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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2018

High-Quality Instruction - Summer Planning Grants
Fund Code: 144/145/141

Purpose: The purpose of this competitive grant program is to provide districts with funding to support teachers to deepen their understanding and implementation of high-quality instructional materials, methodologies and programs to support the revised 2017 English Language Arts-Literacy, 2017 Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks, and the 2016 Science and Technology/Engineering standards. Grant applications may take four paths:

Path 1. Planning for high-quality instructional materials
Path 2. Implementing high-quality instructional materials
Path 3. Piloting high-quality middle school STE instructional materials
Path 4. High-quality instruction through service-learning

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (Department's) academic vision is for every student in Massachusetts to have access to a safe and supportive school environment that cultivates their academic curiosity and confidence. Instruction is most powerful when educators have access to high quality instructional materials and professional learning that promotes inclusive practice accessible to all students, including English learners and students with disabilities, and also supports authentic, engaging, and integrated student learning experiences.

Massachusetts districts are seeking to ensure that their curricular materials are aligned to our challenging state standards, and with good reason. Recent research has found that, in some cases, the adoption of high-quality instructional materials produced a larger effect on student learning than the effect of having an experienced teacher versus a novice teacher.1 This grant supports districts that are at varying stages in the process of adopting high-quality instructional materials. For the context of this grant, high-quality instructional materials are defined as those that have been verified as aligned to rigorous college- and career-ready standards by a neutral third-party evaluator - for example, EdReports.org and Best Evidence Encyclopedia. For instructional materials where no such third-party evaluation exists, districts will be required to provide their criteria for determining that instructional materials are high-quality.

Key definitions:
  • High-quality means exhibiting a coherent sequence of target skills and understandings, evidence of impact if available, and other characteristics such as inclusive design. Some factors in quality are non-negotiable, while others vary by context: for example, an otherwise excellent online textbook may not be a high-quality choice for a rural district with limited Internet access.
  • Standards-aligned refers to the content and cognitive demand of the learning standards in the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks at the appropriate grade level (and therefore also relates to coherence within and across grades). Every public elementary and secondary school in the state must ensure that every student has access to standards-aligned curriculum.
Priorities: Competitive grant awards will provide support to districts for expenses for teachers to participate in and lead professional learning that supports planning for and implementation of high-quality instructional materials and programs that support improved student outcomes.

Core priorities of the grant include: support for teacher-led professional learning around the selection and use of high-quality instructional materials; support for teacher-led professional learning around high-quality service-learning, integrating high-quality instructional materials; and improved student outcomes, especially for students who have been historically underserved.

Districts may apply for up to four paths for their application, depending on readiness:

Path 1. Adopting high-quality instructional materials
Districts that have not yet adopted high-quality instructional materials, as defined above, may apply for seed funding to establish Curriculum Councils to guide instructional materials decision making. Funding will be provided for district Curriculum Councils to be established over the summer of 2018. These councils must have representation from a wide range of stakeholders within the district, including general education, special education, and ESL teachers as well as building- and district-level administrators. Successful applications will describe a summer strategy for establishing councils and provide a sustainability strategy that describes how the district will support the continued work of these Curriculum Councils. Proposals that re-purpose existing councils will be considered, but the need for grant funding must be clearly articulated.

Intended outcome: district(s) will adopt high-quality instructional materials for use in one or more subjects/grade spans by June 30, 2019.

Path 2. Implementing high-quality instructional materials
Districts applying for funding following Path 2 will have already committed to the adoption of high-quality instructional materials. Applicants should propose a model of collaborative, inquiry-driven, teacher-led professional learning about those materials. For the context of this grant, high-quality instructional materials should be those that have been verified as aligned to rigorous college- and career-ready standards by a neutral third-party evaluator. For example, EdReports.org provides such a review for Math and ELA/literacy materials. STE materials may be verified by a range of independent evaluators or a detailed crosswalk/description of the alignment of the curriculum to the STE Framework (including content and practices). Successful applications will provide convincing rationale for why instructional materials to be studied are considered to be high-quality.

Intended outcome: teachers in one or more subject areas/grade spans participate in content specific professional development on the use of high-quality instructional materials by August 30, 2018.

Path 3. Piloting high-quality middle school STE instructional materials
Districts that are interested in participating in a middle school science curriculum pilot for high-quality, standards-aligned open-source instructional materials should apply for Path 3. The Department is participating in a project to develop such materials and participating districts would play a role in evaluating their effectiveness and quality. Applicants should plan for approximately 6-8 participating teachers; smaller districts may think about partnering across teacher categories or including teachers from neighboring districts. Please see the attachment in the Additional Information section below for more details about the requirements and available resources to support this path.

Intended outcome: pilot high-quality STE instructional materials in one or more subjects/grade spans during the 2018-2019 academic year.

Path 4. High-quality instruction through service-learning
Districts that are seeking to integrate high-quality instructional materials into an evidence-based model for service-learning should apply for Path 4. Grant recipients will receive funding to convene district teams to plan and implement service-learning integrated with existing high-quality instructional materials and/or curricula. NOTE: Path 4 grant recipients will be expected to send teams to a Department-sponsored service-learning workshop in June. Please see the attachment in the Additional Information section below for more details about the requirements and available resources to support this path.

