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Frequently Asked Questions

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The following topics contain frequently asked questions (FAQs) about funding for Promoting Adolescent Health Through School-Based HIV/STD Prevention and School-Based Surveillance (Funding Opportunity Announcement PS13-1308).

Note: Some topic areas overlap. If you do not find an answer to your question in one topic area, please check additional topic areas prior to submitting a new inquiry.

Administrative-Related Questions for PS13-1308

When was the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) released?

The PS13-1308 release was on February 1, 2013, on the www.grants.gov Web site. Funding began on August 1, 2013.

What is the purpose of the PS13-1308 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)?

The primary purpose of this funding is to build the capacity of districts and schools to effectively contribute to the reduction of HIV infection and other STD among adolescents; the reduction of disparities in HIV infection and other STD experienced by specific adolescent sub-populations; and the conducting of school-based surveillance through Youth Risk Behavior Survey and School Health Profiles implementation. Program activities are expected to reinforce efforts to reduce teen pregnancy rates, due to the shared risk factors for, and intervention activities to address, HIV infection, other STD, and teen pregnancy.

What strategies are contained within the FOA?

The strategies contained within the FOA are Strategy 1: School-Based Surveillance (SURV), Strategy 2: School-Based HIV/STD Prevention (SB), and Strategy 3: Capacity Building Assistance for School-Based HIV/STD Prevention (CBA). Information on the specific strategies can be found in Section iii Program Strategy (pages 9-16) of the FOA.

How much funding will be available?

The amount of available funds depends on appropriations from Congress. Under the new FOA, $13,000,000 will be available in year 1 and approximately $17,000,000 for years 2-5. The individual awards for this announcement range from $12,000 to $320,000 (subject to the availability of funds). 

I am not sure what you mean by several terms used in PS13-1308 and when discussing the FOA. Is a resource available for defining terms?

Glossaries are available within the FOA (Section H. Glossary, pages 56-67). In addition, a list of commonly used acronyms is provided on pages ii-iii.

Is it permissible to have interagency agreements?

Yes.

Can surveillance funds be used to conduct a middle school YRBS?

Yes.

Can surveillance funds be used for salary?

Yes.

Are sites required to work only in the state in which they are funded?

Yes. Funded education agencies are required to work only within their funded state or local jurisdiction.

Can Strategy 2 funds be used for Strategy 1 activities?

Yes. Strategy 2 funds can support Strategy 1 activities and staffing, however, Strategy 1 funds cannot be used for Strategy 2 activities/staffing or travel.

Can states contract funds to other entities or pass through funds?

Please refer to PGO as outlined on page 55 of the FOA for any questions related to pass-through of funds.

In the scoring criteria of the FOA, it states, “Successful applicants will provide a minimum of 1.0 FTE for this position.” Does this mean that one staff person at 100% is required or that multiple staff people can be combined with a minimum total of 1.0 FTE?

DASH would prefer one 100% FTE on the project. Funded partners may negotiate one person be 80-90% and another person to make up the 10-20% for a full 100% FTE.

For staffing, would CDC be open to a staffing model that puts someone at 50-50 between SEA and LEA work?

The FOA only supports this staffing model for Strategy 1.

Is there support for staffing beyond 100%?

It is permissible for funded partners to propose more than 1 FTE that will work on the outlined activities that extend beyond the minimum 100% requirement.

Can funding be spent to purchase food?

No. Federal funds cannot be used to purchase food for meetings or conferences as part of this cooperative agreement.

Can substantial funds be allocated to support implementation of annual conferences?

No. Funds cannot be used to support annual conferences. DASH will negotiate funding allocations towards state and district-wide conferences that align with the expectations of the FOA and the activities planned with selected priority districts and schools.

Program-Related Questions for FOA PS13-1308

Does all effort need to focus on priority target districts/schools? What about the rest of the state?

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.

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?

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.

