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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the September 26, 2011 Special Meeting and the September 27, 2011 Regular Meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
September 16, 2011


The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, September 27, 2011, at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's offices at 75 Pleasant Street in Malden. The regular meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. (coffee will be available at 8) and will adjourn by 1 p.m. The Board also will hold a special meeting on Monday, September 26, 2011, from 5-7 p.m., at our offices in Malden. If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call JC Considine at (781) 338-3112.


The Board's Monday evening meeting will focus on family, school, and community partnerships, including a presentation by the Parent and Community Education and Involvement Advisory Council. No votes will be taken on Monday. The regular meeting on Tuesday morning is the Board's annual meeting, leading off with election of the vice-chair. I will present the 2011 MCAS results. The Board will discuss and vote on several items, including next steps on educational collaboratives, a timeline for a plan and proposed regulations on educator preparation and training for Sheltered English Immersion/English language learner programs, and waiver requests from a charter school and a virtual innovation school. The Board also will have an initial discussion on the process and timelines for the FY2013 budget and advisory council appointments.

Special Meeting

  1. Family, School, and Community Partnerships - Discussion

    The Board's special meetings are an opportunity to learn about and discuss educational issues in more depth than is possible at the regular business meetings. At the special meeting on September 26 we will have a presentation and discussion on family and community engagement and building effective partnerships among families, schools, and communities to support student learning. The Board will hear from Department staff and the chair of the Parent and Community Education and Involvement Advisory Council. Most of our meeting time will be devoted to Board discussion and follow-up questions. No votes will be taken at the special meeting.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Banta will report on current issues and activities. She will recap the discussion from the September 26 special meeting. Chair Banta will ask the chairs of several committees of the Board to report on their work. She may appoint a budget committee at this month's meeting. Chair Banta also will acknowledge Dr. Jim McDermott, who resigned from the Board this summer, and introduce the newest member of the Board: Matthew Gifford, a senior at Brookline High School, was elected chair of the State Student Advisory Council in June and will serve on the Board as a full voting member through June 2012.

Comments from the Commissioner

No Child Left Behind. At the meeting on September 27, I will update the Board on the latest information we have on the federal No Child Left Behind Act, including the possibility of waivers to be granted to states.

Comments from the Secretary

Secretary Reville will brief the Board on current issues and activities.

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Annual Meeting: Election of Vice-Chair - Discussion and Vote

    Under the Board's by-laws, the September meeting is the annual meeting of the Board, at which the vice-chair is elected. Chair Banta will call for nominations from Board members and then conduct the election. The vice-chair presides over meetings when the chair is not available.

  2. 2011 MCAS Results - Discussion

    The 2011 MCAS results statewide and for schools and districts will have been published by our September 27 meeting. This is an opportune time to review and discuss the MCAS results and student Competency Determination attainment rates, with a focus on progress in our turnaround schools and districts.

  3. Educational Collaboratives: Report of Board Committee, Update on Activities, and Proposed Next Steps - Discussion and Vote

    The Board's Committee on Educational Collaboratives met most recently on September 12 and reviewed recent reports from the State Auditor and the legislative committee on regionalization as well as other information, and heard from some of our key stakeholders. The committee has set the direction for the recommendations that I will present for the Board's consideration at the September 27 meeting.

  4. English Language Learners: Educator Preparation and Training Required for Sheltered English Immersion - Discussion and Vote to Adopt Timeline to Present a Plan and Proposed Regulations

    This month I am updating the Board on our ongoing work to strengthen programs for English language learners (ELLs), including our review of the preparation and training for teachers who teach academic content to ELLs in the Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) program contemplated by state law. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has identified shortcomings in the Massachusetts ELL program, specifically, the lack of clear mandates for the preparation and training of SEI academic content teachers. I am asking the Board to vote this month to adopt a timeline directing me to continue to review the needs and options and then present to the Board, by February 2012, proposed regulations that will define the preparation and training required for teachers of academic content in the SEI program, along with a plan for implementing the new requirements.

