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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2014

Program and Staff Development Regional Support Centers for Adult Basic Education
Fund Code: 667/343

Purpose:The purpose of this grant program is to improve teaching, strengthen programs, and improve student outcomes in the Commonwealth's Adult Learning Centers, which are located in public schools, community-based organizations, community colleges, libraries, correctional institutions, and other organizations, through the provision of coordinated opportunities for high quality program development, staff development, and other supports.
  1. Deliver professional development to ABE/ESOL teachers in the content areas that adult learners need to become college and career ready: i.e., mathematics, ESOL, reading, and writing. Evaluate the professional development with measures that include teachers' pre- and post-self-assessments.
  2. Strengthen educational leadership, student advising, and other program support needed for effective ABE/ESOL instruction by providing self-assessment tools, training, technical assistance, and other deliverables.
  3. Provide onsite, customized technical assistance to underperforming programs identified by ESE.
  4. Deliver regional training and technical assistance that will: a) support curriculum development, b) provide instruction and certifications in assessment, c) orient new practitioners to the ABE field as well as to their specific job roles, and d) help teachers meet the state's Professional Standards for Adult Basic Education Teachers.
Eligibility: Only the five (5) institutions that received ABE Program and Staff Development Regional Support Center grants in FY2013 are eligible to apply.
Funding: The funding available for the Program and Staff Development Regional Support Centers for ABE programs is up to $1.84 million in state (667) and federal (343) grants in FY2014. Applicants are advised to submit a state budget in the amount of 345,360 and a separate federal budget in the amount of $21,600, for a total of $366,960 per region for FY2014.

The University of Massachusetts Boston is eligible to apply for up to an additional $130,000 to provide a Statewide Research and Resource Collection for Adult Basic Education programs and practitioners.
Fund Use:
  1. Personnel
    Each Regional Support Center (RSC) will be required to hire qualified staff members or consultants to fulfill the following responsibilities, at a minimum:
    1. Regional Support Center Director.
    2. Curriculum and Assessment Support. Responsibilities include professional development related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment, with emphasis on content-specific curriculum development. The priorities for curriculum support include training and technical assistance designed to ensure that every program in the region has a documented program curriculum that is a) aligned with the standards and benchmarks in the MA ABE Curriculum Frameworks in English Language Arts, Mathematics/Numeracy, and English for Speakers of Other Languages; b) incorporates student goals identified in their individual Educational and Career Plans; c) uses the Curriculum Frameworks benchmarks to coordinate instructional levels and inform teaching and learning; d) uses varied classroom assessments to determine progress from level to level; e) incorporates appropriate uses of technology that enhance student learning; f) includes current and archived lesson plans for each level; and g) is based on research and effective practice.
    3. ABE/ESOL Content Specialization. This role involves assisting field practitioners to develop knowledge of and skill in utilizing research-based instructional methodologies in specified content areas. Content specialties by region are:
      1. Mathematics - West SABES
      2. English for Speakers of Other Languages - Northeast SABES & Central SABES
      3. Reading - Southeast SABES & Central SABES
      4. Writing - Greater Boston SABES
      Individuals providing courses and other professional development to increase ABE teachers' knowledge in one of these content areas must themselves have demonstrated mastery of that subject and the related research base.

      Each RSC assigned leadership for Content Specialization or for additional Program Support, as described below, is expected to provide professional development opportunities equitably in every region across the state.
    4. Additional Program Support. This responsibility entails each RSC helping programs and practitioners in one or two areas related to college and career readiness for adult learners. Designated program support areas by region are as follows:
      • Educational Leadership - Central SABES: Increase the capacity of ABE/ESOL program directors to support teaching, advising, effective working conditions, and other program supports.
      • College & Career Readiness/Advising - Southeast and Northeast SABES: Assist program directors, educational and career advisors, and other practitioners to a) create a program culture that engages students at all program levels, from the time of program entry, in thinking about college and career readiness; and b) collaborate effectively with workforce development and community partners, such as community colleges, postsecondary vocational training providers, career centers, local Workforce Investment Boards, local employers, schools, and family support services. Assist advisors with duties that include a) supporting each student in developing, implementing, and monitoring an individualized Education and Career Plan, according to guidelines provided by ACLS; and b) facilitating an authentic process to help students identify long- and short-term goals.
      • Distance Learning - Central SABES: Coordinate activities for and provide technical assistance to ESE-funded distance learning programs. Coordinate logistics of distance learning for students and/or staff.
      • Technology Support - West SABES, Greater Boston SABES & Northeast SABES: Provide training and technical assistance in the System for Managing Accountability and Results through Technology (SMARTT), the state's ABE online database, and Cognos, its complementary reporting system. Assist practitioners with integrating technology into classroom instruction and with coordinating logistics of distance learning for students and/or staff.
      Each staff member should be prepared to help field practitioners use Professional Standards and Content Standards for ABE teachers. Each of the responsibilities listed above may be combined with others to create a full-time position. Support staff and other positions needed to fulfill the purposes of the grant are allowable.

