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Commissioner's Weekly Update - March 17, 2017

Expediting Educators' Licenses for Military Personnel and Spouses:

Veterans, current military service members, and spouses of current service members can now request an expedited review of their application for a Massachusetts educator license or endorsement. They must have already applied in Educator Licensure and Renewal (ELAR) system or hardcopy, passed the Communication and Literacy Skills portion of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), and uploaded or submitted official college transcripts. More details are available online.

Next-Generation MCAS Update:

Test Administration Manuals Available to Download: Spring 2017 MCAS test administration manuals for principals and test administrators are now available online. New for 2017, there are separate manuals for the high school tests and for the grades 3–8 tests. For grades 3–8, there is one Test Administrator's Manual for computer-based testing and two for paper-based testing (the grades 4–8 paper-based testing manual includes instructions for the grades 5 and 8 science and technology/engineering tests).

Reminder to Administer an Infrastructure Trial for Computer-Based Testing: The Department strongly recommends running an infrastructure trial prior to live testing. An infrastructure trial acts as a "dry run" to prepare for computer-based testing by simulating test-day network utilization and administration protocols. This will help to confirm that TestNav is configured to run successfully on student devices, that the network is functioning as expected, and that staff and students are familiar with assessment features and protocols. Information on conducting an infrastructure trial, including the Infrastructure Trial Guide, is available online.

Instructional Technology Specialist Subject Matter Knowledge Panel:

The Department is seeking 15-20 stakeholders to serve on the Instructional Technology Specialist Subject Matter Knowledge Panel. This panel will make recommendations on updating the subject matter knowledge requirements for the information technology specialist license to reflect the Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science Curriculum Framework and develop subject matter knowledge requirements for coaching teachers in becoming digital age educators. To apply to serve on the panel, please take this survey before Friday, April 7, 2017.

Panel members could be:

  • educators who teach digital literacy in elementary, middle, and secondary schools;
  • educators of students with disabilities and English learners;
  • educators who incorporate digital literacy in mathematics, literacy, history, economics, arts, comprehensive health, or vocational/technical courses;
  • district and school administrators, including superintendents, principals, and curriculum coordinators;
  • higher education faculty or researchers who specialize in principles of creative design, the leadership skills required to implement new technology projects, research that informs our understanding of teaching and learning, or research that informs our ability to evaluate the effectiveness of technology projects;
  • community members, including parents, school committee members, librarians, and representatives from nonprofits and organizations with an interest in personalized learning; or
  • industry personnel with experience in hiring and training employees in digital fields.

The panel will meet twice, on Wednesday, May 17 and Wednesday, May 31, 2017 from 1-5 p.m. If necessary, additional meetings will be scheduled. The meetings will be held at the Education Development Center in Waltham, which has facilities for virtual participation. School district personnel should confirm they have their administrator's support before applying. Anyone with questions can contact Kenneth Klau.

School Choice Reminder:

Every school committee must vote prior to June 1 on whether their district will accept school choice students in the 2017-2018 school year. If the district will accept school choice students, the vote may also specify which grades and how many openings are available, although that information is not required and is not binding. Results of the vote should be summarized and sent by email or letter to Rob O'Donnell in ESE's Office of District and School Finance ( or Rob O'Donnell, Office of District and School Finance, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 75 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 02148). The information is published on the school choice area of the ESE website in order to guide prospective students.

For Your Info:

  • Women's History Month: March is Women's History Month, and educational resources are available from federal sources and the National Women's History Museum, among others.
  • Literacy Awards: The Library of Congress is seeking nominations for its 2017 Literacy Awards. The awards encourage development of innovative methods for promoting literacy and disseminating effective practices. Nominations are due by March 31.

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: March 17, 2017
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