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Fractured Prism

Welcome to the Fractured Prism. This is my domain (I love the sound of that, kind of like my kingdom), where I will share reflections of the many facets of my life. At the very least, I am a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, homemaker, teacher, counselor, and grant writer. Through the years, I have been professionally cut and polished or just accidental fractured into thousands of pieces and have thoughts about them all. I have found that I am writing for many reasons but mostly to share my small bits of wisdom. Come back often because each reflection will be different. My ultimate goal is to have a place where grant writers, grant reviewers and funders can network. So if you are into grant writing or grant reviewing please leave your name and email. Linda Beason

Peer Reviews

The peer review section is provided for those who are interested in being peer reviewers. I am not sure that all the contact information is current but you can always call the office and get current information.

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Grant Writer Links

If you are a grant writer you should really check out this site:

Lots and lots of great links.  This collection of websites include funding and grant information, training and technical assistance opportunities, strategies for implementing and enhancing your efforts, state contacts for funding, employment website, peer review opportunities and so much more.

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How to Find Programs That Need Peer Reviewers

Now is the time to register to become a peer reviewer for a variety of health, justice and community service grant programs and earn anywhere from $800 to $2,000 for a few days of work.  I list all that I find in my blogs but am always searching for new ones. 

I just discovered a new way to find programs, that match your expertise, that may need peer reviewers.  First you go to this site:

Then you select the agency that you are interested in and type “peer reviewers” in the agencies’ search boxes.  If they have posted an announcement seeking peer reviewers, it will come up.  If that fails you can at least get a contact’s name and email them to see if they have grants and use peer reviewers.

Let me know if this works for you!  Always looking for new leads.

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National Institute of Food and Agriculture Peer Review

To be considered as a reviewer, applicants must send an e-mail message noting his/her organization name and area(s) of expertise (limit to 4 or 5 keywords) to

The Peer Review System (PRS) allows reviewers and potential reviewers to update personal information and to complete and submit reviews online.

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Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) Peer Reviewers

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) seeks qualified individuals interested in reviewing applications for grant programs of the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE). These reviewers (also called field readers or peer reviewers) will independently read and evaluate grant applications submitted to OPE.

This system allows qualified individuals interested in reviewing applications for OPE grant programs to apply online.

Your application to become a field reader will be reviewed by OPE staff to determine whether you have the subject area expertise needed for upcoming competitions. In addition to having subject area expertise, you must be willing to commit the specified amount of time to the application review process and you must meet the field reader requirements explained on the FRS Registration Page.

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The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students announces the Native American and Alaska Native Children in School Program (CFDA 84.365C)

Application Deadline: March 21, 2011.  

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested $5,000,000 for new awards for this program for FY 2011. The actual level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant process if Congress appropriates funds for this program.Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2012 from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $175,000-$200,000.

Estimated Range of Awards for IHEs applying in consortia with a Secondary School: $200,000-$300,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $237,000.

Project Period: Up to 60 months.

Estimated Number of Awards: 21.

Eligible Applicants: The following entities, when they operate elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools primarily for Native American children (including Alaska Native children), are eligible applicants under this program: Indian tribes; tribally sanctioned educational authorities; Native Hawaiian or Native American Pacific Islander native language educational organizations; elementary schools or secondary schools that are operated or funded by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), or a consortium of these schools; elementary schools or secondary schools operated under a contract with or grant from the BIE in consortium with another such school or a tribal or community organization; and elementary schools or secondary schools operated by the BIE and an IHE, in consortium with an elementary school or secondary school operated under a contract with or a grant from the BIE or a tribal or community organization. 

Pre-application technical assistance for potential applicants: A webinar for novice applicants will be conducted two weeks after the publication of this notice in the Federal Register. For further information on this webinar, contact Stephanie Guillen at (202) 401-0049, or by e-mail at

Purpose of Program: The purpose of this program is to provide grants for eligible entities to develop high levels of academic attainment in English among English learners (ELs) \1\, and to promote parental and community participation in language instruction educational programs. Projects funded under theNative American and Alaska Native Children in School Program, authorized under title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), may support the teaching and studying of Native American languages, but must have, as a project objective, an increase in English language proficiency for participating students.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Trini Torres, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5C145, Washington, DC 20202-6510. Telephone: (202) 401-1445, or by e-mail: or Itzetht Testa-Sanchez, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5C151, Washington, DC 20202-6510. Telephone: (202) 401-1459, or by e-mail:      If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released announcements for two separate grant programs, one focused on preventing suicides on campus, and the other on preventing suicides among youth.

1.  SAMHSA has made $5.5 million available for campus suicide prevention. Up to 18 grantees will receive awards of up to $102,000 a year for three years. Institutions of higher-education are eligible to apply. Applicants will need to outline local needs and a comprehensive strategy for addressing populations at risk.
Applications are due March 4, 2011.

