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Commissioner's Weekly Update - June 9, 2017

2017-18 Testing Schedule Released:

The 2017–2018 testing schedule is now posted online.

Seeking Feedback on Guidelines for Implementing Social and Emotional Learning Curricula:

The Department is seeking feedback on the most recent version of the draft guidelines for implementing K-12 social and emotional learning curricula that the Department is updating as required by Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010. If you would like to receive a copy of the draft and a feedback form to complete by June 16, please email the Office of Student and Family Support at

Principal and Teacher Advisory Cabinets Open for Applications:

The Department is pleased to convene Teacher and Principal Advisory Cabinets each year as a way to recognize excellent educators, elevate teacher and principal voices at the state level, and provide opportunities for leadership. Cabinet members attend five meetings a year and provide insights and feedback about current policies and inform the development of new policies and resources. The Department seeks input from a diverse group of teachers and principals who represent urban, suburban, and rural districts and reflect the demographics of Massachusetts' students. To ensure a wide range of input, the Department convenes East and Central/West branches of each cabinet.

The Principal Advisory Cabinets are open to all school-level administrators, including principals, assistant principals, department chairs, and charter school leaders. The Teacher Advisory Cabinets are open to all educators who work with students across grade levels and content areas, including specialists, coaches, and specialized instructional support personnel. Applications are due June 21, and more information is available on the principal and teacher cabinet applications.

Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program Grant Opportunity:

The U.S. Department of Education has issued a notice inviting applications for new awards for the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education (Javits) program. The Javits program supports evidence-based research, demonstration projects, innovative strategies, and similar activities designed to build and enhance the ability of elementary and secondary schools nationwide to identify gifted and talented students and meet their special educational needs. Eligible applicants include local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, other public agencies, and other private agencies and organizations. The deadline for applications is June 22.

Preliminary MCAS Results Release Timeline:

Later this month, ESE will release preliminary data for the spring 2017 MCAS tests in English language arts, mathematics, and grades 5 and 8 science and technology/engineering. This first release will include full preliminary results for grade 10 English language arts only; for all other grades and subjects, only selected response items will be reported. Constructed-response and essay items will be included with full preliminary results in August; student growth will be available with the release of official embargoed results in October.

As in previous years, ESE is prioritizing the early delivery of partial results so that educators may develop remediation plans, as needed, to help students prepare for the 2017–2018 school year. These partial results should be used with caution since they have not yet gone through the discrepancy reporting period. Districts can contact ESE with questions and formally report any potential errors during the mid-August discrepancy reporting window.

Because standard setting for the new next-generation MCAS tests in grades 3–8 will occur in mid-August, preliminary data released in June and August will not include scaled scores and achievement levels and will not include student growth for any grades. Official embargoed results, scheduled for release in mid-October, will include next-generation MCAS scaled scores, achievement levels, and student growth for grades 4–8 and 10. More information is available in this document.

For Your Info:

  • Skills Capital Grants: The Baker-Polito Administration recently awarded more than $2.2 million in Skills Capital Grants to help 10 high schools improve and expand their vocational programs. Congratulations to all!
  • Social studies summer content institute: The Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies will present its second annual summer content institute for K-12 social studies teachers from July 31, 2017 to August 4, 2017. The central focus of the institute is on Article III of the U.S. Constitution—the federal judiciary. The intensive five-day content institute will be held at the John Adams Courthouse, the Massachusetts Historical Society, Suffolk University, and the African Meeting House. Applications to participate are due June 30.
  • Social and emotional learning network opportunity: Excellence through Social Emotional Learning (exSEL) is looking for Massachusetts districts interested in joining a network focused on promoting social emotional learning in schools. For more information and to apply, please follow the format outlined in the request for applications form. Please notify exSEL of your intent to apply by June 30. Applications are due July 31.
  • Social studies professional development providers wanted: The Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies is seeking individual members and/or teams, local councils, and partner organizations interested in offering high-quality professional development opportunities for K-12 social studies teachers during the 2017-2018 school year. If the Massachusetts Council endorses a workshop, the workshop can issue professional development points. To propose a workshop session for the 2017-2018 school year, fill out this form, sign it, and email it and related documents to The deadline for submissions is August 20.
  • Reducing chronic absenteeism: The Proving Ground at Harvard University's Center for Education Policy Research is looking for state and school district partners to join a campaign to reduce chronic absenteeism. The network will provide intervention ideas, leadership support, a roll-out plan, and the data to allow district leadership to identify which of their efforts are working. More information is available online and by emailing
  • Summer enrichment opportunity for high school juniors and seniors: The Museum of Public Health in Tewksbury is offering a free, week-long summer enrichment program for high school juniors and seniors from August 7-11. The program will focus on the history of public health in the U.S. and careers in public health today.

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 11, 2017
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