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Commissioner's Weekly Update - November 16, 2012

Special MCAS Make-Up Test Administration:

We want to thank schools for their cooperation and support in light of the postponement of make-up testing for the November English Language Arts and Mathematics retests. First and foremost, we want to assure you that ESE will score and report results for students who completed testing during the retest window (by Nov. 9). Second, we will schedule a special make-up test administration - which is tentatively planned for December 2012 - during which students will take only the session(s) they did not complete during the Nov. retest. For example, if a student completed the ELA Composition and sessions 1 and 2 of the ELA Reading Comprehension test, but was absent for session 3, he/she will only take session 3 during the make-up administration. We ask high school principals and test coordinators to begin to prepare lists of students who were affected by the postponed make-up administration this month, and inform the students involved and their parents/guardians of ESE's plan to schedule a make-up test administration.

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to Meet on November 26-27:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet on Nov. 26 and 27. At the Nov. 26 special meeting in Malden, the Board will focus on Level 4 schools. At the Nov. 27 regular meeting in Lawrence, the Board will hear a presentation from Lawrence Public Schools Receiver Jeff Riley on the turnaround effort that he is leading. The Board will discuss its budget priorities and will vote on its state education budget proposal for FY2014. The Board will also take an initial vote on proposed amendments to the regulations on innovation schools, vote on a charter amendment for the Match Charter Public School, and hear a report on the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School.

Charter School Public Hearings:

ESE will hold eight public hearings across the state inviting community members to comment on this year's eleven charter school final applications. Members of the public may also submit written comments through Friday, January 4, 2013 to ESE, c/o the Charter School Office, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden 02148, or by email to For a list of the public hearings, go to

New Admission Standards for MA Public Universities:

The MA Board of Higher Education (BHE) adopted new mathematics and science standards for admission to UMass and the state's public universities to better align admission standards with MassCore and ensure that students are prepared for college level work. To be eligible for admission to UMass and the state's four-year public higher education institutions, students will need: (1) Four years of high school math, including in their senior year, beginning with the college freshman class entering fall 2016; and (2) Three years of lab-based science, including the natural/physical sciences or technology courses, beginning with the college freshmen entering fall 2017. Also, effective immediately, students can now count college preparatory technology/engineering coursework as science. For more info, visit the Department of Higher Education's website at

Commissioner Chester Begins Serving as CCSSO President:

This week, Commissioner Chester began his year's presidency of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). CCSSO is the national organization of state commissioners and state superintendents of public education. It is always informative to meet with colleagues from other states and learn about what's working and what's not working in their school improvement efforts. Commissioner Chester's appointment as president of CCSSO reflects the high esteem in which Massachusetts K-12 education is held nationally.

Thanks / Next Update:

As we enter the holiday season, we want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to all of our educators in all of our schools and districts. Your dedication and hard work are helping to build a strong future for our children and our Commonwealth. Thank you, and best wishes to you and your families for the holidays. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, we will not publish a Weekly Update on Nov. 23. The next update will be on Nov. 30.

For Your Info:

  • The Massachusetts Cultural Council invites high schools to register by Dec. 21 for this year's Poetry Out Loud competition, which encourages young people to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, while helping them to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and internalize their rich literacy heritage. To register, go to Please contact Donna Glick at with any questions.


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Last Updated: November 16, 2012
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