The purpose of this competitive Remote Learning Technology Essentials Program is to provide supplemental funds to support Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in addressing remaining remote learning technology needs and to ensure that every student has adequate access to technology for use in remote learning environments during the 2020-21 school year. Funds under this program, in addition to those made available under other federal grant programs, may be used to support technology needs addressed following the March 13, 2020 COVID-19 emergency.
LEAs may propose to use grant funds in one or more of the following focus areas:
Focus Area 1: Internet
Applicants can request funds to provide up to 12 months of internet for student households that do not currently have sufficient internet access to meet the needs of the student(s) in the household. When identifying solutions, LEAs should consider the internet options listed below as well as any other options that meet the LEA's unique needs.
- Option A: Single-payer Plan — LEA purchases low-cost broadband internet packages and distributes account information to families of students in need, covering up to 12 months of internet service
- Option B: Mobile Hotspots — LEA purchases and/or leases mobile hotspots and distributes the devices to families of students in need, covering up to 12 months of data usage
- Option C: Other — LEA proposes other solutions that will address the unique needs of students not covered by options A or B.
Focus Area 2: Devices
Applicants can request funds to purchase and/or lease devices to distribute to students who currently do not have access to an individual device at home that meets the needs of the student. Devices can also include assistive technology to meet the needs of students with IEPs.
Priority considerations for this grant will be given to applicants that have the greatest unmet need for devices and internet service as of the date of this grant posting, and fewer local funding resources to meet those needs (as measured by Chapter 70 state school aid program). If available grant funding permits, DESE will also consider matching a portion of expenditures incurred prior to grant submission.
Applicants that receive grant funding for remote learning technology needs must commit to the following:
- Ensuring that all students in the LEA have an individual device and sufficient internet access to meet the student's remote learning needs, including adequate technology solutions to ensure that the needs of economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and English learners are met.
- Allowing students to take/keep devices at home during "out of school time" (summer, extended closures, remote learning periods, etc.) for remote learning purposes.
- Partnering with DESE to provide information around technology needs and challenges throughout the 2020-2021 school year (including access to devices and internet, related academic programming, and student engagement) to inform continued state strategy and supports.
- Aligning remote learning plans to the Department's remote learning guidance, including adopting a high-quality curriculum and associated professional development for teachers and instructional leaders, as necessary.
Any Local Education Agency (LEA) in Massachusetts that serves students who currently do not have access to adequate technology to use for remote learning purposes is eligible to apply.
- Funding Type:
Federal CFDA 84.425
A total of $25 million will be available for disbursement to match technology-related expenses LEAs plan to commit prior to September 30, 2020. DESE will base each applicant's match percentage on their relative wealth, using the same aggregate income and property wealth data used in the Chapter 70 formula. Lower wealth LEAs will receive higher match percentages than higher wealth LEAs. All funding must be expended by December 30, 2020. Awards will be structured as cost-reimbursement grants, meaning that recipients will be expected to incur expenses or provide purchase order documentation before receiving any funds from the Commonwealth.
- Fund Use:
Remote Learning Technology Essentials funds must be used to support LEA efforts to ensure all students have access to devices and internet services necessary to access remote learning opportunities. The purchase and/or lease of devices, hotspots, or contracts with internet providers must be reasonable, appropriate, and consistent with all applicable state requirements.
- Project Duration:
Upon Approval – 12/30/2020
- Program Unit:
Center for Strategic Initiatives
- Phone Number:
- Date Due:
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Proposals must be received by the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.
- Required Forms:
Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page — (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)
Part II — Budget Detail
Part III — Required Program Information Form
Part IV — Grant Assurances
- Additional Information:
Applicants that wish to be eligible for possible grant funding to match a portion of expenses incurred between 3/13/2020 and the date of application submission must also submit proofs of purchase that align to device and internet expenses outlined in Part III.
Email all required forms in their original Word or Excel formats (e.g., not converted to a PDF) with the exception of the signed Part I and Part IV documents which should be signed, scanned and converted to PDF, to . RLTE@mass.gov
Please note that Part III of the grant materials must be submitted with the following naming convention: RLTE_PartIII_LEA#, where the applicant must change "LEA#" to the applicant's individual LEA code.
Upon award, recipients will be required to enter the approved budget in EdGrants and upload required documents. Grant recipients will be contacted with further instructions on the process.