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Commissioner's Weekly Update - October 21, 2016

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to Meet:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will hold a special meeting from 5-7 p.m. Monday, October 24, 2016 and a regular meeting from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, October 25 in Malden. At the special meeting, members will discuss proposed revisions to the state's English language arts and mathematics learning standards. The proposed revisions are the product of the English Language Arts & Literacy and Mathematics Standards Review Panel; public input, including suggestions gathered online; and review by ESE staff. Later this fall and winter, the Board will release the revised standards for public comment, consider changes to them, and vote on the final version.

Items on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting include a progress report on the Southbridge Public Schools, a recap of Monday night's discussion, continuing discussion on educator evaluation, and a vote on whether to extend the existing 10th grade MCAS through the class of 2020.

Public Forums on Changes in Light of the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act:

The Department continues to seek input on possible changes to the Massachusetts' accountability system and other aspects of education in light of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As ESE starts to draft the Commonwealth's ESSA plan, ESE will hold five public forums to gather feedback. Register here for one of the following events, all of which will run from 6-7:30 p.m.:

  • Monday, November 14, second floor of the Bolling Building, 2300 Washington St., Roxbury
  • Monday, November 21, Oak Middle School, 45 Oak St., Shrewsbury
  • Tuesday, November 29, Brockton High School, 470 Forest Ave., Brockton
  • Thursday, December 1, Holyoke High School, 500 Beech St., Holyoke
  • Tuesday, December 6, Collins Middle School, 29 Highland Ave., Salem

Accountability and Assistance Advisory Council to Meet:

In a similar vein, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's Accountability and Assistance Advisory Council will meet from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel, 181 Boston Post Road West, Marlborough. Topics for discussion include proposed technical amendments to state accountability regulations as well as the transition to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), with a focus on the potential indicators currently being considered for inclusion in Massachusetts' district and school accountability and assistance system.

Early Learning Focus Groups for Principals:

ESE's Early Learning Team, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Elementary Principals' Association (MESPA), will be hosting regional focus groups with elementary school principals this fall. The purpose of these focus groups will be to gather information from elementary principals on their role as instructional leaders in the early grades (PK-3) and to learn more about how ESE and the principals' association can best support principals' professional goals. Information gathered from these discussions will inform ESE's plans for work around early learning.

Interested elementary principals can register for one of the following six focus groups, each of will start registration at 8:30 a.m. and run from 9-11:30 a.m.:

  • Monday, November 14, Matthew J. Kuss Middle School, 52 Glove Mills Ave., Fall River
  • Wednesday, November 16, Holyoke Community College, 202 Homestead Ave., Holyoke
  • Monday, November 28, MESPA Office, 28 Lord Road, Suite 125, Marlborough
  • Friday, December 2, Department of Early Education and Care Regional Office, 360 Merrimack Street, Building 9, Third Floor, Lawrence
  • Wednesday, December 7, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 75 Pleasant St., Malden
  • Monday, December 12, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, 375 Church St., North Adams

DEP Assistance Program for Lead in School Drinking Water Deadlines:

The Department of Environmental Protection has asked that ESE remind all districts and schools participating in the Assistance Program for Lead in School Drinking Water that they must schedule samplings before October 31, 2016. The assistance program funds samplings and analysis of school tap and water fountains, particularly for lead and copper. Please email or call 413-545-0840 this week to schedule any remaining steps.

ESE Resource Corner

Year Ahead document: During the Commissioner's back-to-school call with superintendents this fall, he highlighted ESE's major areas of focus and upcoming milestones for the year. As a follow-up, the Department prepared a "Year Ahead" document for schools, district, and the public organized around our five core strategies.

For Your Info:

  • Accounting opportunity for students: The Massachusetts Society of CPAs is inviting high school students to attend its "Is Accounting for Me?" conferences November 4 at Babson College and November 18 at Suffolk University. More information about the conferences and other educational accounting educational resources are available online.
  • Guidance on early education and providing a well-rounded education: The U.S. Department of Education recently issued guidance to help states implement provisions of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, including guidance to help children from birth through third grade get a strong start and guidance to help states, districts and schools provide all students with a variety of courses, including the arts, environmental education and civics.
  • Veterans Day resources: Federal resources for Veterans Day, November 11, are available on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Subscriber Information: Superintendents, assistant 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) Leave the subject line blank. 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: October 22, 2016
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