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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the June 27, 2011 Special Meeting and the June 28, 2011 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
June 17, 2011


The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, June 28, 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 Monday, June 27, 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.


The Board's Monday evening meeting is an opportunity to review key issues in the year we are concluding and then continue our discussion of educator evaluation in preparation for the Tuesday vote on the regulations. No votes will be taken on Monday. The regular meeting on Tuesday morning leads off with further discussion and a vote on the final regulations on educator evaluation. The agenda also includes discussion of the New Bedford Public Schools, an update on the FY2012 state education budget, the annual performance evaluation of the commissioner, a vote on a charter school matter, and the schedule for regular meetings of the Board through June 2011. The Board will also receive the end-of-year report from the State Student Advisory Council.

Special Meeting

  1. Recap of the Year; Connecting Agendas - Discussion
  2. Educator Evaluation - Continuing Discussion

The Board's special meetings are an opportunity to learn about and discuss educational issues in more depth than is possible at the regular business meetings. At the special meeting on June 27 we will review key issues from the school year we are concluding, and then continue our discussion of educator evaluation, in preparation for a vote on the final regulations on Tuesday, June 28. Most of our meeting time will be devoted to Board discussion and follow-up questions. Additional materials will be distributed at the meeting. No votes will be taken at the special meeting.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Banta will report on current issues and activities. She will also recap the discussion from the June 27 special meeting, introduce the newly elected chair of the State Student Advisory Council who will become a member of the Board as of July 1, 2011, and pay tribute to outgoing member Michael D'Ortenzio Jr.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. Massachusetts Teacher of the Year and other honored teachers. On June 16, we had a celebration at the State House to honor the 2012 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, Adam William Gray of Monument High School in the Boston Public Schools, as well as the Teacher of the Year finalists and semifinalists; the 2011 Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year, Jessica Kodys, a history teacher at Stacy Middle School in Milford; the 2010 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching; and the 2010 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. The honorees are great exemplars of the dedication and high quality of so many educators throughout the Commonwealth.

  2. Update on Science and Technology/Engineering curriculum framework revision process. The Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Framework Review Panel has drafted an initial version of revised Science and Technology/Engineering (science) standards in accordance with the recommendations presented to the Board on January 14, 2011. We will reconvene the state review panel periodically over the next year to refine this draft, particularly as drafts of the "Next Generation Science Standards" (NGSS) are made available by Achieve.

    The National Research Council (NRC) will soon release the "Conceptual Framework for New Science Standards" and a writing team representing a range of states is being convened under the facilitation of Achieve to develop standards consistent with the NRC Conceptual Framework. Jake Foster, our Director of Science and Technology/Engineering, has been appointed a member of the writing team. We expect writing to start in July with an initial public draft available after about 6 months. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) will include the following characteristics:

    • Convey progressions of learning through grades/grade spans
    • Embody a college and career ready perspective
    • Reflect coherence and focus
    • Integrate scientific and engineering practices and content
    • Reflect cross-cutting themes of science and engineering
    • Be internationally benchmarked

    These characteristics are in alignment with our state review panel recommendations for revised science standards. Our intention moving forward is to facilitate effective communication between the Commonwealth and Achieve, including input from both the state Review Panel and the field as Achieve releases public comment drafts of the NGSS.

  3. Listening tour on proposed educator evaluation regulations. Deputy Commissioner Karla Baehr, Associate Commissioner David Haselkorn and I participated in a series of six regional forums around the Commonwealth on the proposed educator evaluation regulations between June 1 and June 14. We held the regional forums in the late afternoon to accommodate teachers and administrators. These meetings were an excellent opportunity for us to provide an overview of the proposed new statewide framework, answer questions, and solicit feedback on the proposed amendments and the training and supports that would be most useful to practitioners in implementing them. The regulations that I am presenting to you for action at the June 28th meeting have benefited from the thoughtful feedback that we received, both in the regional forums and in the written comments.

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. Regulations on Evaluation of Educators, 603 CMR 35.00 - Discussion and Vote

    At our April 2011 meeting, the Board voted to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to the Regulations on Educator Evaluation. There is great interest in this important topic, as is evident from the many comments we received during the public comment period as well as the fact that the Board has discussed this topic eight times since you created the Task Force on Educator Evaluation in May 2010. The Department has analyzed the comments we received on the proposed regulations. All Board members will receive a summary and analysis of the comments as well as the full set of comments. Based on our review of the comments, we have revised the regulations in several places, as shown in a redlined version of the proposed regulations from the April draft. I recommend that the Board vote on June 28 to adopt the final regulations as presented. Deputy Commissioner Karla Baehr and I will go over the regulations with the Board and answer any questions.

