The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Update on Level 5 Schools

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
October 10, 2014

At last month's Board meeting on September 23, 2014, I presented the first quarterly progress report on the current cohort of Level 5 schools, UP Academy Holland and Paul A. Dever Elementary School in Boston, Morgan Full Service Community School in Holyoke, and John Avery Parker Elementary School in New Bedford. The quarterly report featured information on the implementation of each school's turnaround plan.

This memo provides an update about our work with those four schools since our September meeting. This memo includes:

Information Regarding Commissioner Visits

I have scheduled visits to each of the four schools this month. I plan to join each school community for a few hours in order to observe the teaching and learning happening at each site as well as meet the teachers and school leaders doing this important work. The schedule of school visits is below, and I will provide an update at our October 21 meeting. Board members are welcome to join me on these visits.

Level 5 Quarterly Progress Monitoring Plan

For each school in Level 5 status, staff from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) have coordinated a quarterly progress monitoring system in order to provide a comprehensive view of the progress in teaching and learning at each school. The monitoring plan will measure progress toward turnaround plan implementation and benchmarks. DESE has posted a Request for Quote (RFQ) to solicit a vendor to assist DESE in performing this work.

A schedule for reporting on the progress of Level 5 schools to external stakeholders, including the Board and local school committees, has been created. In December, DESE will issue the second quarterly report focused on teaching and learning in the four schools. In March, DESE will issue the third quarterly report featuring information on student, family, and community engagement. To close out the year, the fourth quarterly report in June will review Level 5 progress toward implementation of school turnaround plans, including results from a site visit by an external evaluator. In addition to the quarterly reports, I will report monthly to the Board on Level 5 schools.

School Site Council/Parent Advisory Council Updates

Board members asked about school governance and the creation of Parent Advisory Councils (PACs). All four schools are in the process of creating School Site Councils (SSCs) and English language learner PACs. Enclosed please find an update on each school's specific councils as well as the meeting calendars for the various groups.

Next Steps for the Four Schools

I am looking forward to my visits to each of the schools to see teaching and learning in practice and speak with members of each school community directly. I will brief the Board on October 21 about the school visit that will have occurred by that date. We also expect to provide Board members with additional data on staffing patterns at each school. Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston and other members of our staff will be at the October 21 meeting to respond to your questions.


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School Site Councils and Parent Advisory Councils