The Maryland Leads Initiative

Maryland Leads is a new grant initiative designed to support Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in utilizing federal funds to overcome the learning loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerate student learning to narrow opportunity and achievement gaps, and provide more targeted support for historically underserved students and their communities. Maryland Leads also supports LEAs in addressing short and long-term challenges related to the current labor shortage and attends to the longstanding need to establish and strengthen teacher pipelines and development.

How does the grant program work?

Maryland’s 24 LEAs will access the state’s allotment of $133 million in ESSER funds through a single, non-competitive grant process. MSDE will provide LEAs with a series of information sessions and workshops beginning in February 2022 and continuing throughout the Spring to support LEAs through the grant submission process. Awards will be announced in Spring 2022 with implementation beginning in Summer 2022 and continuing through the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years. The grant initiative is centered around seven high-leverage strategies that have been proven to be effective and transformative for schools and school systems.
Strategy List, which includes: Grow Your Own Staff, Staff Support and Retention, The Science of Reading, High-Quality School Day Tutoring, Reimagining the Use of Time, Innovative School Models, and Transforming Neighborhoods through Excellent Community Schools
Each strategy contains a number of focus areas and best practices from the field that LEAs may choose to implement. The LEAs’ choices will depend on the individual needs of their students, schools, and communities. LEAs will have the opportunity to work with best-in-class partners to strategize and execute plans within and across all seven strategies. To participate in this grant opportunity, LEAs must choose at least two of the seven strategies. Choosing The Science of Reading or Grow Your Own Staff will allow LEAs to access a greater amount of grant funding.

Timeline, Grant Opportunity Announced February 2022, Grant Submission Deadline April 7, 2022, Grant Awards Announced April 22, 2022, Grant Activities Begin, May 1, 2022, Grant Period Ends, September 30, 2024

How do I get started?

How do I get started? image with the months of February 2022, March 2022, April 2022


  • Read the guidance document in its entirety as it provides a comprehensive overview of the grant’s purpose, opportunities, process, and timeline.
  • Explore the links to additional resources and readings identified as “Inspiration from the Field” for each of the seven grant strategies.
  • Learn more by attending live information sessions which will be recorded and posted online for asynchronous viewing.
Navigating the Stategy Guidance flyer


  • Assess the needs of your students, schools, and communities to determine which strategies best meet the identified needs and begin planning.
  • Consider how the high-leverage strategies in this grant align with the LEA’s goals, priorities, or current activities.
  • Plan to use grant funds to inspire and initiate activities and programs while also planning for sustainability.


  • Identify the primary point of contact and key collaborators responsible for the LEA’s grant submission.
  • Build in opportunities to gather input from LEA stakeholder groups.
  • Utilize the collaboration sessions and office hours hosted by MSDE to pressure test ideas, gain new insights, and refine grant plans.


  • Attend one General Information Session and both the Strategy Information Sessions and Collaboration Sessions related to the strategies an LEA intends to include in their grant submission. (Required)
  • Include a copy of the LEA’s completed budget workbook in the grant submission. (Required)
  • Submit the online grant application. (Required)

Maryland Leads Partner Program

The Maryland State Department of Education is issuing program guidance and applications to identify and select a series of vendors that will work with one or more than one of the state’s twenty-four Local Education Agencies (LEAs) as part of the MSDE’s new Maryland Leads program and one (or more) of the program’s seven, high-leverage strategies. The Maryland Leads Partner Program is open to any and all applicants that can, either directly or through its subcontractor(s), provide all goods and services and meet all of the requirements `related to the Maryland Leads strategy(ies) and focus area(s) to which the Applicant responds. 

Award amounts will vary based on the number, type, and scope of strategy(ies) and the number, type, and scope of a given strategy’s focus areas for which an applicant receives an award, as well as the number of Local Education Agencies (LEAs) who select that vendor for their Maryland Leads program. Applicants can respond to one, some, or all of the strategies and/or one, some, or all of a strategy’s focus areas. Grant award for program participation does not ensure an applicant will receive all or any grant funding since final award amounts are related to LEA program partner choice and LEA Maryland Lead program(s) selection.

LEAs will have the opportunity to work with best-in-class partners to strategize and execute plans within and across all seven strategies. To participate in the grant opportunity, LEAs must choose at least two of the seven strategies. The different strategies will have different partners available from which to choose. Some partners may be available to support LEAs in all of the focus areas for a particular strategy, while others may only support the execution of some areas. For example, Partner A may offer to support an LEA in developing a strategic staffing plan while Partner B offers to support the LEA in developing a marketing and recruiting campaign for prospective employees. Meanwhile, Partner C may offer to support the LEA in doing both. LEAs will choose from available partners within their awarded strategies after completing the grant submission process.

The application window opens on March 4th, 2022 and applications are due no later than 5pm on April 5, 2022.

Register for a Maryland Leads Partner Program Customer Service Support Session Here:

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Justin Dayhoff, Assistant State Superintendent, Financial Planning, Operations, and Strategy


Maryland Leads Grant Guidance DocumentPDF document Maryland Leads Grant Guidance Document (Updated February 8, 2022)
Maryland Leads Grant Signature PagePDF document Maryland Leads Grant Signature Page (Added March 22, 2022)