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Commissioner's Weekly Update - April 7, 2017

Preventing and Addressing Bias-Based Incidents in Schools:

The Department and the Boston Educational Development Fund invite educators to pre-register for the one-day conference Emerging Best Practices, Preventing and Addressing Bias-Based Incidents in Schools 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at Babson College's Boston Campus, 100 High St., Boston. Participants will explore practical strategies, hard-won insights, and innovative ideas. There is a $25 suggested donation per participant. Please view the conference agenda and pre-registration are available online.

Anyone looking for more information can contact Conference Coordinator Tanya Nixon-Silberg at or 617-635-9650.

Every Student Succeeds Act State Plan:

On April 3, ESE submitted Massachusetts' state plan in response to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. It is available online, as is an executive summary.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month:

The Children's Trust recently released the third edition of Steps Toward Child Abuse Prevention & Creating Safe School Environments: A How-to Manual for Massachusetts Educators. This comprehensive tool provides detailed information and resources on individual and institutional practices that can help prevent child abuse, assist in reporting child abuse, and provide information for creating safe school environments. Among other information, the updated version includes new information on building a safe online environment, screening and hiring practices, codes of conduct, and recent updates to Massachusetts laws, as well as policies of the state Department of Children and Families. To request printed copies of the school reporting protocol or for more information on how a community can address and prevent child abuse, please email

Charter School FY18 Pre-Enrollment Report Posted:

All Massachusetts charter schools have completed their FY18 pre-enrollment report, which they submitted to help satisfy a statutory requirement to inform superintendents of the expected number of students who will attend charter schools from each district in the coming year. Statewide, charter schools report 46,302 students are pre-enrolled for next year.

Opportunity for Special Education Directors:

Special education directors who have participated in an ESE-sponsored academy for experienced directors in 2004-2016 are invited to join staff for a Community of Practice (formerly called the Academy Reunions) on April 25-26 at Devens Common in Devens. The event is offered by WestEd's Learning Innovations through a contract with ESE. The event, which will include presentations, is designed for people to connect with colleagues in a supportive atmosphere for conversation.

Registration and more information are available online. For questions, contact Susan Villani at or 781-481-1112.

Special Education Leadership Institutes:

The Department's Special Education Planning and Policy unit is working with three contractors to offer training for special education district leadership staff. Each leadership institute is free, will start in July or August, and will have at least 62 contact hours over the course of the school year. The institutes offer opportunities to apply concepts of systemic change, to better understand legal requirements and the implementation of evidence-based practices for creating inclusive environments, and to network.

The four Special Education Leadership Institutes are organized by audience as follows, and more information is available at the links provided:

Accountability and Assistance Advisory Council to Meet:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's Accountability and Assistance Advisory Council will meet from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel, 181 Boston Post Road West, Marlborough. Topics for discussion include proposed changes to 2017 accountability reporting, the submission of Massachusetts' Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan, and district and school assistance strategies.

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 register early, as space is limited.

Private School Ombudsman:

As with prior authorizations of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) contains provisions aimed at making certain forms of assistance available to children who attend private schools. The Every Student Succeeds Act also contains a new requirement for states to identify an ombudsman to serve as the primary point of contact for questions and concerns regarding the provision of equitable services under the law for private school students. Information about ESE's ESSA private school ombudsman is available online. To contact our ombudsman, Russ Fleming, directly, please email or call 781-338-6259.

For Your Info:

  • Nutrition grants available: The New England Dairy & Food Council in partnership with the National Dairy Council is offering school nutrition grants for equipment. Schools are invited to apply for up to $5,000 toward the purchase of new equipment and/or to replace existing equipment. Applications are due by April 28, 2017. Funding is limited, and preference will be given to requests that will promote dairy in the school.
  • School Innovation and Change Awards: The National Principals Leadership Institute is accepting applications through April 20 for its School Innovation and Change Awards. The awards recognize schools that were failing and became exemplary. Winners will receive prizes that include $10,000 to support the school and a scholarship for the principal to attend the National Principals Leadership Summer Institute.

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 7, 2017
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