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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the January 23, 2012 Special Meeting and the January 24, 2012 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:
January 13, 2012

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The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 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 afternoon, January 23, 2012, from 4-6 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

At the Board's Monday afternoon special meeting (4-6 p.m. on January 23, 2012), we will discuss student assessment and our work in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium. I am pleased that representatives from Achieve will join us for the meeting. At the regular meeting on Tuesday morning the Board will continue the discussion on student assessment; get an update on the Lawrence Public Schools receivership and hear from the receiver, Jeffrey C. Riley; discuss our school and district leadership initiatives and Districts and School Assistance Centers; vote on amendments to the Regulations on Innovation Schools; and vote on several charter school items.

Special Meeting

Student Assessment and Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC); Presentation by Mike Cohen - Discussion
At the special meeting on Monday afternoon, January 23, 2012, I will update the Board on our work to develop the next generation of student assessments through the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium. I am pleased that we will be joined by Mike Cohen, president of Achieve, and Laura Slover, Achieve vice president and director of the PARCC project. Achieve serves as the project manager for PARCC. Additionally, our Department's Student Assessment staff will discuss the development of performance assessments, as well as initiatives designed to provide teachers with new tools and instructional resources. It should be an interesting and informative session. No votes will be taken.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Banta will report on current issues and activities and will invite the chairs of Board committees to present updates.

Comments from the Commissioner

I will update the Board on current issues and activities.

Comments from the Secretary

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

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Student Assessment and Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) - Continuing Discussion

    At the regular meeting on Tuesday we will continue the discussion that we began at the Monday afternoon special meeting on PARCC and the next generation of student assessment.

  2. Update on Level 5 District Designation for Lawrence Public Schools - Discussion

    I will present an update on actions we have taken with respect to the Lawrence Public Schools receivership in the last month. Most notably, our January 24 meeting will be an opportunity for the Board to meet and hear from Jeffrey C. Riley, whom I appointed as receiver for the Lawrence Public Schools effective January 17, 2012. I am optimistic that his leadership, supported by the Department, will bring about the transformative change that we have been advocating for the school district.

  3. School and District Leadership Initiatives - Discussion

    With the support of Race to The Top funds, the Department has continued and expanded our earlier state investment to develop and implement an array of educational leadership training opportunities. The memo under Tab 3 summarizes these initiatives, which are grounded in the belief that leaders at every level must be focused on promoting the conditions that foster high levels of student engagement and learning. We are working in partnership with the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS) and the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC), among others. Senior Associate Commissioner Lynda Foisy, Tom Scott and Joan Connolly from the MASS, and Glenn Koocher from the MASC will discuss these initiatives with the Board at the January 24 meeting.

  4. District and School Assistance Centers: U.Mass.-Donahue Institute Evaluation Report - Discussion

    In the fall of 2009, the Department established a regional system of District and School Assistance Centers (DSACs) to provide resources and direct support to high need districts and schools in the state. Districts may choose to access resources in professional development, direct targeted assistance, and networking that best meet their needs. While the DSACs coordinate with the Readiness Centers in their regions, the DSACs are focused on working with the state's higher need K-12 districts to support strategic and integrated improvement initiatives. Because this is a new and challenging endeavor, we commissioned the UMass.-Donahue Institute to conduct an evaluation and track the impact of the DSACs on improving district capacity and, ultimately, student performance. The Donahue Institute's first comprehensive report is enclosed under Tab 4, and key findings are summarized in the cover memo. Senior Associate Commissioner Lynda Foisy and Associate Commissioner Lise Zeig will be at the January Board meeting to provide context and respond to your questions.

  5. Amendments to Regulations on Innovation Schools, 603 CMR 48.00 - Discussion and Vote

    At your November 29, 2011 meeting, the Board voted to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to the Regulations on Innovation Schools, 603 CMR 48.00. The regulations as amended include new or revised definitions, clarify the approval process for innovation schools, describe an innovation schools zone, provide a dispute resolution mechanism, and make the regulations consistent with state and federal special education requirements. The Department received only two comments on the proposed amendments, which are enclosed for your information, along with a table summarizing the comments and the Department's responses. I recommend adopting the amendments as presented. Bridget Rodríguez, Director of Planning and Collaboration at the Executive Office of Education, and Marlon Davis, Director of our Office of Charter Schools, Innovation and School Redesign, will be at the Board meeting to answer your questions.

