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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2013

Special Education - Program Improvement
Fund Code: 274

Purpose: The purpose of the federally-funded Special Education: Program Improvement grant program is to fund professional development activities that will advance the knowledge, skills, and capacity of educators to meet the diverse needs of students with disabilities and to promote inclusive practices across all settings through high-quality, job-embedded, and sustained professional development activities.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's District Standards and Indicators Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document and the Conditions for School Effectiveness identify Professional Development as a foundational component in supporting, developing, promoting, and retaining qualified and effective professional staff who are successful in advancing achievement for all students.
  • According to the District Standards and Indicators, "district and school organization, culture, and structures (to) create a climate conducive to adult learning through effective communication, ongoing professional improvement, and joint responsibility for student learning."
  • Conditions for School Effectiveness Condition #7 states that "professional development for school staff includes both individually pursued activities and school-based, job-embedded approaches, such as instructional coaching. It also includes content-oriented learning. The school has structures for regular, frequent collaboration to improve implementation of the curriculum and instructional practice. Professional development and structures for collaboration are evaluated for their effect on raising student achievement."
Priorities: Four priorities have been identified by the Department for the FY2013 Fund Code: 274 Special Education: Program Improvement grant. Districts are directed to select up to two priorities and complete the required program information:

Priority 1: Strengthen Curriculum and Instruction:
Professional Development activities funded under this priority are intended to improve educator effectiveness and promote improved academic outcomes for students with disabilities by:
  • Implementing evidence-based practices that enable all students to access and make progress in the general curriculum; and/or
  • Increasing the knowledge and skills of special educators in the areas of reading, English language arts, writing, and mathematics.

Priority 2: Non-Academic Supports in Classrooms:
Professional Development activities funded under this priority are intended to improve educator effectiveness and promote improved academic and social behavioral outcomes for all students by:
  • Emphasizing the use of data for informing decisions about the selection, implementation, and progress monitoring of evidence- bases behavioral practices; and/or
  • Organizing resources and systems to improve implementation fidelity.

Priority 3: Early Childhood Inclusive Practices:
Professional Development activities funded under this priority are intended to improve educator effectiveness and promote early childhood inclusive practices by:
  • Implementing evidence-based practices that enable all preschool children to make progress in meeting expected norms;
  • Enhancing strong and successful inclusive opportunities for young children with disabilities in preschool programs; and/or
  • Promoting family engagement.

Priority 4: Secondary Transition
Professional development activities funded under this priority are intended to facilitate the students' movement from school to post-school activities by improving educator effectiveness in the areas of:
  • Student self determination and self advocacy;
  • Transition assessment;
  • College and career readiness;
  • Family partnerships;
  • Interagency collaboration; and/or
  • Student access to rigorous, inclusive academic classes.
Eligibility: Funds will be awarded to school districts with approved program plans for special education and to educational collaborative serving students with disabilities.
Fund Use: The following are allowable costs:
  • Stipends
  • MTRS/Fringe (related to stipends only)
  • Tuition cost for college/university courses
  • Conference registration costs
  • Supplies, materials, and books specifically for training purposes and professional development
  • Printing and reproduction of training materials
  • Consultant fees
  • Substitutes
  • In-state travel for conferences
The following are not allowable costs:
  • Computer hardware of software, including site licenses
  • Indirect costs
  • Staff salaries
  • Direct services or materials for students
  • Out-of-state travel
  • Food
Project Duration: Upon Approval - 8/31/2013
Program Unit: Special Education Planning and Policy Development
Contact: Helen Skulski email address: Hskulski@doe.mass.edu
Phone Number: (781) 338-3379
Date Due: A rolling submission period has been established, but the suggested due date is Friday, September 28, 2012. No applications will be accepted after Friday, December 14, 2012.
Required Forms:
  1.  Download MS EXCEL file  Part II - Budget Detail Pages - Special Education: Program Improvement - Budget Workbook, which includes the Part I - General - Program Unit Signature Page - (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)
  2. Required Program Information
    1. Download PDF document Download MS WORD Document  Priority 1: Strengthen Curriculum and Instruction
    2. Download PDF document Download MS WORD Document  Priority 2: Non-Academic Supports in Classrooms
    3. Download PDF document Download MS WORD Document  Priority 3: Early Childhood Inclusive Practices
    4. Download PDF document Download MS WORD Document  Priority 4: Secondary Transition
Additional Information:
  1. Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  Instructions for Completing the Budget Workbook
  2. During the 2012-2013 school year, staff from the Office of Special Education Planning and Policy and the Office of Tiered System of Supports may conduct onsite visits of up to 10% of districts and collaboratives in the Commonwealth. The districts and collaboratives will be randomly selected and will be representative of the state.
Submission Instructions: Submit two (2) copies of the Part I - General - Program Unit Signature Page - (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants) with an original signature of the Superintendent/Executive Director.

Mail to:

Helen Skulski
Special Education Planning and Policy Development
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906


Last Updated: September 17, 2012
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