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Commissioner's Weekly Update - June 30, 2017

Message from Acting Commissioner Jeff Wulfson:

This has been a difficult week here at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. With Mitchell Chester's passing, we lost not only an inspirational leader, but a great friend, colleague, and mentor. Thank you to everyone who reached out to us with messages of encouragement and support and to all those, locally and nationally, who paid tribute to his lifelong contributions to education. As Secretary Peyser said, we were blessed to have had Mitchell with us.

At his family's request, this week's burial service was private. Condolence cards for his wife, Angela Sangeorge, and his children can be sent care of Helene Bettencourt here at ESE, and we'll make sure that they get to the family. Contributions in Mitchell's memory can be made to Habitat for Humanity, the Southern Poverty Law Center, or a scholarship fund that will be announced at a public memorial service that is being planned for August or September.

Mitchell is gone, but the important work he led, the work that all of us are engaged in, goes on. Here at ESE, we are committed to honoring his memory by pursuing that work with renewed dedication. At the same time, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will soon begin the thoughtful and deliberate process to select the Commonwealth's 24th education commissioner. As acting commissioner, I will do my best to keep you informed and provide any assistance you need. Please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement Reports:

On June 29, ESE released to each district that has English language learners a set of Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) endorsement reports intended to help districts monitor for compliance with the current SEI endorsement requirements. The reports should be in each district's RETELL DropBox. On July 10, ESE will hold a call for all superintendents, charter school leaders, and principals to discuss the SEI endorsement reports in general and how they can be used. Superintendents, assistant superintendents, English language learner directors, and principals should have received an On the Desktop message June 22 with information on how to participate in the call.

Tiered Systems of Instruction and Support Academies:

The Department is pleased to offer four intensive professional development academies designed to aid school and district teams with the implementation of tiered systems of instruction and support. The academies consist of regional trainings and in-district coaching sessions over the course of three years and are focused on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Tiered Literacy, Tiered Math, and Inclusive Tier 1 Instruction. Level 3, 4, and 5 schools and districts are prioritized for enrollment and their participation is free or greatly subsidized. Completed applications must be submitted online no later than 5 p.m. Friday, August 18. However, acceptance decisions may come earlier as academy enrollment fills, so teams should submit their application as early as possible. Go online to learn more or enroll in one or more of the academies.


On June 28, ESE sent a memo to districts about results from the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners) assessment. The WIDA Consortium, which created ACCESS, recently reset its test scale, and ESE has reset the state's criteria for reclassifying Massachusetts ELL students to a new transitional standard. The Department intends to carefully monitor the effects of this change. Any superintendents, charter school leaders, assistant superintendents or ELL directors who did not receive a copy of the memo are asked to please contact Dan Wiener at

ESE Resource Corner:

English Language Arts and Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks: The 2017 curriculum frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy and for Mathematics are now available online in their final form. Please note that these documents have not changed substantively since the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted them in March. Standards have been proofread for typographical errors, guidance material has been copyedited for clarity and consistency, and all content has been reformatted. Each framework is accompanied by a document highlighting the more substantive differences between the 2011 standards and the 2017 standards. Additional resources supporting implementation of the 2017 frameworks will be released throughout the 2017-2018 academic year.

For Your Info:

  • Summer Learning Day: National Summer Learning Day is July 13, and the National Summer Learning Association has information on a variety of activities on its website, including an event map that lists activities.

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: June 30, 2017
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