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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2016

Academic Support Services Allocation Grant Program
Fund Code: 632/625

Purpose: The goal of this state-funded allocation grant program is to enhance academic support services so that all eligible students will meet the state's Competency Determination required for high school graduation.
Priorities: The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (Department's) theory of action is that if state interventions are concentrated on ensuring that the necessary district systems are in place and are focused on establishing and sustaining the Conditions for School Effectiveness in each school, substantial gains in student performance will result.

The following six of the eleven Conditions for School Effectiveness are most likely to be supported by Academic Support programming (where applicable): Effective district systems for school support and intervention; Aligned curriculum; Effective instruction; Tiered instruction and adequate learning time; Students' social, emotional, and health needs; and Family-school engagement (Conditions I, III, IV, VIII, IX, and X, respectively).

In order to achieve the Academic Support Allocation Grant program's goal, noted in the Purpose section above, strategic priorities for this grant program include the following:

Serving students in these categories:
  1. students from the classes of 2003-2015 (post 12th graders) who have not yet met the Competency Determination required for high school graduation;

  2. students in the classes of 2016-2020 (grades 8-12) who have scored at the Warning/Failing level on their most recent MCAS test(s) in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and/or Science and Technology/Engineering (STE); and

  3. students in the classes of 2016-2020 (grades 8-12) who are new to the district and have not taken MCAS but whose academic history and assessments would indicate that additional support services are needed in order to gain the skills and knowledge to pass the 10th grade MCAS tests required for graduation. (This documentation must be available if requested.)

Programs may also serve students in the classes of 2018-2020 (grades 8-10) who have scored at the Needs Improvement performance level on their most recent MCAS in English Language Arts and Mathematics if the needs of all the priority students noted above are already being met.
Eligibility: Public school districts, charter schools, approved private special education schools, and collaboratives with fiscal year 2015-2016 (FY16) allocation formulas that calculated to at least $5,000 are eligible to apply for funds. See funding section below for further information, including where a list of entities and amounts will be posted this summer, pending appropriation.
Funding: These services are to supplement currently funded local, state, and federal programs. Individual grant awards are based on a formula that includes eligible students at the Failing level on the most recently available high school ELA, Mathematics, and STE MCAS. Funds are awarded if applicants meet the requirements of the Funding Opportunity's Request for Proposals (RFP).Any entity wishing to be mailed a copy of the RFP and associated documents may send a request via email to

Subject to funding appropriation, a list of eligible public school districts, charter schools, approved special education schools, and collaboratives with their allocation amounts will be posted this summer (likely in August) to FY16 Academic Support Allocations. Once the link is live, an email with the link will be sent to all eligible entities. The release of funds is contingent upon the submission of all required fiscal year 2015 program data and narrative evaluations.

To operate a fiscal year 2016 school year (9/1/2015-6/30/2016) program and/or summer program (7/1/2016-8/31/2016):
Submit a grant application that includes all of the forms listed in the Required Forms section. Any expenses related to pre-program professional development/planning or delivery of supplies for summer programs (prior to July 1, 2016) must be budgeted as part of the School Year.

Important Note: Each year, some grantees find that after the program begins it is prudent to increase or decrease the total amount they receive for School Year programs (resulting in less or more money for a subsequent Summer program or a reallocation of the funds). In these cases, an amendment to increase or decrease School Year funding amounts must be received by the Department no later than Friday, April 1, 2016.

Any amendment to decrease School Year funding amounts may not be for an amount greater than the balance not yet received/requested by the grant recipient. For example, a district approved for a $60,000 grant that has received $45,000 as of March 1st may submit an amendment in early March to decrease the School Year grant amount by up to $15,000.

It is strongly encouraged that grantees monitor their spending and draw down requests as well as amend if needed by this deadline. Grantees that return more than 5% or $1,000 of the funds received when closing out the grant may incur a reduction in subsequent allocation amounts.

Reminder: Grant recipients may expend funds as of the date the grant is entered as approved into the Grants Management system at the Department. Details may be found at: Grants for Schools: Getting Them and Using Them, A Procedural Manual.
Key Grant Requirements:
  1. Funds must be used for the academic portions of programs and focus on the acquisition of skills in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, and/or science and technology/engineering (STE) needed for students to earn their Competency Determination.

  2. Funds must be used to extend student learning time in ELA, mathematics, and/or STE by expanding successful programs or initiating new direct services. Programs may offer instruction during the school day, before school, after school, weekends, and during school vacations.

  3. Programs must ensure that services are available to students with disabilities.

  4. School districts must provide annual written notice to former students who have not yet earned their Competency Determination of the availability of post-high school academic support programs. Districts must also encourage these students to participate in such programs. See the Additional Information section below for more details.

  5. Services provided for students must be in one or of more the subject matter(s) that make(s) them eligible for the services described above in this RFP's Priorities section.

  6. Under no circumstances may students be charged money to enroll or attend the Academic Support programs. This includes refundable registration fees.

  7. Narrative Evaluations
    Funded programs are required to submit a narrative report on the overall effectiveness of the program using the online link. Submissions of the online narrative evaluations are due July 29, 2016 for School Year programs and September 30, 2016 for Summer programs.

