News

Follow Chester! Exploring Microaggressions, Civility, and Allies in Children’s Books and Beyond

By Andree EntezariSeptember 17th, 2019in SHIELD Updates

Monday, October 7, 2019

1:00–2:00 p.m.

DOORS OPEN, 12:30 P.M.

Keefer Auditorium
72 East Concord Street
Boston

Please Register

Services for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People Provided

Livestreaming Available During Event

Cohosted with the Activist Lab

In her presentation, “Follow Chester! Exploring Microaggressions, Civility, and Allies in Children’s Books and Beyond,” Gloria Respress-Churchwell will discuss practical ways to address difficult themes with children using picture books like her children’s book, Follow Chester!. This compelling story takes us on the football field as Chester Pierce leads his team to take charge of their destiny through courage, friendship, and support to combat racism. All are welcome to this presentation in which the author will explore ways that text, images, and music can be used as tools in educating young readers about these difficult and important issues. The author will use the book’s illustrations by 2019 Coretta Scott King Honoree Laura Freeman, and she will share music developed for Follow Chester!.

400 Years of Inequality: Breaking the Cycle of Systemic Racism

By Andree EntezariSeptember 17th, 2019in SHIELD Updates

Friday, October 18, 2019

8:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

BREAKFAST (DOORS OPEN), 8 A.M.

Hiebert Lounge
72 East Concord Street
Boston

Please Register

Services for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People Provided

#400YearsofInequality

Livestreaming Available During Event

Cohosted with the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, the Museum of African American History, and the Activist Lab


This day is a part of a national movement by schools of public health to engage in the observance of “400 Years of Inequality,” marking 400 years since a group of 20 Africans were first sold in bondage in Jamestown, Virginia. This Dean’s Symposium aims to use this anniversary to discuss how we can disrupt systemic racism, with forward-looking and solution-driven discussions.

Agenda

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
BREAKFAST AND INFORMAL GREETINGS

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
OPENING REMARKS

Sandro Galea (@sandrogalea), Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor, Boston University School of Public Health

Harold Cox, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health


8:35 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

Marita Rivero, Executive Director, Museum of African American History


8:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS

Cornell William Brooks, Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership and Social Justice, Harvard Kennedy School


9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
TOPIC ONE: HOUSING

Naa Oyo A. Kwate, Associate Professor of Africana Studies, Associate Professor of Human Ecology, Rutgers University

sade adeeyo, Research Associate, Urban Institute

Beth Shinn, Professor, Vanderbilt, Peabody College

Sheila Savannah, Managing Director, Prevention Institute

Ruby Mendenhall, Associate Professor in Sociology, African American Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, and Social Work, University of Illinois

Moderator: Harold Cox, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences


10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
BREAK

10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS

Neera Tanden, President and CEO, Center for American Progress


11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
TOPIC TWO: EDUCATION

Sherman James, Professor Emeritus, Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy

Elmira Mangum, CEO, EMPLUS LLC; Former President, Florida A&M University

Linda Greene, Evjue-Bascom Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Moderator: Yvette Cozier, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Boston University School of Public Health


12:30 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.
400 YEARS: THE MOVEMENT

Bob Fullilove, Associate Dean, Community and Minority Affairs, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health


12:45 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
LUNCH

1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
ACTIVIST LAB ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: PERFORMANCE AND DIALOGUE

Rhodessa Jones, Co-Artistic Director, Cultural Odyssey/Director, THE MEDEA PROJECT/Artist in Residence, Boston University School of Public Health Activist Lab

The capstone of her residency, Rhodessa Jones will perform several vignettes from her repertoire to explore and expand on the themes discussed throughout the day and guide an interactive discussion with the audience.

DESE Update: September 6th, 2019

By Andree EntezariSeptember 12th, 2019
1. Early College Statewide Convening:

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Higher Education are hosting a statewide convening for Early College program designees and potential applicants for the Early College designation. Moving Forward: Massachusetts Early College Statewide Convening 2019 will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, September 19 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center in Marlborough. The day will include opportunities to hear updates from the commissioners and senior staff, attend workshops, learn from colleagues, have structured planning time with your Early College team, and share best practices and challenges with colleges and districts who are potential applicants.

Please RSVP online by Friday, September 13.

Picture of the Week:

On August 29, Holyoke Public Schools held their fourth annual Ready for Pre-K and Kindergarten Parade, which also involved activities for their youngest learners. The Department of Early Education and Care recently awarded Holyoke a $750,000 Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative Grant, which the district will use to continue to provide high-quality preschool offerings at three schools in partnership with Valley Opportunity Council. The 12-month program will serve 60 students. (Photo courtesy of Holyoke Public Schools)

3. Chapter 74 "After Dark" Launch Event:

From 1:30-5:00 p.m. on September 16, DESE will hold an event at Greater Lawrence Technical School (57 River Road, Andover) to celebrate the successes of innovative career and technical education delivery models that expand access by using shop space outside of regular school hours. This event will offer logistical and financial guidance to people and organizations interested in developing similar pathways. Guidance will be available from DESE personnel, district leaders engaged in this work, and students who have opted into these programs. For more information or to RSVP, email Tim Moriarty.

