A Foundation for K-12 Science and Mathematics Educational System Reform

Program Announcement

NSF 00-34
(Replaces NSF 99-52)


Division of Educational System Reform





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The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants for research and education in the sciences, mathematics and engineering.

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  1. Summary of Program Requirements
  2. Introduction
  3. Overview
  4. Project Elements
  5. Eligibility
  6. Award Information
  7. Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions
  8. Proposal Review Information
  9. Award Administration Information
  10. Contacts for Additional Information
  11. Other Programs of Interest
  12. About the National Science Foundation


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Program Name: Urban Systemic Program (USP) in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education

Short Description/Synopsis of Program:

The USP is a K-12-based program that promotes systemic reform of science and mathematics education for all students. The USP includes programmatic components that seek to foster partnerships between urban school districts and two-and four-year colleges and universities and embed research on educational practice and learning.

Cognizant Program Officer(s): Celeste Pea, Program Officer, Room 875, Division of Educational System Reform, telephone (703) 306.1684, e-mail: cpea@nsf.gov.

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) No.: 47.076 — EHR



Limitation on the categories of organizations that are eligible to submit proposals:

  • The proposal must be submitted by a school district that serves a central city, enrolling at least 20,000 students as determined by the 1996 data from the U. S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (see http://nces.ed.gov/ccdweb/school/district.asp).

PI eligibility limitations:

  • It is presumed that the proposal will originate from the Office of the Superintendent or other official who is designated as the Chief School Officer who agrees to serve as the Principal Investigator.

Limitation on the number of proposals that may be submitted by an organization:

  • Only one proposal may be submitted by an eligible urban school district.



  • Type of award anticipated: Cooperative Agreement
  • Number of awards anticipated in FY 2000: 10 to 15
  • Amount of funds available: Approximately $40 million in FY 2000, pending availability
  • Anticipated date of award: September 2000



Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letter of Intent requirements: None
  • Preproposal requirements: None
  • Proposal preparation instructions: Standard NSF Grant Proposal Guide instructions
  • Supplemental proposal preparation instructions: Yes
  • Deviations from standard (GPG) proposal preparation instructions: None

Budgetary Information

  • Cost sharing/matching requirements: Cost sharing at a level of 20% of total eligible project costs is required for all proposals submitted in response to this announcement. The proposed cost sharing must be shown on line M on the proposal budget (NSF Form 1030.)

  • Indirect cost (F&A) limitations: None

  • Other budgetary limitations: Award amounts up to $3 million/year for proposals submitted in response to this announcement as determined by specified activities and the size of the school district.

Fastlane Requirements

  • FastLane proposal preparation requirements: FastLane use required

  • FastLane point of contact: Denise Spain, (703) 306-1684, dspain@nsf.gov

Deadline/Target Dates

  • Full Proposal Deadline: 5:00 PM, Local Time, March 31, 2000



  • Merit Review Criteria: Standard National Science Board approved criteria



  • Grant Award Conditions: GC-1 or FDP III
  • Special grant conditions anticipated: Yes
  • Special reporting requirements anticipated: Yes

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Science and technology are bringing about dramatic changes in American society. In an increasingly technology-oriented society, a basic understanding of science and mathematics is essential to maintain a population prepared to meet the need for a technically competent workforce and to exercise the responsibilities of citizenship in a modern democracy. Emerging jobs require higher skill levels and greater understanding in science, mathematics, engineering and technology (SMET) education than ever before. More effective education and human resources initiatives are necessary if the U. S. is to maintain its technological leadership in the world marketplace.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is committed to providing strong and continuing leadership and support for the nation's efforts to improve SMET education and general scientific and mathematical literacy. The Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) has primary responsibility for NSF’s educational activities. The programs supported by EHR span preschool through professional levels. Programs include student-centered activities, curriculum and instructional materials development, informal science education, teacher and faculty enhancement, and comprehensive systemic improvement efforts at the precollege and undergraduate levels. Activities range from programs to improve public science literacy to those designed to enhance the diversity and the preparation of the Nation's scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.

Within EHR, the Division of Educational System Reform (ESR) serves as a focal point for the Directorate’s systemic reform efforts by managing large-scale programs designed to strengthen the science, mathematics and technology education infrastructure of states, urban centers, and rural areas. The programmatic activities of ESR have focused on enabling states, rural areas, and selected major cities to initiate comprehensive efforts for making lasting improvements in their science, mathematics, and technology education.

Systemic reform of education is an important part of any strategy to provide sustainable improvements in the nation’s educational enterprise. Systemic refers to fundamental, comprehensive and coordinated changes in education through attendant changes in policy, financing, governance, management, content, and conduct. Systemic reform occurs when all essential features of schools and school systems are engaged and operating in concert; when policy is aligned with a clear set of goals and standards; when the forthcoming improvements and innovations become intrinsic parts of the ongoing educational system for all children; and when the changes become part of the school system’s operating budget. ESR addresses systemic reform of science, mathematics, and technology education, both as individual fields of study and as integral parts of broader educational programs.

This solicitation describes a key component of the ESR’s effort, the Urban Systemic Program (USP) in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education. It derives from the merger of two past efforts, the Urban Systemic Initiatives Program (USI) and the Comprehensive Partnerships for Mathematics and Science Achievement (CPMSA). Through the USP effort, NSF seeks to stimulate interest, increase participation, improve achievement, and accelerate career advancement and success for all students of the participating urban school districts.

