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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the June 25, 2012 Special Meeting and the June 26, 2012 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 15, 2012


The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, June 26, 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 should adjourn by 1 p.m. The Board will also hold a special meeting on Monday, June 25, 2012, 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 special meeting on Monday evening is an opportunity for the Board to discuss Race to the Top initiatives, including educator evaluation and wraparound zones, and the RETELL (Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners) initiative. No votes will be taken at the special meeting. At the regular meeting on Tuesday the Board will receive the report of the Task Force on Integrating College and Career Readiness and the Lawrence Public Schools district turnaround plan from Receiver Jeff Riley. The Board will discuss and vote on four sets of regulations: English language learners (educator preparation and training required for sheltered English immersion, part of the RETELL initiative), educator licensure and preparation program approval (reporting and accountability for educator preparation programs, updated English as a Second Language educator license standards, and other changes), access to equal educational opportunity (amendments to protect students against discrimination based on gender identity, as required by the new state law that takes effect on July 1, 2012), and accountability and assistance for school districts and schools (amendments to align with the ESEA flexibility that the U.S. Department of Education has granted to Massachusetts). We will have an update on the FY2013 education budget. The Board will receive and vote on the report of the committee on the commissioner's performance evaluation and will also vote on a delegation of authority and the schedule for our regular meetings in FY2013. Matthew Gifford, the outgoing student Board member, will present the end-of-year report from the State Student Advisory Council.

Special Meeting

  1. Race to the Top Update: Year 2 Review by U.S. Education Department; Selected Initiatives including Educator Evaluation and Wraparound Zones - Discussion

    At the special meeting of the Board on Monday evening, we will review our progress in implementing our state's Race to the Top grant program. We will provide an overview of the current status of the program and highlight two initiatives of particular strategic importance and visibility: the new educator evaluation framework and the wraparound zones initiative.

  2. RETELL Initiative - Continuing Discussion

    The Board has discussed the RETELL (Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners) initiative at several meetings, most recently in May 2012. In anticipation of a vote at the regular meeting on Tuesday morning on the regulations establishing required educator preparation and training for sheltered English immersion, we will have the opportunity at the Monday evening meeting to continue the discussion and respond to questions from Board members. No votes will be taken at the special meeting.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Banta will report on current issues and events. She will recap the discussion from the June 25 special meeting. She will pay tribute to outgoing Board member Matthew Gifford who is concluding his elected term as chair of the State Student Advisory Council and as a member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Chair Banta will also introduce the newly elected chair of the State Student Advisory Council, Ryan Casey, who is entering his senior year at Franklin High School and will become a member of the Board as of July 1, 2012.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. Stand for Children/Massachusetts Teachers Association. I will update the Board on the latest developments in the compromise legislation on educator evaluation that Stand for Children and the Massachusetts Teachers Association have proposed.

  2. Massachusetts Teacher of the Year and other honored teachers. On June 18, at the State House, we will honor the 2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, Kathleen Mae Turner of Sharon High School, as well as the Teacher of the Year finalists and semifinalists; the 2012 Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year, Richard F. Houston of Harwich High School; the 2011 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching; and the 2011 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. The honorees are great exemplars of the dedication and high quality of so many educators throughout the Commonwealth. I look forward to introducing the Teacher of the Year to the Board at a future meeting.

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. Report of the Task Force on Integrating College and Career Readiness - Discussion and Vote to Receive Report

    In December 2011, the Board announced the appointment of a task force comprised of local business, education, and community leaders to develop recommendations on better integrating college and career readiness into K-12 education. Board Chair Maura Banta asked Board member Gerald Chertavian, founder and CEO of Year Up, to chair the 30-member task force. The task force has completed its work and is presenting the report this month. We are fortunate to have three members of the task force who will join us on June 26 to present the report's findings and recommendations. They are Gary Gottlieb, President and CEO, Partners HealthCare; Dan O'Connell, President and CEO, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership; and Sheila Harrity, Principal, Worcester Technical High School. I recommend that the Board review the report and direct me to report back in the fall on possible next steps.

  2. Lawrence Public Schools - Update on Receivership and District Turnaround Plan - Discussion

    The Board voted in November 2011 to designate the Lawrence Public Schools as a Level 5 district, and I appointed Jeff Riley as receiver in January 2012. On May 30, Board Chair Maura Banta and I joined the receiver when he announced the Lawrence Public School district turnaround plan. Receiver Riley has demonstrated great leadership in developing an innovative plan and building community support for the work ahead. I have asked him to join us on June 26 to discuss the plan and the next steps in building district and community support for its implementation.

Amendments to Regulations - Discussion and Final Vote

  1. English Language Learners: Educator Preparation and Training Required for Sheltered English Immersion (RETELL Initiative), 603 CMR 7, 14, and 44

    In February the Board voted to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to the regulations on educator licensure and preparation program approval (603 CMR 7), English language learner programs (603 CMR 14) and educator license renewal (603 CMR 44) to address the preparation and training that educators must have to deliver Sheltered English Immersion to English language learners. These regulations are one component of our RETELL initiative, a comprehensive effort to strengthen teaching and learning for English language learners and thereby close proficiency gaps. During the public comment period over the last several months we continued our discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice, met with all key stakeholder groups including school officials, teacher associations, experts, and advocates to get their input, reviewed extensive public comment, and further refined the regulations and implementation plan. I recommend that the Board discuss and vote on the final regulations on June 26. Senior Associate Commissioner Bob Bickerton, Associate Commissioner Julia Phelps, ELL Director Esta Montano, and Attorney Dianne Curran of our legal staff will be present to respond to your questions.

