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Commissioner's Weekly Update - January 17, 2014

Governor's Task Force on School Safety and Security:

This week, Governor Patrick signed an executive order to establish a Task Force on School Safety and Security. The Task Force will develop a model school safety and security plan that schools can adapt and implement to ensure that students and educators are safe in the event of an emergency situation. For more info, go to

Cohort Graduation Rate and Annual Dropout Rate Reports:

The Department will provide school and district leaders with access to final 2013 cohort graduation rate and 2013 annual dropout rate data beginning today on the Security Portal. We anticipate releasing the data publicly later this month. As a reminder, the corrections to these data were welcomed during the October SIMS submission and will no longer be accepted. Please remember that cohort graduation rate and annual dropout rate data are strictly embargoed until the Department's public release. If you have questions, please contact Rob Curtin at 781-338-3582.

Educator Recognition Programs – Now Accepting Nominations:

The Department is now accepting nominations for the following educator recognition programs: the 2015 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, the 2014 Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year, the 2014 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the 2014 George Washington Teachers' Institute, and the 2014 Distinguished Elementary Educators. To learn more about these programs, go to

Educator Effectiveness Teacher Cabinet:

The Department is launching a pilot Educator Effectiveness Teacher Cabinet, comprised of teachers from across the Commonwealth, to provide thoughtful feedback and suggestions about educator effectiveness initiatives. Teachers interested in this opportunity should submit an application by Sunday, February 2, 2014. To learn more and view the application, go to

QZAB Financing – Now Available

The Department is now accepting proposals for qualified zone academy bond (QZAB) allocations. The QZAB program allows public schools to obtain interest-free financing for the purpose of establishing "qualified zone academies." Qualified zone academies are schools, or programs within a school, that are located in economically distressed areas and whose curriculum is designed through school/business partnerships. For more information and to view the request for proposals, go to

For Your Info:

  • Board to Meet on Jan. 27-28: The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet on January 27-28, 2014 in Malden. At Monday evening's special meeting, the Board will meet jointly with the Board of Early Education and Care for a discussion of key work and initiatives around early education. We will post the agenda for both meetings next week at
  • Draft, Revised STE Standards: The Department has posted draft, revised Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) standards at The posted document reflects key changes such as the inclusion of science and engineering practices, coherent progressions of learning across years, and grade-by-grade standards Pre-K to 8. The posting of the draft, revised STE standards provides districts the option to begin to plan, undertake curriculum work or professional development, or develop District-Determined Measures (DDMs) or district assessments aligned to these standards. The Department will not bring the standards to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for consideration and adoption until the 2015-16 school year. Posted with the standards are a number of related documents, including crosswalks, strand maps, and rationales for decisions about structural changes. Please review the FAQ, in particular, as there are several considerations that schools and districts will want to consider while the draft, revised STE standards are public.

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Last Updated: January 21, 2014
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