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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2013

Innovation Schools Planning Grant
Fund Code: 202

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.

The Innovation School initiative is aligned with multiple goals of Massachusetts' Race to the Top (RTTT) plan, including promoting the implementation of innovative practices in schools and districts, providing students with differentiated learning opportunities, and preparing all students for lifelong success.

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.
Priorities: Priority for this grant program will be given to proposals for:
  1. Innovation Schools to be established by September 2013;
  2. Innovation Schools to be established in Level 3 or 4 districts;
  3. Innovation Schools that are teacher initiated;
  4. Innovation Schools that incorporate wraparound services;
  5. Innovation Schools that creatively expand the school day for students with existing resources; and
  6. Innovation Schools that incorporate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) themes.
Eligibility: In order to be eligible to apply for a planning 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 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 and regulations. 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.
Funding: Innovation Schools Planning Grants are funded through the Massachusetts RTTT award. These grants support the establishment of select Innovation Schools in participating RTTT districts that submitted a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) to indicate their commitment to implementing RTTT initiatives.

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 $10,000 in planning grants per Innovation School proposed.
Fund Use: Funds must be used to support Innovation School planning activities 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: School RedesignUpon Approval - August 31, 2013
Program Unit: School Redesign
Contact: Bridget Rodriguez, Executive Office of Education (EOE)

Moira Connolly, ESE
Date Due for Required Email of Intent to Apply: Thursday, December 6, 2012 by 5:00 p.m. for the INTENT TO APPLY.

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) and school district for which the applicant is 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 ESE related to this grant program prior to the submission of a full application. This Intent to Apply must be emailed to no later than the deadline specified above.
Date Due for full Proposal: Thursday, December 20, 2012 by 5:00pm for the FULL PROPOSAL.

Competitive proposals must be received at ESE by 5:00 p.m. on the date due. See below for Submission Instructions.
Required Forms:
  1.  Download MS EXCEL file  Budget Workbook (which includes the Part I Standard Contract and Application for Program Grants [signature required] and Part II Budget Detail Pages)
  2. Copy of the Innovation School prospectus approved by at least two members of the three-member screening committee. See Additional Information section below for a guidance document.
  3. Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  Signed Innovation School Approval Calendar Form (submit one for each Innovation School proposed).
Additional Information:
  1. Innovation School Prospectus Guidance Document Download PDF document Download MS WORD document
  2. Additional guidance materials about Innovation Schools are available at 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.
  3. 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 Education (USED) will require additional, extensive reporting to document the use of all RTTT funds. RTTT will be subject to the same quarterly financial reporting requirements as American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds and will be subject to programmatic reporting requirements. USED is still determining the specific programmatic data to be collected, but all RTTT recipients will be expected to comply with the finalized data reporting requirements. Districts receiving an 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.

    Districts will be expected to participate in any program evaluation and monitoring activities associated with this grant.
Submission Instructions: The Intent to Apply must be emailed to by 5:00 p.m. on December 6, 2012.

The full proposal must be submitted as follows. Both the hard copies and the emailed versions must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 20, 2012.
  1. Mail or hand-deliver three (3) hard copies of each required document (please indicate the set of documents with original signatures) to:

    Moira Connolly, School Redesign
    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) to and Please put in the subject line of your email: "und Code 202: Innovation Schools Planning Grant - Name of School District."

Last Updated: December 12, 2012
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