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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the May 24, 2010 Special Meeting and the May 25, 2010 Regular Meeting

To:Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:May 14, 2010

The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, May 25, 2010, at Wellesley High School. The meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. (coffee will be available at 8 a.m.) and will adjourn by 1 p.m. The Board will also have a special meeting at the Department's offices in Malden on Monday afternoon, May 24, 2010, from 3:30 - 7 p.m. If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call JC Considine at (781) 338-3112.


We have two items on the agenda for the special meeting in Malden on Monday afternoon, May 24: final action on the Robert M. Hughes Academy Charter School matter, and then a discussion of the report of the Proficiency Gap Task Force.

On Tuesday morning, May 25, we are holding the regular meeting at Wellesley High School in honor of Michael D'Ortenzio Jr., 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 Bella Wong, Wellesley High School Principal Andrew Keough, and other local officials will welcome the Board and make a brief presentation at the start of our meeting. The topics for discussion on our agenda include a continuing discussion and vote to receive the report of the Proficiency Gap Task Force, and discussion of our Race to the Top proposal for Phase 2 and several items related to it: policy direction for evaluation of teachers and administrators, next steps in the Common Core Standards process, and an update on the Common Assessment Consortium. The Board will also discuss and take a final vote on amendments to the Charter School Regulations.

Special Meeting

  1. Robert M. Hughes Academy Charter School: Final Action on Revocation of Charter - Discussion and Vote (3:30 - 4:30 p.m.)

    The special meeting on May 24 is the final administrative step in the legal proceedings regarding revocation of the charter for the Robert M. Hughes Academy Charter Public School. In your materials, under Tab 1 for the special meeting, is a memorandum from General Counsel Rhoda Schneider outlining the process, as well as a copy of the initial decision from the hearing officer, John E. Bowman, Jr. After a ten-day hearing, the hearing officer concluded that cause exists under the charter school statute and regulations for the Board to revoke the charter. The parties have the right to address the Board before it makes the final decision. We are reserving a total of one hour (3:30-4:30 p.m.) for presentations (no more than 15 minutes each), Board discussion, and vote. General Counsel Schneider will advise the Board as to the form of the motion for your decision.

  2. Report of the Proficiency Gap Task Force - Discussion (4:45 - 7 p.m.)

    At the April 27, 2010 regular meeting, Board member Jeff Howard presented the report of the Proficiency Gap Task Force, A Roadmap to Closing the Proficiency Gap. At the special meeting, from 4:45-7 p.m., the Board will hear from the chairs of the four subcommittees - Instructional Leadership; Early Literacy; Family and Community Engagement; and English Language Learners - and hold a more in-depth discussion of the report's findings and implications.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Banta will report on current issues and upcoming events.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. FY2011 state education budget and implications. I will update the Board on the latest information we have on the state budget for FY2011. As I mentioned at our April meeting, one issue we are reviewing in connection with budget constraints is a further delay in the U.S. history requirement for the Competency Determination for another two classes (2014 and 2015). I expect to bring this issue to the Board at a future meeting.

Comments from the Secretary

Secretary Reville will brief the Board on current issues and activities, including the state budget.

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Report of the Proficiency Gap Task Force - Continuing Discussion and Vote to Receive Report

    At our regular meeting on Tuesday, May 25, 2010, the Board will continue its discussion from the previous evening. I will also propose that the Board vote to receive the report of the Proficiency Gap Task Force and direct me to review its recommendations and present to the Board my proposed next steps at a future meeting.

Race to the Top:

  1. Race to the Top Grant Application for Phase 2 - Discussion

    Phase 2 Race to the Top applications are due on June 1, one week after our Board meeting on May 25. For your review I have included a detailed outline of the Phase 2 proposal and a side-by-side comparison of our Phase 1 and Phase 2 applications. You will receive a more complete draft before the Board meeting. At this month's meeting I will update you on the application and on the status of sign-on by district superintendents, union leaders, and school committee chairs. I welcome the Board's input and look forward to our discussion.

  2. Policy Direction for Evaluation of Teachers and Administrators - Discussion

    Associate Commissioner David Haselkorn and I are continuing to discuss this topic with stakeholders, including state teacher leadership. I will send you materials on or about May 20, to guide our discussion at the meeting on May 25.

  3. Common Core Standards: Next Steps - Discussion

    The memorandum under Tab 4 outlines the revised process and schedule for reviewing and potentially adopting the K-12 Common Core Standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. It is designed to ensure a rigorous and transparent review of the standards before asking the Board to consider adopting them this summer. Deputy Commissioner Jeff Nellhaus and I will be pleased to discuss this plan with the Board.

  4. Update on Common Assessment Consortium - Discussion

    As I reported at the April meeting, states have the opportunity to join a consortium to develop and implement common assessments that are aligned with the Common Core standards. The purpose is to increase the quality and efficiency of states' summative assessment systems. The memorandum under Tab 5 updates the Board on our work with the "Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career." PARCC is one of two major consortia of states preparing to submit a proposal to the U.S. Department of Education for a Comprehensive Assessment Systems grant. Deputy Commissioner Jeff Nellhaus and Associate Commissioner Bob Bickerton are playing an active role in the consortium on behalf of Massachusetts.

Charter Schools:

  1. Regulations on Charter Schools, 603 CMR 1.00 - Discussion and Vote

    In March 2010 the Board reviewed and authorized a period of public comment on proposed amendments to the Charter School Regulations, based on the newly amended charter school statute. We have received and reviewed the comments, which are enclosed under Tab 6 along with the proposed amendments as we posted them for comment. You will receive during the week of May 17 a chart summarizing the comments and our responses, and a revised set of regulations that includes changes I am recommending based on the comments. The Board will vote on May 25 on adoption of the final regulations. Associate Commissioner Jeff Wulfson, Charter Schools Director Mary Street, and I will be pleased to respond to your questions at the May 25 meeting.

Other Items for Information

  1. Education-Related News Clippings

    Enclosed are several recent articles about education.

  2. Report on Grants Approved by Commissioner

    Under Tab 8 is a memo reporting on the following matters: I approved Federal grants under three competitive grant programs between April 12 and May 3, per the Board's vote in October 2008 to delegate grant approvals to the commissioner. The grants are for the Even Start Family Literacy program, ARRA Title IID professional development grants, and early literacy for students with disabilities.

Directions to the Meetings

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you here in Malden on May 24 and at Wellesley High School on May 25.

Last Updated: May 21, 2010
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