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Commissioner's Weekly Update - December 21, 2012

We wish you and yours a happy, healthy holiday season. Due to the holiday observances, we will not publish a Weekly Update on Dec. 28. The next update will be on Jan. 4.

Update on School Safety:

School leaders across Massachusetts distinguished themselves this week by communicating openly with their school communities about school safety and by reassuring students, their families, and educators in the aftermath of last week's horrific shooting in Newtown, CT. Many of you also took the time to review your districts' safety protocols and emergency response plans with your local public safety officials, and to update them as necessary. As always, we encourage you to review proper protocols with educators and students to ensure they know what to do in the event of an emergency situation at school.

ESE has reached out to public safety officials and other state agencies on this matter, and we will keep you informed as any new information becomes available.

New MA Teaching and Learning Platform - Coming Soon:

As part of Race to the Top, ESE is developing an integrated suite of cutting-edge tools and resources to promote best practices in classroom instruction and assessment. ESE will soon launch Edwin, a new, comprehensive teaching and learning platform that will provide every public school educator in Massachusetts with a single entry point to access resources in teaching, learning, and analytics. Edwin will provide on-demand access to instructional resources, curriculum planning tools, model curriculum units, and a variety of assessments including curriculum embedded performance assessments.

Edwin Analytics will provide authorized districts with access to new information, reports, and perspectives on education and programs that specifically support improvements in teaching and learning. Edwin Analytics will integrate longitudinal data from pre-kindergarten through public post-secondary education to help inform decision making about how and where educators can improve their teaching practices to provide an exceptional learning experience to students. The Edwin Analytics tools will include the Massachusetts Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS), college and career readiness reports, and the Education Data Warehouse. Edwin Analytics will go live for all districts and schools beginning in January 2013.

Edwin Teaching & Learning will provide online tools for educators to create standards-based curriculum maps, curriculum units and lesson plans, and the ability to build and deliver interim and formative assessments. Educators will also be able to access an array of digital materials and resources to aid in classroom instruction. All of the materials in Edwin Teaching & Learning will be aligned to the 2011 MA Curriculum Frameworks in English Language Arts and Literacy Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document and Mathematics Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document, which incorporate the Common Core State Standards.

To support Edwin Teaching & Learning, Massachusetts is jointly procuring an instructional improvement system (IIS) with Ohio. Through a competitive bid process, a vendor will soon be announced that will provide the ISS for both states. Edwin Teaching & Learning will be available to a few pilot districts beginning in January 2013, and to all Race to the Top districts beginning in the 2013-14 school year.

We will provide you additional information on the launch of Edwin in the coming weeks. For additional background on Edwin, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/edwin/.

Board Meeting Recap:

At its Dec. 18 meeting, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to accept the surrender of the public school charter granted to the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School effective June 30, 2013. The Board voted to adopt amendments to the educator licensure regulations related to the new transition specialist endorsement. The Board heard an update on the state education budget and on ESE's activities to implement Chapter 43 of the Acts of 2012, An Act Relative to Improving Accountability and Oversight of Education Collaboratives.

For Your Info:

  • Promoting Digital Learning in Massachusetts: ESE is planning to celebrate February 2013 as Digital Learning Month in order to build awareness for digital learning and its importance to preparing students for success in college, career, and life. This initiative will coincide with the Alliance for Education's National Digital Learning Day (Feb. 6, 2013), a national campaign to celebrate teachers and shine a spotlight on successful instructional practice and effective use of technology in classrooms nationwide. For more info on this initiative, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/edtech/month.html.

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Last Updated: December 21, 2012
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