Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Go to Selected Program Area
Massachusetts State Seal
Students & Families Educators & Administrators Teaching, Learning & Testing Data & Accountability Finance & Funding About the Department Education Board  

Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2014

Professional Practice Innovation Grant
Fund Code: 213

Purpose: The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is offering a competitive grant opportunity to support innovative districts committed to advancing professional practice by integrating implementation of two of the state's highest priority projects: the educator evaluation system and the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Funding will support initiatives designed to build the capacity of teachers and/or specialized instructional support personnel and administrators to fully implement the rigorous standards of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, in a way that is fully aligned with the Massachusetts educator evaluation system.

Districts may propose initiatives that connect specific elements of the educator evaluation system to the implementation of any of the state's curriculum frameworks. Districts may propose work with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English language arts and literacy, mathematics, history and social science, science and technology/engineering, the arts, foreign languages, comprehensive health, or any of the vocational/technical frameworks. Districts must include both administrators and teachers and/or specialized instructional support personnel in their proposal.

The district's grant strategy must be aligned with and support district improvement plans and must result in teacher and administrator practice that fully supports the rigorous implementation of the specified framework(s).

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will regard awardees of this grant as innovators in advancing professional practice. The Department will collect, document, and share promising practices developed by awardees through this grant program in order to inform other Massachusetts districts.

Statewide goal and priorities: This grant program supports the state's overarching goal, to prepare all students for success after high school. Grant funds will contribute to this goal by supporting the following state priorities:
  • Strengthen curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  • Improve educator effectiveness
District standards: Activities funded under this grant may support any or all of the following four standards identified by ESE's District Standards and Indicators:
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Assessment
  • Human resources and professional development
  • Student support
Priorities: All grant applications must propose initiatives in two focus areas that will advance educators' professional practice and capacity for implementing the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Districts are required to propose an initiative in the Curriculum and Planning focus area (Standard 1-A on all educator evaluation rubrics). Districts may choose a second focus area from the list below.

The proposed work for all focus areas must involve both teachers/specialized instructional support personnel and administrators working on the same educator evaluation standards and curriculum frameworks. The only exception is work in the focus area of Professional Development and Career Growth, which is an educator evaluation indicator that applies to administrators only.

Although educators must work on the same evaluation standards and curriculum frameworks within each focus area, districts may choose to work with different curriculum frameworks and educator groups for each focus area.

Districts may choose their second focus area from the list below:
  • Assessment
  • Access to knowledge
  • Quality of effort and work
  • Diverse learners' needs
  • High expectations
  • Family collaboration
  • Professional collaboration
  • Professional development and career growth
The Educator Evaluation Rubric Crosswalk designed for this coordinated grant program (see Additional Information section) shows how these focus areas align to specific educator evaluation standards and indicators for teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, and administrators.

The Examples of Grant Initiatives, also in Additional Information, offers examples of potential initiatives for each focus area to further assist districts with their proposals. Districts should not be limited by these examples and are invited to develop their own initiatives for connecting the implementation of educator evaluation and the curriculum frameworks.

When designing grant proposals, applicants should refer to the additional tools and resources available from ESE to support effective implementation of the District Standards and Indicators: the standards that define the characteristics of an effective school district. Use of these additional standards and resources is optional, with the exception of the Massachusetts Standards for Professional Development. Applicants proposing initiatives within the professional development and career growth focus area are required to submit a grant application narrative explaining how the proposed professional development meets these standards and/or the process they will use to develop a plan for their district or school that ensures their proposed PD meets those standards.

The tools and resources available are listed below. All districts must also identify on the application form the implementation benchmarks and outcomes they will use to assess progress for each funded initiative.

As a condition of this grant, recipients will be expected to participate in state activities to evaluate and share the promising practices developed through use of these grant funds. Awarded districts will be asked to share their work with colleagues through conferences, publications, and/or websites organized by ESE. Districts may also be asked to participate in research or evaluation activities related to their funded activities.
Eligibility: This grant is available to all Massachusetts public school districts, including charter schools.
Funding: The total allocation for this grant program is $195,000. Districts may apply individually or in groups, but districts applying in groups must identify a district to take responsibility for grant management and reporting.

The exact number of grant recipients will depend on the availability of funds and the grant amounts requested. Average awards are anticipated to range from $25,000 to $35,000 per district. The maximum award for any individual district or group of districts is $40,000.
Fund Use: Districts may use funds for planning and implementation. Fund use must be consistent with applicable state and/or federal requirements. Districts are allowed to budget funds at both the district level and school level.

Allowable expenditures include:
  1. Stipends for educators
  2. Substitute expenses
  3. Curriculum materials
  4. Contracts for external partners to support district work
  5. In-state travel to attend ESE conferences related to the project
  6. Other reasonable costs associated with project implementation
Unallowable expenditures:
  1. Contract buyouts
  2. Capital expenses
  3. Purchase of technology, computer software, or hardware, unless a compelling case can be made as to why these materials are necessary to complete grant-funded work
All expenditures will be closely reviewed as they relate to the priorities of this grant opportunity.
Project Duration: Upon Approval - 8/31/2014
Program Unit: Office of Planning and Research
Contact: Cheryl Clinch
Phone Number: (781) 338-3125
Date Due: Monday, September 30, 2013
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: Parts I and II (Includes the Standard Contract and Application for Program Grants and Budget Detail Pages)
  2. Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  Application Form
Additional Information:
  1. Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  Educator Evaluation Rubric Crosswalk
  2. Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  Examples of Grant Initiatives
  3. Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  Massachusetts Planning and Implementation Framework
Submission Instructions:
  1. Submit one electronic copy, excluding original signature page, to Cheryl Clinch at
  2. Submit five print copies of all application materials plus one print copy of the signature page with the original signature of the Superintendent or Executive Director to:

    Cheryl Clinch
    Office of Planning and Research
    Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street
    Malden, MA 02148-4906

Last Updated: August 5, 2013
E-mail this page| Print View| Print Pdf  
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Search·Public Records Requests · A-Z Site Index · Policies · Site Info · Contact ESE