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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2014

Supplementary Support to School Districts with High Concentrations of At-Risk Students: MassGrad Promising Practices Implementation Grant (Competitive)
Fund Code: 320

Purpose: The purpose of this federally-funded competitive grant opportunity is to provide supplementary support to school districts with high concentrations of students at-risk for not graduating from high school*. Funds may be used for programming at the high school and/or middle school levels. This opportunity is designed to engage selected districts for three years; districts successfully implementing their plans in FY14 will be eligible for continuation grant support in FY15 and FY16 (pending appropriation).

* Eligible students for the purposes of this grant program are school-aged individuals who are at-risk of academic failure or dropping out of high school. These students may have risk factors such as: being pregnant or a parent, having drug or alcohol addiction, previous contact with the juvenile justice system, being at least one year behind the expected grade level for the age of the individual, having limited English proficiency, being a gang member, being a former high school dropout, or having a high absenteeism rate at school.
Priorities: The priority of this grant is to provide at-risk students in grades 6-12 with a variety of research-based, supplementary supports that reduce the number of students dropping out of school and ultimately increase high school graduation rates.

This grant program also supports implementation of Massachusetts' Download PDF document Download MS WORD document   District Standards and Indicators and the Download PDF document Download MS WORD document   state's high priority strategies for increasing student achievement. In so doing, the program serves to strengthen the capacity of school districts to educate the Commonwealth's neediest children.

Specifically, this grant program may be used in support of the following District Standards (and Indicators): Curriculum and Instruction (sufficient instructional time); Assessment (data-based decision-making, student assessment); and Student Support (academic support, access and equity, educational continuity and student participation, services and partnerships to support learning).

In addition, this grant program is intended to support the state's five high priority strategies for increasing student achievement: preparing students for college and career; strengthening curriculum and instruction; improving educator effectiveness; using data effectively to support student achievement; and turning around our lowest performing schools.

Grant applicants must select a least one research-based strategy area in which to focus their implementation activities. The research-based strategy options included in this grant are:
  • Strategy 1: Flexible pathways to meet a range of student needs
  • Strategy 2: Adult advocates for student support
  • Strategy 3: Positive school climate and socio-emotional systems of support
  • Strategy 4: Contextual learning opportunities
  • Strategy 5: Expansion of the school year
Details on the five strategy areas are available in the Research-Based Strategies for Dropout Prevention and Re-Engagement: Descriptions and Resources document provided under "Additional Information."

Grant recipients will be expected to participate in all Department-sponsored evaluations on the effectiveness of the grant program, including the collection of student-level data on student served by the funded programming.
Eligibility: This grant opportunity is open to school districts that meet the following criteria (see the Applicant Eligibility document under "Additional Information" for the list of districts):
  1. The district is not a current recipient of a MassGrad Implementation Award (funded by the Federal High School Graduation Initiative), or a direct recipient of the Federal High School Graduation Initiative grant.
  2. The district has a "chronically" high dropout rates, which for the purposes of this grant is defined by:
    • Meeting or exceeding the state dropout rate of 2.5% in the 2011-12 school year and at least 10 students dropped out in 2011-12, and
    • Meeting or exceeding the state dropout rate (in each respective year) in at least three of the four prior school years (2007-08 through 2010-11).
Funding: Approximately $840,000 is available for FY14 grant awards ranging from $20,000 to $75,000 (see the Applicant Eligibility document under "Additional Information" for the maximum grant amounts by eligible district).
Fund Use: Funds can be used by school districts and schools for costs associated with the implementation of research-based programming targeted to students at-risk of dropping out of school. Allowable uses include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Stipends for newly hired specialists, such as dropout prevention specialists, graduation coaches, or dropout recovery coaches, to work during or after school with at-risk students;
  • Consultant fees associated with programming;
  • Counseling services for at-risk students not already provided by a school or district;
  • Supplies and materials associated with programming (see notes below);
  • Incentives, including out-of-school nutrition and/or health-related fees, such as low-cost or group memberships to community-based organizations working specifically with at-risk students; and
  • Other costs related to creative and effective programs and initiatives addressing one or more of the risk factors exhibited by students in danger of dropping out of school or disrupting the school environment.
Additional Notes:
  • All funds must be used to supplement, not supplant, the use of local funds in meeting the needs of at-risk youth.
  • Snacks and food for staff and students are prohibited by this grant, unless specifically recommended as part of an intervention strategy and also conform to the State's guidelines on healthy nutrition. See 105 CMR: Department of Public Health section 225.100: General Nutrition Standards for Public Schools (attached).
Project Duration: Upon approval - 8/31/2014
Program Unit: Office of College and Career Readiness
Contact: Jenny Curtin jcurtin@doe.mass.edu
Phone Number: (781) 338-6839
Date Due: Friday, November 22, 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 document  Part II Workbook - Budget (II-A) and Budget Narrative (II-B)*
    (Print and mail with the proposal all four budget and budget narrative pages. See important opening instructions at the bottom of this section.)*
    • This four-page budget and budget narrative workbook must be submitted with all School Year and all Summer program applications.
    • Applicants proposing a Summer program that do not receive a FY2014 School Year grant and wish to propose planning and recruitment expenses that take place during the School Year must submit two separate Part II Workbooks with the application in January (one Part II Workbook labeled Fund Code: 596 for expenses that take place before June 30, 2014, and one Part II Workbook labeled Fund Code: 597 for expenses that take place between July 1 and August 31, 2014).
  3. Download PDF document Download MS WORD Document  Part III - Required Program Information
  4. Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  Dropout Reduction Student Support and Intervention Mapping Tool
Additional Information:
  • Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  Applicant eligibility: criteria, funding amounts, and district list
  • Download PDF document Download MS WORD document  Research-Based Strategies for Dropout Prevention and Re-Engagement: Descriptions and Resources
Submission Instructions:
  • Submit one (1) electronic copy of all materials, except the original signature page to: Jenny Curtin at jcurtin@doe.mass.edu
  • Submit two (2) sets with an original signature of the Superintendent/Executive Director. Mail to:

    Jenny Curtin
    Office of College and Career Readiness
    Massachusetts Department of
    Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street
    Malden, MA 02148-4906


Last Updated: October 21, 2013
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