We’re entering the second week since Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) for the sixth round of Designation Renewal System (DRS) posted. A few days after the initial FOAs went up, one more FOA – for a Head Start grantee in Morgan County, Colorado – was posted. The full list of open Head Start/Early Head Start grants is available on the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) website. You can also download our list here. There are now 49 grants open for competition in 24 states.

If you’re applying for a grant as part of this round of DRS, you’re likely well on your way. What are your first impressions of the FOA? As mentioned in our initial post, the content of the FOA is quite similar to past rounds of DRS. What’s interesting is there’s a strong feeling similar to that of the recently released Aligned Monitoring System 2.0 (AMS 2.0) as well as the new Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS). AMS 2.0 is less prescriptive than past monitoring protocols. The new HSPPS provide less duplication in standards. The round 6 DRS FOA is both – less prescriptive and with less duplication.

If you take a look at the Criteria section of the round 6 FOA as compared to the round 5 FOA the differences are noticeable. The Criteria section is about half as many pages in the round 6 FOA as it was in round 5! This signals that there is flexibility for applicants to provide the most relevant information to make the strongest case for funding. There’s also an important notice in the V.1. Criteria section of the round 6 FOA that was not included in previous DRS FOAs –

In addition to the required elements of the project description found in Section IV.2, the objective review panel will evaluate proposals in accordance with the relevant sections of the Head Start Program Performance Standards (45 CFR Parts 1301-1305).

As you draft your proposal, you might consider including references to the HSPPS. This might make it easier for the reviewer to draw connections from your proposal to the HSPPS!

If your program needs assistance with submitting a strong DRS proposal please feel free to be in touch. We offer a range of grant preparation services, which includes quality assurance reviews to help ensure an exceptionally competitive proposal.

Thank you.

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