Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2022: Supporting Students' Social Emotional Learning, Behavioral & Mental Health, and Wellness through Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (SEL & Mental Health Grant)

Fund Codes: 613/311/332

Purpose:

Research has shown that students' well-being is critically important to their academic and overall success. The events of the past 18 months (including the Covid-19 pandemic and our country's reckoning with racial injustice) have only heightened the importance of student, staff, and family social-emotional and behavioral health well-being.

The purpose of this competitive, state and federally funded grant program is to adapt, expand, or strengthen multi-tiered systems of support to respond to the social-emotional and behavioral health needs of students, families and educators and to build strong partnerships with community-based mental health agencies and/or providers.

This grant aims to build capacity of school districts, charter schools, and educational collaboratives to do one or more of the following:

  • pilot universal mental health screenings for students in kindergarten to grade 12;
  • develop comprehensive, integrated multi-tiered systems for student, family, and educator social-emotional and/or mental health supports; and
  • build sustainable infrastructure to facilitate integrated coordination between school and community-based services and/or providers.
Priorities:

Through this grant initiative, participating districts are asked to prioritize the following areas as they relate to social-emotional and behavioral health for students, staff, and families.

  • Racial equity and cultural responsiveness: This can include, but is not limited to: ensuring that the approach to teaching, modeling, and integrating social emotional learning is done from a culturally responsive lens; providing professional development and coaching to staff on culturally responsive social emotional and/or mental health practices; conducting culturally responsive, universal mental health screening and developing systems to respond to student needs in a racially equitable manner; strengthening systems to solicit student and family leadership and feedback that is fully representative of the school community and empowers voices that have been historically marginalized; and engaging students and families to ensure that social emotional learning efforts reflect the school community's values and center racial equity.
  • Evidence-based interventions and supports: Ensuring schools utilize evidenced-based social-emotional and behavioral health interventions and supports, and that staff receive the necessary professional development and coaching to implement them with fidelity. This could include a range of efforts that include but are not limited to tier 1 (universal) supports implemented by classroom teachers and tier 2/3 (supplemental, small group, and more intensive) interventions implemented by student support staff/clinicians.
  • Sustainable Systems & Partnerships: Establishing and/or strengthening sustainable systems and multi-year partnerships (including community-based services and/or providers, professional development providers, etc.).

Competitive Priority will be given to:

Eligibility:

Massachusetts public school districts, charter schools, and educational collaboratives are eligible to apply.

Funding Type:

Fund Code 613 and 311: State
Fund Code 332: Federal CFDA 84.425D

Funding:

A total of approximately $7,200,000 is available through this grant. The grant has been divided into several distinct but related categories. Applicants may apply for one or multiple grant categories.

Applicants' requests for funding should be commensurate with the scope of activities proposed. Please note that efforts proposed through this grant must be supplementary and complementary to (and not supplant) what is funded through other grants/contracts.

All grant participants will be expected to participate in two networking meetings that will be facilitated by the Department (DESE) during the course of the grant.

Category A — Piloting Universal Mental Health Screening Systems:
DESE will allocate at least $1,000,000 of the total grant towards this category. Applicants may apply for up to $100,000 to support the following activities:

  • pilot/implement evidence-based, universal mental health screenings for students in kindergarten to grade 12;
  • design and implement necessary data systems to collect, analyze, and report on universal screening data;
  • establish protocols for mental health support teams to: analyze and respond to universal mental health screening data, monitor the impact of supports/services and make adjustments as needed; gauge implications for future strategic planning; and ensure compliance with all applicable state and federal laws regarding data security and privacy;
  • other activities to support the priorities of this grant, provided that they are part of a coordinated approach to implement universal mental health screening and subsequent supports, and are either one-time activities that have a longer-term impact (e.g., professional development needs associated with mental health screening), and/or activities that have a reasonable likelihood of being continued and sustained beyond the grant period through other funding sources (e.g., funding startup costs for purchasing mental health screening, with the goal of sustaining these services through other sources after the end of grant funding).

