We are pleased to announce that we have extended the public comment period for feedback on the Subject Matter Knowledge (SMK) Guidelines to Friday, 6/29. Our hope in extending this public comment period is to solicit additional and diverse stakeholder feedback.
You will note one change to the SMK Guidelines for Reading Specialist from the previous version that we released for public comment on March 1st. Based on significant feedback (from the March public comment period) on the subject matter knowledge for the Reading Specialist license, we will be reverting to previous SMKs as we reconvene a working group to build out new SMKs in Fall 2018.
As previously noted, these Guidelines reflect a significant shift in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (ESE) approach to outlining content expectations for teachers. The approach emphasizes the importance of aligning the standards for students with expectations for educators. Most notably, for licensure areas in which the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks exist, ESE directly references a corresponding Framework to establish what educators need to demonstrate in content knowledge, rather than provide a separate set of expectations.
The proposed revised Guidelines were informed by the public comment we received during the fall of 2017 on a previous draft, as well as broader efforts to more closely align the training and preparation of our educators with expectations once employed.
The revision of the state's SMK requirements and the development of these Guidelines has been a long-term effort, first initiated in 2015 to align with new Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks in Mathematics; English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy; and Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) and then further influenced by changes to the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval in June 2017. During this time, ESE has engaged with numerous stakeholders to inform and shape the SMK requirements through various working groups, surveys, and periods of public comment.
Given that changes to the SMK requirements were initiated in order to better align expectations with the recent revisions to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, the majority of changes reflected in these Guidelines affect licenses for those responsible for teaching those standards. That said, we are committed to this overall approach for all license areas. Through public comment, we hope to gather input on the implications of this approach and insights about timelines that will allow for successful implementation. The public comment received during this period will inform a detailed implementation memo, which will be released along with final Guidelines.
There are some license areas with special circumstances worth noting:
The proposed revised SMK Guidelines are open for public comment through June 29, 2018. To provide public comment, please visit: Public Comment: Subject Matter Knowledge (SMK) Guidelines (May–June 2018).
We look forward to your feedback on the proposed changes and remain committed to collaborating with you in support of effective implementation of the final set of SMK Guidelines.
If you need assistance with the public comment survey or have any questions, please email: SMKRevisions@doe.mass.edu.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
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