2.  An additional $45.9 million is reserved for youth suicide prevention. About 32 grantees will receive up to $480,000 a year for three years. SAMHSA is seeking cooperative agreements with states or tribes to create “public/private sector collaborative programs” to prevent youth suicide. Eligible grantees are states, recognized tribes or tribal organizations, and “private non-profit organizations designated by state and/or tribe/tribal organization.” Multiple partners should be at the table, “including schools, juvenile justice systems, foster care systems, and substance abuse and mental health programs.”
Applications are due February 16, 2011.

Applicants for both grants will need to specifically identify in their proposals how they will serve populations identified as high-risk for suicide by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) youth, American Indian/Alaskan Natives (AI/AN), and military family members and veterans.
FAQs, a grant writing manual, general SAMHSA grant guidelines, and a list of certificates and assurances required for a grant award can all be found on the agency’s “Applying for a New SAMHSA Grant” page.

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Pet Peeves about other Peer Reviewers!

YOU with the excuses…I am talking to you!

First of all, DO NOT work in the system…the system will go down or time out and you will lose your work!  Work in a Word document and cut and paste it into the system.    

Secondly, make a hard copy when you finish each application and before you panel.  It will save you time and frustration and make your other panel members so happy because they do not have to wait for you to boot up your computer and find your work as they sit twidling (OK, how do you spell it?) their thumbs.  Hard copies are magic!  Presto, you have your comments and scores right in front of you immediately!

And finally, don’t make excuses…do your work and be on time!  Locked out of the system at the last minute…quit whining and start earlier next time so then you have time to call tech support.

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The Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, Division of Youth Services (DYS) is looking for experienced peer reviewers to join panels for review of the applications DYS received for the YouthBuild program.  The YouthBuild program works to provide young people (most are out of school youth without a GED/diploma) to obtain their degree and learn construction skills while building homes for families in need in their communities.

In addition, to ensure an ongoing talent pool, Employment & Training Administration (ETA) is recruiting experts to serve as grant review panelists on a continuous basis. ETA is seeking a diverse pool of expertise from the workforce system, institutions of higher education, community and faith-based organizations, labor, business and industry partners, and other related organizations to review and score these applications along with federal staff. The resumes will be kept on file for future ETA competitions unless otherwise directed by applicants. We anticipate the wide ranging expertise of selected panelists in assisting us in continuing to award grants of the highest quality.

We welcome potential panelists with these particular areas of expertise:
– Delivering services in the Public Workforce Investment System;
– Analyzing labor market information and research;
– Administering or teaching in a technical college, a community college or a four year college with an interest in workforce connections;
– Creating or implementing an apprenticeship program;
– Creating or implementing a training program focused on career pathways, career clusters, or competency models;
– Developing or operating training or hiring outreach programs for energy efficiency and renewable energy businesses and related industries;
– Providing supportive services to individuals engaged in training;
– Recruitment or retention of out-of-school youth in job training programs;
– Human resources strategies within a business or industry;
– Experience and knowledge in implementing training programs with a track record in recruiting, placing and retaining populations with multiple barriers to employment (this population may include but is not limited to: seniors, veterans, displaced homemakers, low-income adults, disconnected youth, limited English proficient persons.)
– Designing or delivering:
             – Open education resources (OER), including but not limited to accelerated learning, hybrid on-site, and other online educational content resources and tools;
            –  Clinical training in the health care industry; integrated basic reading,
            –  numeracy, writing or English language skills with occupational skills training.

Prospective panelists should know that federal paneling is a serious responsibility that requires a commitment of time and expertise. If selected, nonfederal panelists will be compensated for their service. Panelists will not be required to travel to Washington, DC, but will be required to read and evaluate grants independently and subsequently participate in conference calls with other panelists to discuss the grants. Selected panelists must make a commitment to be available for the preparation work leading up to the paneling, which could last as long as two weeks. The estimated workload for selected panelists in reviewing and evaluating grants is between 10 and 15 applications. Panelists will be required to provide written documentation detailing the rationale in support of each score.

No person may serve as a panelist if a conflict of interest, real or perceived, exists. A conflict exists when the prospective panelist, any member of his or her immediate family, his or her partner, or an organization which employs or is about to employ any of the parties indicated herein, has a financial or other interest in an organization seeking financial assistance or which may otherwise benefit by an award decision.
Panelists should not serve if they have a close personal relationship with someone whose financial interests will be affected by awarding of the grant or who is a party or represents a party to the grant award process, such as a close relative, friend or former colleague.