  2. Flexible Consulting Funds
    The Massachusetts ABE professional development system is intended to build upon state-of-the-art expertise and subject matter mastery among researchers, content specialists, teacher trainers/professional developers, and current practitioners in the field. It is designed to balance two aims: to provide subject matter and teaching expertise by using researchers and content specialists, and to develop practitioner leadership by using practitioners as trainers when they have mastery of the content. In addition, ESE seeks to increase racial, ethnic, and other cultural diversity in the pool of training consultants.

    Each RSC will be required to reserve a minimum of 6% of its total FY2014 award in a consulting line item to be used to support such trainers, coaches, and facilitators, and may reserve more in this line. If an applicant does not have staff with the requisite subject matter mastery, and is not able to provide content expertise in-kind from qualified in-house faculty, ESE will identify appropriate consultants. Since only the Greater Boston RSC has the required in-house expertise, other applicants may need to reserve 10% or more of their awards for consultant costs in order to address effectively the priorities of this RFP. The specific allocation of the consulting budget will be negotiated in an annual work plan development and approval process. Costs for consultants who perform an identifiable ongoing staff position function in the Regional Support Center (e.g., curriculum and assessment, content specialty, technology, or workforce development) are not included in the 6% minimum. Costs for the Statewide Research and Resource Collection are not included in the total award for calculating the 6% flexible consulting requirement.

  3. Other Non-Personnel Items
    Allowed are other non-personnel items necessary to implement the annual work plan and to document outcomes: e.g., supplies for training and office operations, including postage; hardware and software; staff travel in-state and out-of-state; printing; telephone and Internet access; memberships and subscriptions; advertising; equipment maintenance; etc. Grant funds may not be used, however, to cover costs of office, classroom, or other space.

    Applicants with a current approved federal indirect cost rate will be required to submit a copy of their current approval letter. Please note that the maximum allowable indirect cost rate that may be charged to this grant is 8% of the subtotal of direct costs. Any entity that does not have a current federal rate may apply to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for a maximum 5% indirect cost rate using the Department's current Indirect Cost Rate Application.

    Note that final indirect costs for FY2014 will not be approved before July, 2013. All budgets and staffing of the Program and Staff Development Regional Support Centers are subject to negotiation and appropriation of state and federal funds.
Institutional Commitment: Applicants for Program and Staff Development Regional Support Centers for ABE are required to provide, at no cost to the grant, an auditable level of institutional support, including the provision of quality, fully accessible space, as well as other in-kind institutional support such as administrative and technology support. The space will be not less than equal in size, quality, and value to that provided in its first year. Note that "accessible space" includes the ease with which adult educators can access the locations where trainings are held.

Applicants are required to provide adequate ISDN or IP connectivity to enable videoconferencing (minimum 384 KB, 768KB is preferable if connection is IP) and a secure location to house the equipment. Applicants must assure ESE that they will make use of the equipment to reduce travel requirements for some portion of professional development activities and meetings.
Applicants are required to provide specialists with mastery in at least one key content area of reading/writing, mathematics, or ESOL, either at a reasonable contractual rate or in-kind, from qualified in-house faculty.
Project Duration: 7/1/2013 - 06/30/2014 (State Funds - Fund Code: 667)
9/1/2013 - 08/31/2014 (Federal Funds - Fund Code: 343)
Program Unit: Adult and Community Learning Services
Contact: Sharon Artis-Jackson email address:
Phone Number: (781) 338-3823
Date Due: Friday, May 31, 2013
Proposals must be received at the Department by 3:00 p.m. on the date due.
Required Forms:
  1. Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  Part I - Program Unit Signature Page - (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants). Please use separate Signature Pages for state and federal budgets.
  2. Download MS EXCEL file  Part II Budget Detail Pages (Include both pages.) - Instructions
  3. Download PDF document Download MS WORD Document  Part III - Required Program Information
  4. Statement of Institutional Commitment
  5. Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  Statement of Assurances for Program and Staff Development Providers
  6. Indirect Cost Rate Application
    Applicants who intend to apply for indirect cost coverage must also submit an Indirect Cost Rate Application.
Statewide Research and Resource Collection Service Option: ESE is prepared to renew funding of up to $130,000 to the University of Massachusetts Boston to maintain a Statewide Research and Resource Collection for ABE.

This option requires submission of additional information (see item 6 of Part III-Required Program Information for further details).
Submission Instructions: Submit two (2) hard copy sets, with an original signature of the President or Chief Executive Officer in BLUE ink on one (1) set.

In addition to submitting hard copies, email responses to Part III - Required Program Information to Lorraine Domigan at and Sharon Artis-Jackson at

Proposals are due Friday, May 31, 2013 by 3:00 p.m.
Applicants who deliver proposals in person or by courier should be sure to request a receipt. Mailed proposals should be sent by Certified, Registered, or Return Receipt Requested mail.

Mail to:
Lorraine Domigan
Adult and Community Learning Services
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906

Last Updated: May 14, 2013
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