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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Comprehensive District Reviews

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
October 11, 2013

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The Department engages in numerous district and school reviews for a wide variety of purposes throughout the year. It is the Department's goal to ease as much of the burden these reviews place upon districts and schools as possible, while also maintaining the high quality of these reviews so that we may fulfill our legal and public obligations.

To this end, the legislation that called for the creation of the Office of School and District Accountability (now called the Center for District and School Accountability, hereinafter CDSA) requires CDSA to ensure that no school or district is audited during the administration of any statewide assessments, and shall coordinate with other entities in the department to ensure that a school or district is not subject to multiple comprehensive audits or reviews by the department or any accrediting body within a 9 month period unless the board specifically votes to do so on an emergency basis (MGL 15 § 55(A)).

To help facilitate scheduling, the Department has created a database of all comprehensive reviews year by year, including five-year charter renewal reviews, Comprehensive Program Reviews (CPRs) by the Program Quality Assurance Office, district accountability reviews by the Center for District and School Accountability (CDSA) and accreditation reviews by the outside agency New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Compiling scheduled reviews by the above offices showed potential overlaps in 2013-2014 that were resolved as discussed below.

Six superintendents were notified of scheduled reviews overlapping in a nine-month window, and chose to proceed with both reviews. The districts are:

DistrictReviews
Avon CPR and NEASC
Conservatory Lab CharterCharter Renewal and NEASC
DedhamCPR and NEASC
Martha's Vineyard RegionalCPR and NEASC
River Valley CharterCharter Renewal and CPR
South Middlesex Vocational-TechnicalCDSA (last year) and CPR

The Program Quality Assurance office worked with several districts to resolve potential overlaps by:

  • postponing a CPR for a year (Billerica, Bristol-Plymouth Regional Vocational-Technical, and Quincy) or
  • changing the date of a CPR to put it outside the nine-month window, though still in this year (Easthampton and Franklin County Regional Vocational-Technical).

CDSA used the comprehensive reviews schedule as an element of its criteria for selecting districts, removing districts that otherwise would have been scheduled this year. CDSA scheduled a district review for Medford to take place nine months before a NEASC review set for next September 2014, but moved it to April 2014 at the district's request, since the district was choosing to have both reviews in a nine-month period.

Eight districts have NEASC reviews this year overlapping the nine-month window from a Department review that was done last year. NEASC is not under the Department's jurisdiction. The districts are:

DistrictDepartment Review Last Year
Athol-RoyalstonCDSA
MethuenCDSA
Northampton-Smith Vocation AgriculturalCDSA
CohassetCPR
Dennis-YarmouthCPR
King PhilipCPR
SandwichCPR
Lowell Middlesex Academy CharterCharter Renewal

These efforts taken together have resolved all conflicts under the control of the Department.



Last Updated: October 18, 2013
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