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Home / Education / STARS Residencies / Application Process

STARS Residencies

Application Process

STARS Residencies invests in students and teachers working with artists, scientists, and humanists. The program provides grants of $2,500 – $6,100 to support creative learning residencies in the arts, sciences, and humanities.

If you are a returning applicant to the program, learn more about how STARS has changed this year.

This site uses Google Translate to offer online translation. Click the “translate” button at the top right of the screen and select the preferred language.

You can also request application materials be translated offline. These will take 5-10 business days to complete upon request.

Esta página web utiliza el traductor de Google para ofrecer traducción en línea. En la parte superior derecha de su pantalla, haga click en el botón “translate” y seleccione el idioma preferido.

Además, usted también puede solicitar la traducción de los materiales de la aplicación y que estos se le sean enviados digitalmente. Este proceso tardará de 5 a 10 días hábiles.

How to Apply

  1. Review the program guidelines (below) and FAQs.

     

  2. Register for an optional information session on October 3, 2022 from 5-6pm.

     

  3. Learn more about requesting an accommodation for accessibility including translation and interpretation services.

     

  4. Register in our grants management system (or check to see if you already have a user profile).

     

  5. Complete the online application which opens September 28, 2022 and submit it by 11:59pm (ET) on October 25, 2022.

Questions? Contact Diane Daily at 617-858-2709.

Program Guidelines for 2022-2023 School Year

Program Description

STARS Residencies seeks to provide creative learning opportunities in the arts, sciences, and humanities where K-12 students can uncover hidden talents, discover and express their own ideas, build confidence, explore the natural world, and understand their place in history and their community. The residencies are led by teaching artists, scientists, and humanists.

Applicant Eligibility

Funded residencies are a partnership between schools and cultural partners. Cultural partners can be either independent teaching artists, scientists, or humanists, or a non-profit organization that provides the teaching artist, scientist or humanist, as long as the organization names the residency leader in the application.

Please decide beforehand who will submit the application for the proposed residency. Applicants may designate a co-applicant in the application. Only one residency per school will be considered. If two applications are submitted involving the same school, the school principal will be contacted and asked to identify the one application the school will support. The other application will not be reviewed.

We encourage you to apply if you are:

  • A Massachusetts public, charter, or private school serving grades K-12. The school must be recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) with a 2022-2023 ESE School ID.

or

  • A Cultural Partner:
    • An independent teaching artist/scientist/humanist residing in Massachusetts (this does not include school personnel).

or

    • A Massachusetts non-profit organization. (Must name the teaching artist/scientist/humanist who is leading the residency in the application.)

Residency Eligibility

The residency is eligible if it:

  • Involves a school recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
  • Is led by a teaching artist, scientist, and/or humanist from outside the school.
  • Has been approved by the school principal and the teaching artist, scientist, and/or humanist leading the residency.
  • Is one unified residency that focuses on the arts, sciences, and/or humanities.
  • Includes a minimum of one (1) session between the teaching artist, scientist, or humanist and their students on three (3) separate days (see definition of “Session” below).
  • Starts no earlier than September 1, 2022 and ends no later than June 30, 2023.
  • Includes planning time between the cultural partner and school representatives prior to and during the residency. (Each grant includes a $250 one-time stipend to pay the cultural partner for this planning time.)
  • Has a residency plan that articulates three clear Learning Objectives, one of which must be a Socially Conscious Learning Objective (defined below.)

Session Definition and Grant Amount

Grant amounts for STARS residencies are based on the number and length of learning sessions, and a one-time planning stipend.

Session Definition: A residency session is the creative learning time the cultural partner shares with students.

  • A single session is 30-75 minutes long.
  • Double sessions are 80-120 minutes long.

Session Rate: This program calculates grant amounts with a flat rate per residency session.

  • The rate for each 30–75 minute single session is $150.
  • The rate for an 80–120 minute double session is $300.

Planning:  Each grant will include one stipend of $250 to pay the cultural partner(s) for time spent planning with the school before and during the residency. Planning is a critical step in developing a valuable and high-quality learning experience for your students.

Minimum Grant: The minimum grant amount for this program is $2,500 for all approved applications that meet the eligibility and session requirements.

Maximum Grant: The maximum grant amount for this program is $6,100 for all approved applications, even if the number of sessions in the project would bring the total above that maximum. While there is a limit on the grant amount so we can fund more residencies, there is no limit on how long your residency can be.

Grants are calculated as follows:

(Number of Sessions X $150 per Single Session) + $250 for Planning = Grant

Residency Design

Top Three Learning Objectives: The Learning Objectives you set for the residency are key to the value of the creative learning experience. A Learning Objective says in specific and measurable terms what skills, knowledge, and/or understandings you want students to develop through their residency experience. Learning Objectives should be developed collaboratively between classroom teachers and the teaching artist, scientist, or humanist leading the residency.

