The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the March 26, 2013 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
March 15, 2013

The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 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 will adjourn by 1 p.m. We will not have a special meeting this month. If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call JC Considine at (781) 338-3112.


At this month's meeting, we will have presentations and discussions on several important topics, including our joint initiatives with the Department of Early Education and Care; our implementation of the recommendations of the Board's Task Force on Integrating College and Career Readiness; an update on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC); our initiatives to assist schools and districts in using student data to improve instruction; and an update on the state and federal education budget.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Banta will report on current issues and activities.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. Definition of College and Career Readiness. Our Board voted on February 26 to adopt the Massachusetts definition of college and career readiness. On March 12, the Board of Higher Education also voted to adopt the definition. This is a milestone; it is the first time the two boards overseeing the Commonwealth's elementary and secondary schools and public colleges and universities have partnered in formal agreement on what it means for students to be prepared for success in college and in the workplace. The definition sends a clear, unified message to educators, students, parents, and employers about our expectations and the level of preparation and performance that signals a student's readiness for college and career. The unified definition will provide a solid foundation for continued collaboration between the K-12 and higher education sectors.

  2. Career Vocational Technical Education Task Force. I have convened a task force including representatives from both the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS) to identify issues being raised respectively by superintendents from regional vocational technical schools and superintendents from traditional school districts in regard to the vocational-technical system in Massachusetts. The task force will recommend policy and regulatory options for addressing the issues that are raised. Associate Commissioner Pati Gregson is coordinating the work of the task force. We will receive the task force's report later this year and then I will present my recommendations to the Board for your consideration.

  3. Education conferences. I will report to the Board on several education conferences in which I have participated this month.

Comments from the Secretary

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

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Report on EEC-ESE Joint Initiatives and EEC's Early Learning Challenge Grant under Race to the Top - Discussion

    I am pleased that Early Education and Care Acting Commissioner Tom Weber and Board Chair J.D. Chesloff will be joining us at our March 26 meeting to discuss initiatives underway at the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). In particular, they will present information on EEC's $50 million federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-Early Learning Challenge) grant and on joint projects between EEC and our agency. Our partnership with EEC aims to promote students' success in school by strengthening their social- emotional and physical development skills and learning experiences in their first five years. Senior Associate Commissioner Bob Bickerton and Donna Traynham, our Coordinator of Learning Support Programs, will join the presentation and discussion.

  2. Progress Report on Integrating College and Career Readiness - Discussion

    We have been making steady progress in implementing the recommendations in the Task Force Report for the Integration of College and Career Readiness. The Task Force was chaired by Board member Gerald Chertavian. At this month's meeting, Senior Associate Commissioner Bob Bickerton, Associate Commissioner Pati Gregson, and Keith Westrich, Director of College and Career Readiness, will present the progress report and anticipated next steps.

  3. Update on PARCC - Discussion

    I will update the Board on our work to develop the next generation of student assessments through the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium, of which Massachusetts is a member. Senior Associate Commissioner Bob Bickerton will join our discussion. I am honored to chair the PARCC Governing Board, which is comprised of the chief state school officers of the governing states, and we are fortunate to have Richard Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education, co-chair the Advisory Committee on College Readiness, the higher education complement to the PARCC Governing Board.

  4. Using Student Data to Improve Instruction: Report on State Initiatives to Assist Schools and Districts - Discussion

    One strategy to improve the quality of classroom instruction is to help educators make better use of student-level data. At our meeting this month, we will present two initiatives that we have undertaken to support educators in this work. The first is Edwin, the nickname for the Commonwealth's new comprehensive teaching and learning platform. The second is the Shared Learning Initiative, in which we are partnering with eight other states to explore the feasibility of a multi-state technology platform. Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson; Sharon Wright, our Executive Office's chief information officer; and Rob Curtin, our manager of education data services, will join us at the March 26 meeting to present more information about these initiatives and respond to your questions.

  5. Update on State and Federal Education Budget - Discussion

    Secretary Malone, DESE Chief Financial Officer Bill Bell, and I will brief the Board on the status of the state and federal education budget.

Other Items for Information

  1. Education-Related News Clippings

    Enclosed are several recent articles about education.

  2. Report on Grants Approved by the Commissioner

    Under Tab 7 you will find a report on the grants 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 March 26.