The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the September 24, 2012 Special Meeting and the September 25, 2012 Regular Meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
September 14, 2012

The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, September 25, 2012, at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's offices at 75 Pleasant Street in Malden. The regular meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. (coffee will be available at 8) and should adjourn by 1 p.m. The Board will also hold a special meeting on Monday, September 24, 2012, from 5-7 p.m., at our offices in Malden. If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call JC Considine at (781) 338-3112.


The special meeting on Monday evening is an opportunity for the Board to review and discuss the statewide results from the 2012 administration of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exams and the school and district report cards. No votes will be taken. The regular meeting on Tuesday morning is the Board's annual meeting, leading off with election of the vice-chair. We will recap the Monday evening discussion and then have updates on implementation of the new educator evaluation system and the Lawrence Public Schools receivership. The Board will discuss and vote on several items, including an initial vote on proposed new regulations on educational collaboratives and on an amendment to the educator licensure regulations to create a new transition specialist endorsement, as well as a final vote on amendments to the school finance regulations. The Board also will have an initial discussion on the process and timelines for the FY2014 budget and possible legislative proposals.

Special Meeting

2011-12 Achievement and Accountability Overview - Discussion

At the special meeting on September 24, I will present (1) the statewide results from the 2012 administration of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exams, and (2) the school and district report cards based on No Child Left Behind waiver criteria. This year's release marks the 15th annual administration of MCAS and the first year that we are presenting new report cards based on the waiver criteria. No votes will be taken at the special meeting.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Banta will report on current issues and activities. She will appoint a budget committee at this month's meeting. Chair Banta also will introduce new Board member Ryan Casey, a senior at Franklin High School, who was elected chair of the State Student Advisory Council in June and will serve on the Board as a full voting member through June 2013.

Comments from the Commissioner

New resources for curriculum and assessment in schools. I am pleased that we are providing two valuable sets of resources to support educators in implementing the new Massachusetts frameworks in English/language arts and mathematics. First, as a member state in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), we have the benefit of the sample item and task prototypes that the project has released. These prototypes provide an initial understanding of how the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) connect to the new, innovative assessments being developed by the 23-state PARCC consortium. As you are aware, the 2011 Massachusetts English/language arts and mathematics frameworks incorporate the CCSS. More information.

Second, in addition to the released PARCC items and task prototypes, I am pleased to announce that 34 Model Curriculum Units will be released for piloting beginning this fall. Teachers from over 60 school districts across the Commonwealth helped to develop units that span pre-K through grade 12 in English/language arts, mathematics, science, and history & social sciences. The 34 units are the first of more than 100 that will be developed by August 2014. These units are intended to illustrate exemplary curriculum that is aligned to the Commonwealth's frameworks.

These resources help to advance our goal to provide every educator with the tools necessary to promote and support student achievement. I will keep you posted on our progress.

Comments from the Secretary

Secretary Reville will brief the Board on current issues and activities.

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Annual Meeting: Election of Vice-Chair - Discussion and Vote

    Under the Board's by-laws, the September meeting is the annual meeting of the Board, at which the vice-chair is elected. Chair Banta will call for nominations from Board members and then conduct the election. The vice-chair presides over meetings when the chair is not available.

  2. 2011-12 Achievement and Accountability Overview - Continuing Discussion

    We will recap and continue our discussion from the Monday evening special meeting.

  3. Educator Evaluation: Report on Implementation - Discussion

    In June 2011, the Board adopted regulations creating a new framework for educator evaluation. During the current school year, 236 Race to the Top districts will begin implementing the new evaluation system. The memo under Tab 3 provides an overview of implementation across the Commonwealth. We will discuss key issues and next steps at our September 25 meeting. Deputy Commissioner Alan Ingram; Claudia Bach, Director of our Office of Educator Preparation, Policy and Leadership; and other staff members will join us for the discussion.

  4. Update on Lawrence Public Schools Receivership - Discussion

    The Board voted in November 2011 to designate the Lawrence Public Schools as a Level 5 district, and I appointed Jeff Riley as receiver in January 2012. I will update the board on actions that Jeff Riley, Superintendent/Receiver of the Lawrence Public Schools, has taken since he presented to the Board at the June meeting. Key activities are described in the memo and attachments under Tab 4.

