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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2016

Special Education: Program Improvement
Fund Code: 274

Purpose: The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (ESE) District Standards and Indicators Download Word Document and the Conditions for School Effectiveness identify professional development (PD) as a foundational component in supporting, developing, promoting, and retaining qualified and effective professional staff who are successful in advancing achievement for all students.

With the articulated priority of Results-Driven Accountability by the Federal Office of Special Education Programs, the purpose of the federally-funded Special Education: Program Improvement Grant is to fund PD activities, which will advance the knowledge, skills, and capacity of educators to meet the diverse needs of students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), ages three through 21, in order to support improved educational results and functional outcomes for these students.

This grant program is aligned with the state's overarching goal to prepare all students for success after high school. These grant funds will contribute to these goals by supporting the following state strategies for students with IEPs, instruction, and assessment;

  • Improve educator effectiveness;
  • Turn around the lowest performing schools and districts;
  • Use data and technology to support student performance; and
  • Increase college and career readiness
Priorities: Professional development activities funded under this grant are specifically intended to improve effective implementation of the requirements and purposes of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - Part B and promote a continuous cycle of improvement and Results Driven Accountability (RDA) by focusing on differentiated improvement strategies.

To support effective planning and the strategic use of grant funds in FY2016, DESE assigned each eligible public school district and educational collaborative to one of two groups based on the 2014 district Determinations of Need for Special Education Technical Assistance or Intervention. These two groups will share a common purpose, required program information (narrative) and opportunities for technical assistance, training, and networking; however, the grant funding and priorities are differentiated by group.

DSAC/ODST
Public school districts already partnering with the DESE Center for Accountability, Partnership, & Assistance through the Office of District and School Assistance Centers (DSACs) or the Office of District and School Turnaround (ODST) are directed to propose PD activities that target outcomes for students with disabilities and complement the district's or school's existing process, initiatives, and outcome measures.

Group 1:
Districts with a special education determination of Meets Requirements - At Risk or Needs Technical Assistance

Public school districts that are in special education determination categories Meets Requirements - At Risk (MRAR), or Needs Technical Assistance (NTA) are assigned to Group 1.

Priority Focus
Districts in Group 1 must choose one of the following priorities for the focus of FY2016 activities supported under Fund Code 274 and described in detail in the Required Forms section below. The selected priority should align with current district improvement initiatives. While proposed PD activities may have some overlap into multiple priority areas, districts must target grant outcomes to one of the priorities outlined in this RFP.

  • Improving Social-Emotional Instruction and Disciplinary Practices for Students with Disabilities Grades PreK-12;
  • Enhancing Family, School and Community Engagement;
  • Special Education Paraprofessional Professional Development;
  • Promoting Student Self-Determination; or
  • Using Data to Improve Teaching and Learning in Special Education

Training and Networking Opportunities
The DESE will offer districts the opportunity to attend one or more statewide training and networking meetings in 2015-2016 related to these priorities. These meetings may include opportunities for focused training and technical assistance, collaboration, and the sharing of best practices in the above priority areas. More information about these meetings will be announced in the fall of 2015.

Further information regarding grant priorities, suggested topics for each priority focus and examples for demonstration of educator proficiency are described in bullet #2 of the Required Forms section below.

Group 2:
(a)Districts with a special education determination of Meets Requirements, Meets Requirements - Provisional, Needs Intervention, and (b) Educational Collaboratives

Public school districts that are in special education determination categories Meets Requirements (MR), Meets Requirements - Provisional (MR-P), Needs Intervention (NI), Needs Substantial Intervention (NSI), or do not have an accountability rating (NR), e.g., educational collaboratives, are assigned to Group 2.

Priority Focus
Districts and educational collaboratives in Group 2 are directed to select one Indicator from the State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR) for the focus of FY2016 activities supported under Fund Code 274, and ensure that the identified related activities leverage current improvement initiatives and are focused on improving successful educational outcomes for students with IEPs.

Further information regarding grant priorities, suggested topics, and examples for demonstration of proficiency are described in bullet #2 of the Required Forms section below.

