The STEM High Quality Career Pathways Capacity Grant program is offered by the Executive Office of Education in collaboration with the STEM Advisory Council. The STEM Advisory Council serves as the central coordinating entity to bring together all of the participants from state agencies, the legislature, and members of the public and private sectors involved with STEM education planning and programming. 

Under the leadership of the Baker-Polito Administration, the STEM Advisory Council undertook an exploratory process to determine where the Council could have the most impact. That process led to the Council endorsing the following four recommendations as the areas to focus its work:

  •  Expanding Work-Based Learning Opportunities in STEM Fields;
  •  Developing and Implementing STEM Early College Career Pathways;
  •  Broadening Access to High-Quality Computer Science and Engineering Education; and
  •  Strengthening and Aligning the work of the Regional STEM Networks

Program Overview

Purpose: 

This grant will provide funding to one or more eligible non-profits (i.e., organization with 501(c)3 designation or institute of higher education) to support the development and coordination of replicable and scalable model(s) of high-quality computer science, engineering, and life science curricula for students in grades 6-12 in a network of middle and high schools across the Commonwealth. The applicant’s curricula shall be aligned to the state’s Science, Technology, and Engineering (STE) and Digital Learning Curriculum Frameworks, and must have the capacity to provide intensive professional development for teachers related to the specific curricula.

Aligning to the state’s education priorities for career development education, applicants should work with schools that have implemented at least three of the components of a high-quality career pathway in STEM subjects and that have plans to grow their career pathways to include all elements below over a reasonable amount of time:

  • Curricula aligns with regional labor market information about workforce needs;
  • Course connection and alignment between elementary, middle and high school curricula;
  • Courses and related support span middle school through post-secondary levels;
  • High school has focused career guidance and advisement systems and middle school has career exploration activities;
  • High school blends rigorous core academic and career technical instruction;
  • High school offers robust work-based learning and project-based experiences; and
  • High school coursework aligns with or awards credit towards a post-secondary or industry recognized credits and/or credential.

The network leader will be responsible for developing a selection process to award sub-grants and invitations to join network. District and charter middle and high schools as well as regional vocational technical high schools shall be eligible to join the network and receive sub-grant funds administered by the network leader.

Link to COMMBUYS

Grant Program Highlights:

Total Grant Program Up to $1,000,000 (including matching funds)
Grant Size Maximum Grant: $750,000
Eligible Applicants

Applicants to be network leader must be an eligible non-profit (i.e., organization with 501(c)3 designation or institute of higher education).

In order to be considered a network leader, grant applicants must demonstrate the capacity and expertise to:

  • Lead, coordinate and support a network of at least 10 high schools and 10 middle schools in multiple regions of the Commonwealth over two years, including through administering multi-year grants;
  • Focus on computer science, engineering and/or life sciences curricula;
  • Provide intensive professional development to middle and high school teachers in outlined subjects, with a focus on project-based/hands-on instruction learning and experience; in the proposal, demonstration of expertise shall include summaries of previous success in this area;
  • Guide and assist prospective schools in aligning curricula to the needs of regional employers; in particular, the network leader should ensure that each school grantee has one or more of the following:
  • Labor market data  from a research-based report or study outlining need for employees with relevant skill set or knowledge;
  • Letter of support from the region’s Workforce Investment Board(s) confirming that there is a high-demand in the specified course(s); and
  • Letter of support from at least one regional employer confirming a workforce need and the role(s) they will play in career exploration and immersion activities for students;
  • Evaluate proposals from middle and high schools based on regional labor market demand for proposed curricula;
  • Capacity to collect, analyze and act on outcome data and report on a variety of outcomes over multiple years;
  • Match the grant funding through non-state cash resources and/or in-kind resources at a minimum rate of $1 for each $3 requested of grant funding; and
  • Successfully implement new initiatives and expend grant funding on a timely basis.

Preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate that their work has led to the implementation of program(s) in middle and high schools that have achieved consistent increased student academic outcomes and successful teacher professional development based on participant evaluations.

Use of Grant funds Funding from the STEM High Quality Career Pathways Capacity Grant shall be used for sub-grants to middle and high schools for capital technology and equipment and professional development in outlined subjects. Funding can be spent in FY 17 and FY 18.
Goals

Funding from this grant will support implementation of high-quality STEM career pathways in computer science, engineering, and life science in order to increase the number of the following:

  • Students enrolled and achieving academic success as determined by course assessments and MCAS;
  • Schools providing a new course/program to meet demonstrated student enrollment demand;
  • Educators with subject area knowledge in the outlined courses and capacity to deploy project-based/hands-on instruction; and
  • Partnerships between high schools and post-secondary institutions, leading to an increase in students attaining relevant academic credentials and/or degrees.
Terms of Award Grant(s) will be awarded as cost reimbursement contract(s), with an anticipated start date upon execution of the contract. EOE reserves the right to negotiate contracts based on the terms of the grant.
Matching Funds

Grant requires match funding (non-state cash funds and/or in-kind) resources at a minimum rate of $1 for each $3 requested for grant funding.

To meet match funding requirement, the network leader may aggregate match funds and/or in-kind donations from sub-grantees (e.g., selected middle and high schools). Preference will be given to applicants who are leveraging non-public resources (local, state, or federal) for match.

Target Populations: 

This program is intended to assist middle schools and high schools in adopting or expanding course offerings in computer science, engineering, and life science curricula with necessary technical assistance and professional development. Schools that serve grades K-8 are eligible to apply for some or all of grades 6-8. As part of its application, the network leader will propose a process for the selection of eligible schools to be part of the network.

Eligible schools must:

  • Serve a  significant number of economically disadvantaged students, per the definition in Chapter 70 in the FY 17 General Appropriations Act;
  • Propose to adopt or expand course offerings in computer science, engineering or life sciences that will enroll a significant number of students and provide the relevant professional development for the teacher(s); and
  • Include letter(s) of commitment from the district superintendent/charter management organization leader and school principal which also includes how the district will sustain and grow the curricula beyond the grant.

In addition, in aligning to the state’s education priorities for career development education, applicants should plan to work with schools that have implemented at least three of the components of a high-quality career pathway in STEM subjects and that have plans to adopt all of the criteria in their pathway programs in a reasonable amount of time:

  • Curricula aligns with regional labor market information about workforce needs;
  • Course connection and alignment between elementary, middle and high school curricula;
  • Courses and related support span middle school through post-secondary levels;
  • High school has focused career guidance and advisement systems and middle school has career exploration activities;
  • High school blends rigorous core academic and career technical instruction;
  • High school offers robust work-based learning and project-based experiences; and
  • High school coursework aligns with or awards credit towards a post-secondary or industry recognized credits and/or credential.

Application Schedule: 

Complete applications must be submitted electronically to Alexis Lian (alexis.lian@massmail.state.ma.us) by 5:00 p.m. on January 4, 2017. A full printed copy of the applicant’s proposal with original signatures must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 6, 2017. Proposals should be mailed to:

Alexis Lian
Executive Office of Education
One Ashburton Place, Room 1403
Boston, MA 02108

Request for Proposals ReleasedDecember 5, 2016
Proposals Due as a single PDF

By 5:00 PM on January 4, 2017 to be submitted electronically to Alexis Lian (alexis.lian@massmail.state.ma.us).

By 5:00 PM on January 6, 2017, a full printed copy of the proposal with original signatures must be received at the Executive Office of Education (address above)

Projected Grant Awards AnnouncementBy January 25, 2017
Anticipated Contract Start DateBy February 1, 2017
Funding DisbursementOn a rolling basis, upon verification of executed sub-grants
Contract End DateTBD