Eligible applicants for the Together for Tomorrow Challenge must be nonprofit organizations, schools, school districts, or institutions of higher education.  Other entities, including businesses and units of government, are encouraged to partner with eligible applicants on Together for Tomorrow Challenge submissions. Each school may only be included in one application.  We hope and anticipate that multiple submissions will emerge from the same communities, but encourage local partnerships to work together to achieve greater scale and outcomes.  To foster such broad partnerships, we encourage applications that involve multiple schools.  Individuals are not eligible to apply.  

Faith-based organizations are invited and eligible to participate in the Together for Tomorrow challenge in the same manner as other eligible organizations provided that any activities conducted by such organizations as part of the Together for Tomorrow challenge are consistent with the principles set forth in the Department's Regulations on the Participation of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Department Programs. (See 34 CFR 75.52 available at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/fund/reg/fbci-reg.html.)


The Together for Tomorrow School Improvement Challenge will be judged by a panel of staff at the U.S. Department of Education, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the White House.

Judging criteria

Eligibility review
  • All applications will be reviewed to determine whether they meet the eligibility requirements.

Partner schools (up to 20 points)
  • Focuses on the lowest-performing schools, and includes Priority Schools and their feeder schools.
Strengthening capacity (up to 20 points)
  • Strengthens capacity to coordinate school-community partnerships, including dedicating staff and volunteers as partnership coordinators serving in low-performing schools.
School and student needs (up to 20 points)
  • Articulates school and student needs at partner schools in all four of the following student outcome areas - attendance, behavior, course performance, college access; and uses student data to prioritize needs in each of these focus areas.
Service activities and community resources (up to 20 points)
  • Describes service activities and community resources that will be engaged to meet the needs of partner schools, and how service activities are informed by evidence-based effective practices.
Measuring and sustaining impact (up to 10 points)
  • Articulates plans to measure the effectiveness of the initiative and sustain the effort. 
Celebrating and inspiring engagement (up to 10 points)
  • Articulates plans to celebrate and publicize TFT efforts and recognize the work of the TFT partners.

Recognition categories

Applicants must designate one entry category for their submission.  The choices are: Emerging; Showcase – Local; and Showcase Multisite. 

The Emerging category is for new initiatives, or existing initiatives that are proposing significant advancements to meet the goals of the Challenge for the 2012-2013 school year. Plans submitted under this category must begin activities no later than September 2012.

The Showcase-Local category is for existing initiatives working on a community or regional level that are already meeting the goals of the Challenge.  

The Showcase-Multisite is for existing national, state, or regional efforts with multiple operating sites that are already meeting the goals of the Challenge.  Local initiatives that are a component of multisite efforts should apply together as one challenge entry.

The U.S. Department of Education reserves the right to increase the number of applicants that are included in each award category and make additions to the awards provisions.

Follow-up on certain submissions

All submissions will go through an initial vetting and final verification process to ensure the credibility and the validity of the organization and the plan. We may reach out to an organization directly or through their Challenge.gov Account to obtain additional information or schedule a follow-up discussion.  Information gathered during these processes will be incorporated into judging of the applicant’s challenge entry.

The uploaded challenge plan document and all other submitted materials for this competition (collectively, “the Submitted Works”) cannot contain false, misleading, or inaccurate information or material that can be used for any unlawful purpose or that violates or infringes another’s rights, including but not limited to privacy, publicity or intellectual property rights, or that constitutes copyright or license infringement.

The Submitted Works cannot contain images or likenesses of, or references to, any individual without the explicit consent of that individual, or, if the individual is a minor, the explicit written consent of that minor's parent or legal guardian.  Applicants must be prepared to produce proof of consent upon request.

The Submitted Works cannot contain brand names or trademarks of anyone other than the Applicant unless permission has been obtained from the trademark owner.

The Submitted Works cannot contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene, defamatory, slanderous or libelous, or that promotes alcohol, tobacco, drugs, firearms, bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.

By submitting an application for the Together for Tomorrow School Improvement Challenge, the applicant assures that the Submitted Works are the applicant’s work product and were prepared by the applicant(s) representative on behalf of and with express authorization of the applicant.  The applicant also agrees to grant the U.S. Department of Education, the White House, and the Corporation for National and Community Service a transferable, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, fully paid-up royalty free license for the Submitted Works developed for, and provided to the U.S. Department of Education, as part of entering this challenge, with the right to sublicense, to use, modify, make derivatives thereof, make, have made, produce, reproduce, copy, display, publicly perform, and distribute the Submitted Works in the United States and throughout the world for the purposes of promoting TFT and its related initiatives and programs.  

Applicants by submitting this application, also authorize the U.S. Department of Education, the White House, and the Corporation for National and Community Service to use their name, appearance, likeness, voice and/or biographical material in connection with the Submitted Works.   

Any use, including downloading, of the U.S. Department of Education’s Seal by any person or organization outside of the Department, including as part of the TFT challenge, is prohibited absent prior express written authorization from the Department.  By submitting an application for the Together for Tomorrow School Improvement Challenge, an applicant assures that the application complies with all applicable Rules, Terms, and Conditions.  Any application determined not to comply with such Rules, Terms, and Conditions will be disqualified. 

Each applicant may only submit one application for consideration.  Submitted applications may be altered and resubmitted up until the challenge submission deadline.

Participation in TFT is also governed by the terms of use on the challenge.gov website, available at challenge.gov/terms