  8. Required Student Data Submissions
    Individual Student Data Information is required to be submitted through the Department's Security Portal. Due dates are the same as those listed above for Narrative Evaluations.

Fund Use:
  1. Funds may be used for activities that enhance and support student learning, which may include, but are not limited to:

    1. integrated tutoring and mentoring programs;
    2. the academic support components of comprehensive after-school programs;
    3. the academic support component of summer programs;
    4. weekend and school vacation programs focused on academic support;
    5. costs related to removing barriers to participation and learning, including non-monetary incentives for students as well as services that address logistical and/or behavioral health issues;
    6. college and career readiness activities;
    7. service-learning projects;
    8. work-based learning activities;
    9. high school transition support;
    10. supplemental web-based and software tutorial programs that are diagnostic and prescriptive; and
    11. counseling programs and services to educate parents and high school students on post 12th grade remediation options.

  2. Not more than 25 percent of the total amount of funding available to the district may be budgeted for supplies, licenses related to computer software (line 8 - memberships/subscriptions), and any instructional/non-instructional equipment costing more than $5,000 or having a useful life of less than one year.

  3. Not more than 15 percent of the total amount to the district may be used for program coordination costs (stipends for a program coordinator, bookkeeper, secretary, evaluator, etc.). Programs must supplement currently funded local, state, and federal programs at the school or district.

  4. If a grantee serves significantly fewer students than proposed in the grant application, the Department may request the return of such funds or withhold an appropriate amount of funds not yet paid. If a grantee provides services to students who do not meet the eligibility requirements of this grant program, this will be considered misuse of funds and the Department will require that the grantee return the funding.

Project Duration: Fund Code: 632 (School Year Program) Upon Approval (not earlier than 9/1/2015) - 6/30/2016

Fund Code: 625 (Summer Program): 7/1/2016 - 8/31/2016
Program Unit: Learning Supports and Early Learning (OLSEL)
Contact: Contact any Academic Support Liaison via or 781-338-3010.
Date Due: Districts must submit an application for Fund Code: 632 (School Year program) and/or Fund Code: 625 (Summer program) at least 15 business days prior to the proposed start of the program (if starting before mid-October), in order to allow sufficient time for review, resolution of issues, and processing in order to comply with the state finance regulation 815 CMR 2:00, section 2.05, (4)(b). Programs are not permitted to expend funds on programs until program approval.
  • At the latest, all school year AND summer applicants must be postmarked and emailed by: Thursday, November 5, 2015
Required Forms:
If proposing school year services,
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
School Year Program (Fund Code: 632) Part I - General: Program Unit Signature Page (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants) —for services September 2015 - June 2016.
If proposing summer services,
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Summer Program (Fund Code: 625) Part I - General: Program Unit Signature Page (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants) —for services July-August 2016.
Download Excel Document
Part II Workbook - Budget (II-A) and Budget Narrative (II-B)*
(Print and mail with the application all four budget and budget narrative pages.)
Reminder: submit a four-page budget/budget narrative for school year services, and another four-page budget/budget narrative for summer services, if requesting to serve students during both time frames.
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Part III - Required Program Information
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Assurances Document - Required only for programs proposing to serve students in grades 8-10 (classes of 2018-2020).

*Note: The Budget and Budget Narrative Workbook is a Microsoft Excel file which includes macros that enable the workbook to compute totals and summary tables.

  1. For Microsoft Office 2000/2003, you may need to change the security setting in Excel before opening the file. In Excel, click 'Tools', 'Macro', and then 'Security'. When the dialog box appears, change the security setting to 'Medium' and then click 'OK'. You can now open the budget file.

  2. For Microsoft Office 2007, you must save the workbook as an earlier version of Excel (.xls not .xlsx).

Additional Information:
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
General Guidelines - for Academic Support Allocation Grant Programs
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
District/Vendor Guidelines - for Use of Academic Support Funds
View HTML Page
Budget Detail - Description of Line Item Information
Annual Written Notice to Former Students
All school districts must provide annual written notice to their former students who have not yet earned their Competency Determination (and who have not transferred to another school) in order to: inform those students of the availability of publicly funded post-high school remediation programs aimed at helping them satisfy the graduation requirement; and encourage them to participate in those programs.

The written notice shall be sent annually by first class mail to the last known addresses of those students. The district is obligated to send annual written notice to a student's last known address for a period of two years from the date the student left high school in the district. Districts are strongly encouraged to use additional successful recruitment strategies that extend beyond the minimum requirement to solicit participation.
Submission Instructions: By 5:00pm on the date due (see Date Due section above for details):
  1. Email all required forms (no signatures needed on the emailed versions) to

  2. and

  3. Mail (postmark) two (2) sets of all required forms, each with an original signature of the Superintendent/Executive Director.
    Mail to:
    Donna Pisaturo, Grants Specialist
    Office of Learning Supports and Early Learning
    Massachusetts Department of
    Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street
    Malden, MA 02148-4906

Last Updated: July 3, 2015
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