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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2024: Investigating History Implementation Grant

Fund Code: 653


In the 2023-2024 school year, DESE will release Investigating History, an openly available, comprehensive set of history/social studies curricular materials for Grades 5 through 7. Investigating History is fully aligned to the 2018 Massachusetts History/Social Science Framework , and its design is anchored in four instructional principles:

  • historical inquiry and investigation
  • historical empathy and human connections
  • civic engagement and current world relevance
  • culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy

Investigating History is a complete and comprehensive package of curricular materials that includes lesson plans, student handouts, and slide decks. Sample materials from Unit 1 will be posted on the Investigating History web page by April 1, and new and revised curricular materials will be released on a rolling basis beginning in June 2023 (detailed release schedule listed below).

To support adoption and implementation of the materials, districts will:

  • Have access to certified Investigating History PD Providers who are specially trained in the curriculum and approved by DESE to deliver curriculum-based professional development to teachers and administrators
  • Have the option to join cross-district collaborative professional learning networks, including one aimed at district- and school-level leaders as well as grade-level professional learning communities for classroom teachers, to support collaborative partnership and provide an additional layer of support throughout the school year

This competitive grant is designed to fund the costs associated with professional development, as well as cover additional costs of implementation such as teacher planning time outside of contract hours or the purchase of printed copies of the Investigating History materials, in order to facilitate a successful adoption of the Investigating History materials across a school or district.

DESE encourages districts to apply in partnership in order to more efficiently provide professional development to teachers from multiple districts at once (e.g. through a cross-district, in-person training facilitated by a certified PD provider) and to facilitate cross-district collaboration among educators throughout the implementation process.


DESE seeks to award Investigating History implementation grants to entities that:

  • Are committed to prioritizing equity and excellence through a commitment to inquiry-based, culturally and linguistically sustaining history and social science instruction
  • Provide all students, including students with disabilities and English Language Learners, with the history/social studies instructional time required for the Investigating History curriculum (an average of 90 minutes per week in Grade 5 and 225 minutes per week in Grade 6 and 7)
  • Demonstrate the necessary conditions and resources, including time and commitment, to make and sustain meaningful adoption and implementation

LEAs will commit to:

  • Beginning in the 2024-25 school year at the latest, fully implementing Investigating History in one or more grades at one or more schools (that is, using all units across all classrooms in a school or district in that grade)
  • Providing professional development to all Investigating History teachers through use of a DESE-certified Investigating History PD provider. (This requirement may be waived for districts who have piloted the Investigating History materials and plan to leverage classroom teachers with Investigating History experience to provide professional development to their colleagues)
  • Engaging in periodic activities related to an external evaluation of Investigating History (e.g. administering student assessments, completing surveys, participating in interviews)

More information about each of these required commitments can be found under "Fund Use," below.

Competitive priority will be given to:

  • Proposals that include schools in which over 50% of students are designated as low income
  • Districts and schools in chronically underperforming status and the Strategic Transformation Region
  • Districts who are engaging in a partnership model with other districts to provide professional learning

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

In addition, to be eligible, Curriculum Data must be up to date on DESE District Profiles for K–8 ELA/Literacy, K–12 math, and 6–8 Science by the time of the grant due date. To check if this information is complete, check the statewide Curriculum report, Or, visit your District Profiles page via Profiles Home, and select Curriculum Data from the left-hand navigation. If the required data is not complete or up-to-date, details and directions on how to enter or update this data can be found at Curriculum Data Collection.

Funding Type:

Federal CFDA: 84.425


Approximately $575,000 is available in FY 24. In FY 24, LEAs may apply for up to $100,000 under this grant.

  • Please note: In the case of LEAs applying in partnership, with one lead agent responsible for managing the entire professional development contract, the total award across all partner LEAs for FY 24 may not exceed $100,000 per LEA. It is possible that an individual LEA's award in this case could be above $100,000 depending on how professional development costs are distributed.

Pending availability, there will be additional funding available for a continuation of this grant in FY 25. Depending on funding availability, there may be a separate maximum award amount for FY 25; at this time, however, there is no maximum amount for the projected FY 25 budget LEAs are asked to prepare.

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:

This grant will provide funding to support the implementation of Investigating History across one or more grades (5, 6, and/or 7) beginning in the 2023-24 school year. Funds can be used for:

  • A maximum of either 50% or 100% (see note below) of the cost of professional development for teachers and/or administrators to support skillful implementation of Investigating History. A directory of certified Investigating History PD Providers, along with a list of their rates and service delivery models, can be found on the Investigating History web page. Certified providers have established Master Service Agreements (MSAs). LEAs should reach out directly to certified providers to establish partnerships as part of preparing their grant proposal.
    • For districts applying individually and providing professional development through trainings that are limited to participants from a single district, the grant will cover up to 50% of the total cost of professional development from a certified Investigating History PD provider.
    • For districts applying individually and providing professional development by having teachers participate in an institute model alongside teachers from other districts, the grant will cover up to the full cost of professional development from a certified Investigating History PD provider.
    • For districts applying in partnership and providing professional development to teachers from multiple districts in collaboration, the grant will cover up to the full cost of professional development from a certified Investigating History PD provider. In this case, districts should still submit individual grant proposals. One district should be responsible for managing the contract with a certified provider and include the full cost of professional development in their submitted budget.
  • Educator stipends to teachers and/or administrators to support implementation. Examples of activities that educator stipends might fund include, but are not limited to:
    • Compensating teachers for participating in collaborative planning time as a department outside of contract hours
    • Providing a stipend to a teacher-leader with experiencing using Investigating History in their classroom who will coach teachers who are new to the curriculum
    • Providing substitute coverage for teachers using Investigating History while they participate in school-day professional development
    • Compensating teachers for participation in a regional, DESE-organized professional learning community outside of contract hours.
    • Covering the costs of administrators' travel to and from in-person DESE-organized Investigating History Leaders' Network sessions.
  • Purchasing print copies of Investigating History materials. LEAs may use grant funds to purchase a maximum of one teacher guide, one set of student-facing master handouts for photocopying, and one set of color handouts/images for each unit, for each classroom. DESE has identified partner printing vendors who will be able to provide districts with print copies of all materials; instructions on how to budget for and order print materials can be found on the Adopting, Launching, and Implementing Investigating History web page.

