Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2021: Targeted Assistance Grant (TAG)

Fund Codes: 222/325

Purpose:

The purpose of this targeted grant program is to provide funding to the state's lowest performing schools and districts to support the development and implementation of Sustainable Improvement Plans (formerly 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 Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is committed to supporting sustained improvement in low performing schools so that all students have access to high quality, culturally relevant learning opportunities that prepare them for successful futures through 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

The TAG combines funds for state targeted assistance as well as federal school improvement funding. It will distribute funds for a subset of schools identified as "Requiring Assistance or Intervention" in the Massachusetts Accountability System.

Priorities:

Targeted Assistance Grant funds are expected to support the development and implementation of Sustainable Improvement Plans that align with the four Massachusetts Turnaround Practices Download PDF Document.

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 two TAG categories in which schools are eligible: Implementation Grants and Subgroup Only Performance Grants.

Note: As part of their participation in the Targeted Assistance Grant program, most schools will receive either an in-person or virtual Targeted Site Visit (TSV) or a Monitoring Site Visit (MSV) from an external provider during the course of SY 2020-21. Schools that are eligible for funding solely on low performing student subgroups will not receive a site visit. For more information about TSVs and MSVs, please visit Monitoring Site Visits (MSVs) and Targeted Site Visits (TSVs) or see the MSV/TSV document below in Additional Documents.

Eligibility:

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 Targeted Assistance Grants: District Allotments attachment in the Additional Information section of this RFP provides a list of eligible districts, total district grant allocations, and a list of schools eligible to receive grant funds. Note: Federal regulations allow for district-level activities, as long as they primarily support CSI and TSI schools. Districts can also use funds on non-eligible schools if they have more Title I SIG funds than they need to serve their CSI and TSI schools.
  • The Part II Budget Workbook is designed to provide how much TAG funding is going to each school. The workbook also provides the cover page that needs to be signed. (See Funding section of this RFP, below.)

School-Level Eligibility Criteria:

Schools that are in the lowest 5 percentiles overall or are designated as underperforming on our state accountability system are required to participate. Schools that are in the 6th–10th percentiles and those above the 10th percentile that have a subgroup in the lowest 5 percentiles are eligible but are not required to participate. Some districts will receive a combination of Federal and State funding. Exceptions include:

  • Schools receiving FY21 School Redesign Grant funding through fund code 539
  • Schools in the Strategic Transformation region
  • Charter schools and virtual schools

The Grant Narrative Application attachment in the Required Forms section of this RFP provides additional details about the activities being supported by the grant.

Funding Type:

Funding for the grant will come from federal and state funds:

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

  • Fund Code 222: State Targeted Assistance

Funding:

Approximately $3,540,000 is available, with $2,510,000 available through Federal Title I School Improvement funds (fund code 325), and approximately $1,030,000 through State Targeted Assistance funds (fund code 222) to be distributed among the eligible districts. Funding is available for sustainable improvement planning and plan implementation for schools in percentiles 1–10 in the Massachusetts DESE Accountability System and schools with student groups in percentiles 1–5 relative to the same student group statewide.

Funding amounts are prioritized for schools:

  1. In percentiles 1–5 that are implementing existing improvement plans;
  2. In percentiles 6–10 that are implementing existing improvement plans;
  3. Schools above the 10th percentile with student groups in percentiles 1–5 implementing existing sustainable improvement plans;
  4. Schools above the 10th percentile with student groups in percentiles 1–5 developing sustainable improvement plans.

Districts with multiple schools eligible for TAG funding are encouraged to allocate funding to schools based on these priorities, but have flexibility to distribute funds in alignment with district goals, priorities, and other school improvement resources that may be available.

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 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:

Allowable expenditures include district and school costs associated with:

  1. the implementation of key strategies described in schools' sustainable improvement plans.
  2. district and school progress monitoring of sustainable improvement plan implementation and outcomes and development of renewal plans.
  3. additional expenses necessary to support sustainable improvement plan implementation due to COVID-19. Note: this excludes COVID-related costs that can be covered through other funding sources, such as the Coronarvirus Relief Fund (CvRF) School Reopening Grant (Fund code 102).

See the Fund Use Recommendations for Targeted Assistance Grants attachment in the Additional Information portion of this RFP for detailed examples of appropriate use of funds.

Unallowable Expenditures include:

  • Costs that supplant1 district allocations and expenditures to the school
  • Out of state travel
  • Contract buyouts
  • Capital expenses
  • Food or beverages
  • Pre-existing student transportation costs
  • Personal protective equipment

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

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:

Fund Code 222: (State funds): Upon Approval – 6/30/2021*

Fund Code 325: (Federal funds): Upon Approval – 8/31/2021

*Note: DESE will allow state funded FC 222 applicants to reapply for unspent balances in FY22 (summer of 2021). To utilize this extension, grantees will need to reduce FY21 grant funds down in the spring to what will be expended. Once the FY22 funding opportunity is active in EdGrants, districts will be notified to enter in a grant for the balance. The project duration of those grants funds will be 7/1/2021 – 8/31/2021.

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

Program Unit:

Statewide System of Support, Center for District Support

Contact:

Office of Regional Support Program Specialist

Abigail T. Slayton

Phone Number:

(781) 338-3517

Date Due:

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Proposals with all required attachments must be uploaded to EdGrants on or before the date due.

Required Forms:
Download Excel Document
Budget Workbook
  • FY2021 Part I Signed Cover Page: The district will submit a PDF of the Signature Page of the FY21 Budget Workbook as an attachment in EdGrants. The PDF must include a signature from the authorized signatory for the district.

    The attached Excel workbook contains the total district allocation for each eligible school. This workbook is intended for the applicant to use as part of planning discussions to prepare for officially entering it into EdGrants, and for DESE federal reporting.

  • Budgets for both 222 and 325 will be entered directly into EdGrants as part of the application submission process.

Download Word Document
Part III — Targeted Assistance Grant Application/Narrative

Additional Information:
Download Excel Document
Targeted Assistance Grants: District Amounts (list of eligible districts, total district grant allotments by funding source, and schools eligible)
Download Word Document
Fund Use Recommendations for Targeted Assistance Grants
Download Word Document
Monitoring Site Visit (MSV) and Targeted Site Visit (TSV) FAQ

Submission Instructions:

Submit all required grant materials through EdGrants.

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

  • FY21 222 TAG (Applicant Name) and/or
    FY21 325 TAG (Applicant Name)

All items listed under the required forms section of this RFP should be uploaded / attached in the Attachments List formlet 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 Targeted Assistance Grant Application, and Sustained Improvement Plans. The final budget the applicant is requesting will be entered directly into EdGrants as part of the application submission process.

For guidance regarding EdGrants, visit EdGrants: User Guides, Information and Trainings.


1 Refer to "Supplement, Not Supplant Quick Reference Guide" at General Resources for Federal Grant Programs.

Last Updated: September 8, 2020

 
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