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Massachusetts Charter Schools

Save-the-Dates, Mid-Summer Survey, Gender Identity, and Other News

To:Massachusetts Charter School Leaders and Board Chairs
From:Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner
Date:July 23, 2013

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I hope you are all able to enjoy some restful time off this summer. This memo contains information about key upcoming events along with other important updates, reminders, and information. In particular, please note the two new action items (*)—Mid-Summer Survey and Amendments to Policies re: Gender Identity—that require timely action from each charter school. Please forward information to other school staff as appropriate.

Save-the-Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013, Central MA Location TBD
Fall 2013 Charter Leader Meeting: Access, Equity, and Excellence

Please save the date for the fall charter school leader meeting on Access, Equity, and Excellence on Wednesday, October 30. Charter school board members, leaders, executive directors, principals, special education/ELL/student support directors, deans of students/discipline, and other interested parties are all encourage to attend. Participants will learn about key policy updates regarding issues in access and equity, gain clarity on Department priorities and approach for accountability in this area, and hear from fellow practitioners.

Planned general sessions include an overview of revised accountability practices aligned with the Charter School Performance Criteria, v.3.0, June 2013, with a focus on Criteria 2: Access and Equity, and key note addresses from Commissioner Chester and Bill Henderson, former principal of the O'Hearn Elementary in Dorchester (now known as the William W. Henderson Inclusion Elementary School) and author of The Blind Advantage: How Going Blind Made Me a Stronger Principal and How Including Children with Disabilities Made Our School Better for Everyone. Breakout sessions will focus on four topic strands: Special Education, English Language Learners, Discipline, and Enrollment. More details and on-line registration information will follow.

A related professional learning opportunity:In collaboration with the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, Janine Matho and I would like to invite interested charter leaders to be part of an Advisory/Working group regarding Access and Equity. This group would meet regularly during the 2013-2014 school year. The initial focus between July and October would be to advise ESE on the content for the Charter Leader Meeting and policy/oversight practices. Post-November, the work would shift to a focus on practice and implementation. If interested, please contact Barry Barnett at bbarnett@doe.mass.edu or 781-338-3225.

Save-the-Date: Thursday, September 26, 2013, Central MA Location TBD
Orientation for New Administrators and Board Members at Charter Schools

This full-day orientation is intended for any members of a school's administrative team who are new to their position or any new board members. In particular, information will be provided for new executive directors, principals, special education and ELL directors, and business managers. Additionally, any current administrator who wants a refresher on basic charter school information, you are welcome to attend. Fundamental information will be presented about a variety of topics including charter school finance, governance, accountability, special education and English language learners. Department staff will be available for "office hours" throughout the day to answer your school specific questions. More details and online registration will follow.

*Required Action: A Mid-Summer's Survey – Key Updates at Your Charter School

A number of changes at a charter school may not require an amendment request but do require that the school inform the Department in a timely fashion (see page 26 of the Charter School Amendment Guidelines.) Please respond to this brief survey which is designed to keep our office up-to-date regarding changes in leadership and/or facilities and to assist in our planning for 2013-2014.

A Mid-Summer's (Required) Survey: Key Updates at Your Charter School

The survey should take no more than 5 minute to complete. Please submit the survey before 5 pm on August 1, 2013 (the due date of your school's annual report).

*Required Action: Amendments to Policies – Inclusion of Gender Identity as a Protected Classification

Because the Commonwealth of Massachusetts now prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity, charter schools must update and amend their anti-discrimination statements in various documents and policies. Please see http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=7588 for instructions about making the appropriate revisions, with particular attention to changes to your school's enrollment policy no later than October 31, 2013.

Commonwealth Charter School Tuition Payments – Q4 Anomalies and FY14 Update

Final FY13 commonwealth charter school tuition amounts as of the fourth fiscal quarter are now posted at http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/finance/tuition/fy13/rates_jun.html. There were some anomalies to the Q4 payments for several schools which are being quickly rectified by the Department of Revenue (DOR). If you have any questions about this, please contact Lisa Juszkiewicz at DOR at (617) 626-2386 or juszkiewicz@dor.state.ma.us. FY14 preliminary tuition projections have been posted at http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/finance/tuition/fy14/projection.html. Please note that payments will continue to be made at the close of each fiscal quarter in FY14, though we anticipate a possible shift to monthly payments in the second half of FY14 following planned revisions to regulations.

Three Job Opportunities

The Department is hiring for three positions related to charter schools and school redesign. A part-time Contracted TIME Collaborative Specialist will support Massachusetts' participation in the TIME Collaborative, a 5-state partnership that includes the Department and the National Center for Time and Learning (NCTL) to close academic achievement gaps through the use of high-quality, sustainable expanded learning time (ELT.) A full-time New Schools Development Specialist will support the charter application review and opening procedures processes. A full-time Accountability and Finance Specialist will assist with charter school accountability and charter school finance. Please share these opportunities widely and send interested qualified candidates our way.

Other Reminders and Information

Ongoing Communication

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. If you are unsure who to contact you, can email charterschools@doe.mass.edu and your inquiry will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member.

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 781-338-3227 for assistance.



Last Updated: July 23, 2013
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