  5. Charter Schools: Edward W. Brooke Charter School Waiver Request - Discussion and Vote

    Edward W. Brooke Charter School requests a waiver of the deadline for submission of its renewal application. The Charter School Office received the school's renewal application on August 3, two days after the August 1 date specified in our regulations. The Board has authority to waive the deadline. I recommend that the Board grant this waiver. Marlon David, our new Director of Charter Schools, Innovation, and Redesign, will be present at the meeting to respond to any questions.

  6. Virtual Innovation Schools: Greenfield Waiver Requests - Discussion and Vote

    In May 2011, the Board voted to allow the virtual innovation school established last year by the Greenfield School Committee, "MAVA@Greenfield", to continue in operation for a second year with its existing K-8 grade structure. At the same time, the Board voted to deny a request by Greenfield to establish a second virtual school to serve grades 9-12. The Greenfield superintendent and school committee are now requesting permission to make some additional changes. The details on the waiver requests and my recommendations to the Board are included in the memo under Tab 6. Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson will be present to respond to your questions about the virtual innovation school.

  7. Process and Timelines for FY2013 Budget and Possible Legislative Proposals - Initial Discussion

    Now that we have the FY2012 state budget for the fiscal year that began on July 1, it is time to begin planning for the FY2013 budget. At this month's meeting we will review the anticipated calendar of the state budget cycle and our state accounts. In October, we will discuss possible budget priorities and program initiatives that the Board may wish to propose, as well as possible legislative proposals.

  8. Advisory Council Appointments and Annual Reports - Discussion

    The Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 established advisory councils to advise the Commissioner and the Board on matters related to improving public education and student achievement. The advisory councils are made up of volunteers who work with us to improve public education by providing advice and comment in specific program areas. This month I am presenting proposed appointments and reappointments of members to various advisory councils. If Board members would like to suggest additional names for consideration, please let me know. The Board will vote on the appointments at the October meeting. Also enclosed is a compilation of the 2011 annual reports from each of the advisory councils.

Other Items for Information

  1. Behavioral Health Task Force Report: Executive Summary

    Legislation enacted in 2008 created a 26-member Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Public Schools, which I chair as Commissioner. Over the past two and half years, the Task Force has designed and revised a framework to increase the capacity of schools to collaborate with behavioral health providers as well as provide supportive school environments that improve educational outcomes for children with behavioral health needs. In addition, the Task Force created an assessment tool to measure schools' capacities in these areas. A copy of the Executive Summary of the Task Force's report is enclosed for your information.

  2. Guidelines on Social and Emotional Learning Curricula, K-12

    The state law on bullying prevention and intervention that was enacted in May 2010 directed the Department to create guidelines for schools on the implementation of social and emotional learning (SEL) curricula. The Department has posted the Guidelines on Implementing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Curricula K-12 on our website along with other bullying prevention and intervention resources. A copy of the guidelines is enclosed for your information.

  3. 2011 SAT Results

    The 2011 SAT results released by the College Board on September 14 showed that while performance dropped slightly for Massachusetts and the nation compared to last year, participation for Massachusetts public school students rose by 9 percentage points, from 75 percent in 2010 to 84 percent in 2011. I am very encouraged to see more of our high school students taking the SAT and AP exams, thus signaling a desire to pursue higher education. Likewise, it is heartening to see our students of color outpace the participation increases of the state as a whole, as well as make larger performance gains on AP exams than the statewide improvement. We need to better prepare our students for the world after high school, and the development of new college and career ready standards and a new multi-state assessment system to measure those standards will be significant levers to increase the numbers and preparedness of our high school graduates.

  4. Education-Related News Clippings

    Enclosed are several recent articles about education.

  5. Report on Grants and Charter School Matters Approved by the Commissioner

    Under Tab 13 is a memo reporting on grants that I approved under state and federal grant programs between June 7, 2011 and September 6, 2011, per the Board's vote in October 2008 to delegate grant approvals to the commissioner. This authorization allows us to make decisions and inform grant applicants on a timely basis. I have no charter school matters to report on this month under the Board's September 2009 delegation of authority to the Commissioner.

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you at the Department on September 26 and 27.

Last Updated: September 23, 2011
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