  • One of the Learning Objectives must be a Socially Conscious Learning Objective. This is creative learning that helps prepare the students to be positive contributors to their world. For example, does the residency teach equity and inclusion? Does it help students connect with their own voices and culture? Does the residency connect students to the world around them, such as their school, their community or environment, or another culture?

A Strong Learning Goal/Objective:*

  • Begins with the end in mind

WEAK EXAMPLE: Students will be exposed to artwork from the Surrealist movement (no end result or way to assess learning)

STRONG EXAMPLE: Students will identify key characteristics of the Surrealist movement (end result of learning)

  • Is worded in language reflective of the student’s learning, not the teacher’s instruction

WEAK EXAMPLE: Introduce primary colors (Teacher-focused)

STRONG EXAMPLE: Students will identify and use primary colors in a work of art (Student-focused)

*Provided by Dawn Benski, Arts Content Support Lead, MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education

Multiple Teaching Artists/Scientists/Humanists:  We do NOT require that every teaching artist/scientist/humanist work with EVERY student in the school. However, we do require that each work with their students for at least one session on at least three separate days. All must work on a single, unified residency for the school and have sufficient co-planning time to ensure that all students receive the same learning experiences, adjusted for grade level. Be sure your application narrative makes this clear. Tell us how the teaching artists/scientists/humanists will plan together both before and during the residency.

Multiple Grades: If your residency involves more than one grade, it still must be one, unified residency. All grades must work on the same unifying theme. They all must explore the same content, adjusted for the grade level.

Location:  Residencies may be in-person, remote, or hybrid (part in-person, part remote) as requested by the school. In-person sessions can take place either at the school, and/or at the cultural partner’s site (for example, at an artist’s studio or a museum), and/or at another site selected by the school and the cultural partner.

Culminating Event:  While no longer required, we recommend residencies consider holding a culminating event for students to share their learning with other students, teachers, families, and the community.  Read more about culminating events in the FAQs.

Review Process

Funding decisions will be made using a combination of the following factors:

  • Funding priorities
  • Reviewer scores

If we cannot fund all eligible applications, applications that receive the highest rating using the two factors above will be funded first. For applications that receive the same rating, a random selection process will be used to determine the order in which the applications will be funded.

Funding priorities:

  • First-time applicants or applicants that have not received funding from Mass Cultural Council in the last three fiscal years. Read the FAQs to learn more.
  • Residencies for schools that are located in cities and towns that are below the state’s median household income and below statewide educational attainment (the percentage of adults who have attained at least a bachelor’s degree). This includes but is not limited to places designated as Gateway Cities. A full list of these under-resourced communities is available.
  • Residencies serving schools with student populations that are 50% or more Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) as reported by DESE. (Data Source (2021-2022) Look up your school online.
  • In order to ensure that as many applicants as possible can receive funding, if necessary, we may prioritize applicants not receiving other FY23 Mass Cultural Council funding and/or we may prioritize applicants that submitted only one application.

Review Criteria and Scoring Rubrics

Applications that meet all the eligibility criteria listed above will be reviewed based on these two criteria:

  • The strength of the Learning Objectives.
  • The connection of the residency activities to those objectives.

Each criterion will be rated on a 5-point scale as follows:

Criterion:  Strength of the Learning Objectives.

1 = Weak: None of the Learning Objectives are clear or attainable.

2 = Below Average: Two of the Learning Objectives are to some extent unclear or unattainable and have significant flaws.

3 = Average: At least two of the Learning Objectives are clear and attainable.

4 = Above Average: All of the Learning Objectives are clear, attainable, and represent above average creative learning in the arts, sciences, and/or humanities.

5 = Exemplary: All Learning Objectives are extremely clear, attainable, and represent exemplary creative learning in the arts, sciences, and/or humanities.

Criterion: Connection of the residency activities to the Learning Objectives is clear and they are attainable.

1 = Weak: The description of the activities is not detailed, the connection of the activities to the Learning Objectives is weak, and the activities may not be attainable.

2 = Below Average: The description of the activities is somewhat detailed; the activities are connected to one or two Learning Objectives but some activities may not be attainable.

3 = Average: The description of the activities is moderately detailed, the activities are connected to all Learning Objectives and they are clear and attainable.

4 = Above Average: The description of the activities is well detailed, the activities are connected to all Learning Objectives, and they are clear, attainable, and represent above average creative learning in the arts, sciences, and/or humanities.

5 = Strong: The activities are connected to all Learning Objectives and are fully detailed, extremely clear, attainable, and represent strong creative learning in the arts, sciences, and/or humanities.

