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Office of the Commissioner

Commissioner's Back-to-School Update

Focused on a safe start to the new school year

Teaching and learning — whether happening in-person, remotely, or through a hybrid of both models — will look different this year. I want to thank everyone who has planned so carefully for this fall’s start of school.

Our primary concern is for the well-being of students and staff during the coronavirus pandemic. We recognize the difficulty of leading a school district in such times, and we will continue to post COVID-19 updates at COVID-19 Information and Resources, email information to districts, and hold conference calls. We are also sharing resources, including training opportunities, that schools, districts, and families can use to support their own learning and discussions related to racial equity and anti-racism awareness.

We will also continue to work on several initiatives that remain important to us. The Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning will continue to nurture deeper learning in Massachusetts schools through the pilot program that began in January. Our work to build a more diverse educator workforce that more closely resembles our student body will also continue.

During a year like no other, DESE wants to help you keep your school committee, teachers, parents, and communities informed and engaged. To that end, I have attached or linked the following resources:

  1. Back-to-School PSA: A brief video educators can share with staff, parents and the community about ways to keep each other safe during reopening.

  2. Remote Learning: We know that many of you will be using remote learning as part of a hybrid model or for all or of your students. Our new Remote Learning page offers technical resources for a variety of tools, guidance on remote learning, and other information.

  3. Teacher Recognition: A handy reference for superintendents and principals on ways to celebrate strong teachers.

Thank you for all you do for Massachusetts students.


Jeffrey C. Riley

Last Updated: August 21, 2020

Jeffrey C. Riley
Jeffrey C. Riley
Commissioner of Elementary
and Secondary Education

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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