  2. Report on New Bedford Public Schools - Discussion

    Deputy Commissioner Baehr and I will update the Board on the New Bedford Public Schools, one of our 12 Level 4 districts. New Bedford has one Level 4 school, the John Avery Parker Elementary School. The memo under Tab 2 presents the findings of a district accountability review that the Department conducted in New Bedford this school year and describes the Department's next steps in working with the New Bedford Public Schools to improve systemic performance.

  3. Update on State Education Budget - Discussion

    I will update the Board on the latest information we have on the state budget for FY2012. We expect to receive the conference committee report within the next week. Secretary Reville will brief the Board on the education budget perspective from the Governor's office.

  4. Annual Performance Evaluation of the Commissioner (Report from Committee on Commissioner's Performance Evaluation) - Discussion and Vote

    Beverly Holmes, who chairs the Commissioner's Performance Evaluation committee, will present the committee's report to the Board. The Chair will recommend a motion on the Commissioner's evaluation.

  5. Proposed Contracts with Educational Management Organizations for Four Charter Schools in Boston: Delegation to the Commissioner - Discussion and Vote

    At its meeting in February 2011, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) granted charters to Grove Hall Preparatory Charter School, Dorchester Preparatory Charter School, and UP Academy Charter School of Boston. The Board also voted to amend the charter of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School. All four schools proposed to contract with educational management organizations (EMOs). These contracts require approval by the Board. Because time is of the essence, and because the Board's summer meeting schedule is uncertain, I recommend that the Board vote to authorize me to approve the contracts pending satisfactory completion of our review.

  6. Report from Board's Charter School Committee - Discussion

    Gerald Chertavian, who chairs the Board's Charter School Committee, will report to the Board on the committee's work to date.

  7. Schedule for Regular Board Meetings through June 2012 - Vote

    After checking with members, we have prepared a proposed schedule for regular Board meetings through June 2012. With the Board's approval, we will post the schedule on our website.

  8. State Student Advisory Council End-of-Year Report - Discussion

    Board member Michael D'Ortenzio Jr. will present the end-of-year report from the State Student Advisory Council. Michael has served with distinction as chair of the SSAC and as a member of this Board for two consecutive years. We thank Michael for his remarkable service to the students of the Commonwealth and to this Board, and wish him all the best in the future.

Other Items for Information

  1. Report on Race to the Top Initiatives: Priority Partners Process and Wraparound Zone Grants

    The memos under Tab 9 provide an update on the work of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on two projects under Race to the Top focused on turning around the lowest achieving schools. The Priority Partners for Turnaround project will assist districts that are seeking partnerships with educational service providers who have expertise and demonstrated success in promoting the Conditions for School Effectiveness. The Wraparound Zone initiative seeks to develop systems that will assist in addressing students' physical, social, and emotional health needs to promote their academic success.

  2. Update on Innovation Schools

    Important progress is being made to promote the development of Innovation Schools, consistent with the January 2010 Act Relative to the Achievement Gap. Enclosed is a status report on Innovation Schools, prepared by Bridget Rodriguez, Director of Planning and Collaboration in the Executive Office of Education (EOE), with support from staff of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

  3. Education-Related News Clippings

    Enclosed are several recent articles about education.

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

    Under Tab 12 is a memo reporting on grants that I approved under a federal grant program on May 31, 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 under Tab 12 are two memos on charter school matters that I have approved in accordance with the Board's September 2009 delegation of authority to the Commissioner.

  5. Report on Non-Operating School Districts Approved by the Commissioner

    By statute, towns that do not operate their own public schools (generally because the town is small and is not a member of a regional school district) must request and receive approval annually from the Board to tuition their students to public schools in other towns. In June 2009 the Board voted to delegate this approval authority to the commissioner. Enclosed under Tab 13 is a memo reporting on the approvals I have granted.

  6. Level 5 District Co-Governance Process and Requirements

    Under Tab 14 is information about our expectations for the Level 5 district co-governance process and requirements.

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you at the Department on June 27 and 28.

Last Updated: June 24, 2011
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