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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the May 23, 2016 Special Meeting and the May 24, 2016 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 13, 2016


The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, May 24, 2016, at Pioneer Charter School of Science, 51 Summer Street, Everett, starting at 9:00 a.m. (coffee will be available at 8:30 a.m.) and adjourning by 1:00 p.m. The Board will hold a special meeting from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 23, 2016, at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's offices in Malden, to discuss educator evaluation.

The Board has two committee meetings scheduled this month. The Assessment Committee will meet at the Department on Monday, May 23, from 3:30-4:45 p.m., and the Committee on the Commissioner's Performance Evaluation will meet on Tuesday, May 24, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Pioneer Charter School of Science. All Board members are welcome to attend the committee meetings. If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call Helene Bettencourt at (781) 338-3120.


We are holding the May 24 regular meeting at Pioneer Charter School of Science in honor of Donald Willyard, who in June will conclude his second one-year term as elected chair of the State Student Advisory Council and as a member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Pioneer Charter School of Science CEO Barish Icin and Executive Director Sanela Jonus will welcome the Board to the school on Tuesday morning and make a brief presentation at the start of our meeting.

The discussion topic for the special meeting on Monday evening is educator evaluation. No votes will be taken. Our business agenda on Tuesday includes an overview and progress report on the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership; an update on the next-generation MCAS project and review of the English Language Arts and Mathematics standards; and updates on the Southbridge and Holyoke Public Schools. Donald Willyard will present an overview of the State Student Advisory Council's annual report; the Board will receive an update on the proposed FY2017 state education budget; and we will review the proposed schedule for regular Board meetings through June 2017.

Special Meeting

  1. Educator Evaluation: Overview, Progress Report, and Key Issues - Discussion

    The Board's special meetings are an opportunity for the Board to have in-depth policy discussions. Per the request of several members, we are devoting the May special meeting to the topic of educator evaluation. The Department will present a brief overview of the educator evaluation system that the Board adopted in 2011. We will then hear from two panels, one offering statewide and research perspectives and the other offering perspectives from district and school practitioners. Board members will have time to engage with the panelists, Department staff, and each other on the accomplishments and challenges of implementing the Massachusetts educator evaluation framework. No votes will be taken at the special meeting.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Sagan will report on current issues and activities.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. 2017 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. On May 3, I had the pleasure of visiting the Codman Academy Charter Public School in Dorchester to announce the 2017 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. Sydney Chaffee, a ninth grade humanities teacher, is the recipient of the state's top educator award. Ms. Chaffee is the state's 55th recipient of this award (the first from a charter school). She exemplifies the dedication, commitment and positive contributions of educators statewide. The press release on the Teacher of the Year announcement.

    Ms. Chaffee will join other outstanding educators, including the Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year, the Milken Family Foundation Award winner for Massachusetts, the finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, and Teacher of the Year finalists and semifinalists, for an awards ceremony at the State House on June 15, 2016, to which all Board members are invited. I look forward to introducing Ms. Chaffee to the Board at a future meeting.

  2. Review of educator licensure regulations. The Department is engaging a working group including PreK-12 teachers and administrators as well as individuals involved in preparing new educators, to review the educator licensure regulations. This work is aligned with Governor Baker's Executive Order 562 to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden. The group will participate in four meetings this spring to discuss the current requirements to obtain a temporary, preliminary, initial, and professional license as well as the requirements of license renewal and make recommendations to me. The working group is an important component of our ongoing review of the licensure regulations. I anticipate that the workgroup will identify recommendations that will be vetted broadly across stakeholder groups. I expect to update the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on the emerging discussion in the fall.

  3. Spring Convening. The Department is hosting the fourth annual Spring Convening: Expanding Opportunities for Every Student, Every Educator, Every School for educators on May 16 and May 17 in Marlborough. District teams will participate in interactive workshops featuring promising practices. Topics include: giving and receiving high quality feedback; looking at data from an equity lens; district and educator preparation partnerships; and English language arts, mathematics, and science curriculum resources.

  4. Civics literacy conference. As part of our initiative on civic learning and engagement, on May 23 the Department and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate are hosting a civics literacy conference entitled, "Serving America: Promising Practices for Building Literacy and Civic Learning." The event is free and is open to all Massachusetts public school educators. Presenters will include K-12 educators and representatives from state, education, and community organizations. The conference will focus on understanding the role civic learning plays in maintaining our democracy, increasing civic knowledge and engagement among K-12 students, and making the natural connections between civics and literacy. This is a great opportunity to advance the civic learning goals that the Board has embraced.

Comments from the Secretary

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

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Welcome from Pioneer Charter School of Science

    Barish Icin, CEO, and Sanela Jonus, Executive Director, will welcome the Board to the Pioneer Charter School of Science and make a brief presentation. Some information about the school is included in your packet under Tab 1.

  2. Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership: Overview and Progress Report - Discussion

    The Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (SEZP) is a groundbreaking voluntary partnership of Springfield Public Schools, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Springfield Education Association, and Empower Schools, aimed at rapidly improving outcomes for Springfield's middle school students. Board Vice-Chair James Morton serves on the board of the SZEP. At the May 24 Board meeting, we will have an opportunity to discuss the partnership with Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston, SEZP Board Chairman and co-founder of Empower Schools Chris Gabrieli, Springfield Superintendent Daniel Warwick, and other SEZP team members.

  3. Update on the Next-Generation MCAS Project and Review of the English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards - Discussion

    Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson and I will update the Board on the development of the next-generation MCAS assessment and the associated review of our English language arts and mathematics standards.

  4. Update on Southbridge Public Schools - Discussion

    Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston and Ventura Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, will present the monthly update on our work with the Southbridge Public Schools. At the June meeting, the Board will hear from Dr. Jessica Huizenga, Southbridge Public Schools receiver/superintendent.

  5. Update on Holyoke Public Schools - Discussion

    Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston and Ventura Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, will present the monthly update on our work with the Holyoke Public Schools. At the June meeting, the Board will hear from Dr. Stephen Zrike, Holyoke Public Schools receiver/superintendent.

  6. State Student Advisory Council End-of-Year Report for 2015-2016 - Discussion

    Board member Donald Willyard will present his end-of-year report on activities of the State Student Advisory Council. While Donald 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 at his school. He will submit the full 2015-16 report on behalf of the SSAC in June.

  7. Update on FY 2017 State Education Budget - Discussion

    We received the FY2017 House education budget proposal on April 27 and expect to receive the Senate Ways and Means Committee version during the week of May 16. At our meeting on May 24, we will discuss the proposals in relation to the Board's budget priorities. Associate Commissioner Bill Bell, our Chief Financial Officer, will join the discussion.

  8. Proposed Schedule for Regular Board Meetings through June 2017 - Discussion

    We will have a discussion of the schedule of Board meetings through June 2017, with a vote on the dates scheduled for June 2016.

Other Items for Information

  1. Report on Grants Approved by the Commissioner

    Enclosed is information on grants that I have approved under the authority 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 special meeting in Malden on May 23 and at the regular meeting in Everett on May 24.

Last Updated: May 24, 2016
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