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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Proposed Regulation on Placement of Schools in Level 4 (Amendment to Regulations on Underperforming Schools and School Districts, 603 CMR 2.03(3))

To:Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:March 18, 2010

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As you know, we have to revise our current Regulations on Underperforming Schools and School Districts, 603 CMR 2.00, to carry out the purpose and intent of the newly amended statutes on underperforming schools and school districts, Mass. General Laws chapter 69, sections 1J and 1K, and to advance our new system of accountability and assistance for schools and districts.

In January, I presented to you one section of the proposed new regulations, on identification of Level 4 (underperforming) schools, as the first step in the process. With the Board's approval, we sent that proposed regulation to the Joint Committee on Education, as required by Mass. General Laws c. 69, § 1J, as recently amended, and solicited public comment on it in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. Revised for clarity, completeness, and consistency with the statute, this regulation was included in the full set of proposed Regulations on Accountability and Assistance for Schools and School Districts that I presented to you last month.

I am now presenting this regulation to the Board and asking you to adopt it as a final regulation at the March 23rd Board meeting. I recommend that the Board act on this regulation ahead of the full set of proposed regulations, which I will present to you for a final vote in April, because schools and districts need to know with certainty which schools are in Level 4 so that they can move forward with turnaround planning. Time is of the essence.

We received comments and suggested revisions to the January version of the proposed regulation from three sources: Rep. Martha Walz, Chair of the Joint Committee on Education; Anne Wass on behalf of the Massachusetts Teachers Association; and Maryalice Stamer on behalf of the Massachusetts School Nurse Association. Their letters of comment are enclosed for your information, along with a summary and analysis of their comments and our responses.

We have made several revisions to the regulation in response to the comments, as well as making some additional edits for clarity and consistency. Enclosed is a clean copy of the proposed final regulation as well as a copy showing the changes from the proposed version that the Board reviewed in January and sent out for comment. Other than editorial or formatting changes, the revisions from the January proposal are the following:

  • We have added to (b) a reference to "a single measure developed by the Department," for consistency with the statute.
  • We have revised (b)(ii), per a comment from Chair Walz, to refer to improvement in student academic performance, since that is the phrase used in the statute.
  • We have revised the last part of (b), per a comment from Chair Walz, to add notice to the district, including the school committee, when any of the district's schools is in the eligible pool (lowest 20% statewide) for possible placement in Level 4.
  • We have deleted from the end of the second line of (c) the phrase "but not limited to," per a comment from the MTA.
  • We have added, in (c)(i) and (ii), two additional types of quantitative indicators to be used to select schools from the pool for placement in Level 4-MCAS performance and improvement in school MCAS performance.
  • We have added to c(v) a reference to dismissals, per a comment from the MSNO, and also a reference to a lack of significant improvement for two or more years in the aggregate or among subgroups, to track the statute.

We expect this regulation to remain as is in the full set of regulations to be voted on by the Board in April, except that it will be numbered differently and the definition that now appears in (a) will appear instead in the definitions section of the regulations.

Deputy Commissioner Karla Brooks Baehr and I will be pleased to respond to your questions at the March 23rd Board meeting.

Attachments:

 
Proposed regulation on placement of schools in Level 4 (plain Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document and with changes tracked Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document)
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Summary and analysis of comments and responses
 
Comment letters
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Statute: Mass. General Laws Chapter 69, Section 1J, as amended (excerpt)
 
Motion to adopt regulation


Last Updated: March 3, 2010
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