Commissioner's Weekly Update - October 12, 2012
Annual Dropout Data Ready for Review:
ESE has posted 2011-12 Annual Dropout data to the Security Portal for districts to review and make corrections to individual student data. Aggregate rates have not yet been provided. Corrections will not be accepted through email or over the phone. The only mechanism to make corrections to these data is through the October SIMS submission. The final rates will be made publicly available in January 2013 once the October 2012 SIMS data have been certified and the calculations have been completed.
Data are located under "Dropout Data Summary Report" on the Security Portal at https://www4.doemass.org/auth/Login. The application can be accessed with a username, password, and the SIMS Data User role. Should you or your staff have any questions on the correction process, please contact your District Support Specialist. A list of those individuals is located at http://www.doe.mass.edu/infoservices/data/fts.html. The deadline to correct these dropout data coincides with the October SIMS submission deadline, which is November 15. Information about the posting of graduation rate data will follow next week.
Feedback Sought on Definition of College and Career Readiness:
ESE and the Department of Higher Education are seeking feedback from educators, students, parents, employers, and the general public as we work to develop a definition of college and career readiness for Massachusetts. Our goal is to unify recent, separate efforts to define college readiness and career readiness by establishing a joint definition that is clear, reflects our educational goals and values, and is workable for stakeholders and the public. To provide feedback, participants are asked to review online the current draft definition and respond to twelve survey questions. The deadline to participate is October 31 at 5 p.m.
Smart School Budgeting: Resources for Districts:
The Rennie Center and the Mass. Association of School Business Officials (MASBO), with financial support from ESE, recently collaborated to produce a resource guide on school district budgeting. With or without major increases for K-12 funding over the next few years, our challenge will be to use our existing funds more effectively and ensure that budgetary decisions are informed by research and best practices. That's the key message in this resource guide, which we encourage you to share with your school committees. The guide is available online at
New English Language Proficiency Assessments in 2013:
Beginning this year, English language learner students (ELLs) in grades K-12 will take the ACCESS for ELL tests. ACCESS for ELLs, which replaces MEPA, is the state's new test to measure ELL students' listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The test will be administered between January 10 and February 13, 2013. ESE has previously notified schools and districts about training opportunities for school and district testing coordinators on the administration of ACCESS for ELL students. For more information, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/access/.
ESE Staff Updates:
Cliff Chuang will join ESE after Thanksgiving as associate commissioner for charter schools and school redesign programs. Cliff is currently the director of charter schools at the New York State Education Department, and previously worked at ESE in both our charter school and school redesign offices. Combining these activities in one unit, under Cliff's leadership, will help us to promote a wide range of innovative school models to support academic improvement.
Commissioner Chester's School Visits:
This week, Commissioner Chester visited Deerfield Elementary School in Westwood.
For Your Info:
- There are many journals that publish articles on education policy. From time to time, we'll share an article that we think you might find informative and interesting. Professor Arnold Shober of Lawrence University recently published an article in which he takes an historical look at the various efforts and trends over the years to improve K-12 teacher quality. The article summarizes some of the key research findings in the field and provides informative context for our current teacher evaluation initiative. To view the article, go to http://tinyurl.com/98lu6pz.
- CommonWealth Magazine has an article on the receivership of the Lawrence Public Schools in its fall 2012 edition. The article is online at http://tinyurl.com/9v7j5pl.
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