  5. Proposed Regulations on Educational Collaboratives - Initial Discussion and Vote to Solicit Public Comment

    A comprehensive amendment to the statute authorizing educational collaboratives (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40, Section 4E) was recently enacted as Chapter 43 of the Acts of 2012. This new legislation, called An Act Relative to Improving Accountability and Oversight of Education Collaboratives, provides for sweeping changes in the operation and accountability of education collaboratives. This month we are presenting to the Board, for initial review and a vote to solicit public comment, proposed regulations under the new law. With the Board's approval, we will solicit comment on the regulations and bring them back to the Board for a final vote in November 2012. Christine Lynch, Director of School Governance, and Jay Sullivan, Director of School Business Services, will be at the meeting to respond to your questions.

  6. Amendments to School Finance Regulations, 603 CMR 10.00 - Discussion and Vote

    At the May 2012 Board meeting, the Board invited public comment on proposed amendments to the School Finance and Accountability regulations, 603 CMR 10.00. I will ask for a final vote on the amendments to the regulations at our meeting on September 25. The amendments increase the threshold for extraordinary maintenance projects, clarify certain statutory provisions addressing pre-payments of special education expenses, and make certain technical corrections. I am recommending no changes to the amendments as they were proposed in May. Jay Sullivan, Director of School Business Services, will be present to respond to your questions.

  7. Proposed Regulations on Transition Specialist Endorsement (Educator Licensure) - Initial Discussion and Vote to Solicit Public Comment

    In March 2012, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law An Act Relative to Student with Disabilities in Post-Secondary Education, Employment, and Independent Living, which directs the Board to establish a specialist teacher endorsement in transition services for special education teachers and rehabilitation counselors. At this month's meeting, we will present the proposed regulations for initial review and a vote to solicit public comment. With the Board's approval, we will solicit comment on the regulations and bring them back to the Board for a final vote in November 2012. Claudia Bach, Director of the Department's Office of Educator Preparation, Policy, and Leadership (EPPL); Brian Devine, Director of the Licensure Office; Marcia Mittnacht, State Director for Special Education; Liz Losee, Assistant Director of the Office of EPPL; and Debra Comfort, Associate General Counsel, will be present at the Board meeting to answer your questions.

  8. Process and Timelines for FY2014 Budget and Possible Legislative Proposals - Initial Discussion

    Now that we have the FY2013 state budget for the fiscal year that began on July 1, it is time to begin planning for the FY2014 budget. At this month's meeting we will review the anticipated calendar of the state budget cycle and our state accounts. In October, we will discuss possible budget priorities and program initiatives that the Board may wish to propose, as well as possible legislative proposals.

Other Items for Information

  1. RETELL Update and Correspondence with DOJ

    In June 2012, the Board adopted regulations on educator preparation and licensure that are a key component of our RETELL initiative, a comprehensive effort to strengthen teaching and learning for English language learners and thereby close proficiency gaps. This summer we launched the pilot program of training and professional development for sheltered English instruction educators. We have also continued discussions with representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Under Tab 9, for your information, is an update on RETELL that I sent to school officials in August 2012, as well as correspondence from DOJ and the response that the Chief of the Government Bureau of the Attorney General's office sent to DOJ on our behalf.

  2. Legislative Report: Education-Related Laws Enacted in 2011-2012 Session

    Under Tab 10 is a summary of the education-related state laws enacted in the 2011-2012 legislative session. Compared to previous years, in this session the Legislature enacted a remarkable number of education-related laws with a significant impact on school districts and on our Department.

  3. Advisory Council Appointments and FY12 Annual Reports

    The Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 established advisory councils to advise the Commissioner and the Board on matters related to improving public education and student achievement. The advisory councils are made up of volunteers who work with us to improve public education by providing advice and comment in specific program areas. Under Tab 11 is a report on the membership of the advisory councils, including action I took this summer under the Board delegated authority to fill one vacant seat. Also enclosed is a compilation of the 2012 annual reports from each of the advisory councils.

  4. Education-Related News Clippings

    Enclosed are several recent articles about education.

  5. Report on Grants and Charter School Matters Approved by the Commissioner

    Under Tab 13 you will find reports on grants and charter school matters that I approved since the last Board meeting, under the authority that the Board has delegated to me.

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you at the Department on September 24 and 25.