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Commissioner's Weekly Update - July 14, 2017

Quick Reference Guides to the 2017 English Language Arts Curriculum Framework:

Four quick reference guides to the 2017 Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy are now available! The first, "Massachusetts Anchor Standards for Reading", shows how the 10 anchor standards work together to define what and how students should read in school. Two additional quick reference guides, one tailored to the elementary grades and another for the secondary grades, describe the role of close reading in the standards and in the classroom. A fourth, "Text Complexity and the Growth of Reading Comprehension", provides guidelines and resources designed to help educators choose appropriately complex texts for their students. Each two-page quick reference guide is designed to be widely accessible and easy to distribute, and additional guides will be released on a rolling basis throughout the summer and school year.

Supporting Students who are Homeless or in Foster Care – New Contact Information:

The Department is implementing a new system for addressing the increasing volume of calls related to students who are homeless or in foster care. For technical assistance, complaints, or other questions on these matters, please contact ESE's Problem Resolution Services staff at 781-338-3700 or

In addition, please note that ESE is working with the state Department of Children and Families this summer to develop additional guidance regarding implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provisions related to foster care, and these will be included in a future weekly update and posted to ESE's foster care webpage when available.

Special Education Professional Development Series:

The Office of Special Education Planning and Policy Professional Development Series (formerly known as Special Education Summer Institutes) will occur not only in the summer but throughout the year. The courses are free training opportunities for Massachusetts educators, paraeducators, related service providers, and administrators. Currently, there are 17 courses being offered. More information, including course descriptions, dates, and enrollment information, is available online.

Free Conference on Implementing New Curriculum Frameworks:

Teach Plus, with cooperation from ESE, is holding a free conference for educators about the English language arts, math, and science and technology/engineering curriculum frameworks that have been updated in the last two years. "Implementing the New Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: What You Need to Know About Changes in the Standards" will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, August 3, 2017 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel, 181 Boston Post Road West, Marlborough. Registration is available online at the link above. Anyone with questions can contact Sasha Zuflacht at

For Your Info:

  • SkillsUSA: Many Massachusetts students won national awards at the 2017 National SkillsUSA Championships in Kentucky at the end of June. More information and photos are available through SkillsUSA Massachusetts. Congratulations to all!
  • Edcamp on innovation and design: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Teaching Systems Lab is hosting an Edcamp from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 9 at MIT to invite educators to share their professional knowledge about innovation, design thinking, and related topics. Joining the sessions will be Justin Reich, executive director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab, and Peter Senge, senior lecturer in leadership and sustainability at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Interested educators should register by August 8.
  • Summer Nights for Youth: The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced the 2017 Summer Nights for Youth Initiative to increase programming and extend the hours of operations at select pools and athletic complexes in areas across the state.
  • Strategies for at-risk high school students: The U.S. Department of Education has released new briefs on case management and social services to help at-risk students stay in high school and graduate.

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: July 14, 2017
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