Employment Opportunities

Current Request for Proposals

OCALI External Evaluator

Release Date: Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Deadline: Wednesday, July 17, 2024, 3:00 P.M. EDT


Who Are We?

OCALI, a project of the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (ESCCO), is a recognized global leader in creating and connecting resources and relationships to ensure that people with disabilities have the opportunity to live their best lives for their whole lives. OCALI informs public policy and develops and deploys practices grounded in linking research to real life.

As a trusted source, OCALI enhances, develops, and promotes high-quality programs and services to effectively equip anyone who cares for, supports, educates, employs, or works with individuals with disabilities across the lifespan.

OCALI’s organizational structure includes ten Centers that collectively focus on local and statewide-capacity building while strengthening policies and resources that guide services and supports for people with disabilities, as well as for families, educators, service providers, and professionals.

Additionally, in its commitment to narrow the gap between state policy and its translation to “boots-on-the ground”, OCALI has an established Office of Policy and Stakeholder Engagement to keep OCALI informed and connected to the goals, priorities, and initiatives of state agencies, diligently working to align field practices to state policy.

OCALI hosts a highly regarded annual conference of autism and disabilities leaders from across the nation and around the world. OCALICON provides a gathering of state and national leaders, educators, parents, service providers, self-advocates, scholars, and policy makers focused on common concerns and shared proven solutions addressing issues and challenges experienced by people with autism, sensory disabilities, and low-incidence disabilities across their lifespan.

Based on a respect for people with autism and low incidence disabilities and our belief in their right, need, and desire to achieve their full potential, OCALI inspires change and promotes access to improve their outcomes through leadership, training and professional development, technical assistance, collaboration, and technology.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to obtain an external evaluator to work with OCALI staff on evaluation of deliverables within OCALI’s main contract with the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, Office for Exceptional Children (DEW/OEC), for the 2024-2025 contract year. A summary of the major deliverables for this contract are included here:

Deliverable 1: Interagency Collaboration

Per ORC 3323.34(A) OCALI will collaborate and consult with state agencies that serve persons with autism and low incidence disabilities. Per ORC 3323.31 OCALI will participate as a member of the Interagency Workgroup on Autism, established by the director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.

Deliverable 2: Services Specific to Supporting Learners Who are Blind, Visually Impaired, Deaf, and Hard of Hearing

To further support ORC 3323.34 OCALI will facilitate statewide capacity for students with low incidence and sensory disabilities through collaboration with the Ohio State School for the Blind and Ohio School for the Deaf, including their educators, school administrators, students, and families.

Deliverable 3: Higher-Ed

Per ORC 3323.34(B), OCALI will engage with Ohio Institutions of Higher Education in the development and implementation of teacher preparation courses and professional development for general and special educators, as well as related service providers, serving persons with autism spectrum disorders and low incidence disabilities.

Deliverable 4: SST Collaboration

OCALI will maintain ongoing relationships with State Support Team (SST) personnel to help further connect students, families, and state agencies with supports and resources.

Deliverable 5: Family and Professional Organizations

Per ORC 3323.34(C), OCALI will collaborate with parent and professional organizations including the Family and Community Outreach Center. The outreach center will equip and empower families with knowledge, information, and resources. The Contractor will support the overarching objective by raising awareness and acceptance within the community, by making connections, and making resources closer and more accessible to those who need them most.

Deliverable 6: Technical Assistance and Professional Development

Per ORC 3323.34(D), OCALI will create, update, and implement professional development, technical assistance, intervention services, and research in the treatment of persons with autism and low incidence disabilities.

Technical assistance will be provided to school districts and other special education service providers through designing and implementing statewide, regional, and district level professional development (PD) opportunities. This assistance may include support that addresses educational assessments, evidence-based programming, and high leverage instructional practices for general and special educators serving students with autism spectrum disorders, low incidence disabilities, and/or other disabilities. The Contractor will perform this work daily, which encompasses ongoing daily responsibilities required to manage and maintain requests by ODE, regional entities, and districts. Technical Assistance will be guided by ODE’s focus areas and directives.

