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Youth program at Central Square Theater

STARS Residencies

FAQs

Applicant Eligibility

Who can apply?
Any Massachusetts school (public, private, or charter school) serving grades K-12 may submit one grant application for STARS Residencies funding per school year.

Can we apply for a second STARS Residencies grant in this school year?
No. Each school may submit one grant application for STARS Residencies funding per school year.

Can residencies take place afterschool or in the summer?
Afterschool residencies are eligible. Afterschool programs that are operated by the school are eligible to participate. The school must apply on behalf of the after-school program. The residency must be completed by June 30.

New Online Application

Usernames/ Passwords

Can I use the same login username/password as last year?
In the new grants management system your email is your username. If you applied in the past, you may have a record in the new system. If you do have a record already in the new system, you will just need to set a new password.

What should I know about filling out a new user profile?

  1. Check to see if you already have a user profile in the grants management system. We moved many user profiles over from our previous system, so before registering, check to see if you are in the system already:
    • Go to our new grant management system (link to come shortly)
    • 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.
  1. If you do not have a user profile already, complete a registration in the grants management system. In the new system, the School is the primary applicant and grantee and can invite their cultural partner to serve as co-applicant. As co-applicant, the cultural partner can help complete and edit the application but cannot submit it. Only the school can submit the final application.
    • Go to our new grant management system (link to come shortly)
    • Click “Register”
    • Click “Organization”
    • If you are associated with a school, search for the school name in the search field and provide your contact information. Schools with a DESE Identification number have been populated on this list. If you cannot find your school, contact Diane Daily.
    • Once you submit your registration, 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.

I’ve forgotten my username and/or password. How do I find out what it is?
If you forget your username and password, from the grants management landing page, click “Forgot Password” and follow the instructions.

Organization Profile

How do I register as an Organization and what does that mean?
As an individual, you can serve as a contact person for an Organization. To do this, when you register you will register as an Organization. Once you are connected to that organization, you are using the system on behalf of the organization and any application you submit is for funding for the organization you are connected to. Whether you are registering on behalf of a school, cultural organization, non-profit, city or town, or unincorporated group, you will register as an Organization.

How do I register as a school and what will I see?
If you are connected to a school (i.e. teacher, principal, department head, etc.) when you register you will select “Organization” when it asks you which type of registration you will be completing. You will then search for your school name in the field at the top of the registration page. All schools with DESE identification numbers have been imported. If you cannot find your school, contact Diane Daily. When you register, be careful to make sure you are connecting yourself to the correct school. For example, there are many Lincoln Elementary Schools. Make sure you are selecting the school in the right city or town, which will also be displayed along with the name of the school.

Because you are registered as a contact person for your school, when you log into the system and look under “Funding Opportunities” you will see STARS Residencies listed there between September 22, 2021 and October 20, 2021. You can open the opportunity and start an application. If you would like, you can invite a cultural partner to your application, and they can work on it with you.

What if I am at a cultural organization, how do I register and what will I see?
If you are connected to a cultural organization when you register you will select “Organization” when it asks you which type of registration you will be completing. You will then search for your organization’s name in the registration page. If you cannot find your organization in the list, you can register the organization manually using the link at the top of the page. It will take up to 2 business days for your registration to be reviewed so Mass Cultural Council staff can give your organization a category to ensure you see the funding opportunities that the organization may be eligible for.

Even once you are categorized, you will not see STARS Residencies in the funding opportunities page because only schools can apply. However, a school can invite you to their application as a co-applicant and you will get an email notification and then will be able to see the application under “Applications” in the “In Progress” section. You will be able to edit the application, but the school contact person will have to submit the application when it is ready.

What if I’m an independent teaching artist, scientist or scholar, how do I register and what will I see?
If you are a teaching artist, scientist, or scholar not connected to an organization, you will select “Individual” when it asks you which type of registration you will be completing. You will provide your name and contact information as well as answer some optional demographic questions and then will submit your registration.

As an Individual, you will not see STARS Residencies in the funding opportunities page because only schools can apply. However, a school can invite you to their application as a co-applicant and you will get an email notification and then will be able to see the application under “Applications” in the “In Progress” section. You will be able to edit the application but you cannot submit the application. The school contact person will have to submit the application when it is ready.

How do I invite our cultural partner to be a co-applicant?
After completing the eligibility quiz successfully, you can proceed to the application form. The first tab of the form is called “Applicant Information.” On that tab there is a section called “Co-Applicant Invitation”. In that section you will see a teal button with an envelope on it, if you hover over it, you can see the text “Invite.” Click the Invite button and a new window will open. To add the co-applicant to the invitation, click on the teal “plus” button at the top left.

Then you can enter the co-applicant’s first name, last name. and email address and you will select the “Role of Co-applicant” from the drop down. Then click on the teal “Invite” button.  This will send the invitation to the co-applicant.

