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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2014

Race to the Top: Educator Evaluation Technology Innovation
Fund Code: 211

*ALERT* - The Educator Policy, Preparation, and Leadership Unit has determined a need to extend the application submission deadline, from Friday, May 31st, 2013 until Friday, June 7th, 2013. Please review the funding opportunity for application submission details.

Purpose: In June 2011, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) adopted new Educator Evaluation Regulations for the evaluation of all Massachusetts educators as part of the state's commitment under Race to the Top. ESE developed the Massachusetts Model System for Educator Evaluation to support the implementation of the new regulations.

The purpose this competitive grant is to enable partnerships between districts/collaboratives and vendors to develop and pilot technology applications that further support the implementation of the Educator Evaluation Regulations and MA Model System for Educator Evaluation.

ESE is not requiring Massachusetts districts to adopt a particular technology application to support Educator Evaluation; however, ESE is aware that many districts are interested in procuring a technology application for this purpose. In an effort to support districts, ESE is providing a competitive grant opportunity for interested districts to develop technology applications that support the implementation of Educator Evaluation and comply with the Educator Evaluation Regulations (603 CMR 35.00).

Throughout the duration of the grant, ESE will communicate with grantees to assess the feasibility of developing a statewide tool(s) and work toward the potential prequalification of vendors for statewide pricing.
Priorities: The mission of ESE is to strengthen the Commonwealth's public education system so that every student is prepared to succeed in postsecondary education, compete in the global economy, and understand the rights and responsibilities of American citizens, and in so doing, to close all proficiency gaps.

Applicants for this grant opportunity should be deliberate and intentional in the use of grant funds to support the District Standards and ESE Priorities. In particular, this grant program may support implementation of the following District Standards: Human Resources (supervision and evaluation, and professional development), Curriculum and Instruction (strong instructional leadership and effective instruction), Leadership and Governance (effective district and school leadership,) and Assessment (data collection and dissemination), as well as the ESE Priority of Improving Educator Effectiveness.

In order to achieve the purpose stated above, priorities for this competitive grant are to support the implementation of the new Educator Evaluation Regulations and Massachusetts Model System for Educator Evaluation by:
  • Developing user-friendly tools to capture the required elements of the new Regulations and the recommended elements of the Model System
  • Capturing data for decision making and promoting continuous improvement
  • Streamlining the logistical capacity of districts, easing the implementation of new evaluation systems, and simplifying reporting to ESE
  • Encouraging district innovation and configuration for local needs
  • Supporting the use of technology and promoting associated professional development
Eligibility: Race to the Top (RTTT) districts may apply and serve as the lead district and manager of the grant funds. Non-RTTT districts and collaboratives may participate as partners with RTTT lead districts.

Vendors are only eligible to participate in one district-led partnership. A vendor should not consent to participate in more than one partnership and will not be considered if included on more than one grant application received by ESE.

Eligible applicants must meet the following qualifications:

