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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the April 28, 2014 Special Meeting and the April 29, 2014 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:
April 18, 2014.

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The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 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 a.m.) and should adjourn by 1 p.m. The Board will also hold a special meeting from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, April 28, 2014, at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's offices at 75 Pleasant Street in Malden. If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call JC Considine at (781) 338-3112.

Overview

We have two topics for discussion at our special meeting on Monday evening: student assessment (an initial discussion about high school testing and end-of-course tests), and an update on the ESEA waiver and proposed revisions to our accountability system. The business agenda for our regular meeting on Tuesday morning leads off with a report on the new Lawrence teacher contract and an update on Level 5 schools. We will continue the discussion from the special meeting on the ESEA waiver and the Board will vote on the proposed waiver request. The Board will receive a report on the educator diversity initiative and the Department's action plan, and a report on educator evaluation data. The Board will discuss and vote on final regulations under the new student discipline law and rescission of soon-to-be-obsolete regulations on private occupational schools. The Board also will vote on a technical correction to a charter renewal. We will have updates on PARCC and on the education budget.

Special Meeting

  1. Student Assessment: High School Testing and End-of-Course Tests - Discussion

    At the special meeting on Monday evening, we will have an initial discussion of the possible implementation of PARCC assessments in high school. Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland will join us on Monday evening for this discussion. We will discuss options for transition of the high school Competency Determination (CD) requirements - that is, the state standards that students must meet to qualify for high school graduation - to include PARCC assessments. We will also discuss how students could benefit from achieving PARCC college readiness certification in English Language Arts/literacy and mathematics. Senior Associate Commissioner Bob Bickerton and Liz Davis, Director of Student Assessment, will join in the presentation. No votes will be taken at the special meeting.

  2. Accountability and Assistance: Update on ESEA Waiver and Revisions to Accountability System - Discussion

    The U.S. Department of Education is offering states that have an Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility waiver the opportunity to apply for a one-year extension of their waiver. At the special meeting of the Board on Monday evening, I will review basic components of our state's accountability and assistance system, as approved under the ESEA flexibility waiver Massachusetts received in February 2012, and discuss several enhancements I plan to propose when requesting a one-year extension of our waiver. No votes will be taken at the special meeting. At our regular meeting on Tuesday morning, I will ask the Board to vote to endorse my proposed one-year waiver extension request.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Banta will report on current issues and activities. Following up on the discussion at the February 24 special meeting, Chair Banta also will announce formation of a work group to identify opportunities for promoting the inclusion of civic education and engagement in the curriculum.

Comments from the Commissioner

Chair Banta and I will pay tribute to Senior Associate Commissioner Lynda Foisy and Senior Associate Commissioner Bob Bickerton, each of whom is retiring this spring after years of exemplary service to the Board, the Department, and students and schools throughout the Commonwealth.

Comments from the Secretary

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

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Lawrence Public Schools: Update on Teacher Contract - Discussion

    At the April 29 meeting, the Board will hear a brief presentation on the new collective bargaining agreement between the Lawrence Public Schools (through Receiver Jeffrey C. Riley) and the Lawrence Teachers Union (LTU). The contract reinforces reforms that have been put in place over the past two years of receivership, while providing key employment protections, fair compensation, and new opportunities for teachers. We have invited Receiver Jeff Riley, LTU President Frank McLaughlin, and Mayor Daniel Rivera to join us at the meeting.

  2. Update on Level 5 Schools - Discussion

    The memo under Tab 2 provides an overview of our current work with the four Level 5 schools: Dever Elementary School and Holland Elementary School in Boston; Morgan Full Service Community School in Holyoke; and the John Avery Parker Elementary School in New Bedford. The final turnaround plans for three of the four schools are included in your materials, along with information about the appeal process. I will update the Board further at our April 29 meeting, and General Counsel Rhoda Schneider will discuss the appeal process with you.

