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Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE)

Commissioner's Goals and Objectives for 2019-2020

To:Katherine Craven, Chair, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:September 20, 2019

Per your request, I have identified the following goals and objectives for school year 2019-2020. In collaboration with my leadership team, these goals will guide our work as we build on Our Way Forward Download Word Document to close achievement gaps and maximize the development of all students.

  1. Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning: Launch the Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning network with an initial cohort of schools and districts selected by January. Kaleidoscope is designed to provide participants with flexibility and support to foster and scale Deeper Learning models that improve learning for all students. Within Kaleidoscope,

    1. We will create a working group to review and evaluate performance tasks and to identify 25–50 engaging, high-quality student performance tasks that are aligned to the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. These will be implemented by Kaleidoscope schools and published on the Deeper Learning online platform.

    2. Participants will engage in rigorous professional development focused on creating Deeper Learning environments. The professional development will include face-to-face convenings throughout the school year and summer, school-based coaching, and ongoing feedback.

    3. We will collaborate with districts and schools within Kaleidoscope to develop and pilot innovative performance-based assessment models that measure student achievement, engagement, and skill development aligned to Deeper Learning.

  2. Evidence-based practices: Build further capacity to implement innovative and evidence-based practices, particularly in schools and districts identified for state assistance. These practices include:

    1. Diversifying the educator workforce: Closely monitor the practices and performance of districts receiving the first and second rounds of the educator diversification pilot grant. Determine which initiatives resulted in strong recruitment and retention of educators of color. In coordination with the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education diversification committee, publicize these results and make recommendations for future diversification efforts. Continue the commissioner's college visits and recruitment campaigns to reach more prospective educators, with a focus on educators of color.

    2. Early literacy: Building on the success of the early literacy pilot with Tufts University in the Somerville Public Schools, we will run a second early literacy summer program and launch a new initiative to research, codify and promote evidence-based strategies in early literacy.

    3. CUrriculum RAtings by Teachers (CURATE): Publicize the CURATE reports to districts and schools to increase awareness of this new resource, laying the groundwork for more districts to adopt and effectively use high-quality curricula aligned to Massachusetts state standards.

    4. Acceleration academies: Launch a statewide application and grant opportunity to expand the number of districts running high-quality acceleration academies this year. This vacation learning program, which provides extra support to students targeted to their specific needs, has proven successful in Lawrence and other districts.

    5. Early college: Hold the first early college statewide convening, create data dashboards to support data monitoring for program quality and improvement, and expand the number of early college designated sites.

  3. Action-oriented research for educational equity: In collaboration with various state agencies, we will pursue the U.S. Education Department Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) grant to support data alignment across agencies from pre-school to the workforce. This collaboration will help leverage our data systems to improve educational practices, with a focus on identifying and disseminating promising and successful practices to promote equity.

  4. DESE effectiveness as a partner to schools: I will conduct an operational audit of the agency to assess strengths and weaknesses and propose a plan for improvement with an emphasis on providing flexibilities and support to schools and districts.

  5. Individualized education plan (IEP) improvement: We will revise the IEP template and process, keeping students at the center by strengthening family engagement, providing professional development and improved resources, increasing collaboration, and streamlining processes. We will implement a pilot version of the new process during the 2019-20 school year and seek stakeholder engagement on new IEP resources.

  6. Collaboration across school and district models: Provide incentives to districts and schools to work together to ensure access to high-quality educational programming for all students. This includes collaboration between districts, charters, and vocational schools, as well as regionalization strategies.

  7. Low-performing districts: We will identify districts with high concentrations of schools performing in the bottom 10 percent of the state's accountability system. Over the next one to two years, we will selectively conduct district reviews to assess the strengths and challenges of these districts and recommend supports and interventions as needed.

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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