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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the May 22, 2012 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
May 11, 2012

The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, May 22, 2012, at Brookline High School. The regular meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. (coffee will be available at 8) and will adjourn by 1 p.m. Please note that the Board will not hold a Monday evening special meeting this month. If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call JC Considine at (781) 338-3112.


On Tuesday morning, May 22, we are holding the regular meeting at Brookline High School in honor of Matthew Gifford, who in June will conclude his elected term as chair of the State Student Advisory Council and as a member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Superintendent Bill Lupini, Brookline High School Interim Headmaster John Ritchie, and other local officials will welcome the Board and make a brief presentation at the start of our meeting. The topics on our agenda include a presentation by the outgoing 2012 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, discussion and final vote on the regulations on educator preparation and training required for Sheltered English Immersion (the RETELL Initiative), initial review and a vote to solicit public comment on proposed amendment to the school finance regulations, a vote on a waiver request from the Greenfield School Committee relating to its virtual innovation school, an update on FY2013 education budget activity in the Senate, and a review of the proposed schedule for our regular meetings in FY2013.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Banta will report on current issues and events. She will invite the chairs of Board committees to update the Board on any recent or upcoming committee activities. Also, Board members should have received an email from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) about a webinar for state board members on the PARCC assessment initiative, scheduled for Monday, June 4, from 3-4 p.m. NASBE will send additional details directly to members.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. 2011 Massachusetts 8th grade NAEP science results. On Thursday, May 10, 2012, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), released the 2011 NAEP Science results for 8th graders. NAEP assesses samples of students in all 50 states and reports state-level results. I am pleased that our 8th graders continued their strong performance in science. In 2011, Massachusetts 8th graders tied for second nationally in science performance with an average scaled score of 161, which was higher than the national average of 151. Forty-four (44) percent of Massachusetts 8th graders scored Proficient or higher in science. Efforts are underway in Massachusetts to revise our science framework, and I look forward to keeping you apprised of that revision process.

  2. Race to the Top conference. On Tuesday, May 1, 2012, we held a statewide convening for our Race to the Top initiative in Sturbridge. More than 300 participants representing district and charter school teams from across the Commonwealth attended. Secretary Reville and I opened the conference, which was focused on the challenges and opportunities of implementing the new Massachusetts ELA and mathematics curriculum frameworks as well as the educator evaluation system. I chaired a plenary panel that included a middle school principal from Reading and a high school English teacher from Whitman-Hansom Regional High School. Both districts are early adopters of the educator evaluation system and the panelists were able to speak to the value and challenges of implementation. The conference included breakout sessions, participation by USED officials, and a closing panel that included Paul Toner (Massachusetts Teachers Association), Tom Scott (Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents), and Glen Koocher (Massachusetts Association of School Committees).

  3. Charter school event. On Wednesday, May 9, 2012, I was joined by Secretary Reville and Chair Banta as we presented the founders of four new schools and the leaders of seven existing schools with their charters at a charter granting ceremony at the Christa McAuliffe Regional Charter Public School in Framingham. The four new schools are: Baystate Academy Charter School in Springfield (grades 6-12; opening in fall 2013); Lowell Collegiate Charter School in Lowell (grades K-12; opening in fall 2013); Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School in Holyoke (grades 9-12; opening in fall 2012); and Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School in Brighton (grades K1-5; opening in fall 2012). I am eager to see these schools open successfully, deliver outstanding instruction, and prepare students for their future.

  4. 2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. On Tuesday, May 8, 2012, I had the pleasure to name Kathleen Turner, a high school French teacher at Sharon High School, the 2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. Kathy is the state's 51st recipient of this award and automatically becomes the state's candidate for the National Teacher of the Year Program. After graduating from Harvard College in 1994, Kathy was hired as a French teacher at Sharon High School. Since that time, Kathy has been instrumental in building the school's French program. She regularly takes students to Paris during spring break, plans annual trips to Quebec City, and has established an exchange program with a school in Rouen, France. Kathy is a passionate and dedicated educator, and I look forward to introducing her to the Board at a future meeting.

  5. Advisory councils. Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 15, Section 1G, directs the Board to establish advisory councils in 17 different areas, in addition to the State Student Advisory Council: Adult Basic Education, Arts Education, Community Service Learning, Educational Personnel, Educational Technology, English Language Learners/Bilingual Education, Gifted and Talented Education , Global Education, Interdisciplinary Health Education and Human Services, Life Management Skills, Mathematics and Science Education, Parent and Community Education and Involvement, Racial Imbalance, School and District Accountability and Assistance, Special Education, Technology/Engineering Education, and Vocational/Technical Education.

