Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Go to Selected Program Area
Massachusetts State Seal
Students & Families Educators & Administrators Teaching, Learning & Testing Data & Accountability Finance & Funding About the Department Education Board  

RSS Feeds Available

Commissioner's Weekly Update - Directory Administration, Principals of the Year, History Teacher a National Finalist - September 15, 2017

Reminder about Directory Administration:

In light of personnel changes that occur in districts at the end and beginning of every school year, ESE would like to remind districts that it is important for school district directory administrators to take the time to maintain the members list within each district and school at all times. Individuals who are no longer employed by the district or school should be removed immediately from the application and should have all access terminated. This also applies to school-level staff who move from one school to another. In such cases, access to any secure data for the prior school should be removed and access for the new school added as applicable.

Directory administrators should also be sure that all physical and mailing addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses and web addresses are up to date. That information is used to populate ESE's School and District Profiles page and to provide shipping information for assessments.

For instructions on how to remove, add, or change users and update contact information, please go online and download the Directory Administration Quick Reference Guide. To address any problems, please submit a helpdesk ticket through the Executive Office of Education's Contact Us page, choosing MassEdu Gateway/Security Portal from the subject dropdown box.

2017 Principals of the Year:

Congratulations to the principals who the Massachusetts School Administrators Association recognized this year! Chris Getchell, principal of Parkview Elementary School in Easton, won the Passios Outstanding Principal Award; John Clements of Nipmuc Regional High School in Upton received the Bertman H. Holland Award for High School Principal of the Year; Carl Nelson of the John F. Kennedy Middle School in Woburn received the Edmund K. Fanning Award for Middle School Principal of the Year; and Maureen Kemmett of Furnace Brook Middle School in Marshfield received the Paul J. Hunter Award for Assistant Principal of the Year.

History Teacher of the Year Becomes a National Finalist:

Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year Kevin Dua, a teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2017 National History Teacher of the Year Award from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History! Mr. Dua was teaching at Somerville High School when he became Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year. Nominations for the 2018 History Teacher of the Year awards are now open.

Chapter 74 New Program Applications:

The Office for College, Career, and Technical Education is pleased to announce the opening of its Chapter 74 New Program Application process for the 2017-18 school year. For 2017-18 submissions (for programs intended to open in September 2018) the timeline is as follows:

  • Intent to apply (required): Due September 29, 2017
  • Part A (Preliminary): Due December 8, 2017
  • Part B (Concluding): Due April 6, 2018
  • Final decisions: June 29, 2018

For more information on the process, including links to online submission forms and a series of application process webinars that will start September 19, visit our Chapter 74 New Program Timeline webpage. People with questions about the process can contact Gary Gomes at 781-338-3851 or

Substance Use Prevention Education Training for Middle Schools:

The Department of Public Health is funding professional development in the Life Skills Training Program for middle schools across the Commonwealth. Life Skills Training is an evidence-based program that reduces rates of substance misuse. The training, curriculum, and student supplies are available free of charge. Register online, or email for further information.

2017-18 Restraint Data Collection Tool Now Open:

The 2017-2018 data collection tool is now available in the restraint data application of the ESE Security Portal. Districts, schools, and programs should use this tool on an ongoing basis throughout the school year to enter restraint data. The restraint data instructions posted online show how to access the tool. Note: Entities with high numbers of restraints can track their ongoing data by using the Restraint Tracking Sheet instead. It is accessible online after someone has selected their "Organization" and clicked "Next."

Please ensure that colleagues who need access to this application are provided with access privileges. Anyone with questions regarding the 2017-2018 data collection can contact ESE at (781) 338-3375 or

ESE Resource Corner

Highlighting strong work in Framingham: The Department's District and School Assistance Centers (DSACs) provide a variety of supports to improve student learning in small and medium-sized Level 3 districts where schools are in danger of falling into Level 4. The supports include turnaround site visits designed to identify strengths and challenges, distributive leadership training, help in implementing state curriculum frameworks, and help implementing social and emotional supports for students. In March, three Framingham schools – the Brophy, McCarthy, and Wilson elementary schools – began working with ESE in all of these areas. Principals, coaches, and teachers partnered with Greater Boston DSAC to learn from the Massachusetts Turnaround Practices Field Guide, visited and worked with a commendation school (a Level 1 school that demonstrates very high achievement, strong progress overall, or has made strong progress toward narrowing proficiency gaps), participated in turnaround site visits, and developed a collective turnaround plan shared by the three schools that is based on distributive leadership and a shared understanding of high-quality instruction. At Brophy, McCarthy, and Wilson, the school year is starting with greater coordination among teachers, a stronger educator voice, heightened focus on the use of formative and benchmark assessments, and greater efforts to keep families informed of and engaged in their child's progress. For more information about the work happening in Framingham and how it is informing district improvement planning there, contact Dr. Robert Tremblay, superintendent. For more information about DSAC support for Level 3 districts, contact David Parker, ESE's manager for regional support and intervention.

For Your Info:

  • Poetry Out Loud: Now is the time to register high schools for this year's Poetry Out Loud competition. This national poetry recitation contest encourages students in grades 9-12 to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. Students compete on the school, then regional, then state levels. The state champion wins a $200 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to compete in Washington, D.C., plus $500 for their school to purchase poetry materials. The National Champion wins a $20,000 award. For more information, visit or email
  • National Assessment Governing Board seeks members: The National Assessment Governing Board, with oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), is seeking nominations for five open positions: a fourth-grade teacher, an eighth-grade teacher, a secondary school principal, a chief state school officer, and a public representative. Nominations are due October 31, 2017.
  • Prudential Spirit of Community Awards: The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards recognize youth volunteers in grades 5-12 and are soliciting applications through November 7. Award recipients will be announced February 6 and brought to Washington in the spring for several days of special recognition events. Application materials are available at the link above and by calling (855) 670-4787.
  • Staff member recognized: The Department is proud to announce that Cathleen Cavell in ESE's Legal Office is the 2017 recipient of the Doug Bates Award from the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification in recognition of her distinguished service in the area of professional practices and her deep commitment to public education, professional ethics, and child protection. In addition to her legal work in our Office of Professional Practices Investigations, Cathleen serves as a resource for district and school leaders on educator ethics and misconduct issues, and she was instrumental in the drafting and implementation of the 2013 law requiring national background checks for school personnel.

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 15, 2017
E-mail this page| Print View| Print Pdf  
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Search · A-Z Site Index · Policies · Site Info · Contact DESE