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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the April 26, 2011 Special Meeting and the April 27, 2011 Regular Meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
April 15, 2011

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The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's offices at 75 Pleasant Street in Malden. The regular 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 on Tuesday, April 26, 2011, from 5-7 p.m., at our offices in Malden. If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call JC Considine at (781) 338-3112.

Overview

The Board's special meeting on Tuesday evening will be devoted to online learning and teaching with a specific focus on virtual schools. The special meeting will be a good opportunity for in-depth discussion on this topic. The regular meeting on Wednesday morning leads off with a discussion and initial vote to solicit public comment on recommended amendments to the Regulations on Evaluation of Educators. The agenda also includes discussion and action on amendments to the Special Education and Educator Licensure Regulations; these are largely changes required by federal and state law that the Board reviewed initially in December. The Board also will act on an amendment requested by the Lowell Community Charter Public School.

Special Meeting

  1. Online Learning and Teaching; Virtual Schools - Presentations and Discussion

    At the Board's special meeting on Tuesday evening, April 26, we will discuss online learning and teaching, focusing on the topic of virtual schools and the opportunities, challenges, and issues presented by this new educational model. I have invited three distinguished educators to make brief presentations to start off our discussion: Dr. Susan Lowes, director of research and evaluation at the Institute for Learning Technologies at Teachers College, Columbia University; Kimberly Rice, assistant chief operating officer for the Boston Public Schools and chair of the Board's Educational Technology Advisory Council (ETAC); and Dr. Susan Hollins, superintendent of the Greenfield Public Schools, who will present a progress report on the MAVA@Greenfield School. Most of our meeting time will be devoted to Board discussion and follow-up questions. Associate Commissioner Jeff Wulfson and Connie Louie, director of our Instructional Technology office, will join us for the discussion. Your packet includes background information on online learning and teaching, including virtual schools.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Banta will report on current issues and upcoming events.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. Dates and topics for special meetings. The Board's special meetings allow for more in-depth discussions than is generally possible at our regular business meetings. Besides the special meeting on the evening of April 26, please note the following dates and tentative topics for special meetings through June 2011:
    • Monday, May 23, 5-7 p.m., tentative topic: Special Education Policy Issues
    • Monday, June 27, 5-7 p.m., tentative topic: Recap of the Year; Connecting Agendas.

We will send additional details as the plans and meeting agendas are confirmed.

Comments from the Secretary

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

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. 1. Proposed Regulations on Evaluation of Educators, 603 CMR 35.00 - Initial Discussion and Vote to Solicit Public Comment

    At our March 22 Board meeting, the Board received the report and recommendations from the Educator Evaluation Task Force. I have reviewed the report carefully and used it as the starting point for the proposed new state regulations on evaluation of educators. This month we will have an initial discussion on the proposed new regulations. I recommend that the Board vote to send them out for public comment. With the Board's approval, we will solicit public comment on the proposed regulations in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, and then expect to bring them back to the Board for final action at the June meeting.

  2. Amendments to Regulations, 603 CMR 28.00 (Special Education) and 603 CMR 7.00 (Educator Licensure), per Federal and State Law - Discussion and Vote

    At the December 2010 meeting, the Board voted to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to 603 CMR 28.00, the Massachusetts Special Education Regulations, and 603 CMR 7.00, the Education Licensure Regulations. Most of the changes to the regulations are required by federal or state law. The Department has reviewed the comments, which are included and summarized in your packet under Tab 2, and we have made some revisions to the amendments as a result of the comments. I recommend that the Board adopt the regulations as presented. Marcia Mittnacht, State Director of Special Education; Elizabeth Losee, Assistant Director, Educator Preparation, Policy and Leadership; and Dianne Curran, Associate General Counsel, will be available at the Board meeting to answer any questions.

  3. Charter Schools: Request for Major Amendment from Lowell Community Charter Public School - Discussion and Vote

    Lowell Community Charter Public School (LCCPS) opened in 2000 and was first renewed in 2005. In February 2010, the Board granted LCCPS a probationary renewal with conditions relating to meeting specific academic targets, developing and implementing a corrective action plan, and reducing its enrollment and grade span. The school's board of trustees has requested an amendment to allow an extra year to reach the planned enrollment level of 610 and to allow the school to remain at grades K-6. As outlined in the memo under Tab 3, LCCPS is making progress in its turnaround effort, and so I am recommending that the Board approve this request.

Other Items for Information

  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 5 is a memo reporting on grants that I approved under four federal grant programs and one foundation grant on April 5, 2011, 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. I did not take action in the past month under the Board's delegated authority on any charter school matters.

  3. FY2012 Education Budget Proposal from House Ways & Means Committee

    The House Ways & Means Committee released its FY2012 budget proposal on April 13. Our analysis of the education line items is enclosed under Tab 6.

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you at the Department on April 26 and 27.



Last Updated: April 20, 2011
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