The co-applicant can be an individual or a contact at an organization. If the co-applicant is not yet registered in the grants management system, they will need to register in order to access the application. If the co-applicant is an individual teaching artist, scientist, or scholar, they should register as an Individual. If the co-applicant is a cultural organization, then the person you sent the invitation to should register as an Organization.

The co-applicant can only edit the application. The school is the actual applicant to the program and the school is the grantee if the application is funded.

Grant Application

Can I see the application before creating a user profile?
Yes. You can preview a sample application form (coming early September).

Can I save my application and come back later to make changes?
Yes, be sure to click “Save Draft” frequently while you work. You can continue to make changes until you hit the “Submit” button.

Where will I see my saved application?
If you come back to work on your application later, you will find it in your portal under “Applications” in the “In Progress” section. You can reopen it and continue working until you are ready to submit it.

What happens if I hit “Submit”?
If you hit the “Submit” button it means you have completed your application and are ready to submit it to the Mass Cultural Council. Once you do that you will not be able to make any changes. If you made an error and need to correct something before the application deadline, you can contact Diane Daily and she can, if time allows, reopen it for you. You must submit the application again before the deadline for it to be considered on time and eligible for review.

What is the “Withdraw” button for? What do I do if I clicked on it by accident?
If you started an application or submitted an application but you no longer want to submit it or have it reviewed for funding, you can click “Withdraw” to close the application and take it out of consideration. Applications that have been withdrawn will not be reviewed for funding after the deadline. If you clicked on it by mistake, contact Diane Daily and she will put your application back into “Draft” status so you can continue working on it.

How do I know my application was successfully submitted?
After you submit, you will get an email notification with a copy of the application you submitted attached as a PDF for your records. When you log into your portal, you will also see the application in the “Applications” section under “Submitted”.

Is there an application deadline?
Yes. The online application will close at 11:59pm (ET) on October 20, 2021.

Will applications be reviewed on a first-come, first-reviewed basis this year?
No.  Once the deadline has passed, eligible applications will be reviewed as follows:

  • We will review all eligible applications received by the grant deadline.
  • Applications will be scored by outside reviewers using the review criteria and rubrics listed in the guidelines.
  • Applications that receive the highest score will be funded first. For applications that receive the same score, a random selection process will be used to determine the order in which the applications will be funded. We will fund down that list until all funds are allocated.

Can we apply if we don’t know yet exactly when the residency will take place?
Yes. When filling out the application, just make your best guess as to when the residency will start and end.

When can a residency start?
Eligible residencies may start on or after August 30, 2021. Note, however, there is no guarantee that the residency will be funded, regardless of whether it was funded in previous years. This means that if you start your residency before you hear about funding from us, you need to be sure that the residency can be paid for through another source of funds if it does not receive a STARS grant. This is very important: cultural partners need to be paid for their work and schools need to be able to work within their budgets. No one – schools or cultural partners – should assume that their residency will be awarded a grant.

Narrative Questions

What should I know about filling out the narrative questions?
Look at the sample application (PDF) for the questions and character limits – which include spaces and punctuation.

We recommend that you develop your narrative in word processing software, and then copy and paste it in the appropriate narrative boxes once the online application opens. Save the document for your records.

Before you copy and paste responses from word processing software into the online application, save the file as “text only.” After you’ve entered the text into the application, click “Save Draft”, then be sure to click “View PDF” at the bottom of the screen to make sure your narrative looks the way you want it to and is a complete response.

Always remember to click the “Save Draft” button frequently. It is located at the bottom of each page. Note: If you click “Save” instead of “Save Draft,” the application will close.

Cultural Partners

What is a “cultural partner”?
A “cultural partner” is the teaching artist, scientist, or scholar who will be doing the residency. A cultural organization is not the cultural partner – artist, scientist, or scholar working for the cultural organization is the cultural partner.

How do we find a cultural partner? Do we have to work with a Mass Cultural Council-approved cultural partner?
You can work with whomever you choose. Be sure that teaching artist, scientist, or scholar has the experience and expertise needed to engage the students in a high-quality learning experience.

Many schools find their cultural partners through recommendations from colleagues at other schools. For additional options to get started, you can visit CreativeGround.org.

Can we work with more than one cultural partner?
Yes, a residency may involve multiple artists, scientists, or scholars; however, the cultural partners must collaborate on the same, unified residency. Each cultural partner must meet the three-day minimum with their group of students (see “Residency Design” below). The application must show that cultural partners will plan together both before and during the residency.

Residency Design

Do all residencies need to be remote this year?
The residency can be remote, partially remote/in-person, or fully in-person, depending on what is agreed upon by the school and cultural partner. However, ALL applications must include a plan for delivering the residency as fully remote. This is so the residency can be completed by June 30, 2022 in the event that the school no longer allows in-person sessions.