Intended outcome: pilot one or more service-learning units with students that integrates high-quality instructional materials.

Eligibility: All Massachusetts Local Education Agencies (districts) are eligible to apply for this grant. Districts may apply for up to four (4) paths; applicants must complete one application for each path they select.

Districts will be given competitive priority in scoring for each of the following eligibilities:
  1. Level 3 and 4 districts
  2. Path 3 applicants who demonstrate the need to replace existing middle school instructional materials
  3. Path 4 applicants with the greatest need, based on the number or percentage of children counted for purposes of Title I, Part A allocations
In addition, for Path 4, the Department will make awards in a manner that accounts for geographic diversity among recipients representing rural, suburban, and urban areas.

Funding Type: Fund Code 141: Federal CFDA 84.424
Fund Code 144: Federal CFDA 84.367
Fund Code 145: Federal CFDA 84.366

Funding: Approximately $300,000 is available through Federal Title IIA, IIB, and IVA grants and will be distributed based on the number of quality proposals submitted and approved.

Path 1: The Department anticipates making individual awards of between $5,000-$10,000 for Path 1 applications, contingent on available funds.
Path 2: The Department anticipates making individual awards of between $10,000-$20,000 for Path 2 applications, contingent on available funds.
Path 3: The Department anticipates making at least four (4) individual awards of approximately $10,000 for Path 3 applications, contingent on available funds.
Path 4: The Department anticipates making individual awards of between $10,000-$20,000 for Path 4 applications, contingent on available funds.

Due to federal spending requirements, Path 1, Path 2, and Path 3 grant funds may only be used to support activities through August 31, 2018. Path 4 grants must be used to support activities spanning a minimum 12 months.

Funding is contingent upon availability. All dollar amounts listed are estimated/approximate and are subject to change. If more funding is to become available it will be distributed under the same guideline as listed in the initial RFP document.

Fund Use: Fund use must be consistent with the priorities described above and the requirements associated with Massachusetts DESE's Strategic Plan Download PDF Document. The focus of this grant is on strengthening standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessment; promoting educator development; and supporting social-emotional learning, health, and safety.

Path 1 and Path 2 (Fund Code 144)
  • 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.
Path 3 (Fund Code 145)
  • No greater than 5% of funds may be dedicated toward administrative costs associated with the grant; and
  • 50% of funds must go toward teacher stipends
  • 45% of funds must go towards materials (see additional detail document below)
Path 4 (Fund Code 141)
  • No greater than 2% of funds may be dedicated toward administrative costs associated with the grant;
  • No greater than 10% of funds may be dedicated toward materials and supplies; and
  • Most funds should be used to support teacher stipends and/or other costs related to professional development and service-learning unit development, including stipends and travel for team members to attend the required 2-day service-learning professional development.
Portions of this grant are funded using unclaimed or returned funds from federal Title IIA, IIB, and IVA grants. If successful applicants fail to fully spend these funds, they must be returned to the U.S Department of Education. To ensure that the district will fully expend these funds, applicants will be asked to list the names and contact information for two additional district administrators who will share responsibility for completion of the grant.

In addition, there will be a mid-grant conference call held at 10:00 AM on July 18, 2018 to discuss the status of grant-funded programs. All awardees will be required to participate.

Project Duration: Path 1, Path 2, and Path 3: Upon Approval - 8/31/2018
Path 4: Upon Approval - 6/30/2018*

*The period of availability for this grant award will be extended beyond Year 1. The extended period is 7/1/2018 - 8/31/2019.

Program Unit: Center for Instructional Support
Contact: Matt Holloway
Phone Number: (781) 338-6622
Date Due: Friday, March 2, 2018
Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.
Applicants may submit proposals before the grant deadline. Because this is a competitive grant, late proposals will not be considered.

Required Forms:
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

Additional Information: Application Conference Call: The Department will hold an application conference call at 10:00 AM on February 21, 2018 to answer questions from prospective grant applicants. For call-in information, register by February 19, 2018.

Reporting and Required Conference Call:

Each Path 1, Path 2, and Path 3 grant recipient must complete a brief Grant Final (End-of-Year) Report to be submitted no later than Friday, September 28, 2018.

Each Path 4 grant recipient must complete a brief Grant Final (End-of-Year) Report to be submitted no later than Friday, July 26, 2019.

There will be a mid-grant conference call held at 10:00 AM on July 18, 2018 to discuss the status of grant-funded programs. All awardees will be required to participate.

Path 3 Additional Details and Requirements Download Word Document (Piloting high-quality STE instructional materials)

Path 4 Additional Details and Requirements Download Word Document (High-quality instruction through service-learning)

Submission Instructions: Completed grant proposals may be emailed to mholloway@doe.mass.edu by March 2, 2018.

Complete submissions must include all required forms:
  1. Part I - General - Program Unit Signature Page - (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)
    • Indicate the amount requested on the line of the chosen Path, leave other lines blank.
    • Submit as a PDF with the original signature of the Superintendent.
  2. Part II - Budget Detail Pages (Include both pages.)
  3. Part III - Required Program Information
Awarded Recipients: Upon award, recipients will be required to enter submission Parts I, II, and III in EdGrants. Once selected, recipients will be contacted with further instructions on the process.

 

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Last Updated: January 24, 2018
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