Prospective panelists should note any other biases that may inhibit their ability to fairly and objectively rate an applicant’s proposal for a particular solicitation. A bias may also exist relative to organizations that are named sub-recipients or partners in an application. For example, biases could include but are not limited to: biases against a rival school, a rival state, a rival organization, a rival industry, etc. Any person selected as a panelist must notify the grant officer immediately if, in the course of performing an evaluation of applications, he/she discovers any fact that would disqualify him/her from being a panelist. All selected panelists will be required to sign a “Conflict of Interest/Non Disclosure Statement.”
To apply, please go to:

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Request for Applications for 2011 LSL Peer Reviewers

Please revisit the blog,  “The Hybrid Peer Review” (found below this blog) and note the comment requesting applications from reviewers for the “Improving Literacy through School Libraries”.  Full information about this review is found under the blog,  “CALL FOR PEER REVIEWERS – Improving Literacy through School Libraries” but I have also included basic information about how to apply here.

TO APPLY: Send an updated resume, in DOC or PDF format, to Please include the following in the subject line of your e-mail: “2011 LSL Reviewer”. Your resume should include:

  • Full Name
  • Education (list all college degrees, with dates of degrees, institutions, and majors must be listed)
  • All professional position titles, descriptions, and dates in chronological order beginning with, or going back to, your first position after receiving your B.A. or B.S.
  • A detailed description of your current organizational affiliation, and position title.
  • Telephone numbers (work, home, and fax [if applicable])
  • Home and work mailing addresses
  • Preferred E-mail address

 Please note: If you are retired, please make it clear when you retired, and that you are retired at present, and list all consulting positions or other relevant positions you have taken since retirement. There is no need to emphasize grant writing or grant reviewing experience. Please provide a full description of your professional work experience and substantive professional experience that are relevant to this type of work. We are interested in all work you have accomplished involving elementary and secondary education, literacy, library science/library-related, technology, and performance-based measurements and outcomes.

 If you have any questions about resume requirements or conflict of interest issues, please contact Peter Eldridge at (202) 260-2514,; David Miller at (202) 453-5621,; or Almita Reed at (202) 260-1979, Please do not send resumes to these individuals; send resumes/cover letters to by February 4, 2011.


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Tips for Peer Reviewers: How to Write Effective Comments

Peer reviewers are required to provide comments regarding the strengths and weaknesses of each application. As a peer reviewer, you should be as specific as possible. General statements such as “This is a good program” are not helpful.  Reviewers must evaluate why it is a good program based on the selection criteria.  Comments should include “qualifiers”.  A qualifier is basically an adjective that describes the “extent to which” a selection criterion has been met.

 For example, the 2010 TRIO Student Support Services grant program starts with the following selection criteria:

Evaluate the need for a Student Support Services project proposed at the applicant institution on the basis of the extent to which the application contains clear evidence of –

(1) A high number or percentage, or both, of students enrolled or accepted for enrollment at the applicant institution who meet the eligibility requirements    

 Sample comment about a nonexistant applicant:

1.  The applicant clearly demonstrates and documents a high number or percentage of students who meet the Student Support Services (SSS) program eligibility requirements at the institution.  According to the university’s Office of Enrollment and the Financial Aid Office, the total enrollment for fall, 2009-2010 was 5,043.  That office also reports that eighty-three percent (83%) of the incoming freshmen population are SSS eligible.   The student body is composed of over seventy-seven percent (77%) low income students as determined by the number of students qualifying for need-based financial aid during the past three-year period. Approximately sixty-eight (68%) are first generation students and five (5%) are disabled.

In order to know if “eligibility requirements” have been met, the reviewer has to know those requirements!  Have the application guidelines and requirements in front of you and refer back to them often.

Address each selection criteria and sub-criteria with a strength and a weakness.  If there is not a strength or weakness, post the comment, “No strengths noted.”  or “No weaknesses noted.” 

Note that the applicant is not addressed by name.  This is the method preferred by most departments.

Note that the first sentence has a “qualifier” that states that the applicant “clearly demonstrates”.  This is true because they list the source of their information and the data is current. 

All sentences should be complete with spelling and grammar correct.

In this sample, the applicant does not have a weakness so the score would be total.  The comment gives examples of why the information is strong (e.g., current statistics from listed sources). Make sure your score is supported by your comments. If you give an application a high score, you should have lots of comments in the strengths sections and few or no comments in the weaknesses sections. However, if you make only a few comments under the weaknesses section but they are about critically important issues (e.g., “the budget was missing”), the assigned score must reflect this.

Do not, under any circumstances, write in first person and never ever give an opinion!  Do not even refer to yourself as “this reviewer”.  All comments are an evaluation of how well the applicant addressed the selection criteria.  None of the “it would have been better if…” stuff.  You should simply state why a particular issue is a weakness so that the applicant will know how to improve in that area.  You evaluate strictly on the information provided.  Make all comments tactful and constructive.  Do not use comments such as “it seems like”. 

It is important that you do your work in Word and then cut and paste your comments into whatever system the funding department is using.  All of the online systems that I have worked in tend to go crazy just at the height of your stress.  Nothing sends a reviewer over the edge faster than losing hours of work because the system went down.  I intend to write another blog soon about tips for writing your comments in Word.  Little tricks you need to know!

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