In continuation of ongoing professional development (PD) efforts to implement action, and deliver evidencebased programs and technical assistance for districts and special education service providers the Contractor will develop, perform, and/or maintain duties per 3323.34(E).

Deliverable 7: Center of Excellence on Inclusive Practice (COE)

OCALI will focus on establishing a structured approach by establishing the Center of Excellence which will focus on providing support and inclusive practices at the state, regional, and district levels. This effort will establish a state system to build capacity in our regional structure and beyond to provide this expertise, coaching, and support to districts. Inclusion is this foundational component of effectively implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for students with disabilities. Both children and adults will be included in learning with general education peers per the IDEA requirement (1412(a)(5)of U.S. Code Title 20) that students be placed in the least restrictive environment. This is an area of growth and improvement for Ohio, to better support all educators to provide instruction, accommodations, and modifications for the general education classroom. This also includes support for all educators on how to leverage and apply Universal design for learning, assistive technology, and high leverage practices for diverse learners specifically in the Least Restrictive environment. This work will act as crucial system building and succession planning.

Deliverable 8: Equipment and Resources

Per ORC 3323.35 and 3323.34(F), OCALI will develop and manage a statewide clearinghouse for information about autism spectrum disorders and low incidence disabilities.

Deliverable 9: Sourcing and Producing Accessible Educational Materials

To further support ORC 3323.34 OCALI will implement the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standards (NIMAS) legislation by obtaining, producing, and maintaining Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) in alternate formats (braille, large print, audio, and digital text) for Ohio school districts for students with print disabilities.

Deliverable 10: Surrogate Parent

OCALI will support ODE in sustaining efforts pertaining to Surrogate Parent training per ORC 3323.05 , ORC 3323.051, and IDEA, CFR 300.519.

Intellectual Property

The ESCCO, on behalf of OCALI, is the sole owner of all content and materials developed under this RFP. OCALI retains the distribution rights to any content or materials to exercise as it deems appropriate. Selected evaluators may not use, reuse, distribute, publish, or base derivative works upon such materials without the express, prior written consent of the ESCCO.

Request for Proposal

The ESCCO, on behalf of OCALI, seeks a proposal for external evaluation services. These services must fulfill the following:

  1. Formative and summative evaluation of contract deliverables;
  2. Strategic consulting to support executive thought leadership, expansion of organizational efficiencies, outcomes, and organizational culture; guide organizational priorities, such as organizational development to increase partnerships with state agencies and representatives; and heighten business development efforts and stakeholder engagement;
  3. Production of monthly reports to accompany invoices, and
  4. Ensure that written reports are provided to the Department of Education on a quarterly basis as follows:
    • First report due by the end of September of each year;
    • Second report due by the end of December of each year;
    • Third report due by the end of March of each year; and
    • Fourth report due by the end of June of each year.
  5. Additionally, a final written report of the external evaluation results must be provided to the Department by the end of June of each year. All written reports to be provided to the Department under this Deliverable must document the manner in which Contractor considers and utilizes the external evaluator's feedback and recommendations, as well as be submitted in an electronic reproducible format.

Requirements for Proposal Preparation (Phase 1)

Given the collaborative nature of the contractual work, all applicants must have the demonstrated ability to work seamlessly with teams to identify and leverage knowledge and resources.

Please submit the following as part of the official proposal (organize and label sections accordingly). The submission will become the basis on which OCALI will judge the applicant’s ability to perform the services included in the RFP.

Responses must communicate an understanding of the scope and deliverables of the RFP, describe how the tasks are to be performed, and identify potential problems in meeting the deliverables as well as methods to identify and solve such problems.

