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2023 Annual Report to BESE

Annual Report: 2022 – 2023

For the 2022-23 school year, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) leadership and staff focused on deepening DESE's support for districts and schools by addressing four overarching priorities:

  1. Provide Supports to Accelerate Student Learning
  2. Build a Diverse and Culturally Responsive Workforce
  3. Cultivate Safe and Healthy Learning Environments
  4. Align DESE Supports to a Shared Academic Vision of Deeper Learning

The Department's 2022 Annual Report is below, with opening letters from Board Chair Katherine Craven and Commissioner Riley .

1. Provide Supports to Accelerate Student Learning

The Department has taken various steps to improve student learning. Significant investments in high-quality instructional materials (HQIM) and professional learning have promoted the implementation of culturally and linguistically sustaining practices. The Department also supported evidence-based early literacy instruction, deeper learning practices, expanded Early College and Innovation Career Pathways, and improved resources for multilingual learners. Additionally, DESE released a new Individualized Education Program (IEP) form and invested in accelerated learning opportunities, including high-impact tutoring supports and after-school and summer programming, such as the Biggest Winner Math Challenge. The Department helped schools and districts implement learning acceleration practices aligned with the Acceleration Roadmap and provided targeted assistance to districts and schools identified in the state's accountability system.

2. Build a Diverse and Culturally Responsive Workforce

The Department's initiatives in this area include cohort learning programs, educator recruitment and retention programs, support for emergency licensed educators, and revised expectations for education preparation programs. These initiatives provided financial incentives, professional development, and other forms of support to educators from diverse backgrounds. The Department also conducted surveys and focus groups, created advisory groups, and piloted alternative licensure assessments.

3. Cultivate Safe and Healthy Learning Environments

The Department is prioritizing the mental and behavioral health and wellness of students, staff, and families by providing professional development opportunities, Mental Health First Aid training, and grants to support students' social emotional learning, behavioral and mental health, and wellness. The Department has also worked with schools and districts to help them create safe and supportive school environments, implement tiered systems of instruction, and plan for emergencies. The Department also provided updates related to COVID-19, offered grants to improve air quality in schools, and coordinated with other agencies to support families experiencing homelessness.

4. Align DESE Supports to a Shared Academic Vision of Deeper Learning

The Department updated its Educational Vision to align with a commitment to deeper learning for all students. DESE identified three key strategic objectives and developed a catalog of aligned supports, including guidance documents, resources, tools, professional learning, and grant offerings, to be shared with districts and schools. The Department also directed districts toward evidence-based strategies as districts used Student Opportunity Act (SOA) and federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to close achievement and opportunity gaps for underserved students.

While much remains to be done, DESE's efforts are working toward the goals of all Massachusetts students being known and valued; having relevant, real-world, and interactive learning experiences; and having the supports they need to excel at grade level or beyond.

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Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning

The Department launched the Kaleidoscope Cohort 2 within Boston Public Schools and launched a third cohort statewide, all to foster deeper learning instructional models that improve teaching and learning for students.

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Innovative science assessment

The innovative science assessment pilot in grades 5 and 8, which focuses on students applying science to real-life situations, expanded to over 100 schools, and DESE refined the performance tasks and provided PD to teachers involved in the initiative.

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Diversifying the educator workforce

The Department provided $3 million in educator diversification grants, continued a professional learning community on diversification, continuing pilots of Massachusetts Tests of Educator Licensure (MTEL) assessment alternatives, and continuing the Influence 100 fellowship.

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Districts requiring assistance

The Department provided targeted assistance to districts in the bottom 10 percent of the state's accountability system; worked with Boston on its Systemic Improvement Plan ; and supported the receiverships in Lawrence, Holyoke, and Southbridge.

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Accelerated learning opportunities

The Department continued to promote accelerated learning opportunities, including Acceleration Academies focused on mathematics and expansion of the Biggest Winner Math Challenge, a summer program for gifted and talented students, with a focus on Gateway Cities.

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Improved resources for supporting English learners

The Department continued to promote the use of the interactive Blueprint for English Learner Success and related resources, such as planning and professional development tools and stories from the field.

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Career technical education (CTE) admissions

The Department provided support for implementing the CTE admissions language that the Board adopted in June 2021, including monitoring and collaborating with districts and offering targeted grant support.

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Action-oriented research for educational equity

The Department established components of the statewide research hub and launched the Massachusetts Education-to-Career Research and Data Hub (E2C Hub) using data from DESE, the Department of Higher Education and the Department of Early Education and Care.

Board Members (2022-23) | Education-Related Laws | Educator Data | Summary Data | Agency Information

Copyright © 2023 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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