Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2021: Early Childhood Targeted Special Education Program Improvement and Safety Grant

Fund Code: 298


The purpose of this targeted grant funded through Part B, Section 619 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grant funds is to support early childhood special education (ECSE) activities for eligible children ages 3–5 with disabilities, and to support districts to improve high quality programs that provide services documented on students' IEPs through in-person instruction, remote instruction, or a combination of both, with a strong emphasis on providing in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible.

This grant is intended to further ECSE practices that align with priorities identified by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).


The priorities of this grant align with the following DESE goals:

  • Strengthening curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  • Improving educator effectiveness
  • Using data and technology to support student performance
  • Providing school and classroom settings that have been appropriately modified to accommodate health and safety requirements

The following priority areas aligned with the above referenced goals have been identified by DESE as integral to school districts' efforts to build systems that strengthen and improve ECSE practices and outcomes.

All activities must focus on at least one of the below priority areas:

  1. Instruction to increase children's educational outcomes. Activities will be designed to increase children's educational outcomes by making improvements to educator effectiveness through the following areas:

    1. Program improvement costs related to COVID-19
    2. Activities that address state and district health and safety requirements
    3. Activities to improve educational outcomes inclusive of all instructional models i.e. in-person, hybrid and remote learning models
    4. Social/Emotional Skills and Social Relationships
    5. Acquiring and Using Knowledge and Skills
    6. Taking Appropriate Action to Meet Needs
    7. Professional development in and implementation of programs, policies and systems to increase equity and access to early childhood special education services
    8. Exploration and implementation of: Early Childhood PBS and the Pyramid model and the integration of early literacy and PBS.
    9. Coordinated early literacy initiatives
    10. The integration of technology to support data collection and analysis, and progress monitoring to support instruction
    11. Professional development in nonverbal communication, assistive technology, the impact of economic disadvantage, and inclusive practices

  2. Systems to engage effectively with families, Activities related to engaging effectively with families could include:

    1. The development of materials for parents, including handbooks and make-and-take activities
    2. Activities and programs to increase family engagement among families from diverse backgrounds
    3. Positive Solutions for Families
    4. Collaborating with families to plan and develop trainings and activities
    5. Workshops and trainings for parents and educators to develop and strengthen school-family partnerships
    6. Opportunities for trainings on evidence-based strategies to develop cultural competence and community inclusion
    7. Parent to Parent support groups
    8. Connections with outside programs/agencies providing support to families (e.g.., Federation for Children with Special Needs; Preschool PBS through Pyramid Strategies - Positive Solutions Model; Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC); Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grantees)


Grant funds are available to districts and charter schools that service children, aged 3–5, with disabilities in order to support ECSE activities to improve outcomes for hildren with dissaiblities and mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

Grant proposals must provide a one paragraph memo explaining how proposed activities contribute to systemic improvement in at least one of the identified priority areas or to mitigate effects of COVID-19.

Please Note: A large number of eligible grantees for this 274 grant do not have an FY2021 – FY2030 Standard Contract Form (SCF) on file with DESE. Please review this information and take action as soon as possible. Missing SCF can impact start dates on these grant funds.

Funding Type:

Federal U.S. Department of Education CFDA: 84.173

Download Excel Document
FY2021 Fund Code 298 District Funding List

Fund Code 298 is a targeted grant program, made available from federal IDEA-Part B, Section 619 funds, for Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) in public and charter school special education programs that serve children aged 3–5 with disabilities and is subject to the availability of funds. Grant funds were determined using per pupil funding after a base was established.

A base amount was established; then additional funds were allocated based on special education enrollments of children, ages 3–5.

An approximate total of $800,000 is available, subject to federal appropriation.

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:

Grant funds are to be used to support districts' provision of a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for preschool aged children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE), including special education and related services designed to meet their individual needs, including COVID Compensatory Services. . Activities can include, but are not limited to, collaborating with community partners and support programs (e.g., Federation for Children with Special Needs, Pyramid Model Consortium, Pyramid Learning Communities, Massachusetts Early Childhood Leadership Institute, Building Inclusive Communities in Preschool, etc.).

All expenditures must be for the excess costs of special education related to program improvement and the provision of FAPE.

The following are allowable costs:

  • Stipends and Salaries
  • MTRS/fringe
  • tuition costs for college/university courses
  • conference registration costs
  • supplies, materials, and books specifically for program improvement students with IEPs
  • supplies and materials related to state and district health and safety requirements, and other COVID-19 expenses, including COVID Compensatory Services.
  • printing and reproduction of training materials
  • consultant fees (e.g., professional development and program evaluation)
  • substitutes
  • travel for professional development activities
  • computer hardware or software, including site licenses

The following are not allowable costs:

  • food and refreshments
  • indirect costs
  • advertising
  • maintenance/repairs

Project Duration:

Upon approval – 08/31/2021

Program Unit:

Special Education Planning and Policy Development Office


Bob Hanafin

Phone Number:

(781) 338-3364

Date Due:

Tuesday December 15, 2020

This grant expires 8/31/2021 Districts must obligate these funds by 8/31/21, funds not obligated by 8/31/2021 must be returned.

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

Grant proposals must include a written memo of no longer than one paragraph uploaded to EdGrants. This one paragraph memo must articulate how proposed activities contribute to systemic improvement in the identified priority area(s) or to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

FY2021–FY2030 SCF (if applicable); see eligibility section for more information and link to documents. Do not upload these forms into EdGrants. SCF must be hard copy mailed with original signatures (no DocuSign).

Additional Information:
View HTML Page
Instructions for Completing an Application Submission in EdGrants
View HTML Page
EdGrants Front Office User Guide: Requesting Grant Funds (payments)
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EdGrants: User Security Controls. (EdGrants user(s) must be established in order to utilize EdGrants)

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Budget Detail — Description of Line Item Information

Applications can legally claim expenses to the grant only as of the DESE approved start date.

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 "Applicant Project Name" in EdGrants:

FY21 298 [Applicant # District Name]

All items listed under the required forms section of this RFP should be uploaded / attached in the Attachments List formlet of the Application Submission in EdGrants. This includes a signed / scanned PDF of Part I / Coversheet with an original signature of the Superintendent/Executive Director and Required Program Information.

The final budget the applicant is requesting will be entered directly into EdGrants as part of the application submission process.

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

Please note: It is up to the district to determine who they want to add as EdGrants Front Office users in order to submit the grant application as well as payment request information. Please review the EdGrants: User Security Controls to make informed decisions regarding assigning your district level users.


Amendments are to be submitted through EdGrants. Refer to EdGrants Front Office User Guide: Amending the Application Download Word Document .

If you have specific questions or would like to request an amendment, please contact Bob Hanafin at or 781-338-3364.

Last Updated: November 6, 2020

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