Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2023: Investigating History Pilot

Fund Code: 585


Investigating History is an innovative, open-source history/social science curriculum that DESE is currently developing for fifth, sixth, and seventh grades. It is designed to be fully aligned to the Massachusetts 2018 History/Social Science Framework, engaging students with its content, practice, and literacy standards through an inquiry-based approach.

In 2021-22, a small group of schools piloted the Investigating History curriculum in order to inform revisions. In 2022-23, DESE is seeking an expanded cohort of pilot schools to use and provide feedback on revised versions of each unit before they are released as open-source materials in Summer 2023. This competitive grant is intended to provide funding support for schools that participate in the Investigating History pilot for 2022-23 in order to support educators' participation in professional learning throughout the pilot. Note that there is no separate application to participate in the pilot; all LEAs who receive grant awards through this funding opportunity will be automatically accepted into the 2022-23 pilot cohort.

Schools may identify any number of fifth, sixth, and/or seventh grade teachers to participate in the pilot in 2022-23. For every grade level at which a school participates in the pilot, they must select at least two units to commit to full implementation. Full implementation of a unit includes:

  • Teaching the unit during the designated pilot window (see below)
  • Participation in a two-day, in-person unit-specific launch PD held before the unit's pilot window begins; these unit launches are available only to teachers who are fully implementing the given unit
  • Teaching each lesson as designed (with minor adaptations as necessary to meet student and educator needs)
  • Access to office hours and other forms of informal, collaborative support during the unit
  • Providing regular feedback on lessons, including details on adaptations made, through an electronic feedback form
  • Engaging with an independent, third-party research team evaluating the pilot through methods such as classroom observations, teacher and/or student surveys, focus groups, etc.

All pilot teachers, regardless of unit(s) piloted, will also participate in a whole-group virtual launch session tentatively scheduled for August 17. For full details about pilot participation, including the exact units available to pilot and the time window to pilot each one, visit Investigating History 2022-2023 Pilot .


DESE seeks to support districts who are committed to and cognizant of the work involved with adopting a new curriculum that is still in pilot form, and who are eager to take on an active role in making the Investigating History materials as strong as possible when they are released publicly. To this end, DESE will prioritize districts whose proposal illustrates that they:

  • Have a schedule that allows for the necessary amount of social studies instructional time (thirty minutes 3x/week in 5th grade and fifty minutes daily in 6th/7th grade minimum)
  • Can ensure systems and structures for professional collaboration among pilot teachers if there are multiple pilot teachers per school, and between pilot teachers and support staff (e.g. inclusion teachers and ELL specialists)
  • Will have all pilot teachers (as well as any interested leaders and support staff) participate in the whole-group virtual kickoff session in August as well as the unit launch sessions for all units they are piloting
  • Will fully implement at least two units in any grade level

Competitive priority in the scoring process will be given to LEAs that participated in the Investigating History pilot in 2021-22, listed below:

  • Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School
  • Boston
  • Brookline
  • Central Berkshire Regional School District
  • Fall River
  • Lawrence
  • Lowell Community Charter Public School
  • Medway
  • Monomoy
  • Mount Greylock
  • Newton
  • North Andover
  • Plymouth
  • Revere
  • Salem
  • Tantasqua

Competitive priority will also be given to proposals in which at least one school applying to the pilot is identified as requiring assistance according to the state accountability system.


All Massachusetts Local Education Agencies (districts, charter schools, and Collaboratives) are eligible to apply.

Funding Type:



Approximately $400,000 is available through this grant. Please use the budget calculator to determine the maximum amount that can be requested based on the number of pilot teachers in the applicant LEA.

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. Recipients will need to provide detailed cost information to DESE to demonstrate compliance with grant priorities and approved fund uses in order to draw down funds over the grant period.

Fund Use:

This grant may be used to support the following activities:

  1. Stipends for educator time and/or travel to participate in professional development and/or collaborative planning outside of contract hours; stipends will be funded at a flat rate of $750 per participating educator. Both core classroom teachers and specialist teachers (EL or language support teachers, special educators, or others) who will be participating consistently in pilot activities (including attending the professional development) are eligible to receive stipends through this grant.
  2. Substitute coverage in order to allow educators to attend professional development during the school day.
  3. Overnight lodging for educators and administrators who live and work over 80 miles from Marlborough, MA to attend in-person PD, if they wish to stay overnight; eligible participants may receive funding for two nights of lodging for each in-person PD session.

Grant recipients will be able to access funds upon completion of the activities above.

Please note the tentative schedule of professional development sessions is as follows:

  • Virtual kickoff for all pilot participants: August 17
  • In-person launch sessions for each unit:
    • Grades 5/6/7, Unit 1: August 18 and 19
    • Grades 5/7, Unit 2: October, 2 school days TBD
    • Grades 5/6, Unit 3: January, 2 school days TBD
    • Grades 5/6, Unit 4: March, 2 school days TBD

LEAs may submit proposals in response to both this grant and the Civics Teaching and Learning Grant (FC 589). However, in that case, FC 589 grant activities should focus on different grades from those in which the LEA is seeking to pilot the Investigating History curriculum.

Project Duration:

Upon Approval (no earlier than 7/1/2022) – 6/30/2023

Program Unit:

Office of Literacy and Humanities
Center for Instructional Support


Reuben Henriques

Phone Number:


Date Due:

Thursday, May 5, 2022
Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.

Required Forms:
Submission Instructions:

Please email the required forms as listed above, attached to a single email, to . Please use the subject line:

Investigating History Pilot Grant - Fund Code 585 - [Entity Name]

Please use the provided filetypes (word and excel). Please do not send jpgs or other filetypes. Signature pages may be sent as pdf documents.

Applicants will receive a confirmation when the materials are received. Early submission is strongly encouraged to ensure the complete application is received and confirmed by 5pm on the due date. Late and/or incomplete applications cannot be accepted. 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: March 24, 2022

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