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The USP is a K-12-based program that promotes systemic reform of science and mathematics education for all students. The USP also includes programmatic components that seek to foster partnerships between urban school districts and two-and four-year colleges and universities and that embed research on educational practice and learning.

The importance of the USP is made manifest by the fact that urban school systems enroll more than half of all public school students in the United States. Although some progress is being made, there is a continued disparity between the academic performance of these students in both science and mathematics and that of their counterparts in suburban schools. This disparity has been linked to a number of factors including uneven allocation of resources, lack of highly qualified and experienced teachers, low enrollment in advanced courses, inadequate curriculum materials, lack of equipment and poor facilities, and few role models. The USP affords the opportunity to build on NSF's existing connections to both the research and education communities and on its years of experience with the USI program and CPMSA program to achieve sustained improvements in the quality of science and mathematics teaching and learning in K-12 urban school districts.

In the years in which EHR offered the USI program and the CPMSA program, a number of key findings emerged as important to the successful implementation of systemic reform. Premier among these key findings was that a high-quality mathematics and science program, inclusive of the curriculum, instruction, and assessment, was essential to obtain improved performance by all students.

It also became evident that the implementation of a systemic initiative required the building of solid leadership and expertise at all levels, including the school principal as a necessary leader, in order to promote and sustain reform efforts over time. Furthermore, it became increasingly clear that success in reform required extensive use of data to identify and define areas within the system in need of immediate redesign and restructuring. Also prominent among the key findings was the critical need for the reform process to be informed by research conducted on classroom practice.

The USP incorporates features in its program design that capture these findings. The USP goals are:

  1. To substantially increase student achievement in the fields of science, mathematics, and technology, as measured by higher scores on standards-based assessments, increasing enrollment in higher level courses, and greater articulation to institutions of higher education;

  2. to improve and/or advance urban school districts’ implementation of a standards-based, inquiry-centered science, mathematics, and technology education for all students K-12;

  3. to increase the competency and diversity of the science and mathematics instructional workforce;

  4. to promote collaborations with colleges and universities to improve their approach to teacher education;

  5. to increase the number of skilled entrants to the technology-based workforce; and

  6. to employ research as an effective tool in improving the teaching and learning of science and mathematics.

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Districts that elect to participate in this program should provide a carefully detailed description for the proposed K-12 base program. If desired, one or more of the options listed below may be included in developing the project design. The Foundation intends to allow maximum flexibility in the design of efforts to address the K-12 science and mathematics educational continuum, as long as the goals and objectives of the Urban Systemic Program are achieved. Differences in the structure and content of proposed programs will be governed by the differences in institutional and organizational capabilities of the urban areas and by the needs specific to the target groups.

K-12 Instructional Program

Submitting urban school districts must demonstrate how the system’s plan will lead to full-scale implementation of a K-12 standards-based science and mathematics operation—system-wide, inclusive of the curriculum, instruction and instructional materials, assessment, and professional development.

Districts should also provide the following:

  • Evidence for the use of district-wide profiles or strategies to determine the degree to which standards-based science and mathematics curriculum is being implemented, including a mechanism for evaluating the system’s science and mathematics education infrastructure, instructional workforce needs, and the instructional workforce’s competency and capacity to deliver the curriculum.
  • Pertinent information regarding the use of an established district-wide accountability plan that relies heavily on an array of assessment measures to document student progress, including baseline data on science and mathematics student achievement.
  • A statement of all polices that support a high quality SMET education for all students and identification of strategies to ensure that policies are implemented.
  • Evidence of the convergence of resources in support of a unitary program for science and mathematics education.
  • A leadership plan for assisting principals in their roles as educational leaders.
  • A well-developed teacher and student support system.
  • Ongoing and effective strategies for community engagement, outreach, and parent involvement.
  • An established or emerging plan for developing effective partnerships in support of standards-based science and mathematics teaching and learning.

Optional Activities

  1. The K-12 reform program may include a component that affords opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral personnel in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology disciplines to assist in expanding K-12 teachers’ understanding and depth of content knowledge of fundamental principles of science and mathematics.

  2. Proposals may include activities that involve two-year colleges in improving technical education at the high school level via the implementation of new curricula, courses, laboratories, instructional materials, opportunities for faculty and teacher development, academic support for students, and formal cooperative arrangements among educational institutions and partners from business, industry, and government sectors. With the growing need for entrants in technological fields, two-year institutions are expected to support a broad range of technical activities such as: biotechnology, chemical technology, computer and information technology, electronics, environmental technology, geographic information systems, manufacturing, and telecommunications. These programs should be designed to meet local and diverse technological workforce needs while being cognizant of the technical skills needed for global competitiveness.

