Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Logo
Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2021: Safe and Supportive Schools Competitive Grant

Fund Code: 335


The purpose of this state funded competitive grant program is to provide funding to school districts (and their selected schools) to organize, integrate, and sustain school and district-wide efforts to create safe and supportive school environments. Additionally, this grant is designed to coordinate and align student support initiatives based on their findings from completing the Safe and Supportive Schools (SaSS) Framework and Self-Reflection Tool* (SaSS Tool, see Additional Information).


The main priorities for this grant are to help ensure that each participating school creates an equitable, safe, positive, healthy, culturally-competent, and inclusive whole-school learning environment for all students, and makes effective use of a system for integrating services Download Word Document and aligning initiatives that promote students' behavioral health and wellness, through one of two grant applicant options:

  • Option One: Action Planning
    These grantees will convene a school team (likely virtually this year) composed of various stakeholders (e.g., including but not limited to teachers, nurses, counselors, family members, etc.) to review and respond to the questions in the SaSS Tool.

    Applicants are expected to propose to use the SaSS Tool during the grant period (after grants are awarded). During the application process (as always), the SaSS Tool is available to look through using the general login TEST1 or TEST2 for both the username and password. Grantees will be given school-specific accounts (if they do not already have them), and any school at any time can request this through .

    Based on the school team's reflections informed by using the SaSS Tool, the team will identify school and district areas to prioritize for improvements related to creating safer and more supportive learning environments, and will finalize a school plan that is aligned to school and district priorities, and a district plan that supports the schools' efforts. These action plans are expected to also be informed by already existing school and district plans, such as School Re-Opening Plans, Student Opportunity Act Plans, and also help inform subsequently created school and district improvement plans.

    The SaSS action plans shall address all six sections of the SaSS Tool:
    1. Leadership, Infrastructure, and Culture
    2. Professional Learning Opportunities
    3. Access to Resources and Services
    4. Teaching and Learning that fosters Safe and Supportive Environments
    5. School Policies, Procedures, and Protocols
    6. Family Engagement

    Note: Upon award, the Department will provide all Option One, Action Planning grantees with guidelines for convening teams (virtually) to create action plans that are aligned with other district and school plans and initiatives, including but not limited to district and school improvement plans (where applicable). As noted above, the Department will also provide all Option One, Action Planning grantees with personalized login information for the SaSS Tool.

  • Option Two: Implementation and Mentorship/Support
    1. These grantees will begin or continue to implement school-focused action plans (and associated district-support plans) that were created in prior year(s), i.e., during or before school year 2019-2020. The creation of those action plans must have been informed by a local self-reflection process using the SaSS/BHPS Framework and Tool. Those completed action plans must be submitted with the applications, and whether it is submitted will be considered as part of the competitive review process. It can be noted on the submitted plans any adaptations that will be needed to best support students, staff, and families during the COVID-19 pandemic, equity goals including racial equity, and remote/hybrid learning where applicable.

    2. These grantees will also serve as mentors/supports for Option One grantees, other new SaSS Tool users, schools and districts that are new to implementation, as well as the Department, Commission, and others as needed and appropriate. The areas of mentorship/support may include providing feedback to the Department or the Commission at meetings, presenting at online, regional, and statewide conferences, or providing direct support or guidance to Option One grantees (all activities will likely be virtual for the 2020-2021 school year) related to one or more of the following aspects of using the Framework and Tool to inform action plan creation and implementation, or another area agreed to by the applicant and Department:
      • School-level or district-level personnel role in supporting the grant efforts, and broader safe and supportive schools related work;
      • Forming effective school teams that encompass the whole school/district community;
      • Facilitating school-focused or district teams to utilize the Tool;
      • Facilitating District leadership support;
      • Gathering data to utilize and inform completion of each section of the Tool;
      • Creating a realistic and feasible timeline for utilizing the Tool;
      • Analyzing results from the Tool to create priority areas for next steps; and
      • Writing an effective and measurable action plan.


Massachusetts school districts and educational collaboratives are eligible to apply for funding. Please see note regarding Collaborative eligibility.

Each applicant may only apply for one of the two Options detailed above (Option One: Action Planning or Option Two: Implementation and Mentorship/Support).

Former FC 335 grantees are among the entities eligible to apply for either of the above Options, provided the specific requirements are met for the schools to be included in the application under that Option. For Option One: Action Planning, former FC 335 grantees may apply for schools that have not yet utilized (or at least have not since summer 2017) the SaSS/BHPS Self-Assessment Tool and used it to inform action planning.

Note regarding collaborative eligibility: In accordance with "The Education Collaborative statute" (Chapter 40, Section 4E) which was amended and signed into law on January 10, 2019. "…The department may designate educational collaboratives as eligible recipients for any applicable federal or state grants to cities, towns, and regional school districts for educational programs."

  • In light of this statute, educational collaboratives may consider applying for this grant to carry out safe and supportive school grant activities (team reflection informed by the SaSS Tool, and subsequent action planning and implementation to create and strengthen safe and supportive learning environments) for the collaborative's own full-time educational programs. In this case, please consider the educational program a "school" and the collaborative a "district" when completing the application materials.

  • Alternatively, educational collaboratives are also able to apply on behalf of interested school districts (and either collaborative or districts can serve as the lead/fiscal agent) to help support and facilitate school and district-level teams with multiple stakeholder involvement to engage in the grant activities described above and throughout this grant opportunity. In this case, the collaborative would be considered neither the school nor the district, but instead a facilitator or fiscal agent, or other type of support, and would be supporting the efforts of the school and district teams who will be reflecting, action planning, and implementing plans based on their self-identified priorities. Both collaborative and district leaders should sign the grant assurances document, to indicate both entities agree to the grant expectations. There is already a place for the school district superintendent to sign. A line can be added to the document, to note the collaborative leader name and title, and to add the signature.

