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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2016

Focus on Early Literacy
Fund Code: 734a

Purpose: The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is offering a continuation to a competitive grant awarded to five educational collaboratives to support the statewide goal of improving literacy from kindergarten through third grade and to enhance the role of educational collaboratives as partners with DESE and school districts in their region in supporting districts and schools in early literacy.

The Focus on Early Literacy grant (Fund Code 734a) is part of a four year plan to improve early literacy in the state. The collaboratives recruit and support school districts to participate in professional development on effective early learning/literacy principles and practices to improve curriculum and instruction in kindergarten through third grade.
Priorities: There are three priorities for this non-competitive funding opportunity that will support the ongoing activities of the 734a grant:
  1. Additional technical assistance/coaching to be provided by an Early Literacy Specialist. This could either be to augment work in districts that already made a four year commitment and participated in the intensive training (Track 2) or to provide on-site guidance and coaching to educators participating in the conference/regional meeting series (Track 1) who are interested in such assistance.
  2. Professional development for administrators and/or instructional assistants/paraprofessionals:
    1. Provide professional development for administrators in the 5 Principles and ways to support the implementation of the Focus on K2 curriculum (and coming curricula for first and second grade).
    2. Provide professional development on the Focus on K2 curriculum for instructional assistants
  3. Multi-grade vertical planning: Convene administrators and educators from preschool through second or third grade to plan for alignment of practices and principles, and to promote a comprehensive, developmentally-appropriate approach to early literacy through professional development, technical assistance and classroom resources. (See Additional Information below about collaboration and coordination with the Kindergarten Quality Grant (Fund Code 701a).
  • The five educational collaboratives that received a Focus on Early Literacy (Fund Code 734a) grant for FY 16 are eligible to apply. These are: Collaborative for Educational Services, CREST, FLLAC, North River Collaborative, and Shore Collaborative.
  • Grant awards will be processed as amendments increasing the Fund Code 734a grants.
  • $180,000 in additional funding is available for this project.
  • Although there is not a fixed amount that every collaborative may apply for, a guideline for calculating additional funds would be to add an additional 20-25% to the current total grant amount each collaborative received.
Fund Use: Funds may be used for:
  • Payments to Boston Public Schools (BPS) for professional development and technical assistance from the BPS Early Childhood Department for any additional services not provided by the 734a grant (e.g., contribution to regional session for instructional assistants). BPS charges $1,500 per day per staff members for preparation and professional development.
  • Compensation for an Early Literacy Specialist to do additional technical assistance/coaching. (Any person contracted not already in this position must have had at least 3 days of intensive training (Track 2 or 3) in the Focus on K2 curriculum.
  • Stipends, substitutes, and travel associated with grant-related activities may be reimbursed for participants in Levels 3 and 4 districts, including participants in Track 1.
  • Materials for teachers in Level 3, 4 and 5 school/districts actively participating in Track 1 (conference/ regional meeting series) activities.
Project Duration: Upon approval through 6/30/2016
Program Unit: Curriculum and Instruction/Office of Literacy and Humanities
Contacts: Alice Barton
Phone Number: (781) 338-6354
Date Due: Applications are due no later than Wednesday, April 12, 2016, or until all available funds are awarded. Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.
Required Forms:
Download Excel Document
Amendment Form (AM1) — Use the amendment form to request these additional funds through increase to the current Fund Code 734a award total.
Download Excel Document
Part II Budget and Budget Narrative Workbook — General Program Unit Signature Page — (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants) and Budget/Budget Narrative Workbook.

Use this form to show the revised Fund Code 734a budget and budget narrative for the grant total, including the increased grant award amount. Name the Excel Budget Workbook as follows: FY16734a_DISTRICT_LEACODE.

Opening the workbook: The 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).
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Part III — Required Program Information — Use this form to respond to questions about additional activities planned for these funds.
Additional Information: For a more complete summary of activities: See the original Request for Proposals for the 734a grant.

For collaboratives seeking to sponsor professional development for instructional assistants and/or vertical planning meetings in participating districts: The Request for Proposals for Quality Full-Day Kindergarten Enhancement Grant: Focus on Program Quality in the Early Grades (Fund Code 701a: allows districts to apply for the same activities. A list of districts eligible for that grant/grant amendment can be found in Addendum A of the RFP. Districts receiving 734a funds for these purposes should supplement and not supplant their 701a activities.
Submission Instructions:
  1. Email the amendment application, Part II (budget) and Part III (narrative) through the Security Portal to the Office of Literacy and Humanities.

  2. Prepare and send two hard copies of the proposal and amendment: Part I, with an original signature of the superintendent of the educational collaborative; Part II; and Part III.

    Mail to:

    Alice Barton
    Office of Literacy and Humanities
    MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street
    Malden, MA 02148-4906

Last Updated: March 23, 2016
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