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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2024: Strengthening Family-School Partnership Grant

Fund Code: 0339


The purpose of this federally-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 implement and develop a culturally responsive family engagement initiatives aligned with the four elements in the Strengthening Partnerships: A Framework for Prenatal through Young Adulthood Family Engagement in Massachusetts (Referred to as the MA Family Engagement Framework; Strengthening Partnerships, 2020) and The Massachusetts Family, School, and Community Partnership Fundamentals (2.0) document .

As the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department or DESE) considers how to best support districts, schools, and community organizations to engage with families, it is important that we create opportunities to build capacity of administrators, educators to more effectively engage with families in ways that are culturally responsive and anti-racist.

The MA Family Engagement Framework: Strengthening Partnerships, 2020) creates an aligned approach to family engagement that is authentic, culturally, and linguistically responsive and driven by family voice. Since the release of the Framework, Massachusetts State Family Engagement Center (MASFEC) has built tools and conducted trainings to support Framework implementation in state agencies, schools and districts, health and human service settings, family organizations and other community settings.


The main priorities for this Strengthening Family-School Partnership grant are for school and districts leaders to make a clear and transparent commitment to equitable family engagement. School and district leaders can encourage school staff and families to build and strengthen authentic and thrusted relationships.

Bringing families and educators together for dual capacity building involves leveraging the strengths of both families and educators. Relationship building between families, educators, and the community is foundational for this grant. Positive relationships pave the way for successful family engagement, and building healthy relationships is an ongoing process that requires a series of authentic interactions over time.

All interested applicants are required to convene a team composed of the family engagement director, family engagement liaison/coordinator, at least one (1) district level administrator, representation from the partnering school(s), at least one (1) community partner, at least one (1) family member, and districts that have a 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) grant should also include their coordinator on the team. Funding may be used to stipend family members to participate on the planning team(s). Team members should have experience working with historically marginalized students, including but not limited to English learners; students on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs); students who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); and students experiencing homeless, in foster care and/or who are migratory.

School and district leaders will choose from the following strategies to support making a commitment to equitable family engagement. Teams will select one of the following options (additional details about each option can be found in Addendum A):

  • Option One — La Respuesta (The Answer): Offered through The Equity Imperative (EI), La Respuesta is an initiative that enhances the partnership between schools, students, and families. Envisioned as a career development pipeline program, teams will engage with EI to co-design family engagement with district stakeholders to position family members as part-time hall monitors. This initiative aims to mentor family members to become paraprofessionals or increase their presence through other roles within a school setting. By increasing family support, school stability is strengthened; and school culture and climate can foster healing relationships. Connections with families can be transformed into true partnerships in support of students.
  • Option Two — Partnering with Diverse Families: Working with School & Main Institute (SMI), districts interested in this opportunity will gain a better understanding of the collaborative relationship they have with diverse families who are engaging with the school. Teams will then develop specific barrier-busting and support strategies for strengthening relationships with families who are less connected. Districts who apply for this opportunity will focus on connecting with those who are more "disconnected," with support from SMI.

Competitive priority will be given to districts and schools in chronically underperforming status.


Massachusetts public school districts are eligible to apply for funding. Districts may apply for up to $20,000 total, to support up to two (2) schools to engage in one of the Options above. Schools do not have to select the same Option but can only select one option each. (Option One: La Respuesta (The Answer) or Option Two: Partnering with Diverse Families.

Funding Type:

Federal CFDA (CFDA 84.425 ESSER — Federal Coronavirus Relief Programs — Federal Grant Programs)

Federal grant funds must adhere to:

  • UGG (2 CFR 200)
  • EDGAR As Applicable
  • EDGAR General Fiscal Administration 34 CFR Part 76

Approximately $250,000 is available.

Districts may apply for up to $20,000 total, to support up to two (2) schools to engage in one of the Options above. Schools do not have to select the same Option but can only select one option each.

This RFP is the governing document for these grant funds.

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:

These funds must be used to support the development and implementation of action plans that incorporate the elements of the MA Framework.

Fund use can include coordinator time, travel to in-person professional development, stipends, substitutes, supplies and materials.

Funds may also be used to support participation of team members in the DESE-sponsored professional development and support offered through the applicable Option chosen. Funding may be used to stipend family members to participate on the planning team(s).

Funds cannot be used for equipment, building/construction projects.

Project Duration:

FY2024: Upon Approval (anticipated October 2023) – 06/30/2024
(optional) FY2025: 07/01/2024 – 09/30/2024*

*Funded applicants that wish to continue activities during July and August 2024 will be required to submit a separate application for that time period sometime in spring 2024.

Program Unit:

Office of Student and Family Support


Olga M. Lopez

Date Due:

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. Eastern on the date due.

All responses must be received by the due date listed above. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. Responses not received on time will not be reviewed. Applicants applying after the due date may be notified their application was received late and will not be reviewed. Applications must be submitted as directed in the Submissions Instructions below. Failure to do so may result in disqualification. If you need assistance with submitting your application, please reach out to the contact person listed on this funding opportunity.

Required Forms:

The FY2024 Fund Code 0339 Strengthening Family-School Partnership Grant will be submitted in our new Grants for Education Management System (GEM$) system. The following will be required:

  • Required Program Information
  • Budget: FY2024 — School Year budget will be entered into the GEM$ Budget Form. Applicants proposing to implement grant activities in FY2025 (Summer 2024 – July and August) will enter those proposed costs into the Summer 2024 section
Additional Information:

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 two Grant Information Webinars:

You only need to register for one of the sessions.

Additional questions regarding this competitive application must be submitted by Friday, August 18, 2023 to with the Subject Line "Family Engagement Grant Question". Responses will be posted to the Family Engagement webpage by Tuesday, August 22nd.

Submission Instructions:

The FY2024 Fund Code 0339 Strengthening Family-School Partnership Grant will be submitted in our new Grants for Education Management System (GEM$) system. GEM$ is a cloud-based fiscal and program management grant system that will eventually phase out the use of EdGrants.

Please Note: Grant Submission requires applicants to have their organization established in GEM$. Entities that do not have an organization in GEM$ must contact the DESE Program Unit issuing this grant at a minimum 5 business days prior to the due date for temporary organization access.

Failure to provide DESE with GEMS Request Form at least 5 business days prior to the due date may result in not meeting the submission due date listed above. DESE cannot accept or review applications after the due date.

Last Updated: July 3, 2024

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