DESE Updates

February 15th, 2019

By Andree EntezariFebruary 15th, 2019in DESE Updates

1. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Meeting: The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met on February 12 and voted to allow Excel Academy Charter School to add 56 more seats for students in Chelsea. The school has campuses in both Boston and Chelsea. The Board also voted to extend the probation of Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School, continue some of the conditions that were already in place, and impose others. The school plans to move to Chicopee (another part of the region it serves) for the 2019-2020 school year, and the new conditions include showing the readiness of the school’s proposed facility in Chicopee by May 1, 2019. The Board also agreed to approve the school’s request to decrease... More

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February 8th, 2019

By Andree EntezariFebruary 8th, 2019in DESE Updates

1. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to Meet: The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, February 12 in Malden. The agenda includes a vote on the commissioner’s recommendation that Excel Academy Charter School, which has campuses in Boston and Chelsea, be allowed to expand its enrollment by 56 students; a report on probation and a charter amendment request for the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School in Holyoke; a progress report on the Alma del Mar Charter School-New Bedford partnership; a vote to solicit public comment on the draft updated arts curriculum framework; a vote to establish an interim competency determination standard on the high school science MCAS as the state transitions to the... More

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February 1st, 2019

By Andree EntezariFebruary 1st, 2019in DESE Updates

1. School Choice Reporting Requirement for the 2019-2020 School Year: The inter-district school choice law (G.L. c.76, s.12B) requires all districts to accept incoming school choice students unless the school committee votes not to participate or votes to limit the number of incoming students in particular grades. School committees must take the required vote annually before June 1. This year, DESE is fully implementing an electronic reporting system, eliminating the need for districts to send individual letters regarding school choice participation. All districts must report their school choice participation plans no later than June 1. The Department will publish the information on DESE’s school choice webpage to inform families of these options. Please note that if the district does not submit a response, More

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January 25th, 2019

By Andree EntezariJanuary 25th, 2019in DESE Updates

1. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Meeting: The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met on January 22 and approved two motions with respect to an expansion request from Alma del Mar Charter School (download) in New Bedford. The first motion approved an expansion of 450 seats as part of an innovative compromise between the charter school and the New Bedford Public Schools to serve New Bedford families. If the negotiations and legislation needed for that compromise do not come to pass, the Board’s second motion would apply and would grant Alma del Mar an increase of 594 seats following the normal process. The Board also voted to renew the charter for City on a Hill Charter Public School, New Bedford... More

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January 18th, 2019

By Andree EntezariJanuary 18th, 2019in DESE Updates

1. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Meetings: The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education held a special meeting on January 14. Commissioner Riley announced that he, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, and Alma del Mar Charter School Executive Director Will Gardner had reached a proposed compromise on Alma del Mar’s expansion request. The Board is scheduled to vote on Commissioner Riley’s recommendation at its January 22 meeting. Also on January 14, the Board learned about redesigned school and district report cards and heard an update on automated test scoring. All students will continue to have their MCAS essays scored by a human, but the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will start using automated scoring as a second score for at... More

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January 4th, 2019

By Andree EntezariJanuary 4th, 2019in DESE Updates

1. Student Discipline: The U.S. Department of Education recently released a Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety and a Dear Colleague Letter detailing the U.S. Department of Justice’s and U.S. Department of Education’s decision to rescind certain policy and guidance documents that those agencies issued in January 2014. State laws and policies relating to school discipline remain in effect, and Massachusetts remains firmly committed to promoting safe and supportive learning environments for all students. Schools in the Commonwealth have been implementing An Act Relative to Student Access to Educational Services and Exclusion from School (Chapter 222) since the state law took effect in 2014. It aims to reduce the use of long-term suspensions and ensure that students have access... More

December 14th, 2018

By Andree EntezariDecember 14th, 2018in DESE Updates

1. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to Meet: The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18 in Malden. The agenda includes a discussion highlighting the roles of teacher leaders in supporting learning standards and instruction, updates from the receivers of three chronically underperforming schools, a panel discussion on adult education, and a discussion of feedback about the new accountability system. The meeting will stream online at https://livestream.com/accounts/22459134. Picture of the Week: On December 10, Commissioner Riley visited Northampton High School, where he visited classrooms (including an art room, pictured) and met with students and faculty. The commissioner has visited more than 50 schools since April. (Photo courtesy of Northampton Public Schools) 3. Dyslexia... More

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November 9th, 2018

By Andree EntezariDecember 4th, 2018in DESE Updates

1. Webinars on LOOK Act Opportunities: The Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK) Act creates a new opportunity for districts to consider the programmatic needs of English learners. The Department is excited to support districts in developing and implementing new English learner education programs. The Office of Language Acquisition will host webinars on Monday, November 19 and Tuesday, December 11 to provide guidance and instruction regarding the submission of proposed English learner education programs. The webinars will also provide information about competitive grants that can help fund the design of new programs, including bilingual programs. Any district that is planning to propose a new English learner education program is encouraged to participate in one of the webinars. Registration is open at http://www.doe.mass.edu/conference/?ConferenceID=9921, More

November 16th, 2018

By Andree EntezariDecember 4th, 2018in DESE Updates

1. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to Meet: The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, November 20 in Malden. Agenda items include a vote on the Board’s FY20 budget proposal and a vote to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to Competency Determination regulations on high school science. The meeting will stream live at https://livestream.com/accounts/22459134. Picture of the Week: On November 9, Commissioner Riley visited two schools in New Bedford: the James B. Congdon School (pictured above), which is part of New Bedford Public Schools and serves students in kindergarten through grade 5, and Alma del Mar Charter School, which serves students in kindergarten through grade 8. At both, he visited classrooms and spoke to groups... More

November 2nd, 2018

By Andree EntezariNovember 2nd, 2018in DESE Updates

1. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Meeting Recap: The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met October 30, 2018 in Malden, and a recording is available online at https://livestream.com/accounts/22459134. Agenda items included a discussion with a panel of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educators and students, a review of the 2018 MCAS and accountability results released last month, first-quarter reports on chronically underperforming schools (download), an initial discussion about the Board’s FY2020 budget proposal, an update on implementation of the Language Opportunities for Our Kids (LOOK) Act, and a discussion about protections for transgender students. Picture of the Week: At the October 30, 2018 Board meeting, students from Randolph and educators from Randolph, Everett, and Boston were part of a panel... More

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