The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) administers an Early Grades Literacy grant with the goal of improving early literacy as articulated in the state's ESSA plan, Student Opportunity Act, and Literacy Strategic Plan for Massachusetts. The purpose of this competitive grant program is to increase student proficiency in early reading, specifically foundational skills, using scientific, evidence-based practices, materials and assessments. This multi-year program is ideal for schools committed to improving early literacy through deep professional development and systematic supports.
Pending funding, this grant program will support selected schools in focused, intensive work to improve student reading in grades K-3. A team of teachers and one school-based administrator (principal or assistant principal), representing grades K-3, will participate in a year-long series of professional development from experts in early literacy to learn and implement evidence-based instructional practices and assessments during the 20/21 and 21/22 school years.
In addition, the school will be funded for 385 hours of work onsite with an expert consultant. The consultant support includes starting up a school-based Literacy Leadership Team (or adding capacity if such a team already exists), coaching for individual teachers, coaching for the principal, and after-school PD sessions.
Given students' potential loss of learning incurred during the pandemic, there is an even greater need to support all students through access to evidence-based literacy instruction. Of particular importance is the use of evidence-based, high-quality, early literacy screening and progress monitoring assessments to provide essential information on students' current skill levels.
Through a year of professional development, participating school teams will:
Demonstrate knowledge of the scientific evidence base for early literacy, including how children learn to read, why some children have difficulty learning how to read, and evidence-based early literacy practices that are best for all students.
Implement these evidence-based practices in high-quality core literacy instruction.
Administer valid assessments, including screeners and progress monitoring, and analyze and use assessment data to inform core and intervention instruction.
Establish a school-based literacy team, to lead implementation of evidence-based early literacy, instruction, professional learning, and data-based decision making in grades K–3.
Districts interested in more than one school participating must apply for each school separately.
Schools serving grades K–3 or a subset of that grade span are eligible to apply. To be considered eligible, applicants must demonstrate that the school:
Uses high quality instructional materials.
In addition, applicants must commit to early literacy as a top priority for the school for SY 20/21 and 21/22. This grant is an opportunity for schools who are committed to improving early literacy, and understand that participation requires:
Note: Due to the pandemic, school-based literacy coaching may require some flexibility. Note that consultants will begin school-based work in early September either in person or remotely as determined by public health directives at that time. Similarly, the institutes and regional meetings may look different for school year 20/21 depending on state guidance on large group meetings. We will continue to support the Early Grades Literacy grant program and participants through combined efforts from the state government, DESE, districts and schools.
A total of approximately $800,000 is projected to be available and will be distributed based on the number of quality proposals submitted and approved.
Funds may be used for the following for four categories: stipends; substitutes; evidence-based materials and screener; and DESE-approved literacy consultant.
Upon approval – 6 /30/2021This grant program may have a continuation year in FY22 subject to state budget appropriation
Center for Instructional Support (CIS)
Tracey Martineauemail address: Tracey.J.Martineau@mass.gov
Friday, July 10, 2020
Complete proposals must be received via email by 5:00.Applicants may submit proposals before the grant deadline.
Applications submitted incomplete will not be considered.
Completed Proposals will include:
Email all required forms to Tracey.J.Martineau@mass.gov by 5:00 pm on the date due. Applicants may submit before the due date. Applications submitted after the due date or missing required forms will not be considered.
Last Updated: June 10, 2020
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
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