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Commissioner's Weekly Update - Commissioner Chester Memorial, Collecting Restraint Data, Planning for Success - September 1, 2017

Celebration of Commissioner Chester's Life:

The Department would like to thank the nearly 400 people from across the Commonwealth and country who came to Harvard University's Memorial Church on August 28, 2017 to celebrate the life of Commissioner Mitchell Chester, who passed away in June. The speakers included members of the commissioner's family, Governor Charlie Baker, Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Secretary Peyser, former U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr., Acting Commissioner Jeff Wulfson, and the commissioner's current and former colleagues.

"Mitchell said one time that all he wanted was for every child to have the same thing he wanted for his own kids," Governor Baker said. "He went about pursuing that idea with grace, dignity and a profound sense of the role others played in delivering on that objective. And more often than not, under very difficult circumstances, he got it done. We were blessed to have him here with us in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and we are all better for it."

The Department is grateful to the speakers, student performers, and everyone else who made the event an inspiring reflection of Commissioner Chester's life and work.

Restraint Data Collection Update and Reminder:

On December 15, 2016, ESE announced a newly-developed online restraint data collection tool to help districts meet the data collection and reporting requirements of 603 CMR 46.00 Prevention of Physical Restraint and Requirements if Used. That data collection tool is also the conduit through which schools and districts must now report restraint data to ESE.

All restraint data for the 2016-2017 school year must be received by 5 p.m. Thursday, September 7, 2017. After a district has entered all of its 2016-2017 data, the box at the bottom of the district's data collection page must be checked to certify and complete the submission process. The individual who is submitting the data should then see the following message at the bottom of the page: "Your data was successfully submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education."

The Bulk Submission Tool is now available to districts with particularly high numbers of restraint records still to upload. Please access this tool by clicking on the individual organization and then on "Bulk Submission Tool" located on the organization's data collection page.

Districts with no data to report must still certify that they have no data to report. Follow the restraint data instructions to access the tool, and make sure to check the box to certify and complete the submission.

The 2016-2017 restraint data collection will close at 5 p.m. Thursday, September 7, so that ESE can open the 2017-2018 collection at 9 a.m. Monday, September 11, 2017. Anyone with questions should contact the Office of Special Education Planning and Policy Development at 781-338-3375 or

Planning for Success Action Plan Training:

Does your district have a multi-year district improvement plan but need to develop an action plan to guide implementation of high-priority initiatives? The Planning for Success team will be offering free training and support for action planning this fall. Facilitators will participate in four half-day trainings and conduct three half-day workshops in their districts through the fall and early winter; this will result in an action plan for the second half of the 2017-18 school year through the 2018-19 school year. For more information and application details, email Carrie Conaway at Applications are due Friday, September 22, and selected participants will be notified by September 29.

Public Comment Period for the Mass. Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS):

The Department of Early Education and Care is soliciting public comment through November 2017 on proposed revisions to the Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) standards. With respect to public schools, feedback on the QRIS standards for public preschool and the standards for after-school and out-of-school time programs is important. There are numerous ways that the field can provide feedback to EEC, including in-person public meetings, and an upcoming online survey and webinar. For more information about providing feedback, please visit EEC's QRIS revisions webpage.

For Your Info:

  • Proposed Somerville school to be featured: On Friday, September 8, Powderhouse Studios, a proposed small, innovative high school that would be part of Somerville Public Schools, will be among the schools featured on "XQ Super School Live", a one-hour broadcast at 8 p.m. on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC about ways high schools could be reshaped.
  • Early education grants: The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced $46 million in funding awards to multiple initiatives that support the quality and availability of early education and care programs serving young children across the Commonwealth, and several public school districts were among the recipients.
  • Commonwealth Commitment expands: Also this week, the Baker-Polito Administration announced an expansion of the Commonwealth Commitment program to additional majors. The program is aimed at making a bachelor's degree more affordable.
  • Back to school with USED: The U.S. Department of Education has compiled a list of back-to-school tips and links on its website, while the National Center for Education Statistics has back-to-school statistics.

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: September 1, 2017
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