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Commissioner's Weekly Update - December 14, 2012

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected by today's tragedy in Newtown, CT.

MA 8th Graders Score among World Leaders in Math and Science Achievement:

Massachusetts 8th graders scored near the top of all 8th graders worldwide in math and science achievement, according to results of the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Our 8th graders trailed only their peers in Singapore in science, and trailed only their peers in four leading Asian countries in math. Most impressively, Massachusetts students and teachers continue to perform not only at a high level, but to continuously improve.

Every student and educator should take pride in these remarkable results. The best education in the country today is happening in Massachusetts. TIMSS provides evidence that Massachusetts is competitive when compared to the world's highest achieving countries. Despite these positive results, though, we can't allow complacency to slow the state's commitment to ensuring all students are enjoying the same level of success. We owe it to students and families, and to the state's future, to prepare all students for success after high school.

ESE's Core Work - New Video and Reference Guide:

As part of an ongoing effort to improve communications with school and district leaders, ESE has developed a short video and companion reference guide to provide a big picture overview of the agency's work and initiatives. These new tools convey the four primary strategies we are implementing in classrooms, schools, and school districts across the state. In September, Commissioner Chester visited two schools, Arthur W. Coolidge Middle School in Reading and South High Community School in Worcester. During those visits, a WGBH film crew accompanied the commissioner to capture footage of his conversations with educators, as well as interviews with the commissioner, school and district leaders, teachers, and students.

We encourage you to watch the video, which is a compilation of the two visits, and use it to facilitate conversations with educators, students, parents, and other community members about how the strategies align with local reform efforts. To view the video, go to ESE's home page at To view the reference guide, go to

Brockton Supt. Malone Named Next State Education Secretary:

Gov. Deval Patrick has named Brockton Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Malone to be his next secretary of education. Dr. Malone replaces Paul Reville, who served in the post for the past four years and will return to a faculty role at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. We offer our congratulations to Dr. Malone and look forward to continuing to work with him. For more info, go to

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to Meet on Dec. 18:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet on Dec. 18 in Malden. The Board will vote on Commissioner Chester's recommendation to revoke the charter of the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School. The Board will hear an update on the state education budget and a progress report on ESE's work on new regulations and a model agreement for educational collaboratives. The Board will also vote on amendments to the educator licensure regulations related to the new transition specialist endorsement. The Dec. 18 agenda and accompanying documents are posted at

School Visits:

This week, Commissioner Chester visited the John C. Tilton Innovation School and Haverhill High School in Haverhill.

For Your Info:

  • Commissioner Chester's new op-ed, "State working to ensure success for all students," is posted online at
  • The Notice of Public Comment for the Proposed Amendments to the Innovation Schools Regulations is now posted at
  • Adams Scholarship: In early January, some superintendents will receive additional John and Abigail Adams Scholarship letters for students in the class of 2013 who did not previously receive a letter. Superintendents should distribute any letters they receive to the appropriate principal(s) in their district. ESE has also updated the Adams Scholarship guidelines online to reflect that the scores for a 9th grader who takes a Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) test in 2013 will count toward his or her scholarship eligibility. For more info, see


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: December 14, 2012
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