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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2019: Support to Schools and Districts in the Strategic Transformation Region

Fund Codes: 220/323


The purpose of this non-competitive grant program is to fund specific initiatives with evidence-based strategies to turnaround the state's lowest performing schools and districts and increase their capacity to sustain a continuous cycle of improvement.

This grant supports Massachusetts' goals for increasing student achievement by expanding school districts' capacity to support and educate students with the greatest needs. The goal of Massachusetts' public K-12 education system is to prepare all students for success after high school. Our five core strategies to accelerate the pace of school improvement are:

  1. Strengthening standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessment

  2. Promoting educator development

  3. Supporting social-emotional learning, health, and safety

  4. Turning around the state's lowest performing districts and schools

  5. Enhancing resource allocation and data use

These grant funds will contribute to that goal by supporting DESE's Core Strategy #4:

Massachusetts will turn around the lowest performing schools and districts by supporting schools in their implementation of improvement strategies with a variety of proven and context-specific interventions.


Priority will be given to chronically underperforming schools and districts and other schools within the Strategic Transformation Region that have been identified under the state's District and School Accountability System.

Additionally, this grant supports Massachusetts' priority focus areas under its plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):

  • Early grades literacy

  • Middle grades math

  • High-quality college and career pathways for high school students

  • Supporting historically disadvantaged students


This grant is available to specific schools and districts that have been identified under the state's District and School Accountability System. The Department will list on this grant posting, on a rolling basis, any additional schools and/or districts and their designated grant allocations and application due dates as they are determined and as new needs emerge and funds become available.

The grant amount for each currently eligible recipient is listed below. Some districts are eligible for funds under more than one fund code. (See Workbook for details).

Boston for Dever School$400,000
New Bedford for Parker School$47,524
Springfield for SEZP$585,000

Funding Type:

Fund Code 323: Federal Title I Section 1003 School Improvement Reservation funds (CFDA 84.010)

Fund Code 220: State Targeted Assistance


Funding for the grant will come from federal and/or state funds as described above. The total allocation per grant will be determined by financial needs articulated by: eligible schools/districts in meetings and other communication with the Department, spending plans drawn up by the Department projecting financial needs of known chronically underperforming schools and districts and other identified schools within the Strategic Transformation Region, and input from the Commissioner, the State Board of Education, and other Department staff in the Center for District Support.

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 guidelines as listed in the initial RFP document.

Funding will only be approved after programmatic and budgetary reviews by Department staff as noted above and upon review by the Office of the Governor.

Fund Use:

Fund use must be consistent with applicable state and/or federal requirements. Districts are allowed to budget funds at both the district level and school level.

Federal funding used for such grants will conform to Title I Section 1003 School Improvement State Reservation requirements and/or to State Targeted Assistance funding requirements.

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

Project Duration:

Fund Code 220 (State) Upon Approval – 6/30/19

Fund Code 323 (Federal) Upon Approval – 8/31/19

Program Unit:

Office of Strategic Transformation, Statewide System of Support, Center for District Support


Office of Regional Support Program Specialist
Abigail T. Slayton

Phone Number:

(781) 338-3517

Date Due:

Friday, October 12, 2018

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.

Required Forms:
Download Excel Document
FY2019 Workbook
Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page — (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)
Part II — Required Program Information: Indicate the amount of funding under this grant attributable to Title I eligible schools
Part III — Required Program Information: Describe how the grant funds will be used

Additional Information:

ESSA encourages, and in select cases requires, states and districts to implement "evidence-based" practices, activities, strategies and interventions with demonstrated evidence of effectiveness. Evidence-based practices refer to interventions for which there is evidence of significant positive impact that can be found in published research papers, literature reviews, or ESE research briefs. Alternately, evidence-based practices can be those local practices that a district or state has previously instituted, measured, and found to be effective. Please visit the How Do We Know initiative for more information on evidence-based practices. Additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Education regarding evidence can be found at Non-Regulatory Guidance: Using Evidence to Strengthen Education Investments. More information can be found on DESE's How Do We Know Initiative and ESSA Evidence Quick Reference Guide Download Word Document.

These grants must demonstrate connections to the Massachusetts District Standards and Indicators Download PDF Document as well as the Massachusetts research-based Turnaround Practices Download PDF Document. When describing connections to the standards and indicators, the applicant may want to refer to the Massachusetts Tiered System of Support (MTSS), the Massachusetts Family, School, and Community Partnership Fundamentals, the Massachusetts Standards for Professional Development, and/or the Behavioral Health and Public Schools Framework.

Since these initiatives support the school's or district's existing turnaround process, the school/district is not asked to set additional outcome measures for this work. The district's measures under the state's accountability and assistance system and Measurable Annual Goals (MAGS), if applicable, will serve as outcome measures for these initiatives as well.

Applicants may only legally claim expenses to the grant starting from the date of final ESE approval. The start date for the grant is the date on which the district submits substantially approvable budget and information for the grant.


To support effective planning and the strategic use of grant funds, DESE requires that eligible schools and districts explain how the strategic initiatives funded through this grant program connect to the implementation of the district and/or school's turnaround plan. Schools and districts are encouraged to explain how proposed strategic initiatives connect to indicators for one or more of the state's district standards and to the 2016 Massachusetts Turnaround Practices Download PDF Document.

Applying schools/districts must identify the grant program goals and initiatives, and describe how they will monitor progress towards such goals, including identifying and describing early evidence of change, intermediate implementation benchmarks, and long-term evidence of success, which they will use to assess progress for each initiative and for the overall program goals. These funds should be aligned with other district funds focused on school turnaround efforts.

Complete the Application Submission through EdGrants by the dates listed in the Due Date section above. The start date of the grant cannot be before the application is submitted in EdGrants.

Submit all required grant materials through EdGrants

In EdGrants, districts are required to create and name the project. Please use the following naming convention for your "Applicant Project Name" in EdGrants:

FY19 220, 323 Office of Strategic Transformation (Applicant Name)

All items listed under the required forms section of this RFP should be uploaded / attached in the Attachments List formlet of the Application Submission in EdGrants. This includes a signed / scanned PDF of Part I / Coversheet with Superintendent's signature as well as the applicable Workbook(s) and the pre-approved narrative and budget. The final budget the applicant is requesting will be entered directly into EdGrants as part of the application submission process.

For Guidance Documents regarding EdGrants, visit EdGrants: User Guides and Information.

Please note: It is up to the district to determine who they want to add as EdGrants Front Office users in order to submit grant application as well as payment request information. Please review the EdGrants: User Security Controls to make informed decisions regarding assigning your district level users.

Contact Us

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

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


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.