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Commissioner's Weekly Update - February 15, 2013

New Charter School Recommendations:

Commissioner Chester today announced that he will recommend that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education vote this month to grant five new charters to groups seeking to open schools and approve expansion requests from 11 existing charter schools wishing to add seats to their current enrollments. For Boston, if the Board were to approve each of the commissioner's recommendations, a total of 1,585 new charter school seats would be created. The Board will vote on the commissioner's recommendations at its Feb. 25-26 meetings in Malden. For more info, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=7262.

Guidance for Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment:

Last June, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education amended ESE 's Access to Equal Opportunity regulations and charter school regulations to reflect the 2011 law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the public schools. ESE posted guidance today to assist school districts in complying with their obligations under this law. In preparing this guidance, we have drawn on the experience of school administrators and others who have worked to create safe school environments for all students. We hope this guidance is of assistance to you. For more info, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/ssce/GenderIdentity.pdf.

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to Meet on Feb. 25-26:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet on Feb. 25 and 26 in Malden. At the Feb. 25 special meeting, the Board will hear a report and vote on conditions for three charter schools and vote on new charter applicants and major amendment requests for Boston and New Bedford. At the Feb. 26 regular meeting, the Board will continue to discuss and vote on a proposed definition of college and career readiness, hear an update on the state and federal education budget, and consider delegating authority to the commissioner to approve educational collaborative agreements. The Board will also hear a report and vote on conditions for two charter schools, vote on new charter applicants and major amendment requests outside of Boston and New Bedford, and consider delegating authority to the commissioner to approve the removal or continuance of conditions on charter schools.

Green Ribbon School Award Nominees:

ESE has nominated four schools and one district for the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools recognition program, which honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and delivering effective environmental and sustainability education that incorporates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), civic skills, and green career pathways. The nominees are: Berkshire School (private), Boston Latin School, Manchester-Essex Regional Middle-High School, Quincy High School, and Acton-Boxborough Regional School District. The award announcement will be made in April 2013. Good luck to all of the nominees!

This Week's School Visits:

Commissioner Chester visited the Winter Hill Community Innovation School and Somerville High School in the Somerville Public School District.

For Your Info:

  • Non-Resident Vocational Tuition Rates: For FY14, tuition rates for students attending vocational programs under the Chapter 74 non-resident enrollment option will be capped at $18,309, representing 142% of the foundation budget rate. This is a reduction in the cap from the 150% used in recent years. Rates for individual districts will be published in March. Additional rate adjustments for FY15 and beyond are still under discussion.

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Last Updated: February 15, 2013
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