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Commissioner's Weekly Update - Memorial, Early Literacy, Licensure Regs - July 28, 2017

Celebration of Commissioner Chester's Life:

There will be a public celebration of the late Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester's life at 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, 2017 at Harvard University's Memorial Church. Individuals who would like to attend are asked to RSVP online at A map of the campus is also available online. Many people have asked if the family has established a memorial fund, and one has been established in Commissioner Chester's name at The Boston Foundation.

Website Redesign:

The Department unveiled an updated website this week that allows families, educators and school administrators to more easily find information about schools, instruction and education policy. The redesigned website has the same address as the old version and was developed in-house with help from the Executive Office of Education. The site includes larger print, an updated search function, Google translation, and the ability to adapt to mobile devices. The new design does not extend to the entire site, but it makes the information available easier to access.

The Department hopes to spread the redesign to additional areas of the site in the future. To give feedback on the design and functionality of the new website, email technical concerns to and general comments to Jass Stewart.

Early Grades Literacy Grant:

The Department's Center for Instructional Support is pleased to announce the upcoming availability of the Early Grades Literacy Grant. The purpose of this competitive, state-funded grant is to support alignment, instruction, assessment, professional development, and literacy planning around the March 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy.

The grant will help support a team of teachers and at least one administrator from selected schools as they participate in a year-long professional learning series aimed at improving student literacy performance in kindergarten through grade 3.

Interested applicants must submit a letter of intent to apply for the Early Grades Literacy Grant funding code 734 by 5:00 p.m. Friday, August, 4, 2017.

Changes to Licensure Regulations:

On June 27, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved changes to the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval (603 CMR 7.00), Educator License Renewal (603 CMR 44.00), and Certification of Supervisors of Attendance (603 CMR 13.00). More information is available in the Board documents. The Secretary of State is scheduled to approve the amended regulations shortly, and ESE's Office of Educator Licensure plans to begin implementing the regulations on Thursday, August 3. The updated regulations create a new digital literacy and computer science license, expand eligibility for the autism endorsement, and provide educators with more ownership over what professional development they participate in to renew a professional license, among other changes.

Request for Feedback about School and District Profiles:

School and District Profiles is one of the most popular parts of the ESE website. Over the past year or so, ESE has made some changes to improve the website's usability, and the improved search functionality, streamlined navigation, and updated homepage should made it easier for users to find what they need. Now staff is ready to dig deeper into the redesign and are seeking user feedback on where to focus their efforts and what improvements users would like to see. The Department is asking Profiles users to complete a brief online survey to share their likes and dislikes of the existing Profiles part of the website. In addition, staff would love to talk with active Profiles users either by phone or in person to hear more. To participate in a Profiles focus group, please send an email to

For Your Info:

  • Technology guide: The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology has published a guide to help K-12 school and district leaders build a technology infrastructure that supports digital learning.
  • Tips on Math Instruction: The U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse recently launched Instructional Tips, a new resource designed to help educators implement the evidence-based recommendations from its Practice Guides. The first such publication accompanies the guide on improving fourth- through eighth-grade students' mathematical problem-solving skills.

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 28, 2017
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