Targeting 15 districts in a state with more than 700 school districts can be daunting; how should these sites focus?

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.

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?

The LEA is not expected to undergo another curriculum review if the LEA has had its curriculum approved and if it meets ESHE expectations.

Does the expectation about setting up a curriculum review apply to LEA that are already satisfied with their curriculum choices? (page 12)

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.

What type of documentation is needed to show a district curriculum is exemplary?

DASH recommends using the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) to confirm a district’s curriculum as exemplary.

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?

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.

"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?

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.

What is meant by “frameworks or courses of study?”

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.

Can sites use the National Health Education Standards and National Sexual Education Standards to inform our work?

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.

With respect to Safe and Supportive Environment (SSE), is DASH looking for a curriculum specific to Youth at Disproportionate Risk (YDR)?

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.

Is it allowable to address more than one YDR?

Yes, but funded education agencies should address multiple YDR categories with caution considering FOA requirements.

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?

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.

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?

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.

If sites that we choose to partner with do not address sexual health services, where do we start?

Funded education agencies should start with establishing need by assessing relevant health and other data.

How can funds be used regarding health services?

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.

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?

Vaccine coverage is referring to increasing HPV vaccination administration. See pages 7-8 for the logic model and definitions of sexual health services.

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?

Yes. The 10 schools selected in Strategy 2 can be part of the 20 schools selected for Strategy 4.

How should funded partners budget for 5 Professional Development events per year?

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.

Is it permissible for the Health Department in the grantee’s jurisdiction to establish a School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)?

Yes, provided that the education agency is engaged and the SHAC work is connected to the activities outlined in the application.

Can the HIV Materials Review Panel also serve as the SHAC?

Yes.

Under Strategy 2, are all 4 approaches required by the funded partners?

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.

Do we have to work with all priority districts/schools in all 2-5 years?

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.

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)

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 provide rationales for FOA strategies and additional reference material.

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)?

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.

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?

Yes, this is correct. Policy is incorporated within each approach, but is not a stand-alone approach for which NGOs should provide focused CBA.

Regarding Strategy 4, is the 25% that has to be allocated to CBO expected for both LEA and NGO?

Yes, and this allocation is expected to start in year 1.

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.

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. It is also not necessary to adapt the same EBI for all LEA.

What are other incentives for providing CBA on adding the sexual health questions to education agencies?

Money, stipends, travel, and resources are examples of incentives that could be provided.

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?

Yes.

Are education agencies to select the priority districts and schools in year one?

Yes. Education agencies will select the priority districts/schools during the first year of funding.

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?

A brief scientific rationale for each of the approaches is available on the DASH FOA Web site.

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?

Yes, this is correct. Parent engagement should be based upon the approach, not general parent engagement strategies.

Could DASH confirm that LEA/SEA are supposed to have a selected program (ESHE) by the end of the first year?

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.

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?

Yes.

Evaluation-Related Questions for FOA PS13-1308

Does the 10% required allocation for an Evaluator have to go to a separate specialist?

The 10% required allocation is to support evaluation activities. It may be used to hire an external evaluator, fund an evaluation contract, and/or support the costs of evaluation activities in other ways.

Does the 10% allocation for evaluation apply to year 1, or just years 2-5?

The 10% allocation for evaluation is for years 1-5.

Can the YRBS staff also do the evaluation?

Yes, if they have the right skill set for the evaluation that is required in this FOA.

What credentials is DASH looking for with regards to the Evaluator at 10%?

That will depend on what best meets the needs of the funded partner.

Performance measures are the same for Strategies 2 and 3. What kind of outcome measures will NGO be responsible for?

Although the short-term outcomes measures will likely be measured by the education agencies, the NGO will be held accountable for helping education agencies achieve those outcomes.

How do we track and report number of students tracked and referred when this is confidential?

