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Briefing for the October 18, 2010 Special Meeting and the October 19, 2010 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
October 8, 2010


The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, October 19, 2010, at the Urban Science Academy, West Roxbury Education Complex, in Boston. The meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. (coffee will be available at 8) and will adjourn by 1 p.m. The Board also will hold a special meeting at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's offices at 75 Pleasant Street in Malden from 5-7 p.m. on Monday evening, October 18. If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call JC Considine at (781) 338-3112.


Our special meeting on Monday evening will be a discussion of policy issues raised by the new charter school law enacted in January 2010.

Our regular meeting on Tuesday morning takes place at the Urban Science Academy, a Boston public school that is one of 187 Commendation Schools that we recently named for their academic growth and progress in closing achievement gaps. Boston district and school officials will welcome the Board and offer insight into the school's accomplishments. Following that presentation, the Board will discuss the proposed Massachusetts additions to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics and vote on sending out the proposed additions for public comment. Other items on the agenda are an initial discussion of the FY2012 state education budget and report of the Board's budget committee, an update on the educator evaluation task force, and a discussion and vote on appointments to the advisory councils.


1. Charter Schools: Policy Issues under 2010 Amendments to Charter School Statute - Discussion

The special meeting on Monday evening provides the opportunity for an extended discussion of policy issues raised by the new charter school law enacted in January 2010. These include "proven provider" criteria as well as possible approaches for awarding new charters within the charter cap lift. We will also discuss other school option initiatives including Horace Mann charter schools and innovation schools. Background information will be provided to the Board in advance of the meeting.


Comments from the Chair

Chair Banta will report on current issues and activities.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. Race to the Top. I will update the Board on our implementation work relating to the Race to the Top grant and other initiatives.

  2. Gloucester Community Arts Charter School. I will report to the Board on the charter school's progress to date in meeting the conditions that the Board imposed on October 1, 2010.

Comments from the Secretary

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


  1. "Common Core Plus": Proposed Massachusetts Additions to Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics - Discussion and Vote to Solicit Public Comment

    At your July meeting, the Board voted to adopt the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (ELA) and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Per the Board's directive, we reconvened our ELA and Mathematics Curriculum Framework Review Panels to gather recommendations for specific standards and other features to strengthen and augment the Common Core Standards within the 15 percent allowance. We also solicited input from the Common Core review panels, early childhood educators and experts, and financial literacy specialists.

    Based on input from the various groups, I am presenting my recommendations for augmenting the Common Core Standards to the Board this month. Subject to your approval, we will send them out for public comment. Following the public comment period, I will present the final Common Core Standards including the Massachusetts specific augmentations for your approval in December. Upon approval by the Board, the final documents will be the new Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for ELA and Mathematics.

  2. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education FY 12 Budget Proposal and Report from the Board's Budget Committee - Initial Discussion

    At last month's meeting we reviewed the state budget cycle calendar and Chair Banta appointed a budget committee, which met on October 7. We will discuss the committee's report at the October 19 Board meeting. The Board will vote on its budget proposal in November.

  3. Update on Educator Evaluation Task Force - Discussion

    In accord with the Board's vote in May 2010, I appointed a 40-member Task Force on Evaluation of Teachers and Administrators to help overhaul the state's current regulations and guidelines governing the evaluation of the state's 80,000 licensed teachers and administrators. The formation of this task force reflects the approach to teacher and administrator evaluation that we set forth in our successful Race to Top application. The task force and its associated working groups are meeting regularly to discuss and prepare recommendations for revised regulations and principles of evaluation by January 31, 2011. At our October Board meeting, Associate Commissioner David Haselkorn will present an update on the work of the task force.

  4. Appointments and Reappointments to Advisory Councils to the Board - Discussion and Vote

    The Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 established advisory councils to advise the Commissioner and the Board on matters related to improving public education and student achievement. At our September meeting the Board reviewed proposed appointments and reappointments of members to the advisory councils. You also received a compilation of the councils' 2010 annual reports and recommendations. The memo under Tab 4 notes a few changes and updates, some in response to Board members' suggestions, to the list of proposed appointments that you received in September. I recommend that the Board vote on the appointments and reappointments this month.


  1. Education-Related News Clippings

    Enclosed are several recent articles about education.

  2. Report on Grants and Charter School Matters Approved by the Commissioner

    Under Tab 6 is a report on grants that I approved under a variety of state and federal grant programs, per the Board's vote in October 2008 to delegate grant approvals to the commissioner. This authorization allows us to make decisions and inform grant applicants on a timely basis. Also enclosed is a memo on a charter school extended loan term that I approved under the authority delegated to me by the Board.

    If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you at the meetings in Malden on October 18 and in Boston on October 19.

Last Updated: October 14, 2010
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