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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the April 22, 2013 Special Meeting and April 23, 2013 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
April 12, 2013


The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 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 will also hold a special meeting on Monday, April 22, 2013, from 5-7 p.m., at the Department's 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 will focus on educator evaluation. On Tuesday morning, our regular meeting agenda includes an update on the Lawrence Public Schools receivership, discussion and an initial vote to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to the School Finance Regulations relating to reimbursement for transportation for homeless students, proposed authorizations to the Commissioner to act on behalf of the Board in granting waivers for innovative programs under the Student Learning Time Regulations and to make appointments to advisory councils, and a report on the House Ways & Means Committee FY2014 education budget proposal.

Special Meeting

Progress Report on Educator Evaluation - Discussion

The special meeting of the Board on Monday, April 22, will focus on implementation of the new educator evaluation system. Deputy Commissioner Alan Ingram, Associate Commissioner Heather Peske, and I will provide a brief review of our progress to date and then five practitioners will speak briefly about their experience with the new system. Our guests are Supt. Russell Johnston of the West Springfield Public Schools; Beth Kaake, a teacher in the Fitchburg Public Schools; Christina Porter, Director of Humanities, Revere Public Schools; Asst. Supt. Kristan Rodriguez of the Chelmsford Public Schools; and Asst. Supt. Ross Wilson of the Boston Public Schools. Our special meetings provide an opportunity for the Board to discuss important topics in depth. I look forward to a productive and engaging discussion on educator evaluation. 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 also will ask Beverly Holmes to report on the most recent meeting of the Board's Charter School Committee, and Vanessa Calderón-Rosado to report on the work of the Commissioner's Performance Evaluation Committee.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. Update on background checks law. The new national background check law (Chapter 459 of the Acts of 2012) expands the information available to public, private, and parochial schools, including approved private special education schools and child care facilities, about prospective and current employees. It authorizes a national criminal database check for all school employees and certain other individuals who may have direct and unauthorized access to children. We are continuing to work with the Executive Office of Education and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) to plan for implementation of the new law. EOPSS currently is evaluating the feasibility of meeting the timelines in the law. We anticipate that some amendments will be filed. To assist schools in planning, we have posted a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document. The FAQ will be updated as more information is available.

  2. Future Ready Summit. Board members are invited to attend the Future Ready Summit on May 20, 2013, at the DCU Center in Worcester. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is co-sponsoring this conference with the Executive Office of Education, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Department of Higher Education, Jobs for the Future, and Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education. The goals of the Future Ready Summit are to: 1) bring stakeholders together to discuss building a statewide system of strategic partnerships to support students' transition from the K-12 system through post-secondary education and into successful careers and provide clear on- and off-ramps for adult learners re-entering the labor market; 2) provide influential adults and career coaches with the tools and resources that will support all students as they prepare for a 21st century economy; and 3) showcase replicable practices that are moving the "college and career ready" agenda forward.

  3. Virtual schools. April 22 is the deadline for the first application cycle, which is open only to the existing MAVA@Greenfield school. I will let you know at our meeting whether the Greenfield School Committee has submitted a proposal. Applications for the second round, for new schools planning to open in September 2014, will be solicited this fall, with final decisions by the Board scheduled for February 2014. We will also be bringing draft regulations to you for your review later this year.

Comments from the Secretary

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

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Update on Lawrence Public Schools Receivership - Discussion

    The Board voted in November 2011 to designate the Lawrence Public Schools as a Level 5 district. Receiver/Superintendent Jeff Riley last reported to the Board in November 2012 on the comprehensive turnaround effort he is leading in the school district. Superintendent Riley will update the Board at our April 23 meeting.

  2. Proposed Amendments to School Finance Regulations, 603 CMR 10.00 (Reimbursement for Transportation for Homeless Students and Technical Amendments) - Initial Discussion and Vote to Solicit Public Comment

    The Fiscal Year 2013 budget (Chapter 139 of 2012) directs the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to promulgate regulations regarding reimbursements to cities, towns, and regional school districts for the cost of transporting nonresident homeless students as required by the federal McKinney-Vento Act. This month we are presenting the proposed regulations (which amend the School Finance and Accountability Regulations, 603 CMR 10.00) for your initial review. With the Board's approval, we will invite public comment on the proposed regulations. We expect to bring them back to the Board for a final vote in June. Jay Sullivan, Executive Director of School Finance and District Support, and Attorney Debra Comfort of our legal staff, will be present at the April 23 Board meeting to respond to your questions.

  3. Student Learning Time: Proposed Delegation of Authority to Commissioner to Approve Waivers for Innovative Programs - Discussion and Vote

    There is growing interest in dual enrollment/early college programs as well as other types of innovative education programs designed to address the needs of students who would benefit from options besides the standard school program. Some of these programs do not meet the 180-day/900-hour (elementary) or 990-hour (secondary) requirements of the Student Learning Time regulations. We are establishing a process and standards for worthy innovative programs to qualify for a waiver of the regulations. I recommend that the Board vote this month to authorize the Commissioner to act on behalf of the Board in granting waivers of requirements in the Student Learning Time regulations to encourage innovative programs and schedules intended to improve student learning. I would report to the Board periodically on the waiver process and standards and on any waivers that I grant or deny.

  4. Appointment to Advisory Council on School and District Accountability and Assistance; Proposed Delegation of Authority to Commissioner - Discussion and Vote

    I recommend that the Board vote this month to appoint Fall River Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown to the vacant seat on the School and District Accountability and Assistance Advisory Council. I further recommend that the Board authorize the Commissioner to make advisory council appointments on an ongoing basis, similar to the process that has worked well for grant approvals and certain charter school matters. This will allow us to move forward with appointments in an efficient manner. I would report to the Board periodically on all such appointments.

  5. FY2014 Education Budget Proposal from House Ways & Means Committee - Discussion

    We received the House Ways & Means Committee's budget proposal for FY2014 on April 10. At our meeting on April 23 we will discuss the education budget proposal and next steps in the process, as well as any new developments on the federal budget.

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 7 you will find a report on the grants that I approved since the last Board meeting, under the authority that the Board has delegated to me.

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you at the Department on April 22 and 23.

Last Updated: April 17, 2013
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