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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2017

MA Commendation Schools/MA National Blue Ribbon Schools Dissemination Grant
Fund Code: 321

Purpose: The State System of Support at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is offering a competitive grant opportunity to FY2016 Massachusetts Commendation and National Blue Ribbon School winners to share their effective practices with other schools. The Commendation/Blue Ribbon awardees will have the opportunity to further develop their human and material resources as they partner with other schools to share promising practices.

The aim of this grant is to spread effective practices; foster cross-school, intra-regional professional learning through strategic partnerships; and leverage the successes of these high performing schools to encourage, support, and partner with other schools to improve student outcomes.

Each partnership shall be comprised of at least one Massachusetts Title I school that was named a Commendation School and/or a National Blue Ribbon School in 2015-16 (see eligibility list below) and one or more Level 3, 4, or 5 schools in the commended school's region (see eligible partners lists in budget workbook). While the Commendation/Blue Ribbon awardees will have primary responsibility for sharing, the partnerships will not be one-directional in that the Level 3, 4, or 5 sites also will share promising practices and procedures that have yielded positive outcomes. Collaboratives may also apply on behalf of a pair or group of eligible schools, provided the Collaboratives' dissemination work will be attributable to those schools.

Successful applicants will describe their effective practices in terms of the 2014 Turnaround Practices in Action research report that identifies the effective practices in Massachusetts turnaround schools and presents them in a framework that allows for clarity and coherence as effective practices are disseminated to schools across the Commonwealth. The four successful Turnaround Practices are: 1) leadership, shared responsibility, and professional collaboration; 2) intentional practices for improving instruction; 3) providing student-specific instruction and supports to all students; 4) a safe, respectful, and collegial climate for teachers and students. Commendation/Blue Ribbon School applicants will highlight one or more of the Turnaround Practices that will be in focus for the school-to-school collaboration or partnership with a regional Collaborative that has signed on to help identify and disseminate worthy practices that are in place.

Successful applicants will share a specific methodology they plan to use as part of their dissemination project as well as a timeline for engaging in the work. For example, they might note that they will host purposeful visitation for other schools to observe their practices; they might organize and facilitate a professional forum centered around a particular Turnaround Practice; or they might indicate that they will develop an online tool to disseminate print or digital resources related to specific practices that have been effective for them. They also will commit to providing DESE with a brief report at the end of the grant period, reflecting on the impact of this program and providing DESE with any models or materials developed under the grant for wider dissemination across the state.

Priorities: Preference will be given to applicants who: a) form partnerships with more than one Level 3, 4, or 5 site; b) work in cooperation with the applicable District and School Assistance Center (DSAC) or Office of District and School Turnaround (ODST) Liaison (see contact on eligibility chart below) to facilitate professional learning across the partnership and region; and/or c) partner with a Collaborative to increase dissemination outreach of effective practices. The DSAC or ODST Liaison might be a thought partner to the applicant during the grant application planning process and/or during the grant period, assisting and supporting dissemination and effective partnership with other schools. For example, the DSAC or ODST Liaison might be a valuable resource to provide support for program planning, framing school practices in terms of the Turnaround Practices paradigm, meeting facilitation, benchmarking, assessment, tool/resource development, as well as other supports to assist with efficient and effective dissemination of promising practices, development of successful partnerships, targeting and prioritizing areas of greatest need and greatest promise, aligning this program with other initiatives, and leveraging resources for improvements to all involved schools. Each partnership may also draw in the services of a regional Collaborative which can help with convening the partner schools, facilitating the cross-sharing experiences, and disseminating the shared practices with representatives from the Department. Partnering with a Collaborative and/or a DSAC or ODST Liaison is encouraged.

Preference also will be given to applicants who emphasize effective inclusive practices for all students to fully access the school program. Inclusive practices refer to school-wide and classroom level instructional and behavioral strategies that improve academic and social-emotional outcomes for all students, with and without disabilities, in general education settings. All students, with and without disabilities, includes: English language learners; racially, culturally, and ethnically diverse students; students living in poverty and/or foster care; homeless students; immigrant students; students experiencing trauma and/or interrupted education; students with diverse gender identification and sexual preferences; and the many other ways we think about subgroups of our student body such that each student has the opportunity to participate fully in the school community.

Proposals will be judged on the quality of the dissemination effort (see criteria for scoring in the rubric below). Criteria used in assessing the merit of proposals:

