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Commissioner's Weekly Update - March 15, 2013

Update on Shared Learning Collaborative:

ESE is engaged in a number of projects to explore ways that educators can make better use of student data to improve instruction. One of these is the Shared Learning Initiative, involving nine states, several Massachusetts districts (including Everett), the Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation, and a recently established non-profit organization named inBloom. Some of you may have seen recent correspondence from the ACLU of Massachusetts and several other advocacy organizations expressing their concerns over the security and privacy of student data that might ultimately be used as part of this initiative. We believe their concerns are unfounded.

In this project (which is still very much in the research and development stage), participating school districts retain full control over how their confidential student data are used and shared. All organizations involved in the project are committed to full compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other applicable data privacy and security laws. Commissioner Chester will brief the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on this project at its March 26 meeting. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson at

Digital Learning Advisory Council - Seeking Members:

The recently enacted virtual school legislation, An Act Establishing Commonwealth Virtual Schools (Chapter 379 of the Acts of 2012), authorized the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to issue certificates for the operation of Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual Schools (CMVS). The law directs the Board to establish a 15-member Digital Learning Advisory Council to advise the Commissioner on matters regarding virtual schools, supplemental online courses, education technology, and other matters related to virtual education. For more information on the Advisory Council and its membership, including how to submit an application, go to The deadline to apply to become a member is March 29, 2013.

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to Meet on March 26:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet on March 26 in Malden. The Board will welcome Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) Acting Commissioner Tom Weber and Board Chair J.D. Chesloff to discuss how the two agencies have been working together to develop a Birth to Grade 3 Framework that recognizes children's development and learning in the earliest years to provide them with a pathway to early school success. The Board will hear about EEC's implementation of its $50 million federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant. The Board will hear updates on ESE's progress in implementing the recommendations Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document of the Task Force on Integrating College and Career Readiness (ICCR), the development of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and state initiatives around student data to assist schools and districts. Board members will also receive an update on the state and federal education budgets.

For Your Info:

  • Early Education and Care: Education Secretary Matthew Malone has appointed Undersecretary of Education Tom Weber to serve as Acting Commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care. We wish Tom well and look forward to his leadership as we continue our collaborative work on a number of joint initiatives to enhance the school preparedness of all students from birth to grade 3.
  • New Educator Evaluation Newsletter: The March 2013 edition of the Educator Evaluation Team's e-newsletter, which includes a look at how Fitchburg Public Schools is implementing the new educator evaluation frameworks, is now available on ESE's website at


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: March 15, 2013
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