  3. Correspondingly, proposals may include activities developed jointly by urban school districts in collaboration with four-year colleges and universities aimed at revising and developing strategies that in the short term will address localized shortages of a highly trained and diverse science and mathematics teacher cadre. Such collaborations might afford research experiences for K-12 students and teachers in science and mathematics. The involvement of graduate students and postdoctoral personnel in such research experiences would provide enhanced understanding of SMET activities through research. Moreover, strategies should impact all aspects of teacher preparation from course offerings to at least a two-year teacher induction program. The local K-12 system should use district profiles, student achievement data, curriculum/instructional materials, and other critical elements to assist institutions of higher education with teacher preparation programs in a collaborative effort to ensure that new teachers are prepared to deliver a high-quality science and mathematics curriculum for all students. Colleges and universities will also be expected to develop programs that address the lack of desired depth of content knowledge in the existing instructional workforce, and to encourage a greater number of high school students to select the teaching of science and mathematics as a career option.

  4. Support for research on practice may be embedded in the K-12 plan. The intent is to involve urban school districts and college and university-based personnel in designing research activities to increase the knowledge base on educational system reform, thus contributing to the assessment of urban systemic programming outputs and outcomes. Possible areas of research include: 1) examining practices and policies that are likely to lead to a high-quality science and mathematics program for all students; 2) assessing the capacity of the system and the instructional workforce to implement a standards-based science and mathematics education for all students; 3) managing funds from multiple resources in support of a standards-based unitary program for science and mathematics education; 4) developing effective instruments for measuring the degree to which reform efforts are integrated into classroom practice; 5) identifying factors that influence the development of a dynamic infrastructure for change; 6) identifying strategies to establish credible evidence for student performance; 7) determining the impact of technology as a tool to improve science and mathematics teaching and learning; and 8) some combination of the aforementioned issues bearing on classroom practices, midcourse corrections, and/or overall systemic reform.

  5. The establishment of a local advisory committee is desirable to assist a district in the implementation and assessment of proposed activities. Should the district elect to organize an advisory committee, there should be adequate representation from all groups that have responsibility for the design and implementation of the educational program in the system. This could include teachers and school system administrators, leaders of parent- and community-based educational organizations, practicing engineers and scientists, representatives from local business and industry, and institutions of higher education, especially science and mathematics educators. Prospective candidates for the committee must be identified in the proposal. The superintendent or chief school officer must be a member of this committee.

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  1. The proposal must be submitted by a school district that serves a central city, enrolling at least 20,000 students as determined by the 1996 data from the U. S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (see http://nces.ed.gov/ccdweb/school/district.asp). A consortium of urban school districts that serve the same central city may apply if deemed useful and appropriate. At least one of the participating districts in the consortium must meet the 20,000-student population requirement and serve as the lead institution. The minimum student population requirement cannot be obtained by adding smaller districts with a student population of less than 20,000.

  2. School districts that have previously received USI or CPMSA awards are eligible to apply to the USP.

  3. It is presumed that the proposal will originate from the Office of the Superintendent or other official who is designated as the Chief School Officer who agrees to serve as the Principal Investigator. A waiver of this requirement will be granted only if there are strong and compelling reasons. A USP Program Director should be contacted prior to the submission of the proposal if such a waiver is needed.

  4. The proposal must meet a cost-share requirement of 20% of the proposed budget request.

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Under this announcement, NSF solicits proposals from eligible urban school districts for up to five years. Awards will depend on the quality of submissions and the availability of funds. The announcement of USP awards will be made in writing by the Foundation normally within six months following the date of receipt of proposals. Awards will be administered through cooperative agreements.

Urban school districts may request up to $3,000,000 per year as determined by specified activities supported by the proposal and the size of the school district.

Size of School District Enrollment
Level of Funding Per Year
20,000 - 100,000
up to $1,000,000
100,001 - 150,000
up to $2,000,000
150,001 - 1, 000,000
up to $3,000,000

Type of award anticipated: Cooperative Agreement

Number of awards anticipated in FY 2000: 10 to 15

Amount of funds available in FY 2000: Approximately $40,000,000 pending availability of funding.

Anticipated date of award: September, annually

Future year support will be contingent upon the availability of funding and acceptable progress in meeting program objectives as determined by monitoring and evaluation activities conducted by NSF program staff, consistent with the terms and conditions of the cooperative agreement.

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Letters of Intent: None

Preproposal Requirement: None

  1. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Proposals submitted in response to this program announcement should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG), NSF 00-2. The complete text of the GPG (including electronic forms) is available electronically on the NSF Web site at: https://www.nsf.gov/. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone 301.947.2722 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

Proposers are reminded to identify the program announcement number (NSF 00-34) in the program announcement/solicitation block on the NSF Form 1207, "Cover Sheet for Proposal to the National Science Foundation." Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

All proposals described in this document must contain the following sections as described fully in the GPG:

    • Information about the principal investigator(s) and project director(s). One copy of NSF Form 1225 must be attached to the signature copy of the cover sheet.

    • A two-page cover sheet (NSF Form 1207). The NSF organizational units that should be selected are the "Division of Educational System Reform" and the "Urban Systemic Program."

    • Project Summary. It should not exceed 200 words and should be placed on a separate page. The heading should include the name of the program, the name of the urban and the congressional district, the submitting organization, and the name, address, and telephone number of the principal investigator.

    • T able of Contents. The Table of Contents will be created automatically in FastLane.

    • Project Description. The Project description must not exceed 15 single-spaced pages (30 double-spaced pages are not acceptable). Proposals exceeding the page limitation will not be considered. See Section B for information about required elements in the Project Description.