Funding Type:



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.

Pending appropriation, approximately $100,000 is expected to be available to support these grants.

Applicants may apply for up to $20,000 total, with a maximum of $10,000 per school under Option One: Action Planning.

Applicants may apply for up to $10,000 per district under Option Two: Implementation and Mentorship/Support.

Reminder: Applicants may only apply for one Option. It is anticipated that approximately 75% of the funds will be awarded through Option One: Action Planning, and approximately 25% through Option Two: Implementation and Mentorship/Support.

Additional factors:

  • The Department may consider factors such as geographic distribution when making awards.
  • Should additional funds become available the Department may redistribute those funds in an equitable manner among other awarded grantees or to applicants who were not initially awarded grant funds.

Fund Use:

Option One: Action Planning

These funds must be used to support the development or action plans that incorporate all six sections of the SaSS Tool. Activities may include, convening the team to engage in relevant learning prior to completing the SaSS tool, completion of the tool, and time to develop action plans. Funds may also be used to support participation in networking and professional development.

Grant funds may be used for teacher stipends, consultants, substitutes, and materials to be used in the development of district action plans and school action plans for those schools proposed under this option. Applicants should not include in their application requests for funds to support activities related to action plan implementation.

Note: The Department may consider requests during the spring from Option One: Action Planning grantees to amend budgets to support action plan implementation, provided a comprehensive action plan has been created and submitted.

Option Two: Implementation and Mentorship/Support

These funds must be used to implement action plans that incorporate all six sections of the SaSS Tool, as submitted with the application*. These funds must also support efforts associated with mentorship/support activities.

Implementation activities may include but are not limited to development of school-based models for coordinated support of students in need, implementation of research-based educational programs that are proven to prevent substance use and misuse, activities that address and reduce substance use related problems, or development of information systems to help identify students at risk, track interventions and evaluate progress and outcomes.

Grant funds may be used for a school and district-level implementation coordinator(s), consultants, substitutes, evidence-based programs/initiatives, and materials to be used in the implementation of district action plans and school action plans for proposed schools.

Funds may also be used to provide stipends for the members of the team that will be responsible for the mentorship/support activities, or for any appropriate costs associated with mentoring/support.

All applicants

All applicants may consider partnering with consultants to help facilitate the action planning and/or implementation process.

All applicants may also consider partnering with community-based organizations including early childhood education and afterschool or out of school time providers for alignment and collaboration.

Funds cannot be used for: electronics (such as iPads, computers, tablets, etc.) or construction.

If significant additional changes to the action plan are required due to the COVID-19 pandemic or related implications for the school or district, applicants can indicate a timeline by when they will submit an updated action plan they will implement during this school year.

Project Duration:

Upon Approval – 08/31/2021

Pending appropriation and the meeting of all grant requirements, ALL grantees will be eligible for a one-year continuation grant in FY2022 (9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022) to support implementation of the action plan developed through this FY2021 grant and to continue implementation and mentor/support activities.

Eligibility for this continuation grant is contingent upon submission of the required action plans or implementation status reports and a continuation application, and funding availability.

Program Unit:

Student and Family Support

Emily Taylor
Phone Number:

(781) 338-6313

Date Due:

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. or they will not be considered.

Required Forms:
  1. FY2021 Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page Download Word Document — (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)

  2. FY2022 Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page Download Word Document — (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants) (only if applicable)

Complete and submit signed Part I for both FY2021 School Year and FY2022 Summer (Summer 2021), if applicable, in one PDF.

  1. Part II — FY2021 and FY2022 Budget Template Download Excel Document
    Complete and submit Part II for FY2021 School Year and FY2022 Summer (if proposing to use funds during Summer 2021). There is a tab for each time period in the Budget Template provided. Please include a complete description of fund use in the narrative/comments column (on the right).

  2. Part III — Required Program Information

  3. Grant Assurances Download Word Document
    Complete the applicable portion of the document for either Option One: Action Planning or Option Two: Implementation and Mentorship/Support and submit with the application.

Additional Information:

The SaSS (originally Behavioral Health and Public Schools — BHPS) Framework and Self-Reflection Tool was created by the BHPS Taskforce and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department), pursuant to Section 19 of Chapter 321 of the Acts of 2008. The Department, in consultation with the Safe and Supportive Schools Commission (Commission), is in the process of developing an updated version of these resources.

Program Evaluation and Professional Development
Grantees shall participate in professional development (e.g., conferences, webinars, and/or regional events, etc.) to be held by the Department (all are expected to be virtual during 2020-2021), as well as in an evaluation of this grant program. In addition, the Department and Safe and Supportive Schools Commission will use feedback from grantees to inform continuous improvements to the Framework and Tool. Details will be provided to all grantees once information is confirmed.

Questions and Information Webinar
Due to the competitive nature of this grant program, all questions about the Funding Opportunity documents and process will be addressed during the Grant Information Webinar and Q & A sessions. Please see online registration form for more details about the optional sessions.

Submission Instructions:

Please submit all application materials electronically to .

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. or they will not be considered.

  • All signature pages (Part I and Grant Assurances) must be signed, scanned, and submitted as 2 separate PDF documents.

  • All budgets (Part II) must be submitted as Excel files, not as PDFs.

  • Part III must be submitted as a PDF or in its original Word format.

  • Any item not submitted in the correct format may not be reviewed.

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: July 11, 2019

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.