To receive funds under this grant, recipients must fully implement Investigating History across one or more grades in one or more schools by the 2024-25 school year. As part of their implementation plan, grant recipients will choose a "long-track" or "short-track" implementation pathway at each grade level.

At each grade level:

  • Long-track implementation entails using only some units, using Investigating History in only some classrooms within a school, and/or using Investigating History in only some of the schools included under the grant in 2023-24, then implementing the entire grade-level curriculum across all classrooms at all schools included under the grant in 2024-25.
  • Short-track implementation entails implementing the entire yearlong curriculum across all grade-level classrooms at all schools included under the grant at beginning in 2023-24.

LEAs should identify the implementation pathway that best fits their capacity and context; please consult the Investigating History Readiness Guide posted on the Investigating History web page to support you in making this decision.

Investigating History units are scheduled to be available on the following timeline:

Gr. 5, Unit 1: Early Colonization
Gr. 6, Unit 1: Human Origins
Gr. 7, Unit 1: South and Central Asia
Preview available April 2023; full unit available by June 2023
Gr. 5, Unit 2: Revolution and US Gov't
Gr. 6, Unit 2: Middle East / North Africa
Gr. 7, Unit 2: Silk Road*
Gr. 7, Unit 3: East Asia*
August 2023
Gr. 5, Unit 3: Growth of the Republic
Gr. 6, Unit 3: Sub-Saharan Africa
Gr. 7, Unit 4: Southeast Asia Oceania
October 2023
Gr. 5, Unit 4: Civil War + Civil Rights
Gr. 6, Unit 4: The Americas
Gr. 7, Unit 5: Europe
January 2024

*For districts who have used Investigating History in 2022-23, please note that in 2023-24, the Silk Road and East Asia content will be broken into two separate units

Project Duration:

Upon Approval July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024

Pending budget appropriation, continuation of funding will be available in fiscal year 2025 for a total grant period of two years. Eligibility for funding in year two is based on meeting grant requirements and submission of year-end report and continuation grant application. Only applicants awarded FY24 FC653 grant are eligible to apply for the FY25 continuation grant.

Program Unit:

Office of Literacy and Humanities
Center for Instructional Support


Reuben Henriques

Date Due:

Friday, May 12, 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 submitted 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:
  • Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page

  • Part II — Budget Details (please break down budget by FY 24 and FY 25)
    • Note: FY 25 budget should include projected costs; funding for FY 25 is not guaranteed. Continuation of funding is pending budget appropriation and meeting of requirements as described above under "Project Duration."

  • Part III — Required Program Information

  • Part IV — School Assurance (separate form required from each school principal)

  • Important: Vendor Scope of Work — If your proposal includes funds used for services from an external PD provider, please submit a scope of work that includes that organization's planned activities and costs, on that organization's letterhead. Those costs should correspond to the budget submitted (Part II).

Additional Information:

Questions and Answers — Applicants can submit questions to until the grant deadline. Answers will be posted to the Investigating History page by April 7, 2023 and periodically thereafter as new questions are received. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to post a response to any questions received after Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

Evaluation — As part of the Investigating History implementation in the 2023-24 school year, DESE will be collaborating with a third-party, independent evaluator to learn more about student and teacher experiences with the curriculum. As a condition of fund use, administrators and/or teachers will be expected to engage with research activities, which may include one or more of the following:

  • Administering an end-of-unit student assessment and/or 3–4 brief, in-class formative assessments
  • Sharing examples of student work with evaluators
  • Completing periodic surveys about their teaching practice and experiences with the Investigating History curriculum
  • Arranging classroom observations and brief follow-up debrief conversations
  • Participating in interviews and/or focus groups

DESE will analyze the statewide data collected for research purposes. Analyses will only be reported in the aggregate (e.g., by grade-level, region, etc.) or anonymized in order to meet state and federal confidentiality laws. The identities of districts and schools will not be reported, and all reporting will protect the identities of students, educators, schools, and districts.

DESE may share the names and contact information from districts who apply for, but do not receive, the grant with this evaluation partner; it is possible that some or all of these districts may also be contacted as part of the evaluation process.

Submission Instructions:

Please email the required documents as listed above, attached to a single email, to with the subject line FC 653 — Investigating History Implementation Grant — [LEA Name]. Please use the provided original Word or Excel formats, except for the Part I and Part IV signature pages which should be converted to PDF.

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 Eastern on the due date.

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: April 25, 2023

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