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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2015

Professional Practice Innovation Grant
Fund Code: 213

Purpose: The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is offering a second round of the Professional Practice Innovation Grant (Fund Code 213) Program. This competitive grant opportunity supports the integration of two of the state's highest priority projects-the educator evaluation system and the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Funding will support initiatives that innovatively build the capacity of teachers and/or specialized instructional support personnel and administrators to implement the new educator evaluation system in a way that promotes implementation of the rigorous standards of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.

ESE will regard awardees of this grant as innovators in advancing professional practice. ESE will collect, document, and share promising practices developed by awardees through this grant program in order to inform other Massachusetts districts.

Statewide goal and priorities: This grant program supports the state's overarching goal, to prepare all students for success after high school. Grant funds will contribute to this goal by supporting the following state priorities:
  • Strengthen curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  • Improve educator effectiveness
District standards: Activities funded under this grant may support any or all of the following four standards identified by ESE's District Standards and Indicators:
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Assessment
  • Human resources and professional development
  • Student support

*Informational Webinar (OPTIONAL): an informational webinar about Fund Code 213 took place on Tuesday, March 4th, from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. To request a copy of the presentation, please email Praise Xu

Priorities: The work outlined in the grant proposal should be innovative in that it effectively and explicitly integrates implementation of the educator evaluation framework and the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Because both of these initiatives are relatively new, ESE seeks to support districts in demonstrating coherent implementation of both in a way that benefits educators and, ultimately, students.

Applicants must propose initiatives in two focus areas (derived from the Standards and Indicators of Effective Teaching Practice and Effective Administrative Leadership Practice) that will advance educators' professional practice and capacity for implementing the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Districts are required to propose an initiative that addresses Curriculum & Planning as one focus area. Districts may choose a second focus area from the list below:
  • Assessment
  • Access to knowledge
  • Quality of effort and work
  • Diverse learners' needs
  • High expectations
  • Family collaboration
  • Professional collaboration
  • Professional development & career growth (administrators only)*
Each focus area is aligned to Standards and Indicators of Effective Practice for teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, and administrators, descriptions of which are available in the Educator Evaluation Rubric Crosswalk, available in Additional Information.

* Applicants proposing initiatives related to the Professional Development & Career Growth focus area are required to include in their grant application narrative an explanation of how the proposed professional development meets the Massachusetts Standards for Professional Development (see Additional Information), and/or the process they will use to develop a plan for their district or school that ensures their proposed professional development meets those standards.

The proposed initiative(s) must connect the two focus areas to the implementation of any of the state's curriculum frameworks. Districts may propose work with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English language arts and literacy, mathematics, history and social science, science and technology/engineering, the arts, foreign languages, comprehensive health, or any of the vocational/technical frameworks.
  • The Quick Reference Guide: Educator Evaluation & the MA Curriculum Frameworks and Examples of Aligned Activities, both located in Additional Information, offer examples of activities that connect implementation of educator evaluation to instructional activities related to the MA Curriculum Frameworks. Note: districts should not be limited by these examples and are invited to develop their own initiatives for connecting the implementation of educator evaluation and the curriculum frameworks.
The selection of focus area 2 and specific curriculum frameworks must be informed by data and conditions that demonstrate a clear need, and the district's overall grant strategy must be aligned with and support district improvement plans.

We believe that the process of integrating curriculum and instruction with evaluation should be collaborative, allowing for the engagement of teachers and school leaders throughout. Therefore, the proposed work must involve administrators and teachers/specialized instructional support personnel. The only exception is the focus area of Professional Development & Career Growth, which applies to administrators only; activities related to this focus area are therefore not expected to include teachers and specialized instructional support personnel.

Successful proposals will demonstrate thoughtfulness regarding how individuals are selected to lead and carry out the work. Successful proposals will also result in products and/or methods that are sustainable and/or replicable across other districts. As a condition of this grant, recipients will be expected to participate in state activities to evaluate and share the promising practices developed through use of these grant funds. Awarded districts will be asked to share their work with colleagues through conferences, publications, and/or websites organized by ESE. Districts may also be asked to participate in research or evaluation activities related to their funded activities.
  • For more information about components of a successful proposal, please see the Annotated Application Form, Score Card, and MA Planning & Implementation Framework resource, available in Additional Information.
Brief descriptions of the six proposals awarded funding in 2014 are also available in Additional Information (see PPI 2014 Awardees Summary).
Eligibility: This grant is available to all Massachusetts public school districts, including charter schools. Districts may apply individually or in groups.
Funding: The total allocation for this grant program is $194,000. *Note: Funding is not guaranteed but contingent on federal approval of Massachusetts' request for a no-cost extension of Race to the Top-funded activities for FY15.*

Districts may apply individually or in groups, but districts applying in groups must identify a district to take responsibility for grant management and reporting.

The exact number of grant recipients will depend on the availability of funds and the grant amounts requested. Average awards are anticipated to range from $25,000 to $35,000 per district. The maximum award for any individual district or group of districts is $40,000.
Fund Use: Districts may use funds for planning and implementation. Fund use must be consistent with applicable state and/or federal requirements. Districts are allowed to budget funds at both the district level and school level.

Allowable expenditures include:
  1. Stipends for educators
  2. Substitute expenses
  3. Curriculum materials
  4. Contracts for external partners to support district work
  5. In-state travel to attend ESE conferences related to the project
  6. Other reasonable costs associated with project implementation
Unallowable expenditures:
  1. Contract buyouts
  2. Capital expenses
  3. Purchase of technology, computer software, or hardware, unless a compelling case can be made as to why these materials are necessary to complete grant-funded work
All expenditures will be closely reviewed as they relate to the priorities of this grant opportunity.
Project Duration: 7/1/14 (or upon approval) - 6/30/15
Program Unit: Office of Educator Policy, Preparation & Leadership
Contact: Sijia (Praise) Xu
Phone Number: (781) 338-3242
Date Due: Friday, March 28, 2014
Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.
Required Forms:
Download Excel Document
Budget Workbook: Parts I and II (Includes the Standard Contract and Application for Program Grants and Budget Detail Pages)
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Application Form
Additional Information:
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Quick Reference Guide: Educator Evaluation & the MA Curriculum Frameworks
Examples of Aligned Activities
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Educator Evaluation Rubric Crosswalk
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
PPI 2014 Awardees Summary
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Annotated Application Form
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Score Card
View HTML Page
Massachusetts Standards for Professional Development
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Massachusetts Planning and Implementation Framework
Submission Instructions:
  1. Submit one (1) electronic copy, excluding original signature page, to Sijia (Praise) Xu at
  2. Submit five (5) print copies of all application materials plus one print copy of the signature page with the original signature of the Superintendent or Executive Director to:

    Sijia (Praise) Xu
    Office of Educator Policy, Preparation & Leadership
    Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street
    Malden, MA 02148-4906

Last Updated: February 28, 2014
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