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Commissioner's Weekly Update - November 15, 2013

Board to Meet on Nov. 18-19:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet on Nov. 18-19 in Malden. At its special meeting on Nov. 18, the Board will continue its discussion of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the proposed timeline to transition from MCAS to PARCC. At its regular meeting on Nov. 19, the Board will vote on the proposed plan and timeline for transitioning to PARCC. To be clear, this action does not mean that the Board is voting to replace MCAS with PARCC on Tuesday. Based on the results of this spring's PARCC field test and the 2014-15 pilot test, Commissioner Chester will recommend and the Board will vote in fall of 2015 whether to sunset the MCAS English language arts and mathematics assessments for grades 3-8 and employ PARCC as the state testing program for these subjects beginning in the 2015-16 school year.

In Tuesday's other business, the Board will hear a progress report on the first full year of receivership of the Lawrence Public Schools. The Board will receive a report from its Budget Committee and then vote on its state education budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2015. The Board will take an initial vote on proposed amendments to the Regulations on Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval, relating to the professional standards for teachers. Commissioner Chester will update the Board on the four schools that he placed into Level 5 last month. Finally, the Board will vote to accept the surrender of the charter for Spirit of Knowledge Charter School in Worcester. To see the agenda, go to

Educator Evaluation Data – Coming Next Week:

Next week, ESE intends to release the first summative performance ratings under the state's new educator evaluation system. We anticipate the release will occur on Thursday, Nov. 21. Last year, the 234 Massachusetts school districts receiving Race to the Top funds were required to evaluate at least 50 percent of their licensed educators. ESE will release statewide data as well as district and school-level data for those participating districts. The state's new evaluation system is designed to provide teachers and administrators with more meaningful feedback than ever before to improve their practice and support them to become better educators. When fully implemented, the new system will require all public school districts to assign ratings for every educator annually. For more info on educator evaluation, go to

New "Continuous Progress" Policy for Academic Hardship Waivers:

Based on feedback from schools, Commissioner Chester recently approved a policy that redefines how continuous progress is calculated when a district requests a waiver for an additional year to allow an individual to continue in her or his current position. This policy aligns with the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Approval (603 CMR 7.00). Under the new policy, ESE will accept college/university courses and the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) as evidence of continuous progress towards licensure. Also, districts can now use the accumulation of activities such as seminars, workshops, or other professional learning experiences (i.e., mentored experience) and a passing score on a subtest of an MTEL to document compliance with this requirement to seek a waiver for an additional year. Please note that districts must continue to provide all of the supporting waiver documents for review. To learn more, go to

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 18, 2013
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