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The Board of Education Advisory Councils

2016-2017 Annual Report

  1. Introduction

    The 2013 virtual schools legislation (Chapter 379 of the Acts of 2012, An Act Establishing Commonwealth Virtual Schools1) created the Digital Learning Advisory Council (DLAC) to advise the Board and the Commissioner on:

    • The development of policies guiding virtual schools, supplemental online courses, education technology, and other matters related to virtual education.
    • The identification of best practices to encourage online education to complement classroom instruction in district schools.
    • The assessment of the appropriateness of the fee that the Department may retain for the administration of the virtual school program.

    The law specifies that the DLAC include representatives from various statewide education organizations, districts and schools including virtual schools (i.e., teacher, administrator, parent), higher education, and non-profit and technology companies. The current DLAC includes a broad range of experts who meet these criteria.

  2. 2016-2017 Work of the Council

    Three subcommittees advised the Office of Digital Learning (ODL) in the areas of educator licensure and personalized learning.

    Subcommittee on Virtual Schools: Amy Michalowski, Chair
    The charge of this subcommittee was to assess the adequacy of the per pupil capitation for Commonwealth Virtual Schools (CMVS). The deliberations of this subcommittee overlapped with meetings of the DLAC on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 and October 14, 2016
    The committee pursued the following activities:

    • Listened to a series of presentations from each CMVS. The schools were invited to comment on the adequacy of the current rate and explain how they would use a tuition adjustment to better meet their students' academic and non-academic needs.
    • Used data from TECCA, analyzed by Department staff, to discuss the characteristics of the students who enroll in a CMVS.

    Subcommittee on Personalized Learning: Michael Horn and Barbara Treacy, Co-Chairs
    The charge of this subcommittee was to provide information to the DLAC regarding state and regional initiatives related to personalized learning, including but not limited to competency-based learning and personalized learning plans.
    The committee pursued the following activities:

    • Visited schools in Massachusetts and Rhode Island that are implementing personalized learning initiatives.
    • Hosted conference calls with the Vermont Department of Education to discuss the history of the state law encouraging flexible pathways to secondary school completion, including personalized learning plans (Act 77).
    • Invited representatives of the Massachusetts Personalized Learning Edtech (MAPLE) consortium to present information to the DLAC on its partnerships with local school districts.

    Subcommittee on Educator Licensure: Sarah Kyriazis and Elizabeth Tripathi, Co-Chairs
    This subcommittee was formed to discuss proposed changes to the educator licensure regulations for the Instructional Technology Specialists (ITS), and discuss the possibility of a credential for educational technology leaders.
    The committee pursued the following activities:

    • Analyzed the results of a survey of Instructional Technology Specialists, educational technology directors, school district leaders, and other educators for information about their roles, curriculum, professional development, and views on licensure.
    • Discussed the challenges faced by educational technology directors, including personnel management, budgeting, managing multiple initiatives, planning involvement, and providing their administration with a vision for 21st century learning.

  3. Council Recommendations

    1. Virtual schools: The DLAC recommended that the Commissioner and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education consider a rate increase for the each CMVS up to the maximum requested.

    2. Personalized learning: The DLAC recommended that the Department facilitate access to professional development and networking opportunities for school leaders in supporting the implementation of personalized learning in their schools.

    3. Educator licensure: The DLAC recommended that the ITS license remain separate from the proposed Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) license and that the Department include a chief technology officer license in the proposed educator licensure regulations.

  4. Council Details

    Department Administrator: Kenneth Klau, Director, Office of Digital Learning
    Co-Chairpersons: Barbara Treacy and Peter Sanchioni

    Members of the 2016-2017 DLAC:

    Kevin Bauman, Senior Director of Product Management, Penn Foster
    Amy A. Gracia, Teacher of English and Special Education, Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School
    Fred Haas, Technology Integration Coordinator, Hopkinton High School
    Michael Horn, Writer, Speaker, and Education Consultant
    Sam Catherine Johnston, Research Scientist, Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
    Sarah Kyriazis, Technology Integration Coordinator, Massachusetts Organization for Educational Collaboratives (MOEC), Assabet Valley Collaborative
    Amy Michalowski, Dean, The Virtual High School
    Justin Reich, Executive Director, MIT Teaching Systems Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Peter Sanchioni, Superintendent, Natick Public Schools and Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS)
    Annamaria Schrimpf, Director of Education Technology, Minuteman Regional High School
    Kyle W. Shachmut, Project Manager for Accessibility at HarvardX, Harvard University
    Evelyn S. Thoren, Vice-Chair, Chelmsford School Committee
    Barbara Treacy, Adjunct Lecturer and Digital Learning Consultant, Harvard University
    Elizabeth Tripathi, Education Policy Specialist, Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA)

    Council Meeting Dates:

    Full Council: September 13, 2016; October 14, 2016; November 4, 2016; January 20, 2017; March 24, 2017; May 19, 2017.
    Subcommittee on Virtual Schools: September 13, 2016; October 14, 2016
    Subcommittee on Personalized Learning: January 3, 2017; May 4, 2017; May 5, 2017; May 16, 2017
    Subcommittee on Educator Licensure: March 9, 2017



Last Updated: September 22, 2017
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