FY16 Fund Code 274 Alert and FAQs - Special Education: Program Improvement Grant
The Special Education Planning and Policy Office (SEPP) is pleased to announce that the Fund Code 274 Special Education Program Improvement Grant is available for FY16.
With the articulated priority of Results-Driven Accountability by the Federal Office of Special Education Programs, the purpose of this federally-funded program improvement grant opportunity is to promote professional development activities, aligned with the Massachusetts Standards for Professional Development, which will advance the knowledge, skills, and capacity of educators to meet the diverse needs of students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), ages three through 21, in order to support improved educational results and functional outcomes for these students.
Is the FY16 274 grant similar to last year?
Yes. To support effective planning and the strategic use of grant funds in FY2016, ESE assigned each eligible public school district and educational collaborative to one of two groups based on the 2014 district Determinations of Need for Special Education Technical Assistance or Intervention.
The grant priorities for these two groups will share a common purpose, required program information (narrative), and opportunities for training and networking opportunities; however, the grant funding and priorities are differentiated by group. It is important that districts review which group they have been assigned to this year because some assignments have changed from last year.
How are the groups assigned?
Group 1: Public school districts that are in special education determination categories Meets Requirements-At Risk (MRAR) or Needs Technical Assistance (NTA) are assigned to Group 1.
Group 2: Public school districts that are in special education determination categories Meets Requirements (MR), Meets Requirements - Provisional (MR-P), Needs Intervention (NI), Needs Substantial Intervention (NSI), or do not have an accountability rating (NR), e.g., educational collaboratives, are assigned to Group 2.
How do I know if my district is in Group 1 or Group 2?
It is important that school districts review the most current special education determination information to determine to which group they have been assigned for Fund Code 274 eligibility because some have changed from last year. Fund code 274 group assignments for eligible districts and educational collaboratives are listed in the Additional Information section of the RFP.
Are there different priorities for Group 1 and Group 2?
Yes. Please review the Priority section of the RFP.
How many priorities can I select?
Each eligible organization may apply for professional development activities under one priority. The district can engage in several activities under the selected priority area as long as the activities are related to that priority in a strategic and meaningful way.
What types of activities should we be considering?
Details regarding suggested activities and examples for demonstrating educators' proficiency are outlined for each priority option in the Required Forms section of the RFP.
Can my district use this year's funds to build on initiatives that were started with last year's 274 grant money, or other district initiatives?
Yes. ESE encourages districts to provide in-depth, comprehensive professional development that builds on previous learning. If last year's PD generated positive results and is something that was able to advance the knowledge, skills, and capacity of educators to meet the diverse needs of students with IEPs, then districts may continue or further develop the previous initiative.
My proposed activities incorporate more than one priority. How should I note that in my application?
ESE encourages districts to use 274 grant funds strategically. While PD activities proposed under this grant must target outcomes related to one of the priorities outlined in the RFP, districts may use multiple strategies and various topics may be blended to improve outcomes in the targeted priority area.
If your proposal includes activities that fall under more than one priority, please select the priority that most closely aligns with the desired outcomes of your overall plan for professional development and articulate the appropriate connections in your application.
If my district is in a different Group than last year, can I continue similar PD activities?
Yes. As stated above, ESE encourages districts to build on previous learning as long as the previously offered PD generated positive results.
The PD activities proposed under this grant must target outcomes related to one of the FY16 group's priorities, as outlined in the RFP. It is important for these districts to select a priority area that most closely aligns with the overall plan for professional development and articulate the appropriate connections in the application.
Can my district collaborate with other districts in my region?
Yes. ESE encourages districts to strategically plan robust PD options with other districts in their region.
If your proposal includes collaborative planning with other districts, each participating district should select the priority best aligned with the desired outcomes of its work and note the collaboration in the application.
What would a S.M.A.R.T. goal look like for the 274 PD grant application?
High Quality PD has clear goals and objectives relevant to desired student outcomes. For the 274 grant, please ensure:
- the professional development goal specifies intended student outcomes.
- the educator learning objective specifies changes in knowledge, skills, and practices necessary to achieve the intended student outcomes.
- learning objectives are written in SMART format.
Examples of S.M.A.R.T. Goals for PD are provided by the ESE Center for Educator Effectiveness and are located in the Additional Information section of the RFP.
How do I fill out the workbook?
Instructions for completing the FY16 274 workbook are located in the Additional Information section of the RFP.
My district completes grant applications using the "Schedule A" to include several districts. Does each district need to complete a separate application?
No. You should continue to use the "Schedule A" and apply only once.
My district uses the "Schedule A" which includes several districts. Some of the districts are in Group 1 and others are in Group 2. Which Group should we use when applying for the grant?
When completing the grant application, the Group that is indicated for the lead district should be used.
Please contact Helen Skulski at 781-338-3379.