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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2018

Early Grades Literacy Program
Fund Code: 734

Purpose: The purpose of the competitive state-funded Early Grades Literacy grant program is to support alignment of curriculum, instruction, assessment, professional development, and literacy planning with the March 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy Download PDF Document.

This grant program supports selected schools with funding for a team of teachers and at least one administrator to participate in a year-long professional learning series that supports the implementation of the 2017 Curriculum Frameworks through: ongoing professional development to increase the capacity of school-based teams to cultivate high-quality literacy skill within and across curricular domains with the statewide goal of improving student performance in literacy in kindergarten through grade 3. Applicants should be deliberate and intentional in the use of grant funds to support these standards and priorities. Grant applications will be reviewed in part on the basis of how likely the respondent's implementation plans are to result in improvements in these areas.

Priorities: The priority of this grant program is to support early literacy educators in participating schools to:
  • Understand the changes in the Pre-K through grade 3 standards (spring 2017) and how the standards for the grades they teach are part of a vertical learning progression;
  • Integrate the standards in unit and lesson design both (1) across the reading, writing, speaking & listening and language strands and (2) more broadly across content areas (e.g., mathematics, science, social studies); and
  • Engage early grade students with authentic, developmentally appropriate tasks that (1) reflect intentional integration of the standards, (2) provide students with opportunities to read, write, talk, and think about what they are learning, and (3) help teachers assess whether students are meeting the expectations of the standards.
Providing high quality, integrated, standards-aligned instruction within the ELA/literacy standards and across content areas will enhance the overall literacy development for students in kindergarten through grade 3.

Eligibility: This grant program is designed for school teams. Districts interested in more than one school participating will submit a single grant application that includes a separate narrative for each school (see Part III- Required Program Information).

The grant involves two levels of participation (see Fund Use below). Eligibility requirements differ by participation level.

Schools applying to be part of Group1 must:
  • Identify a team consisting of one teacher from each of the target grade levels (K-3 or K-2 dependent on school makeup) and one school based leader responsible for early literacy instruction (an administrator or teacher-leader) that will participate in all grant activities;
  • Commit to ensuring that all team members participate in all grant meetings: three (3) statewide literacy institutes, three (3) full day regional meetings, and three (3) afterschool regional meetings; and
  • Commit to supporting the implementation of lessons designed by the school team as required by the grant.
Schools applying to be part of Group 2 must meet all requirements specified for Group 1 and:
  • Commit to administering a screener1 in the months of October, January, and April in at least the classrooms of the educators that comprise the school team.
  • Commit to participating in three meetings facilitated by a data specialist (provided by ESE) to analyze the data from the screener.
  • Commit to establishing, if not currently established, a vertical professional learning community comprised of at least the members of the school team that will meet with an early literacy consultant (preapproved by ESE) at the school between statewide and regional meetings.
  • Commit to participating in at least one cross-site school visit with a Group 2 participating school.
Competitive priority for both groups will be given to schools designated Level 3, 4 and 5 in SY 16-17.

Funding Type: State

Funding: A total of approximately $1,000,000, subject to funding, is projected to be available and will be distributed based on the number of quality proposals submitted and approved.

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: Application for this grant is available through two levels of participation.
  1. Activities and assistance for Group 1 includes participation in: three (3) statewide literacy institutes, three (3) full day follow up regional meetings and three (3) afterschool regional meetings.
  2. Schools interested in a higher level of support can apply for participation in Group 2 which includes the activities and assistance provided in Group 1 and on-site school-based support of an early literacy consultant who will facilitate a vertical school-based professional learning community (PLC) throughout the year. Additionally Group 2 schools will implement a screener three times per year and be provided with data analysis support from a data specialist (provided by the ESE) following each administration.
See the attached program description for more information about the program activities for Groups 1 and 2.

Fund use must be consistent with the priorities described above and requirements associated with the funding source. Funds may be used for the following:

Group 1 Participation:
  • Stipends amounting to $1,000 for each designated educator for participation in professional development beyond contractual hours and associated travel costs of;
  • Reimbursement for substitutes amounting up to $100/day per classroom teacher requiring coverage for participation in statewide literacy institutes and full day regional meetings.
Group 2 Participation:
  • Stipends amounting to $2,000 for each designated educator for participation in professional development beyond contractual hours and associated travel costs of;
  • Reimbursement for substitutes amounting up to $100/day for coverage of teachers participating in statewide literacy institutes and regional meetings.
  • $5,000 per school-based team to purchase professional and student learning materials related to grant activities;
  • The purchase of a screener for school administration of the screener three times/year (schools with approved screeners already in place will be reimbursed up to $1,000); and
  • Reimbursement for 400 hours of support from an early literacy consultant at $75/hour.
Project Duration: Upon approval through 6/30/2018
Program Unit: Center for Instructional Support
Contacts: Lauren McBride
Phone Number: (781) 338-6242 (office)
(781) 605-4957 (cell)
Date Due: Letter of Intent to apply for the Early Grades Literacy Grant funding: 734. All districts intending to apply to participate in this grant opportunity should submit a Letter of Intent indicating which schools will be applying for funds by 5:00 p.m. Friday, August 4, 2017.

Districts planning to apply for funds must indicate their intent in a letter, which may be submitted via email, to instructionalsupport@doe.mass.edu. Your letter should indicate:
  • The names and accountability levels of each school in the district that will be applying for the grant and the group preferred, 1 or 2 as described above.
  • The screening instruments currently in use in the identified schools for grades K-3, if any.
  • The name, role and contact information for your district's point of contact leading this grant work.
This letter does not need to include any dollar amounts; it is an indication of the school's intent to apply for funds.

Complete proposals are due by Friday, September 1, 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.

Required Forms: Districts applying for funding must submit a grant application that includes all of the following 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 workbook (include both pages.)
Download Word Document
Part III - Required Program Information - Grant Narrative Form
Download Word Document
Part IV - Assurance from Participating School(s)
Download Word Document
Part V - District Assurance

Submission Instructions:
  1. Email the Budget Detail Pages workbook, required program information, and related documents through the Security Portal to instructionalsupport@doe.mass.edu.

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

Mail to:

Lauren McBride
Center for Instructional Support
MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906

All documents submitted electronically must be web accessible. For more information, visit: Preparing an MS OFFICE document for the Web.

Awarded Recipients: Upon award, recipients will be required to enter the approved budget and Part I in EdGrants. Once selected, recipients will be contacted with further instructions on the process.

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Last Updated: July 21, 2017
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