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Commissioner's Weekly Update - August 15, 2014

2014-15 Superintendents' Checklist:

Each year, ESE publishes a checklist of key tasks that local school districts must complete throughout the school year. We have now posted the 2014-15 Superintendents' Checklist at While the majority of activities remain the same from the prior year, there are several key additions to this year's checklist, including:

  • All newly hired employees should undergo the fingerprint-based national background check prior to the 2014-15 school year.
  • Districts should incorporate student and staff feedback into the educator evaluation system throughout the school year.
  • Districts should implement District Determined Measures (DDMs) and collect Year 1 student impact ratings for all educators throughout the school year.
  • By Oct. 1, districts should register their decision to administer MCAS or PARCC for spring 2015.

Preliminary 2014 MCAS Results and Accountability Data:

The Department has provided districts and schools with embargoed access to their full preliminary MCAS results in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science and Technology/Engineering and preliminary 2014 accountability data via theSecurity Portal. As a reminder, all MCAS results and accountability data are strictly confidential and embargoed until ESE officially releases them in mid-September.

Competitive Foods and Beverages:

The state Department of Public Health's Bureau of Community Health and Prevention presented to the Public Health Council this week about proposed revisions to 105 CMR 225, the Massachusetts Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages in Public Schools. The standards apply to foods and beverages sold or provided in school cafeterias as à la carte items, in vending machines, and in school stores and snack bars. The proposed revisions bring Massachusetts into alignment with federal standards. Recognizing that the new Massachusetts regulations were not in effect by the July 1 federal deadline, DPH has issued guidance to school districts to address any conflicting requirements between federal and state regulations. The guidance memo can be accessed here:

For Your Info:

  • Medicaid provider forms: The Department has received inquiries from districts that have been asked to provide personal information, including dates of birth and Social Security numbers, for "managing employees" involved in processing Medicaid reimbursement claims. Medicaid staff have confirmed that this is indeed a federal requirement for all Medicaid providers. The federal rules do not distinguish between private providers and public agencies. Districts that do not provide the requested information could lose their eligibility to participate in the school Medicaid program.
  • Guidance on immigrant children: The U.S. Department of Education has posted a fact sheet on educational services for those recently arrived to the United States. The fact sheet identifies existing resources that may be helpful to communities and answers frequently asked questions.

Subscriber Information: 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) 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: August 20, 2014
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