Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2021: Acceleration Academies Grant

Fund Codes: 224/322

Purpose:

The purpose of this targeted grant is to fund the implementation of a specific strategic initiative, the Acceleration Academies, to help turn around some of the Commonwealth's lowest performing districts and schools. The Acceleration Academies are an evidence-based intervention with a history of positive academic results for students.


Districts that receive Acceleration Academies Grant funds must implement the Acceleration Academy model with fidelity, ensuring the program adheres to the following key program components:

  • Acceleration Academies take place during the April school vacation week, during the summer, or both.
  • Instruction is provided in-person.
  • Students can only be assigned to one subject area during an Acceleration Academy week. For example, if a district decides to focus on math and ELA during an April Acceleration Academy, a student can only be assigned to one of those subject areas, not both, during the April Academy week.
  • Students receive 4+ hours of in-person core content instruction each day within a given week or a total of 20+ hours in a week.
  • Class sizes are small (10–12 students/core content teacher).
  • Students are taught by the same core content teacher for the duration of an Acceleration Academy.
  • Classes are taught by highly effective educators who are hired through a selective application process.
  • Teachers selected/hired to teach in the Acceleration Academies receive a $3,500 stipend for each Acceleration Academy they are selected/hired to teach in.

Additionally, Acceleration Academy Grant funds must be used for in-person Acceleration Academy programming. If the district is unable to hold an in-person Acceleration Academy in April, the funds can instead be used for an in-person Acceleration Academy in the summer.

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

This grant supports DESE's Core Strategy #4 Download Word Document: Turning around the state's lowest performing districts and schools.

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
  • Supporting historically disadvantaged students

Eligibility:

Districts that fall into at least one of the categories listed below are eligible to apply for this grant.

Category 1:
Chronically underperforming districts and schools within the Strategic Transformation Region that have been identified under DESE's District and School Accountability System are eligible to apply.

Category 2:
Districts that received Acceleration Academy grant funding through a Target Assistance Grant (TAG) in FY20 are eligible to apply.

Districts that meet the eligibility criteria are:

  • Holyoke Public Schools
  • Lawrence Public Schools
  • Southbridge Public Schools
  • Chelsea Public Schools
  • New Bedford Public Schools
  • Springfield Public Schools for SEZP

Funding Type:

FC: 224 State
FC: 322 Federal CFDA 84.010

Funding:

Approximately $980,000 will be awarded to school districts with the possibility of additional funding in subsequent years. The amount distributed will be based on the size of the district's student population (or, in the case of SEZP, the number of students within SEZP) and funding needs.

Districts may apply for the following amount of funds:

  • Districts with a student population under 5,000 students can apply for up to $105,000.
  • Districts with a student population between 5,000 to 10,000 students can apply for up to $155,000.
  • Districts with a student population over 10,000 students can apply for up to $205,000.

In all cases, 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:

As outlined in the Purpose section, funds must be used to implement the Acceleration Academy model with fidelity and funds must be used for in-person Acceleration Academy programming.

The following districts are targeted to receive state funds (FC: 224):

  • Chelsea Public Schools
  • Lawrence Public Schools
  • Southbridge Public Schools

Allowable expenses for state funds (FC: 224) include:

  • Stipends for teachers, facilitators, support staff (paraprofessionals, school clerks, etc.), and other school staff (custodians, food service staff, etc.)
  • Busing/student transportation
  • Classroom materials
  • Contractual services that support student learning
  • Travel and lodging for out-of-district teachers, if necessary

The following districts are targeted to receive federal funds (FC: 322):

  • Holyoke Public Schools
  • New Bedford Public Schools
  • Springfield Public Schools for SEZP

Allowable expenses for federal funds (FC: 322) include:

  • Stipends for educators (teachers, paraprofessionals, instructional coaches)
  • Busing/student transportation
  • Classroom materials
  • Contractual services that support student learning

Funds may not be used to purchase incentives or specific curricula.

Project Duration:

FC 224 Upon Approval – 6/30/2021*
FC 322 Upon Approval – 8/31/2021

*Fund Code 224 (state funds) can PAC into FY2022 (7/1/2021 – 8/31/2021) if needed, FY2022 signature page and summer budget (7/1/2021 – 8/31/2021) will be required.

Program Unit:

Center for Strategic Initiatives

Contact:

Thomas Zorich
Email address: thomas.zorich@mass.gov
Phone: (781) 338-3528

Date Due:

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 26, 2021.

Required Forms:
Download Word Document
FY2021 Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page
Download Word Document
FY2022 Part I (FC 224 Summer) — General — Program Unit Signature Page (Districts receiving FC 224 funds that would like to use a portion of the funds for summer programming that will take place between 7/1/2021 – 8/31/2021 need to submit this form.)
Download Excel Document
FY2021 Part II — Budget (This is a budget template for the applicant to utilize while preparing their budget request. This is not the final budget. The final budget the applicant is requesting must be entered directly into EdGrants as part of the application submission process.)
Download Excel Document
FY2022 Part II (FC 224 Summer) — Budget (Districts receiving FC 224 funds that would like to use a portion of the funds for summer programming that will take place between 7/1/2021 — 8/31/2021 need to submit this budget as an Attachment in EdGrants.)
Download Word Document
Part III — Required Program Information
Download Word Document
Part IV — Grant Assurances

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 "Application Project Name" in EdGrants:

FY21 [insert fund code] Acceleration Academies Grant - [insert district name]

All required forms should be uploaded / attached in the Attachments List formlet of the Application Submission. All Part I - General - Program Unit Signature Page documents must be wet-signed, scanned, and converted to PDF before being uploaded.

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

Important note for districts receiving FC 322 funds:

Applicants receiving FC 322 funds must complete the Application Submission in EdGrants by entering the FY2021 budget into the Budget Entry page of the Application Submission and attach the forms listed below to the Attachments List formlet of the Application Submission.

Forms to attach:

  • FY2021 Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page
  • Part III — Required Program Information
  • Part IV — Grant Assurances

Important note for districts receiving FC 224 funds:

Applicants receiving FC 224 funds must complete the Application Submission in EdGrants by entering the FY2021 budget into the Budget Entry page of the Application Submission and attach the forms listed below to the Attachments List formlet of the Application Submission.

Forms to attach:

  • FY2021 Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page
  • Part III — Required Program Information
  • Part IV — Grant Assurances

If an applicant plans to use a portion of the FC 224 funds for summer programming that will take place between 7/1/2021 – 8/31/2021, the applicant must also attach the following forms to the Attachments List formlet:

  • FY2022 Part I (FC 224 Summer) — General — Program Unit Signature Page
  • FY2022 Part II (FC 224 Summer) — Budget

Applicants will be notified in Spring of 2021 when to enter in the FY2022 portion of the budget into EdGrants.

Questions?

If you have any questions regarding submissions, please contact Thomas Zorich.


Last Updated: February 2, 2021

 
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