The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Teacher Leadership to Support Standards and Instruction

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

At the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) meeting on December 18, 2018, we will highlight the work of teacher-leaders across the state to support teaching and learning through standards revision, supporting the implementation of standards, and promoting access to high-quality curriculum materials. The discussion will include three panels of teacher leaders engaged with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) through our Center for Instructional Support on three initiatives to support students to attain the academic vision:

Arts Curriculum Framework

As the Board is aware, the Department has convened a panel of arts educators to revise the 1999 Arts Curriculum Framework. We anticipate requesting the Board to release a draft of the revised framework for public comment at the February Board meeting, leading up to a vote on the final revised framework in May or June 2019. To prepare for these votes, we will engage with the Board about the revised organization and content of the framework at this month's meeting. The draft Arts Curriculum Framework has four sections:

  1. The Vision describes the desired outcome of preK–12 arts education. Artistically literate students are college- and career-ready and contribute to civic dialogue; they use creativity, leadership, and communication skills across a wide range of contexts.
  2. The Guiding Principles describe components of a high-quality arts curriculum or program. These include focusing on artistic intent, relevance to students, and providing opportunities for integration across the curriculum.
  3. The Practices describe eleven multi-dimensional skills students refine across their preK-12 education and beyond. These are combined into the four larger categories of Creating, Presenting, Responding, and Connecting.
  4. The Content Standards align to the Practices and provide specific learning targets for each grade dyad or high school course in five artistic disciplines (dance, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts).

Dawn Benski, one of the teacher-leader facilitators for the revision process and a Visual Art Content Specialist in the Boston Public Schools, and Jennifer Fidler, a teacher-leader facilitator and Visual Arts Department Liaison at Wilmington High School in Wilmington Public Schools, will join Department staff at the December 18 Board meeting to share their experience with this work to date.

STEM Ambassadors

The Department's STEM Ambassadors Program supports effective curriculum, instruction, and professional development through the development of high-quality instructional tasks aligned with the 2017 Mathematics Curriculum Framework and the 2016 Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework. The Department has selected Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) as our partner to support 19 Math Ambassadors and 17 STE Ambassadors representing diverse backgrounds, roles, experiences, and regions across the Commonwealth.

The STEM Ambassadors participate in a sixteen-month professional learning series and are responsible for leading professional development sessions within their own district. Each Ambassador has recruited a Task Development Team of teachers (grades 4–8 for math and grades 6–12 for STE) to undergo similar professional learning that helps them to create high-quality instructional tasks aligned to the Curriculum Frameworks. From April 2018 to June 2019, the STEM Ambassadors will create, pilot, refine, and disseminate the instructional tasks across their own districts and two additional partner districts. Ambassadors and their teams will present the tasks in June 2019 at a STEM Institute hosted by WPI. The Department will post the instructional tasks on our website under the resources tab of the standards navigation tool to make them available statewide. Ambassadors will provide follow-up consultation and technical assistance related to these tasks in collaboration with staff from the Department and WPI.

The panel at our December 18 meeting will include two STEM ambassadors: Karen Cross, 6th grade mathematics teacher, Murphy Elementary School, Boston Public Schools; and Nicole Finneran, 8th grade S/TE teacher, Frost Middle School, Lawrence Public Schools.

CUrriculum RAtings by TEachers (CURATE)

This year, for the first time, the Department's Center for Instructional Support is convening panels of Massachusetts teachers to review specific curriculum products and report on their alignment to Massachusetts expectations for teaching and learning (e.g., curriculum frameworks, educator evaluation framework). We call this initiative CURATE, for CUrriculum RAtings by TEachers. The teachers on the CURATE panels review sample lessons and other materials from each commercial product, analyze survey and focus group data from Massachusetts educators using the product, and consider findings from other independent reviews of the product. The teachers' deliberations will result in brief, user-friendly reports designed to offer information and guidance-not mandates-to schools and districts looking for high-quality, standards-aligned curricular materials to support their teachers and students. The Department is working in collaboration with the Rennie Center and Teach Plus to implement the CURATE panels.

The panel at the December 18 Board meeting will include two CURATE teacher leaders: Kevin Cormier, 7–8th grade mathematics teacher, Nissitissit Middle School, North Middlesex Regional School District; and Nicole Palmieri, Kindergarten teacher, John Breen School, Lawrence Public Schools.

Senior Associate Commissioner Heather Peske and Associate Commissioner Ron Noble and other members of the Center for Instructional Support will join the panels for the discussion with the Board: Craig Waterman, Assistant Director for Strategy and Integration; Erin Hashimoto-Martell, Director of STEM; Nicole Scola, STE Content Support Lead; Leah Tuckman, Math Content Support Lead; and Rachel Bradshaw, Manager of Instructional Policy.


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Center for Instructional Support