Program-Related Questions for FOA PS13-1308
Q1: With respect to the Letters of Commitment (LOC), should the letters span the full 5 years of the cooperative agreement?
A1: Timing of LOC should be as much as the agencies/organizations can predict the length of the relationship. Applicants should make certain to cover in the LOC the essential topics as described in the FOA.
Q2: Can we use the Year 1 planning year to identify priority districts and schools?
Q3: Does all effort need to focus on priority target districts/schools? What about the rest of the state?
A3: On pages 9-10, the FOA states that Exemplary Sexual Health Education (ESHE) and Policy need to be implemented in the applicant’s jurisdiction meeting the “All-Inclusive” requirement, providing general guidance for the state/territory/local jurisdictions at large.
Q4: For the FOA Strategy 2 concerning high-risk populations, is the funded education agency expected to provide Professional Development (PD) and Technical Assistance (TA) to the 15 or more priority school districts concerning this high-risk population, or is the funded education agency supposed to identify a separate group of selected schools for this work?
A4: No, funded education agencies are expected to implement all four approaches and select one Youth at Disproportionate Risk (YDR) group with which to implement one approach more extensively; funded education agencies should plan to work with the same districts selected for the work under the approaches.
Q5: Targeting 15 districts in a state with more than 700 school districts can be daunting; how should these sites focus?
A5: Funded education agencies will use year 1 as a planning year to identify the most appropriate districts/schools on which to focus efforts. DASH staff will work with funded education agencies on selecting priority districts and schools.
Q6: Approach A, bullet 2 (page 7) Re: curriculum selection: Is a Local Education Agency (LEA) expected to undergo another curriculum review for the ESHE portion of comprehensive health education?
A6: The LEA is not expected to undergo another curriculum review if the LEA has had its curriculum approved and if it meets ESHE expectations.
Q7: Does the expectation about setting up a curriculum review apply to LEA that are already satisfied with their curriculum choices? (page 12)
A7: The expectation is that curriculum is chosen through a district approved curriculum review process. If the curriculum was selected through that review process and meets ESHE expectations, then there is no need for additional review.
Q8: What type of documentation is needed to show a district curriculum is exemplary?
A8: DASH recommends using the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) to confirm a district’s curriculum as exemplary (refer to more information on the HECAT at: www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/hecat/index.htm)
Q9: Can CDC research, identify, assess, and recommend additional classroom- based ESHE curricula, including those that are part of the required comprehensive health education course? If not, are funded education agencies expected to assess the curricula using HECAT or the National Sexuality Education Standards?
A9: DASH expects education agencies to use a variety of sources to inform curriculum selection and improve quality and appropriateness of content in the ESHE curricula as needed. HECAT is an appropriate and preferred tool for assessing curricula.
Q10: "Establish a written MS/HS standard course of study or curriculum framework that reflects ESHE" (page 7). In some states, sexual health education may be one required component of comprehensive health education. Does this FOA support school systems for which ESHE is not a stand-alone curriculum, but a part of the comprehensive, skills-based health education course?
A10: Yes. DASH supports ESHE integrated into a comprehensive, skills-based health education course. It is important that ESHE priorities be evident in this comprehensive framework.
Q11: What is meant by “frameworks or courses of study?”
A11: Both terms are used in the FOA to reflect bodies of prescribed study of course work across the span of the student educational experience (e.g., health education). DASH defines “course of study” as the entire scope and sequence of health education, grades pre-K-12.
Q12: Can sites use the National Health Education Standards and National Sexual Education Standards to inform our work?
A12: Yes; however, the extent to which a state may use these two documents is dependent upon state policy and curriculum standards of each particular state.
Q13: With respect to Safe and Supportive Environment (SSE), is DASH looking for a curriculum specific to Youth at Disproportionate Risk (YDR)?
A13: SSE activities should address all students at the school, not only YDR. Promoting and providing SSE is not required to be accomplished through curriculum, but may be. Parent engagement and school engagement are also emphasized in the FOA on pages 13 and 14.
Q14: Is it allowable to address more than one YDR?
A14: Yes, but funded education agencies should address multiple YDR categories with caution considering FOA requirements.
Q15: Are funded education agencies restricted to choosing one of the four YDR groups in the FOA (LGBT:YMSM, homeless youth and youth who attend alternative schools)? If they are not restricted to those four groups, can you speak more to which groups are considered youth at disproportionate risk?
A15: Yes. The funded education agencies are restricted to these four groups of youth for their YDR selection as explained in the FOA on page 3 and as described in the Glossary on page 67.
Q16: On page 25, under Strategy 3, Approach B Regarding Key Sexual Health Services (SHS), what does “to assess student for key SHS needs” mean? Is it a formal protocol?
A16: The funded education agencies should put in place a way to assess the sexual health service needs of students. This is in response to the evaluation question listed on page 25 and could include a formal or standard protocol.
Q17: If sites that we choose to partner with do not address sexual health services, where do we start?
A17: Funded education agencies should start with establishing need by assessing relevant health and other data.
Q18: How can funds be used regarding health services?
A18: Funds can be used to support the activities outlined on page 12 under Approach B: Key Sexual Health Services. Funded education agencies cannot use DASH funds for clinical care including purchasing medical supplies such as condoms, contraceptives, testing kits, and medicine.
Q19: On page 35, section 4 - Other, fourth bulleted item: there is a reference to vaccine coverage. Is that a reference to insurance coverage for STD prevention, or data on the number of vaccines, such as for HPV, which are provided in the state?
A19: Vaccine coverage is referring to increasing HPV vaccination administration. See pages 7-8 for the logic model and definitions of sexual health services.
