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Commissioner's Weekly Update - November 1, 2013

Update on Level 5 Schools:

On Wednesday, Commissioner Chester officially placed four Level 4 or "underperforming" schools into Level 5. A Level 5 placement triggers state governance and requires the Commissioner to convene a local stakeholder group, create a turnaround plan that will rapidly improve student achievement, direct the superintendent or an appointed receiver to implement the plan, and evaluate the school at least annually. The four schools are Dever Elementary School and Holland Elementary School in Boston, Morgan Full Service Community School in Holyoke, and John Avery Parker Elementary School in New Bedford. For more info, go to

New DART Looks at Success after High School:

ESE has released a new DART (District Analysis and Review Tool) that contains a range of high school, postsecondary, and career readiness data. Included in the tool are demographics, high school indicators, high school performance, program of study, postsecondary education outcomes, and career development education over a number of school years. DART helps users to find "comparable" schools and allows them to contrast their school's progress on student outcomes to similar schools and the state.

November is Family Literacy Month:

The Patrick Administration has proclaimed November 2013 to be the Commonwealth's 17th annual Family Literacy Month in recognition of the pivotal role that parents and family members play in the educational success of their children. Communities across the state will host activities throughout November to bring together families in support of literacy, lifelong learning, and family well-being. For more info, go to

Upcoming Charter School Public Hearings:

ESE has scheduled five public hearings to invite community members to comment on this year's six charter school final applications. The six proposed schools would be located in Andover, Fall River, Fitchburg, Lynn, and Springfield. The public may also submit written testimony on any applicant through Jan. 3, 2014 by writing to the Charter School Office, c/o ESE, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148, or by emailing For more info, go to

School Visits:

This week, Commissioner Chester visited Hyannis West Elementary School and Barnstable High School in the Barnstable Public School District.

For Your Info:

  • Urban Education Award: The National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) is currently accepting applications for its 2014 National Excellence in Urban Education Award. This award program aims to identify and celebrate exemplary urban public and public charter schools across the country. Applications are due to NCUST by Nov. 15, 2013. For more info, go to
  • Real World Design Challenge: Registration is currently open for the 2013-14 Real World Design State Challenge, an annual aviation design competition for high school students in grades 9-12. The challenge is free for students and teachers, and each teacher/coach that signs up a team will receive access to professional engineering software and access to mentors from industry, government, and academia. The MA State Champion will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete at the National Challenge. To learn more and register, go to Registration is open until Nov. 22, 2013.

Subscriber Information: 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) 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: November 5, 2013
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