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Massachusetts Charter Schools

Policy Discussion Forums and Other Updates from ESE for Charter Schools

To:Massachusetts Charter School Leaders and Board Chairs
From:Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner
Date:January 7, 2013

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As many of you may know, I started in my new position at ESE in late November 2012. My role involves leading ESE's work related to charter school authorizing and policy, as well as providing leadership for school redesign initiatives, currently including Expanded Learning Time, Innovation Schools, the TIME collaborative (http://www.timeandlearning.org/?q=time-collaborative ), as well as new initiatives on the virtual/digital learning front. The team that is working with me here at ESE can be found at http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/contact.html#. We want to be sure to keep you informed about issues that directly affect your schools, so please feel free to reach out to us at any time with questions, comments, or concerns. This week, please consider the following items and opportunities and respond as appropriate:

  • Charter School Accountability Update. Over the past month, we have begun a process of systematically reviewing our current charter school authorizing practices and policies, with a particular focus on those related to accountability and the intersection with ESE's new state accountability system that assigns each school and district to a Level, with the Progress and Performance Index (PPI) featuring prominently in the Leveling designations. In addition, we are working on ensuring that all ESE oversight activities for charter schools are as coherent and integrated as possible. A preliminary change toward that end is an initial integration of Federal Programs review activities conducted by the Charter School Office with the overall charter school accountability review process. We will be in touch with individual schools directly about how this will impact you this year.
  • Feedback from the Field. To inform our practice and policy review efforts, we'd like to hear from you through any or all of the following means:

    • Survey: In order to provide us with more information as we review our practice, we would appreciate your feedback via a brief Survey of MA Charter School Protocols and Guidance Documents. We would appreciate if the school leader and board chair of each charter school (or their designee) could submit responses by January 17, 2013.
    • Policy Discussion Forums: As the charter movement approaches the 20 year mark in Massachusetts, new policy issues have emerged that require our collective thinking. I'd like to invite you and your colleagues to participate in one or more of the following policy forums in the next several weeks. Any school may attend any session, though please note the discussion at each session will be geared to the target audience listed below. Please register at http://www.doe.mass.edu/conference/?ConferenceID=1466.

      • Commonwealth Charter Schools in Central and Western MA: January 18th at the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association Office in Hudson from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
      • Horace Mann Charter Schools: January 22nd at the ESE Office in Malden from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
      • Commonwealth Charter Schools in Boston Metro and Eastern MA: January 28th at the ESE Office in Malden from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
      • Networks of Charter Schools: January 28th at the ESE in Malden from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

        Note: This is kick-off conversation aimed at boards that oversee more than one charter school or "campus" that will continue on in a working group format for those interested, conducted in collaboration with the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association.

    • Contact Us: I welcome school leaders to set-up time to speak with me or other ESE staff to discuss any policy issues on your mind. If you'd like to set-up a time to speak with me, please contact Lee DeLorenzo at ldelorenzo@doe.mass.edu or 781-338-3224.

  • Opportunity for Peer Reviewers. We are eager to have the input of current practitioners in the review processes we conduct, including site visits at schools and reviews of applications, at both charter schools and district schools that have been redesigned. This is a great professional development and learning opportunity, and PDPs may be available. If interested, please contact Claire Smithney at csmithney@doe.mass.edu or 781-338-3213. Please feel free to share this opportunity among your staff and colleagues.
  • Who should get these messages? The person listed as "charter school leader" and "charter school board chair" in Directory Administration should have received this message. If for some reason they did not, please ask your school's directory administrator (see http://www.doe.mass.edu/infoservices/data/diradmin/list.aspx) to update this contact information with Directory Administration. Your directory administrator can contact Lee DeLorenzo at ldelorenzo@doe.mass.edu or 781-338-3224 for assistance.

We are committed to ensuring open lines of communication with charter school operators. Please feel free to contact us (http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/contact.html#) with your questions or concerns. I look forward to working with you and visiting your schools in the coming months.



Last Updated: January 7, 2013
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