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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2019: Early Grades Literacy Program: Creating Robust Language Rich Environments for all Students

Fund Code: 734


The purpose of the 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.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) administers an Early Grades Literacy grant (EGL) through a state-funded grant program with the goal of improving early literacy as articulated in the state's ESSA plan. There are three critical components to successful early grades literacy: curriculum (what you teach), instruction (how you teach), and assessment (how you measure what students know, what they need to know, and how to use assessment to inform instruction). In the, "Creating Robust Language Rich Environments for all Students" grant program, the Department is focusing on increasing student proficiency in reading, writing and effective communication in the early grades (PreK–3). Educators will deepen their understanding of how the language standards outlined in the English Language Arts/Literacy Framework provide access to content through expanded vocabulary and conceptual knowledge. The grant will focus on Knowledge of Language (Language standard L.3) and Vocabulary Acquisition and Use (standards L.4–L.6) and how educators can embed these standards into their instruction throughout the school day.

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.


The priority of this grant program is to support early literacy educators in participating schools to:

  • Understand the development and progression of language in young children (ages 4–9/grades PreK–3) and how the language standards in the 2017 ELA/Literacy Framework support and promote reading, writing, speaking and listening development;

  • Integrate the language standards into daily instruction both (1) across the reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language clusters within the ELA/literacy standards and (2) more broadly across content areas (e.g., mathematics, science, social studies);

  • Engage early grade students with authentic, grade level and developmentally appropriate* tasks that (1) reflect intentional integration of the language standards, (2) provide students with opportunities to read, write, talk, and think about what they are learning with peers and adults in the classroom, and (3) help teachers assess whether students are meeting the expectations of the ELA/Literacy standards.

Providing high quality, integrated, standards-aligned instruction within the ELA/literacy standards and across content areas will enhance overall literacy development for students in kindergarten through grade 3.


This grant program is designed for school teams (comprised of teachers and at least one administrator). 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 Group 1 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 decision making (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 virtual meetings;
  • Commit to supporting the implementation of standards-based tasks designed by the school team as required by the grant;
  • Facilitate the learning of students by acquiring and applying knowledge, skills, and abilities that address student needs and improvement goals of the district, school, and individual;
  • Commit to showcasing implementation of work at the school level.

Schools applying to be part of Group 2 must meet all requirements specified for Group 1, and:

  • 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 (provided by DESE) 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 with a school percentile designation of 10% or lower.

Funding Type:



A total of approximately $890,000 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 virtual 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. Early literacy consultants will provide a maximum of 200 hours of school-based support throughout the year.

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 a maximum of $1,000 for each designated educator for participation in professional development beyond contractual hours and associated travel costs of;
  • Reimbursement for substitutes amounting to a maximum of $100/day per classroom teacher requiring coverage for participation in statewide literacy institutes and regional meetings;
  • $1,000 per school-based team to purchase professional and student learning materials related to grant activities.

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 to $100/day for coverage of teachers participating in statewide literacy institutes and regional meetings.
  • $2,000 per school based team to purchase professional and student learning materials related to grant activities;
  • Reimbursement for 200 hours of direct school-based support from an early literacy consultant at $75/hour.

Project Duration:

Upon approval through 6/30/2019

Program Unit:

Center for Instructional Support


Katherine Tarca

Phone Number:


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 must complete a Letter of Intent indicating which schools will be applying for funds by 5:00 p.m. Thursday, August 16, 2018.

Complete proposals are due by August 31, 2018. 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. Final applications are due August 31, 2018.

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

  1. Email the Budget Detail Pages workbook, required program information, and related documents through the Security Portal to

  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:
    Katherine Tarca
    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.

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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