Commissioner's Weekly Update - Immigration Guidance, EWIS Data, Water Testing - September 8, 2017
Guidance on Immigration Enforcement Requests:
With the future uncertain for students previously covered under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), ESE is again sharing guidance that Attorney General Maura Healey issued in May to school districts about immigration enforcement and requests for information from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Under ICE's current policies, ICE generally does not conduct immigration enforcement activities at "sensitive locations" such as schools, but the guidance offers advice on what to do if such instances arise.
The guidance follows an advisory the attorney general issued in March 2017 as a reminder that state and federal law require state educational agencies and local school districts to provide all elementary and secondary students with equal access to public education — irrespective of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or immigration status.
As noted in May, Massachusetts public schools strengthen our Commonwealth by welcoming and educating all children. The Department is grateful to districts for their help in maintaining supportive learning environments in which students and their families are treated with respect.
Early Warning Indicator System Data for 2017-18 Available:
The Department is pleased to announce the release of 2017-18 school year Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) data, including new reports with college readiness risk levels for high school students. All EWIS data are available via Edwin Analytics in the Security Portal.
At this time, EWIS data is available for districts that certified the Student Course Schedule and/or School Safety Discipline Report data collections by mid-August 2017. Districts that certified course schedule and discipline data later will receive EWIS data in the next release, which is expected later this month.
Until the student claiming process is complete, the students in each district, school, and grade may be incorrect. Districts should make sure they have successfully claimed students in order to view all EWIS information. Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF)–enabled districts must rollover their student information system and configure their SIF agent for the 2018!
More information about EWIS is available online, and questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Applications are due Friday, September 22, and selected participants will be notified by September 29.
Openings on Parent and Community Education and Involvement Advisory Council:
The Parent and Community Education and Involvement Advisory Council has seats open for people interested in advising ESE and its Board on topics related to family engagement. The advisory council will meet three or four times a year to discuss topics such as the development of information for families (like the school report cards that appear on ESE's Profiles website and information about school options) and the "collaboration with families" section of the Behavioral Health and Public Schools Framework. More information about the advisory council is available online. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and résumé to Kathy Rodriguez at email@example.com or the Office of Adult and Community Learning Services, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148 by October 13, 2017. The Department particularly encourages individuals representing diverse communities and students who have been historically underserved by the educational system to apply.
Water Testing Available:
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is offering a second phase of the state-sponsored program offering water testing services and technical assistance to schools statewide. More information is available online and includes a program application, results from the last school year, and fact sheets.
Back-to-School Materials in Five More Languages:
The Department has translated its back-to-school parent materials – Back-to-School Basics, an MCAS guide, and a Leading the Nation poster – into Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Vietnamese. These materials were sent to superintendents in English in an On the Desktop Message on August 10 and will eventually be posted online. For now, they are available upon request by emailing Courtney Sullivan.
Reminder: 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. High school principals/headmasters (or a designee) who need access should be assigned their school's Anti-Hazing User role by their district's Directory Administrator. Certification from secondary school principals or headmasters that the school complies with the anti-hazing law is due on or before October 1.
For Your Info:
- Massachusetts History Day: Each year, more than 5,000 students across the Commonwealth participate in the Massachusetts History Day competition, an affiliate of National History Day. Students choose an historical topic related to the annual theme and then conduct research, analyze and interpret their sources, draw a conclusion about the significance of their topic, and choose to present their work as a paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary, or a website. Judges at regional contests evaluate the work, interview students, provide written feedback, and select which projects advance from the regional to state and national levels of competition.
This year's theme is "Conflict and Compromise in History," and there will be a webinar at 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 12. For more information and to participate in this year's competition, please contact Massachusetts History Day Coordinator Kathleen Barker.
- Constitution Day: September 17 is Constitution Day/Citizenship Day in recognition of the September 17, 1787, signing of the U.S. Constitution. Congress has mandated that every educational institution receiving federal funding hold an educational program about the Constitution, and with the day falling on a Sunday this year, schools can observe the day the week before or the week after. Several resources are available at the national level, including The Constitution at Work, a matching game connecting primary resources to constitutional articles, and "Exploring the U.S. Constitution," an eBook that explores the roots of the three branches of government. Both resources are from the National Archives and Records Administration. In addition, free online resources are available from the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the U.S. Senate.
- Great NorthEast ShakeOut: The Northeastern States, including Massachusetts, are invited to participate in a simple earthquake response exercise known as the Great NorthEast ShakeOut at 10:19 a.m. October 19. The simple message is to practice protective actions to stay safe during an earthquake: "Drop, Cover, and Hold On." More detailed information is available at the link above, including a document with ideas on how K-12 schools can participate. According to the Seismic Hazard Maps from the U.S. Geological Survey, Massachusetts has a medium risk of earthquakes, so it's important that residents know how to be safe when the earth shakes. For more information, contact Christopher Besse at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
- Massachusetts Students' ACT Scores among the Best: ACT scores were released this week, and members of Massachusetts graduating class of 2017 were again among the best in the nation.
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