An implementation kit was developed for state and local education agencies (SEA/LEA) that provides a framework for developing and implementing a referral system to connect youth to school or community-based sexual health services. There are seven core components of a referral system: (1) policy, (2) referral staff, (3) procedures, (4) referral guide, (5) communication and marketing, (6) monitoring and evaluation, and (7) management and oversight. Component 6 of the framework and the associated example tools provide information to help measure the impact of a school-based referral system.

Surveillance-Related Questions for FOA PS13-1308

What are the sexual behavior questions?

Strategy 2 Partners will be required to include at least four of the seven sexual behavior questions on the 2017 YRBS questionnaire. All seven (7) YRBS sexual behavior questions are provided below: YRBS Sexual Behavior Questions

  1. Have you ever had sexual intercourse?
  2. How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time?
  3. During your life, with how many people have you had sexual intercourse?
  4. During the past 3 months, with how many people did you have sexual intercourse?
  5. Did you drink alcohol or use drugs before you had sexual intercourse the last time?
  6. The last time you had sexual intercourse, did you or your partner use a condom?
  7. The last time you had sexual intercourse, what one method did you or your partner use to prevent pregnancy?

What are the 2017 YRBS sexual minority questions that are required in order for sites to receive the $5,000 incentive?

Sites must add at least one of the sexual minority questions to the YRBS to receive an additional $5,000 per year. These questions measure sex of sexual contact and sexual identity and are listed below. Transgender and sexual attraction questions do not count toward the incentive.

  1. During your life, with whom have you had sexual contact?
    1. I have never had sexual contact
    2. Females
    3. Males
    4. Females and males
  2. Which of the following best describes you?
    1. Heterosexual (straight)
    2. Gay or lesbian
    3. Bisexual
    4. Not sure

For states that do not conduct a YRBS (WA, MN, OR), are they also eligible for the $5,000 incentive?

No. States must conduct the YRBS to be eligible for the $5,000 incentive for adding the sexual minority status questions.

Is there support for subsite estimates for Profiles?

Yes. Subsite estimates will be required in the priority districts and schools.

Can the YRBS project manager also be funded under HIV?

Yes.

Do we have flexibility with the Profiles questions? Are there priority questions? Can we make modifications?

The Profiles questionnaires cannot be changed. Sites cannot delete or modify the questions in the scannable booklets. Sites can add questions to the questionnaires using a separate booklet or answer sheet, but CDC will not be able to support scanning or processing of those additional questions.

Will CDC continue to offer the Elementary School Principal survey and the Lead Physical Education Teacher survey components of School Health Profiles?

No. CDC no longer has the resources to support the Elementary School Principal survey or the Lead Physical Education Teacher survey components of School Health Profiles. Beginning with the 2014 School Health Profiles, the only surveys available will be the secondary school Principal survey and the secondary school Lead Health Education Teacher survey.

Policy-Related Questions for FOA PS13-1308

The FOA Strategy 2 for HIV prevention requires funded partners to reach all secondary schools in priority districts and schools in order to secure improvements in exemplary sexual health education (ESHE) and policy. Will CDC expect funded partners to survey all school districts (in addition to a sample of schools) in order to measure such changes in policy?

Funded partners need to respond to the requests identified in the FOA. Funded partners will decide whether they will survey school districts and, if so, how many.

What are “science-based policies”?

Science-based policies are policies based on scientific analysis of actual experience, or rigorous modeling which projects that the policy will have a predicted effect.

Can an organization advocate for a change in sexual education policy using DASH funds?

No. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, Congress expanded anti-lobbying restrictions for grantees that receive funding from the Federal Government. Therefore, DASH funded partners cannot use federal funding to advocate or lobby ANY federal, state, or local government authority (including state and local boards of education) to pass or change specific policies or legislation. Individuals that receive CDC funding to cover their salaries should not engage in advocacy activities.

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?

Yes, this is correct. Policy is incorporated within each approach, but is not a stand-alone approach for which NGOs should provide focused CBA.

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