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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2012

Next Generation Learning Models Innovation Schools Planning Grant
Fund Code: 154

Purpose: The Innovation School initiative, a key component of the education legislation that Governor Patrick signed into law in January 2010, gives educators and other stakeholders across the state the opportunity to create in-district schools that will leverage the lessons learned from the state's top performing autonomous schools. In particular, these unique schools will operate with increased autonomy and flexibility in the areas of curriculum, budget, school schedule and calendar, staffing (including waivers from or exemptions to collective bargaining agreements), school district policies, and professional development. In exchange for greater authority to establish the school conditions that will lead to improved teaching and learning, the operators of Innovation Schools will be held accountable for meeting annual benchmarks for student achievement and school performance.
Priorities: Priority will be given to proposals for establishing Innovation Schools in Level 3 or 4 districts. Additionally, Innovation Schools that are established with this funding must implement Next Generation Learning Models that are characterized by the following:
  1. greater flexibility with regard to instruction, the allocation of fiscal and human resources, and the use of instructional time;
  2. differentiated content and multiple methods of instruction to boost student achievement;
  3. real-time and ongoing assessment of each student's learning needs and their progress;
  4. opportunities for teachers and school leaders to take on different instructional and leadership roles; and
  5. the inventive use of technology in classrooms, schools, and districts. These elements are aligned with the areas of autonomy and flexibility that are included in the Innovation School model. Additional information about Next Generation Learning Models is available.
School districts that were awarded Readiness School Preliminary Planning Grants (FY2010 Fund Code: 221-G) during the summer of 2009 may apply, but their proposals will receive lowest priority for these planning grants unless the applicant can justify why additional funding is needed.

Note:An applicant and school district cannot submit proposals for a Next Generation Learning Models Grant (Fund Code: 154) and also an Innovation Schools Planning Grant (Fund Code: 202) for the same school.
Eligibility: In order to be eligible to apply for a planning grant, an applicant must:
  1. Be as identified under M.G.L., Chapter 71, Section 92 - Innovation Schools, one or more of the following: (i) parents; (ii) teachers; (iii) parent-teacher organizations; (iv) principals; (v) superintendents; (vi) school committees; (vii) teacher unions; (viii) colleges and universities; (ix) non-profit community-based organizations; (x) non-profit business or corporate entities; (xi) non-profit charter school operators; (xii) non-profit education management organizations; (xiii) educational collaboratives; (xiv) consortia of these groups; and (xv) non-profit entities authorized by the commissioner;
  2. Be working in partnership with any school district to establish an Innovation School in that district (the planning grant will be submitted by and awarded to the district, and if a planning grant is awarded, the applicant will work with appropriate district administrators to make decisions about spending grant funds); and
  3. Have completed the first stage of the Innovation School authorization process as outlined in state law. The first stage of the authorization process requires that the applicant's prospectus be approved by two-thirds of the district's three-member screening committee, consisting of the superintendent or designee, a school committee member or a designee selected by the school committee, and a representative of the local teachers' union. Applicants that have already completed the final stage of the authorization process (majority approval of the innovation plan by the local school committee) are not eligible to apply for this planning grant, but will be eligible to apply for an implementation grant. Additional information about the implementation grant process will be provided during the spring of 2012.
Innovation Schools that are established with this funding must implement Next Generation Learning Models; therefore, the initial prospectus must include a preliminary description of strategies that are aligned with the primary characteristics of these models (as described in the Purpose section of this RFP).
Funding: Next Generation Learning Models Planning Grants are funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and they will be awarded to support the establishment of Innovation Schools in any school district in Massachusetts by September, 2012. Approximately $200,000 is available for these planning grants, but the total amount awarded will depend on the quantity and quality of the proposals received.

Applicants can apply for up to $15,000 in planning grants per Innovation School proposed.

The planning grant must be submitted by the school district.

Funds will be awarded to the district and the applicant (if not a school district) must work with the appropriate district administrators to make decisions about spending grant funds.

Given the availability of other state and federal resources, grants will not be awarded to convert Level 4 schools (those designated by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) into Innovation Schools.
Fund Use: Funds must be used to support the planning activities of the innovation planning committee and must be consistent with applicable state and federal requirements.

Examples of allowable expenditures include but are not limited to: 1) stipends for educators; 2) reimbursements for substitutes; 3) services provided by consultants; and 4) the acquisition of curriculum materials related to development of an innovation plan.

Unallowable expenditures include: 1) capital expenses; 2) purchase of computer hardware; 3) out-of-state travel expenses; and 4) purchase of food or beverages.
Project Duration: Upon approval - August 31, 2012
Program Unit: The Office of Charter Schools, Redesign, and Innovation
Contact: Bridget Rodriguez, Executive Office of Education (EOE)

Marlon Davis, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE)
Date Due for Required Email of Intent to Apply: Friday, December 23, 2011 at 5:00 p.m.

In order to compete for planning grant funding, each applicant that intends to apply must submit a non-binding email message of Intent to Apply indicating:
  1. The name(s) of the proposed Innovation School(s) for which the applicant and school district are seeking planning grant funding; and
  2. The contact information (name, title, email address, and phone number) for the applicant and district personnel who should be included on any communications sent out by the Department related to this grant program prior to the submission of a full application.
This Intent to Apply must be emailed later than the deadline specified above.
Date Due for Full Grant Proposal: Wednesday, January 18, 2012.

Competitive proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.
Required Forms:
  1. Download MS EXCEL file  Budget Workbook (which includes the Standard Contract and Application for Program Grants and Budget Detail Pages).
  2. Copy of the Innovation School prospectus approved by at least two members of the three-member screening committee. The prospectus must include a preliminary description of the Next Generation Learning Model that will be implemented in the proposed Innovation School.
  3. Download PDF Document Download MS WORD document  Signed Innovation School Approval Calendar Form (one for each Innovation School proposed)

*Note: The Budget and Budget Narrative Workbook is a Microsoft Excel file which includes macros that enable the workbook to compute totals and summary tables.

  1. For Microsoft Office 2000/2003, you may need to change the security setting in Excel before opening the file. In Excel, click 'Tools', 'Macro', and then 'Security'. When the dialog box appears, change the security setting to 'Medium' and then click 'OK'. You can now open the budget file.

  2. For Microsoft Office 2007, you must save the workbook as an earlier version of Excel (.xls not .xlsx).

Additional Information: Download PDF Document Download MS WORD document  Innovation School Prospectus and Innovation Plan Template

Additional guidance materials about Innovation Schools are available. Applicants are not required to use these templates and may instead develop their own format for presenting the relevant information. If an applicant chooses to use the templates provided, applicants may modify them in any way they choose. However, the key elements included in the template will be used to evaluate the relative strengths of applications.

Districts will be asked to ensure transparency and accountability and report publicly on the use of funds. Districts will be expected to participate in any program evaluation and monitoring activities associated with this grant.
Submission Instructions:
  1. Mail or hand-deliver three (3) hard copies of each required document (please indicate the set of documents with original signatures) to:
    Jennifer Ahern
    Office of Charter Schools, Redesign, and Innovation - 5thFloor
    Massachusetts Department of
    Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street
    Malden, MA 02148-4906
  2. Email an electronic copy of each required document (signatures not required) Please put in the subject line of your email: "Fund Code 154: NGLM Innovation Schools Planning Grant -Name of your school district."
These files (in both hard copy and electronic formats) must be received at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by 5:00 p.m. on January 18, 2012.

Last Updated: December 2, 2011
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