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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Partnership with WGBH

To:Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:December 4, 2009


Soon after my appointment as Commissioner in Massachusetts I was approached by the leadership of the WGBH Educational Foundation to discuss ways in which our two organizations could work together to support the work of teachers. Since that initial conversation our relationship has grown into a strong partnership that serves to benefit educators from across the Commonwealth in a variety of ways.

WGBH and its sister station, WGBY-Springfield, are widely known as the providers and producers of award-winning public television content including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Between the Lions, Arthur, and Curious George. In addition to their television production they have a lesser-known education arm, which develops corresponding academic content for many of their shows to enable educators to use the media resources in their classroom.

WGBH President and CEO Jon Abbott, and WGBY-Springfield Vice President and General Manager Rus Peotter, will be at our December meeting to discuss the work they have done previously to support teachers nationwide, highlight several of our ongoing projects, and talk about additional initiatives we jointly are planning.

We are actively working together on two major projects:

  • The development of Massachusetts Teachers' Domain (MTD). This new online resource for teachers provides free access to more than 2,200 classroom-ready media-tools and is linked directly to MassONE, the state's existing online portal for educators. MTD is a localized edition of Teachers' Domain, a nationally used database of digital resources for educators, and contains lesson plans and media clips that have been developed to align with the state's curriculum frameworks.

    The content is pulled from a variety of public television programming including Nova, Frontline, Design Squad, and American Experience as well as government agencies, museums, libraries and academic institutions. Most segments contain a multi-media resource, such as a video clip, animated chart or PowerPoint slides, as well as classroom instructions and student assignments.

    MTD was launched in October 2009, and over the next two years will expand to include history, social science and arts resources, all aligned with the state's curriculum frameworks. Funding for this project has come through our federal Title IID grants.

  • The development and production of High School Quiz Show. Modeled after the long-running "When Schools Match Wits" in western Massachusetts, this will be a weekly game show featuring students from up to 24 eastern Massachusetts high schools. Questions will be drawn from the curriculum frameworks and reviewed by DESE staff, and will focus on literature, history, science, and current events. The weekly series will be taped in January in front of a live audience of school supporters, and will wrap up in May with a series of semi-final rounds that will ultimately lead to a statewide champion.

Other initiatives we have in mind include a SuperNova Science Teacher award, further expansion of Massachusetts Teachers' Domain, and other efforts to support and honor the work of the state's educators. WGBH and WGBY are also working with a number of schools on other efforts, including the Dot Diva Project, which is aimed at getting girls involved in computer science, and the Time to Invent afterschool program that pairs students with working engineers.

We are fortunate to have a media and education giant like WGBH/WGBY here in Massachusetts, and I am excited to continue to expand our partnership. I look forward to discussing these initiatives with the Board in December.

Last Updated: December 8, 2009
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