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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2016

Strategic Support to Specific Underperforming Schools and Districts
Fund Code: TBD

Purpose: The purpose of this non-competitive grant program is to fund specific strategic initiatives that will improve the state's lowest achieving schools and districts, and support their continuous cycle of improvement.

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 that goal by supporting the following state strategy:

  • Turning around the lowest performing schools and districts

Eligible schools and districts will be able to apply throughout the year as needs emerge and funds become available. Applications are only accepted from schools/districts that have demonstrated financial need through multiple criteria determined by the Department, including ongoing communication and interaction with the Department relative to school and district accountability status, receivership status, State Board of Education input, ongoing data analysis, accountability site visits, and independent studies. Federal funding used for such grants will conform to Title I Section 1003 School Improvement State Reservation requirements and/or to State Targeted Assistance funding, contingent upon final passage of FY16 Governor's line-item budget recommendations.

To support effective planning and the strategic use of grant funds, DESE requires that eligible schools and districts explain in detail how the strategic initiatives funded through this grant program connect to state standards and indicators of effective practice.

All schools and districts must explain how proposed strategic initiatives connect to indicators for one or more of the state's six district standards. These standards, defined in District Standards and Indicators Download Word Document, are:

  1. Leadership and Governance

  2. Curriculum and Instruction
    Tip: If connecting to the Curriculum and Instruction standard, school/districts may want to integrate the Massachusetts Tiered System of Support (MTSS) with their planning.

  3. Assessment
    Tip: If connecting to the Assessment standard, schools/districts may want to integrate the Massachusetts Tiered System of Support (MTSS) with their planning.

  4. Human Resources and Professional Development
    Tip: If connecting to this standard's Indicator 3, Professional Development, school/districts may want to apply the Massachusetts Standards for Professional Development to their planning.

  5. Student Support
    Tip: If connecting to this standard's Indicator 4, Partnerships and Services to Support Learning, schools/districts may want to explain how their proposed initiatives connect to indicators for one or more of the Massachusetts Family, School, and Community Partnership Fundamentals Download PDF Document  Download Word Document.

    Tip: If connecting to this standard, schools/districts may also want to integrate the Massachusetts Tiered System of Support (MTSS) and/or The Behavioral Health and Public Schools Framework with their planning.

  6. Financial and Asset Management

Applying schools/districts must also identify the grant program goals and initiatives, and describe how they will monitor progress towards such goals, including identifying and describing early evidence of change, intermediate implementation benchmarks, and long-term evidence of success, which they will use to assess progress for each initiative and for the overall program goals.

Since these initiatives support the school's or district's existing turnaround process, the school/district is not asked to set additional outcome measures for this work. The district's Progress and Performance Index (PPI) and Measurable Annual Goals (MAGS), if applicable, will serve as outcome measures for these initiatives as well.

Priorities: Priority will be given to specific Level 3, 4, and 5 schools and districts that have been identified under the state's Framework for Accountability and Assistance and criteria described in the Purpose section above or who have been placed under state receivership.
Eligibility: This grant is available to Level 3, 4, and 5 schools and districts only. The Department will list on this grant posting, on a rolling basis, schools and or districts and their designated grant allocations. Grants will only be approved after programmatic and budgetary reviews by Department staff as noted above and upon request of review by the Office of the Governor.
  • Holyoke Public Schools Fund Code 323-J for $410,000 from Title I Section 1003 School Improvement State reservation funds (7043-1001);
  • Holyoke Public Schools Fund Code 323-K for $629,620 from Title I Section 1003 School Improvement State reservation funds (7043-1001);
  • Springfield Public Schools Fund Code 323-S for $300,000 from Title I Section 1003 School Improvement State reservation funds (7043-1001);
  • the following districts under Fund Code 323-T for a total of $1,332,938 from Title I Section 1003 School Improvement Reservation funds (7043-1001):
    Boston$425,274
    Brockton$48,044
    Fall River$33,992
    Lawrence$114,200
    Lowell$116,683
    Lynn$121,560
    New Bedford$130,824
    Springfield$237,842
    Worcester$104,519
  • the following districts under Fund Code 220-T for a total of $167,062 from State Targeted Intervention funds (7061-9408):
    Brockton$8,045
    Fall River$42,423
    Worcester$116,594
  • Strategic Support to Underperforming Schools- Bridge Grant 323-W:
    Boston$75,00
    Holyoke$110,000
    Lawrence$115,000
  • Southbridge Public Schools Fund Code 323-Z for $95,000 from Title I Section 1003 School Improvement State reservation funds (7043-1001); and
  • Southbridge Public Schools Fund Code 220-Z for $100,000 from State Targeted Intervention funds (7061-9408).
  • New Bedford Public Schools Fund Code 323-Y for $25,000 from Title I Section 1003 School Improvement State reservation funds (7043-1001).
Funding: Funding for the grant will come from federal and/or state funds as described above. The total allocation per grant will be determined by financial needs articulated by eligible schools/districts in meetings and other communication with the Department, spending plans drawn up by the Department projecting financial needs of known underperforming schools and districts, and input from the Commissioner, the State Board of Education, and other Department staff in the Center for Accountability, Partnerships, & Targeted Assistance.
Fund Use: 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.
All expenditures will be closely reviewed as they relate to the priorities of this grant opportunity.
Project Duration: Approval date to — 6/30/2016 (state) and 8/31/16 (federal)
Program Unit: Office of District and School Turnaround, Center for Targeted Assistance
Contact:
Programmatic:Office of District and School Turnaround Liaison
Budget Workbook:Russ Flemingrfleming@doe.mass.edu
Phone Number:
Programmatic:Office of District and School Turnaround Liaison
Budget Workbook:Russ Fleming(781) 338-6259
Date Due: To be determined by the Department in consultation with eligible school/district.
Required Forms:Parts I and II: Budget Workbook (Includes the Standard Contract and Application for Program Grants and Budget Detail Pages). Note that the budget workbook is not posted with this RFP; invited schools/districts will be sent a budget workbook with a specific fund code and the project duration.
Submission Instructions: Email a scanned copy of the Signature Page/Cover Sheet (Part I), with the superintendent's original signature, to schoolimprovementgrants@doe.mass.edu or mail a hard copy to:

Russ Fleming, School Improvement Grants Programs
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906

Also, email the Budget Workbook (Parts I and II) to: schoolimprovementgrants@doe.mass.edu.
Available Financial Support- State System of Support: Financial Support - State System of Support


Last Updated: May 5, 2016
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