Mass Literacy is a statewide effort to empower educators with the evidence-based practices for literacy that all students need. Evidence-based instruction, provided within schools and classrooms that are culturally responsive and sustaining, will put our youngest students on a path toward literacy for life.
To advance Mass Literacy, DESE had previously offered professional development in early literacy topics to Massachusetts educators through our OAPL program. The OAPL program ended on June 30, 2023. If DESE is able to offer courses to educators in the future through the OAPL program, we will announce information in the Literacy & Humanities newsletter and on this website.
We encourage MA educators to continue to learn about early literacy topics by taking advantage of ongoing and upcoming opportunities such as the following:
Mass Literacy Online Overview Course: This course was made to support all educators in getting to know the wealth of information and resources within the Mass Literacy Guide. DESE is providing this asynchronous online course, available at no cost to any educator who works in a Massachusetts education organization. To learn more about the course and registration, visit the course website.
OAPL courses are open to all currently-employed Massachusetts public school educators whose work relates to literacy in grades preschool through three. This includes general education teachers, special education teachers, ESL or language support teachers, principals, paraprofessionals, literacy coaches, and other school or district administrators whose work relates to literacy in grades preschool through three. OAPL courses are also open to higher education faculty or administrators whose work relates to early literacy (for instance, faculty who teach literacy education courses; deans in educator preparation programs). Course providers determine the specific eligibility requirements for each course.
Yes, charter school educators can participate in the courses. Educators in Commonwealth charter schools are deemed state employees for the purposes of the Massachusetts ethics law (G.L. c. 268A). These employees will need to complete and file a section 7(b) ethics disclosure form if the course they are taking offers a stipend, because they will be considered to have a financial interest in a state contract. As the contract is not for personal services, the last page of the form does not need to be completed. Here are the 7(b) disclosure form and instructions for completing the form . Educators with questions can contact the Massachusetts Ethics Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the State Ethics Attorney of the Day hotline at (617) 371-9500. Educators at Horace Mann charter schools who are not covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the school district should consult with their employers or the Massachusetts Ethics Commission to determine whether a 7(b) disclosure is required.
Yes, Massachusetts higher education faculty can participate in the courses. Please note that faculty at Massachusetts public higher education institutions are considered special state employees for the purposes of the Massachusetts ethics law (G.L. c. 268A). These employees will need to complete and file a section 7(d) ethics disclosure form if the course they are taking offers a stipend, as they will be considered to have a financial interest in a state contract. Here are the section 7(d) disclosure form and instructions for completing the form . Educators with questions can contact the Massachusetts Ethics Commission at email@example.com or call the State Ethics Attorney of the Day hotline at (617) 371-9500.
Yes, educators employed by local school districts and educational collaboratives can participate in the courses. There are no disclosures required under the Massachusetts ethics law (G.L. c. 268A) for these individuals.
There is no cost to educators. Course costs are being paid by DESE.
Participation in OAPL courses is optional. This professional learning opportunity is being provided by DESE, as an optional resource for educators. There is no requirement to participate.
Course names and enrollment information will be posted to this page as it becomes available. Educators will enroll in approved OAPL courses directly through the course provider by clicking the link listed for that course. Educators do not need to contact or work with DESE to enroll. Please note that space is limited and enrollment will occur on a first-come, first-served basis.
Early Access is a three-day period during which certain educators get priority access to enroll in an OAPL course. After the three-day period, Early Access is over and any eligible educator may enroll. All eligible higher education faculty have Early Access. Educators who are currently employed in an eligible role in one of the following districts also have Early Access:
The available PDPs will vary by course and will be offered by course providers. If you are interested in receiving PDPs, please explore available courses to learn more about the PDPs each course provider is offering. DESE will not be directly issuing any PDPs for OAPL courses.
Courses offered throughout this school year will be listed to this page. Each course will have different start and end dates. Course start dates range from December to May.
Due to enormous interest, educators may only enroll in one course at this time. Please review the various courses and the select the one that best fits your interests and availability.
It is recommended that educators communicate with their school and/or district administration about their interest in OAPL courses. Grade-level teams, school-based teams, or district-based teams may decide to enroll and take a course together. However, school and/or district permission is not required. Educators may enroll in OAPL courses independently and individually if they so choose. DESE will not be communicating with or reporting back to schools or districts about OAPL course enrollment.
Educators will receive a stipend upon completing some OAPL courses. It may take up to 120 days to receive stipends from course completion. The stipend ranges from $50-$500 depending on the course length. Certain OAPL courses provide educators with either graduate credits or highly valued training in a specific approach or intervention, such as Orton-Gillingham or Wilson; these courses do not offer a stipend. Educators should learn about course requirements, including class attendance requirements and required assignments, before enrolling in any course.
In order to receive your stipend, you must complete the course in which you enrolled. Course completion is determined by the course provider. Your stipend will be issued by your course provider after you have completed the course. The course provider will be solely responsible for determining whether course completion requirements have been met. For details on exactly how and when a stipend will be paid out, educators should contact their course provider. DESE does not monitor or control course completion or issuance of stipends. If you have stipend concerns, please contact your course provider.
Educators may determine when to engage in and complete course work outside of regular working hours.
Course providers will report information to DESE about educators who enrolled in OAPL courses, including but not limited to your name, district or charter school where employed, whether the course was completed, and time to completion. Educators in OAPL courses will also be required to participate in an online survey of knowledge before and after taking their course(s), and results from that assessment will be shared with DESE. All information collected will be used for evaluating the effectiveness of the OAPL program and will not affect individuals' employment or licensure. No personal identifying information about educators in OAPL courses will be shared with schools or districts.
Educators will be asked to complete a feedback survey at the end of each OAPL course. DESE invites educators to share feedback which will inform the operation of this program. For individual issues, please contact your course provider.
Please contact your course provider with any questions about course enrollment, requirements, or stipend. If you have any additional questions about OAPL, please contact Literacyandhumanities@mass.gov .
Last Updated: November 21, 2023
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
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.