    • A brief (no more than two pages) bibliography of pertinent literature;

    • A biographical sketch for each senior personnel involved as principal investigators, principal coinvestigators, or project director(s), or having a major administrative, instructional, or consulting responsibility to the award. Individual vitae must not exceed two pages and may include a list of up to five publications most closely related to the proposed activities;

    • Budget Form 1030. This must be provided for each annual budget and for the cumulative budget for all years of the award. In FastLane, the type of budget (i.e. Year 1, Year 2, etc., and the cumulative budget) is printed at the top of the budget form. A Complete Budget Form 1030 is required for each proposed sub-award. The proposed principal investigator for the sub-award and an authorized organizational representative must sign the form.

    • Brief Budget Justification Pages that provide detailed clarifying information for the funds requested on each line of Budget Form 1030. Detailed explanation should also be provided for the funds requested for each sub-award proposed as a part of the budget. Since the USP requires leveraging of existing funds, a clear discussion of cost-sharing is essential in each sub-award.

    • Statement of Current and Pending Support (NSF Form 1239).

    • Supplementary Documentation. Materials included in the supplementary documentation section must be held to a minimum and must not be used to circumvent the 15-page limitation. The supplementary documentation section should be clearly labeled and placed at the end of the proposal. In FastLane, the supplementary documentation section can be uploaded as a separate PDF file. It should include:

      1. a timeline for proposed activities;

      2. a list of collaborators within the past 48 months;

      3. baseline data on the most recent student achievement in mathematics and science in comparison to state and/or national averages. The data should identify the type of test (norm- or criterion -referenced) and indicate each of the grade levels in which system-wide science and mathematics assessments were administered. It should include achievement scores disaggregated (if possible) by ethnic group and gender, the percentage of students tested against grade-level enrollment, and the appropriate categories for reporting test results (quartiles, means percentiles, proficiency levels, or above or below cut scores). Baseline data may also include course enrollment and completion rates. The baseline data should be reported on three to five pages with specific references in the narrative of the proposal. Legends, footnotes, and other identifying characteristics must be included to provide full explanations of student achievement data; and

      4. letters of commitment.
  1. Supplemental Instructions for the Project Description

The project description of USP proposals must demonstrate explicitly the school district’s K-12 plan for reform and contain the following elements:

    1. Overview (up to one-half page)

      This brief section should describe the need for the USP in the specific locale, and what the proposer plans to accomplish. It should also provide a brief description bearing on the school system, its strengths and weakness, and characterize the physical, social, cultural, political, and intellectual environments in which the USP will operate.

    2. Planning History (up to one page)

      This section should briefly describe the process and results of planning by which the district(s) and selected partners developed a shared vision for establishing the reform agenda for the K-12 system. This planning phase description should identify key participants, committees and other working groups established; highlight milestones, obstacles, kinds and scope of data used to inform decisions; and describe other emerging mechanisms to help achieve program goals. Included in this section should also be information relative to exemplary local, state, regional, and national programs that might be useful to the efforts being proposed and characteristics of systems that have made significant progress towards systemic reform.

    3. Goals, Objectives and Benchmarks

      This section should address both short-term and long-range goals and objectives. Benchmarks (baselines) should be established to guide the implementation process over the course of the funding period per the option selected. Should the ultimate goals require more than the five-year funding period for completion, proposers must develop interim goals to help determine whether the program is progressing successfully towards the achievement of specific outcomes. Each urban school district is required to include baseline data and performance benchmarks that will allow it to determine the origination point and to assess progress towards achievement of its goals and objectives. (Please see the Supplementary Documentation section for details.)

    4. Results from Prior NSF Funding

      If the proposers received prior funding from NSF in the last five years, information on the prior award is required (see Grant Proposal Guide NSF 00-2; Page 8). Up to five pages may be used to describe these results particularly if they supported the establishment of the infrastructure for science, mathematics, and technology. Results may be summarized in fewer than five pages, which will give the proposers the balance of the 15 pages for the instructional program description.

    5. The K-12 Instructional Program Description

NSF considers successful systemic reform to result in full implementation of the six critical drivers identified by the Foundation through its systemic initiative (SI) programs. Submitting school districts should use these critical developments to determine the status of their current reform efforts. The six critical developments include:

      1. Implementation of a comprehensive, standards-based curriculum and/or instructional materials that are aligned with instruction and assessment available to every student served by the system and its partners.

      2. Development of a coherent, consistent set of policies that supports provisions of broad-based reform of mathematics and science at the K-12 level.

      3. Convergence of all resources that are designed for or that reasonably could be used to support science and mathematics education—fiscal, intellectual, materials—both in formal and informal education settings—to upgrade and continually improve the educational program in science and mathematics for all students.

      4. Broad-based support from parents, policymakers, institutions of higher education, business and industry, foundations, and other segments of the community.

      5. Accumulation of a broad and deep array of evidence that the initiative is enhancing student achievement through a set of indices (e.g., achievement test scores, higher level courses passed, advanced placement tests taken, college admission rates, college majors, portfolio assessment, research experiences, ratings from summer employers). Awardees shall report, on an annual basis, the results of student mathematics and science achievements in a manner that allows comparison between SI-impacted and non-SI-impacted schools/districts.

      6. Improvement in the achievement of all students, including those historically underserved, as evidenced by progressive increments in student performance.