    Typically at this time of the year, we begin recruiting new members to bring to the Board for review in September and vote in October. Since we did a significant recruitment last year for all councils, we anticipate needing only a limited number of new members. Once we determine which of the councils, if any, may need additional members, we will notify Board members so you may nominate candidates if you wish. Also, I am working with senior staff to evaluate Board and agency priorities and capacity for FY2013 in relation to the role of the 17 advisory councils that were originally established in 1993 under the Education Reform Act as well as the task forces and commissions that we also convene or work with on various priority issues. Given our staffing limitations and increasing responsibilities, including our expectation that additional advisory councils may be created under pending legislation, we need to evaluate carefully the investment of time and resources to be sure it is commensurate with our goals. I anticipate bringing recommendations to the Board at a future meeting.

  6. Lawrence Public Schools receivership. Jeff Riley, Superintendent/Receiver of the Lawrence Public Schools, has reviewed the recommendations of the Level 5 District Local Stakeholder Group and is preparing the District Turnaround Plan as required by state law. I expect that he will make a presentation to the Board on the District Turnaround Plan at the June 26 meeting.

  7. U.S.-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange. I was honored to be asked to lead the U.S. delegation to the education component of this conference in Beijing on May 4, following a plenary session that was chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Madame Liu Yandong of the Chinese government. I look forward to briefing the Board about it at our May 22 meeting.

Comments from the Secretary

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

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Welcome from Brookline Public School Officials - Discussion

    Superintendent Bill Lupini, Brookline High School Interim Headmaster John Ritchie, and other local officials will welcome the Board and make a brief presentation. Some background material on the Brookline Public Schools is included in your packet under Tab 1.

  2. Presentation by Outgoing 2012 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Adam Gray - Discussion

    I am pleased that Adam Gray, a mathematics teacher at Boston Latin School who is the outgoing 2012 Teacher of the Year, will address the Board at our May 22 meeting and make a presentation on improving mathematics instruction. Adam exemplifies the dedication and creative energy of great teachers throughout the Commonwealth. We can expect a stimulating presentation and discussion.

  3. English Language Learners: Regulations on Educator Preparation and Training Required for Sheltered English Immersion (RETELL Initiative) - Discussion and Vote

    In February the Board voted to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to the regulations on educator licensure and preparation program approval (603 CMR 7.00), English language learner programs (603 CMR 14.00) and educator license renewal (603 CMR 44.00) to address the preparation and training that educators must have to deliver Sheltered English Immersion to English Language Learners. This RETELL initiative is a key component of our effort to strengthen teaching and learning and thereby close proficiency gaps. During the public comment period over the last several months we continued our discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice, met with all key stakeholder groups including school officials, teacher associations, experts, and advocates to get their input, reviewed extensive public comment, and further refined the regulations and implementation plan. I recommend that the Board discuss and vote on the final regulations on May 22. Senior Associate Commissioner Bob Bickerton, Associate Commissioner Julia Phelps, and ELL Director Esta Montano will be present to respond to your questions. (Note: The materials for this agenda item will be distributed during the week of May 14.)

  4. Proposed Amendments to School Finance Regulations, 603 CMR 10.00 - Discussion and Vote to Solicit Public Comment

    We are presenting to the Board this month, for initial review and a vote to solicit public comment, proposed amendments to the regulations on School Finance and Accountability, 603 CMR 10.00. The proposed amendments increase the threshold for extraordinary maintenance projects, clarify certain statutory provisions addressing pre-payments of special education expenses, and make certain technical changes. With the Board's approval, we will solicit public comment on the proposed amendments through the summer and bring them back to the Board for a final vote in September. Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson and Jay Sullivan of our Office of School Business Services will be present to respond to your questions.

  5. Virtual Innovation Schools: Waiver Request from the Greenfield School Committee - Discussion and Vote

    Superintendent Susan Hollins, on behalf of the Greenfield School Committee, has requested that the Board continue the existing waiver for the virtual innovation school, MAVA@Greenfield, into 2012-13, and is also requesting permission to expand the enrollment to 750-800 students. For the reasons discussed in the memo under Tab 5, I recommend that the Board grant a waiver to allow the continued operation of MAVA@Greenfield as it is currently constituted, and permit current 8th and 9th graders to remain enrolled as 9th and 10th graders. In light of the pending legislation on virtual schools, however, I also recommend that the Board defer for another year the district's request to greatly expand the school's size. Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson will be at the Board meeting to answer your questions.

  6. Update on FY 2013 Education Budget - Discussion

    Secretary Reville, Chief Financial Officer Bill Bell, and I will brief the Board on next steps in the FY2013 education budget process.

  7. Proposed Schedule for Regular Board Meetings through June 2013 - Discussion

    Under Tab 7 is a list of proposed Board meeting dates for the upcoming school year. Please review it in anticipation of a vote on the schedule in June.

Other Items for Information

  1. Education-Related News Clippings

    Enclosed are several recent articles about education.

  2. Report on Grants Approved by the Commissioner

    Under Tab 9 you will find reports on state and federal grants that I approved since the last Board meeting, under the authority that the Board has delegated to me.

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you at Brookline High School on May 22.

Last Updated: May 18, 2012
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