The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Support for Districts Implementing Curriculum Frameworks; Plan for Review of the Arts Curriculum Framework and the Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Jeff Wulfson, Acting Commissioner
November 17, 2017

This memorandum provides an update on the support that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) is providing for districts' implementation of the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. It also provides a brief description of the Department's plan for revising the current Arts Curriculum Framework and Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework.

Implementation Support

In April 2016, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) approved the revised Science, Technology and Engineering (STE) Framework. In June 2016, the Board approved the Digital Literacy and Computer Science Framework. In May 2017, the Board approved the revised English Language Arts (ELA) and Literacy Curriculum Framework Download PDF Document and Mathematics Curriculum Framework Download PDF Document. Districts and schools throughout the Commonwealth are using these updated frameworks to guide curriculum and instruction.

The goal of the Massachusetts public K-12 education system is to prepare all students for success after high school. The Department encourages schools to couple the curriculum frameworks with an ambitious instructional program that provides students access to and attainment of the skills and knowledge described in the standards. To support standards-based learning, we believe every student should engage:

…in a school environment that supports social-emotional learning, health, and safety.

The Department has created resources and professional learning opportunities to support districts and schools in implementing the standards. Three examples highlight the type of support the Department is providing:

Instructional Support Networks: The Department's Center for Instructional Support is running 12 content-specific networks to support implementation of the 2017 ELA/literacy and mathematics standards and the 2016 STE standards. All 12 networks have had at least one meeting to date. For the full list of networks, see Instructional Support Network Download Word Document.

Parent Guide to the Standards: The Department is creating parent guides to the standards for each of the grades pre-Kindergarten to 8 and one for high school. A prototype for grade 3 Download PDF Document is included in your materials. We will release these guides in the spring and plan to translate the guides into multiple languages to make them more accessible to parents and families.

High Quality Curriculum and Instructional Materials: Given the impact of curriculum on instruction on student learning, the Department is connecting with district curriculum leads to learn more about how Massachusetts districts decide which instructional materials to use and how to best support educators in their use. We plan to use the findings to facilitate cross-district collaboration.

Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework

The Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework has been in effect since 1999. The Department is working with stakeholders, including professional organizations, the Arts Advisory Council, educator preparation programs, and others, to map out a plan to update the framework. The goal is to revise the standards during the spring and summer of 2018, bring the draft revisions to the Board in the fall of 2018 to review and release for public comment, and have the final revised standards ready for the Board to review and approve in the spring of 2019.

Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework has been in effect since 1999. The Department is mapping out a plan to update the framework and will work with a variety of stakeholders, including but not limited to professional organizations; Board advisory councils (e.g., Interdisciplinary Health Education and Human Services / Life Management Skills and Parent and Community Education and Involvement); the Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students; the Safe and Supportive Schools Commission; and other state agencies, including the Department of Public Health. The timeline will likely be similar that of the Arts Framework revision process described above, but a few months later.

Senior Associate Commissioner Heather Peske and Director of Strategy and Integration Ron Noble from the Center for Instructional Support will be at the Board meeting on November 28 to answer your questions.


Download PDF Document
Prototype for Grade 3 Parent Guide to the Standards