Commissioner's Weekly Update - April 26, 2013
Congratulations to the 2013 Green Ribbon Schools:
The U.S. Department of Education (USED) Green Ribbon Schools recognition award honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways. Earlier this week, USED announced that 64 schools and 14 districts across the nation were the second annual Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. Congratulations to the three Massachusetts schools and one district nominated by ESE and named as 2013 Green Ribbon Schools: Berkshire School in Sheffield, Manchester-Essex Regional Middle-High School, Quincy High School, and the Acton Public Schools and Acton-Boxborough Regional School District. For more information on the program, go to http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/index.html.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met on April 22 and 23. At the April 22 meeting, the Board heard an update on educator evaluation and learned about implementation efforts from two panel discussions that included administrators and educators from Boston, Chelmsford, Fitchburg, Revere, Springfield, and West Springfield. At the April 23 meeting, the Board received an update on the Lawrence Public Schools Receivership from Superintendent Jeff Riley, Chief Redesign Officer Seth Racine, and Lawrence Teachers Union President Frank McLaughlin. The Board voted to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to the school finance regulations related to the reimbursement of transportation costs for homeless students, delegate authority to the commissioner to approve waivers for innovative programs, and make an appointment to the school and district accountability and assistance advisory council. The Board also heard an update on the state Fiscal Year 2014 education budget.
Virtual School Public Hearing:
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will hold a public hearing on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual School (CMVS) application submitted by Greenfield Public Schools on Monday, May 6, 2013 from 4-6 p.m. in Malden. Individuals wishing to speak during the public hearing must sign up upon their arrival. Speakers will have 3 minutes to make any public comments. The public may also submit written comments on Greenfield's CMVS application through Monday, May 20, 2013 by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We anticipate that Commissioner Chester will bring a recommendation on the application to the Board's June 25, 2013 meeting. ESE has posted the application on the Office of Digital Learning page at http://www.doe.mass.edu/odl/cmvs/app-process.html.
PARCC Accommodations Manual - Public Comment Period:
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) recently released for public comment a draft accommodations manual for the grades 3-11 English language arts/literacy and mathematics assessments under development. The draft manual is a comprehensive policy document to support local educators in the selection, administration, and evaluation of accommodations for the assessment of students with disabilities and English language learners. The manual also describes supports and accessibility features that all students are entitled to receive as part of the computer-based testing. This shift represents PARCC's continued commitment to universal design principles for assessment. To view the manual, go to http://parcconline.org/parcc-draft-accommodations-manual. If you wish to provide feedback, please do so by May 13, 2013.
Curriculum Alignment & Mapping Webinars:
ESE, in partnership with the Pioneer Valley Readiness Center, the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative, and the Collaborative for Educational Services, will host free webinars on curriculum alignment and mapping during May. Each webinar will take place in two parts - from 10-11 a.m. for elementary educators and from 1-2 p.m. for secondary educators. The three webinars are:
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