Commissioner's Weekly Update - July 18, 2014
School Safety and Security Task Force Report:
On Thursday, Governor Patrick released the Massachusetts Task Force Report on School Safety and Security. The report, which includes a set of 29 recommendations, will serve as a resource to school districts and municipalities to help strengthen safety and security in local communities. Among the recommendations are that each municipality establish a district-level emergency management team, every secondary school have a School Resource Officer, and school committees consider adding a line item in school district budgets focused solely on matters related to school safety and security. For more information on the report, go to http://www.mass.gov/edu/government/special-initiatives/school-safety-security/.
Educator Effectiveness Principal Cabinet:
The Department invites current school administrators (principals, assistant principals, headmasters, and executive directors) to apply to participate in its Educator Effectiveness Principal Cabinet during the 2014-15 school year. Participants will share their insight, suggestions, and feedback to help refine current educator effectiveness initiatives – including educator evaluation, preparation, and licensure – and inform the development of new policies and initiatives at the state level. To learn more, and to access the Overview and Application, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/edeval/communications/. The deadline to submit applications is Thursday, July 31, 2014. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Health and Risk Behaviors of Massachusetts Youth:
The Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) and Public Health (DPH) have released this year's report on behaviors and conditions that may compromise the health, safety, and well-being of the Commonwealth's youth. The Health and Risk Behaviors of Massachusetts Youth, 2013 is a report that summarizes two biennial surveys – ESE's Youth Risk Behavior Survey and DPH's Youth Health Survey – administered to a random sample of 144 public secondary schools in spring 2013. The 2013 report demonstrates continued progress made by high school students in reducing alcohol use (a four-percentage point decline since 2011), lifetime cigarette use (seven-percentage point decline), report of having been threatened or injured with a weapon at school (three-percentage point decline), and report of having been or gotten someone pregnant (two-percentage point decline), among other behaviors. To view the full report, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/cnp/hprograms/yrbs/2013report.pdf.
New Edwin Analytics Finance Report:
Over the past year, the Department has worked closely with the Executive Office of Education and local school business officials to develop a set of school and district finance reports as part of the overall Edwin Analytics project. An initial set of five finance reports is now available for use in the Security Portal. These reports reflect our commitment to return to local stakeholders the information we gather from schools and districts in a manner and form that can support their ongoing efforts to promote student success. To learn more about the Edwin Analytics project, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/edwin/analytics/. Please contact your district's Edwin Analytics contact person, identified on the Department's District Profiles page if you are unaware of whom that person is, to ensure that you have the proper permissions to gain access to where the reports are available on the Security Portal.
Extension of Deadline to Elect the Community Eligibility Provision:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued an extension for potentially eligible districts and schools to elect to adopt a universal school meal program for the 2014-15 school year. The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows high-poverty schools to eliminate school meal applications and offer breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge. By eliminating the stigma associated with existing free and reduced meal programs that only provide meals to low-income students, schools can increase participation rates in school meal programs and ensure that all children are learning on full stomachs. Eligible schools have until August 31, 2014 to elect to adopt CEP; the initial deadline was June 30. For more information on potentially eligible districts and schools, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=10196. Please contact Jheanell West at email@example.com with any questions.
Commissioner's School Visits:
On Friday, Commissioner Chester delivered the keynote address to the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents' Summer Executive Institute at Mashpee High School. Go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/commissioner/default.html to view a copy of Commissioner Chester's presentation.
For Your Info:
- Charter School Excess Surplus Report: The Department has posted the Commonwealth Charter Schools Excess Surplus Report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 and summary tables at http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/finance/surplus/FY13ExcessSurplus.html. At the end of each fiscal year, all charter schools are required to submit a supplemental schedule calculating the amount of any excess surplus tuition. Schools derive the data on these schedules from their Charter School End of Year Final Report. The amounts reflected in the summary tables are those that the Commissioner has certified for FY 2013.
- Deadline for 2014-15 Charter School Prospectuses: As a reminder, charter school prospectuses for the 2014-15 application cycle are due to the Department by 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prospectus is an opportunity for an interested applicant group to communicate its plans for a potential charter school and demonstrate that it has the potential to create and open a high quality public charter school. Commissioner Chester will review the prospectuses and invite selected applicant groups to submit a final application, which is due on November 5, 2014. For more information, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/new/.
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