Is there a minimum length for a residency or a limit on how long it can be?
To be eligible, a residency must have each teaching artist, scientist, or scholar work with their group of students for a minimum of one session on three separate days. There is no limit to how long a residency can be under this program. We encourage schools to design residencies that provide as in-depth and meaningful a creative learning experience for students as possible.

How long is one “session”?
One session is 30-75 minutes contact time with the same group of students. A class 80-120 minutes long counts as two sessions.

Our residency will involve more than one cultural partner. Does each one need to meet with ALL the students involved in the residency?
No. Each cultural partner can work with their own group of students. Each cultural partner, however, is required to meet with their group of students for at least one session on at least three separate days. And all cultural partners must be working on the same, unified residency.

Are culminating events required this year for residencies of five days or more?
Yes, culminating events are required this year for residencies of five days or more.

How can we make sure the residency is a high-quality learning experience?

  • Be sure to choose a cultural partner with the right experience and expertise for your learning objectives. Ask for a resume and references from previous residencies.
  • Meet with the cultural partner before and during the residency to discuss learning objectives, connections to the curriculum and extensions, and how best to engage the students.
  • Stay in the in-person or virtual classroom. This signals to students that the residency is an important learning opportunity. It also helps with classroom management – whether remote or in-person. After the session, talk with the cultural partner about what worked and what could be improved for the next session.

Do we have to have a signed contract with the cultural partner before we apply?
A signed contract is not required for the application to be eligible for a grant. However, Mass Cultural Council encourages schools and cultural partners to enter into a contract for the work to be performed before the residency begins to enable all parties to know what is expected and agreed-upon.

Can a residency involve more than one grade?
A residency may involve more than one grade; however, all grades must work on the same, unifying theme and explore the same content (adjusted for grade level).

Several schools in the district are working with the same cultural partner. Can we submit a joint application?
No, each school must submit its own application. However, you can indicate that the schools are collaborating on the same project.

Funding

How large a grant can we receive?
The maximum grant is $5,500. Your grant amount is determined by the number of sessions with students and the cultural partner.

How much is the planning stipend?
Each grant will include a $250 stipend (total) to pay the cultural partner(s) for time spent planning with the school before and during the residency.

What is the per-session grant amount?
The per-session grant amount has been updated to $150. A session is 30-75 minutes contact time with the students. A double session is 80-120 minutes.

If we work with more than one cultural partner in each classroom, do we receive additional funds per artist?
No. You will receive $150 per session to spend any way you wish to support the residency – cultural partner fees, materials, technology, etc. (but not teacher salaries).

Can we use grant funds to fund technology?
If the technology is needed to create or deliver the residency, grant funds may be used to cover the cost.

Can we use the grant to fund more than one residency in the school?
No. Grants may be used to fund only one residency per school so that we can fund residencies in as many schools as possible.

Do we need to come up with a match?
No. There is no match required for this grant. However, schools are responsible for all residency costs that exceed the grant award amount.

How soon will we hear whether we will receive a grant?
We will notify applicants by email by November 30, 2021 as to whether their application has been approved or not. Be sure your email is set to receive messages from the Mass Cultural Council (diane.daily@art.state.ma.us).

Final Report

Do we have to complete a final report? When is it due?
Yes, every grantee must complete a final report on the grant activities and expenditures. The report is due within 30 days after the residency is completed or no later than July 15, 2022.

Schools that fail to submit a final report will not be eligible to apply for another Mass Cultural Council grant in a future school year until the report has been completed or until two years have passed.

Where do I find the final report?
The final report is accessible from the same site as the application. You must use the same login name and password as you used to create the application. Once you log in you will find it in the section called “Requires Attention” under “Pending Reports”.

Contracts and Payments

When is our contract due back?
Your contract is due back to Mass Cultural Council’s Fiscal Office by February 10, 2022.

We submitted our contract but have not yet received our payment. Where is the money?
Your grant funds will be electronically transferred within 45 days after we receive your completed contract. The funds will be sent electronically as a direct deposit as follows:

Public schools: Grants are sent to the town treasurer. Please keep a copy of your signed contract. Your town treasurer will likely need it for their records and to help them get your school’s reimbursement onto a warrant. You must contact the town treasurer to access your funds.

Charter schools, schools within a regional school district, or private schools: Grants will be sent directly to the school or school district.

Boston Public Schools: If the residency is in a BPS school, you must work through the BPS standard contracting and payment process. Note: there are several steps to this process that schools and cultural partners must follow. Contact: Phillip Dunn at BPS.

Worcester Public Schools: Contact Linda Nowosacki at the WPS Grant Office at 508-799-3112.

How can I check the status of our payment?
Login to the system and in the portal under “Applications” you will see a section called “Payments” which will have information about when a payment was made.

Other Questions?

Contact Diane Daily at 617-858-2709.


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