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The application window for the Rural Coaction Grant is now closed.
Overview of Rural Coaction
Rural districts, BOCES, and other local education providers (LEPs) provide students in their communities with high-quality learning experiences each and every day. To expand student pathway opportunities and career-connected learning, partnerships among and across districts and BOCES can be very valuable. Collaborative action (also referred here as coaction) allows districts and BOCES to work together in partnership to increase opportunities for students across their regions. As such, CDE is launching the Rural Coaction Program to seed the creation of new and further the development of existing partnerships and pathways for learning in our rural communities. This program will be funded through the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER III) funds.
This program exists to provide funding to coalitions of LEPs and/or Board of Cooperative Services (BOCES) designated as rural to utilize a collaborative partnership to increase student access to and engagement with student career pathways and career-connected learning. A coalition of LEPs or group of providers (as defined below in "Eligible Applicants") may apply for a grant.
The purpose of funding is to improve student engagement in learning—particularly for those students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic—through increased collaborative action that results in the creation and/or expansion of student pathways/career-connected learning opportunities amongst rural Colorado school districts and/or BOCES, community partners, and Institutions of Higher Education (IHE’s) in ways that innovatively address local needs. With these funds, districts will build capacity and resources (primarily to build student career pathways and learning opportunities), be able to incentivize hard-to-fill positions, be more adequately positioned to attract quality staff, and increase opportunities for student growth and achievement, in addition to strengthening and/or maintaining relationships with industry partners and IHE’s.
Coactions can apply to one of two different cohorts:
Cohort 1: Accelerated Coaction:
This path is intended for coalitions that have existing partnerships with neighboring LEPs, strong connections already in place with community industry partners, and/or existing career-connected learning opportunities and ready to expand the reach of their programs through partnerships. The goal of this path is to expedite funding to coalitions in order to initiate work in advance of the 2022-2023 school year.
Cohort 2: Incubated Coaction
This cohort allows coalitions of LEPs, such as those building new programs or new collaborations across LEPs, additional time to plan their collaboration and put the systems and processes in place to ensure a successful implementation of the coaction program. Applicants awarded in this cohort will have a planning period to build out the plans and infrastructure starting on July 1, 2022, and ending no later than December 31, 2022. CDE will provide a list of "Rural Coaction Coaches" that can support the coaction partners throughout the planning period in executing the plan, supporting in the development of systems and processes, guiding collaboration among coalition members and the community partners, and completing the Planning Period report (described in "Evaluation and Reporting" below).
As a support, a list of Rural Coaction Coaches is available to all potential Rural Coaction Program applicants. These individuals/organizations may provide a wide range of technical assistance to the coaction partners such as: supporting coaction partners in developing a theory of action, facilitating collaboration among coaction partners, supporting community engagement activities, and other planning/coordination that supports the coaction partners in successfully implementing the proposed program. Rural Coaction Coaches are not required for any application. The costs of such coaches should be incorporated into the application budget.
A coaction (two or more) of LEPs and/or a BOCES are eligible to apply for this opportunity. An eligible LEP is:
- A School District on behalf of all or a subset of schools;
- A non-charter school may not submit a standalone application outside of their district.
- A Charter School authorized by a School District; and
- A Charter School authorized by the Charter School Institute.
- Strong partnerships with institutions of higher education and industry/commercial partners (e.g., local business, local government, community-based and/or nonprofit organizations) are critical (and is included as an evaluative component of the rubric) to competitive applications. However, to be eligible for consideration, a coalition must also include at least two LEPs as defined above.
- An LEP can only be part of one coaction application.
- An application submitted by a BOCES on behalf of member districts should indicate which districts are participating in the proposed program. Districts participating in a BOCES application cannot participate in a second application.
This program is designed to support rural LEPs in collaboratively building the capacity to provide and/or expand career-connected learning opportunities for students in their districts. Available grant funding will be distributed to eligible coaction programs based on the application rubric described in "Application Scoring". Priority will be given to applications meeting the following priority considerations:
- Applications that involve at least one small rural district as defined by the Colorado Department of Education and the Commissioner’s Rural Education Council.
- Applications that focus on engagement of those most impacted by the pandemic including low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and/or foster care youth.
- Applications that prioritize the expansion of career-connected learning opportunities within the educator workforce.
- Applications that include a plan for integrating multiple funding sources (e.g., the Carl Perkins Act, the Career Development Incentive Program) and/or program opportunities (e.g., the Innovative Learning Opportunities Pilot Program, the Pathways in Technology Early College High School Programs).
Allowable Use of Funds:
- Teachers, coordinators, and other personnel expenses;
- Certification and/or professional learning costs for district faculty and staff;
- Contracts for services provided including the provision of technical assistance;
- Curricula and instructional resources;
- Capital expenditures including equipment, machinery, or real property; and
- Technology to support distance and hybrid learning.
These funds are specific to this program, Rural Coaction Program, and uses of funds for any other purpose are not allowed. Please review the ESSER Allowable Uses document for further clarity. If you have any questions regarding allowable expenses, please reach out to Allisha Cody (Cody_A@cde.state.co.us) for confirmation.
Review Process and Timeline:
Applications will be reviewed by CDE staff and peer reviewers to ensure they contain all required components.
Applicants will be notified of final award status no later than:
- Monday, May 2, 2022 for Cohort 1 (Accelerated Coaction)
- Friday, June 3, 2022 for Cohort 2 (Incubated Coaction)
Note: This is a competitive process – applicants must score at least 70 points out of the 100 possible points to be approved for funding. Additional points are awarded for applications meeting the priority considerations as outlined above in "Priority Considerations". Applications that score below 70 points may be asked to submit revisions that would bring the application up to a fundable level. There is no guarantee that submitting an application will result in funding or funding at the requested level. All award decisions are final. Applicants that do not meet the qualifications may reapply for future grant opportunities.
Submission Process and Deadline:
Applications must be completed (including all elements outlined below) and submitted through the online application on the CDE website by:
- Friday, April 1, 2022, at 11:59pm (Cohort 1 deadline)
- Monday, May 2, 2022, at 11:59 pm (Cohort 2 deadline)
The Excel Budget Workbook and Program Assurances Form must also be uploaded to the Smartsheet form at the time of submission.
Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Applicants should receive an automated confirmation email from the online system upon submission. If you do not, please email CompetitiveGrants@cde.state.co.us.
Request For Rural Coaction Coaches
A list of Rural Coaction Coaches will be made available to all potential Rural Coaction Program applicants. These individuals/organizations may provide a wide range of technical assistance to the coaction partners such as: supporting coaction partners in developing a theory of action, developing systems and processes, facilitating collaboration among coaction partners, supporting community engagement activities, other planning/coordination that supports the coaction partners in successfully implementing the proposed program including, for Cohort 2 applicants, supporting the efforts outlined for the planning period such as completing the Planning Period report. Rural Coaction Coaches are not required for any application, but are available as a support. The costs of such coaches should be incorporated into the application budget.
To establish the list of Rural Coaction Coaches described above, CDE released a call for individuals and organizations (vendors) experienced in supporting rural districts and/or implementing the activities associated with the successful implementation of the Rural Coaction grant program. A form has been created in which interested vendors may submit their information.
No applicant will be required to use any vendors identified throughout this process and applicants may choose vendor(s) not included on this list to support the implementation of their Rural Coaction program, if they are interested in external support. CDE will retain this information for school districts as an available resource and support in identifying coaching vendors.
For priority consideration, all interested vendors should submit their information by March 1, 2022, to be released to districts. This list will be shared as a resource with all districts that submit an “Intent to Apply” on March 7, 2022.