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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the May 21, 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
May 10, 2013


The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at the Horace Mann Middle School, 224 Oak Street, Franklin, MA. The regular meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. (coffee will be available at 8) and will adjourn by 1 p.m. Please note that the Board will not hold a Monday evening special meeting this month. If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call JC Considine at (781) 338-3112.


On Tuesday morning, May 21, we are holding the regular meeting in Franklin in honor of Ryan Casey, who in June will conclude his elected term as chair of the State Student Advisory Council and as a member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Paula Mullen, chair of the Franklin School Committee, and other local officials will welcome the Board to Franklin and make a brief presentation at the start of our meeting. The topics on our agenda include a presentation by the outgoing 2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year; an overview of the model curriculum units that the Department is producing with teams of Massachusetts educators; a progress report on the RETELL initiative; an update on the FY2014 state education budget; a review of the proposed schedule for regular Board meetings through June 2014; Ryan Casey's end-of-year report on the activities of the State Student Advisory Council; and three charter school items for discussion and vote.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Vice-Chair

Vice-Chair Beverly Holmes will chair the May 21 meeting since Chair Banta is out of town. Vice-Chair Holmes will report on current issues and events and will invite reports from Board members and committee chairs on the May 6 hearing on proposed Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual Schools; the May 20 meeting of the Board's Charter School Committee; and the May 20 meeting of the Commissioner's Performance Evaluation Committee.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. Future Ready Summit. I will report on the Future Ready Summit, held in Worcester on May 20. The Department is a co-sponsor of 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.

  2. 2014 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. On Tuesday, May 7, 2013, I had the pleasure to name Anne Marie Bettencourt, an English language arts teacher at Springfield Central High School, the 2014 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. Anne Marie, who lives in Hatfield, is the state's 52nd recipient of this award and automatically becomes the state's candidate for the National Teacher of the Year Program. Her skill, dedication, and positive impact on students make her an outstanding choice to represent the excellence we see across the profession in Massachusetts. I look forward to introducing Anne Marie to the Board at a future meeting.

Comments from the Secretary

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

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Welcome from Franklin Public School Officials - Discussion

    Paula Mullen, chair of the Franklin School Committee, and other local officials will welcome the Board to Franklin. Some background material on the Franklin Public Schools is included in your packet under Tab 1.

  2. Presentation by Outgoing 2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Kathleen Turner - Discussion

    Kathleen Turner, a high school French teacher at Sharon High School, is the outgoing 2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. She exemplifies the dedication and creative energy of great teachers throughout the Commonwealth. I am delighted that she will address the Board at our May 21 meeting.

  3. Presentation on Model Curriculum Units - Discussion

    I am pleased to inform the Board about the model curriculum units that the Department is producing as part of our Race to the Top grant. These model curriculum units bring to life the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Mathematics (incorporating the Common Core State Standards) that the Board adopted in 2011, as well as our frameworks in U.S. History/Social Studies and Science and Technology/Engineering. We have included a sample unit for grade 3 English language arts in your packet. At the May 21 meeting, we will hear from teachers who have been involved in producing and using the model curriculum units as a resource to improve teaching and learning. Associate Commissioner Julia Phelps will present the overview.

  4. Update on RETELL Initiative - Discussion

    In June 2012, the Board voted to adopt regulations to address the preparation and training that educators must have to deliver Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) to English language learners (ELLs). The educator standards are part of our RETELL (Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners) initiative, which is a comprehensive strategy to close the proficiency gap for ELLs. The Department has acted quickly to make available a high quality course for core academic teachers of ELLs who must earn the new SEI endorsement. The training program began for about 2,000 teachers in February 2013 and will ramp up significantly in 2013-14. At this month's meeting, Senior Associate Commissioner Bob Bickerton, Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Landman, and other Department staff will update the Board on our progress.

  5. Update on FY 2014 Education Budget - Discussion

    Chief Financial Officer Bill Bell and I will brief the Board on next steps in the FY2014 education budget process.

  6. Proposed Schedule for Regular Board Meetings through June 2014 - Discussion

    Under Tab 6 is a list of proposed Board meeting dates for the upcoming school year. Please review it in anticipation of a vote on the schedule at next month's meeting.

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

    Board member Ryan Casey will present his end-of-year report on activities of the State Student Advisory Council. While Ryan will continue to serve as SSAC chair and as a Board member through June, it is fitting for him to present the report this month, since we are meeting in his hometown of Franklin. He will submit the written report on behalf of the SSAC in June.

Charter Schools:

Associate Commissioner Cliff Chuang and other members of the Charter School Office will be at the Board meeting to present an overview and respond to questions about items 8-10:

  1. Lowell Collegiate Charter School EMO Contract Approval - Discussion and Vote

    Under the charter school statute, the Board must approve contracts between charter schools and entities from which they intend to procure substantially all educational services. The Department has reviewed the proposal submitted by Lowell Collegiate Charter School to contract with Springfield Education Management, LLC. The contract is reasonable and consistent with the charter school statute and regulations as well as Department guidance. The memo under Tab 8 provides details. I recommend that the Board vote to approve the contract.

  2. Mystic Valley Regional Charter School Appeal of Commissioner's Decision - Discussion and Possible Vote

    The Mystic Valley Regional Charter School has applied for an amendment to its charter to add an additional 400 students to its enrollment. I declined to recommend approval of the amendment, believing that the school first needs to address significant governance issues identified during its most recent renewal. Under the Board's charter school regulations, 603 CMR 1.11(6), the school may request the Board to review and potentially overturn my decision. School officials will make a brief presentation at the May 21 meeting and will be available to answer your questions.

  3. Recommendation for Probationary Status: Spirit of Knowledge Charter School - Discussion and Vote

    I recommend that the Board vote this month to place the Spirit of Knowledge Charter School on probation in order to allow for the implementation of a remedial plan. My recommendation is based upon my continuing concern about the viability of this school, which has been in operation for nearly three years. The memo and accompanying documents under Tab 10 provide detailed information.

Other Items for Information

  1. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Delegated Authority to the Commissioner, September 2008-April 2013

    Per the Board's request at the April 2013 meeting, we have prepared a list of matters on which the Board has voted to delegate authority to the Commissioner, per Mass. General Laws Chapter 15, Section 1F, paragraph 3. You will find the document under Tab 11. We will update the list in the future, as needed. I will continue to keep the Board informed on all matters in which I take action under authority you have delegated to me.

  2. Education-Related News Clippings

    Enclosed are several recent articles about education.

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

    Under Tab 13 you will find reports on state and federal grants and charter school matters that I approved since the last Board meeting, under the authority that the Board has delegated to me. Also included is a report on conditions I have placed on Salem Community Charter School.

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you in Franklin on May 21.

Last Updated: May 16, 2013
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