Purpose of the Grant Opportunity

Mass IDEAS is dedicated to helping communities across Massachusetts that are ready to learn from each other, share ideas, and turn great ideas into great schools.

Planning grants, combined with direct support from Mass IDEAS, provide teams who are ready to create new schools or redesign whole schools with the knowledge, skills, dedicated time, financial resources, and support to do so effectively. The grants and direct supports work in tandem to ensure effective school model planning.

Request for Learning

Mass IDEAS invites applications for planning grants to support both new school designs and whole-school redesigns so that students across Massachusetts can attend high-quality, innovative public schools focused on the knowledge and capabilities learners need to thrive in the 21st century.

We issued a Request for Learning instead of a Request for Proposals to signal the innovative thinking, growth mindset, and action we expect from grantees throughout the grant period. Funding priority will be given to applications that demonstrate a bold vision that is supported by evidence of the community’s need for and interest in the proposed school model.

Who Can Apply

Mass IDEAS invites applications from teams planning any type of Massachusetts public school for any K-12 grade span, serving a minimum of 100 students. To enhance their school design work, teams will include a combination of stakeholders; Mass IDEAS encourages additional team diversity along multiple axes of identity.

Local teams may also choose to collaborate with organizations outside of Massachusetts. Organizations working outside of the Commonwealth will need to partner with in-state groups or communities to secure a grant.

Applicants must meet additional eligibility requirements as stated in the Request for Learning.

Grant Awards and Direct Supports

Up to six school design teams will receive grants of up to $150,000 for the planning period January 2019–April 2020.

Mass IDEAS will support grantee teams through a variety of strategies including in-person and virtual convenings, coaching, and other supports. Coaching and advising will be provided throughout the grant term.

Additional details about grantee supports and mutual expectations are available in the Request for Learning.

Applicant Resources

Office Hours by Phone

Join one or more of these calls to learn about the planning grants and to ask questions about the application. Registration is not required.

To Join: 866-662-4001, 659 5344#

  • Monday, October 15
    3:00–4:00 p.m.

  • Monday, October 29
    3:30–4:30 p.m.

  • Thursday, November 1
    10:30–11:30 a.m.

  • Thursday, September 20
    12:00–1:00 p.m.

  • Wednesday, September 26
    10:30–11:30 a.m.

  • Tuesday, October 9
    4:00–5:00 p.m.

Important Links for Applicants

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Important Dates for Applicants

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Monday, September 17
Application Opens

Monday, November 5
Applications Due by 5:00 p.m. ET

December 3–7
Required Interviews for Finalists

By Monday, December 31
Awards Announced

see the applicant RESOURCES section for dates of upcoming Virtual and in-person support opportunities!

Webinar: Lessons Learned from School Designers
Tuesday, September 25, 3:45–5:15 pm

Access the recording from this webinar to hear lessons learned from experienced school designers from Massachusetts and other locations. The panelists shared their firsthand successes, challenges, and strategies that work in school design.

Applicant Writing Support Sessions (in person)

Attend one of these sessions to get support for writing your application. Each session will include both general information about the application and opportunities for one-on-one feedback and response to individual questions about the application content. Advance registration is required.

Wednesday, October 3, 3:00-7:00 p.m.
Norwood, MA

Wednesday, October 24, 3:00-7:00 p.m.
Springfield, MA

Learn More


How to Apply

Applications must be submitted via the online application form by 5:00 p.m. ET on Monday, November 5, 2018. Download the user guide for instructions and guidance for using the online application system.