Q20: For Strategy 4, we must select 10 schools with which to work. Can these 10 schools be part of the 20 schools that we select for Strategy 2 or are these 10 additional schools?
A20: Yes. The 10 schools selected in Strategy 2 can be part of the 20 schools selected for Strategy 4.
Q21: How should funded partners budget for 5 Professional Development events per year?
A21: Budget to attend two professional development (PD) events in-person, and three PD events via virtual methods such as webinar, live-meeting, or on-line PD. In-person trainings will be team training events.
Q22: In thinking that the Orientation will be a team approach, who should be identified to attend?
A22: Think strategically; the team should consist of members who will most effectively help the program achieve the project outcomes. The team could include the Evaluator, Health Department partner, or other relevant staff. Specific suggestions will be provided to funded partners.
Q23: Is it permissible for the Health Department in the grantee’s jurisdiction to establish a School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)?)
A23: Yes, provided that the education agency is engaged and the SHAC work is connected to the activities outlined in the application.
Q24: Can the HIV Materials Review Panel also serve as the SHAC?
Q25: Under Strategy 2, are all 4 approaches required by the funded partners?
A25: Yes. All four approaches are to be implemented in the priority districts/schools selected, and ESHE and policy are to be implemented within the entire jurisdiction. Refer to Strategy 2: School-Based HIV/STD Prevention (SB) (pages 11-13), for a list of the required activities in year 1.
Q26: Do we have to work with all priority districts/schools in all 2-5 years?
A26: Yes. The FOA is written with the expectation that the funded partner works with the selected priority districts and school sites on each approach every year.
Q27: What are the expectations for parent engagement? Can you confirm that these expectations differ from past FOA and give examples of effective initiatives? (page 24)
A27: The expectations for parent engagement are different from those in past FOA. The types of initiatives the applicant agency implements need to be determined by the agency. A definition of parent engagement in schools is included on page 63. FOA Strategies Summaries are available at www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/FOA/1308FOA/index.htm and provide rationales for FOA strategies and additional reference material.
Q28: Under Strategy 3, can the same staff person (1 FTE position) be identified for both agency types under a specific approach (i.e., NGO staff for ESHE provide capacity building assistance (CBA) to both State Education Agencies (SEA)/Local Education Agencies (TEA) and LEA agencies)?
A28: Yes, but only for the application. If awarded for more than one approach, each funded project must have an FTE (90-100%) to complete the work.
Q29: Policy, Approach D in Strategy 3, is not listed as one of the areas in which NGOs can provide capacity building assistance (CBA). Is this correct?
A29: Yes, this is correct. Policy is incorporated within each approach, but is not a stand-alone approach for which NGOs should provide focused CBA.
Q30: Regarding Strategy 4, is the 25% that has to be allocated to CBO expected for both LEA and NGO?
A30: Yes, and this allocation is expected to start in year 1.
Q31: Evidence-based interventions (EBI) for strategy 4 – is this the same menu of EBI as for Strategy 3? There are currently no EBI for YMSM, so adapted EBI are necessary.
A31: There is not a specific list for YMSM at this time. However, an EBI to support YMSM for adults is currently going through an adaptation to be applicable for YMSM 13-19 year olds and will be ready to pilot by the time this FOA begins. In the interim, please review the list of federally approved on HIV, STD, and teen pregnancy prevention programs at http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/adolescenthealth/registries.htm. It is also not necessary to adapt the same EBI for all LEA.
Q32: What are other incentives for providing CBA on adding the sexual health questions to education agencies?
A32: Money, stipends, travel, and resources are examples of incentives that could be provided.
Q33: Under Youth at Disproportionate Risk (YDR) performance measures, if NGO are providing assistance to the education agencies, do the NGO have to be ready to provide TA for all YDR populations?
Q34: Is there any guidance around budgeting for NGO travel for site visits to education agencies?
A34: Not all funded education agencies will receive a site visit from the funded NGO in year 1. These priorities will be determined after awards have been made.
Q35: Are education agencies to select the priority districts and schools in year one?
A35: Yes. Education agencies will select the priority districts/schools during the first year of funding.
Q36: Why is it important to address these particular topic areas (i.e., sexual health education, sexual health services, safe and supportive environments) and populations (i.e., YDR, YMSM) in terms of reducing adolescent HIV/STD?
A36: A brief scientific rationale for each of the approaches is available on the DASH FOA Web site. Please access http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/fundedpartners/1308/strategies/index.htm for more information.
Q37: With regard to parent engagement, please clarify that the objective for NGO applicants is to improve parent engagement in relation to the particular approach the applicant would be supporting, and not just around parent engagement practices in general, correct?
A37: Yes, this is correct. Parent engagement should be based upon the approach, not general parent engagement strategies.
Q38: Could DASH confirm that LEA/SEA are supposed to have a selected program (ESHE) by the end of the first year?
A38: Yes. LEA/SEA are expected to assist districts and schools in selecting individual programs for use in specific grades or with specific populations after they have established (1) a written standard course of study or curriculum framework (e.g., “scope and sequence”) that identifies the specific learning objectives for sexual health education for middle and high schools, and (2) a systematic process for choosing individual programs that will meet these learning objectives throughout grades 6-12. A decision on which individual programs to use should occur within the framework of the prior two activities; plans and actions to achieve all first year activities should be clearly laid out in the application proposal.
Q39: Are NGO expected to provide CBA at both the “priority” and “intensive” levels: (1) to provide CBA on the NGO proposed approach to the funded education agencies for their technical assistance to all priority districts or schools selected by the funded education agency, respectively and (2) to provide CBA on the NGOs proposed approach to the funded education agency that have selected this proposed approach for their intensive focus on their selected YDR group?