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Commissioner's Weekly Update - December 4, 2015

Public Release of District and School Accountability Data:

By Tuesday morning, December 8, ESE will provide district and school staff the opportunity to preview official 2015 district and school accountability data via the Accountability Data application in the Security Portal. We plan to release official results to the public on Wednesday, December 9. Please maintain the confidentiality of the data until that time.

Districts and schools have had embargoed access to their full preliminary 2015 district and school accountability data since November 19. Determinations for the vast majority of districts and schools remain unchanged, however, the official release will include the new identification of Commendation Schools. District officials who have questions about accountability data for their district or school or about the release schedule can email

Assessment Choice Reminder:

Districts need to register a decision on their spring 2016 assessment by December 18. Districts that administered PARCC in 2015 will continue to administer PARCC in 2016, while districts that administered MCAS in 2015 will choose between administering MCAS or PARCC in 2016. Those districts that choose PARCC, including those administering PARCC for the second year, can choose their mode of administration for 2016, either paper-based or computer-based testing.

Superintendents received an email on November 23 with instructions and passwords to register their district's assessment and mode choice via an online tool that will be available until December 18, 2015. For more information or to request a short extension of the deadline, contact before the deadline.

Licensure Process Changes:

Effective January 1, 2016, applicants for educator licensure will be encouraged to upload supporting documents into Educator Licensure and Recruitment (ELAR) rather than sending hard copies via mail. This should lead to faster processing time. A step-by- step guide on how to upload documents to ELAR is available online.

In addition, applicants, authorized users in school districts, and Massachusetts-approved preparation programs have the ability to upload supporting documents right into ELAR rather than having to mail, fax or submit the documents via drop box central. As a result of school district staff being able to upload documents as PDF, JPEG and other electronic formats directly into ELAR, ESE will be disabling the Educator Licensure Documents Drop Box. Staff who need to upload documents but do not have access to ELAR should consult with their local directory administrator.

The Licensure Status Drop Box will continue to be used and has the following new features:

  • Passing scores of MTEL exams and the date of the passing exam will be added;
  • People will be able to use their Massachusetts Education Personnel ID (MEPID) as an identifier when submitting a status drop box file to ESE;
  • The "licensed" status will be expanded to include any educator who has a restriction on his/her core academic license as a result of not obtaining the sheltered English immersion (SEI) endorsement.

Learn How to Develop and Teach an Online High School Course:

In partnership with the Northeast Comprehensive Center (NCC), the Office of Digital Learning is pleased to offer a free online course for high school teachers who are interested in transforming a face-to-face course into a blended or fully online course. Guided by expert facilitators from NCC, the course will run from January through October 2016 with breaks in June and August. Participants can expect approximately two to three hours of coursework per week. To learn more, sign up for an informational webinar to be held at 1 and 3 p.m. December 10.

ESE Resource Corner

New resources for collecting student and staff feedback: Student and staff feedback is one of several types of evidence collected during the five-step educator evaluation cycle and is intended to provide both educators and evaluators with meaningful, actionable information about instructional practice and administrative leadership. The Department has released the following new and revised resources to assist districts:

  • Revised Model Student Feedback Surveys. Selected items have been refined and/or removed, resulting in surveys that are shorter, more meaningful, and more actionable, while still retaining their rich diagnostic use.
  • New Mini-Forms! New mini-forms of just 8-10 items let teachers collect student feedback quickly and efficiently, while still providing information specific to their practice. Download them here.
  • Adapted Model Feedback Surveys for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities. Items and response options are derived from the ESE Model Feedback Surveys and simplified to be developmentally appropriate. The survey also includes recommendations for administering surveys to students with various cognitive disabilities.
  • Individual educators can now administer ESE Model Surveys online. The ESE Model Feedback Surveys, including the new mini-forms, are now available through Google Templates for easy, individualized administration.
  • Office Hours. District and school leaders are welcome to attend one of three Office Hours meetings (December 9 in Marlboro, December 14 in Rockland, and December 15 in West Springfield) to learn more about the resources above and have their questions answered.

For Your Info:

  • Hour of Code: Starting December 7, students at 148,000 events around the world will learn their first Hour of Code, a one-hour introduction to computer science that is designed to show that anybody, anywhere can learn the basics of the field. No experience is needed from teachers and students, and new tutorials are available. The event is organized by
  • Student Government Day: Student Government Day, when students come to the State House and take on the roles of governor, state legislators, and justices, will be April 1, 2016, and to date, the number of registrations compared to this time last year has nearly doubled! Participation is on a first-come, first-served basis, and the deadline is Friday, January 15, 2016. More information about Student Government Day and how to register students is available online.
  • Translated PARCC sample score reports: Pearson has provided sample score reports in 10 languages other than English as a resource for educators working with parents who do not read English.

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 6, 2015
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