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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the December 20, 2016 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:
December 9, 2016

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The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, December 20, 2016, 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 not hold a Monday evening special meeting this month. If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call Helene Bettencourt at (781) 338-3120.

Overview

The business agenda for our regular meeting leads off with a progress report on the Holyoke Public Schools from Superintendent/Receiver Stephen Zrike. We will discuss the recently released PISA results for Massachusetts. I will update the Board on the Every Student Succeeds Act (stakeholder outreach, the new federal regulations, and anticipated next steps) and on the Department's initiative to streamline our regulations on educator licensure and license renewal. This month's report on development of the next-generation MCAS focuses on plans for high school assessments. Other topics on the agenda are the new methodology for calculating economically disadvantaged students, a progress report on a charter school that has been on probation, and continuing discussion about Level 4 schools and, in particular, Boston's decision on the Mattahunt School. No votes are scheduled on any items this month other than approval of meeting minutes.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Sagan will report on current issues and activities. We thank all members who have attended hearings this month on new charter applicants. Members who attended the hearings will report to the Board at the February 2017 meeting, before the Board votes on any new charters.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. English Language Arts and Mathematics Frameworks. At your November 29, 2016 meeting, the Board voted to sent out for public comment new drafts of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics. Comments may be made through February 17, 2017 through an online survey. The Department is also hosting a series of "Office Hours" meetings across the Commonwealth to share information and answer questions about the proposed changes to the ELA and math standards, and to encourage public comment. Educators interested in learning more about the proposed changes are encouraged to visit the English language arts and literacy and math standards review page on ESE's website or sign up for one of ESE's Office Hours sessions.

  2. History and Social Science Curriculum Framework. As Massachusetts embarks on a revision of the 2003 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework, I encourage educators and others to offer comments on and suggested revisions to the current framework via a survey. The survey takes approximately 10-20 minutes and will remain open until February 6, 2017.

  3. Educator Evaluation Regulations Public Comment. At your November 29, 2016 meeting, the Board voted to send out for public comment the proposed amendment to the educator evaluation regulations. Comments may be made through Friday, January 27, 2017. Please see Department's website for more information.

  4. Recovery High Schools Public Comment. At your November 29, 2016 meeting, the Board voted to send out for public comment the proposed recovery high school regulations. Comments may be made through Tuesday, January 17, 2017. Please see the Department's website for more information.

Comments from the Secretary

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

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Progress Report on Holyoke Public Schools: Stephen Zrike, Receiver - Discussion

    Holyoke Public Schools Receiver/Superintendent Stephen Zrike will join us on December 20 to update the Board on the district's progress to date under the Holyoke Level 5 District Turnaround Plan and anticipated next steps. Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston and Ventura Rodriguez, Director of the Office of Strategic Transformation, will join Dr. Zrike at the meeting.

  2. PISA Results for Massachusetts - Discussion

    On December 6, 2016, the 2015 Program International Student Assessment (PISA) results were released. This innovative assessment of 15-year-olds is administered every three years and provides results in science, reading, and mathematics. Massachusetts participated separately from the United States. The memo and press release under Tab 2 provide an overview of the results.

  3. Every Student Succeeds Act: Stakeholder Outreach, New Federal Regulations, and Next Steps - Discussion

    The Board will hear an update on the Department's ongoing efforts to reconsider the Commonwealth's school accountability and support system under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In addition, staff will provide updates on the Department's stakeholder outreach, final accountability regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education, and next steps.

  4. Educator Licensure: Overview of Policy Issues and Potential Regulatory Changes - Initial Discussion

    The Department has been working, in collaboration with the field, to streamline the two sets of regulations dealing with educator licensure and license renewal. At the Board meeting on December 20, we will discuss the current licensure system and proposed revisions. Senior Associate Commissioner Heather Peske, Brian Devine, Director of Educator Licensure, and other staff members will be at the December 20 meeting to respond to your questions.

  5. Next-Generation MCAS: Plans for High School Assessments - Discussion

    The next-generation MCAS tests will be given for the first time to students in grades 3-8 in English language arts and mathematics in spring 2017. At last month's Board meeting, we discussed the standard-setting process and proposed draft levels and descriptors. This month, I am presenting six policy recommendations related to the high school assessment for your consideration. We will spend some time discussing these at our December meeting, and then again at our joint meeting with the Board of Higher Education in January.

  6. Report to the Legislature on Calculation of Low-Income Students - Discussion

    At the Board's June 2015 meeting, the Department provided an overview of the new methodology for identifying students as economically disadvantaged for purposes of certain state education funding calculations and other statistical purposes. This month, Deputy Commissioner Wulfson will update the Board on the study of the impact of the new methodology on Chapter 70 and other state education funding. The memo under Tab 6 provides background information.

  7. Report on Probation: Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School of Excellence - Discussion

    In January 2015, the Board placed Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School of Excellence (MLK) on probation and imposed three conditions related to academic improvement and sustainability. In February 2016, the Board of renewed the charter of MLK and extended probation with four conditions related to governance and academic achievement. MLK has met three of the four conditions, and the deadline for the fourth condition is December 31, 2017. The memo under Tab 7 updates the Board on the school's progress. This is an informational item; no Board action is required. I will make a recommendation to the Board in about a year, after the school's fourth condition expires. Alison Bagg, Director of Charter Schools and School Redesign, will be at the December 20 meeting to answer your questions.

  8. Boston's Decision on Level 4 School (Mattahunt) - Continuing Discussion

    At the November 29 meeting the Board discussed recent actions and next steps on two schools, Mattahunt Elementary School in Boston (Mattahunt) and the High School of Commerce in Springfield (Commerce), that have been designated Level 4 schools since 2012 and 2010, respectively. Several Board members had further questions relating to the Mattahunt, including questions about the composition of the school's local stakeholder group and about possible outcomes once a school has been designated "under review." We will reprise the discussion at this month's meeting. The memo under Tab 8 provides information in response to your questions. Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston will join us for the continuing discussion on December 20.

Other Items for Information

  1. State Education Budget Transmittal Letter from Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

    Enclosed is my memo to Secretary Peyser transmitting the Board's FY2018 state education budget priorities, per the Board's vote at your meeting on November 29, 2016.

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

    Under Tab 10 is a report on grants and charter school matters I have approved since our last 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 meeting in Malden on December 20.



Last Updated: December 14, 2016
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