The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the September 18, 2018 Regular Meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner
September 7, 2018

The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) will be on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (Department) 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 Budget Committee will meet at 1 p.m., following the regular meeting. As always, all Board members are welcome to attend.) If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call Helene Bettencourt at (781) 338-3120.


The business agenda for the regular meeting on Tuesday leads off with the election of the vice-chair. I will present my goals for 2018-2019. The Board will learn more about the Department's aMAzing Educators public awareness campaign to celebrate our public school teachers and hear a presentation by Jamil Siddiqui, the 2019 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. Other items on the agenda are a progress report on the review of the Arts Curriculum Framework, discussion of the next-generation MCAS and planning for the high school competency determination standard, and an overview of issues relating to the foundation budget. The Board also will discuss the process and timelines for the FY2020 education budget.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

The September meeting is the Board's annual meeting under the by-laws. Chair Sagan will appoint members to the Budget Committee and the Commissioner's Performance Evaluation Committee.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. PLESH litigation update. Board members will recall that in August 2017, an association of Latino/Latina parents filed suit in federal court against the Holyoke Public Schools (HPS), the Board, and the Commissioner, alleging that HPS was not meeting its legal duty to provide adequate translation and interpretation services to limited English proficient parents/guardians. The Department has been working with the Office of the Attorney General, Holyoke Receiver Zrike, and plaintiffs' counsel to resolve the issues. On September 5, 2018, Federal District Court Judge Mastroianni held a status conference and the parties reported on their progress, notably the adoption by HPS of Principles and Procedures for Providing Interpretation and Translation Services to Parents and Guardians Who Have Limited English Proficiency. Judge Mastrioianni was impressed, and with the agreement of the parties, he issued a six-month stay of the case. While the litigation has not yet concluded, this is real progress, and the principles and procedures that Holyoke educators are implementing should bring benefit to students and their parents.

  2. School resource officers model MOU. The Department has worked with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the Office of the Attorney General to produce a Model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Massachusetts School Resource Officers, posted on the websites of all three agencies as a guide for local school officials and law enforcement officials. School resource officers hold a unique position in a school setting and carry unique responsibilities. The model MOU helps define how they can improve school safety while recognizing that school resource officers do not take the place of school disciplinarians, enforcers of school rules, or school-based mental health providers.

  3. Upcoming release of MCAS and accountability results. We expect to publicly release MCAS and accountability results for schools and districts during the week of September 24. This fall's release will mark the second time we have next-generation MCAS results for grades 3-8, and this year, an increased proportion of students will have taken the test on a computer. The grade 10 results will continue to be those of the legacy MCAS. This fall will be the first time that we roll out our new accountability system. We expect that the vast majority of schools and districts will be designated as not requiring assistance or intervention, while other schools and districts will be designated as in need of Focused/Targeted Support or Broad/Comprehensive Support. We also anticipate naming Schools of Recognition. As I have stated previously, I am committed to monitoring how well the new system provides useful information to districts, schools, parents, and the public.

Comments from the Secretary

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

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Election of Board Vice-Chair — Discussion and Vote

    Under the Board's by-laws, the September meeting is the annual meeting of the Board, at which the Board elects its vice-chair. Chair Sagan will call for nominations from members and then conduct the election. The vice-chair presides over meetings when the chair is not available.

  2. Commissioner Riley's Goals for 2018-2019 — Discussion

    At Chair Sagan's request, I have outlined key goals that will guide my work in the coming year. I look forward to discussing my goals with the Board.

  3. Jamil Siddiqui, East Bridgewater Junior/Senior High School: Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, 2019 — Presentation

    Jamil Siddiqui, a mathematics teacher at East Bridgewater Junior/Senior High School, was named the 2019 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year in May 2018. He is the state's 57th recipient of this award and automatically becomes a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year Program. He has spent his entire 24-year career in East Bridgewater and has inspired many students, some of whom are now math teachers themselves. I am delighted that Mr. Siddiqui will make a presentation to the Board this month.

  4. Arts Curriculum Framework Review: Progress Report — Discussion

    We are updating the Board this month on the progress of the review of the 1999 Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework. The review process began in October 2017 and will culminate with a Board vote on the revised Arts Framework in May 2019. Details are in the memo under Tab 4. Associate Commissioner Ron Noble and Assistant Director of Instructional Policy Craig Waterman will be at the Board meeting on September 18 to answer your questions.

  5. Update on Next-Generation MCAS and Planning for the High School Competency Determination (CD) Standard — Discussion

    The memo under Tab 5 provides an update on implementation of the next-generation MCAS tests. It includes information about the upcoming transition to new high school tests and the need to establish a new competency determination (CD) standard. Under state law, students must earn the CD to be eligible to earn a Massachusetts high school diploma. Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson, Associate Commissioner Michol Stapel, Director of MCAS Test Development Katie Bowler, and Lucy Wall of our legal staff will join us for the discussion. It is the first of several that the Board will have on this topic in the year ahead.

  6. Foundation Budget Overview; Process and Timelines — Discussion

    Jeff Wulfson and I will present an overview of issues relating to the foundation budget and lead a discussion with the Board.

  7. FY2019 Budget Overview; Process and Timelines for FY2020 Budget — Discussion

    Now that we have the FY2019 state budget for the fiscal year that began on July 1, we are also starting to plan for the FY2020 budget. At this month's meeting, Senior Associate Commissioner/CFO Bill Bell will review the Department's budget picture. In October, with assistance from the Board's Budget Committee, we will discuss possible budget priorities and program initiatives that the Board may wish to propose. The Board will vote on its FY2020 budget priorities at the November meeting.

Other Items for Information

  1. Report on Grants Approved by the Commissioner

    Enclosed is information on grants that I have approved since the last meeting, under the authority the Board has delegated to the Commissioner.

  2. VISTA Survey Results

    Your materials include the report on the results of the 2017-2018 VISTA survey of superintendents and principals. VISTA is an annual survey sponsored by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, asking educators their views on the implementation of five statewide initiatives: curriculum frameworks; educator evaluation; preparing, hiring, and retaining educators; students' social-emotional learning, health, and safety; and the Department supports.

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you at the meeting in Malden on September 18.