RFP: Professional Learning Partnerships: Guidelines

ELIGIBILITY 

Qualified teams of organizations will have:

  • Existing curriculum-aligned products and services that have been tested and used in schools for at least two school years with a track record of success achieving learning gains for Black, Latino, EL-designated, and low-income students, and which can be modified and built upon in the partnership
  • Previous districts, schools, and other stakeholders that validate demand for and benefits of existing products and services
  • Qualitative and/or quantitative data about stakeholder needs and preferences on which their hypotheses for partnership opportunities are based
  • Commitment to and experience working with schools that serve high percentages of Black, Latino, EL-designated, and low-income students
  • Headquarters in, or the ability to provide services in, California, Florida, Georgia, New York, or North Carolina; services proposed for project support through this RFP must be tested in schools serving at least 50 percent Black, Latino, EL-designated, and/or low-income students
  • If outside of these states, successful applicant partnerships must include LEA(s) serving at least 50,000 students, and proposed services must be tested in schools serving at least 50 percent Black, Latino, EL-designated, and/or low-income students.

Qualified teams of organizations will:

  • Have a point organization designated as the contact and grant-receiving lead for the project, and a point person or team that will lead the work
  • Have alignment from all organizations implicated in the proposal
  • Have sufficient personnel and capacity throughout the duration of the grant to perform the scope of work, or a plan to build sufficient capacity
  • Have committed or very likely districts, schools, and other stakeholders interested in the proposed partnership offerings, and a marketing plan to acquire districts, schools, and other stakeholders
  • Commit to the foundation’s Global Access commitments (see below)

We will consider funding for teams including:

  • Teams that include multiple providers with sufficient experience and either sufficient existing capacity or a plan to build sufficient capacity
  • Teams that include stakeholder(s) (e.g., LEAs, intermediate units, schools) seeking to address a particular need, preferably contributing co-funding, and provider(s) with sufficient experience, and either sufficient existing capacity or a plan to build that capacity
  • Teams with the ability to test proposed services in more than one school; proposals to test services in a single school will not be considered

Eligible curriculum titles for aligned professional learning services

PL partnerships eligible for this opportunity must be aligned to one curriculum title meeting the following criteria:

  • Cover a full grade band of middle or high school mathematics or English language arts, or middle school science
  • Mathematics and ELA titles must submit an EdReports review, or must be reviewed by a third party using either the appropriate EdReports review instrument or the Instructional Materials Evaluation Toolkit. A description of the third-party review process must accompany the review of the title itself
  • Middle school science titles must be aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and submit either an EdReports review, or must be reviewed by a third party using the NextGen TIME suite of tools. A description of the third-party review process must accompany the review of the title itself
    • Support for projects in middle school science will only be considered from California, or on a case-by-case basis should partnerships be proposed including LEA(s) serving at least 50,000 students within states that have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards

All team proposals should be for new or meaningfully expanded partnerships. Organizations that have previously partnered with each other are eligible if this proposal is for a substantially new or expanded line of work that is scalable to other districts, schools, and other stakeholders by design.

 

APPLICATION GUIDELINES

In your application, please address the following:

Background of Partners

  • Briefly describe PL providers participating in the partnership, including:
    • Previous work partners have done related to curriculum-aligned professional learning
    • Partners’ primary goals and expertise
    • Partners’ major products and services offered and in development
    • Partners’ current and past districts, schools, and other stakeholders, and ability to support districts, schools, and other stakeholders in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, or North Carolina
    • Indicators that partners’ previous work has achieved learning gains for Black, Latino, EL-designated, and/or low-income students
  • Briefly describe the relationship between partners (e.g., any previous joint work, membership in networks, mutual districts, schools, and other stakeholders, etc.)

Partnership goals

  • In this section, please describe the goals for the partnership, including:
    • The districts’, schools, and stakeholders’ needs the partnership seeks to fulfill, evidence of those needs, and context on current gaps in the market related to that need
    • The mutually agreed-upon goals for the partnership and principles that will guide the work
    • The curriculum to which PL content and services will be aligned, together with evidence of the quality of the title(s)

Partnership activities

  • In this section, please describe the proposed partnership arrangement, including:
    • Geographies the partnership expects to target, particularly in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, or North Carolina
    • The stakeholders the partnership aims to reach, including the purchasing agents to whom the products and services will be marketed, and the level of educators (e.g., classroom teachers, school leaders, school or district instructional leads and coaches, district leaders) targeted by the interventions
    • The service model the proposed project would enhance, refine, test, or otherwise improve to meet the needs of specified students, schools, districts, and other stakeholders. The content and/or services each partner provider will offer and how they differ from what the provider would offer acting outside of a partnership
    • Experience in professional learning services to help teachers provide high-quality instruction in Math and ELA core curriculum that addresses the needs of students with high incidence disabilities (e.g., learning and attention issues)?
    • The timeline for development of content and the approach; marketing to districts, schools, and other stakeholders; implementation; and evaluation. Partnerships will ideally begin implementing services with districts, schools, and other stakeholders by School Year 2020-2021.
    • The resources and activities partners will use to build capacity to execute their roles in the partnership

