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Commissioner's Weekly Update - February 10, 2017

Every Student Succeeds Act Draft Plan Available for Comment:

The Department has posted online a draft of its consolidated state plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and welcomes feedback. The plan has been heavily informed by nearly a year of engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, including five public forums across the state. An executive summary of the draft plan is available as a Word document.

The public comment period is open through March 9, 2017. Please submit feedback through this survey or email The Department expects to submit the plan to the U.S. Department of Education for approval on April 3.

E-rate Application Window and Webinar Opportunity:

The E-rate filing window for federal funding year 2017 (state fiscal year 2018) opens at noon Monday, February 27. The state's Operational Services Division (OSD) is offering a webinar for schools and libraries interested in learning how statewide contracts support E-rate program participation. The webinar will be from 1-1:45 p.m. Wednesday, February 15. For more information about key deadlines related to E-rate, consult ESE's E-rate 2.0: Frequently Asked E-rate Questions.

Guide for School Personnel on MassHealth Behavioral Health Services for Children and Youth:

Massachusetts' Children's Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) and MassHealth are pleased to announce that a revised and updated school personnel guide is available for download under the For Educators section of the new CBHI website. The guide is for anyone in school buildings who interacts with students. The target audience includes but is not limited to teachers, teacher aides, school nurses, administrators, health educators, psychologists, social workers, and adjustment counselors. The guide includes information such as the following:

  • Basic information on MassHealth and eligibility;
  • Descriptions of MassHealth's home- and community-based behavioral heath services;
  • Guidance on how to help families select the right starting point for their children; and
  • Specific steps to help families access services.

VISTA Survey Window is Closing Soon:

The Views of Instruction, State Standards, Teaching and Assessment (VISTA) survey window will close on February 26. The survey is ESE's only statewide survey that provides a comprehensive view of Massachusetts educators' opinions of our strategic initiatives. Feedback matters and allows ESE to better serve schools and districts. The Department encourages superintendents and principals to please take this opportunity to share their opinions so that ESE staff can make better informed decisions on how to allocate and target resources, grants and supports.

Student Government Day Updates:

Student Government Day will be Friday, April 7. Registration for student delegates is open until 5 p.m. Friday, February 17. There are over 145 schools registered already, and ESE hopes more schools will participate.

In addition, Student Government Day coordinators are holding a speech competition to select a student to serve as governor on April 7. Competition information and submission deadlines will be posted on the Student Government Day website.

For Your Info:

  • Secretary DeVos' remarks: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was confirmed by the Senate this week, and the text of her speech to staff during her first day on the job February 8 is available online.

Subscriber Information: Superintendents, assistant 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) Leave the subject line blank. 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: February 13, 2017
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