ReachPartnership includes minimum of one eligible Commendation/Blue Ribbon School and one other Level 3, 4, or 5 school.Partnership includes more than the minimum and cooperation with DSAC or ODST Liaisons.Partnership includes more than the minimum plus a Collaborative, and or DSAC teams or ODST Liaisons are folded into the work and/or dissemination meaningfully.
Creativity/DesignDissemination effort involves visitation only.Dissemination effort involves mixed methods (Methods include things like: visitation, blogging, resource sharing, observation, PLCs, mentoring, workshops).Dissemination involves mixed methods and will result in information that has the potential to be shared beyond the partnership and archived by ESE.
Focus on Targeted Assistance PracticesEffort focuses on one Turnaround Practice.Effort focuses on more than one Turnaround Practice with explicit connections across the work.Effort focuses on multiple turnaround practices and clearly demonstrates the coherence of the systems so that it could be replicated.
Focus on Inclusive PracticesEffort has some focus on inclusive practices.Effort provides several specifics related to inclusive practices.Effort truly focuses on inclusive practices, and this information has the potential for replication and to support DESE's work on increasing cultural proficiency.
Commitment of PartnersPartnering schools and/or Collaboratives sign off on proposal.Partnering entities detail their commitment to the project.Partnering entities detail their commitment, show central office level sign-off, and indicate a desire to perhaps form an ongoing partnership.
BudgetA budget is included with adequate detail and meeting the requirements for use of Title I funds.The budget is practical, reasonable, and achievable, and it provides a clear description of the use of funds that corresponds to the priorities of this grant opportunity, while complying with Title I funds usage requirements.The budget: a) provides a detailed description of fund use; b) complies with Title I funds usage requirements; c) is practical, reasonable, and achievable; d) targets the priorities of this grant opportunity; and e) directs funding for the greatest impact with the greatest efficiency.
TimelineWork is completed within the 2016-17 school year.Work is ongoing throughout 2016-17, but is slightly frontloaded.Work is frontloaded in 2016 to a great extent, and this indicates that its impact will have the potential to be felt by Spring 17.

Eligibility: Eligible schools are listed below along with the relevant DSAC or ODST Liaison.

RegionDistrict NameSchool NameDSAC/ODST Liaison
SoutheastBarnstableHyannis West ElementaryMarcia O'Neil
Greater BostonBelmontDaniel ButlerMary Ann Jackman
Commissioner's DistrictsBostonDonald MckaySusan Berglund,
Ventura Rodriguez
Commissioner's DistrictsBostonManassah E BradleySusan Berglund,
Ventura Rodriguez
Commissioner's DistrictsBostonMozartSusan Berglund,
Ventura Rodriguez
Commissioner's DistrictsBostonPatrick J KennedySusan Berglund,
Ventura Rodriguez
Greater BostonCantonLt Peter M HansenMary Ann Jackman
Greater BostonChelseaEdgar A Hooks ElementaryMary Ann Jackman
Greater BostonConcordAlcottMary Ann Jackman
SoutheastEasthamEastham ElementaryMarcia O'Neil
Commissioner's DistrictsLawrenceHealth & Human Services High SchoolVentura Rodriguez,
Manuel Monteiro
Berkshires +LenoxMorrisDonna Harlan
NortheastMarbleheadMalcolm L BellDavid Troughton
Greater BostonNeedhamJohn EliotMary Ann Jackman
Commissioner's DistrictsSpringfieldWhite StreetJoan Tuttle
Commissioner's DistrictsSpringfieldSTEM Middle AcademyJoan Tuttle
Greater BostonWalpoleOld Post RoadMary Ann Jackman
Greater BostonWellesleyJoseph E FiskeMary Ann Jackman
Berkshires +WilliamstownWilliamstown ElementaryDonna Harlan
Commissioner's DistrictsWorcesterChandler Elementary CommunitySusan Berglund
Greater BostonBrooke Charter School East Boston (District)Brooke Charter School East Boston 
Greater BostonActon-BoxboroughRaymond J Grey Junior HighMary Ann Jackman
NortheastMasconometMasconomet Regional Middle SchoolDavid Troughton

Funding: Up to $67,000 is available through Federal Title I School Improvement funds for this grant program. Individual awards will depend on the number of partners and the size of the school communities involved. Typical awards are expected to range from $7,500 to $15,000, but may be lower or higher.

Fund Use: Fund use must be consistent with the priorities described above and requirements associated with Title I funding.

All expenditures will be closely reviewed as they relate to the priorities of this grant opportunity.

Funds may not be used to provide refreshments.

Project Duration: Upon Award - 8/31/17
Program Unit: Regional System of Support
Contacts: Abigail T. Slayton at
Phone Number: (781) 338-3517
Date Due: Monday, December 12, 2016

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.
Required Forms:
Download Excel Document
Workbook — Standard Contract and Budget Forms
Download Word Document
Part III — Required Program Information form or a narrative description that addresses all 8 questions on that form and described in the submission instructions below.
Submission Instructions: By 5 p.m. on Monday, December 12, 2016, interested schools on the eligibility list and interested Collaborative partners should submit proposals (one per partnership - minimum of one eligible school, one Level 3, 4, or 5 school and optionally one Collaborative) - of no more than three pages to describe the following:

  1. Which specific Turnaround Practice(s) is/are most attributable to their success, and why
  2. Which practices they would highlight to disseminate what has made them successful
  3. A specific plan for disseminating those practices
  4. A timeframe for dissemination
  5. All partnering schools
  6. Cooperation planned with DSAC, ODST Liaison, and/or Educational Collaborative
  7. Details related to proposed use of the funding and full budget pages
  8. Commitment to providing a final report to the Department on the perceived benefits and challenges of the program as well as models and materials developed that could be disseminated more widely
The Part III Required Information Narrative Form provides a useful framework for addressing these topics. The length of response to each item will necessarily vary.

All forms in the budget workbook must be completed. The budget workbook cover sheet requires a signature from the Superintendent or designee in the lead district (i.e., the Title I Commendation/Blue Ribbon School or the Collaborative that agrees to be in charge of the funding/budget).

All submissions must be emailed electronically in the format in which they were received from the Department. Scan the signed cover page, and email it along with the other documents to: Abigail T. Slayton at and

Last Updated: November 14, 2016
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