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Commissioner's Weekly Update - January 18, 2013

Governor Patrick Calls for Major New Investment in Education:

This week, Governor Patrick announced a new $550 million education investment package for FY14 that increases to nearly $1 billion annually over the next four years to ensure that all students across the Commonwealth are prepared to succeed. The Governor's proposal for K-12 includes a $70 million targeted expanded learning time initiative for middle school students in high-need schools, $20 million in new funding for supports to students and families in Gateway Cities, and a roughly $226 million FY14 increase in Chapter 70 aid to keep all districts at foundation levels of spending and complete the Chapter 70 equity reforms of 2007. For more info, go to http://www.mass.gov/governor/pressoffice/pressreleases/2013/0115-renewed-investment-in-education.html.

Cohort Graduation Rate and Annual Dropout Rate Reports - Coming Next Week:

ESE will provide school and district leaders with access to final 2012 cohort graduation rate and annual dropout rate data beginning on Tuesday on the Security Portal. We anticipate releasing the data publicly next Thursday, Jan. 24. As a reminder, the cohort graduation rate and annual dropout rate data are strictly embargoed until the ESE public release. If you have questions, please contact JC Considine at 781-338-3112 or Rob Curtin at 781-338-3582.

Chapter 70 and Required Local Contributions Calculations - Coming Next Week:

The Chapter 70 state aid and required local contribution calculations for each municipality and district will be posted on ESE's school finance webpage at http://finance1.doe.mass.edu/ next Wednesday, Jan. 23, following the release of the Governor's House 1 budget proposal. As always, districts are advised to construct their local budgets with sufficient flexibility to accommodate the changes that typically occur in the state budget process.

New Background Checks Bill:

Following up on last week's note about the new national background check law that was recently signed by Governor Patrick, ESE does not yet have any details to share on how this process will work. We will keep you posted as the system is developed by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. We know that many districts will recruit for the next school year over the upcoming months. We advise districts to notify applicants of this upcoming requirement and to make any job offers contingent upon the results of the background check.

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to Meet on Jan. 28-29:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet on Jan. 28-29. At the Jan. 28 special meeting in Malden, the Board will hear a progress report on joint initiatives with higher education to promote college and career readiness. As part of the Jan. 29 regular meeting at Bridgewater State University, the Board will first hold a joint meeting with the Board of Higher Education to hear a progress report on initiatives to promote college and career readiness. Then during its regular meeting, the Board will vote on regulations related to education collaboratives and Innovation Schools, discuss the new virtual schools legislation and vote on a proposed delegation of authority to Commissioner Chester, hear an update on the state education budget, and discuss and/or vote on several charter school matters.

Educator Evaluation Workshops for Non-Race to the Top Districts:

ESE will offer six "Getting Started" workshops for non-Race to the Top (RTTT) districts to learn about the new educator evaluation framework, hear from educators in districts currently implementing the framework, and discuss key reporting requirements. As a reminder, non-RTTT districts are required to implement the new framework for the beginning of the 2013-14 school year. The workshops will be held at Lenox High School (Feb. 25); Fitchburg High School (Feb. 26); West Middle School in Andover (Mar. 5); Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham (Mar. 6); Malden High School (Mar. 7); and Brennan Middle School in Attleboro (Mar. 13).

For Your Info:

  • Two Mass. Students Selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program: Massachusetts U.S. Senators John Kerry and Elizabeth Warren recently announced that Foxborough Regional Charter School student Reily Connaughton, a Norton resident, and Andover High School student Andrew Meshnick were named as delegates to the 51st Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) to be held in Washington, DC from March 9-16, 2013. Alternates selected were Dartmouth High School student Samuel Steed and Northampton High School student Benjamin Cooper, a resident of Florence. For more info, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/ssce/senate/2013winners.pdf.

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Last Updated: January 18, 2013
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