Charter Schools:

  1. Edward M. Kennedy Academy of Health Careers: Major Amendment Request - Discussion and Vote

    I recommend that the Board approve the request of the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, a Horace Mann charter school in Boston, to increase its maximum enrollment from 220 to 448 students, an increase of 228 students. This request is described in detail in the memo under Tab 6. Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson and Marlon Davis, Director of Charter Schools, Innovation, and School Redesign, will be present to answer any questions Board members may have about this matter or other items in the charter school section of the agenda.

  2. Innovation Academy Charter School: Report on Conditions and Major Amendment Request - Discussion and Vote

    The Innovation Academy Charter School (IACS) has met the condition that the Board imposed when it renewed the school's charter in 2011. Additionally, the school has demonstrated the success of the school's academic program, the viability of the school as an organization, and the faithfulness of the school to the terms of its charter. For these reasons, I recommend that the Board remove the school from conditions and grant its request to amend its charter.

  3. North Central Charter Essential School: Renewal with Probation - Discussion and Vote

    For the reasons set forth in the memo under Tab 8, I am recommending that the Board vote this month to place the North Central Charter Essential School on probation and renew its charter with specified conditions.

  4. Information on New Charter Applicants - Initial Discussion

    By statute, the Board votes on the approval on new charter schools at its February meeting. The Department received seven prospectuses in August 2011 - two for Horace Mann charter schools and five for Commonwealth charter schools. Based upon the review of these prospectuses by the Department's staff and external reviewers, I invited the founding groups for all seven of the applications to submit final applications. One applicant group withdrew from the process. Six final applications were filed by the November 7, 2011, deadline. This month we have included in your materials an overview of the process for reviewing and granting new charters and a summary of the charter applications that are pending. I will have a recommendation for you to vote on at the February 28, 2012 meeting.

Other Items for Information

  1. Education-Related News Clippings

    Enclosed are several recent articles about education.

  2. Report on Grants

    Enclosed is a report on federal grants I approved since the Board's September meeting, under the Board's October 2008 delegation of authority to the Commissioner.

  3. Race to the Top Year One Report from U.S. Department of Education

    Enclosed is the Year One Race to the Top report on Massachusetts that the U.S. Department of Education released on January 10, 2012. The report highlights successes and accomplishments, identifies challenges, and provides lessons learned from implementation to date.

  4. Status of the Massachusetts Educator Workforce: December 2011 ESE Report

    This report is part of the Department's effort to support and strengthen the educator workforce by presenting and analyzing data on its current status. The data in the report comes primarily from two sources: data reported by districts to the state through the Education Personnel Information Management System (EPIMS), and data reported by preparation programs or districts to the state through the Educator Licensure and Recruitment system (ELAR). The report looks at data from the 2010-11 school year, focusing on demographics, years of service, retention rates, and preparation. It then examines the data in light of the hiring needs of the state, subject areas with teacher shortages, student demographics and whether educators are equitably distributed across schools of different income levels. The report also looks at what the state is currently doing and plans to do to address challenges in each of these areas.

  5. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Annual Report for FY2011

    The annual report for FY2011 includes key data and chronicles the major decisions and actions of the Board from July 2010-June 2011. It is an impressive record of some of our accomplishments in service to the students of Massachusetts. We plan to distribute copies to the Governor and the Legislature and post the report on our website.

  6. Education Week's Quality Counts 2012 - Massachusetts State Highlights

    Behind Tab 15 you will find the Massachusetts State Highlights section of the recently released Quality Counts 2012, the 16th edition of Education Week's annual look at issues and challenges facing America's public schools. We are proud that Massachusetts ranked #1 in the country on the "Chance for Success" indicator. The full Quality Counts 2012 report can be found online at January 12, 2012 - Education Week.

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you at the Department on January 23 and 24.



Last Updated: January 3, 2012
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