The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Briefing for the June 25, 2019 Regular Meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

To:Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner
Date:June 14, 2019

The next regular meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) will be on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, at Rumney Marsh Academy, 140 American Legion Highway, Revere, MA. The meeting will start at 9:00 a.m. (coffee will be available at 8:30 a.m.) and should adjourn by 1:30 p.m. If you need overnight accommodations or any additional information about the schedule, please call Helene Bettencourt at (781) 338-3120.


Chair Craven suggested that the Board hold more meetings at schools around the state, and we thank Superintendent Diane Kelly and the Revere Public Schools for hosting the meeting on June 25. Our agenda includes discussion and votes on two matters of state education policy that the Board has discussed at previous meetings: adoption of the learning standards in the 2019 Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework, and modification of a few aspects of the school and district accountability system. I will discuss with the Board Our Way Forward, my plan to build on the strengths of K-12 education in the Commonwealth and support schools and educators to engage all students in deeper, applied learning. The Board's Committee on the Commissioner's Performance Evaluation, chaired by Vice-Chair James Morton, will present its report and recommendation to the Board for a vote. The Board will also: get an update on the revision process for the Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework, vote on the summer delegation of authority and the meeting schedule for FY2020, consider a request from the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, receive the State Student Advisory Council's end-of-year report, and get an update on the FY2020 state education budget.

Regular Meeting

Comments from the Chair

Chair Craven will report on current issues and activities. This is the final meeting for Maya Mathews as the elected student member of the Board for 2018-2019. We are grateful for her service and wish her much success in the future. The Board congratulates Matthew Tibbitts, a rising senior at Ludlow High School, who was elected as chair of the State Student Advisory Council earlier this month and will serve as a member of the Board from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. Matthew will attend the June 25 meeting along with Maya.

Comments from the Commissioner

  1. Recognizing outstanding educators. On Thursday, June 20, the Department will hold a ceremony at the State House to honor the 2020 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, Takeru Nagayoshi, an English teacher at New Bedford High School. The ceremony will also honor the finalists and semifinalists for the award, the Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year, the Milken Award winner for Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. It is a pleasure to recognize these honorees and to celebrate the great teachers who work with students all across the Commonwealth. Board members are warmly invited to join the celebration at the State House at 10 a.m. on June 20.

    I am also delighted that Lindsa McIntyre, principal of the Jeremiah Burke High School in Boston, has been selected as Massachusetts High School Principal of the Year by the Massachusetts School Administrators Association (MSAA). The Burke was identified in 2010 as an underperforming school, and in 2014 was the first high school to exit underperforming status. I understand that Dr. McIntyre gave a presentation to the Board in September 2016 about the turnaround work that she and her team have been doing and continue to do. We commend her outstanding leadership.

  2. Early college initiative. On June 13, I joined Governor Baker and Secretary Peyser at Bunker Hill Community College, where the Governor awarded designation to early college programs at 13 high schools and eight public colleges across the Commonwealth that will enroll thousands of students next fall, giving them opportunities to study in college-level courses and earn credits before they graduate high school. With the new awards, 35 high schools and 18 colleges in Massachusetts now have designated early college programs. These programs combine traditional high school classes with college courses to give students knowledge and exposure to an area of study while they earn up to 12 college credits (equivalent to one semester) for free. This initiative should help prepare and encourage more students to enroll in and persist through college. Our Board of Elementary and Secondary Education collaborates with the Board of Higher Education, through the Early College Joint Committee, to create the criteria that enable programs to become designated early college programs. More information is available at Baker-Polito Administration Designates New Early College Programs.

Comments from the Secretary

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

Items for Discussion and Action

  1. Welcome from Revere Public Schools

    Revere Superintendent Diane Kelly will welcome the Board and make a brief presentation. Information about the Revere Public Schools is included in your materials under Tab 1.

  2. Commissioner's Plan: Our Way Forward — Discussion

    After my first-year listening tour, including visits to over 100 schools and our March 2019 Kairos conference, I am pleased to be presenting my plan this month for Our Way Forward. I look forward to discussing the plan with you at the June 25 meeting.

  3. Annual Performance Evaluation of the Commissioner — Discussion and Vote

    Vice-Chair James Morton, who chairs the Board's Committee on the Commissioner's Performance Evaluation, will present the committee's report and recommend a motion on the Commissioner's evaluation.