  3. Accountability and Assistance: Update on ESEA Waiver and Revisions to Accountability System - Continuing Discussion and Vote

    We will recap and continue our discussion from the Monday evening special meeting, and I will ask the Board to vote to endorse my proposed one-year waiver extension request to the U.S. Department of Education under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

  4. Report on Educator Diversity Initiative and Commissioner's Action Plan - Discussion

    Recruitment and retention of a diverse and culturally proficient educator workforce is one initiative we are supporting through our Race to the Top grant. Under Tab 4 is the report of the Diversity Task Force that the Department convened in 2013 as well as our action plan to attain two key goals: an increase in the racial and ethnic diversity of the current educator workforce and a decrease in the disproportionate use of out-of-school suspensions for students of color. At the April 29 Board meeting, Heather Peske, Associate Commissioner for Educator Quality and Cynthia Mompoint, Project Lead and Liaison for the Diversity Task Force, will present the action plan and respond to your questions.

  5. Report on Educator Evaluation Data - Discussion

    In November 2013, the Department released statewide data on the distribution of educator evaluation ratings in school year 2012-13, which was the first year of large-scale implementation of the new Massachusetts educator evaluation framework. At our meeting on April 29, Associate Commissioner Heather Peske and I will present a new report and additional data on the 2012-13 educator evaluations.

  6. Regulations on Student Discipline, 603 CMR 53.00 - Discussion and Vote

    In January 2014, the Board voted to solicit public comment on proposed regulations under the new student discipline law that takes effect on July 1, 2014. Based upon the comments received, we have made a number of additional changes to the regulations. The materials under Tab 6 include a summary of the comments and the Department's response, as well as the proposed regulations showing the changes. I recommend that the Board vote on April 29 to adopt the amendments to the regulations. Associate Commissioner John Bynoe and Deputy General Counsel Dianne Curran will join us at the meeting to discuss the regulations and respond to your questions.

  7. Rescission of Regulations on Private Occupational Schools, 603 CMR 3.00 - Discussion and Vote to Rescind under Emergency Regulation Process

    I recommend that the Board vote this month to rescind our soon-to-be-obsolete Regulations on Private Occupational Schools, 603 CMR 3.00. We are using the emergency regulations provision of the State Administrative Procedure Act so we can coordinate our timing with the Division of Professional Licensure (DPL), which now oversees these private proprietary schools and is adopting new regulations to govern their operations and provide appropriate consumer protections. Our rescission of the old regulations would take effect immediately and the Department would seek additional public comment, as required. With the Board's approval, I plan to bring back the regulations to the Board for a final vote at your June 2014 meeting.

  8. Technical Correction to Charter Renewal with Probation for Dorchester Collegiate Charter School - Discussion and Vote

    In February 2014, the Board voted to place the Dorchester Collegiate Academy Charter School (DCACS) on probation and establish conditions. Additionally, the Board voted to approve the school's major amendment request to reduce its grade span. Due to an inadvertent error, the motion neglected to include language renewing the school's charter. I recommend the Board vote this month to make the technical correction, as presented in the memo and motion under Tab 8. The school's probationary status and the conditions imposed on the school's charter remain in effect.

  9. Update on PARCC - Discussion

    At the April 29 meeting, I will update the Board on progress made by the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) over the past several weeks, including a summary of the performance based assessments (PBA) field test that concluded on April 11. This update complements the discussion we will have Monday evening focusing on the implications of a possible transition to PARCC at the high school level. Senior Associate Commissioner Bob Bickerton and Liz Davis, Director of Student Assessment, will join us for the discussion.

  10. FY2015 Budget Proposal from House Ways & Means Committee - Discussion

    We received the House Ways & Means Committee's budget proposal for FY2015 on April 9. At our meeting on April 29, we will discuss the education budget proposal and next steps in the process.

Other Items for Information

  1. Advisory Council Appointments: STEM Advisory Council

    In April 2013, the Board voted to authorize the Commissioner to appoint and reappoint members to Board advisory councils, provided that when vacancies occur, the Commissioner shall invite nominations from the Board and other organizations. Consistent with the Board's vote, I report periodically to the Board on advisory council appointments and reappointments. This month I am reporting on the Science, Technology/Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Advisory Council.

  2. Education-Related News Clips

    Enclosed are several recent articles about education.

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

    Under Tab 13 is a report on grants and charter school matters I have approved 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 28 and 29.



Last Updated: April 24, 2014
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