Mathematics & Science Partnership (MSP)


Program Name

2015-2016: K-12 Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) STEM 1 year grant.

Funding Purpose/Priorities

The Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP) program is intended to increase the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science by enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers through partnerships between high-need school districts and the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty in institutions of higher education (IHE). MSP programs should focus on the following priorities:

  • The education of STEM teachers as a career-long process through lesson study;
  • Bringing STEM teachers together with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to improve their content knowledge and teaching skills; and
  • Developing rigorous STEM model lessons and professional development modules that are aligned to Florida’s standards for mathematics through integration and application of STEM concepts and skills.

The intent to apply is due May 8, 2015.  Intentions may be emailed to Dr. JP Keener: jonathan.keener@fldoe.org.  A phone conference for interested applicants will be held on May 15, 2015. Questions regarding this RFP will be received by May 14, discussed on the phone conference May 15, and answers will be posted by May 17.  Send all questions to jonathan.keener@fldoe.org. The application is due by close of business Friday, June 12, 2015. The due date refers to the date of receipt in Grants Management. Facsimile and e-mail submissions are not acceptable.

Request for Proposal (RFP) for Discretionary, Competitive Projects (Word)

Answers to Questions

2015  MSP – one year application questions.

  • The RFP identifies three priorities for funding (e.g. lesson study, STEM teachers working with scientists, and developing STEM model lessons and PD modules), is it necessary to address all three priorities within the proposal/partnership, or is it acceptable to select a strategic combination based on the needs of the partner LEA?
  • These are only suggestions. It is acceptable to allow the development of your proposal to fit the needs of the LEA
  • To what extent can the needs of the partner LEA drive the content focus of the partnership?
  • The needs of the LEA should drive the proposal 100%
  • Given that funding is only provided for one year, to what extent is it expected that the IHE/LEA partnership and the resulting innovation will be sustained after funding?
  • Sustainability may be achieved by developing materials that can be used in ongoing training. For example, if PD videos are produced, they may be used for years to follow. If lesson plans are developed, it would be expected that these plans be used within the district to fuel discussion and PLC. We recognize that we do not have time to institutionalize a program in one year, but content and pedagogy PD is something we do in our districts already. Sustainability is continuing the work we do, using the materials developed in this grant period, or using the trained teachers to carry on the work at their schools. If teachers take classes to learn content, then they should be expected to provide content training to other teachers in the district or at their school. In all cases we are looking to impact the greatest number of faculty.
  • Will there be an opportunity to apply for follow-up funding to continue innovative programs and partnerships?
  • No.
  • How many awards does the FDOE anticipate funding?
  • It is impossible to say, since the budget for each is different, and frugality is highly recommended. However, we suspect that we will be awarding roughly 12.
  • How many participant teachers are expected to be involved/impacted by the IHE/LEA partnership?
  • The greatest number possible.
  • Given the potential distance between IHEs and LEAs, are virtual interventions acceptable?
  • Yes.  As long as there is a valid measure of success. For example, it would be expected that teachers would be taking a pre and post- test.  It would be expected that performance on the post-test be tied to the stipend or follow up.  This is a grant – and all things are possible in a grant where involvement is voluntary.
  • Are travel funds an allowable expense for the MSP budget, for example, basic travel expenses associated with visiting an LEA to provide PD?
  • Yes
  • If LEA teachers are involved in university coursework as part of the MSP can the grant funds be used to offset tuition costs for the teachers?
  • Yes
  • If graduate students contribute to the efforts of the MSP, i.e. data collection and analysis, are they considered personnel and their stipends subject to the 15% rule?
  • No.
  • Can a high needs LEA be in two grant applications if they are not the fiscal agent?
  • Yes
  • We are an LEA. If we  have a partner with an IHE, do we have to have an additional partner with another LEA?
  • It is not required, but highly recommended
  • As an LEA, can we partner with more than one other LEA?
  • Yes, there is no limit to partnerships
  • Work Products developed under this grant must be available to FLDOE. Is there any charge for review of these items that must be included in the budget?
  • If lesson plans are being developed for the submission to CPALMS, then this must be included in the budget. Information on the amount required to successfully vet lessons from CPALMS will be provided.
