Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2020: Early Literacy Screener Pilot Grant

Fund Code: 735


The purpose of the competitive state-funded Early Literacy Screener Pilot Grant is to provide grant funding to a select number of schools to implement and analyze the benefits of a high-quality early literacy screening assessment with all students grades k-2 and to provide feedback to DESE on the piloted assessments for future use.

The Center for Instructional Support (CIS) approved early literacy screener vendors for a Master Service Agreement (MSA) to provide literacy assessment screening tools and a support and training package to educators and administrators on administration, data collection and data analysis. The screening assessments to be piloted have all met strict criteria for being:

  1. Valid and Reliable
  2. Scientifically-Based
  3. Brief
  4. Administered three times per year
  5. Code- and Meaning-based and/or a Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) Assessment

The Department anticipates the final approval of the following screeners according to the above criteria, for inclusion on a Master Service Agreement:

  1. ISIP Early Reading Assessment

  2. Lexia™ RAPID Assessment

  3. MAP® Growth Reading

  4. STAR Early Literacy and STAR Reading Assessments

Schools awarded funding for the Early Literacy Screener Pilot Grant will be matched with, and funded to purchase, one of the approved assessments and the associated training and support package. Applicants will rank the vendors in order of their preference (or indicate no preference) through the application process. DESE will match each selected school with one of the approved vendors.

The funding will support all the school's K-2 educators and at least one administrator to participate in professional learning, provided by the vendor, that includes:

  • Training on the purpose and administration of the screener
  • Training and support in data collection and data analysis, including using data to identify students who are at risk


The priority of this grant program is to pilot and evaluate a variety of assessments to gather data to provide guidance to the field for selection of high-quality screening assessments. Through this grant, approved vendors will support early literacy administrators and educators in participating schools for SY 2019/2020 to:

  • Implement and sustain screening assessment best practices and tools throughout the school year (administration 3 times/year)
  • Identify what skills students have and have not mastered using an effective assessment system (administration and analysis)

DESE will collect and analyze data for the purpose of providing the field with valuable information on each piloted literacy screening assessment.


This grant program is designed for school teams (comprised of teachers and at least one administrator). Districts interested in more than one school participating will submit a single grant application that includes a separate budget and narrative for each school (see Part II and III- Required Program Information).

Schools applying to be part of the grant must commit all teachers in grades kindergarten through two and at least one school-based administrator to participate in all grant activities, including:

  • Administering the assessment according to the training and guidelines for administration provided by the publisher, to all children in grades K-2, three times during the school year
  • Training and support from the vendor, including but not limited to the following topics:
    • Purposes of the assessment
    • Administration of the assessment
    • Data collection
    • Data analysis
    • Identification of students at risk, including participation in data meetings as specified in the training and support package
  • Participate in all required aspects of evaluation of this pilot which may include but is not limited to: completing feedback surveys on the assessment and its implementation, participating in interviews, coordinating school visits by DESE staff or contractors.

Competitive priority will be given to schools that have been identified in need of focused/targeted support by DESE.


A total of approximately $100,000 is projected to be available and will be distributed based on the total cost of the assessment tools and training and support packages chosen and the number of quality proposals submitted and approved.

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 guideline as listed in the initial RFP document.

Funding Type:


Fund Use:

Fund use must be consistent with the priorities described above and requirements associated with the funding source. Funds must be used for the following:

Purchase of approved early literacy screener site licenses, for a minimum of one-year period, and covering all students in the building grades K-2
Purchase of a one-year training and support package from the assessment vendor

Project Duration:

Upon approval through 6/30/2020

Program Unit:

Center for Instructional Support

Tracey Martineau
Phone Number:

(413) 519-8426 (cell)

Date Due:

Letter of Intent to apply for the Early Literacy Screener Pilot Grant funding: All districts intending to apply to participate in this grant opportunity must complete a Letter of Intent indicating the which schools will be applying for funds by 5:00 p.m. Friday, June 14, 2018.

Complete proposals are due by Friday, June 28, 2019. Applicants may submit proposals before the grant deadline.

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.

Required Forms:

Districts applying for funding must submit a grant application that includes all of the following required forms:

Completed Proposals will include:

Download Word Document
Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)

Download Excel Document
Part II — Budget Detail Pages workbook (include both pages.)
Note: Complete a budget for each Assessment

Download Word Document
Part III — Required Program Information — Grant Narrative Form

Download Word Document
Part IV — Assurance from Participating School

Download Word Document
Part V — School District Assurance

Additional Information:
Download Word Document
Pilot Screening Fees

Submission Instructions:

Email the Budget Detail Pages workbook, required program information, and related documents to

Awarded Recipients: Upon award, recipients will be required to enter the approved budget, and attach the Part I, Part III and Addendum in EdGrants. Once selected, recipients will be contacted with further instructions on the process.

Last Updated: May 29, 2019

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