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Smart Start Program

Grants to New York State Public School Districts, Consortia of
Districts, and BOCES for Professional Development for K-8 Teachers

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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New York State Education Department (NYSED) - Office of Educational Design and Technology

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

11/19/19 Postmarked


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Grants to New York public school districts, consortia of districts, and BOCES for professional development programs for K-8 teachers. Funding is intended to create, share, and implement programs that improve teacher's expertise in computer science, engineering, and educational technology. The goal of the program is to help teachers become in-house experts in these fields in local schools and districts. Preference will be given to proposals that include one or more districts that are identified as High Needs.

New York State teachers need professional development and support in order to help their students achieve success in computer science, engineering, and educational technology. NYSED recognizes that high-quality professional development that utilizes best practices and instructional methodologies and are tailored to school district and regional industry needs is critical to improving learning opportunities and outcomes for all NYS students. 

Program Goals: 

Therefore, the program goals of the Smart Start Grant are as follows:

  1. The implementation of fully developed programs that provide professional development and support to increase expertise in computer science, engineering, and/or educational technology among teachers in grades K-8, to allow such teachers to become in-house experts in the school and district.
  2. The publishing and sharing of the state-funded programs, including any and all materials and artifacts (with the exception of Personally Identifiable Information and artifacts created by K-8 students) produced over the course of the grant in the manner outlined in the RFP, so that other NYS districts can freely use, copy, adapt, and implement similar programs. Programs will be published on the applicant’s website.

For Scope of the Work, Program Models and program requirements please see the Guidelines found in the Supporting Documents below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 186867

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Applicants will apply for funding in one of the two categories:
- Large Scale Grant: up to $500,000/year
- Focused Grant: up to $250,000/year

Term of Contract:

The grant period is anticipated to be five years, from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2025.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants
Public school districts and consortia of districts or district(s) and BOCES.
- New York City:
New York City proposals must be submitted by a Community School District (CSD), either as an individual CSD or as part of a consortium of two (2) or more CSDs. District 75 may submit either as an individual district or as part of a consortium with one (1) or more CSDs. As this grant is targeted to grades K-8, New York City High Schools are not eligible to participate.
- Big Four Districts:
Big Four public school districts (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers) must apply individually.
- Rest of State (ROS):
Rest of State (ROS) districts may apply individually if their total enrollment of all students as of the 2017-2018 school year equals or exceeds 8,000 students P-12 (excluding charter school enrollment) and they are able to meet expectations for, at minimum, a Focused grant award. These districts may also participate in a consortium with one or more ROS districts.
- All ROS public school districts with total enrollment of all students P-12 as of the 2017-2018 school year below 8,000 must apply as a consortium.
- Consortia must be able to meet the expectations for, at minimum, a Focused grant award. See Program Scale section for more information. The total enrollment of all participating districts must equal or exceed 8,000 students P-12.
- Consortia must be organized in one of two ways:
- A Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES)-led consortium comprised of the BOCES and two or more Districts as consortium members; or
- District-led consortiums comprised of two or more Districts as consortium members.
- Consortia cannot include more than one BOCES.
- All Consortia proposals must be submitted by the Consortium Lead.

For additional information please see the Guidelines found in the Supporting Documents below.

Charter Schools, Religious and Independent Schools, Institutions of Higher Education, and 503(c) Corporations are not eligible to apply.

Pre-proposal Conference:

A live webinar will be held on September 25, 2019 from 9:30am until 11:30am that will provide programmatic information for applicants. Applicants are strongly urged to attend.

Information on how to access the webinar will be posted to the Office of Educational Design and Technology’s website on or before September 15, 2019.

If attendance is not possible, applicants are strongly encouraged to watch the recording of the webinar, which will be posted to the Office of Educational Design and Technology’s website 2 business days following the live webinar.

Pre-Application Information:

NYSED strongly encourages all prospective applicants to submit an NOI to ensure a timely and thorough review and rating process. The notice of intent is a simple email notice stating your organization’s (use the legal name) intent to apply for this grant. Please send the NOI to by November 5, 2019.

Applicants must submit one electronic copy of the completed application as an attachment in Microsoft Word by November 19, 2019. Applicants must also submit paper copies of the full application, postmarked by November 19, 2019.

Important Dates for Awarding Grants:
- Applications must be postmarked by: November 19, 2019
- Anticipated Preliminary Award Notification: Winter 2020
- Anticipated Project Period: 7/1/20 to 6/30/25

A budget for Year One (7/1/20 to 6/30/21), must be submitted with this application, together with a five-year budget narrative. Funding beyond Year Two will be contingent upon the State Legislature appropriating funds, satisfactory performance in the previous year, and timely receipt of the annual report.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Applicants must submit one electronic copy of the completed application to

Applicants must also submit hard copies of the full application to:
New York State Education Department
Office of Educational Design & Technology
89 Washington Avenue
Room 880 EBA
Albany, NY 12234
Attn: Mary Ann Valikonis

All questions must be submitted by email to by close of business, October 8, 2019. A complete list of all Questions and Answers will be posted to P-12 Funding Opportunities no later than close of business, October 22, 2019.

SED Contacts:

Program Matters:
Mary Ann Valikonis

Fiscal Matters:
Jessica Hartjen

M/WBE Matters:
Aimee Lang

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York

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