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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2020: Targeted Assistance Grant (TAG)

Fund Codes: 222/325

Purpose:

The purpose of this targeted grant program is to provide funding to the state's lowest performing schools and districts to support the development and implementation of Sustainable Improvement Plans (formerly Turnaround Plans) that:


This grant supports Massachusetts' goals for increasing student achievement by expanding school districts' capacity to support and educate students with the greatest needs.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is committed to supporting sustained improvement in low performing schools so that all students have access to high quality, culturally relevant learning opportunities that prepare them for successful futures through four core Massachusetts Turnaround Practices:

  1. Establishing a community of practice through leadership, shared responsibility, and professional collaboration,
  2. Employing intentional practices for improving instruction,
  3. Providing student-specific supports and instruction to all students, and
  4. Providing appropriate social, emotional, and behavioral supports in order to create a safe, orderly, and respectful learning environment for students and teachers

The TAG combines funds for state targeted assistance as well as federal school improvement funding. It will distribute funds for a subset of schools identified as "Requiring Assistance or Intervention" in the Massachusetts Accountability System.

Priorities:

Targeted Assistance Grant funds are expected to support the development and implementation of Sustainable Improvement Plans that align with the four Massachusetts Turnaround Practices Download PDF Document.

Districts with one or more schools identified under the Massachusetts District and School Accountability System for focused/targeted and broad/comprehensive support are eligible for this grant opportunity. These are the TAG categories in which schools are eligible: Planning Grants, Implementation Grants, and Subgroup Only Performance Grants. Across all grant categories, the grant-funded activities that districts and schools engage in are expected to fall into two broad categories:

  1. Planning and Pre-Implementation activities for developing Sustainable Improvement Plans

  2. Activities supporting the implementation of Sustainable Improvement Plans

Note: As part of their participation in the Targeted Assistance Grant program, most schools will receive either a Targeted Site Visit (TSV) or a Monitoring Site Visit (MSV) from an external provider during the course of SY 2019-20. Schools that are eligible for funding solely on the basis of low performing student subgroups will not receive a site visit. For more information about TSVs and MSVs, please visit Monitoring Site Visits (MSVs) and Turnaround Site Visits (TSVs).

Eligibility:
District-Level Eligibility: Districts with one or more schools identified under the Massachusetts District and School Accountability System for focused/targeted and broad/comprehensive support are eligible for grant funding.
  • The Targeted Assistance Grants: District Allotments attachment in the Additional Information section of this RFP provides a list of eligible districts, total district grant allocations by funding source, and a list of schools eligible to receive grant funds. The list also indicates whether individual schools are eligible to receive federal funds, state funds, or both.
  • The Part II Budget Workbook is also designed to assist districts to appropriately attribute state and federal funds to individual schools based on their eligibility to receive Title I funds. (See Funding section of this RFP, below.)

School-Level Eligibility Criteria:
Schools that are in the lowest 5th percentiles overall or are designated as underperforming on our state accountability system are required to participate. Schools that are in the 6th–10th percentiles and those above the 10th percentiles that have a subgroup in the lowest 5th percentiles are eligible, but are not required to participate. Schools identified with a federal comprehensive support and intervention (CSI) or targeted support and intervention (TSI) designation are eligible to receive federal Title I school improvement funding under fund code 325. Schools not meeting federal requirements for fund code 325 have been allocated state-level targeted assistance funding under fund code 222. Some districts will receive a combination of Federal and State funding. Exceptions include:

  • Schools receiving FY20 School Redesign Grant funding through fund codes 511 or 539
  • Schools in the Strategic Transformation region
  • Charter schools and virtual schools

Grant categories: Individual school allotments fall into the following grant categories: Planning grants, Implementation grants, Subgroup Performance Only Planning grants, and Subgroup Performance Only implementing grants. The Part III: Grant Narrative Application attachment in the Required Forms section of this RFP provides additional details about these categories.

Funding Type:

Funding for the grant will come from federal and state funds:

Fund Code 325: Federal Title I Section 1003 School Improvement Reservation funds (CFDA 84.010)

Fund Code 222: State Targeted Assistance

Funding:

Approximately $2,270,000 is available through Federal Title I School Improvement funds (fund code 325), and approximately $2,095,000 through State Targeted Assistance funds (fund code 222) to be distributed among the eligible districts. Funding is available for sustainable improvement planning and plan implementation for schools in percentiles 1-10 in the Massachusetts DESE Accountability System and schools with student groups in percentiles 1–5 relative to the same student group statewide.