Training and Networking Opportunities
More information about these meetings will be announced in the fall of 2015.

Eligibility:Funds will be awarded to public school districts with approved program plans for special education on file with DESE and to educational collaboratives serving students with IEPs.
Funding: Federal, the total amount to be awarded is $ 7,018,374.00.

Eligible public school districts and educational collaboratives serving students with IEPs will receive awards based upon their total public school student enrollment and their 2014 district Determination of Need for Special Education Technical Assistance or Intervention.

The amount of funds for which each school district may apply is available on the DESE website at State and Federal Entitlement And Allocation page.

The amount of funds for which educational collaborative may apply is available on the DESE website at State and Federal Entitlement And Allocation page.

Fund Use: The following are allowable costs:
  • Stipends
  • MTRS/Fringe (related to stipends only)
  • Tuition cost for courses (e.g. college, university, and educational collaborative)
  • Conference registration
  • Supplies, materials, and books specifically for training purposes and PD
  • Printing and reproduction of training materials
  • Consultant fees for PD activities
  • Substitutes
  • Travel for PD activities

The following are Not allowable costs:

  • Computer hardware or software, including site licenses
  • Indirect costs
  • Staff salaries
  • Direct services or materials for students
  • Advertising

Fund Code 274 is a grant made available from federal IDEA-Part B funds. Proposed activities must target students with IEPs.

Project Duration:Upon Approval - 8/31/2016
Program Unit:Special Education Planning and Policy Development
Contact:Helen Skulski Hskulski@doe.mass.edu
Phone Number:(781) 338-3379
Date Due:A rolling submission period has been established, but the suggested due date is Friday, December 18, 2015. No applications will be accepted after Friday, January 15, 2016.
Required Forms:
Download Excel Document
Part II - Budget Detail Pages - Must Enable Macros - Special Education: Program Improvement - Budget Workbook, which includes the Part I - General - Program Unit Signature Page - (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)

  
Part III - Required Program Information (one priority)
  1. Group 1 Priority Options
    Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
    Improving Social-Emotional Instruction and Disciplinary Practices for Students with Disabilities Grades Prek-12
    Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
    Enhancing Family, School and Community Engagement
    Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
    Special Education Paraprofessional Professional Development
    Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
    Promoting Student Self-Determination
    Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
    Using Data to Improve Teaching and Learning in Special Education
  2. Download PDF Document  Download Word Document Group 2 Priority - Massachusetts State Performance Plan (SPP)/Annual Performance Report (APR) Indicator
Additional Information:
  1. Download PDF Document  Download Word Document Instructions for Completing the FY16 274 Workbook

    1. View HTML Page Budget Detail - Description of Line Item Information
    2. Download PDF Document  Download Word Document S.M.A.R.T. Goal Examples for Professional Development
    3. View HTML Page FY16 Fund Code 274 FAQs are posted to the Special Education Headlines

  2. Download PDF Document  Download Word Document Group 1 and Group 2 - Fund code 274 group assignments for eligible districts and educational collaboratives

  3. All proposed PD activities must target students with IEPs and conform to the Massachusetts Standards for Professional Development. The application for 274 grant funds requires that eligible schools and districts identify the proposed PD activities and explain how these activities strategically connect to state standards and indicators of effective administrative leadership and/or effective teaching practice. Applicants must also describe how they will monitor progress towards identified goals, and identify anticipated evidence of success.

  4. Districts in Group 1 and 2 will have the opportunity to participate in training and networking meetings that will provide technical assistance around the priority areas identified for Group 1. More information about these meetings will be announced in the fall of 2015.

  5. During the 2015-2016 school year, staff from DESE's Office of Special Education Planning and Policy (SEPP) may conduct onsite visits to or seek additional information about PD programs funded under Fund Code 274. Information collected through onsite visits or follow up communications will be used by SEPP to inform its work on behalf of students with IEPs and in support of educators in the Commonwealth.

Submission Instructions: Submit two (2) sets, each with an original signature of the Superintendent or Executive Director.

Mail to:

Helen Skulski
Special Education Planning and Policy Development
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906



Last Updated: July 9, 2015
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