Funding

The grant award will be paid to the applicant, whether that is the school, the independent teaching artist/scientist/humanist, or the non-profit organization. This party is the “grantee.”

Grant funds may be spent on any residency expense – fees for teaching artists/scientists/humanists, materials, equipment, technology, etc. – except the teacher’s salary.

In all cases, the grantee is responsible for any and all residency expenses that exceed the grant award amount.

All grant funding is subject to the annual State budget appropriation, recommendations of Mass Cultural Council Grants Committee, and the final approval of the Mass Cultural Council.

Schools that have not submitted a final report for a STARS Residencies Grant for School Year 2021-2022 are not eligible for funding until they complete their prior report. If you need help finding and completing a report, please contact us.

Applicants will receive notification of the status of their application via email on December 13, 2022.

Grant Requirements

Contract Package

Grantees cannot receive payment until they return a completed contract package. Contracts are due by February 10, 2023. Learn more about the contract package.

Mass Cultural Council is required to follow a strict July 1 – June 30 fiscal year calendar for payments. Grantees that fail to return completed contracts in a timely fashion risk forfeiting grant funds.

Final Report

STARS Residencies grantees must complete the online final report 30 days after the residency ends or no later than July 14, 2023, whichever is first.

The report asks you to report on the successes and challenges of the residency. The online Final Report form will be accessible to grantees and co-applicants only after the grantee returns their contract. (Log-in with the username/password you used for your FY23 STARS application. The site can send you a reminder if you need one.) You may view a sample final report form when available.

Accessibility

Mass Cultural Council and its grantees are contractually committed to abide by state and federal regulations which bar discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and which require accessibility for persons with disabilities. Mass Cultural Council’s grantees sign a contract certifying that they will comply with ADA and Section 504. Mass Cultural Council aims to help grantees understand their obligations and recognize the opportunities that increasing access can provide for both the public and the grantee. Resources and additional information are available on Mass Cultural Council’s website.

Modifications and Cancellations

Grantees are expected to notify Program Manager Diane Daily as soon as possible if a residency will be scaled back, significantly altered, or will not take place. If it is anticipated that the grant funds will not be spent in full on the residency project, grantees must notify the Program Manager no later than May 1, 2023 and return all unexpended funds to the Mass Cultural Council, no later than June 1, 2023. Failure to do so, may jeopardize eligibility for future funding opportunities.

Grant Timeline

August – October 25, 2022: Residency and application counseling available. Contact Program Manager Diane Daily at 617-858-2709.

September 1, 2022: Residency programs are eligible to start as of this date, but there is no guarantee of STARS funding.

September 28, 2022: Online application opens.

October 3, 2022: Information session at 5pm (ET).

October 25, 2022: Online application closes at 11:59pm (ET).

December 13, 2022: Funding decision notifications emailed.

February 10, 2023:  Grant award contracts due back to Mass Cultural Council.

May 1, 2023:  Grantees must notify Mass Cultural Council of funds that will not be spent by June 30.

June 1, 2023: All funds that will not be spent by June 30, 2022 must be returned to Mass Cultural Council.

June 30, 2023: Residencies must end.

July 14, 2023: Deadline for final reports.

Grants Management System

All applicants should submit their applications through the online system. To create a profile in the system you must have an email address, which will be your username.

If you have previously applied for a Mass Cultural Council grant using your email address, you may have a profile in the system already. Here’s how you can check to see if you already have a user profile:

  • Go to the online system and click “Forgot Password”.
  • Once you submit your email address, you will receive an email with a temporary password and a link to the site.
  • Copy the password to use on the login page, you will then be prompted to create a new password.
  • If you do not receive an email, you do not have an account and you should create one (see below), or you can contact the grants help desk for assistance.

If you have not applied to Mass Cultural Council before and/or do not already have a user profile, complete a registration in the grants management system.

Schools and non-profit organizations

  • Go to the online system and click “Register”.
  • On the next page select “Organization” to register your school or organization.
  • Your organization may already have a record in the system. Use the Organization name field to find and select your school or organization, then provide your contact information.
  • If your school or organization’s name is not listed, click the link at the top of the page to register your school or organization manually. There you will also provide your own contact information as well.
  • After completing the registration, you should receive an email to activate your account. The account must be activated within 24 hours. After clicking the activation link, you will be prompted to create a new 8-digit password.

Independent teaching artists/scientists/humanists

  • Go to the online system and click “Register”.
  • On the next page select “Individual”.
  • After completing the registration, you should receive an email to activate your account. The account must be activated within 24 hours. After clicking the activation link, you will be prompted to create a new 8-digit password.

Please Note: our Terms of Use and Privacy policies have changed.

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