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Commissioner's Weekly Update - June 28, 2013

SEI Administrator Endorsement:

This week, superintendents in RETELL Cohort 1 and 2 districts received an email from Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Landman explaining the new 15-hour Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Administrator Endorsement course that ESE will offer in fall 2013. ESE is asking superintendents to forward a memo (included in Jonathan's email) to administrators that describes next steps that administrators in those districts may need to take to earn the SEI Administrator Endorsement. If you are a superintendent in a RETELL Cohort 1 or 2 district with any questions, or believe you did not receive the email, please contact Jonathan at 781-338-3809.

SEI Teacher Endorsement Course Instructors:

In fall 2013, ESE will launch the second phase of the Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement training offering SEI Endorsement courses to 8,000 core academic teachers of English language learners (ELLs) across the state. Most teachers will complete one of three courses to qualify for the SEI Teacher Endorsement - a 45-hour full course, 24-hour Bridge course, or 10.5 hour Bridge course. To date, ESE has recruited more than 160 instructors to deliver the three courses - but we need to recruit more instructors. Many superintendents have already identified and encouraged teachers to become approved SEI Teacher Endorsement instructors and provide SEI courses in their districts. In many instances, superintendents have recruited district-designated instructors who provide local SEI courses. We encourage you to allow and encourage your district-designated instructors to teach courses not only in your district but in other districts as well.

Teachers interested in applying to become SEI Endorsement trainers should visit the RETELL website at to view the job description and learn about upcoming webinars related to the application process. If you have any questions, please contact Paul Aguiar in the Office of English Language Acquisition and Academic Achievement at 781-338-3538. Thank you in advance for your assistance to encourage teachers and administrators to become part of this important training effort designed to improve outcomes for all English language learners.

Commonwealth Virtual Schools Update:

This week, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved a three-year operating certificate for the Mass. Virtual Academy at Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School, the first to receive authorization to operate under the state's new virtual school legislation (Chapter 379 of the Acts of 2012). The school will begin operation this fall with an enrollment limit of 750 students. It replaces the MAVA@Greenfield virtual school previously established under the innovation school program. The initial tuition rate set by the Board is $6,700 per pupil, plus the costs of any required special education services (unless provided in kind by the sending district).

ESE will release a request for proposals this fall for up to two additional virtual schools to begin operation in September 2014. For more info on virtual schools, please contact Luis Rodriguez, ESE's director of digital learning, at 781-338-3247.

Board Recap:

At its June 24 special meeting, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education heard an overview of progress made by the first cohort of 34 Level 4 schools. Commissioner Chester discussed the decisions on next steps he will take for each of these schools once the 2013 MCAS results are available. Boston School Superintendent Carol Johnson and Orchard Gardens Principal Andrew Bott described the turnaround approach implemented at Orchard Gardens and district supports that have led to improved student performance there. Springfield Superintendent Daniel Warwick and Sean Gallagher, the chief turnaround officer at The Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University (EdLabs), and incoming Holyoke Superintendent Sergio Paez and Daryl Ogden, chief executive officer of Project GRAD, discussed the turnaround work in those two districts.

At its June 25 meeting, the Board voted to approve Commissioner Chester's annual performance evaluation. The Board approved school finance regulations related to reimbursement for transportation of homeless students, a delegation of authority to the commissioner between Board meetings, and its 2013-14 meeting schedule. The Board also heard updates on innovation schools, the fiscal year 2014 state education budget, and the end-of-year report of the Advisory Council on School and District Accountability.

Educator Evaluation Update - Student and Staff Feedback:

To allow districts to focus on the implementation of the five-step evaluation cycle and to pilot District-Determined Measures during the 2013-14 school year, ESE is deferring the timeline to incorporate student and staff feedback as a source of evidence in determining the Summative Performance Rating. Districts will now incorporate student and staff feedback during the 2014-15 school year.

ESE will use the coming school year as an additional planning year to develop and adopt plans around the piloting and field testing of model instruments, engaging the field around instrument and guidance development, creating an electronic platform to administer all model instruments, and formulating a plan to collect, analyze, and use pilot data. ESE will provide opportunities for educators to learn more about the pilot instruments beginning in September. Please email the Educator Evaluation team at for more info and check out the forthcoming August newsletter for additional updates on this project.

Educational Collaboratives:

The new law related to educational collaboratives requires that the commissioner of elementary and secondary education appoint an individual to serve as a voting member on each educational collaborative board of directors for a period of one year. ESE has posted a new solicitation (RFR 14SFCML1) on Comm-PASS at If you are interested in serving as the commissioner's designee on an educational collaborative board, please refer to this solicitation. Please contact Comm-PASS with any questions about the solicitation.

For Your Info:

  • Emergency Operations Plans: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) has released a guide for developing high-quality emergency operations plans for schools. This guide, along with other resources related to readiness and emergency management, is posted on USED's website at
  • Educator Evaluation Resources: ESE has posted the materials from its Spring Convening at
  • Secrets of the ESE School Finance Website: Former Assabet Valley Superintendent David Tobin and ESE's Roger Hatch star in a recently released video from the Mass. Association of School Superintendents that reviews the school finance resources on ESE's website. While not likely to win an Academy Award, the video does serve as a helpful resource to superintendents and others who want to learn more about the Chapter 70 formula, per pupil spending, and other school finance policies. Thanks to M.A.S.S. and Nashoba Valley for producing the video. To view the video, go to
  • June 13 RETELL Communication Follow-Up: On June 13, superintendents, RETELL Liaisons, and English Language Learner Directors in Cohort 1 and 2 districts received a memo to forward to all core academic teachers. This transmittal is the first step for enrolling teachers in the SEI Teacher Endorsement courses provided by ESE for the 2013-14 school year. If you have not yet distributed that memo, please do so as soon as possible.
  • Next Weekly Update: In light of next week's holiday, ESE will not publish a Weekly Update on July 5. You will receive the next Weekly Update on July 12. We wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe 4th of July celebration.


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: July 17, 2013
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