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Commissioner's Weekly Update - April 15, 2016

Materials from Joint MASS-ESE Technology Conference:

The presentations from the March 31, 2016 conference that the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and ESE hosted at Hudson High School about next-generation learning are now available online. The presentations are from ESE's Office of Digital Learning, MassIT's Office of Municipal and School Technology, and the state Operational Services Division, as well as the North Reading and Natick public schools. State agencies spoke about how they can help districts incorporate technology into everyday instruction, while the North Reading and Natick leaders shared stories about setting a vision for digital learning, supporting the professional development and technical support needs of teachers and students, cost-effective funding strategies that help ensure sustainability, and connecting the investments districts will be making in the coming years to improved outcomes for kids.

Reminder: School Technology Survey:

The Department is asking districts to complete an online survey to provide feedback about their school technology needs, particularly with respect to devices. The Commonwealth is interested in providing school districts with the opportunity to purchase bundled products and services from vendors listed on the state's Information Technology hardware contract (ITC47). While this contract already lets districts purchase devices and related services, the Commonwealth will be seeking special K-12 pricing for certain bundles.

The survey will collect information about the interest in, and anticipated demand for, a variety of bundles, and data from this survey will be used to issue a Request for Quotes (RFQ) to the vendors listed on ITC47, with the goal of being able to offer the new bundles to districts for purchase by fall 2016. No information about specific districts will be shared with vendors.

The survey will remain open through April 29, 2016. Contact Mike Hamel at MassIT or Kenneth Klau at ESE if you have any questions.

FY2016 E-Rate Filing Window for Schools and Districts Extended:

Today, USAC announced that the FY2016 E-rate application filing window has been extended to May 26, 2016 to allow districts more time to submit their applications (FCC Form 471) via USAC's new information technology system. In recognition of the fact that consortia and libraries will be unable to complete their applications until their member/related school district(s) finalize their discount rates in the system, USAC will open a second filing window for consortia and libraries, which will close on July 21, 2016. Please read USAC's special edition News Brief for more information.

Training Opportunity: Standards for Social Emotional Learning and Approaches to Play and Learning:

This spring, a free 10-hour professional development introductory course on the content of the Massachusetts Pre-K and Kindergarten Standards for Social Emotional Learning and Approaches to Play and Learning will be available to all early childhood educators, administrators, and family engagement specialists from public schools, Head Start programs, community-based early education and care programs, and family child care programs. The course was developed by staff at the Collaborative for Educational Services under contract and in partnership with the Department of Early Education and Care and ESE. Approximately 50 teams of trained facilitators are offering this course in different locations across the state.

Educators who successfully complete the course may earn 10 professional development points or 1 continuing education unit.

The schedule for each training session being offered this spring is available on the CES website under the Calendar of Community Courses. Click on the listing on each date for details regarding contact and registration information. Check back often, as the calendar is updated regularly as new dates and locations for the course are added.

Northborough Teen in White House Science Fair:

Congratulations to Yashaswini Makaram of Northborough, a student at the Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science, who was among the exhibitors at this week's White House Science Fair! Yashaswini used biometrics to build a cell phone that unlocks based on how the user picks the phone up rather than with a password.

Summer Food Service Program:

The Department needs Summer Food Service Program sponsors to help ensure that students who receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year also receive nutritious meals during the summer. Sponsors can include nonprofit organizations; units of municipal, county, state or federal government; public or private nonprofit residential camps; and public or private nonprofit school food authorities. Organizations that are interested in becoming a sponsor or a site can contact the Child Nutrition Outreach Program at Project Bread at 617-239-2510 or ESE's Office for Food and Nutrition Programs at 781-338-6480.

Next-Generation MCAS Update:

Recruitment for MCAS Assessment Development Committees: In preparation for the transition to the next-generation MCAS test to be administered beginning in spring 2017, ESE has started the recruitment process for the Assessment Development Committees and the Bias and Sensitivity Committee. These are rewarding professional development opportunities for educators who are interested in learning about large-scale, standards-based assessment. Please forward to any educators within your district who may be interested. The deadline for applications is April 29, 2016.

Learning Standards survey: The Department would like to thank the nearly 400 people, most of them K-12 educators, who have completed the survey about Massachusetts' English language arts and math curriculum frameworks. The survey remains open online, and ESE encourages educators, parents, and others to respond.

ESE Resource Corner

Training on Multi-Hazard Planning for Schools: The Department's Center for Student Support continues to provide Multi-Hazard Planning training to school district and public safety teams. Invitations are sent to superintendents, charter school leaders, and chiefs of police and fire departments, and training teams must include representatives from local law enforcement, fire departments, and school district personnel. The course provides local teams with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to develop comprehensive plans for responding to school-based incidents and emergencies. Trainings are held regionally to ensure that neighboring communities can establish and/or expand upon relationships that are necessary in incidents that require mutual aid from one or more surrounding communities. For further information, contact Anne Gilligan at (781) 338-6309 or

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: April 15, 2016
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