Office of the Commissioner

Commissioner's Back-to-School Update

Welcome back!

Summer has come and gone, and it is time for another exciting school year to begin. I am confident that the 2017-2018 school year will be a great one as Massachusetts continues its tremendous educational success.

Due primarily to Massachusetts' strong public schools, U.S. News & World Report recognized Massachusetts as the best state in the nation this year. It was one of many recognitions for the Commonwealth's schools in recent months, and it is the strength and character of our state's educators and students that have made that success possible. I sincerely appreciate all that you and your faculty and staff do every day to help students.

To prepare you for the new school year and to help you keep your school committee, teachers, and parents informed and engaged, we have attached the following resources:

  1. The New DESE Website: The new site has been designed to allow families and educators to more easily find information and resources, including a page to subscribe to DESE newsletters;

  2. The Year Ahead: Major developments from DESE that will impact your 2017-2018 school year;

  3. Back-to-School Basics: A brief overview for parents on how the state and districts work together to support teaching and learning; [Accessible version: English | Chinese | Haitian Creole | Portuguese | Spanish | Vietnamese]

  4. MCAS Parent Guide*: An interactive guide for parents on understanding the next-generation MCAS; and
    [Accessible version: English | Chinese | Haitian Creole | Portuguese | Spanish | Vietnamese]

  5. Leading the Nation Poster: An 11"x17" high-resolution .pdf file schools can print and display to promote Massachusetts' upcoming celebration of student success in 2018. A low-resolution version of the poster is also available for sharing via email and social media. [Accessible version: English | Chinese | Haitian Creole | Portuguese | Spanish | Vietnamese]

The upcoming school year is a milestone: In 2018, Massachusetts will celebrate 25 years of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act and student success. Massachusetts' implementation of a standards-based education system and more equitable school funding programs in 1993 helped make the Commonwealth a national leader in education. Students and educators should be aware and proud of their incredible accomplishments, and DESE is developing a "Leading the Nation" campaign for 2018 to raise awareness of Massachusetts' success. I look forward to celebrating with you!


Jeff Wulfson
Acting Commissioner

*If you experience difficulty with the accessibility of the MCAS Parent Guide, please request materials in an alternate format.

Jeffrey C. Riley
Jeffrey C. Riley
Commissioner of Elementary
and Secondary Education

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.