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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2020: Safe and Supportive Schools Competitive Grant

Fund Code: 335


The purpose of this state funded competitive grant program is to provide funding to school districts (and their selected schools) to organize, integrate, and sustain school and district-wide efforts to create safe and supportive school environments. Additionally, this grant is designed to coordinate and align student support initiatives based on their findings from completing the Safe and Supportive Schools (SaSS) Framework and Self-Reflection Tool* (SaSS Tool).

*The SaSS (originally Behavioral Health and Public Schools — BHPS) Framework and Self-Reflection Tool was created by the BHPS Taskforce and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department), pursuant to Section 19 of Chapter 321 of the Acts of 2008. The Department, in consultation with the Safe and Supportive Schools Commission (Commission), is in the process of developing an updated version of these resources.


The main priorities for this grant are to help each participating school create an equitable, safe, positive, healthy, culturally-competent, and inclusive whole-school learning environment for all students; in addition, this grant prioritizes schools/districts' effort to make effective use of systems for integrating services Download Word Document and aligning initiatives that promote students' behavioral health, through one of two grant applicant options:

  • Option One: Action Planning
    These grantees will convene a school team composed of various stakeholders (e.g., including but not limited to teachers, nurses, counselors, parents, etc.) to review and respond to the questions in the SaSS Tool. Note: Applicants are expected to propose to use the SaSS Tool during the grant period (after grants are awarded).During the application process, the SaSS Tool will be available using the general login TEST1 or TEST2 for both your username and password. Based on the school team's reflections informed by using the SaSS Tool, the team will identify school and district areas to prioritize for improvements related to creating safer and more supportive learning environments, and will finalize a school plan that is aligned to school and district priorities, and a district plan that supports the schools' efforts. The action plans shall address all six sections of the SaSS Tool:
    1. Leadership, Infrastructure, and Culture
    2. Professional Learning Opportunities
    3. Access to Resources and Services
    4. Teaching and Learning that fosters Safe and Supportive Environments
    5. School Policies, Procedures, and Protocols
    6. Family Engagement

    Note: Upon award, the Department will provide all Option one, Action Planning grantees with guidelines for convening teams to create action plans that are aligned with other district and school plans and initiatives, including but not limited to district and school improvement plans (if applicable).

  • Option Two: School Based Implementation and Mentorship/Support
    1. These grantees will begin or continue to implement school-based action plans (and associated district-support plans) that were created in prior year(s), i.e., in or before school year 2018-2019. The creation of those action plans must have been informed by a local self-reflection process using the SaSS/BHPS Framework and Tool. Those completed action plans must be submitted with the applications, and whether it is submitted will be considered as part of the competitive review process.
    2. These grantees will also serve as mentors/supports for Option One grantees, other new SaSS Tool users, schools and districts that are new to implementation, as well as the Department and Commission and others as needed and appropriate. The areas of mentorship/support may include providing feedback to the Department or the Commission at meetings, presenting at online, regional, and statewide conferences, or providing direct support or guidance related to one or more of the following aspects of using the Framework and Tool to inform action plan creation and implementation, or another area agreed to by the applicant and Department:
      • School-level or district-level personnel role in supporting the grant efforts, and broader safe and supportive schools related work;
      • Forming effective school-based teams that encompass the whole school/district community;
      • Facilitating school-based or district teams to utilize the Tool;
      • Facilitating District leadership "Buy-in";
      • Gathering data to utilize and inform completion of each section of the Tool;
      • Creating a realistic and feasible timeline for utilizing the Tool;
      • Analyzing results from the Tool to create priority areas for next steps; and
      • Writing an effective and measurable action plan.


Massachusetts school districts and educational collaboratives* are eligible to apply for funding.

Each applicant may only apply for one of the two Options detailed above (Option one: Action Planning, or Option two: School Based Implementation and Mentorship/Support).

Note: Former FC 335 grantees are among the entities eligible to apply for either of the above Options, provided the specific requirements are met for the schools to be included in the application under that Option. For Option one: Action Planning, former FC 335 grantees may apply for schools that have not yet utilized (or at least have not since summer 2016) the SaSS/BHPS Self-Assessment Tool and used it to inform action planning.

* Note regarding collaborative eligibility (new this year): In accordance with "The Education Collaborative statute" (Chapter 40, Section 4E) which was amended and signed into law on January 10, 2019. "…The department may designate educational collaboratives as eligible recipients for any applicable federal or state grants to cities, towns, and regional school districts for educational programs."

  • In light of this new statute, educational collaboratives may consider applying for this grant to carry out safe and supportive school grant activities (team reflection informed by the SaSS Tool, and subsequent action planning and implementation to create and strengthen safe and supportive learning environments) for the collaborative's own full-time educational programs. In this case, please consider the educational program a "school" and the collaborative a "district" when completing the application materials.