Participation Requirements
  • Applications must identify a lead district that will be responsible for overall project management and managing grant funds.
  • The lead district must be implementing the new Educator Evaluation Regulations in their school districts during the 2012-2013 school year. Additional partnering districts must be planning to implement no later than the 2013-2014 school year.
  • The lead district must have a ratified teacher agreement that has been submitted to ESE for review or must have notified ESE of the decision to adopt the Massachusetts Model System of Educator Evaluation.
  • The lead district must have begun implementing training (per An Act Providing for the Implementation of Education Evaluation Systems in School Districts, Chapter 131 of the Acts of 2012). Additional participating districts must also finalize and publish training schedules prior to implementing the new Educator Evaluation system.
  • A vendor is only eligible to participate in one partnership. The same vendor cannot be listed on multiple grant applications.
  • Applicants that are not partnering with additional districts and/or collaboratives must provide justification for this decision. Applications that include a partnership between multiple districts and/or collaboratives should submit a brief description of how partners were identified and the reasoning behind establishing the partnership.
  • All participating districts are expected to pilot the use of the technology application for a full evaluation cycle in the 2013-2014 school year.
Technology Requirements
  • Technology application must adhere to the Educator Evaluation Regulations (603 CMR 35.00). In particular, all developed technology must adhere to evaluation ratings privacy requirements as described in 603 CMR 35.11 (6).
  • Technology application must comply with locally bargained teacher contracts of all participating districts and must be consistent with any parameters regarding the use of technology.
  • Technology application must support implementation of the 5-Step Cycle and/or support the implementation of District-Determined Measures (DDMs).
  • Technology applications that support the implementation of the 5-Step Cycle must include the ability for evaluators and educators to collect and upload evidence and artifacts (in multiple formats, such as pdf, wav, jpeg, etc.) consistent with the 5-Step Cycle and recommendations within the Massachusetts Model System for Educator Evaluation.
  • Technology applications that support the implementation of DDMs should address roster verification/teacher attribution, student performance on DDMs, and district's ability to match identified DDMs to appropriate educators.
  • Technology application must include a method for communicating evaluation data (evidence, observations, ratings, student performance on DDMs, feedback, etc.) between evaluators and educators and/or providing educators access to their personal evaluation data.
  • Vendor and/or lead district must provide appropriate professional development on the use of the technology application for all participating districts, preferably in self-directed formats.
  • Web-based software and content must comply with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts accessibility standards:
    • In order to confirm that a vendor's software fully meets Massachusetts accessibility standards, the Contractor must have the software tested by a Massachusetts-approved accessibility-testing vendor prior to implementation. A Contractor whose software has not yet been tested by a Massachusetts-approved accessibility-testing vendor must contract with such a vendor as part of the contract awarded using funds obtained under this grant.
    • If the Contractor's software does not fully meet the Massachusetts accessibility standards, the Contractor must document how it will address any deficiencies. Software cannot be implemented until it fully meets Massachusetts accessibility standards.
    • Additional information on templates and tools to help developers/vendors meet the standards are available.
Reporting Requirements
  • ESE will require written project updates throughout the duration of the grant. Lead districts will be expected to communicate their progress on the development of the technology application, information regarding professional development on using the technology application, and any challenges that have been encountered and their anticipated resolution.
    • ESE anticipates 2 brief project updates during the grant cycle (tentatively November 2013 and March 2014) and a final report at the completion of the grant.
  • The lead district is expected to collect and provide feedback from all participating districts, including end-users, to ESE regarding the use of the developed technology application and the associated professional development.
  • Prior to the completion of the grant, lead districts and vendors are required to schedule demonstrations of the developed technology application to ESE. Final reports and demonstrations are expected by June 30, 2014.
Grant applications that include the following will be given competitive priority when ESE scores applications:
  • Partnerships with other districts and/or collaboratives and/or with a unique vendor. If multiple districts/collaboratives are involved, the grant application must designate a lead district that will manage the grant funds. All participating districts/collaboratives should be identified in the grant application.
  • Technology application that include the Massachusetts Model System for Educator Evaluation (including the rubrics and forms).
  • Technology applications that are available in multiple formats in addition to web-based applications, such as mobile applications (available on multiple operating systems and offline).
  • Technology applications that integrate with other district systems, have the ability to upload/export data to other systems (For example: Human Resources, Learning Management Systems (Professional Development), Student Information Systems, Student Assessment, etc.) or simplify other documentation (For example: Individual Professional Development Plans, 603 CMR 44.04).
  • Technology applications that include options to operate within a single school, with multiple schools, and with multiple districts and appropriate privacy protections consistent with personnel protections.
  • Technology applications that are end-user focused with an easy user interface, allowing for configurable elements anticipated being popular among districts (For example: adaptations to educator rubrics, number of observations, forms, additional supports for struggling educators, etc.).
  • Technology applications that are built on Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).
  • Technology applications that are compatible with district systems currently used for reporting the seven required data elements for submission to ESE (603 CMR 35.11 (5)).
  • Districts are strongly encouraged to use a deliverable-based payment system with partnering vendors.
Funding: Approximately $250,000 is available for these technology innovation grants, but the total amount awarded will depend on the quantity and quality of the proposals received.

Applicants should clearly identify the award amount they are requesting (ranging from $50,000 - $75,000) and provide justification for the amount requested. ESE anticipates awarding between 3-5 grants depending on the amount of funds requested and quality of applications. The full amount requested is not guaranteed and ESE reserves the right to determine the final grant award amount.

The grant award does not signify any guarantee of future funding or statewide contracts with vendors. For information about the release of funds, please review the Grant Management website.
Fund Use: Funds should be used to support the development of technology applications and professional development aligned with the above priorities and qualifications.

