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Update on RETELL for Monitoring Purposes

To:Superintendents and Charter School Leaders (of affected schools/districts)
From:Darlene Lynch, Director, Program Quality Assurance Services Esta Montano, Director, Office of English Language Acquisition and Academic Achievement
Date:May 7, 2012


As many of you are aware, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) is in the process of revamping English Learner Education. This initiative named RETELL (Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners) encompasses changes to educator preparation, licensure and license renewal for core academic teachers, principals, and certain supervisors/directors, and requires Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) professional development. Proposed changes to regulations addressing Education of English Learners1 also would require designated charter school educators to participate in SEI professional development. RETELL also features the adoption of the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) English language proficiency standards and assessment. Proposed amendments to regulations will be voted upon by the Board in late May. They can be found at:

These imminent changes have implications for Coordinated Program Reviews (CPR) in general, and most particularly, for districts that are currently working under an approved Corrective Action Plan (CAP) and are at the progress report stage. These CAPs were approved prior to the RETELL initiative, and therefore only respond to the requirements that were in place at the time of the CPR. At this time, the Department has deemed it inappropriate to continue with the implementation of the components of CAPs that are directly related to areas affected by RETELL and the new requirements for professional development.

Under RETELL, veteran core academic teachers and certain administrators will be required to participate in a course of study to meet requirements for an SEI endorsement so that they will be prepared to provide SEI instruction to English language learners. Because the new course will not be available for statewide implementation until the 2012-2013 school year, and because the Department intends to acknowledge and honor the effort and commitment of educators who have completed at least two trainings out of categories 1, 2, and 42, districts planning to provide category training to educators who will be able to complete two or more of the categories (1, 2, and/or 4) by August 31, 2012 may continue with their plans.

Beginning immediately, we are asking districts that are in the progress report phase to postpone plans for curriculum development that is aligned with the English Language Proficiency Benchmarks and Outcomes (ELPBO) in light of the planned implementation of WIDA. The implementation of WIDA will include new English language proficiency standards to which the curricula of schools should be aligned in order to comply with Title III requirements.

In early June 2012, the Department intends to issue more specific information regarding your CAP, including instructions on how to make revisions in order to align CAPs with the new regulatory requirements and WIDA. The Department will ask districts and charter schools to submit their revised CAPs at the beginning of October 2012.

We appreciate your flexibility and cooperation as we move ahead together to implement these new requirements. We are confident that the upcoming changes will yield positive outcomes for our English language learners.

Last Updated: May 16, 2012
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