Funding amounts are prioritized for schools:

  1. In percentiles 1–5 that are implementing existing improvement plans;
  2. In percentiles 1–5 that are developing sustainable improvement plans;
  3. In percentiles 6–10 that are implementing existing improvement plans;
  4. In percentiles 6–10 that are developing sustainable improvement plans;
  5. Schools above the 10th percentile with student groups in percentiles 1–5 implementing existing sustainable improvement plans;
  6. Schools above the 10th percentile with student groups in percentiles 1–5 developing sustainable improvement plans.

Districts with multiple schools eligible for TAG funding are encouraged to allocate funding to schools based on these priorities, but have flexibility to distribute funds in alignment with district goals, priorities, and other school improvement resources that may be available.

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.

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

Acceleration Academies
There are additional resources available to eligible districts to implement Acceleration Academies. See the Additional Information section below for more details.

Middle School Technical Assistance
There are additional resources available to New Bedford Public Schools to close achievement gaps by strengthening literacy instruction and inclusive practices for all students.

Fund Use:

See the Fund Use Recommendations for Targeted Assistance Grants attachment in the Additional Information portion of this RFP for detailed examples of appropriate use of funds for implementation and planning phase activities.

Fund use must be consistent with applicable state and/or federal requirements.

Districts are allowed to budget funds at the district and school level that support the planning, implementation, and progress monitoring and assessment of school Sustainable Improvement Plans.

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:

State funds (FC 222): Upon Approval – 6/30/2020

Federal funds (FC 325): Upon Approval – 8/31/2020

Important note regarding state-funded grants: state funds must be fully expended by the end of the state FY20 fiscal year (i.e., June 30, 2020). State funds may not be rolled over into FY21.

Important note regarding both state and federal grants: Applicants may only legally claim expenses to the grant starting from the date of final DESE approval. The start date for the grant is the date on which the district submits a substantially approvable budget and narrative for the grant in EdGrants.

Program Unit:

Statewide System of Support, Center for District Support

Contact:
Office of Regional Support Program Specialist
Abigail T. Slayton
Phone Number:

(781) 338-3517

Date Due:

Friday, November 22, 2019

Proposals with all required attachments must be uploaded to EdGrants on the date due.

Required Forms:
Download Excel Document
Budget Workbook

Part I: Signed Cover Page: The district will submit a PDF of the Part I- Signature Page of the FY20 Budget Workbook as an attachment in EdGrants. The PDF must include a signature from the authorized signatory for the district.

The attached Excel workbook contains the total district allocation for each eligible school. This workbook is intended for the applicant to use as part of planning discussions in order to prepare for officially entering it into EdGrants, and for ESE federal reporting.

  • The final state (FC 222) and/or federal (FC 325) budget(s) will be entered directly into EdGrants as part of the application submission process.
  • The completed Part II: Schools Served worksheet, which reflects how the district plans to attribute grant funds to its eligible schools, will be submitted as an attachment in EdGrants.

Download Word Document
Part III: Targeted Assistance Grant Application
The attached document includes guidance and instructions for describing how grant funds will be used to support Sustained Improvement Plan development and implementation. The completed Part III template will be submitted as an attachment in EdGrants.

Additional Information:
Download Excel Document
Targeted Assistance Grants: District Allotments (list of eligible districts, total district grant allotments by funding source, and schools eligible)

Download Word Document
Fund Use Recommendations for Targeted Assistance Grants

Download Word Document
Monitoring Site Visit (MSV) and Targeted Site Visit (TSV) FAQ

Download Word Document
Acceleration Academies


Submission
Instructions:

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:

FY20 222/325 Targeted Assistance Grant (Applicant Name)

All items listed under the required forms section of this RFP should be uploaded / attached in the Attachments List formlet in EdGrants. This includes a signed / scanned PDF of Part I / Coversheet with Superintendent's signature as well as the Part II Budget Workbook, Part III Targeted Assistance Grant Application, and Sustained Improvement Plans. The final budget the applicant is requesting will be entered directly into EdGrants as part of the application submission process.

For guidance regarding EdGrants, visit EdGrants: User Guides, Information and Trainings.


 
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