Thus, submitting urban school districts must provide in this section compelling evidence that clearly demonstrates that, to a significant degree, an infrastructure for reform is in place and that the implementation of a standards-based curriculum in science and mathematics is underway district-wide at the school system level. An established infrastructure for reform consists of a standards-based science and mathematics K-12 curriculum, (inclusive of content, instruction, and assessment), a set of policies in support of the curriculum, evidence of the convergence of fiscal and intellectual resources, and the existence of effective partnerships in support of a single instructional program for science, mathematics, and technology. Submitting districts must also provide a compelling plan for advancing the implementation of the program. The plan must build on the infrastructure described above and illustrate how the proposed activities will lead to full-scale implementation of a high-quality science and mathematics program for all students.

Careful consideration must be given to and evidence provided to demonstrate how support through this award would facilitate the achievement of the goals of the USP. For example, an urban district may have completed its infrastructure but may not have reached the level of capacity and competency in its instructional workforce to ensure full delivery of the standards-based curriculum. Thus, funding from NSF would be used to augment existing state, district, and other federal funds devoted to the needed activities. Another system may have completed its infrastructure but may need assistance in the infusion of technology into the teaching and learning of science and mathematics, while another may need assistance in enhancing the diversity and number of teachers and skilled entrants in the science and mathematics instructional and technological workforce.

    1. Implementation Process

      The implementation process may involve a wide variety of creative and flexible approaches to the reform of science and mathematics education. It is important that proposers consider a number of diverse organizations, schedules, activities, and strategies that will support, nurture, and sustain new delivery systems. Examples might include the use of technology, staggered work hours, differentiated staffing, special school release time, before and after school extended day program, summer, and academic-year enrichment programs, and community service and transition programs. Special attention should be given to the reallocation of teaching resources to ensure maximum student-teacher interactions.

    2. Project Management and Staffing

      It is presumed that the proposal will originate from the office of the superintendent or other official who is designated as the chief school officer who agrees to serve as the principal investigator. A waiver of this requirement will be granted only if there are strong and compelling reasons. Key USP personnel as well as other persons that have an active role in policy and budgetary decisions, the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of proposed activities, and the assessment of student achievement must have direct access to the superintendent. It is understood that staffing requirements will depend on the design, scope, and discipline focus; however, staffing should include district and school administrators, teaching, and counseling personnel and faculty from local institutions of higher education. The proposal also should include plans, endorsed by the office of the superintendent or chief school officer, to continue support implemented activities after NSF funding has ended and certification that the NSF funds will not replace extant financial resources devoted to mathematics and science education.

      Submitting school districts must also comply with the 1998 Drug-Free Workplace Act and the Federal Conflict-of-Interest requirement (NSF Form 1371).

    3. Assessment/Accountability

      A detailed plan for collecting, processing, and using appropriate disaggregated data to establish a baseline and assess student progress is critical to the success of a USP. This should include the means by which the system documents, measures, and reports on the system’s resources, allocations, programs, policies, procedures, and measurable outcomes as they bear on accountability for science, mathematics, and technology education.

  1. Budgetary Information

    1. General Provisions

Proposers may request from the Foundation appropriate direct, indirect and participants' costs. Separate budgets must be prepared for each year of the award, along with cumulative five-year budget that must be included on a Budget Form 1030.

General NSF provisions of special relevance to this program as well as additional program specific regulations, are summarized below:

      • Allowable costs include staff salaries; consultants, materials and supplies for classroom and laboratory activities, and teacher stipends.
      • Indirect costs are allowed but will not be paid on participants' support costs. (Line F, Budget Form 1030)
      • Funds should be included for the principal investigator and project directors (up to four people) to attend at least two to three, two-day meetings in Washington, DC. Proposers should use their institutional guidelines regarding allowances or, in the absence of such policies, the rate of $168/day.

    1. Cost-Sharing

      Cost-sharing at a level of 20% of the requested total amount of NSF funds is required for all proposals submitted in response to this announcement. The proposed cost- sharing must be shown on line M on the proposal budget (Budget Form 1030.)

      The amount of cost-sharing must be shown in the proposal in enough detail to allow NSF to determine its impact on the proposed initiative. Documentation of availability of cost-sharing must be included in the proposal.

      Only items which would be allowable under the applicable cost principles, if charged to the initiative, may be included as the grantee’s contribution to cost-sharing. Contributions may be made from any non-Federal source, including nonfederal grants or contracts, and may be cash or in-kind (see OMB Circular A-110, Section 23). It should be noted that contributions counted as cost-sharing toward other projects of a Federal agency may not be counted towards meeting the specific cost-sharing requirements of the NSF grant. Additional funds made available through Federal sources (e.g. Eisenhower Program, Title I and Title II, Perkins and other funds) should be specifically identified as leveraging, but not listed as cost-share.

      All cost-sharing amounts are subject to audit. Failure to provide the level of cost-sharing reflected in the approved grant budget may result in termination of the NSF grant, disallowance of grant costs and/or refund of grant funds to NSF.

      Possible areas for cost-sharing, in addition to financial resources, include staff release time, allowable participant costs, and the purchase of new materials related to proposed activities. The use of school buildings, equipment, and materials during normal hours of operation is not considered cost-sharing.