Funds can be used toward enhancements of current technology applications that support the implementation of Educator Evaluation with the purpose of bringing the technology applications into alignment with the requirements stated in this RFP. Funds can also be used to develop new technology applications consistent with the RFP requirements.

Spending priority is for the development and implementation of the technology application and associated professional development.

Funds will be awarded to the lead districts. Lead districts are responsible for contracting with the identified vendor to develop the evaluation system or enhancements to an existing system. Lead districts may also pay stipends to their staff and to contract with their partnering districts and collaboratives to cover the cost of any time that representatives from those districts or collaboratives spend on developing system requirements beyond contractual hours. Travel costs are also allowable.

When submitting applications, applicants should clearly identify any funds being proposed for the purchase of technology devices to support the use of the developed technology application.
Project Duration: Upon Approval - 6/30/2014
Program Unit: Educator Policy, Preparation, & Leadership
Contact: Kat Johnston KSJohnston@doe.mass.edu
Phone Number:(781) 338-3252
Date Due: Friday, June 7, 2013
Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.
Required Forms:
  1. Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  Part I - General - Program Unit Signature Page - (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)
  2. Download MS EXCEL file  Part II Budget Detail Pages (Include both pages.) - Instructions
  3. Download PDF document Download MS WORD Document  Part III - Required Program Information
  4. Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  MOU signed by participating district(s)/collaborative(s)/vendor
Additional Information: In order to compete for this funding opportunity, each applicant that intends to apply must submit a non-binding email message or letter that includes the following:
  1. The names of the lead districts, vendor, and additional partnering districts/collaboratives (if applicable); 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 funding opportunity prior to the submission of a full application.
The Letter of Intent to Apply must be emailed or mailed to Kat Johnston (KSJohnston@doe.mass.edu) by the deadline below in order to apply for this funding opportunity.
EventDateTime
RFP posting and release4/23/13 
Letter (or email) of Intent to Apply Due5/13/135:00 PM EST
Applications Due6/7/135:00 PM EST
Grant AwardUpon Approval5:00 PM EST
All applications must be received by 5:00pm on June 7, 2013.

Please note: This RFP does not commit ESE to approve an application, pay any costs incurred in the preparation of an applicant's response to this RFP, or to procure or contract for services related to the grant application. ESE reserves the right to accept or reject any and all responses received as a result of this RFP, to negotiate with any or all qualified applicants, and to cancel in part or in its entirety this RFP if it is in the best interest of ESE or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to do so.

This RFP and all responses hereto including the winning applicant(s) shall become public record and can be obtained from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by sending an email to the Legal Office at Legal@doe.mass.edu.

Materials developed using grant funds from this funding opportunity are subject to Federal regulations regarding copyrights. The Federal awarding agency reserves a royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable license to reproduce, publish or otherwise use, and to authorize others to use, for Federal Government purposes: (a) The copyright in any work developed under a grant, subgrant, or contract under a grant or subgrant; and (b) Any rights of copyright to which a grantee, subgrantee or a contractor purchases ownership with grant support. (EDGAR- 34 CFR Part 80.34). All materials created by a vendor under this grant shall be deemed "Grant Materials." ESE shall receive an unlimited, irrevocable, non-exclusive, fully paid-up, royalty-free, perpetual license, with the right to grant sublicenses to use, reproduce, display, distribute, perform and modify Grant Materials for research, training, and educational purposes. To the extent that any Grant Materials incorporate any pre-existing materials created or licensed by the vendor (collectively, "Vendor Materials"), such Vendor Materials shall be excluded from the operations of this section, and the vendor shall retain ownership of such Vendor Materials. Any "Vendor Materials" shall be identified in the proposal and the vendor shall grant the district(s) indicated in the MOU a license to use such materials for at least the duration of the contract between the district(s) and the vendor.
Submission Instructions: Submit five (5) sets, each with an original signature of all authorizing signatories for the participating district(s), collaborative(s), and vendor.

Mail to: Kat Johnston
Office of Educator Policy, Preparation, & Leadership
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906

AND

One (1) electronic version of the response (Microsoft Word or PDF format) on a CD, DVD or flash drive.


Last Updated: May 24, 2013
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