DESE provides financial resources to Broad/Comprehensive and Focused/Targeted Schools through a series of competitive and allocation grants.
Turnaround Assistance Grant
The Targeted Assistance Grant (TAG) is additional funding for Massachusetts schools requiring assistance or intervention based on accountability and assistance ushered in by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Massachusetts Accountability System. The TAG combines funds for state targeted assistance as well as federal school improvement funding for over 100 schools identified as "Requiring Assistance or Intervention" in the Massachusetts Accountability System.
Districts with one or more schools identified under the Massachusetts District and School Accountability System for focused/targeted and broad/comprehensive support are eligible for this grant opportunity. There are several TAG categories within which schools are eligible: Planning Grants, Implementation Grants, and Subgroup Performance Only Grants. Across all grant categories, the grant-funded activities that districts and schools engage in are expected to fall into two broad categories:
- Planning and Pre-Implementation activities
- Activities supporting the implementation of sustainable improvement plans
The TAG focuses on the development and implementation of sustainable improvement plans, in alignment with ESSA mandates and Massachusetts’ best practices. Funding allocations are tiered, based upon school percentiles and whether or not schools have an existing sustainable improvement plan. Schools without a plan will receive funding and support to develop a high-quality sustainable improvement plan. Schools with an existing plan will receive funding and support for plan implementation.
Statewide System of Support Regional Assistance teams can discuss TAG options and assist in efforts toward the development of grant proposals if needed. For more information on the TAG, including everything needed to apply, please visit FY2020: Targeted Assistance Grant (TAG).
School Redesign Grants
School Redesign Grants (SRG) are federally-funded, competitive grants that help districts improve their lowest performing schools. Grants are awarded to help districts and schools meet students' needs through funding improvement strategies such as increased time for student learning, professional development for educators, and academic enrichment programs for students. Each year eligibility is determined by the lowest performing schools in the Commonwealth based on our state's accountability system. To apply, the school needs to demonstrate certain elements are in place to ensure the flexibilities needed for rapid school improvement are accessible. Then the school and district coordinate to submit an application in the spring. In addition to the written application, the school and district leaders will also participate in an interview process to determine which schools will be awarded funds. Those schools that are awarded funds are notified before the end of the school year for funds available in the upcoming school year. Schools will then have three years to spend the SRG funds.
An integral component of SRG involves schools developing, implementing, and revising a turnaround plan, which guides the approach to rapid school improvement. The turnaround plan is to be updated each year the school receives the grant. The turnaround plan is couched in the research-based best practices for effective school turnaround efforts. Our state has learned a lot since SRG was first implemented in 2010. A majority of the schools that have been identified as underperforming have been exited from underperforming status. Many of the lessons learned from what successful school turnaround looks like can be found at Turnaround Practices Research and Evaluation Reports webpage.
Eligible schools applying for SRG should reference the following resources:
2019-2020 New SRG Funding Opportunity
2019-2020 Renewal SRG Funding Opportunity
2019-2020 New SRG Directions and Scoring Rubric
2019-2020 Renewal SRG Directions and Scoring Rubric
Turnaround Sustainability Toolkit
2019-2020 SRG Process and Applications
Summary of the Review Process, Overall Scoring, and Results
2019-2020 SRG Written Applications
Making Money Matter(M3)
The Making Money Matter (M3) project is part of the Massachusetts Results Driven Accountability (RDA) initiative. This initiative is intended to promote targeted use of federal special education funds in ways that are designed to lead to improved outcomes for students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
M3 districts are required to direct at least 2% of their FY20 total IDEA special education entitlement allocation (Fund Code 240) toward targeted district improvement of performance outcomes for students with disabilities in order to create meaningful and sustainable systemic change and to accelerate progress for students with IEPs. The districts required to participate in M3 are those with:
- A 2018 special education determination level of Needs Assistance (NA), Needs Intervention (NI), or Needs Substantial Intervention (NSI); and
- One or more schools with 2018 MA accountability percentiles 1–10
First year participants engage in a self-assessment process and create an M³ Action Plan and Multi-Year Strategic Plan. For more information about the assessment and planning process, please visit First Year Participation and Planning Year Guidance. Continuing districts implement and/or re-assess their M³ Action Plan and Multi-Year Strategic Plan, making data-based midcourse corrections as needed.
Districts should align M3 initiatives with their district/school improvement plan(s) or Charter School action plan. Furthermore, districts engaged in turnaround are encouraged to use M3 funds in alignment with their turnaround strategies and to prioritize services at schools that have been identified for low subgroup performance in the Students with Disabilities category under the MA Accountability framework.
Districts engaged in school turnaround in partnership with the DESE Statewide System of Support (SSoS) are strongly encouraged to consult with Statewide System of Support Regional Assistance Directors (Coastal and Central Region or Strategic Transformation Region) in the development, implementation, and review of initiatives under this M3 program.
For more information about the M3 initiative and the application process, please visit Making Money Matter (M3).
Please contact (Email: or Tel: 781-338-3517) with any questions related to M3. Abigail T. Slayton
Helpful M3 Guidance
M3 Video Conference Slides
Making Money Matter (M3)
M3 First Year Participation and Planning Year Guide