Awarded grantees under Category A will also be expected to compile and submit an end of grant report no later than June 30, 2022 which will include the following data:

  • number of students who received mental health screenings, delineated by demographic group and grade level;
  • number of students requiring additional support or follow-up screenings, including students who indicated suicidal ideation or intent to self-harm;
  • length of time between the initial screening and subsequent support services provided;
  • number of students referred for additional support services outside of the school district.
  • Types of screening tools used

Category B — Developing Multi-Tiered Systems of Social-Emotional, Behavioral & Mental Health, and Well-Being Support
DESE expects to award approximately $4,700,000 for this category. Applicants may apply for up to $150,000 to support the following activities:

  • provide on-going professional development (including coaching) for staff members to enhance culturally-responsive tier 1 social-emotional learning for students, and recognize and respond to mental and behavioral health challenges that may arise;
  • participate in free Department-sponsored professional development (PD) to support school staff in identifying and supporting students in need of social emotional, behavioral, and/or mental health services;
  • redesign student support staffing models to support a more proactive and deliberate multi-tiered approach to social-emotional learning and behavioral health;
  • create a comprehensive approach to tier 1 social-emotional learning and behavioral health;
  • provide robust, evidence-based tier 2 and tier 3 supports and interventions;
  • ensure all social-emotional learning and behavioral health practices, policies, and supports across all three tiers are culturally-responsive and equitable;
  • create multi-year partnership agreements with community-based and other partner organizations to support systemic approaches to address social-emotional and behavioral health needs for staff, students, and families;
  • develop effective planning and feedback structures with students, families, and caregivers to ensure that social emotional learning efforts reflect the school community's values and priorities;
  • ensure the necessary systems are put in place to monitor implementation and sustain/scale successful practices and policies; and
  • other activities aligned with the priorities of the grant.

Category C — Sustainability through Community-Based Coordination and Access to Services
DESE expects to award approximately $1,200,000 for this category. DESE will award at least $1,000,000 of these awards to schools and school districts serving high percentages of low-income students. Applicants may apply for up to $100,000 to support the following activities:

  • working with community-based providers to identify options for increased collaboration, provision of mental health/behavioral health services on site (at school) and/or in the community;
  • building infrastructure for cross-system coordination to improve integration of behavioral and mental health supports for continuity of care for children, youth and families to ensure seamless transitions between schools and communities;
  • designing or implementing improvements to data systems and software applications to facilitate mapping of school and community-based resources, making referrals, tracking students' use of services, monitoring the impact of services, and identify implications for future services (subject to compliance with all applicable state and federal laws regarding data security and privacy);
  • implementing strategies and partnerships to foster sustained behavioral and mental health supports for students and families; these strategies should be aligned with locally-created action plans that extend beyond the grant period (e.g., funding startup costs for the initial offering of services on-site to students eligible for the Children's Behavioral Health Initiative or MassHealth, commercial insurance providers, or other sources that extend beyond the grant period); and
  • participate in free Department-sponsored professional development (PD) to support school staff in identifying and supporting students in need of social emotional, behavioral, and/or mental health services.

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 guideline as listed in the initial RFP document.

Fund Use:

These funds must be used in ways that are aligned to the grant purpose and priorities described above and that have reasonable likelihood of being sustained (and/or having impact) beyond the grant period.

Fund use may include, but is not limited to:

  • Contracting with partners who provide one or more of the following services:
    • evidence-based universal mental health screening tools, data analysis, and support;
    • the design and implementation of integrated student support systems to assess the strengths and needs of all students and develop academic and social-emotional plans for students;
    • develop and support bridge programs for school re-entry after prolonged absences to promote healing, wellness, and academic success;
    • other services aligned with the priorities of this grant.
  • Professional development and coaching for staff (educators, student support staff, administrators, etc.);
  • Salaries for employees or contracted staff who will be directly supporting strategies outlined in the plan;
  • Stipends to support planning, meetings, travel, or local professional development (including DESE-sponsored opportunities);
  • Relevant resources and/or materials;
  • Contracted services with community-based partners;
  • Partnership coordination activities.
Project Duration:

Upon Approval – June 30, 2022

Pending appropriation, and contingent upon meeting grant requirements including submitting an approvable continuation grant proposal (likely during Spring 2022), grantees will be eligible for two one-year continuation grants (FY23 — Upon Approval (anticipated July 1, 2022) – June 30, 2023 and FY24 — Upon Approval (anticipated July 1, 2023) – June 30, 2024).

Program Unit:

Student and Family Support

Contact:

Chris Pond

Phone Number:

(781) 338-3611

Date Due:

Thursday, November 18, 2021
Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.

Required Forms:
Additional Information:

The Department will hold Question and Answers Session via webinar. Use the online registration to register. During this session, the Department will answer applicants' questions. Questions may be submitted in advance of the session to achievement@doe.mass.edu with the subject line "SEL and Mental Health grant question". Due to the competitive nature of this grant, questions and responses will be shared during this session so that all potential applicants have the opportunity to hear the information.

Submission Instructions:

Please submit all required documents electronically to achievement@doe.mass.edu with the subject line "SEL and Mental Health Grant Application".

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: January 6, 2022

 
Contact Us

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

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

Directions

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.