Phase 1: The proposal submitted in response to this RFP must include the following documents:

  1. Technical Proposal: (Organize and label sections accordingly)
    1. Cover page, including company name, contact information, company biography, and proposal summary, signed by the respondent;
    2. Narrative Plan: Communicates approach to delivering services requested, proposed timeline for execution and support, commitment to understanding OCALI’s vision and providing services that align with our mission and core function, ability to work collaboratively with client teams and other vendors, and method to project management;
    3. Organizational Capacity: Resumes and/or summary biographies of the key personnel with detailed description of their roles related to the evaluation; description of any subcontractors and their work, including but not limited to resumes and/or summary biographies;
    4. Related Project Experience: Evidence of successful evaluation of contracts of similar size, scope, and complexity, as detailed above, including demonstration of ability to work collaboratively with client teams and other vendors; experience with educational and/or instructional contracts preferred and should be highlighted;
    5. Recommendations: Two professional references/letters of recommendation from two current clients with similar work and customers as OCALI. Current shall mean references for whom the vendor has performed work within the past 12 months. Organization name and contact information must be provided.
  2. Cost Proposal:
    1. Pricing structure – outline pricing for services required to meet the requested items.
    2. Contract agreement – provide sample contract language typically used by your organization.
  3. Work Sample: At least three samples of relevant evaluation reports; educational and/or instructional evaluation preferred.


  • Responses must follow the prescribed format, or they shall be deemed non-responsive. Incomplete or late responses may be removed from consideration.
  • The cover page must be signed by the respondent.
  • Proposals should be prepared simply and economically, avoiding the use of elaborate promotional materials beyond those sufficient to provide complete presentation.
  • Any proprietary material submitted with the proposal that is considered confidential by the bidder must specifically be so identified, and the basis for such confidentiality must be specifically set forth in the proposal.
  • Submission of quote does not constitute any type of binding Agreement or Contract between ESCCO/OCALI and respondent.
  • ESCCO/OCALI assumes no responsibility for any cost incurred in developing a response to this RFP.
  • ESCCO/OCALI reserves the right to accept or reject responses to this RFP at its sole discretion.
  • ESCCO/OCALI’s decision is final with respect to the awarding of this Contract.

Proposal Submission

Email electronic copies of the proposals and work samples to Sheila Smith at sheila_smith@ocali.org. Please label clearly in the subject line to clarify if it is a response to the RFP. The proposal and work samples must be received by Wednesday, July 17, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. EDT.

Questions about this RFP should be submitted in writing to sheila_smith@ocali.org by Wednesday, July 10, 2024 at 3:00 p.m. EDT. Please use the subject line 2024-2025 OCALI External Evaluator RFP. Responses to received questions will be shared with all applicants.

Request for Proposal: Phase 2

Selected applicants may be asked to interview with the OCALI team. If selected for an interview, applicants will be asked to demonstrate their work by submitting a proposed plan for evaluation of a selected set of OCALI deliverables.

RFP Process Schedule

Release of RFP Wednesday, July 3, 2024
Final Date for Receipt of Questions by 3:00 pm EDT Wednesday, July 10, 2024
Final Date for Official Responses to Questions Friday, July 12, 2024
Proposals Due by 3:00 pm EDT (Phase 1) Wednesday July 17, 2024
Applicants Notified of Status/Next Steps Friday, July 19, 2024
Interviews Start (Phase 2 if needed) Tuesday, July 23 2024
RFP Award(s) Announced No Later Than Friday, July 26, 2024


Contractor shall hold himself/herself/itself available to render and shall render at the request of the ESCCO/OCALI, the services set forth in the scope of work above for the benefit of the ESCCO/OCALI. Contractor shall devote such time as may be reasonably required to perform Contractor’s duties under the contract. Contractor will maintain, for the duration of the Contract, any certificate or license required by law to perform the services required by this RFP.

Contractor shall perform all services with reasonable care, skill, and diligence as would normally be provided by an experienced consultant and in accordance with industry standards.

Other Requirements Include

Contractor must provide a W-9 with a valid EIN or be registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. Contractor must complete the Standard Affirmation & Disclosure Form to abide with Executive Order 2011-12K affirming no services of the contractor or its subcontractors under this Contract will be performed outside the United States.

Contractor shall secure professional liability insurance and any other insurances required by law.

