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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2017

Professional Development for Frameworks and Standards
Fund Code: 144

Purpose: The purpose of this competitive grant program is to provide districts with funding to support teachers to deepen their understanding of the revised 2017 English Language Arts-Literacy and 2017 Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks and the 2016 Science/Technology/Engineering standards. The grant is designed to support districts to build professional learning opportunities for teachers to engage in reviewing the standards and the curricula used by the district or school and provide teachers with time to plan to implement the standards and curricula in the upcoming academic year.

Our goal is that all students in the Commonwealth, especially those who have historically been least well served, will be globally competitive and prepared for the transition after high school. Students will attain ambitious content standards as outlined in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks by participating in an instructional program that well-prepares them for the transition after high school, provides support for them as individuals, and ensures access to effective teachers and administrators. We know from the research that teachers are the most impactful in-school factor when it comes to student learning. We also know that the instructional program to which the students are exposed will help them to meet the demands of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. We have heard from educators across the Commonwealth that they wish for more time to collaborate with their colleagues, more time to review, analyze, and understand the standards and more time to plan how to teach the standards using the curriculum and instructional materials available to them. This grant is designed to meet those needs and to provide teacher leaders with time for robust professional learning that is catalyzed, designed, organized, and carried out by teachers-to work together, to collaborate, and to build products to meet their identified outcome goals focused on the standards and curriculum implementation.

Priorities: Competitive grant allocations will provide support to districts for expenses for teachers to participate in professional learning that supports implementation of the ELA-Literacy and Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks and contributes to increased student learning.

Core priorities of the grant include: support for teachers in designing professional learning that will advance their knowledge and meet outcomes that they determine, as related to successful implementation of the Curriculum Frameworks in ELA-Literacy and Mathematics; strengthen their instruction; and improve student outcomes, especially for students who have been historically underserved.

Focus on early grade literacy and middle grade mathematics curriculum standards will be given competitive priority, though districts may use the funding to support teachers in other grade levels and standards.

Activities include:
  1. Districts recruit and select teachers to serve as participant teacher-leaders in this grant, with competitive priority going to teacher leaders who work in early grades and plan to focus on literacy and to teachers in middle grades (i.e., grades 5-8) who teach mathematics.
  2. Districts identify teams of teachers to work together (in content-alike teams or grade-level alike teams or within a school) in a professional learning enterprise to deepen their knowledge of the standards and strengthen their instruction with the goal of increasing student knowledge and ensuring students achieve the standards.
  3. Teachers analyze their curriculum and instructional materials to determine alignment (or lack of alignment) between the revised standards and the curricula. Teachers identify areas where the curriculum does not well align with the revised standards and where they need additional support or supplemental materials to well-teach the standards.
  4. Teachers determine other activities they want to conduct and products they want to create during the period of the grant that will support their strong understanding and their students achieving the content in the standards, such as:
    1. curriculum mapping to the standards,
    2. building scope-and-sequence documents or unit plans,
    3. designing classroom-based high cognitive demand tasks that accompany the standards and the curriculum;
    4. viewing videos of teachers teaching particularly challenging standards;
    5. developing classroom-based assessments to gauge student knowledge of particular standards,
    6. studying the Department's, "What To Look For" documents and developing an understanding of the vertical progression of the standards,
    7. developing an understanding of social and emotional learning guiding principles and designing student learning experiences that further their social and emotional learning development so they can achieve the standards.
  5. Participating teachers conduct sessions at new teacher induction institutes (assuming districts conduct these activities) to deepen new teachers' understandings of the revised standards.
Additionally, participating teachers might attend Department-sponsored learning sessions to orient them to the changes in the ELA-Literacy and mathematics frameworks.

Districts will submit a proposal to DESE explaining how they will use the funding for teachers to lead their own professional learning in order to deepen their understanding of the 2017 revised ELA-Literacy and Mathematics standards, with particular focus on early grades literacy and middle grades math to prepare to well-teach the standards and to promote increased student knowledge and learning.

Grant recipients will be expected to share a description of the outcomes of the grant and products (such as curriculum mapping) as requested by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in order to expand the impact of the grant.

Eligibility: Districts will be given competitive priority in scoring for each of the following eligibilities:

  1. Attest that they will fully commit their FY16 Title II, Part A (Fund Code 140) funds by June 30th.
  2. Level 3 and 4 districts will be given competitive priority. Level 3 and 4 districts must give priority to serve the lowest-performing schools within the districts. Note that teacher participants might come from other schools in the district, but the focus of the work should be prioritized to the lowest-performing schools.
  3. Districts will be given competitive priority if they focus their teacher teams on early grade teachers (PK-2) and middle grade teachers (5-8).
Funding:Approximately up to $800,000 is available through Federal Title IIA grant and will be distributed based on the number of quality proposals submitted and approved. DESE anticipates an approximate average award range of between $20,000--$75,000.
Fund Use: Fund use must be consistent with the priorities described above and the requirements associated with Title II, Part A. The focus of the Title II, Part A grant program is to increase student achievement through comprehensive district initiatives that focus on the preparation, training, recruitment, and retention of effective educators. The goal is to support initiatives to improve educator effectiveness.
  • No greater than 5% of funds may be dedicated toward administrative costs associated with the grant; and
  • 95% of funds must go toward teacher stipends or other eligible IIA expenditures. Competitive priority will be given to proposals that meet the criteria described in Part III-Required Program Information.
Project Duration:Upon Approval - 8/31/2017
Program Unit:Center for Instructional Support
Contact:Matt Holloway
Phone Number:(781) 338-6622
Date Due: Letter of Intent to apply for Professional Development for Frameworks and Standards: Friday, April 28th, 2017.

Districts planning to apply for funds must indicate their intent to do so in a letter, which should be submitted via email, to The letter should indicate:
  • The names and accountability levels of each school in your district that will be directly involved in grant activities.
  • The name, role and contact information for your district's grant contact and/or the person who coordinates the work described in this grant.
Complete proposals are due by Friday, May 12th, 2017. Applicants may submit proposals before the grant deadline.

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due. Late proposals will not be considered.

Required Forms: Completed proposals will include:
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 Word Document
Part III - Required Program Information - Grant Narrative Form

Additional Information:Each grant recipient must complete a brief Grant Final (End-of-Year) Report to be submitted no later than Monday, October, 31, 2017.

Submission Instructions: Completed grant proposals may be emailed to

Complete submission must include:
  • A copy of the Signature Page with the signature of the Superintendent. (A signed, scanned copy may be submitted via email.)
  • The Budget Workbook, and
  • Required program information (Grant Narrative)

Last Updated: March 24, 2017
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