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Commissioner's Weekly Update - October 5, 2012

New Grants Management Page - Now Available:

ESE has redesigned its grants page online to make it easier to find information. View the new grants page at http://www.doe.mass.edu/grants/. Key changes include: (1) a simplified front page that directs users to the five major types of information on the site; (2) more information about each grant program up front, including who is eligible and which district standards and ESE priorities the program supports; (3) easy sorting of grants by fund code, program name, due date, and more; and (4) a new section of anticipated grant funding opportunities. The anticipated funding opportunities section will be updated several times per year. Please send any questions or feedback to grants@doe.mass.edu.

October 9th Webinar on Educator Evaluation:

ESE will host a webinar on Tuesday, October 9, 2012, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. for school-level administrators and teacher leaders who will assume the responsibility of delivering the mandatory teacher training to educators at their school. The webinar will include an overview of the teacher training requirements and explain how facilitators can access and best deliver the materials. A maximum of 500 participants will be able to participate.

Massachusetts Awarded $1.1M State Personnel Development Grant:

ESE has been awarded a $1.1 million federal grant to improve personnel preparation and professional development (PD) to enhance outcomes for students with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Education-funded grant will help develop and implement "The Partnership Project," a five-year project to expand the state's professional development system by: (1) developing and delivering new PD that will increase access to evidence-based PD for all educators to better serve students with disabilities and their families; and (2) creating model sites that demonstrate the systemic implementation of evidence-based practices within a tiered system of support.

ESE will use a competitive process to identify up to 8 districts and institutions of higher education statewide to become model sites for the implementation and ongoing monitoring of best practices. Priority will be given to high need districts and districts with populations of students and families from culturally, linguistically, and racially diverse backgrounds.

ESE Staff Updates:

Tom Moreau will join ESE on Oct. 9 as director of school and district resource planning. Tom is currently the education policy advisor in Speaker DeLeo's office; prior to that he was the research director for the Legislature's Joint Committee on Education. Tom will work on a number of projects to craft policies, legislation, and tools to help school districts address the increasing demands being placed on them in an era of limited fiscal resources.

Commissioner Chester's School Visits:

This week, Commissioner Chester visited the Excel Academy Charter School in East Boston and the John R. Fausey Elementary School in West Springfield. The commissioner also attended a meeting of the Connecticut Valley Superintendents' Roundtable.

For Your Info:

  • New federal and state nutrition requirements are in effect for this school year. Guidance sessions on preparing the documentation for additional meal reimbursement will be held this fall. Registration may be completed at http://www.doe.mass.edu/cnp/. Additional resources are available at http://www.doe.mass.edu/cnp/resources.html and http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/Legislation/nutritionstandards.htm.
  • The Mass. Department of Public Health (DPH) has seen a significant increase in the number of West Nile Virus and EEE human cases and infected mosquitoes across the Commonwealth. DPH and ESE strongly encourage school districts to work with their local health departments to ensure that all residents are aware of the simple steps they can take to protect themselves from mosquito bites. For more information and regular updates, visit DPH's website at http://www.mass.gov/dph/wnv.
  • The single best way to prevent influenza is vaccination, which is recommended for everyone six months of age and older. All school districts are encouraged to work with their local health departments to ensure that all children in their communities have access to flu vaccine. For information about holding flu clinics for students, contact your local health department to inquire about ordering state-supplied flu vaccine through them. Influenza preparedness information is available online at http://www.doe.mass.edu/influenza/.

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Last Updated: October 5, 2012
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