  • Although the ending date of the grant is June 30, 2016, would a no-cost extension be available to support teacher externship experiences during the summer of 2016 (so that the STEM teachers could be brought “together with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to improve their content knowledge and teaching skills?”
  • It is possible to have an extension through July.
  • The RFP only mentions the MAFS. Should the model lessons align to other standards (as NGSSS)? 
  • All content instruction must be aligned to current Florida standards in math and science.
  • What standards should be included in model STEM lessons for technology and engineering?
  • Currently Florida has no adopted standards for engineering or technology. However, lessons that include links to the ISTE technology standards and the NGSS Engineering Standards is recommended for STEM lessons.
  • The RFP states that priority review and selection will be given to LEAs not currently participating in an MSP award.  Please explain the rating process that will be used.
  • Districts currently not involved in MSP funding will be awarded first. Once all districts without current MSP funding have been awarded, MSP funded district applications will be evaluated.
  • Will priority also be given to colleges and universities who are not currently funded via an MSP award?  For example, since FSU received multiple awards last year for 3 year grants, would other universities receive higher priorities for selection?
  • The MSP focus is on the needs of K-12 teachers within districts. For this reason, the needs of districts drive the selection process.  Districts may choose any institution of higher learning to assist them in this process.  The selection of an institution to provide the service does not impact the application.  Priority will be provided to districts without current MSP funding. The selection of the institution does not impact the evaluation. The overall strength of the application will be used to evaluate applications and awards.
  • Can a high needs LEA be in two grant applications if they are not the fiscal agent?
  • Yes
  • If we have one or two counties which qualify for the LEA can we have other counties join and can the stipends for professional development be paid to them as well.
  • Yes. In fact, having teachers work together across borders helps to strengthen the application. Training in individual “silos” is not always an effective model.
  • Can pre-service teachers in these counties which qualify for LEA take part in this activity and can stipends be paid to them.
  • No. They are  not under contract.
  • Can we include laptops/iPads for teachers and PIs as they will be used for instruction and demonstrations.
  • Yes. However, it must be shown how these materials are being used to develop teacher content, and how they are essential for the development of content background. The argument could be made, and that is left to the application. It is easier to see how a microscope would be necessary to hold classes in life science content. 
  • What is the total amount of grant funding to be awarded? 
  • 5 million
  • Where can we view the MSP grants that were awarded last year?
  • MSP grants awarded last year has a 3-year scope and would not fit the one-year application. However, these records are public, and anyone wishing to come view the applications is welcome. Simply schedule an appointment and we will happily provide access to all applications for the MSP.
  • Can a school district be the lead applicant in one proposal and a collaborating LEA in another where an IHE is the lead applicant?
  • Yes
  • Can the professional development (PD) started and paid for by the MSP grant continue beyond June 30, 2016?
  • An extension is possible until the end of July.
  • Does partnering districts have to implement all the same programs?
  • It would be expected that districts would be working collaboratively to provide content training to teachers in all partner districts. In short, yes, the program should be collaborative, and should address the content needs of teachers, and this training should be consistent between partners.
  • If partnering districts are implementing a math and a science PD program, can the budget allocation for each PD be different in each district?
  • Yes.
  • If partnering with a IHE for science, can a LEA partner with another IHE for math?
  • Yes
  • Does the IHE have to be directly involved in all PD programs that are implemented with MSP funds?
  • No. The intention of the IHE partnership is to ensure the fidelity of the PD. The IHE may provide content PD, or may serve to review content PD, or may serve to assist in the development of content PD. The relationship between the IHE and the LEA is fully flexible to meet the needs of the district.
  • I see that the document is to be double-spaced. Can charts be single-spaced?
  • Double space is the recommendation. Single space is acceptable.
  • I understand that the limit on personnel costs of 15% applies to school district teacher hourly pay to attend professional development. Would it apply to an external consultant who helps coordinate activities? 
  • If this is a full-time position, or a supplement to an existing salary, then yes. However, if you are paying a consultant an hourly wage to assist with certain projects, then no, this does not fall in to the 15%
  • Does it apply to subcontracts with the university which may reimburse professors for their time? 