At the Contractors sole cost, Contractor shall maintain a comprehensive knowledge regarding evidence-based practices and systems practices leading to positive outcomes for students. Contractor shall, at all times during the term of this Contract and at Contractor’s own expense, comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations, and shall maintain in force all licenses and permits required for performance under this Contract.

Contractor shall be responsible for the purchase and use of all equipment necessary to perform the Services, except that ESCCO/OCALI may elect to provide Contractor access to a computer and/or computer network in order to facilitate Contractor’s secure access to, and provision of, information related to the performance of Contractor’s duties and to facilitate communication with ESCCO/OCALI. Any access to or use of ESCCO/OCALI computers or computer networks shall be subject to all ESCCO/OCALI policies governing such use by ESCCO/OCALI employees.

Finding for Recovery

Contractor represents that he/she/it is not subject to any unresolved findings for recovery resulting from an audit conducted by the Auditor of State between January 1, 2001, and the present time. Contractor further represents that neither the Contractor nor any of its principal officers are listed in the Auditor of State’s database of persons’ subject to such findings.


Selection of Contractor will be based on the following criteria:

  • Name, position, and contact information for one primary contact.
  • Narrative response describing how the Applicant would use its expertise to meet the objectives outlined in the scope of work.
  • Narrative response describing the Applicant’s competence to perform the required services as indicated by the education and experience of the Applicant’s personnel, especially the education and experience of the employee(s) who would be assigned to perform the services.
  • Ability in terms of workload and availability of qualified personnel to perform the required services competently.
  • Evidence of successful implementation of services similar to the scope of work outlined, provided within the last 12 months.
  • Evidence of knowledge and experience in providing products/services that meet the needs of people with disabilities, as well as a commitment to fostering an inclusive and accessible environment.
  • Recommendations/references from a minimum two (2) current or previous clients.
  • Overall cost of products/services.
  • (Possible) The interview process and Phase 2 proposed plan of evaluation

Additional considerations:

  • Ohio-based business OR business located outside Ohio but with a local office.
  • Prior work with OCALI or a similar organization.
  • Knowledge of Ohio agencies, systems, initiatives, and/or policies impacting the population served by OCALI.

At its discretion, the ESCCO/OCALI is not required to select the Contractor that submits the lowest cost proposal for providing the services. Instead, the ESCCO/OCALI intends to select the Contractor submitting the proposal deemed by the ESCCO/OCALI to be in the ESCCO/OCALI’s best interest. In making its selection, the ESCCO/OCALI may consider any other information, including information not requested in this RFP or not included in the proposals received.

In the event the ESCCO/OCALI is unable to negotiate a satisfactory contract with the top ranked Contractor, the ESCCO/OCALI may terminate negotiations with that Contractor and enter into negotiations with the Contractor submitting the proposal ranked next best. This RFP is not and shall not be construed as an offer of a contract by the ESCCO/OCALI. Any contractual arrangement will be evidenced solely by a Contract authorized by the ESCCO/OCALI.


All applicants will receive notification of the awarded contract by Friday, July 26, 2024. Notification will be sent to the primary contact by email.

The ESCCO/OCALI reserves the right to reject any and all proposals where the contractor takes exception to the terms and conditions of the RFP or fails to meet the terms and conditions, including but not limited to, standards, specifications, and requirements as specified in the RFP.

The ESCCO/OCALI reserves the right to reject, in whole or in part, any and all proposals where the ESCCO/OCALI, taking into consideration factors including but not limited to, price and the results of the evaluation process, has determined that award of a contract would not be in the best interest of the ESCCO/OCALI or the state.

  • Past performances as reflected by the evaluations of previous clients with respect to factors such as control of costs, quality of work and meeting of deadlines; and other similar factors;
  • The services offered are not in compliance with the requirements, specifications, and terms and conditions set forth in the RFP;
  • Pricing offered is considered to be excessive in comparison with existing market conditions or exceeds the available funds of the state; or
  • It is determined that award of a contract would not be in the best interests of the state.

The ESCCO/OCALI may award a contract in whole or in part to one or multiple contractors. Notice of any potential partial and/or multiple party award(s) shall be provided in the RFP.