    2. Indirect Cost Limitations: None

    3. Other Budgetary Limitations

      Support will not be provided for general-purpose office equipment such as furniture. Funds may be allocated for office equipment to facilitate implementation of proposed plans not to exceed $20,000 over the life of the award in the K-12 component of the program. Proposers should keep in mind that upgrading or expanding equipment is not a priority in this program. NSF will not award funds for curriculum or instructional materials for general classroom use. Support allocated for such purposes must be directly tied to professional development and other activities for teachers of mathematics and science. Funds for evaluation of USP programmatic activities are limited to $75,000 per year (first-year funds should be used exclusively in preparing data-gathering measures to facilitate adequate and accurate evaluation of programmatic activities. Travel funds will be generally limited to 1% of the total award.

    4. Other Budgetary Information

      1. Authorized Organizational Representative

        Submitting urban school districts must have a fiscal agent who serves as the authorized organizational representative (AOR). The AOR is the administrative official who, on behalf of the proposing school district, is empowered to make certifications and assurances and can commit the school district to the conduct of the program that NSF is being asked to support as well as adhere to various NSF policies and cooperative agreement requirements. The AOR must sign both the NSF Form 1207 and Budget Form 1030 where indicated. Should there be questions regarding this issue, school districts should contact the Foundation’s Division of Grants and Agreements.

      2. Sub-awards

        All sub-awards must be monitored by the submitting school district in accordance with applicable federal cost principles and administrative requirements. Sub-awards can only be issued to organizations that have fiscal authority and responsibility to account for and handle funds. The receiving organization(s) shall be subject to program audits and fiscal audits. The school district must develop and implement a plan that will ensure close monitoring of all sub-awards. Should there be questions regarding this issue, school districts should contact the Foundation’s Division of Grants and Agreements.

      3. Documentation of Level of Effort

School districts must maintain personnel activity reports that show each employee’s activity or type of work on their job as related to the USP. OMB Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State and Local Governments, states that personnel activity reports reflecting each employee’s distribution of activity are required for employees whose compensation is charged to federal awards, and that these activity reports must reflect an after-the-fact distribution of each employee’s actual activity. School districts must maintain personnel activity reports so as to decrease the possibility of salaries being incorrectly charged to an award. Should there be questions regarding this issue, school districts should contact the Foundation’s Division of Grants and Agreements.

    1. Budget Explanations

Using the same categories as those listed on the Budget Form 1030, a rationale for the level of NSF support requested for each budget item should be provided. In separate columns, using the same categories, level of support (monetary and in-kind) should be listed that come from the school system and from other sources in direct support of program activities.

  1. Proposal Due Date

  2. Proposal Deadline: 5:00 PM local time, March 31, annually

  3. FastLane Requirements

Proposals must be submitted electronically March 31, annually using the NSF FastLane system for electronic proposal submission and review, available through the World Wide Web at the FastLane home page (http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov). Copies of the signed proposal cover sheet must be submitted in accordance with the instruction below.

Submission of Signed Cover Sheets. For proposals submitted electronically via the NSF FastLane Project, the signed proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207) should be forwarded to the following address and received by NSF by April 7, annually.

National Science Foundation
DIS-FastLane Cover Sheet
4201 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22230

A proposal may not be processed until the complete proposal (including signed Cover Sheet) has been received by NSF. The NSF FastLane system is available for electronic preparation and submission of a proposal through the WEB at FastLane Web site at http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov. The Sponsored Research Office (SRO or equivalent) must provide a FastLane Personal Identification Number (PIN) to each Principal Investigator (PI) to gain access to the FastLane "Proposal Preparation" application. PIs that have not submitted a proposal to NSF in the past must contact their SRO to be added to the NSF database. This should be done as soon as the decision to prepare a proposal is made.

In order to use NSF FastLane to prepare and submit a proposal, the following are required:

Browser (must support multiple buttons and file upload)

    • Netscape 3.0 or greater
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 or greater

PDF Reader (needed to view/print forms)

    • Adobe Reader 3.0 or greater

PDF Generator (needed to create project description)

    • Adobe Acrobat 3.01 or greater
    • Aladdin Ghostscript 5.10 or greater

A list of registered institutions and the FastLane registration form are located on the FastLane Web page.

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Proposals received under this solicitation will be reviewed following the general procedures:

  1. Merit Review Criteria

Reviews of proposals submitted to NSF are solicited from three or more peers with expertise in the substantive area of the proposed research or education project. NSF invites the proposer at the time of submission, to suggest names of appropriate or inappropriate reviewers. Special care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no immediate and obvious conflicts with the proposer. Special efforts are made to recruit reviewers from nonacademic institutions, minority serving institutions, adjacent disciplines to that principally addressed in the proposal, etc. These suggestions may serve as one source in the reviewers selection process at the Program Officer’s discretion. Program Officers may obtain comments from assembled review panels or from site visits before recommending final action on proposals. Recommendations for awards are further reviewed by senior staff.

Proposals will be reviewed against the following general merit review criteria established by the National Science Board. Following each criterion are potential considerations that the reviewer may employ in the evaluation. These are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. Each reviewer will be asked to address only those that are relevant to the proposal and for which he/she is qualified to make judgements.

    1. What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?

      How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?

    2. What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?

How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g. gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

PIs should address the following elements in their proposal to provide reviewers with the information necessary to respond fully to both NSF merit review criteria. NSF staff will give these factors careful consideration in making funding decisions.

