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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Improving Education for English Learners — Updates

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner
Date:
October 19, 2018

At the June 2018 meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board), the Board voted to adopt the proposed amendments to several areas of regulation including 603 CMR 7.00 (Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval Regulations), 603 CMR 14.00 (Education of English Learners Regulations) and 603 CMR 31.00 (Massachusetts Certificate of Mastery Regulations). These amended regulations are designed to improve the instruction of English learners and implement the Language Opportunity for Our Kids Act, Chapter 138 of the Acts of 2017 (LOOK Act). Below is a brief summary of some of the key provisions of the LOOK Act and the regulatory amendments:

Language Acquisition Program Flexibility (now addressed in state regulation 603 CMR 14.04)

  • Provides districts with flexibility in choosing a language acquisition program that best fits the needs of their English learner population.
  • Requires districts that intend to offer new programs (including new Sheltered English Immersion programs) for English learners to submit specific information for review by the Department and the district's English Learner Parent Advisory Council. All programs must be based on research and best practices.

Increased Input from Parents and Guardians

  • English Learner Parent Advisory Councils (now addressed by state regulation 603 CMR 14.09)
    • Requires all school districts serving 100 or more English learners or in which English learners comprise at least five percent of the student population to establish English Learner Parent Advisory Councils (ELPACs).

  • Parental Notification and Input on Program Assignment
    • Requires districts to, at least annually, inform parents and guardians of English learners of their rights to:
      • Choose a language acquisition program among those offered by the district,
      • Request a new language acquisition program, and
      • Withdraw a student from a language acquisition program.

New Educator Qualifications

  • Requires the Department to establish licensure endorsements for educators in various types of English learner education programs. The Department already had a Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement and has now established the Bilingual Education Endorsement
    (603 CMR 7.14).
  • Requires that career vocational technical teachers with ELs during SY17-18, and administrators who supervise/evaluate such teachers, earn the SEI Endorsement by July 1, 2021.

State Seal of Biliteracy (now addressed in state regulation 603 CMR 31.07)

  • Directs the Board to establish the State Seal of Biliteracy. Districts may award the state seal to students who meet the state criteria for demonstrating a high level of proficiency in English and at least one other language.

Senior Associate Commissioner Heather Peske and Paul Aguiar, Director of the Office of Language Acquisition, will be at the meeting on October 30 to provide updates on the work related to the LOOK Act and regulations since June 2018 and to respond to your questions.

Enclosures:

Download PowerPoint File
ELE Updates October Board Presentation for Distribution to the Board


Last Updated: October 22, 2018
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