting. Additionally, nearly 20 percent more students graduated, and large percentages of those continued onto college, including many to four-year colleges.
Contact: Steve Barr, Founder and Chairman, 350 South Figueroa Street, Suite 213, Los Angeles, CA 90071 (213) 621-0276
Mastery Charter Schools is a growing network of charter college preparatory, middle-high schools that serves 1,750 neighborhood students in Philadelphia. Mastery has focused on converting chronically low-performing schools to charter schools and then dramatically improving student performance. Mastery’s teachers are continually focused on improving student achievement. They align assessments with clear objectives and use assessment data to direct instruction. Mastery creates an achievement-focused school culture and fosters meaningful, personal relationships between students and adults. Teachers emphasize problem-solving and social-emotional skills. All students receive workplace skills training and participate in internships to ensure they develop the real-world skills required for college and the workforce. Mastery schools also have both an extended school year and an extended school day. Their program focuses on mastery (“attaining a grade of 76 percent or above”) of a well-defined and very narrow curriculum of basic academic skills (reading, writing, and math). It is driven by periodic benchmark assessments monitored for overall percentage improvements.
One example of a Mastery School is Pickett Middle School. At the previous Pickett Middle School, run on the same site, student suspensions were high and achievement was low. The building was in need of significant refurbishment. In the transition to a Mastery school, all staff and students who applied to stay were required to sign new contracts accepting Mastery’s approach and management systems to ensure effective instruction, learning, and school climate. Many staff chose to leave, but most students stayed. The first year improvement at Pickett was dramatic. Across seventh and eighth grade state testing, average reading improvement was 45 percent; average math improvement was 21 percent. Mastery’s highly structured/ managed approach also led to dramatic change in school culture. At Pickett and its two peer conversion schools, violence incidences have dropped 85 percent while student turnover dropped by nearly half.
Contact: Scott Gordon, CEO, 5700 Wayne Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19144, (215) 866-9000
Hamilton County, Tennessee, is widely recognized as a school reform success story. With $5 million from the Chattanooga-based Benwood Foundation and funding from several other local organizations, school, and community officials launched an intensive teacher-centered campaign to reform Chattanooga’s lowest-performing schools. The model, now known as the “Benwood Initiative,” dramatically improved student achievement. School district officials replaced most principals in the Benwood schools and required teachers to reapply for their jobs. Approximately one-third of teachers did not return to the Benwood schools. Community officials created financial incentives to attract new talent, including free graduate school tuition, mortgage loans, and performance bonuses. Benwood’s success has had at least as much to do with a second, equally important teacher-reform strategy: helping teachers improve the quality of their instruction.
A new analysis of “value-added” teacher effectiveness data conducted indicates that over a period of six years, existing teachers in the eight Benwood elementary schools improved steadily. Before the Benwood Initiative kicked off, they were far less effective than their peers elsewhere in the Hamilton County district. In terms of student achievement, students in Benwood schools achieved impressive gains; for example, Benwood 3rd graders scoring proficient or advanced on state reading tests rose by 27 percent from 2003-2007.
Contact: Dan Challener, President, Chattanooga Public Education Foundation, 100 East Tenth Street, Suite 500, Chattanooga, TN 37402, 423-265-9403