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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2019: Turnaround Assistance Grant

Fund Codes: 222/325

The purpose of this non-competitive grant program is to provide funding to the state's lowest performing schools and districts to support the development and implementation of turnaround plans that:


This grant supports Massachusetts' goals for increasing student achievement by expanding school districts' capacity to support and educate students with the greatest needs. The goal of Massachusetts' public K-12 education system is to prepare all students for success after high school. DESE's five core strategies Download PDF Document to accelerate the pace of school improvement across the Commonwealth are:

  1. Strengthening standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  2. Promoting educator development
  3. Supporting social-emotional learning, health, and safety
  4. Turning around the state's lowest performing districts and schools
  5. Enhancing resource allocation and data use

The Turnaround Assistance Grant funds prioritize DESE's Core Strategy #4 Download Word Document: Turning around the state's lowest performing districts and schools

We aim to turn around underperforming schools and districts by supporting sustained improvement, so that all students have access to high quality, culturally relevant learning opportunities that prepare them for successful futures. By supporting our lowest performing schools in four core Massachusetts Turnaround Practices:

  1. Establishing a community of practice through leadership, shared responsibility, and professional collaboration,
  2. Employing intentional practices for improving instruction,
  3. Providing student-specific supports and instruction to all students, and
  4. Providing appropriate social, emotional, and behavioral supports in order to create a safe, orderly, and respectful learning environment for students and teachers, schools will achieve meaningful improvements in student learning, so that students are prepared for success after high school.

Additionally, this grant supports Massachusetts' priority focus areas under its plan for implementing the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):

  • Early grades literacy
  • Middle grades math
  • High-quality college and career pathways for high school students
  • Supporting historically disadvantaged students


Turnaround Assistance Grant funds are expected to support the development and implementation of turnaround plans that align with the four Massachusetts Turnaround Practices.

Schools designated solely on the basis of low-performing student subgroups are expected to use grant funds to develop plans and implement evidence-based strategies designed to improve outcomes for identified student subgroups.

Note: As part of their participation in the Turnaround Assistance Grant program, most schools will receive either a Turnaround Site Visit (TSV) or a Monitoring Site Visit (MSV) from an external provider during the course of SY 2018-19. Schools that are eligible for funding solely on the basis of low performing student subgroups will not receive a site visit. For more information about TSVs and MSVs, please refer to the Turnaround Site Visits and Monitoring Site Visits FAQ attachment in the Additional Information section of this RFP.


District-Level Eligibility: 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 grant funding.

  • The Turnaround Assistance Grants: District Allotments attachment in the Additional Information section of this RFP provides a list of eligible districts, total district grant allocations by funding source, and a list of schools eligible to receive grant funds. The list also indicates whether individual schools are eligible to receive federal funds, state funds, or both.
  • The Part II Budget Workbook is also designed to assist districts to appropriately attribute state and federal funds to individual schools based on their eligibility to receive Title I funds. (See Funding section of this RFP, below.)

School-Level Eligibility Criteria: Schools in the lowest 10th percentile on our state accountability system, underperforming schools, and schools with low performing subgroups are eligible for grant funding with the following exclusions/limitations:

  • Schools receiving FY19 funding through fund codes 539 or 511
  • Schools in the Strategic Transformation region
  • Charter schools and virtual schools

Grant Amounts. Allotments are based on the percentile ranking of each eligible school in the MA Accountability Framework. Schools with lower percentile rankings are weighted more heavily than schools with higher percentile rankings. Amounts further were determined on a per school basis based on phase of turnaround implementation and grant category (see below), with a minimum grant amount per eligible district of $10,000.

Grant Categories. Individual school allotments fall into four grant categories: Planning grants, Implementation grants, School Redesign Grant Planning grants, and Subgroup Performance Only grants. The Part III: Grant Narrative Application attachment in the Required Forms section of this RFP provides additional details about the four categories.

Important note regarding funding availability for Planning grants. Due to funding constraints, the following limitations on planning phase grants are in place for districts with more than five eligible schools in that grant category:

Brockton, Springfield, and Worcester are eligible to request planning grants for up to 5 schools without an existing turnaround plan, and

Boston is eligible to request planning grants for up to 10 schools without an existing turnaround plan.

If new schools are identified as low performing through our accountability system, or if more funds become available through Title I or State Targeted Assistance sources, we could make adjustments to the eligibility list or to the amounts for specific districts. The Department will list on this grant posting, on a rolling basis, any additional schools and/or districts and their designated grant allocations and application due dates as they are determined and as new needs emerge and funds become available.