  2. Educator Preparation Program Approval, Professional Licensure including English as a Second Language License, and Other Matters, 603 CMR 7

    The second set of regulations we are presenting to the Board this month for a final vote are the amendments to the regulations on Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval. These include changes to the English as a Second Language license standards, relating to the RETELL initiative discussed above. Among other things, the regulations strengthen the accountability system for educator preparation institutions, revise requirements for the professional license, increase the number of hours of practical experience that educators are expected to have in preparation for licensure, and clarify exemptions. I recommend that the Board vote to adopt the revised regulations. Associate Commissioner Claudia Bach and other members of the Department's staff will be at the meeting to answer your questions.

  3. Equal Educational Opportunity, 603 CMR 26, and Charter Schools, 603 CMR 1 (Non-Discrimination Based on Gender Identity, per C. 199 of 2011)

    In April the Board voted to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to the regulations on Access to Equal Educational Opportunity, 603 CMR 26, and Charter Schools, 603 CMR 1, to incorporate the new requirements of state law protecting students from discrimination in public schools based on gender identity. The new law takes effect on July 1. As is summarized in the memo under Tab 5, we have made one further change to the regulations based on the comments, to make clear that the non-discrimination provisions apply to all public school programs including interscholastic athletics in schools that have separate teams for male and female students. I recommend that the Board vote to adopt the regulations on June 26. If the Board approves the regulations, we will work with the MA Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, GLAD, the MA Interscholastic Athletic Association, MA Secondary School Administrators Association, MA Elementary School Principals Association, MA Association of School Superintendents, and others to develop and provide guidance and technical assistance to school districts on implementing the new law.

  4. Accountability and Assistance for School Districts and Schools, 603 CMR 2

    I recommend that the Board vote to adopt amendments to the Regulations on Accountability and Assistance for School Districts and Schools, 603 CMR 2. The Board took an initial vote on these proposed amendments in April and we solicited public comment on them. The amendments are necessary to implement the flexibility waiver that the U.S. Department of Education granted to the Commonwealth in February 2012, enabling us to create a unified accountability system focused on closing achievement gaps and turning around the lowest performing schools and districts. Along with the memo and the regulations, your materials include a summary of the amendments and a chart summarizing the public comments and our responses. Senior Associate Commissioner Lynda Foisy, Associate Commissioner Eva Mitchell, and I look forward to discussing these changes with you at the meeting on June 26.

  5. Update on FY2013 Education Budget - Discussion

    Secretary Reville, Chief Financial Officer Bill Bell, and I will update the Board on the latest information we have on the state budget for FY2013. We expect to receive the conference committee report by the date of our meeting.

  6. Annual Performance Evaluation of the Commissioner: Report from Committee on Commissioner's Performance Evaluation - Discussion and Vote

    Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, 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.

  7. Delegation of Authority to Commissioner to take Necessary Action between Board Meetings - Discussion and Vote

    Since we have a three-month hiatus till the next meeting of the Board, I recommend that you vote to authorize the Commissioner to act on your behalf in approving any matters that are not otherwise covered by the Board's previous delegations of authority, and that require Board action before the next regular meeting on September 25, 2012. By the terms of the suggested motion, I will notify Board members in advance of any such action and report to the Board on any matters that have been so approved.

  8. Schedule for Regular Board Meetings through June 2013 - Vote

    After checking with members, we have prepared a proposed schedule for regular Board meetings through June 2013. With the Board's approval, we will post the schedule on our website.

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

    Board member Matthew Gifford will present the end-of-year report from the State Student Advisory Council. Matthew has served with distinction as chair of the SSAC and as a member of this Board for the past year. We thank Matthew for his fine 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. Education-Related News Clippings

    Enclosed are several recent articles about education.

  2. Report on Grants Approved by the Commissioner

    Under Tab 13 you will find reports on grants that I approved since the last Board meeting, under the authority that the Board has delegated to me.

  3. 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 is a memo reporting on the approvals I have granted.

  4. Report on TELL Mass Survey Results

    Through Race to the Top, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education sponsored the 2012 statewide teaching conditions survey, TELL Mass (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning in Massachusetts), as part of our plan to strengthen school climate, conditions, and culture. The purpose of the survey was to gather educators' perspective on working conditions in their schools, including issues such as available time, facilities, resources, community engagement and support, and instructional practices. The online survey was voluntary, confidential and anonymous. A total of 42,404 school-based licensed educators (52%) responded to the survey. Overall, educators are positive about teaching conditions in Massachusetts and in their schools. A summary report is enclosed for your information.

  5. Report from Advisory Council on School and District Accountability and Assistance

    Joseph Esposito, CFO (retired) of Solid Works and former member of the Educational Management Audit Council, chairs the Board's Advisory Council on School and District Accountability and Assistance. Senior Associate Commissioner Lynda Foisy and others in the Department have been working with the advisory council as we implement our system for accountability and assistance. By statute, the advisory council is to present its findings and recommendations to the Board at least two times a year. The council's annual report for 2011-12 is enclosed for your information.

  6. Barnstable Horace Mann Charter School: Return of Charter

    The board of trustees of the Barnstable Horace Mann Charter School has notified us of their intent to surrender their charter as of the end of this fiscal year. Although no action by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is required, I am including a copy of the letter from the board of trustees for your information.

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you at the Department on June 25 and 26.

Last Updated: June 25, 2012
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