Integration of Research and Education

One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. Those institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learner perspectives.

Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects and Activities

Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens - women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities - is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.

  1. Elaboration of Review Criteria

In elaboration of the general NSF review criteria, reviewers will also be asked to review USP proposals on the basis of the following criteria:
    1. Is the program likely to lead to systemic changes having substantial impact on science, mathematics, and technology education for all students within the subject urban school district? The plan must demonstrate the existence of a single, well-articulated K-12 program in science and mathematics. It should speak specifically to the following key elements:

    STATUS OF REFORM: Did the district use the critical developments to determine the current status of reform? Was the existence of an established infrastructure clearly demonstrated? Does the implementation plan illustrate explicitly how the proposed program will improve and/or advance the teaching and learning of science and mathematics K-12?

    NEED: Is there a clearly defined need for the project? Are the district’s needs, problems, and issues adequately demonstrated, and reflected in an effective comprehensive planning process?

    RATIONALE: To what extent does the proposal convey an understanding of the status of the educational infrastructure in the urban school district and of the elements involved in effecting systemic change? Is NSF support necessary and clearly justified?

    VISION: Is there a clear sense of what the USP expects to accomplish? Is a unified set of concepts, beliefs, and goals regarding science, mathematics, and technology education clearly articulated? Does this vision form the basis of the proposal? Are the proposed changes aligned with relevant state and local standards?

    SCIENTIFIC AND EDUCATIONAL MERIT: Has the proposer benefited from the best thinking of the mathematics, science, technology, and educational policy communities? Are the proposers knowledgeable about other related efforts at the urban, state, and national levels? Are "proven" approaches to increasing the participation and achievement of underrepresented groups (i.e. minorities, women, and persons with disabilities) in mathematics, science and technology education programs included within the proposal? Have lessons learned from NSF prior efforts been incorporated into proposed plans?

    INSTITUTIONALIZATION: How will the changes proposed become part of the system? What will they replace? How will the changes be institutionalized? Will the program encourage and facilitate improved and lasting working relationships among the various partners.

    1. Is the proposed staff, especially the project director(s) and other key personnel, qualified to lead this program? Do they include, and/or have access to, the urban and school district leadership and other key policymakers? Are staff and time allocations sufficient to do the job? Are scientists, mathematicians, engineers as well as educators in these disciplines an integral part of the team?

    2. Have the proposers developed a plan of operation that will lead to the specified changes? Have they developed a workable management plan with appropriate timelines? Does the school district have the capability to carry out the program? Are proposed sub-awards necessary and have the proposers developed a plan for administering them?

    3. Have the proposers developed a workable documentation and evaluation plan? Have they identified both short- and long-term impacts they seek from the changes they propose? How will the impacts be evaluated? Are criteria for success, benchmarks, clearly stated in measurable terms? Is there a process for responding effectively and efficiently to the identified problems? Is formative and summative evaluation provided for? Is there a mechanism to monitor student performance/achievement? Has an appropriate database been established? Is the expertise available to implement it?

    4. Are budgets related to the activities to be carried out? Are the costs appropriate to achieve program outcomes? Does the budget narrative present detailed justifications, including details of cost-sharing, for each program partner? Does the proposal indicate how resources will be coordinated or developed to achieve the program’s goals?

    5. Is the school district’s approach likely to lead to the kind of reform necessary to improve the education of all urban youth in mathematics, science, and technology? Will the program result in implementation of quality products (e.g., educated students able to enter the work force and availability of a sufficiently high level of appropriate courses, professional development strategies, student intervention programs, parent involvement models, new governance structures, and assessment programs)? Will they be institutionalized? Will others be able to adapt the approaches?

    6. Is the program likely to contribute to lasting improvements in the SMET educational system that result in significantly altering the life patterns of students and the productivity of the national educational enterprise vis-a-vis minorities, women and students with disabilities?

The NSF staff may solicit further information through site visits, and other means necessary to gather information about a proposal. Other factors that will be considered by staff in selecting the awardees from within substantially similar quality groupings include: (1) the firmness and substance of the commitments from the participating entities, groups, and individuals; and (2) the degree to which the proposed program is responsive, original and innovative.

  1. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard

Most of the proposals submitted to NSF are reviewed by mail review, panel review, or some combination of mail and panel review. Proposals submitted in response to this announcement will be reviewed by a combination of mail and panel review, and may include pre-award site visits.

All proposals are carefully reviewed by at least three other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular field represented by the proposal. Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. A Program Officer assigned to the proposal’s review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation. In most cases, proposers will be contacted by the Program Officer after his or her recommendation to award or decline funding has been approved by his or her supervisor, the division director. This informal notification is not a guarantee of an eventual award. NSF will be able to tell applicants whether their proposal has been declined or recommended for funding within six months for 95 percent of proposals in this category. In those cases where a proposal is being considered for joint funding by separate divisions, directorates, or agencies, NSF will be able to tell applicants within nine months in 95 percent of proposals. The time interval begins on the proposal deadline or target date or from the date of receipt, if deadlines or target dates are not used by the program. The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer’s recommendation.

In all cases, after final programmatic approval has been obtained, the recommendation then goes to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants Officer may make commitments, obligations, or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with an NSF Program Officer. A PI or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants Officers does so at its own risk.

