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Commissioner's Weekly Update - January 10, 2014

Massachusetts is #1 on Education Week's "Chance for Success" Index:

This week, Education Week released the 2014 edition of its Quality Counts report. For the seventh consecutive year, Massachusetts tops the Chance for Success Index. To see the complete report, go to

Two Massachusetts Teachers Receive Prestigious Recognition:

On Dec. 20, 2013, President Obama named 102 mathematics and science teachers nationwide as recipients of the 2012 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Enacted in 1983, the awards program is the highest award a kingergarten-12th grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. This year's recipients include two Massachusetts teachers, Erin Dukeshire and Jessica Findlay. Ms. Dukeshire is a 6th grade science teacher at Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School in Boston. Ms. Findlay is a 6th grade mathematics teacher at Douglas Intermediate Elementary School in Douglas. Congratulations to Erin and Jessica!

ESEA Waiver Survey – Reminder:

Recently, superintendents, principals, and teachers received word from their state associations that the Department is seeking feedback from stakeholders about what changes we might make to improve further our accountability system. We will use such stakeholder input to inform the state's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver extension request. To ensure that as many stakeholders as possible have the opportunity to provide feedback, we are extending the deadline to respond to the survey to Friday, January 17. The survey is available online at and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. As a reminder, we will keep individual responses to the survey confidential. The Department will only report a summary of the overall survey responses.

Year 3 Race to the Top Report – Now Available:

The Department has published its Year 3 Report on Race to the Top in Massachusetts. The report highlights the integration of the educator evaluation initiative, the new curriculum frameworks, and data use in the classroom by 10 Race to the Top districts. Those districts are Attleboro, Barnstable, City on a Hill Charter Public School, Lowell, Match Charter Public School, Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District, Revere, Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School, West Springfield, and Worcester. The report is located online at We have mailed hard copies of the report to superintendents, charter school leaders, principals, and collaborative directors. If you wish to request additional copies, please contact the Department at or 781-338-3125.

Access to Vocational Technical Education:

State regulations on Access to Equal Educational Opportunity (603 CMR 26.00) help insure that all students have equal rights of access and equal enjoyment of the opportunities, advantages, privileges, and courses of study at public schools in the Commonwealth. To that end, school districts should provide middle school students and their parents/guardians with information on vocational technical education. Examples of common methods to share such information include visits to high schools with vocational technical education programs and recruitment activities conducted at middle schools by high schools with vocational technical education programs. We urge middle schools to release student names and addresses to the vocational technical high schools subject to the Massachusetts Student Records Regulations (603 CMR 23.07). Please contact Associate Commissioner John Bynoe, who is currently serving as acting state director for career/vocational technical education, at or 781-338-6300 with any general questions about admissions to vocational technical high schools. If you have questions related to nonresident tuition for enrollment in vocational technical high schools, please contact Marnie Jain in the Office of Career/Vocational Technical Education at or 781-338-3908.

For Your Info:

  • New High School Equivalency Exam: The Department recently selected Educational Testing Service (ETS) to administer the new high school equivalency exam in Massachusetts. The new series of exams, called HiSET, will replace the former General Education Development (GED) assessment. For more info on the selection, go to
  • Status of MA Educator Workforce Report: The Department has released the 2013 Status of the Massachusetts Educator Workforce Report. The report intends to help guide teacher recruitment and retention efforts, especially in hard to staff areas, and help improve the support that the Department, preparation programs, and school districts can provide to first-year teachers. To view the report online, go to
  • USED Guidance on Student Discipline: This week, the U.S. Department of Education issued several guidance documents that describe how public schools can meet their obligations under federal law to administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin. To read the guidance, go to

Subscriber Information: Superintendents, principals, and charter school leaders will receive the update automatically. For others wishing to subscribe, send an email to with the following information in the body of the email: subscribe ESEUpdate Your Name. (Example: subscribe ESEUpdate John Smith) To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with the following information in the body: unsubscribe ESEUpdate Your Name. (Example: unsubscribe ESEUpdate John Smith)

Last Updated: January 13, 2014
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