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Program Guidelines for 2016-2017 School Year

The STARS Residencies online application for the 2016-17 school year will open at 4:00 pm on Thursday, October 6, 2016.

NOTE: Residencies may not start before November 14, 2016.

STARS Residencies provides grants of $500-$5,000 to schools to support residencies with teaching artists, scientists, and scholars working with each group of students over a minimum of three days. Residencies must take place during the school year.

Applicant Eligibility
Any Massachusetts school (public, charter, parochial, or independent) serving grades K-12 is eligible to apply.

Each school is eligible for only one STARS grant per school year. A grant may fund only one residency.

School-based afterschool programs may receive a grant; however, the host school must submit the application on behalf of the afterschool program. The grant to the afterschool program will count as the school's one grant for the school year.

Schools that have failed to submit a Final Report for a previous STARS Residencies grant are ineligible to apply.

Residency Eligibility
To be eligible for funding, the residency must:

  1. Involve a cultural partner – an artist, scientist, and/or scholar (see more on Cultural Partners below.)

  2. Start no earlier than November 14, 2016 and be completed by the end of the school year.

  3. Have each artist, scientist, or scholar work with each classroom for a minimum of three sessions over three days.  One session is 40-60 minutes contact time with a group of students.

      Note:  We encourage you to design a residency that provides as in-depth and meaningful a creative learning experience for your students as possible.  While MCC must set a cap on the grant amounts so we can provide grants to more schools, there is no cap on the length of a residency we will fund.

  4. Include a culminating event if the residency is a total of five days or more in the school (see more on "Culminating Events" below.)

  5. Be approved by the school principal and cultural partners(s) at the time of application.

Review Criteria
Residencies that do not meet all eligibility criteria listed above will be ineligible and will not be reviewed. Applications that meet the eligibility criteria will be reviewed based on:

  • The strength of the learning objectives.
  • The appropriateness of the residency activities to achieve those objectives.

Note:  Only information that is submitted in the online application will be reviewed.  No additional information will be reviewed.

Residency Design
Cultural Partners: Choosing a cultural partner with the appropriate experience and expertise for your learning objectives is the first step toward a successful residency experience. If you have not worked with the cultural partner before, be sure to ask for a resume and references from previous residencies. Many schools find their cultural partners through recommendations from colleagues in other schools.

You may work with any cultural partner you choose. If you need a place to get started, you can view listings of cultural partners on CreativeGround.org.

MCC encourages schools and cultural partners to enter into a contract for the work to be performed to enable all parties to know what is expected and agreed-upon before the residency begins.

Multiple Cultural Partners:  If your residency involves multiple cultural partners, the cultural partners must collaborate on the same project with the same students.  Every cultural partner must meet the three-day minimum with all students. The narrative must describe how the cultural partners will plan together both before and during the residency.

Multiple Grades:  If your residency involves multiple grades, it still must be one residency. This means that all grades must work on the same, unifying theme and explore the same content (adjusted for grade level). For residencies of five days or more, all participating grades must be involved in the same culminating event whenever possible. If this is logistically impossible, then the culminating events must be clearly linked together.

Location:  Your residency may take place either at the school and/or at the cultural partner's site (for example, at an artist's studio or a museum.) Your residency also can take place afterschool. Afterschool programs must apply through the host school.

Culminating Events: Culminating events – such as an exhibit or performance of student work – provide an important opportunity for students to demonstrate their learning to other students, teachers, parents, and the community. Culminating events also help the community understand the value of creative learning.

Residencies that total five days or more in the school must include a culminating event. All participating students must be involved in the same culminating event whenever possible. If this is logistically impossible, then the culminating events must be clearly linked together. Culminating events must be open to parents, teachers, students, and others in the school community.

Creative Youth Development
Creative Youth Development programs are a dynamic part of the education ecosystem that link creative experiences in the arts, sciences, and humanities to youth development. Through these programs, both in- and out-of-school, young people use creativity to imagine a world, a community, and a life, that is not yet present. They make visible the unseen forces and possibilities in their lives and at the same time develop imagination; critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration skills; grit and resiliency. As they experience the creative process over an extended period, young people learn that they can use it to express their own identities, understand and change the world around them, and connect to the greater human experience.