Funding Type:

Fund Code 325: Federal Title I Section 1003 School Improvement Reservation funds (CFDA 84.010)

Fund Code 222: State Targeted Assistance


Up to approximately $3,325,000 in grant funding is available: $2,515,000 through Federal Title I Section 1003 School Improvement funds (Fund Code 325), and $810,000 through State Targeted Assistance funds (Fund Code 222), to be distributed among the eligible districts in the West/Central and Coastal Statewide System of Support regions.

Only Title I schools in the lowest 5th percentile and Title I schools with low-performing subgroups are eligible to receive federal Title I school improvement funding under fund code 325. Schools not meeting federal requirements for FC 325 have been allocated state-level targeted assistance funding under fund code 222. Some districts will receive a combination of Federal and State funding.

Funding is contingent upon availability. All dollar amounts listed are estimated/approximate and are subject to change. If more funding is to become available, it will be distributed under the same guidelines as listed in the initial RFP document.

Funding to individual districts will be approved only after programmatic and budgetary reviews by Department staff as noted above and upon review by the Office of the Governor.

Fund Use:

See the Fund Use Recommendations for Turnaround Assistance Grants, attachment in the Additional Information portion of this RFP, for detailed examples of appropriate use of funds for implementation and planning phase activities. Subgroup only schools can also benefit from referencing this resource to determine the best use of allotted funds through this grant program.

Fund use must be consistent with applicable state and/or federal requirements.

Districts are allowed to budget funds at the district and school level that support the planning, implementation, and progress monitoring and assessment of school turnaround plans.

Federal funding used for such grants will conform to Title I Section 1003 School Improvement State Reservation requirements and/or to State Targeted Assistance funding requirements.

All expenditures will be closely reviewed as they relate to the priorities of this grant opportunity.

Project Duration:

State funds (FC 222): Upon Approval – 6/30/2019

Federal funds (FC 325): Upon Approval – 8/31/19

Important note regarding state-funded grants: state funds must be fully expended by the end of the state FY19 fiscal year (i.e., June 30, 2019).

Important note regarding both state and federal grants: Applicants may only legally claim expenses to the grant starting from the date of final ESE approval. The start date for the grant is the date on which the district submits a substantially approvable budget and Part III narrative for the grant in EdGrants.

Program Unit:

Statewide System of Support, Center for District Support

Office of Regional Support Program Specialist
Abigail T. Slayton
Phone Number:

(781) 338-3517

Date Due:

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Proposals with all required attachments must be uploaded to EdGrants by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.

Required Forms:
Download Excel Document
Workbook: Part I: Signed Cover Page. The district will submit a PDF of the Part I — Signature Page of the FY19 Budget Workbook as an attachment in EdGrants. The PDF must include a signature from the authorized signatory for the district. Part II: Budget Workbook. The attached Excel workbook contains the total district allocation for each eligible schools. This workbook is intended for the applicant to use as part of planning discussions in order to prepare for officially entering it into EdGrants, and for ESE federal reporting.
  • The final state (FC 222) and/or federal (FC 325) budget(s) will be entered directly into EdGrants as part of the application submission process.
  • The completed Part II: Schools Served worksheet, which reflects how the district plans to attribute grant funds to its eligible schools, will be submitted as an attachment in EdGrants.

Download Word Document
Part III: Turnaround Assistance Grant Application. The attached document includes a grant narrative template and instructions for using it to describe how grant funds will be used to support turnaround plan development and implementation. The completed Part III template will be submitted as an attachment in EdGrants.

Turnaround Plans: Districts are required to submit as an attachment in EdGrants an electronic copy of the existing school turnaround plan for each eligible school for which it is requesting implementation grant funding.

Additional Information:
Download Excel Document
Turnaround Assistance Grants: District Amounts (i.e., list of eligible districts, total district grant amounts by funding source, and schools eligible to receive grant funds)
Download Word Document
Fund Use Recommendations for Turnaround Assistance Grants
Download Word Document
Turnaround Site Visits and Monitoring Site Visits FAQ

Submission Instructions:

Submit all required grant materials through EdGrants.

In EdGrants, districts are required to create and name the project. Please use the following naming convention for your "Applicant Project Name" in EdGrants:

FY19 222, 325 Turnaround Assistance Grant (Applicant Name)

All items listed under the required forms section of this RFP should be uploaded / attached in the Attachments List formlet of the Application Submission in EdGrants. This includes a signed / scanned PDF of Part I / Coversheet with Superintendent's signature as well as the Part II Budget Workbook, Part III Turnaround Assistance Grant Application, and Turnaround Plans. The final budget the applicant is requesting will be entered directly into EdGrants as part of the application submission process.

For Guidance Documents regarding EdGrants, visit EdGrants: User Guides and Information.

Please note: It is up to the district to determine who they want to add as EdGrants Front Office users in order to submit grant application as well as payment request information. Please review the EdGrants: User Security Controls to make informed decisions regarding assigning your district level users.

Last Updated: November 13, 2018

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