Stakeholders

  • Please identify likely stakeholders (districts, networks of schools, CMOs, states, or other configurations serving predominantly Black, Latino, EL-designated, and low-income students) who will purchase services designed and offered through this partnership. These could include a provider’s existing stakeholder who will purchase new services from a partner; an existing customer who will purchase expanded services; or a stakeholder new to all providers in the partnership. In this section, please:
    • Provide a brief overview of the priority interest of districts, schools, and other stakeholders
    • Explain why they are likely to purchase from the partnership
    • Describe how they serve Black, Latino, EL-designated, or low-income students.

Partnership terms

  • In this section, please describe the proposed business arrangements for the partnership. If exact terms are not yet decided, please describe potential arrangements under discussion and remaining issues to be addressed before terms are finalized. Key questions include:
    • What will be the revenue-sharing model for participating providers?
    • What will be the IP arrangements for materials modified or developed under the partnership and for pre-existing materials used in partnership activities? How will Global Access commitments (see description below) be determined and managed?
    • What will the contract arrangement be between providers within the partnership? Who will be the grant-receiving point organization, and how will they distribute funds across partners? What will the contract arrangement be with districts, schools, and other stakeholders?
    • How will the responsibilities and division of labor be structured among the partnership?
    • What are the planned business terms for how providers will collaborate after the grant period?
  • If there is any added expertise and/or capacity that you may need to help develop a sustainable partnership business model, please describe the key questions and resources partners need.

Partnerships

  • Briefly describe your team’s experience and expertise to meet the following criteria:
    • Designing PL content and/or services and implementing PL services with schools, particularly curriculum-aligned PL
    • Working with schools that serve high percentages of Black, Latino, EL-designated, and low-income students
    • Creating business plans to enable sustainable growth
    • Partnering with other PL providers and/or districts, schools, and other stakeholders to offer new or customized products and services
    • Measuring the impact of PL services on student learning
  • Please briefly describe your team’s approach to integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into your work.

Budget

Please describe the proposed use of funds against major project activities as a percentage of the overall request. In addition, indicate the breakdown of funds allocated to each organization in the applying partnership. Describe the amount and source(s) of complementary funding.

 

REVIEW CRITERIA

Concept proposals will be evaluated against the following criteria:

Team fit & alignment

  • Alignment of the goals of the partnership with the experience and expertise of the project team
  • Demonstrated experience with and understanding of the challenges of and opportunities in providing PL services to educational systems serving predominantly Black, Latino, EL-designated, and low-income students
  • Team’s general approach to integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into their work

Partnership feasibility

  • Likelihood of establishing a sustainable partnership that can thrive beyond the grant term in response to natural stakeholder demand
  • Likelihood that the partnership can successfully deliver the proposed services within the timeframe specified
  • Likelihood that the partnership can successfully deliver the proposed services within the budget and staffing specified

Partnership value

  • Likelihood that a grant will enable or significantly expedite activities that would otherwise not occur or occur slowly in the market
  • Likelihood that the partnership will result in meeting both practical and pedagogical stakeholder needs related to Black, Latino, EL-designated, and low-income students, and in the solution being scaled beyond the grant term
  • Likelihood that the partnership will establish a successful business approach that can serve as a model for the field

Likelihood that the partnership will result in actionable lessons that can shape investment approaches and work with the field

 

ACTIVITIES AND TIMELINE 

  • January 7, 2019: Open RFP
  • March 8, 2019: Deadline for submitting applications
  • April 15 – 16, 2019: Interviews via video conference
  • May 2019: Award(s) announced

All dates are estimates and are subject to change in the sole discretion of the foundation.

 

HOW TO SUBMIT A PROPOSAL 

Response Requirements

Applicants must first submit an application.

To apply, please complete the application that addresses the topics described in the “Application Guidelines” section above. To submit a response, click here.

After the application review, a select number of partnership finalists will be invited to interview via video conference.

Awards will be announced in May 2019.  A full proposal will then be co-developed with the foundation.

 

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS 

Please adhere to the following instructions when responding to this RFP:

  • Apply via the online application form by 5:00 pm, Pacific Time, March 8, 2019.
  • To view the recording of an informational webinar, click here.
  • All communication relating to the RFP, including questions and clarifications should be submitted via email to ProfessionalLearningPartnerships@gatesfoundation.org.
  • All questions must be answered to be considered for work pursuant to this RFP.
  • Consultants or their representatives may not contact anyone else within the foundation regarding this RFP. Any violation of this requirement may result in disqualification from the selection process.

