Advisory on Academic Support Services Grant and Credit Recovery Programs
The purpose of this advisory is to provide school districts with further guidance and clarification about the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (the Department's) policy regarding state-funded Academic Support grants and credit recovery programs, particularly those programs operating during the summer.
In general, the Department permits a district to provide core course credit recovery for participation in state-funded Academic Support grant programs when the district's grant proposal and program are consistent with the legislative authorization and RFP for these grants. State appropriation item 7061-9404 includes the following requirements:
- The grant funds must be used to provide targeted remediation programs for high school students scoring in level 1 or 2 on the MCAS exam. Please reference appropriate fiscal year RFP for exact class eligibility and subject area criteria, available on Academic Support Services Allocation Grant webpage.
- The Department and districts "shall ensure that services are available to students with disabilities."
- The "purpose of this program shall be to improve students' performance on the MCAS exam through replication of services and educational strategies with proven results as determined by the Department."
- The programs supported by the grant "shall supplement currently funded local, state, and federal programs at the school or district."
More specifically, a proposal for an intensive summer school program that offers credit toward high school graduation for students who have not yet earned the Competency Determination for high school graduation and who have failed English language arts, mathematics, and/or science and technology/engineering courses must be based on the requirements in the state appropriation and the current year's Fund Code 632/625 RFP as well as the guidelines for Academic Support grants. Such a grant proposal would have to demonstrate the following:
- The program would supplement and not supplant any currently or recently funded local, state, and federal program at the school or district level. In a related note, the funds may not be used for students who are taking (for the first time) junior and senior year mathematics courses required for their Educational Proficiency Plans.
- The district's decision to award a student core course credit for the program would be based on its professional judgment that the program sufficiently addresses content for the core course in question.
- The program content and teaching methodology would address students' Educational Proficiency Plans and target learning gaps that are directly related to them being able to meet the standard for earning the Competency Determination.
- All students participating in the funded program would meet the eligibility requirements of the grant and the course they are taking would be in the subject matter that qualifies them to participate (i.e., math, English language arts, and/or science and technology/engineering). Students who have earned the Competency Determination but still need to recover high school course credit are not eligible. As noted above, please reference the appropriate year's RFP for more specific student eligibility requirements: Academic Support Services Allocation Grant webpage.
If students do not meet the eligibility criteria are participating in the credit-recovery program, the costs of their participation (e.g., the amount of staff time devoted to them, materials, etc.) must be paid for out of other funds. Please also keep in mind the following, as noted in the Academic Support program RFP documents:
- The program must maintain student-to-teacher ratios of no more than 10:1.
- The budget cannot exceed the percentage limits noted in the RFP for program coordination costs, supplies, or licenses related to computer software.
- The district may not charge any students for participating in the grant-funded program (even with refundable fees); even if students in other non-Academic Support funded credit-recovery programs are being charged to participate.
- The proposed program would be expected to meet all other program requirements as outlined in the RFP and guidelines.
If you have any questions on these requirements or the grant program in general, please contact your Academic Support liaison or Rachelle Engler Bennett, Director of Learning Supports and Early Learning (OLSEL), via firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-338-3205.