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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2012

Innovation Schools Implementation Grant
Fund Code: 203

Purpose: Innovation Schools Implementation Grants are funded by Massachusetts' Race to the Top (RTTT) award. The Executive Office of Education (EOE) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) will award these grants to support the operation of approved Innovation Schools in participating RTTT districts for one year.

The Innovation School initiative, a signature component of An Act Relative to the Achievement Gapthat 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. There is no cap on the number of Innovation Schools that can be established, and new schools can be created or existing schools can be converted in any district in Massachusetts.

The Innovation School initiative is aligned with multiple goals of Massachusetts' RTTT plan, including the implementation of innovative practices in schools and districts, providing students with differentiated learning opportunities, and preparing all students for lifelong success.
Priorities: Priority will be given to applicants that will: 1) operate Innovation Schools in Level 3 or 4 districts; and 2) operate Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)-focused Innovation Schools.
Eligibility: In order to apply for a implementation grant, an applicant must:
  1. be an eligible applicant as identified in the Innovation Schools statute (M.G.L., Chapter 71, Section 92): (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 an RTTT participating district to operate an Innovation School (the implementation grant will be submitted by and awarded to the district, and if a grant is awarded, the applicant will work with appropriate district administrators to make decisions about spending grant funds); and
  3. have completed the final stage of the authorization process (majority approval of the innovation plan by the local school committee) and must open the Innovation School by September 2011.
Note: An applicant and school district cannot submit proposals under Fund Codes 155 and 203 for the same school.
Funding: Awards will range from $25,000 - $75,000 per approved Innovation School.
Fund Use: Funds must be used to support the operation of an Innovation School and the implementation of its approved innovation plan, and expenditures 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; 4) the acquisition of instructional and curricular materials related to the operation of an Innovation School; and 5) educational or instructional software necessary to implement elements of the approved innovation plan.

Unallowable expenditures (unless compelling justification is provided that these expenditures are critically necessary and related to the mission and goals of the proposed Innovation School) include: 1) capital expenses; 2) the purchase of computer hardware; 3) out-of-state travel expenses; and 4) the purchase of food or beverages. The Innovation School model is intended to be a fiscally neutral school redesign model; as such, funds spent under this grant should yield lasting results without creating recurring costs that are unsustainable beyond the grant period.

Approved applicants are expected to use these one-time funds strategically to support high-leverage, high-impact, and capacity-building strategies in conjunction with policies that permit increased flexibility with regard to each Innovation School's existing budget.

In addition, operators may secure additional funding (e.g., publicly or privately funded grants) to support the implementation of the innovation plan from other sources.
Project Duration: 9/1/2011 - 8/31/2012
Program Unit: Office of School Redesign
Contact: Cheryl Loiselle email
Phone Number: (781) 338- 3584
Date Due for Required Email of Intent to Apply: Thursday, June 16, 2011 by 5:00 p.m.

In order to compete for implementation grant funding, each applicant that intends to apply must submit a non-binding email message that includes the following:
  1. The name(s) of the Innovation School(s) for which the applicant and participating district are seeking implementation 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 EOE and ESE related to this grant program prior to the submission of a full application.
This Intent to Apply must be emailed to Bridget Rodríguez ( and Saeyun Lee ( no later than the deadline specified above.
Date Due for Full Grant Proposal: Thursday, June 30, 2011.
Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.
Required Forms:
  1. Part I - General - Program Unit Signature Page - (See the "Cover Sheet" in the Budget Workbook)
  2. Download MS EXCEL file  Part II - Budget Workbook [Detailed information must be provided about the proposed expenditures and how they will support the implementation of the approved Innovation Plan(s)] -Instructions
  3. Part III - Copy of the final Innovation Plan(s) for each school approved by the local school committee of the participating district.
  4. Download PDF Document Download MS WORD document   Part IV - Innovation Schools Authorization and Assurances Form
Submission Instructions:
  1. Submit Parts II (Budget Workbook) and III (Innovation Plans) via email to Bridget Rodríguez ( and Saeyun Lee (
  2. Submit two hard copies of the signature page from the Budget Workbook and two copies of the Innovation Schools Authorization and Assurances Form, each with an original signature of the Superintendent/Executive Director, directly to the Department.
Mail to:
Cheryl Loiselle
Office of School Redesign
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906
Additional Information: Districts will be asked to ensure transparency and accountability and report publicly on the use of funds. In addition to the standard federal financial reports required for all federal grants, the U.S. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ED) will require additional, extensive reporting to document the use of all RTTT funds. Districts receiving a RTTT grant should anticipate that they will be required to report separately and in detail regarding the use and impact of these funds on at least a quarterly basis.

In addition, districts will be expected to participate in any program evaluation and monitoring activities associated with this grant.

Last Updated: May 17, 2011
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