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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2016

Focus on Early Literacy, Continuation Grant
Fund Code: 734b

Purpose: The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is offering this continuation grant to educational collaboratives that participated in the Focus on Early Literacy grant, Fund Code 734, in FY15.

The grant is part of a plan to improve early literacy in the state. Through the grant, each collaborative will support the participating districts to: 1) attend training to implement three more units of the Focus on K2© kindergarten curriculum, with additional training being provided by Boston Public Schools' Early Childhood Department (BPS); 2) purchase the materials associated with these units; and 3) (optional) join with new districts (through Fund Code 734a grants) in conferences and regional networking meetings about the kinds of effective early learning practices and strategies to improve curriculum and instruction throughout the early grades (K-3). Depending on appropriation, districts that make a four year commitment will in FY17, expand the number of kindergarten classrooms involved; in FY18 implement the first grade curriculum now being piloted in Boston; and then in FY19 implement the second grade curriculum now under development.

  • To promote a comprehensive developmentally-appropriate approach to early literacy through professional development, technical assistance and classroom resources. (See the Additional Information section for selection criteria, dates and other specifics.)

  • To promote an approach to curriculum and instruction that balances active learning and teacher-directed learning of academic content and skills; integration of subject areas; authentic assessments based on observation; and a collaborative approach to planning by classroom staff, specialists and administrators.

  • In the longer term, to extend this approach to curriculum and instruction in full day kindergarten into first and second grades.

  • To promote a closer relationship between educational collaboratives and school districts to strengthen regional support of districts and schools.

  • To enhance the capacity of educational collaboratives to facilitate practices to promote achievement in early literacy.

  • To support implementation of the additional units in Focus on K2© in classrooms and schools that implemented the Animals and Habitats unit in FY15.

  • Collaboratives and their partnering districts that participated in the Focus on Early Literacy (Fund Code 734) grant in FY 15 are eligible to apply to continue the work started last year.

  • Collaboratives must designate an early literacy specialist for the project -- a staff member or a consultant with expertise in early childhood and/or early elementary education and literacy. The specialist must attend three days of training provided by BPS staff (five days for new Early Literacy Specialists), and provide coaching to the participating classrooms.

  • Districts may make a one-year or four-year commitment. Those making a four-year commitment commit to implementing the kindergarten, first grade and second grade curricula.

  • Each participating district must appoint an early literacy coach who will need to attend the 5-day intensive training, if it is a person who was not involved in FY15 (see Additional Information).

  • Collaboratives and participating districts agree to work with UMass Donahue Institute on evaluation of the project (funded by ESE).

  • Collaboratives that participated in the FY15 Fund Code 734 grant are encouraged to apply for continuation funding.

Fund Use:
  • Reimbursement to districts for professional development as follows: substitutes (Line 5); stipends for teachers (Line 2); and travel for these and principals (or other administrator) (Line 7) for:

    • 3 full days of professional development for teachers, district coaches and principals provided by BPS staff (Marlborough, MA).
    • Optional: 2 state conferences and 2 regional networking meetings (Note: Participation may include teachers and administrators for grades K-3, not only the teachers continuing the Focus on K2© curriculum.)
    • District literacy coaches (unless previously trained, will attend the 5 days of intensive training on the Focus on K2© curriculum offered through the 734a grant.)

  • Compensation for the early literacy specialist (Line 1: Salary or Line 5: Contractual Services). For a consultant, estimate cost based on $100/day for training days, and $75/hour for coaching:

    • 3 full days of professional development provided by BPS staff.
    • About 20 hours for visits/coaching in each participating classroom (approximately 4 hours per visit, including travel, classroom visit and debriefing).
    • 2 days for state conferences and 2 follow-up days for regional networking meetings. (Note: These could be optional or required, depending on whether the individual is proposed to fill the same role under the 734a grant and whether the districts are making a four-year commitment under this grant.)

  • Travel (Line 7) for the collaborative's early literacy specialist, district coaches, teachers and administrators to attend training.

  • Each district's early literacy coach is eligible for stipends of $3,000 for work in their school(s) and classrooms and $500 for participating in the 5 day training.