  • If this is a full-time position, or a supplement to an existing salary, then it counts towards the 15%. However, if you are paying a consultant an hourly wage to assist with certain projects, then no, this does not fall in to the 15%.
  • Are partnerships with other districts required?
  • Not required, however they are highly recommended. Application points are scored for the scope and coverage of the project.  Involving multiple districts widens the scope and coverage.
  • We would wish to request the full amount. Would there be a penalty for not using the full amount requested?
  • FRUGALITY – is applauded here. Do not request the full amount if you don’t need it. Your budget should be tight, and should show the greatest bank for every dollar requested.  It is hoped that a district only needing a few dollars to finish a project will request it. From our own perspectives, $500,000.00 is a lot of money to spend in a year. Please be frugal, and show the best application for the funds requested.
  • In the proposal if we say we have 150 teachers, is that number a strict number. Is it ok to have plus or minus a few teachers? If we have lesser number then  can those funds be returned?
  • Yes, and funds may always be returned, but we are asking that you be honest in your application. If you feel you can only access 100 teachers, then please allow this to be your number. If 150 is unrealistic then don’t request it. Frugality is emphasized.
  • Can you elaborate more regarding what you looking for in a  "collabrate needs assessment"?
  • The needs assessment is a report from your state data showing the weakness in student scores and showing how your training is aimed at addressing these weaknesses.
  • Are registration fees allowed under the MSP
  • Yes.
  • Would a part-time employee, specifically for consultant work for this project @ an hourly rate be excluded from the 15% salary and benefit cap?
  • Yes, this support staff does not count towards the 15%. It is excluded from the 15%. The 15% is for full time staff – project managers, etc.
  • In one place the RFP says 11 pages and in another 20? Can you discuss.
  • Yes: 11 pages please.
  • If we submit earlier than June 12th would the "2-week" turnaround still apply? Would we find out sooner?
  • Submit early – it is appreciated, but the announcement can only occur after all applications have been received and reviewed.
  • Will a college of education suffice as STEM faculties?
  • Yes.
  • When will we know the cost of CPALMS?
  • I will have FCR STEM respond to this shortly.
  • What type of information is required for Equitable Services for private school participation?
  • Investigating with MSP Federal. Will have an answer from them shortly.
  • Teresa Rockwood - how many districts can work together on this?
  • There is no limit.
  • Could you address what should be included in the 15% limit for personnel salaries and benefits?
  • The 15% is for full time or supplemented full time positions. It does NOT include stipends, substitutes, contractors, or student interns developing materials.
  • If we create lesson plans but post them on a district site, must we include the CPALMS review fee?
  • Yes. CPALMS is the STATE way we use lessons. And all products will come to the state.
  • Will we be able to amend the budget and/or deliverables?
  • Yes, amendments may be made quarterly during the award period
  • Does the 11 pages include the required documents at the end on deliverables, etc.
  • No. See the rubric for what pages are included in the 11
  • How much of the budget could go to materials? If we spend 15% on payroll and 15% on IHE consultants, then could we spend the majority of the remainder on supplies/technology to implement STEM  for teachers?
  • The focus of this grant is PD for teacher content development. Your application may have materials/supplies, but they must be tied to instructional PD, and MUST show how it is essential materials to provide PD for teacher content knowledge. No matter what – this application must show teacher PD for the purpose of developing content knowledge.
  • If we do write lesson plans, does the CPALMS fee include any training for participants in conforming to CPALMS requirements?
  • CPALMS works directly with each teacher after each submission (hence the fee for review).
  • What is the budget period for this grant?
  • July 1 2015 - June 30, 2016
  • Is there a range for teacher stipends?
  • No. This is district decision. However, typically districts offer $15.00 hr. plus benefits.
  • When do you anticipate notifying successful applicants once the decision is made?
  • As soon as all applications are reviewed, and the awards are approved.
  • We contract for substitutes. Would that fall under the 15%?
  • No.
  • Do teacher stipends for attending training fall under the 15%
  • No.
  • The program is expecting teachers to attend professional development without being paid or hiring substitutes and the 15% to mostly be for program administration?
  • No. Stipends may be incorporated, and substitutes may be included and neither count towards the 15%.   The 15% is mostly program administration.
  • Can we use an outside evaluator and if yes can we pay them out of grant funds?
  • Yes.

Dr. JP Keener
Director – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
Florida Department of Education - Bureau of Standards and Instructional Support
325 W. Gaines Street, Tallahassee, Florida
850-245-0808
Jonathan.Keener@fldoe.org