Communications RFP Issued By Department of Elementary Education

Communications RFP Issued By the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Communications RFP Issued By the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

To begin executing that plan, DESE is currently in the planning phase of a multi-year initiative to promote evidence-based early literacy practices in Massachusetts schools.  We anticipate that the initiative this year will entail:

  • working with an esteemed group of researchers in the area of early literacy to develop user-friendly, web-based guidance documents on early literacy instruction
  • launching a new DESE-hosted evidence-based early literacy website to host these guidance documents and associated resources.


The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released a Literacy Strategic Plan in 2019 that specified Evidence-Based Early Literacy as a key priority. Our goal is for ALL children in the Commonwealth to read proficiently by third grade. To achieve that goal we need to increase achievement across the board and particularly for students living in poverty and for multi-lingual learners. (See this web page for details:

To be successful in reaching and impacting many educators statewide, this initiative will require a thoughtful strategy for messaging and publicity. We need to go beyond technical information-sharing to change the hearts and minds of educators and help them move towards implementing new practices. To that end, we plan to work with a range of groups and organizations to promote evidence-based early literacy as part of a coordinated campaign. This campaign will include, but is not limited to:

  • identifying Massachusetts educators who use evidence-based early literacy practices in their classrooms and documenting their work through visits, videotaping, interviews, and sharing of compelling achievement data
  • providing a conference in October 2020, open to all Massachusetts educators who work with early literacy, to promote the new resources being developed related to evidence-based early literacy

DESE seeks a vendor with experience in communications, marketing, and/or a related field to support with publicity strategy, messaging, and communications with educators.

Scope of Work:

Specifically, the vendor will:


  • Develop a communications strategy based upon the particular context and goals of DESE’s initiative. As a minimum this strategy will address website, media, messaging, and partners. The vendor may conduct market research to inform this strategy but that is not a requirement.
  • Develop a name for the initiative and a core narrative.
  • Develop audience mapping and translate technical information into key messages for each audience.
  • Attend internal and external meetings related to DESE’s evidence-based early literacy initiative in order to develop awareness and context of the work.

Content development

  • Set up visits to three (3) DESE-identified early literacy teachers in Massachusetts to videotape the classroom during literacy instruction and to interview the teacher about his/her literacy practices.
  • Conduct and videotape interviews with up to three (3) additional DESE-identified stakeholders, potentially including students, parents, DESE staff, researchers, or other experts in the field.  Review interview questions with DESE.
  • Using clips from the videos referenced above, produce at least two (2) professional-quality videos to engage the field with DESE’s evidence-based early literacy resources and highlight educators with successful practice.
  • Provide web-ready image, text, and video content for DESE’s evidence-based early literacy website, in accordance with technical requirements as provided by DESE’s web team. This content will be drawn from the classroom visits and interviews referenced above.
  • Develop a package of content related to this initiative (e.g., tweets, images, newsletter copy) that can be disseminated by our partner organizations as part of a coordinated publicity campaign.

External coordination

  • Arrange for coverage of events and/or related op-eds in local news media, as determined by the communications strategy
  • Coordinate with 8-12 MA-based groups, including professional associations, advocacy groups, and technical assistance providers, who have agreed to co-sponsor and promote this initiative as part of a coalition for evidence-based practice. At a minimum, this will involve providing publicity content (e.g., tweets, images, newsletter copy) to these organizations and communicating with them to execute a coordinated publicity campaign.
  • In consultation with DESE, coordinate with up to ten (10) experts in the field of early literacy who are co-sponsoring our guidance documents to lend support to our initiative, including through gathering quotes or video clips for our website. Provide compensation for up to 10 expert advisers in the form of honoraria, where appropriate.
  • In consultation with DESE, prepare 5-7 experts in the field of early literacy to speak at a conference for Massachusetts educators in October 2020. Provide speaker fees and/or travel costs for these experts where necessary and appropriate.


  1. Communications strategy, including a name for the initiative, audience mapping and key messages
  2. High-quality audio-video footage of three (3) Massachusetts teachers, including at least 1 hour of classroom literacy instruction video and 1 in-depth interview per teacher, provided to DESE in an editable digital format
  3. High-quality audio-video footage of interviews with up to five (5) additional DESE-identified stakeholders, provided to DESE in an editable digital format
  4. Approved “storyboards” for at least two promotional videos, each 2.5-5 minutes in length, that bring together clips of classroom instruction, teacher interviews, other interviews, student achievement data, research-based information, and information about DESE resources
  5. Two (2) professional-quality promotional videos based upon the approved storyboards
  6. Image, text, and video content for DESE’s evidence-based early literacy website and for marketing/promo purposes, delivered based on DESE specifications. This content will be drawn from the classroom visits, interviews, and experts in early literacy identified by DESE.
  7. Arranged media coverage of events, as determined appropriate by the communications strategy
  8. 5-7 experts in the field of early literacy who are well-prepared to speak at a conference in October.

Due Date:



75 Pleasant Street, Malden, Massachusetts 02148-4906      

Relevant agencies include Kite Hill PR and Rubenstein PR.

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