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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2019: Early Childhood Special Education Discretionary Federal Program Improvement Grant

Fund Code: 298


The purpose of this federal US Department of Education discretionary grant program is to support preschool activities for eligible children, ages 3-5 with disabilities.

This grant is intended to further early childhood special education (ECSE) practices in select districts that align with priorities identified by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).


The priorities of this grant align with the following DESE goals:

  • Strengthening curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  • Improving educator effectiveness
  • Using data and technology to support student performance

The following priority areas, aligned with the above referenced goals and the Massachusetts' special education State Systematic Improvement Plan (SSIP), have been identified by DESE as integral to school districts' efforts to build systems that strengthen and improve ECSE practices and outcomes. Massachusetts has selected to implement the Preschool Positive Behavior Support through the Pyramid Model Strategies (PBS/Pyramid) as an evidence based practice to reach its SSIP goals and to support preschool children with disabilities.

All activities must focus on at least one of the below priority areas.

  1. Instruction to increase children's educational outcomes, specifically the exploration and implementation of: Early Childhood PBS and the Pyramid model and the integration of early literacy and PBS. Activities will be designed to increase children's educational outcomes by making improvements to educator effectiveness through the following areas:
    1. Social/Emotional Skills and Social Relationships
    2. Acquiring and Using Knowledge and Skills
    3. Taking Appropriate Action to Meet Needs
    4. Professional development in and implementation of programs, policies and systems to increase equity and access to early childhood special education services
    5. Preschool Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS) (using the Pyramid Model strategies)
    6. Coordinated early literacy initiatives
    7. The integration of technology to support data collection and analysis, and progress monitoring to support instruction
    8. Professional development in nonverbal communication, assistive technology, the impact of economic disadvantage, and inclusive practices

  2. Systems to engage effectively with families, including but not limited to Positive Solutions for Families. Activities related to engaging effectively with families could include:
    1. The development of materials for parents, including handbooks and make-and-take activities
    2. Activities and programs to increase family engagement among families from diverse backgrounds
    3. Workshops and trainings for parents and educators to develop and strengthen school-family partnerships
    4. Opportunities for trainings on evidence based strategies to develop cultural competence and community inclusion
    5. Parent to Parent support groups
    6. Connections with outside programs/agencies providing support to families (e.g.., Federation for Children with Special Needs; Preschool PBS through Pyramid Strategies - Positive Solutions Model; Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC); Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grantees)


The cohort of SSIP districts and approved special education schools will be eligible to apply for these program improvement funds.

Grant proposals must articulate how proposed activities contribute to systemic improvement in the identified priority area. Proposals should focus on early childhood special education program improvement and the sustainability of best practices and not on supporting individualized instruction or programming for specific children.

Funding Type:

Federal US Department of Education CFDA: 84.173

Download Excel Document
FY19 Fund Code 298 District Funding List

Fund Code 298 is a discretionary grant program, made available from federal IDEA-Part B, Section 619 funds, for Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) in public and approved special education preschools who serve children aged 3-5 with disabilities and are participating in the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP), subject to the availability of discretionary funds. In order to support implementation fidelity of Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) and Positive Solutions for Families, the cohort of SSIP districts and approved special education schools will be eligible to apply for program improvement funds.

A total of $189,000 is available, subject to federal appropriation. Grant amounts will be $7,000 per SSIP district/approved special education school.

Fund Use:

Grant funds are to be used to support districts' provision of a free and appropriate public education for preschool aged children that includes special education and related services designed to meet their individual needs, that is provided in natural/least restrictive environments, and is related to the implementation of Early Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) and the Pyramid Model. These programs can include, but are not limited to, collaborating with community partners and support programs (e.g., Federation for Children with Special Needs, Pyramid Model Consortium, Pyramid Learning Communities, Massachusetts Early Childhood Leadership Institute, Building Inclusive Communities in Preschool, etc.).

The following are allowable costs:

  • stipends
  • MTRS/fringe (related to stipends only)
  • tuition costs for college/university courses
  • conference registration costs
  • supplies, materials, and books specifically for program improvement for children with IEPs, aged 3-5
  • printing and reproduction of training materials
  • consultant fees (e.g., professional development and program evaluation)
  • substitutes
  • travel for professional development activities
  • computer hardware or software, including site licenses

The following are not allowable costs:

  • food and refreshments
  • indirect costs
  • staff salaries
  • advertising
  • maintenance/repairs

Project Duration:

Upon approval – 8/31/2019

Program Unit:

Special Education Planning and Policy Office


Bob Hanafin

Phone Number:

(781) 338-3364

Date Due:

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Required Forms:
Download Word Document
Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page — (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)

Grant proposals must include a written memo uploaded to EdGrants to articulate how proposed activities contribute to systemic improvement in the identified priority area(s). Proposals should focus on ECSE program improvement and the sustainability of research-based or evidence-based practices and not on supporting individualized instruction or programming for specific children.

Additional Information:

Instructions for Completing an Application Submission in EdGrants

Applications can legally claim expenses to the grant only as of the DESE approved start date.


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 298 [Applicant # District 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 an original signature of the Superintendent/Executive Director and Required Program Information.

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 the 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.


Amendments are to be submitted through EdGrants. Refer to EdGrants Front Office User Guide: Application Submission Download Word Document.

If you have specific questions, please contact Bob Hanafin at or 781-338-3364.

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.