Questions submitted by any consultant and associated responses may be distributed to all consultants.

 

MORE INFORMATION

Key Terms and Conditions

A: Disclosure Notice

To help the foundation with its review of RFP responses, the foundation may disclose proposals, documents, communications, and associated materials submitted to the foundation in response to this RFP (collectively, “Submission Materials”) to its employees, contingent workers, consultants, independent subject matter experts, and potential co-funders. Please carefully consider the information included in the Submission Materials. If you (the “Applicant”) have any doubts about the wisdom of disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, the foundation recommends you consult with your legal counsel and take any steps you deem necessary to protect your intellectual property. You may wish to consider whether such information is critical for evaluating the submission or if more general, non-confidential information may be adequate as an alternative for these purposes.

Notwithstanding the Applicants characterization of any information as being confidential, the foundation is under no obligation to treat such information as confidential.

B: Disclaimer

This RFP is not an offer to contract or award grant funds. The foundation assumes no responsibility for the Applicants cost to respond to this RFP. All responses generated by this RFP become the property of the foundation.

C: Release and Verification

In exchange for the opportunity to be awarded a grant or contract,  the Applicant agrees that the foundation may, in its sole discretion:  (1) amend or cancel the RFP, in whole or in part, at any time; (2) extend the deadline for submitting responses; (3) determine whether a response does or does not substantially comply with the requirements of the RFP; (4) waive any minor irregularity, informality or nonconformance with the provisions or procedures of the RFP; (5) issue multiple awards; (6) share responses generated by this RFP with foundation staff, consultants, contingent workers, subject matter experts, and potential co-funders; and (7) copy the responses.

Applicant agrees not to bring a legal challenge of any kind against the foundation relating to the foundation’s selection and award of a grant or contract arising from this RFP.

Applicant represents that it has responded to the RFP with complete honesty and accuracy. If facts provided in Applicant’s response change, Applicant will supplement its response in writing with any deletions, additions or changes within ten days of the changes.  Applicant will do this, as necessary, throughout the selection process. Applicant understands that any material misrepresentation, including omissions, may disqualify it from consideration for a grant or contract award.

By responding to this RFP, you are representing: (i) that you have authority to bind the named Applicant to the terms and conditions set forth above, without amendment; and (ii) that you agree to be bound by them.

D: Global Access and Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) rights and the management of IP rights are likely to play an important role in achieving the goals of this project. To this end, the foundation requires that, even at this stage, all applicants seriously consider their willingness to submit a response in compliance with the foundation’s response requirements, a portion of which may ask for certain information and intentions regarding intellectual property concerns and Global Access. Specifically, the foundation requires that;

You will conduct and manage the Project and the Funded Developments in a manner that ensures Global Access. Your Global Access commitments will survive the term of the Agreement. “Funded Developments” means the products, services, processes, technologies, materials, software, data, other innovations, and intellectual property resulting from the Project (including modifications, improvements, and further developments to Background Technology). “Background Technology” means any and all products, services, processes, technologies, materials, software, data, or other innovations, and intellectual property created by You or a third party prior to or outside of the Project used as part of the Project. “Global Access” means: (a) the knowledge and information gained from the Project will be promptly and broadly disseminated; and (b) the Funded Developments will be made available and accessible at an affordable price (i) to people most in need within developing countries, or (ii) in support of the U.S. educational system and public libraries, as applicable to the Project.

The foundation will be selecting applicants based on the conclusion that their technologies and expertise will be most appropriate for the success of this RFP.

As part of the foundation’s review and evaluation of each response, the foundation will conduct due diligence with respect to each applicant’s ability and commitment to manage intellectual property in a manner consistent with the stated scientific and charitable goals of the foundation. Due diligence activities may include inquiry into an applicant’s:

1) Freedom to operate (FTO) and ability to freely use and acquire needed background technology;

2) Commitment to promote the utilization, commercialization and availability of Funded Developments for public benefit

The foundation encourages you to include this information in your response.

 

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. We work with partners worldwide to tackle critical problems in five program areas. Our Global Health Division aims to reduce inequities in health by developing new tools and strategies to reduce the burden of infectious disease and the leading causes of child mortality in developing countries. Our Global Development Division focuses on improving the delivery of high-impact health products and services to the world’s poorest communities and helps countries expand access to health coverage. Our Global Growth & Opportunity Division focuses on creating and scaling market-based innovations to stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Our United States Division works to improve U.S. high school and postsecondary education and support vulnerable children and families in Washington State. And our Global Policy & Advocacy Division seeks to build strategic relationships and promote policies that will help advance our work. Our approach to grantmaking in all five areas emphasizes collaboration, innovation, risk-taking, and, most importantly, results.

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