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Commissioner's Weekly Update - Message from Acting Commissioner, Preliminary Accountability Data, Anti-Hazing Data Collection - August 25, 2017

A Message from Acting Commissioner Jeff Wulfson:

Why be an educator? Because the work is challenging, and it is important. And as we get ready to start the new school year, that work has never been more challenging or more important.

As we follow the events taking place across our country and around the world, we have an obligation to bring them thoughtfully into the classroom. Today's students will be the leaders of our country for the better part of the 21st century. If we want to ensure that our republic makes it to the 22nd century, we need to prepare them not only for economic success but also for informed citizenship. By the time our students graduate from high school, they should have a deep understanding of our nation's foundational documents and how the principles in them have evolved over time through our political institutions. Students should be familiar with the arc of American history – the good and the bad – and our place in the world. In an internet age, they should have the ability to discern fact from fiction and to distinguish democracy from demagoguery. They need to know how to listen and participate in well-informed discussions, and when they see hatred and intolerance, they need to be armed with something other than hate in response.

Many of the roots of American democracy are right here in Massachusetts; our Commonwealth's experiment in self-governance predates our nation. Let us be leaders in imparting our civic values to the next generation, and let us proudly share how Massachusetts educators have made our schools a welcoming place for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, faith, immigration status, gender, and sexual orientation.

From all of us here at ESE to all of our colleagues in the Commonwealth's 1,800 public schools, thank you for all you do, and best wishes for the new school year.

Preliminary 2017 Accountability Data:

Earlier this week, ESE provided all districts and schools with embargoed access to their full preliminary 2017 district and school accountability data via the Accountability Data application in the Security Portal.

Superintendents, charter school leaders, or other district leaders must be assigned the security role "Accountability (District Level)" to access district data. Principals or other school leaders must be assigned the security role "Accountability (School Level)" to access school data. Each district's directory administrator is responsible for assigning security roles to the appropriate district staff members.

School and district leaders should review the preliminary accountability data and can contact ESE at or 781-338-3550 with any questions or concerns. Preliminary accountability results do not reflect discrepancies reported during the MCAS discrepancy reporting window and are subject to change. The Department is working to address the reported discrepancies for the official accountability data release in October.

The Department has scheduled four one-hour webinars to help district and school staff interpret their preliminary accountability data. Participation is optional, but registration is required.

New Anti-Hazing Collection Procedures Underway:

The new anti-hazing data collection procedures began in August 2017 and can be accessed by logging into the anti-hazing application accessible via MassEdu Gateway. Certification from secondary school principals or headmasters that the school complies with the anti-hazing law is due on or before October 1.

Standard Setting Conference:

August 18 marked the end of a very successful weeklong next-generation MCAS standards setting conference. Hundreds of educators from across the state brought their expertise and experience to develop consensus recommendations on the cut scores for the next-generation English language arts and math tests in grades 3-8. Thank you to all!

ESE Resource Corner:

New interactive parent guide to the next-generation MCAS: The Department has an interactive next-generation MCAS guide that provides helpful tips for parents on:

  • how test results are used to support teaching and learning
  • the ways the next-generation MCAS test better measures the critical skills students need for success in the 21st century
  • the new scoring categories, and
  • how to seek support for their child.

For Your Info:

  • 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, August 28, 2017 at Harvard University's Memorial Church. Individuals who would like to attend are asked to RSVP online. 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.
  • METCO, Inc. seeks a CEO: The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc. (METCO), the largest and best-known voluntary school desegregation program in the U.S., is seeking a chief executive officer. See for details. Established in 1966, the METCO program was designed to provide the opportunity for children from racially imbalanced schools in Boston and children from isolated suburban schools to learn together in an integrated public school setting. More information about METCO is available online.

Subscriber Information: To sign up to receive the Commissioner's Weekly Update, go to and sign up for the "Commissioner's update to school districts."

Last Updated: August 25, 2017
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