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Commissioner's Weekly Update - April 18, 2014

Board to Meet April 28-29:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet on April 28-29 in Malden. At the April 28 special meeting, Commissioner Chester along with Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland will lead a discussion on preparing for the potential transition from MCAS to PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers ) as a high school graduation requirement. Commissioner Chester will also review basic components of the state's accountability and assistance system, as approved under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility waiver Massachusetts received in Feb. 2012, and discuss several proposed enhancements related to the Department's request for a one-year extension of the waiver. At the April 29 regular meeting, the Board will vote to endorse the Commissioner's proposed one-year waiver extension request. The Board will discuss the Massachusetts Advocates for Diversity in Education Task Force report and hear the Department's efforts to attain the diversity goals. The Board will discuss a new report and additional data on the 2012-13 educator evaluations. The Board will hear updates on the new Lawrence Public Schools contract agreement, Level 5 schools, and PARCC. The Board will discuss and vote on regulations related to student discipline and vote to rescind regulations related to private occupational schools. The Board will discuss and vote on a charter school matter and hear an update on the Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

Update on SAFIS – Upcoming Conference Call:

The Statewide Applicant Fingerprint Identification Services (SAFIS) sites are now open to all school districts, charter schools, and private schools to begin scheduling fingerprinting appointments. The Department, along with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), will host a conference call on Thursday, May 8, 2014, from 12 to 1 p.m. We have designed the call to provide interested points of contact in the K-12 sector the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarifications on SAFIS implementation. Districts' points of contact, previously designated by each superintendent, have received instructions about the conference call by email.

Summer Food Service Program:

The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 has helped to ensure that schools work with summer meal sponsors to inform families about the availability of free summer meals for the children they serve during the school year. Schools and school food authorities have multiple options during the summer to serve meals. The federally funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a program that provides free healthy meals to children age 18 and younger. For more info on SFSP, please visit the Department's Child Nutrition Outreach Program website at

Commissioner's School Visits:

On Thursday, Commissioner Chester visited the Margarita Muñiz Academy in Jamaica Plain.

For Your Info:

  • In the News: Recent stories of interest include an op-ed on the Common Core State Standards from New York Times columnist David Brooks, a Springfield Republican story on Holyoke Superintendent Sergio Paez's state of the schools' address, a Boston Globe West story on regionalization, an article in the Harvard Crimson about the value of PARCC, and a New York Times story on changes to the SAT.

  • Next Weekly Update: As many schools will close next week for school vacation, we will not publish a Weekly Update on April 25. The next update will be on May 2.

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: April 22, 2014
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