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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2019: Bilingual Education Grant Program - All levels

Fund Code: 187


Bilingual education programs are programs that involve teaching academic content in two languages, English and another language. Program types determine the varying amounts of each language used in instruction. Bilingual education programs include dual language education or two-way immersion and transitional bilingual education programs, as defined in M.G.L. c. 71A, ยง 2, and any other bilingual program types that may be approved by the Department (603 CMR 7.02). The Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK) Act creates a new opportunity for districts to consider the programmatic needs of English Learners (ELs). Under the LOOK Act, districts interested in opening new bilingual education programs may submit proposals to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for review (603 CMR 14.04(4)).

Districts may consider the following bilingual education programs, as described in the LOOK Act:
  • "Dual language education" or "2-way immersion" programs are designed to promote bilingualism and biliteracy, cross-cultural competency and high levels of academic achievement for both native English speakers and English learners from a single language background; provided, however, that students shall develop and maintain their first language while adding a second language and shall receive the same core curriculum as all students in the state; provided further, that the instruction for such students shall be provided in 2 languages throughout the program; and provided further, that "2-way immersion" programs may begin in the early grades, including pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, and may continue through the secondary level.
  • "Transitional bilingual education" programs are designed to allow English learners to achieve long-term academic success through English-medium instruction in general education classrooms; provided, however, that the native language of the English learner is used to support the student's development of English and content learning and is then gradually phased out of instruction as a student's English proficiency increases; and provided further, that "transitional bilingual education" may be initiated at any level, including middle and high school, but shall not be intended as a method of instruction for a student's entire academic career.
  • Other research-based bilingual education programs that include subject matter content and an English language acquisition component.

Programs must be based on best practices in the field and the linguistic and educational needs and the demographic characteristics of English learners in the school district. Furthermore, a school district may join with other school districts to provide an English learner program.

Despite the continued growth in the state's EL population, and ample evidence of the effectiveness of bilingual education programs for both ELs and native English speaker ( Howard, Sugarman, & Christian, 2003; Lindhom-Leary, 2001; Steele, et al., 2017; Thomas & Collier, 2012), less than 3% of ELs in Massachusetts are educated in bilingual education programs.

One key reason for the small number of programs is the very small number of educator preparation programs in the state and therefore a lack of qualified bilingual teachers with experience and preparation.

The intended outcomes of this competitive grant program are as follows:
  1. Develop a proposal for a new alternative program and successfully complete DESE's review process;
  2. Create (and cultivate) a variety of approaches to train, recruit and retain bilingual education program educators; and
  3. Implement culturally responsive teaching practices that promote equity and social justice;

Grant applicants may seek support in achieving grant outcomes from the League of Innovative Schools (LIS) Download Word Document. The LIS is a free networking and professional development opportunity for Massachusetts high schools focused on creating more personalized, equitable, and student-centered learning environments for all students, including ELs.

Priority will be given to:
  • Proposals from districts with a minimum of 1,500 students identified as ELs and an Institution of Higher Education (IHE) that describe how the district will engage in ongoing collaboration to meet program outcomes.
  • Proposals from consortia, including at least one district with a minimum of 1,500 ELs, a second district with a minimum of 400 ELs, and an Institution of Higher Education (IHE), that describe how the consortia will engage in ongoing collaboration to meet program outcomes.
  • Proposals that include letters of commitment from community partners to collaborate on program development and implementation.
  • Applicants that submit a comprehensive plan for the training, recruitment, and retention of their bilingual education educators through coursework or relevant professional development;
  • Applicants that submit a plan that addresses the targeted services proposed for specific EL populations (e.g., newcomers)
  • Applicants that describe a proposed bilingual education program likely to pass DESE's review process.
  • Applicants that propose bilingual education programs that demonstrate equitable access to high quality instruction for ELs.
  • Proposals that include plans that engage parents and families and the community in the design and implementation of a bilingual education program.


This competitive grant program is open only to districts with more than 1500 students identified as ELs as of the October 2018 Student Information Management System (SIMS) collection or consortia of districts as described above.

Funding Type:



Approximately $600,000 is available. Up to four grant recipients will be awarded; No grant recipient will receive more than $300,000.

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 ESE's Strategic Plan Download PDF Document. The focus of this grant is to support the implementation of new bilingual education programs for English learners in the Commonwealth.

Project Duration:

Upon approval – June 30, 2019

Program Unit:

Center for Instructional Support

Zhaneta Liti
Phone Number:

(781) 338-3572

Date Due:

Submit grant proposal by December 4, 2018 (complete the plan to get reviewed by the department by November 15, 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. Because this is a competitive grant, late proposals will not be considered.

Required Forms:
Download Word Document
Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page —Submit as a PDF with the original signature of the Superintendent.
Download Excel Document
Part II — Budget Detail Pages (Include both pages.)
Download Word Document
Part III — Required Program Information
Download Word Document
Part IV — District Assurance

  • Complete the plan to get reviewed by the department by November 15, 2019 and email it to Zhaneta Liti.
  • Each grant recipient must complete a grant report at the end and explain how they met the intended outcome goals. Be as specific and concrete as possible. This report to be submitted no later than November 15, 2019.

Additional Information:
Supporting Files posted with this grant:
Download Word Document
Preliminary ELE Program Proposal
Download Word Document
New English Learner Education (ELE) Program Complete Proposal

Download Word Document
Scoring Rubric


Email complete submissions to

Complete submissions must include all required forms:
  • FY19 Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page —Submit as a PDF with the original signature of the Superintendent.
  • FY19 Part II — Budget Detail Pages (Include both pages.)
  • Part III — Required Program Information
  • Part IV — District Assurance

Awarded Recipients:

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

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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