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Commissioner's Weekly Update - April 14, 2017

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to Meet:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet Tuesday, April 18, 2017 in Malden. Agenda items include a progress report on civic learning and engagement, including the review of the Commonwealth's history/social science framework; an update from UP Academy Holland, a Level 5 school Boston; and a vote on a limited reset of school and accountability designations for 2017.

Student Government Day:

The 70th Annual Student Government Day was held on April 7, at the State House. Almost 400 students participated from more than 195 schools. Students heard from key state officials from a variety of offices, including Governor Charlie Baker, Secretary of Education James Peyser, Associate Justice Mark V. Green of the Appeals Court, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Senator John Keenan, and Representative Carole Fiola. Students also heard from each other, including the student governor from Norton High School, the student senate president from Ralph C. Mahar Regional School, and the student speaker of the House from Winthrop High School. Thank you to all who participated!

RETELL Extending the Learning Mini Courses:

While educators can learn a great deal about sheltered English instruction (SEI) through an SEI endorsement course, there are opportunities to extend that learning and practice afterward. Moreover, whether or not an educator has been required to obtain the SEI endorsement, after July 1, 2016, under recertification regulations, every public school educator in the Commonwealth must earn 15 professional development points addressing the needs of English language learners in each relicensure cycle.

The Department has created a list of 15-hour courses that will be approved for professional development points in the area of SEI. This approved list is meant to support districts seeking to organize high-quality programs for graduates of the SEI endorsement course or those who need to earn the SEI professional development points required of all educators under ESE regulations. This list is updated on an ongoing basis and published on ESE's website.

Next-Generation MCAS Resources:

Thousands of next-generation MCAS test sessions have already occurred, while some students have yet to begin. The Department continues to have office hours WebEx sessions to help prepare districts for computer-based testing in grades 3-8. The recording of an April 10 WebEx is available online, and the next office hours session will be held on April 28. Registration is already open.

New Function Included in Directory Administration:

The Department has added the position of communications director to the list of Functions included in our Directory Administration application within the Security Portal. Districts that have a communications director are urged to assign that person to this new function. Districts that do not have a communications director should consider assigning the function to the best person to contact when ESE has communications materials to share.

Educator Licensure & License Renewal Proposed Regulation Changes:

On February 28, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to send proposed changes to the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Program Approval (603 CMR 7.00), Educator License Renewal (603 CMR 44.00), and Certification of Supervisors of Attendance (603 CMR 13.00) out for public comment. The public comment period is open until May 1, and ESE encourages educators to weigh in on these proposals. The Department anticipates that the draft regulations will return to the Board on June 27 for a potential vote.

The proposals are intended to streamline the regulations and licensure system, close loopholes, clarify certain provisions, and reduce regulatory burden. Public comment can be submitted via online survey through the links provided above or via email to

Registration Open for May 8 Civics Literacy Conference:

On Monday, May 8, 2017, ESE and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate will host the second annual civics literacy conference, this year entitled "Civic Engagement in a Connected World: Effective Practices for the Learners of Today and the Leaders of Tomorrow." The conference will explore how educators can help students navigate the challenges and opportunities of this age of digital revolution and global citizenship. Presenters will include K-12 educators as well as representatives from state, education, and community organizations. The event is free and will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Please plan to register early as space is limited.

For Your Info:

  • Rhode Island in talks to use next-generation MCAS: Rhode Island is in talks to use the next-generation MCAS, ESE and the Rhode Island Department of Education announced April 14. The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will learn more about these talks at the Board meeting on April 18.

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Last Updated: April 14, 2017
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