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  1. Notification of the Award

  2. Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Division administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identify of the reviewers, will be provided automatically to the PI.

  3. Award Conditions

  4. An NSF cooperative agreement consists of: (1) the award document, which includes any special provisions applicable to the cooperative agreement and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award document; (4) the applicable award conditions, Grant General Conditions (NSF GC-1)*, and Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions (CA-1) and (5) any NSF brochure, program guide, announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award document.

    * This document may be accessed electronically on NSF’s Web site at: https://www.nsf.gov/. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone 301.947.2722 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

    More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, (NSF 95-26) available electronically on the NSF Web site. The GPM also is available in paper copy by subscription from the Superintendent of Documents, Government printing office, Washington, DC 20402. The GPM may be ordered through the GPO Web site at: http://www.gpo.gov. The telephone number at GPO for subscription information is 202.512.1800.

  5. Reporting Requirements

  6. For all multiyear awards, the PI must submit an annual report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period.

    Within 90 days after expiration of an award, the PI is also required to submit a final project report. Approximately 30 days before expiration, NSF will send a notice to remind the PI of the requirement to file a final project report. Failure to provide final technical reports delays NSF review and processing of pending proposals for that PI. Therefore, PIs should examine the format of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

    NSF has implemented a new electronic project report system, available through FastLane, which permits electronic submission and updating of project reports, including information on: project participants (individual and organizational); activities and findings; publications; and, other specific products and contributions. Reports will continue to be required annually and after the expiration of the award, but PIs will not need to reenter information previously provided, either with the proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system.

    Effective October 1, 1999, PIs are required to use the new reporting format for annual and final project reports. If you have any questions, please contact Celeste Pea at 703-306-1684.

  7. New Awardee Information

If the submitting organization has never received an NSF award, it is recommended that the organization’s appropriate administrative officials become familiar with the policies and procedures in the NSF Grant Policy Manual which are applicable to most NSF awards. The "Prospective New Awardee Guide" (NSF 99-78) includes information on: Administration and Management Information: Accounting System Requirements and Auditing Information; and Payments to Organizations with Awards. This information will assist an organization in preparing documents that NSF requires to conduct administrative and financial reviews of an organization. The guide also serves as a means of highlighting the accountability requirements associated with Federal awards. This document is available electronically on NSF’s Web site at: https://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf9978.

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General inquiries should be made to the Urban Systemic Program, Celeste Pea, Program Officer, Room 875, Division of Educational System Reform, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230, telephone 703-306-1684, e-mail: cpea@nsf.gov. For questions related to use of FastLane, contact Carolyn Miller, FastLane Project Officer 703-306-1145 x4659, e-mail: cmiller@nsf.gov.

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The NSF Guide to Programs is a compilation of funding for research and education in science, mathematics, and engineering. General descriptions of NSF programs, research areas, and eligibility information for proposal submission are provided in each chapter. Many NSF programs offer announcements concerning specific proposal requirements. To obtain additional information about these requirements, contact the appropriate NSF program offices listed in Appendix A of the GPG. Any changes in NSF's fiscal year programs occurring after press time for the Guide to Programs will be announced in the NSF Bulletin, available monthly (except July and August), and in individual program announcements. The Bulletin is available electronically via the NSF Web Site at https://www.nsf.gov. The direct URL for recent issues of the Bulletin is https://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/publicat/bulletin/bulletin.htm. Subscribers can also sign up for NSF's Custom News Service to find out what funding opportunities are available.

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NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Grantees are wholly responsible for conducting their project activities and preparing the results for publication. Thus, the Foundation does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.

NSF welcomes proposals on behalf of all qualified scientists, engineers, and educators. The foundation strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to participate fully in its programs. In accordance with Federal statutes, regulations and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NSF (some programs may have special requirements that limit eligibility).

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research assistants) to work on NSF-supported projects. See the program announcement or contact the program coordinator at (703) 306-1636.

NSF has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation about NSF programs, employment or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 306-0090, FIRS at 1-800-877-8339. The catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number is 47.076, Education and Human Resources.

Privacy Act and Public Burden Statements

The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposals forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; and project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch of Congress. This information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the proposal review process; to proposer institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers, and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies needing information as part of the review process or in order to coordinate programs; and to another Federal agency, court or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about PIs may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF 50, "Principal Investigators/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 267 (January 5, 1998), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 268 (January 5, 1998). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of your receiving an award.

The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to:

Reports Clearance Officer
Information Dissemination Branch
Division of Administrative Services
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230

Year 2000 Reminder

In accordance with Important Notice NO.120 dated June 27, 1997, Subject: Year 2000 Computer Problem, NSF Awardees are reminded of their responsibility to take appropriate actions to ensure that the NSF activity being supported is not adversely affected by the Year 2000 problem. Potentially affected items include: computer systems, databases, and equipment. The NSF should be notified if an awardee concludes that the Year 2000 will have a significant impact on its ability to carry out an NSF-funded activity. Information concerning Year 2000 activities can be found on the NSF Web site at: https://www.nsf.gov/oirm/y2k/start.htm.

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance category 47.076, EHR.

OMB # 3145-0058
NSF 00-34 (Replaces NSF 99-52)

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