Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2019: High-Quality Instruction — Summer Planning Grants

Fund Codes: 144/218

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 (STE) standards. Grant applications may take three 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 (OpenSciEd)

Background: 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 (STE) standards. Grant applications may take three 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 (OpenSciEd)

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: Path 1. Adopting high-quality instructional materials
Priority will be given to districts that have not yet adopted high-quality instructional materials, as defined above, for Mathematics, ELA/literacy, or Science, Technology/Engineering.

Description: Funding will be provided for districts to establish Curriculum Councils over the spring/summer of 2019. 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 spring/summer strategy for establishing councils and provide a sustainability strategy that describes how the district will support the continued work of these Curriculum Councils, see below for detailed outcomes. 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). Proposals that repurpose existing councils will be considered, but the need for grant funding must be clearly articulated.

Intended outcomes:
  • Formation of Curriculum Council to guide instructional materials decision making process
  • Detailed plan for instructional materials decision making process including:
    • Timeline with key benchmarks
    • Communication plan
    • Piloting process including staff feedback surveys
  • Preliminary plan for teacher/staff professional development to prepare for implementation of adopted program
  • Adopt high-quality instructional materials for use in one or more subjects/grade spans by June 30, 2020.

Supportive resources:

Path 2. Implementing high-quality instructional materials
Priority will be given to districts that have already committed to the adoption/implementation of high-quality instructional materials, as defined above, for Mathematics, ELA/literacy, or Science, Technology/Engineering. Districts that completed Path 1 of the FY18 High Quality Instruction-Summer Planning Grants are eligible to apply for Path 2 to continue their implementation process.

Description: Funding will be provided to districts to hold professional development over the spring/summer of 2019. The professional development will support effective implementation of the adopted high-quality instructional materials already in use and will address key instructional shifts associated with the 2016 STE and 2017 Mathematics and ELA/Literacy Frameworks.

The professional development must be teacher-led and include a collaborative, inquiry-driven, professional learning process specific to the adopted high-quality instructional materials. This professional development must prepare teachers to use the instructional materials to address key instructional shifts associated with the 2016 STE and 2017 Mathematics and ELA/Literacy Frameworks. See Supportive Resources below for more information about the key instructional shifts.

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 the instructional materials to be studied are considered to be high-quality and how the professional development plan supports existing school/district Turnaround or School Improvement Plans.

Intended outcomes:
  • Teachers in one or more subject areas/grade spans participate in content specific professional development aligned to high-quality instructional materials.
  • Teachers report and demonstrate improved ability to implement instructional strategies to meet the key shifts associated with the 2016 STE and 2017 Mathematics and ELA/Literacy Frameworks.

Supportive resources:

Path 3. Piloting high-quality middle school STE instructional materials (OpenSciEd)
Priority will be given to districts who demonstrate the need to replace existing middle school instructional materials and are interested in participating in a middle school science curriculum pilot for high-quality, standards-aligned open-source instructional materials.

Description: The Department is participating in the OpenSciEd 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 2019-2020 academic year.

Priority for all Pathways
Districts containing schools in need of Focused/targeted or Broad/comprehensive support and Districts requiring Broad/comprehensive support will be given competitive priority in scoring. Accountability InformationAccountability Report

Eligibility:All Massachusetts Local Education Agencies (districts) are eligible to apply for this grant. Districts may apply for up to three (3) paths; applicants must complete one application for each path they select.
Funding Type:Fund Code 144: Federal CFDA 84.367
Fund Code 218: State
Funding: Approximately $160,000 is available through the Federal Title IIA grant and Targeted Assistance State funding 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 reflective of the size of the district student population;
  • districts with a student population under 10,000 students should anticipate receiving an award of between $5,000–$10,000 contingent on available funds,
  • districts with a student population over 10,000 students should anticipate receiving an award of between $10,000–$20,000 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.

Due to federal/state spending requirements, Path 1, Path 2, and Path 3 grant funds may only be used to support activities through August 31, 2019.

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; and promoting educator development.

Path 1 and Path 2
  • 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
  • Budget for a total grant award of $10,000;
    • No greater than $6,000 of funds may be dedicated to materials and supplies (see additional detail document below); and
    • No greater than $499 of funds may be dedicated to administrative costs; and
    • Up to 100% of funds may be dedicated to teacher stipends.

Portions of this grant are funded using unclaimed or returned funds from federal Title IIA 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 24, 2019 to discuss the status of grant-funded programs. All awardees will be required to participate.

Project Duration: Fund Code 144 (Federal) — Path 1, Path 2, and Path 3: Upon Approval – 8/31/2019

Fund Code 218 (State) — Path 1, Path 2, Path 3: Upon Approval – 6/30/2019*

*The state funded awardees (FC: 218) will have the option to extend their fund use into the summer months (FY2020 — July 1, 2019 – August 31, 2019). In order to take advantage of this extension, awardees will have to complete the Multi-Year form in EdGrants in May of 2019. More information regarding multi-year will be forthcoming.

Program Unit:Center for Instructional Support
Contact: Ian Stith
Phone Number:(413) 237-8537
Date Due:Friday, February 15th, 2019

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due. Applicants may submit proposals before the grant deadline. Late submissions will not be reviewed and cannot be considered by DESE due to this being a competitive grant.
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

Download Word Document
Part III — Required Program Information


Additional Information:
Download PDF Document
Grant Fund Code 144/218 Conference Call 1/22 presentation — Includes Questions and Answers

Application Conference Call: The Department will hold an application conference call at 10:00 AM on January 22nd, 2019 to answer questions from prospective grant applicants. For call-in information, register by January 21st, 2019.

Reporting and Required Conference Call:

Each Path 1, Path 2, and Path 3 grant recipient must complete two required points of contact with DESE:
  1. There will be a conference call held at 10:00 AM on July 24th, 2019 to discuss the status of grant-funded programs. All awardees will be required to participate.
  2. Complete a brief Grant Final (End-of-Year) Report to be submitted no later than Friday, September 27th, 2019.

Each Path 1 or 2 grant recipient must also complete one additional report
  1. Complete a brief survey of participating educators as evidence of completing pathway outcomes. (Surveys to be provided by DESE). Report to be submitted no later than Friday, December 20th, 2019.

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

Submission Instructions: Completed grant proposals may be emailed to istith@doe.mass.edu by 5:00 pm on February 15th, 2019.

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
  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.


1 Kane, T. J., et al. "Teaching higher: Educators' perspectives on Common Core implementation " Center for Education Policy Research. (2016).

 
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