  • Materials: Costs will be $1500 per kindergarten classroom (Line 6) to complete a classroom set of materials for implementing three units of the curriculum not implemented in FY15. Up to $2,000 may be purchased for classrooms to use the approach to curriculum and instruction in grades 1-3 (based on guidance from DESE and Boston Public Schools); and up to $2000 for materials for each district literacy coach for a complete set of classroom materials for kindergarten and grades 1-3.

  • Collaboratives may apply for up to $15,000 to administer this grant. Should the collaborative also apply for the 734a grant, funding for the early literacy specialist and for administration may be adjusted to avoid redundant expenses.

Project Duration: Upon approval -- 6/30/2016
Program Unit: Curriculum and Instruction/Office of Literacy and Humanities
Contacts: Alice Barton
Phone Number: (781) 338-6354
Date Due: Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.

Required Forms:
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Part I — General - Program Unit Signature Page (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)
Download Excel Document
Part II — Budget Detail Pages (Include both pages.)
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Part III — Required Program Information
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Part IV — District Assurance form
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Part V — School Assurance form
Additional Information: Dates
November 23 at 1:30 p.m: An initial webinar for interested collaboratives. The session will provide information on: 1) an overview of the curriculum, instruction, and assessment approach presented by staff from Boston Public Schools Early Childhood Department; and 2) details about the grant and grant application process.

For continued professional development on implementing :
  • January 21, 2016
  • February 11
  • March 3
Meeting dates for those exploring implementation of this approach K-3:
  • January 13, 2016 (optional) - State conference #1 - for districts making a one-year commitment and those making a four-year commitment who choose to attend. Participants may include teachers, principals, instructional assistants, specialists (special education, ELL/ESL, reading, etc.), and the collaborative's early childhood/early literacy staff or consultant. Training provided by staff of BPS.
  • January 19, 25 and 27 and two later days TBA: intensive training for districts making a four-year commitment and who plan to start implementing the Focus on K2© curriculum in full-day kindergartens this year.
  • February -- Regional networking meeting #1: The training in the Greater Boston region will be provided by staff of Boston Public Schools. Other regional networking meetings will be facilitated by DESE Literacy Specialists.
  • May 5: State conference #2.
  • April/May: Regional networking meeting #2, facilitated by DESE Literacy Specialists
Summary of Activities
Year 1 (FY16) Introduction to Effective Practices
  • 3 days of professional development training and implementation of three Focus on K2© units.
  • For district coaches and kindergarten teachers who did not attend training last year: 5 days of intensive training on the implementation of three units of the Focus on K2© curriculum.
The following is required for the collaborative's early literacy specialist, but optional for district-level participants:
  • 2 statewide conferences on effective practices in early learning, K-3. The district teams select at least one principle/practice to implement after each state conference. (Any teachers not involved in FY15 may use their current curriculum/themes, but work on modifying instruction consistent with the practices and principles introduced at the conferences.)
  • 2 regional networking meetings to share experiences implementing the principle/practice selected at the state conference.
Subject to appropriation:
Year 2 (FY17) Kindergarten (for districts making a four year commitment)
Districts participating in FC 734b will deepen and expand implementation of the Focus on K2© in the kindergarten grades.
Collaboratives, districts and new schools/classrooms that have not attended the 5-days of training in FY15 or FY16 will participate in:
  • 5 days of intensive training and implementation of the four units of the Focus on K2© curriculum in any new kindergarten classrooms (that did not participate in FY16).
  • On-site coaching.
Year 3 (FY18) Expansion to Grade 1 (for districts making a four year commitment)
Collaboratives, districts and schools will participate in:
  • Up to 3 days of training for kindergarten staff implementing for the second year (if needed).
  • 5 days of intensive training and implementation of the BPS's grade 1 curriculum.
  • On-site coaching.
Year 4 (FY19) Expansion to Grade 2 (for districts making a four year commitment)
Collaboratives, districts and schools will participate in:
  • 3 days training for Grade 1 teachers, if needed.
  • 5-days of Intensive training and implementation of the BPS grade 2 curriculum.
  • On-site coaching.
Submission Instructions:
  1. Email the workbook, the workbook, application, and related documents through the Security Portal to

  2. Prepare and send two hard copies of the entire grant proposal: Part I, with an original signature of the superintendent of the educational collaborative; Part II; Part III; and the Assurances (Parts IV and V) with original signatures.

    Mail to:

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

Last Updated: November 16, 2015
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