DESE Update, October 11th, 2019

1. Application Open for the Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning:

The Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning is a pilot program created to nurture deeper learning in Massachusetts public schools. The pilot will run from January 2020 to June 2021 and will give individual schools and entire districts the chance to rethink classroom instruction around deeper learning.

Schools, districts, and collaboratives that want to push innovations in professional development, instruction, learning spaces, community partnerships, and other areas to improve student outcomes are encouraged to apply to the pilot program by Friday, November 15.

Picture of the Week:

On October 4, Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago, Early Education and Care Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy and Commissioner Riley spoke at “In Pursuit of Equity, Accountability, and Success: Latinx Students in Massachusetts Schools”, a symposium at Worcester State University. Parts of the event were recorded, and video is available online at https://www.worcester.edu/livestream/.

3. Registration Open for “Sharing for Success” Dissemination Fair:

The “Sharing for Success” Dissemination Fair will run from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, November 8 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Leominster. The event is an opportunity to learn best practices from a variety of schools, ask questions, and make contacts for future conversations. Topics that will be discussed include:

  • Reducing chronic absenteeism;
  • Interdisciplinary, project-based learning;
  • Recruiting and retaining diverse and talented teachers;
  • Effective academic interventions;
  • Best practices in supporting students with disabilities and English learners;
  • Social-emotional learning;
  • Culturally responsive instruction;
  • Re-engaging disengaged learners;
  • Restorative practices;
  • Cross-sector dissemination;
  • Creating a holistic district/school-wide approach to equity; and
  • Trauma-sensitive practices.

This event is intended for school and district leaders and their teams, including school staff such as teachers, counselors, or instructional coaches. Each member of the team should register separately, and presenters should register, too.

The registration deadline is Friday, November 1. Please contact Esther Jeong at esther.jeong@doe.mass.edu or 781-338-3206 with any questions.

Please note that there will be a meeting for charter school leaders only from 2:30-3:15 p.m. on November 8 at the same location.

4. New Afterschool and Summer Grant Opportunity:

A new grant is available to increase access to high quality afterschool and summer learning programs. Applicants may apply for up two programs per district, for up to $95,000 for the creation of a new program or $50,000 for an existing program. The grant’s priorities include serving additional underserved students and closing opportunity gaps. Applications are due on November 7. Please contact asost@doe.mass.edu with questions.

5. VOCAL Webinar:

The Department will offer an hour-long webinar on what schools and districts need to know to appropriately analyze the Views of Climate and Learning (VOCAL) survey data that will be available on October 25. The webinar is planned for 2:30 p.m. on November 7. Registration for the webinar is available online, and anyone with questions about the webinar can email Shelagh Peoples at speoples@doe.mass.edu.

6. Fall Healthy Schools Wellness Webinar Series:

All districts are invited to join a free Healthy Schools Wellness Webinar Series offered by the John C. Stalker Institute on Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University. Participants will learn how to build buy-in to improve the school health environment using evidence-based tools derived from the Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community Framework that the CDC Healthy Schools Program uses.  District and school-based wellness teams are particularly encouraged to participate, as are student, family, and community partners who support school wellness initiatives.

Registration is open online for the November 13 webinar on “Moving Wellness Initiatives into Action” and for the December 4 webinar on “Translating Nutrition Policy into Action”. Anyone with questions can email Lenore Maniaci at lenore.maniaci@doe.mass.edu.

7. Grants for Breakfast After the Bell:

Project Bread is offering three grant opportunities for the 2019-2020 academic year to schools or districts looking to launch or improve a Breakfast After the Bell program. The grants are timely, given that the state budget now mandates that schools serve Breakfast After the Bell if 60 percent or more of their students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Grants are available for:

  • Schools or districts mandated by the state budget to serve Breakfast After the Bell;
  • Schools or districts currently offering Breakfast After the Bell and looking to serve healthier menu items; and
  • Schools or districts that want to start serving Breakfast After the Bell and that have at least 30 percent of their students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Funding awards range from $2,500 per school to $12,500 per district. Districts may apply for more than one grant. Applications are due by November 15, and funding announcements will be made by December 20. Visit www.meals4kids.org/breakfastgrants for more information.

8. Bilingual Education Endorsement:

The Department recently published a memo on the requirements for educators to receive a Bilingual Education Endorsement (download), and the memo also contains other information that may be helpful to school districts that are offering or planning to offer a bilingual education program. Topics in the memo include pathways for obtaining the Bilingual Education Endorsement, information on waiver applications, the endorsement’s relationship to previous Transitional Bilingual Educator credentials, and where to go for more information.

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