The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Response to the "Integration of College and Career Readiness" Task Force Report

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
October 12, 2012

At the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) meeting on June 26, 2012, Gerald Chertavian - along with Gary Gottlieb, President and CEO of Partners Health Care, Dan O'Connell, President and CEO of MA Competitive Partnerships, and Sheila Harrity, Principal of Worcester Technical High School - presented the report and recommendations of the Board's Task Force for the Integration of College and Career Readiness. I am grateful to Gerald for his leadership of the Task Force and for bringing together so many varied and knowledgeable voices on the critical issue of integrating college and career readiness.

At our October Board meeting I will present the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) proposed actions in response to the Task Force recommendations. In short, the Task Force report will serve as a guide for the Department on the work of ensuring that Massachusetts students are prepared for success and opportunities after high school - including career and higher education opportunities. In this memorandum, I am providing an update of key agency activities and plans that support and advance the recommendations in the report.

The Department has established goals and taken the following steps to implement the recommendations:

  1. I have asked the Center for Vocational, Workforce, and College Readiness Programs to take a leadership role in focusing the agency's efforts on implementation and outcomes related to our College and Career Ready (CCR) goals. Using the "Delivery" methodology, i.e., a comprehensive organizational development process for driving progress and delivering results, the Department is developing a Delivery Plan for CCR. The plan is designed to identify quantifiable targets, timelines, trajectories toward goal achievement, and delivery chains (i.e., all related human and organizational resources and processes) to organize and provide accountability for the work ahead.

  2. We have convened a working group comprised of 17 members from the Department and other external partners from the Commonwealth Corporation, MA Business Alliance for Education (MBAE), the Department of Higher Education (DHE), and the Massachusetts School Counselors Association (MASCA). The working group will oversee and guide the operational work of five subcommittees organized around the high level recommendations identified in the report. This group has met four times to date and will continue to meet on a bi-monthly basis to advance the work plan established to meet our CCR delivery goals over the next five years.

  3. Five working subcommittees, co-chaired by members of the working group, have been established with representation on the state, regional and local levels organized around the high level recommendations identified in the report. Each subcommittee has met three times to date and will continue to meet on a regular basis.

The Task Force articulated a clear vision: "Massachusetts must create a comprehensive state-wide system with structured, aligned and strategic partnerships that supports students' fluid movement through elementary, secondary and higher education into successful careers." The report identified six action steps the Department should pursue over the next five years in order to realize the report recommendations. These action steps are listed below along with primary goals and strategies.

Action Steps, Goals, and Strategies:

  1. Incorporate Career Readiness into Massachusetts's Recommended Course of Study

    Goal: Increase the percentage of students taking an enhanced MassCore consisting of academic core coursework and career readiness activities.
    Strategy: Build on existing Work and Learning, Connecting Activities and Career and Vocational Technical Education (CVTE) programming to expand career development models.

    Goal: Increase the percentage of students taking part in career readiness and contextual learning activities based on career development education "power" standards.
    Strategy: Identify and extract career readiness "power standards" from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, the CVTE standards, and the Career Development Education (CDE) benchmarks.

    Goal: Increase the percentage of students participating and succeeding in demonstrating proficiency on assessments of career readiness.
    Strategy: Identify a wide range of local formative and summative assessments that have potential to measure career readiness standards.

  2. Strengthen School, Employer, Higher Education, and Community Partnerships

    Goal: Increase the number of employers sponsoring career development activities.
    Strategy: Establish an "Employer Champions" group.

    Goal: Increase awareness and opportunities for all partners to support career development activities.
    Strategy: Develop a toolkit and resources for all partners to access information.

    Goal: Increase the number of adults charged with brokering career development opportunities for students.
    Strategy: Expand Connecting Activities capacity to prepare and place students in a variety of career development activities.

  3. Improve the Utilization of School Counselors in Deployment of Career Readiness Education

    Goal: Increase the number of districts implementing the MA Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs (MA Model) in partnership with MASCA.
    Strategy: Provide professional development through statewide and regional MASCA conferences.

    Goal: Increase the number of students who are engaged in secondary and postsecondary planning as early as grade 6.
    Strategy: Increase the number of counselors using YourPlanForTheFuture, an online college and career planning web portal designed to support students and schools.

    Goal: Increase the number of district leaders and counselors who develop team professional practice goals that support college and career readiness using counselor indicators.
    Strategy: Provide professional development through MASCA.

  4. Incentivize Schools to Create and Demonstrate Comprehensive Career Readiness Strategies

    Goal: Provide funding that incentivizes schools to realize report recommendations.
    Strategy: Develop and launch competitive funding opportunities for school planning/implementation efforts and share lessons learned for replication.

  5. Promote the Importance of College and Career Readiness for All Students

    Goal: Increase the understanding among Massachusetts students, families and educators about what it takes for students to be prepared for postsecondary success.
    Strategy: Develop a Future Ready web "landing site" where statewide tools and resources will be made available to promote readiness for college and careers (one-stop shopping).

    Goal: Increase awareness of and access to higher education learning opportunities and career development resources.
    Strategy: Sponsor statewide summits for educators, employers, workforce development partners, mentoring organizations and other relevant stakeholders.

  6. Explicitly Identify Personnel Responsible for Effectively Executing the Recommendations

    Goal: Increase Department staff and capacity to manage and support this initiative.
    Strategy: Identify resources for additional staff.

    Goal: Create a high-level advisory group comprised of leaders in the elementary and secondary education, higher education, and business sectors as stewards of the ongoing statewide collaboration effort.
    Strategy: Convene the advisory group in partnership with the Executive Office of Education and the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.


The Integration of College and Career Readiness Task Force Report