Many cultural partners and educators believe in the power of the arts, sciences, and humanities to change people’s lives. Creative Youth Development programs work to bridge the gap between that hope and the specifics of how. There are six essential components that successful Creative Youth Development programs have shown over 20 plus years to be the foundation of change:

  1. Provide safe and healthy spaces for youth
  2. Are assets based, meaning programs build on the strengths of young people and do not focus on their deficits
  3. Foster the development of positive relationships and social skills
  4. Are youth driven
  5. Set high expectations for learning and growth
  6. Address the broader context in which Creative Youth Development operates – ‘it takes a village’

MCC believes that, while in-school residencies may be limited by the time constraints of a classroom period, teachers and cultural partners can still aspire to use the principles of Creative Youth Development in the design of their residency. 

Application Deadline and Review
The online application will open at 4:00 pm on Thursday, October 6, 2016 and close when the demand for funds exceeds the funding available. Applications will be reviewed on a "first-received, first-reviewed" basis. Applications are reviewed within six weeks of submission.

A sample application (PDF) is available. Prepare your application information in advance and cut and paste the text into the online form when it opens. Pay close attention to the character count limits -- which include spaces -- on the narrative sections.

Deadlines & Timeline

July – Sept Applicants prepare application content in advance (see sample application). Residency and application counseling available through MCC (contact Program Manager Diane Daily).
Oct 6, 4:00 pm Online Application Opens. Application closes when demand for funds exceeds the funding available.
Oct 6 – Nov 11MCC reviews applications on a "first-received, first reviewed" basis and emails funding decisions to applicants.
Nov 14, 2016 Residencies may begin.
June 30, 2017 Residencies must be completed.
July 15, 2017 Final due date for Final Reports.

Grant Amount and Planning Funds
Grants range from $500-$5,000 based on the number of sessions in the residency. One session is 40-60 minutes contact time with a group of students. The grant amount is calculated by multiplying the total number of sessions with students times $100 per session up to a limit of $4,800. Assemblies and culminating events may be counted as additional sessions if they include the cultural partner.

In addition, you will receive an automatic $200 to pay the cultural partner(s) for planning time with the school prior to and during the residency. Planning with the cultural partner(s) before and during the residency is critical to developing a valuable, high-quality learning experience for your students. The $200 planning funds may not be used to pay other expenses.

Eligible Expenditures
You may use grant funds to pay for the cultural partner's fee and other residency expenses, such as materials, transportation, and the cost of a culminating event. Grant funds may be used to pay for teacher professional development with the cultural partner; however, these workshops may not be the focus of the residency and do not count in the grant amount calculation.

Grant funds may not be used to replace line items in existing school budgets such as teacher salaries or space rental. Grant funds may not be used for capital expenditures. The state's definition of capital expenditures includes items with a life expectancy of more than three years and a monetary value of more than $500.

Final Report
If you receive a grant, you must complete the online Final Report and submit it to MCC within 30 days after the end of the residency or no later than July 15, 2017, whichever comes first. Schools that fail to submit a Final Report are not eligible to apply for another MCC grant (including Big Yellow School Bus grants) until MCC has received the outstanding Final Report, or until 2 years have passed.

Within six weeks of submitting your application, you will be notified via email about the status of your application. Be sure that your email is set to accept messages from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (diane.daily@art.state.ma.us).

Application Process

Incomplete applications will affect the outcome of an application. Email and faxed materials are not acceptable.

  1. Review the program guidelines (above) and FAQs.
  2. Contact Program Manager Diane Daily to discuss any questions regarding your project, the guidelines, eligibility, or application form.
  3. Before October 6, create an organizational profile to access the online application. Note: Your profile must be an "Organizational" profile. Profiles created as "Individual" will not access the online application.
  4. Prepare your application content in advance (see sample application).
  5. Complete and submit the online application.
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