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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2021: Integrating Social and Emotional Learning into Academic Learning

Fund Code: 151


The goal of this federally funded competitive grant program is to build school and district capacity to:

  • Engage in explicit teaching and learning of social and emotional (SE) skills/competencies that are integrated and applied throughout all subject areas; and/or
  • Measure students' SE skills and competencies and effectively use data to identify areas of need and support students to develop specific skills/competencies within a tiered system of support.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently released Creating Positive Learning Environments: Recommendations and Resources to Support the Social Emotional Well-being of Students, Staff, and Families (Summer 2020) Download Word Document, to help districts and schools prioritize and support the social emotional well-being of students, staff, and families as they prepare for the new school year.

Even during a pandemic, our job as educators is to create a safe and healthy learning environment that is joyful, engaging, and equitable for every child. In Massachusetts, we have demonstrated immense resilience and creativity in dealing with this complex situation. Whether operating in-person, remotely, or through a combination of the two, the public education system plays a pivotal role in supporting students, families, and communities.

This grant offers schools and districts funding to build upon efforts to implement and sustain safe and supportive learning environments and attend to students' needs in a holistic and integrated way, particularly now as we are all learning and adjusting to the new complexities of the world around us.


Through this grant, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and/or its partners will provide, in addition to the grant funds, technical assistance, professional development and/or coaching to support school and/or district teams in one or more of the following priority areas.

  • Priority 1 — The Social and Emotional Learning Indicator System (SELIS) survey supports a strength-based, tiered approach to developing students' social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies. Developed by researchers in partnership with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SELIS identifies students' self-reported SEL strengths in five core competencies. The data enables educators to support students in areas in need of development within a tiered system of support. DESE will provide participating districts with SELIS data and technical assistance to make meaning of the SEL data in an integrated system of support.

  • Priority 2 — Using Service-Learning (SL) to Teach and Reinforce SE Skills Across Content Areas (SL/SEL Integration): This priority is designed to support teachers' instruction, boost students' collaborative skills, and spark students' interest in future civic work. Participants will create and implement units that use service-learning to integrate SEL, content instruction and civics education to support students to develop SE skills/competencies.

    1. General SEL and Academic Integration through SL: Teams will engage in professional development to understand what explicit teaching of SEL is and begin to develop an integrated SEL/SL project connected to the content-area(s) and at the grade-level(s) of their choosing.

    2. Pilot Evidence-Based Connect Science (4th Grade SEL, Science, SL Unit): Participants will learn about and implement the Connect Science Energy evidence-based curricula, a 12-week project-based learning unit through which fourth graders explore the topics of energy and natural resources in depth and engage in science through service-learning. The program prepares students to be knowledgeable and engaged citizens who can collaborate with others to solve community problems. Participating fourth grade teachers will implement the standards aligned unit with their students.

    3. Connect Science Design (3rd – 5th Grade): Teams will engage in professional development to design and plan standards aligned units of study that use Connect Science's interdisciplinary SL approach for grades three through five. These units will build upon the district's existing science curricular materials and/or other vetted materials, and will include explicit teaching and deeper learning related to SE competencies. Note: Applicants under this category must have previously participated in Connect Science Energy.

Competitive priority for SELIS will be given to districts with:

  • 2019 VOCAL safety scores within the bottom 20% of districts classified.
  • Large 2019 VOCAL safety score gap between black and white students.

Competitive priority for SL/SEL Integration will be given to districts designated as requiring assistance or intervention, as well as districts in receivership.

Please see the Additional Information section below, as well as Part III — Required Program Information for full details about the key grant activities and grant requirements for each of the above priorities.


All Massachusetts public school districts and collaboratives are eligible to apply.

Funding Type:

Federal (CFDA) 84.424


Approximately $300,000 is available.

Applicants may apply for one or more of the listed priorities as follows.

  • Priority 1 — SELIS: up to $10,000 (up to 10 districts will be funded under this category)
  • Priority 2 — SL/SEL Integration: up to $30,000 ($10,000 each for 2a, 2b and 2c above, as applicable)

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

Fund Use:

Funds may be used to support stipends for staff engaged in grant activities, substitutes, materials and or supplies.

Project Duration:

Upon Approval (anticipated around December 15, 2020) – 8/31/2021

Pending appropriation and the meeting of all grant requirements, awarded applicants will be eligible for a one-year continuation grant in FY22 (9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022) to support continued participation.

Program Unit:

Student and Family Support


Kristen McKinnon

Phone Number:

(781) 338-6306

Date Due:

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

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

Required Forms:
Download Word Document
Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page — (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)
Download Excel Document
Part II — Budget Details
Download Word Document
Part III — Required Program Information

Additional Information:

More details on each grant priority area:

  1. SELIS Overview and Key Requirements Download Word Document

  2. (2a. – 2c.) SL/SEL Integration Overview and Key Requirements Download Word Document: Applicants should reference this document for additional details about the SL/SEL Integration opportunities and the key grant requirements. In addition, please see the (2b.) Connect Science Energy — Year 1 Download Word Document details for more information about the Connect Science Energy unit and the school year 2020-2021 requirements.

Submission Instructions:

Please email all required forms to with the subject line "FC 151 Application"

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

Last Updated: October 1, 2020

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