Two teachers plan on a whiteboard together.

Strengthening School Leadership in Massachusetts

This RFP offers an opportunity for groups of schools to explore challenges and potential solutions with their local school leadership strategy.

The Opportunity

This Request for Proposals (RFP) builds on the findings detailed in the report, Strengthening School Leadership in Massachusetts, by offering groups of schools the opportunity to receive funding to develop plans for addressing their local needs to ensure a high-quality principal in every school.

Over the course of approximately nine months, a cohort of grantees will engage in a three-phase planning process that culminates with a school leadership strategy implementation plan. The three-phase process will ensure that the implementation plans developed are grounded in an understanding of local context and challenges and informed by exploration of potential solutions that align to those challenges, as well as lessons learned from the similar work of others. The phases include:

  1. Information Gathering and Analysis: Collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data to formulate a comprehensive picture of the current principal pipeline context and challenges and complete an individualized learning tree.

  2. Discovery of Potential Solutions: Explore options for strengthening the principal pipeline across all elements and key leverage points. These include, but are not limited to, anticipating leadership needs, aligning principal preparation and development with district needs, and evaluating principal impacts on student outcomes.

  3. Implementation Planning: Select the strategies likely to have the greatest impacts on the principal pipeline within the specific context, and develop a plan that includes appropriate sequence and timeline, as well as an associated budget and description of other anticipated needs related to support or resources.

Barr will provide grantees with technical assistance through Attuned Education Partners to support all three phases of work, and facilitate collaborative learning sessions with all grantees in the cohort.

The RFP aligns with the Invest in Educators work within Barr’s Education program strategy, which seeks to dramatically increase teacher and leader capacity in order to support and sustain high-quality personalized high schools that put success within reach of all students across Massachusetts.

This RFP responds to the many local education agencies (LEAs) across New England seeking to gain a better understanding of the opportunities to improve their ongoing strategic management of their principal pipeline, and do so with the support and expertise to learn from others’ experiences.

Benefits to Participation

We anticipate that a cohort of up to five grantees will be selected, who will each participate in the planning process in order to:

  • Gain a deep understanding of how well the current local principal pipeline management approach aligns with the local needs.
  • Gather important feedback and perspectives from local stakeholders, including those currently in the school leader role
  • Exchange findings, insights, and ideas through a facilitated collaborative learning community of other LEAs facing similar challenges.
  • Benefit from the learnings and experiences of other LEAs who have piloted and implemented solutions in a strategic way; and from evidenced-based programs focused on school leadership development.
  • Solidify a well-informed and strategic implementation plan on how to build a systematic leadership development approach, with engagement and commitment from many key stakeholders.

In addition to the technical assistance provided by Attuned Education Partners, grantees will receive grants for $100,000 to $200,000 to support nine months of planning (December 2019 to August 2020) resulting in the development of a feasible, effective plan to strengthen the local or regional principal pipeline. Grant funds will be used to ensure the planning process yields a deep understanding of what it will take to create a robust and rigorous approach intended to result in a high-quality principal in every school.

A new funding opportunity from @BarrFdn invites proposals for groups of schools in Massachusetts to strengthen approaches to school leadership. Tweet This


This opportunity is available for a single Massachusetts public school system (district or charter) meeting the criteria below. This opportunity is also open to partnerships of Massachusetts schools that represent a commitment across geographic or governance boundaries that could be better equipped to understand and address school leadership pipeline challenges altogether. Thus:

  • A single applicant may consist of a single local education agency (LEA — district or charter), a partnership spanning multiple LEAs, or a partnership that includes a LEA(s) and independent schools.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Applicants must span a total of at least three public high schools across all schools, but may also include schools across the K-12 spectrum.
  • The lead applicant intending to receive the grant and drive the work must be a LEA that serves 50 percent or more high-needs students, as defined by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: students who are economically disadvantaged, current or former English Language Learners, and/or enrolled in Special Education.

Note: Priority will be given to applicants that serve a significant number of high-needs students.

This RFP is now closed.

RFP Timeline

  • June 19, 2019: RFP released
  • July 25, 2019 at 10:30 am: Webinar for prospective applicants. Recording below.
  • September 10, 2019 at 4:00 pm: Proposals due
  • September - October 2019: Proposal review and follow-up
  • November 2019: Awards announced


Watch a recording of a recent webinar for prospective applicants: