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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2025: Promoting Safe and Healthy Learning Environments: Elevating Student Voice and Well-Being

Fund Codes: 0127 / 0644


The purpose of this grant is to support districts/schools in elevating student voice in order to strengthen safe, supportive and healthy learning environments, Preschool through 12th Grade. There are multiple ways in which students' voices can be engaged in the work of schools. This competitive grant opportunity will provide resources to support districts to implement one of six evidence-based opportunities [21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) high school internship; Playful Learning Institute, PK–3rd grade; Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Academic Integration through Service-Learning; comprehensive health; youth and teen mental health first aid; and youth participating action research (YPAR) as a lever to implement student voice.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department or DESE) aims to support districts and schools to engage with students and elevate their voices, and help build the capacity of administrators and educators to more effectively engage with students in ways that are developmentally appropriate, culturally responsive and anti-racist. The opportunities noted above are levers to help schools address a number of different areas of work including but not limited to: promoting equitable, inclusive, safe and supportive learning environments; addressing chronic absenteeism; and closing persistent achievement and opportunity gaps.


This competitive grant focuses on 7 priority areas (as listed above). More information on each can be found in the Additional Information section (below) and within each GEM$ grant application, along with a description of the opportunity and how this grant can be used to support the applicant in elevating student voice through its implementation.

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


Massachusetts public school districts and charter public schools with an LEA Need Index of 80 or higher, and districts with eligible emergency expansion shelter sites, with at least 100 homeless students reported in school year 2022-2023 and/or with at least 100 newcomer students reported in October 2023.

For the purposes of this grant program, a district's LEA Need Index equals the sum of the district's 2022 percent of high needs students, out-of-school suspension rate, and chronic absenteeism rate [missing 20 percent of days] for 2022.

Collaboratives are eligible to apply on behalf of one or more eligible school districts

Option 1: Districts eligible for funding under this option may apply for up to $40,000 to meet immediate academic and social and emotional learning needs of students residing within their local shelter(s).

Option 2: Applicants may apply for funding for one or more of the initiatives outlined in Additional Information. In the case of districts applying for funding to implement one or more of the initiatives, the Department reserves the right to determine whether to fully fund, partially fund or not fund the request based on the application submission.

*Eligibility for Option 2A 21st CCLC High School Internship ONLY also includes all current recipients of a fiscal year (FY) 2024 Fund Code (FC) 645 Continuation Grant and/or FC 646 Exemplary Programs grant.

Funding Type:

FC 0127: Federal CFDA 84.424
FC 0644: Federal CFDA: 84.287
Federal grant funds must adhere to:

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

Option 1: Approximately $3,100,0000 is available.
Option 2: Approximately $7,000,000 is available.

The Department reserves the right to adjust the total funding allocated to each option based on application submissions.

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:

The funds may be used to support the development and implementation of the selected student voice opportunity or opportunities.

Additional information section below includes details related to budget and fund use for each opportunity listed above. Generally, fund use can include coordinator time, travel, costs associated with professional development, substitutes, stipends, supplies and materials.

Project Duration:

Fiscal Year 2025: Upon Approval* – 6/30/2025
Summer 2025 (optional): 7/1/2025 – 8/31/2025**

* Grant start date cannot be prior to DESE receiving a substantially approvable Application Submission as directed in this RFP's Submission Instructions. Goods and Services cannot be procured prior to Grants receiving and approving an application submission. Funds cannot exceed the project duration end date.

**Applicants proposing to spend a portion of their grant funds during July and August 2025 will be required to submit a separate FY2025 application in GEM$ sometime in the spring 2025. Applicants will outline anticipated summer 2025 expenditures in this application as part of their total eligibility amount.

Pending appropriation and the meeting of grant requirements, awarded grantees may be eligible for a continuation grant in Fiscal Year 2026 (likely 9/1/2025 - June 30, 2026). Continuation grant funding amounts may be reduced each year to encourage sustainability.

Program Unit:

Office of Student and Family Support


Kristen McKinnon and Donna Traynham

Date Due:

Friday, March 1, 2024*

*Due date extended to March 1st on 2/15/2024

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.

Additional Information:
  1. The FY2025 Fund Code 0127 Promoting Safe and Health Learning Environments: Elevating Student Voice and Well-Being will be submitted in our new Grants for Education Management System (GEM$) system. See below for submission instructions. The following will be required to be submitted or uploaded directly into GEM$:
    • Required Program Information
    • Assurance Statement (for applicable initiatives)
    • Private School Consultation

    And, for each initiative for which the district is applying, applications must complete in GEM$:
    • Budget: FY2025 — School Year budget will be entered into the GEM$ Budget Form. Applicants proposing to implement grant activities in FY2025 (7/1/2024 – 6/30/2025) will enter those proposed costs into the FY2025 section
    • Program Narrative

  2. Key Requirements for Each of the Initiatives
  3. Private School Equitable Services under ESSA resources

  4. This Application Planning Template contains the questions asked in the Program Narrative. While it may be used as a planning and organizing tool, responses to the questions in Part III must be submitted through GEM$ in order to be reviewed.

  5. Questions and Information Webinars
    Due to the competitive nature of this grant program, all questions about the Funding Opportunity documents and process will be addressed during Grant Information Webinars and a Q&A document. See the SFS Student Voice page for details. You only need to register for one of the sessions.

GEM$ Submission Instructions:

The FC0127 Promoting Safe and Healthy Learning Environments: Elevating Student Voice and Well-Being will be submitted in our new Grants for Education Management System (GEM$). GEM$ is a cloud-based fiscal and program management grant system that will eventually phase out the use of EdGrants.

Competitive grant applications are considered submitted when the Superintendent / Chief Executive approves the grant application in GEM$. In order to be considered for competitive funding, applicants must submit a grant application by the due date listed in the RFP.

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: February 15, 2024

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