The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the February 12, 2019 Regular Meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner
February 1, 2019

The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) will be on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (Department) offices at 75 Pleasant Street in Malden. The regular meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. (coffee will be available at 8:00 a.m.) and should adjourn by 1:00 p.m. If you need overnight accommodations or additional information about the schedule, please call Helene Bettencourt at (781) 338-3120.


The agenda for our regular business meeting this month includes discussion and action on several charter school items: potential new charters, an expansion request, a report on probation and request to amend a charter, and a progress report on the innovative district-charter collaboration in New Bedford. Other items on the business agenda are: a vote to solicit public comment on the draft updated Arts curriculum framework; adoption of amendments to the Competency Determination regulations relating to high school science for the classes of 2023 and 2024; and discussion of the Governor's FY2020 education budget proposal and school finance bill, "An Act to Promote Equity and Excellence in Education."

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Sagan will report on current issues and activities.

Comments from the Commissioner

The Commissioner will brief the Board on current issues and activities.

Comments from the Secretary

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

Items for Discussion and Action

Charter School:

Several charter school items are on the agenda this month. Cliff Chuang, Senior Associate Commissioner; Alison Bagg, Director; and Alyssa Hopkins, School Development Manager, will be at the meeting to assist with the discussion on all items relating to charter schools.

  1. Recommendation on New Charter Schools — Discussion and Vote

    By statute, the Board grants charters for new charter schools at its February meeting. In October 2018, the Department received final applications to establish two charter schools. In your materials for the January 22 meeting, you received a memorandum previewing these charter applications, executive summaries from each applicant group, and a description of the process for awarding new charters.

  2. Excel Academy: Expansion Request — Discussion and Vote

    I recommend that the Board approve an amendment request from Excel Academy Charter School, a regional Commonwealth charter school serving grades 5-12 in Boston and Chelsea, to increase its enrollment by 56 seats. The memorandum under Tab 2 details the request from the school's board of trustees and the basis for my recommendation.

  3. Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School: Report on Probation and Request to Amend Charter — Discussion and Vote

    In January 2018, the Board renewed the charter of Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School in Holyoke and placed the school on probation, imposing eleven conditions related to enrollment, governance, and academics. You received a report at the January 22, 2019 meeting on the school's progress in meeting these conditions. As of February 1, 2019, the Department has not yet received and reviewed additional information that we have requested from the school regarding its viability. I expect to have all the necessary information and a recommendation for Board action, in advance of the February 12 meeting.

  4. Alma del Mar Charter School-New Bedford Partnership: Progress Report — Discussion

    At the January 22 meeting, the Board approved an expansion of 450 seats for Alma del Mar Charter School in New Bedford, conditioned on an innovative collaboration between the charter school and the New Bedford Public Schools. The Board also voted to authorize the charter school to expand by 594 seats if the collaborative plan does not come to fruition. At our February 12 meeting, I will update the Board on the progress the parties have made.

Other Items for Discussion:

  1. Draft Updated Arts Curriculum Framework — Continuing Discussion and Vote to Solicit Public Comment

    At the December 2018 Board meeting, Department staff and members of the arts standards review panel presented an overview of the design of the draft revised Arts curriculum framework. At our meeting on February 12, Associate Commissioner Ron Noble and Assistant Director of Instructional Policy Craig Waterman will present the full draft revised framework and respond to your questions. I recommend that the Board vote at this meeting to send out the draft for public comment. We expect to present the final revised framework to the Board for further discussion and a vote in June 2019.

  2. Amendments to Competency Determination Regulations on High School Science and Technology/Engineering, 603 CMR 30.00, for Classes of 2023 and 2024 — Discussion and Vote

    I recommend that the Board vote on February 12 to adopt amendments to the Regulations on MCAS and the Competency Determination. The Board reviewed the proposed changes in November 2018 and voted to solicit public comment on them. The amendments would establish an interim competency determination standard in high school science and technology/ engineering for students in the classes of 2023 and 2024. This approach provides fairness as we transition from the legacy assessments to the next-generation assessments in high school science and technology/engineering and is consistent with the regulations that the Board adopted last year for the transition of the high school ELA and mathematics assessments. The memo under Tab 6 discusses the changes and the comments we received. Associate Commissioner Michol Stapel and Lucy Wall of our legal staff will join us for the discussion.

  3. Governor's FY2020 State Education Budget Proposal and An Act to Promote Equity and Excellence in Education — Discussion

    Item 7 includes an overview of Governor Baker's elementary and secondary education budget proposal for FY2020, as well as the Governor's school finance bill, "An Act to Promote Equity and Excellence in Education." Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson, Senior Associate Commissioner/CFO Bill Bell, and Budget Director Julia Jou will join us for the discussion.

Other Items for Information

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

    Enclosed is information on grants and charter school matters that I have approved since the last meeting, under the authority the Board has delegated to the Commissioner.

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you at the meeting in Malden on February 12.