  4. 2019 Arts Curriculum Framework — Discussion and Vote

    I recommend that the Board vote to adopt the learning standards in the 2019 Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework on June 25. The Department launched the review and revision of the 1999 Massachusetts Arts Framework in October 2017, and the Board has received periodic progress reports since then. In February 2019, the Board voted to release the draft revised framework for public comment. Under Tab 4, you have the updated framework, a summary of the comments, and other background information. At our meeting, Associate Commissioner Ron Noble, lead writer of the revised framework Craig Waterman, and newly hired Arts Content Lead Dawn Benski will present a summary of the revised framework and respond to questions.

  5. District and School Accountability System: Recommended Modifications — Discussion and Vote

    I recommend that the Board vote on June 25 approve modifications to the Department's district and school accountability system. The Board discussed these modifications at the March 15 meeting. Since then, the Department has solicited public comment, convened a meeting of the Board's Accountability and Assistance Advisory Council, and held information sessions with district and school personnel. These activities, and the revised proposed modifications, are summarized in the memo under Tab 5. Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston and Associate Commissioner Rob Curtin will be available to answer your questions.

  6. Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework: Update on Revision Process — Discussion

    This month we will update the Board on the review and revision of the 1999 Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework. Kristen McKinnon, Assistant Director of Student and Family Support, and Rachelle Engler Bennett, Associate Commissioner, Student and Family Support, will give a brief presentation and respond to questions. The materials under Tab 6 include a timeline and a list of the members of the framework review panel.

  7. Delegation of Authority to Commissioner to take Necessary Action between Board Meetings and to Approve Proposed Contracts with Education Management Organizations for Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School and Roxbury Preparatory Charter School — Discussion and Vote

    Because we have a three-month hiatus until the next meeting of the Board, I recommend that you vote to authorize the Commissioner to act on your behalf in approving any matters that are not otherwise covered by the Board's previous delegations of authority and that require Board action before the next regular meeting in September 2019. By the terms of the suggested motion, I will consult with the Board Chair in advance of any such action and report to the Board on any matters that have been so approved. In addition, I recommend that the Board vote to authorize the Commissioner to approve the management contracts of two charter schools. Both schools are developing or revising their education services contracts, and each school plans to complete that work over the summer. In similar situations involving other charter schools, the Board has delegated the contract approval to the Commissioner.

  8. Schedule for Regular Board Meetings through June 2020 — Vote

    After checking with members, we have prepared a proposed schedule for regular Board meetings through June 2020. With the Board's approval, we will post the schedule on our website.

  9. Request by Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School for Review of Commissioner's Decision — Discussion and Possible Vote

    The board of trustees of the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School (PVCICS) has requested that the Board review my decision to not recommend an increase of the school's maximum enrollment from 584 to 952 students. The charter school regulations state that "should the Commissioner… deny an amendment request, the charter school's board of trustees may seek review of the Commissioner's decision by the Board." You will find detailed information under Tab 9. On June 25, the Board will discuss the basis for my decision and consider the school's request in light of the evidence presented by the Department. Representatives of the school will be at the meeting to provide information to the Board, and Department staff will be available to answer your questions.

  10. State Student Advisory Council End-of-Year Report for 2018-2019 — Discussion

    Board member Maya Mathews presented some of the work of the State Student Advisory Council at our April meeting at Newton North High School. She will distribute the SSAC's end-of-year report at our June 25 meeting. We thank Maya for her service to the students of the Commonwealth and to this Board.

  11. Update on FY2020 State Education Budget — Discussion

    Senior Associate Commissioner/CFO Bill Bell and I will update the Board on the latest information we have on the state education budget for FY2020.

Other Items for Information

  1. Chronically Underperforming Schools Annual Report

    Under Tab 12 are the FY2019 End-of-Year Reports from the four chronically underperforming schools: John P. Holland Elementary School (UP Academy Holland) and Paul A. Dever Elementary School (Dever) in Boston, Morgan Full Service Community School (Morgan) in Holyoke, and John Avery Parker Elementary School (Parker) in New Bedford.

  2. Improving Education for English Learners: Update on LOOK Act Implementation

    In June 2018, the Board voted to amend several areas of regulation to improve the instruction of English learners and implement the Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK) Act. Under Tab 13 is a brief summary of some key provisions of the LOOK Act and the work the Department has been doing over the past year, and is continuing to do, to support districts and schools in implementing the legislation.

  3. Annual Report on Non-Operating School Districts Approved by the Commissioner

    By statute, towns that do not operate their own public schools (generally because the town is small and is not a member of a regional school district) must request and receive approval annually from the Board to tuition their students to public schools in other towns. In June 2009, the Board voted to delegate this approval authority to the commissioner. Enclosed is a memo reporting on the approvals I have granted.

If you have questions about any agenda items, please call me. I look forward to seeing you at the meeting in Revere on June 25.