  • Alternatively, educational collaboratives are also now allowed to apply on behalf of interested school districts (and either collaborative or districts can serve as the lead/fiscal agent) to help support and facilitate school and district-based teams with multiple stakeholder involvement to engage in the grant activities described above and throughout this grant opportunity. In this case, the collaborative would be considered neither the school nor the district, but instead a facilitator or fiscal agent, or other type of support, and would be supporting the efforts of the school and district teams who will be reflecting, action planning, and implementing plans based on their self-identified priorities. Both collaborative and district leaders should sign the grant assurances document, to indicate both entities agree to the grant expectations. There is already a place for the school district superintendent to sign. A line can be added to the document, to note the collaborative leader name and title, and to add the signature.

Funding Type:



Pending appropriation, approximately $200,000 is expected to be available to support these grants.

Applicants may apply for up to $20,000 total, with a maximum of $10,000 per school under Option one: Action Planning.

Applicants may apply for up to $10,000 per district under Option two: School Based Implementation and Mentorship/Support.

Reminder: Applicants may only apply for one Option. It is anticipated* that approximately 75% of the funds will be awarded through Option one: Action Planning, and approximately 25% through Option two: School-Based Implementation and Mentorship/Support.

*Additional factors:

  • The Department may consider factors such as geographic distribution when making awards.
  • Should additional funds become available the Department may redistribute those funds in an equitable manner among other awarded grantees.

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:

Option one: Action Planning

These funds must be used to develop action plans that incorporate all six sections of the SaSS Tool.

Grant funds may be used for teacher stipends, consultants, substitutes, and materials to be used in the development of district action plans and school action plans for those schools proposed under this option. Applicants should not include in their application requests for funds to support activities related to action plan implementation.

Note: The Department may consider requests during the spring from Option One: Action Planning grantees to amend budgets to support action plan implementation, provided a comprehensive action plan has been created and submitted.

Option two: School-Based Implementation and Mentorship/Support

These funds must be used to implement action plans that incorporate all six sections of the SaSS Tool, as submitted with the application. These funds must also support efforts associated with mentorship/support activities.

Grant funds may be used for school and district-based implementation coordinator(s), consultants, substitutes, evidence-based programs/initiatives, and materials to be used in the implementation of district action plans and school action plans for proposed schools.

Funds may also be used to provide stipends for the members of the team that will be responsible for the mentorship/support activities, or for any appropriate costs associated with mentoring/support.

All applicants

All applicants may consider partnering with consultants to help facilitate the action planning and/or implementation process.

All applicants may also consider partnering with community-based organizations including early childhood education and afterschool or out of school time providers for alignment and collaboration.

Funds cannot be used for: electronics (such as iPads, computers, tablets, etc.) or construction.

Project Duration:

Upon Approval – 06/30/2020 and 7/1/2020 – 08/31/2020

Pending appropriation and the meeting of all grant requirements, ALL applicants will be eligible for a one-year continuation grant in fiscal year 2020-2021 (FY21) (9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021) to support implementation of the action plan developed through this FY20 grant and to continue implementation and mentor/support activities. Eligibility for this continuation grant is contingent upon submission of the required action plans or implementation status reports and a continuation application, and funding availability.

Program Unit:

Student and Family Support

Emily Taylor
Phone Number:

(781) 338-6313

Date Due:

Friday, August 16, 2019
Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.

Required Forms:
Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page — (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)
Complete and submit signed Part I for both FY20 School Year Download Word Document and FY21 Summer Download Word Document (Summer 2020), if applicable, in one PDF.

Download Excel Document
Part II — FY20 New Budget Template
Complete and submit Part II for both FY20 School Year and FY21 Summer (Summer 2020), if applicable, using the respective tabs in the Budget Template provided. Please include a complete description of fund use in the narrative column.

Part III — Required Program Information (Complete and submit for Option one or Option two, as applicable)
Download Word Document
Part III Option One
Download Word Document
Part III Option Two

Download Word Document
Grant Assurances
Complete and submit for Option one or two, as applicable.

Additional Information:

Program Evaluation and Professional Development
Grantees shall participate in professional development (e.g., conferences, webinars, and/or regional events, etc.) to be held by the Department, as well as in an evaluation of this grant program. In addition, the Department and Safe and Supportive Schools Commission will use feedback from grantees to inform continuous improvements to the Framework and Tool. Details will be provided to all grantees once information is confirmed.

Questions and Information Webinar
Due to the competitive nature of this grant program, all questions about the Funding Opportunity documents and process will be addressed during the Grant Information Webinar and Q & A sessions. Please register here for a one hour webinar.


Please submit all application materials electronically to

All signature pages should be signed, scanned, and emailed as PDF documents.

All budgets should be submitted as excel files, not as PDFs.

Awarded Recipients: Upon award, recipients will be required to enter the approved budget and Part I 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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