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Commissioner's Weekly Update - May 24, 2013

New Board Member:

Governor Patrick has appointed Karen Daniels of Milton to serve on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Ms. Daniels is a former English teacher in Boston, school principal in Boston and Brookline, and area superintendent in Chicago. For the past five years, she served as executive director of Step UP, a multi-university collaboration with Boston Public Schools and the Mayor's office. Ms. Daniels is currently a consultant for MassInsight and serves on the board of trustees for the UP Academy Charter School of Boston.

Board Recap:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met on May 21 in Franklin. The Board welcomed 2013 Mass. Teacher of the Year Kathleen Turner, a French teacher at Sharon High School, who talked about her experiences over the past year. The Board heard a panel discussion on model curriculum units that included two Massachusetts educators, Darren Burris from Boston Collegiate Charter School and Laurie Regan from the Attleboro Public Schools. The Board heard a progress report on the RETELL initiative and an update on the FY 2014 state education budget. On three charter school matters, the Board approved a contract between Lowell Collegiate Charter School and an education management organization (Springfield Education Management, LLC), took no action in response to Mystic Valley Regional Charter School's request for a review of the Commissioner's decision to deny the school's amendment request to add seats, and voted to place the Spirit of Knowledge Charter School on probation to allow for the implementation of a remedial plan.

Updated Guidance on Addressing Teen Dating Violence:

As part of a continuing effort to provide schools and districts with resources on maintaining safe and healthy school environments, ESE has published "Updated Guidance for Schools and Districts on Addressing Teen Dating Violence." With the passage of Chapter 256 of the Acts of 2010, which among other changes amended M.G.L. chapter 71, sections 60 and 61, schools are required to incorporate the topic of safe and healthy relationships - with a focus on preventing sexual and domestic violence - into their health education. In addition, subject to appropriation, schools must implement specific policies and discipline codes that address teen dating violence in public schools. The guidance located at contains recommendations for developing such policies and discipline codes.

Student Readiness for Advanced Coursework:

In coordination with the College Board, ESE has created a list of high school students who, as of March 1, 2013, have demonstrated a readiness for advanced coursework based on their performance on the 2012 PSAT. We are providing districts with information on their high school students who scored at a similar performance level on last year's PSAT to students in prior years who then went on to succeed on Advanced Placement exams. Our intent is to assist school and district leaders in their scheduling preparations and helping to determine students' readiness for advanced coursework, Advanced Placement (AP) or otherwise.

We recognize that there are some resource burdens associated with offering AP courses, and are not suggesting that districts need to evaluate their current offerings. There is no obligation to use these data, which ESE will not audit. ESE has placed each district's list of students who meet the criteria on the Security Portal in the College and Career Readiness DropBox. Access to the DropBox is assigned by a district's Directory Administrator(s). If you have any questions, please contact Rob Curtin at 781-338-3582.

For Your Info:

  • Security Portal Updates: Over the next two weeks, ESE will install a new Identity Management System to bring the Security Portal in line with the Commonwealth's new standards around secure access. Phase 1 of the implementation will begin on June 1 with some of the more heavily used applications (e.g., SIMS, EPIMS, ELAR). We expect to complete installation on all applications by June 9. Please note that the Security Portal will not be accessible to any users over the weekend of June 1-2. During the week of June 3, the Security Portal will be available, but users may have to log in twice if they are attempting to access an application that has migrated to the new system or one that is still undergoing an update. Users will continue to use their existing usernames and passwords to access the new system, and there is no need to change either credential. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding should this update cause you or your staff any inconvenience.


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: May 24, 2013
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