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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2015

Massachusetts Creativity/Innovation Initiative
Fund Code: 189

Purpose:The purpose of this new state-funded two-year competitive funding opportunity is to foster students' creativity and capacity for innovation, critical for success in a 21st century economy. More specifically, this funding opportunity will support the review, design, and implementation of middle and/or high school curricula that promote these essential skills of creativity and innovation while improving students' academic achievement and engagement.
Overview: The proposed project must be anchored in the definition of college and career readiness Download PDF Document and specifically address the three domains (academic, personal/social and career readiness). Through this focus, students will build creativity and innovation skills to better prepare them for successful futures.

Creativity and innovation cannot be developed through passive learning. Curriculum and instructional methods developed or refined under this funding program must actively engage students in project-based learning aligned with grade-level standards in any of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.

Work undertaken through this funding will integrate several educational initiatives, including: 1) supporting creativity and innovation skill acquisition; 2) preparing students for college and career; 3) integrating the use of new tools and technologies in the classroom; 4) partnering with community resources; and 5) implementing standards-based education. Inter-disciplinary work is strongly encouraged.

This opportunity supports implementation of district standards and indicators in curriculum and instruction, human resources and professional development. Applicants should be deliberate and intentional in the use of funds to support these standards and priorities. Proposals will be reviewed in part based on how likely the applicant's implementation plan result in making progress in these areas.

Applicants are encouraged to build on existing curricula for this initiative rather than creating something entirely new.

Priorities: Priority will be given to projects that provide students with an active role in documenting project activities, student progress, and presentations of final products, including interviews of project participants and partners using various media (video, photography etc.). Priority will also be given to projects that integrate the use of new tools and technologies (such as: mobile devices, games, online courses, social media, presentation software, and research tools) to enhance student learning.

Priority will be given to proposals that involve more than one educator, address more than one academic discipline, and engage community partners in the curriculum development and implementation process.

Priority will be given to proposals that enable a team of students to demonstrate their creativity, capacity to innovate, and leadership skills to respond to community needs, using principles of community service learning, in collaboration with community partners.

  1. Proposed curriculum must include a project-based learning experience that is accessible for all students in a class/course and that occurs during the school day. (Afterschool/out of school activities may be an additional part or extension of the programming.)

  2. Proposed curriculum must be designed to foster students' creativity and capacity for innovation. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) has collaborated with partners to develop a Rubric for Projects and Units that Foster Creativity and Innovation (Creativity/Innovation Rubric). This rubric, attached as an appendix to this application, is designed to help analyze the degree to which a curriculum unit or program fosters students' creativity and innovation.

    The five dimensions of the rubric are: I.) Alignment with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks; II.) Learning Environment; III.) Time and Resources; IV.) Classroom, Community, and Career Connections; and V.) Reflection and Assessment.

  3. The proposed curriculum project must be targeted to identified grade-level standards in any of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, and the project must be designed to improve upon the way that the targeted content is currently being offered in the district/school, using the methods described in #1 and # 2 above.

  4. Applicants must use the Creativity Rubric to conduct an initial assessment of the targeted curriculum to be improved or created and to determine the extent to which it currently fosters students' creativity and capacity for innovation. [It is expected that funded districts will be at different starting points with respect to this work.] That assessment, as well as a follow-up program assessment at the end of the fiscal year, will be completed online at ESE's Contextual Learning Portal.

  5. Grantees will be required to contribute to ESE's Contextual Learning Portal by posting a description of the curriculum and program materials.

  6. Grantees must commit to attending grant convening(s) and making a presentation about their project at the Connecting Activities Conference on May 19, 2015.

Eligibility:Public school districts, charter schools, approved private special education schools, and collaboratives that serve students in some or all of grades 6-12.
Funding:A total of $160,000 is available in FY2015, grants of up to $15,000 will be awarded in Year 1; districts awarded FY2015 grants may be eligible for an FY2016 Continuation Grant, contingent upon funding and successful completion of their Year 1 performance goals and objectives.
Fund Use: Funds may be used for:
  • Stipends for educators and community partners
  • Materials, supplies, and technologies for project development, project implementation and project documentation including purchase of student classroom materials, and student incentives, such as snacks for afterschool or summer activities
  • Consultants
  • In-state travel

Funds may not be used for:

  • Salaries
  • Student wages
  • Out-of-state travel
Project Duration:Upon approval- June 30, 2015 (Year 1)
Program Unit:College and Career Readiness
Contact:Shailah Stewart at; or Nyal Fuentes at
Phone Number:(781) 338-3904 or (781) 338-3593
Date Due:November 13, 2014

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.
Required Forms:
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Part I - General - Program Unit Signature Page - (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)
Download MS EXCEL Document
Part II - Budget Detail Pages (Include both pages.)
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Part III - Required Program Information (includes submission of Creativity/Innovation Rubric)
Additional Information:
Download PDF Document
Definition of College and Career Readiness
View External Link
Contextual Learning Web Portal
View External Link
Online Rubric for Projects and Units that Foster Creativity and Innovation (In and Out-of-School) Version 1.0
View HTML Page
Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Standards
Submission Instructions: Submit 3 sets, each with an original signature of the Superintendent/Executive Director and e-mail one complete copy to

Mail to:

Carrie Harrington
College and Career Readiness
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906

Last Updated: September 24, 2014
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