The SEED program provides funding to increase the number of highly effective educators by supporting the implementation of Evidence-Based practices that prepare, develop, or enhance the skills of educators. These grants will allow eligible entities to develop, expand, and evaluate practices that can serve as models to be sustained and disseminated.
The SEED program is designed to encourage the use of rigorous evidence in selecting and implementing interventions to support educators’ development across the continuum of their careers (e.g. in preparation, recruitment, evaluation, professional learning, and leadership
development). The evidence required for interventions aimed at teachers and other School Leaders, respectively, are outlined in this competition’s absolute priorities. This competition also includes three areas of particular interest to the Administration.
Competitive Preference Priority 1 is from the Secretary’s Supplemental Priorities and aligns with the aims of the Federal Government’s five-year strategic plan for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education entitled Charting A Course for Success: America’s Strategy for Stem Education published in December 2018. The Plan is responsive to the requirements of section 101 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 and strengthens the Federal commitment to equity and diversity, to Evidence-Based practices, and to engagement with the national STEM community through a nationwide collaboration with learners, families, educators, community leaders, and employers. Beyond guiding Federal agency actions over the next five years, it is intended to serve as a ‘‘North Star’’ for the STEM community as it charts a course for collective success. The Federal Government encourages STEM education stakeholders from across the Nation to support the goals of this plan through their own actions. This strategic plan is based on a vision for a future where all Americans have lifelong access to high-quality STEM education and the United States is the global leader in STEM literacy, innovation, and employment. To achieve this vision, the plan highlights the following three goals:
• Build strong foundations for STEM literacy.
• Increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM.
• Prepare the STEM workforce for the future.
Competitive Preference Priority 2 is also from the Secretary’s Supplemental Priorities and provides explicit support for developing students’ noncognitive skills (also sometimes termed nonacademic skills or social emotional skills) and directly responds to the Managers’ Statement accompanying the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020. This statement directs the Department to support professional development in the SEED program that incorporates social and emotional learning (SEL) practices into teaching and pathways into teaching that provide a strong foundation in child development and learning, including skills for implementing SEL strategies in the classroom.
Finally, Competitive Preference Priority 3 is aligned with the Department’s mission to promote equity and excellence in education by giving competitive preference to projects providing services to educators serving students and schools located in distressed communities designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs). To receive competitive preference points under this priority, applicants must provide the Department with the census tract number of the QOZ they plan to serve and describe the services they will provide.