4. Early Learning Networking and PD:

The Department’s Early Learning Team and the Massachusetts School Administrators’ Association will host a series of early learning networking and professional development opportunities for elementary principals (preschool-third grade) during the 2019-20 school year. This year’s series will focus on social-emotional learning and trauma-informed practices and will start with a statewide kick-off event on October 10.  The kick-off event will include a keynote presentation from Dr. Nicole Christian-Brathwaite of Riverside Community Care in Dedham, networking opportunities, and workshops. Please register online by September 20.

5. College and Career Advising and MyCAP:

Registration is open for Cohort 2 of the College and Career Advising/My Career and Academic Plan (MyCAP) Professional Development Series. The three-day workshop series is being offered regionally during the 2019-20 school year. Schools are asked to register teams of four high school staff led by counselors and including teachers and administrators. Teams will design a high quality college and career advising framework that identifies activities and lessons in the three domains of college and career readiness: personal/social; career development education; and academic, college, and career planning. Individual students’ achievements within each domain will be captured in the individual student-driven academic and career plan called MyCAP. This training is closely aligned with the MA Model 2.0 (the Massachusetts Model for Comprehensive School Counseling).

6. Symposium on Latinx Students:

The Department invites interested individuals to attend the In Pursuit of Equity, Accountability and Success: Latinx Students in Massachusetts Schools Symposium on Friday, October 4 at Worcester State University. The symposium is the result of collaboration among Latinx organizations, philanthropic organizations, scholars, and the Departments of Early Education and Care, Elementary and Secondary Education, and Higher Education. The symposium’s goal is to gather insights and create support for a multi-year initiative uniting multiple systems and sectors to address issues including Latinx students’ unequal outcomes in educational attainment.

Conference participants will be offered plenaries with Estela Bensimon of the University of Southern California and Pedro Noguera of UCLA and eight workshops on promising practices. The offerings are the result of a competitive statewide call for proposals. More information is available at the link above.

7. Request for Waiver from Limit on Alternate Assessments:

The commissioner recently posted a Notice of Intent to Apply and Opportunity for Comment regarding DESE’s intention to reapply for a waiver of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirement that limits the number of students statewide who may participate in alternate assessments to 1 percent of all students who are eligible to take MCAS. The Department was granted a waiver for the 2017-2018 school year and an extension for the 2018-2019 school year, and it must reapply for the current year. The Department must demonstrate that districts have made progress in reducing the number of students taking the MCAS-Alt and must maintain a 95 percent MCAS participation rate for all students and students with disabilities. To comment on DESE’s intent to apply for this waiver, email mcas@doe.mass.edu by October 4.

8. Registration Open for Leading with Access and Equity Convening:

All districts are invited to send a team to the Second Annual Leading with Access and Equity Convening on Thursday, October 24 at the Best Western Conference Center in Marlborough. This free, daylong professional development opportunity will focus on topics such as creating a pipeline of diverse educators, developing multi-tiered systems of support, ensuring equitable access to high-quality curriculum, implementing bilingual education, ensuring racial and cultural equity, engaging families, addressing student mobility, addressing students’ mental health needs, and integrating social-emotional and academic learning. Many districts are engaged in multiple initiatives, and this is an opportunity to align those efforts, make connections, and share practices.

Districts are invited to attend as a team of at least three and up to ten members. Teams are encouraged to include a variety of stakeholders, and each team must include representatives of at least the following three areas: administration, general education, and special education. Registration is limited, so districts should register their team online as soon as possible. Anyone with questions about the conference can email Susan Fischer.

9. Model System for Educator Evaluation Updated:

The Department has updated the Model System for Educator Evaluation and has simplified the guidance and tools. They are aligned with the 2017 regulatory amendments that eliminated the separate Student Impact Rating and that embedded multiple measures of student learning into one performance rating.

Together with the updated streamlined performance rubrics, the simplified guides for teacher, principal, and superintendent evaluation include information about implementation strategies, evaluator calibration, and thoughtful evidence collection. The updates also remove redundant content and forms. The revised model system should be a helpful resource to support continuous improvement and effective implementation of the educator evaluation framework.

DESE Update: August 30th, 2019

By Andree EntezariSeptember 3rd, 2019in DESE Updates
1. Memorandum on School Fire Drills:

State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey has sent a memorandum to local Heads of Fire Departments reminding them of the state requirements for school fire drills, multi-hazard evacuation plans, and Medical Emergency Response Plans. School superintendents or their designees are required to meet with local police and fire chiefs to develop a multi-hazard evacuation plan for each school under the superintendent’s supervision. A copy of the Fire Prevention in Schools pamphlet and a fire drill checklist are included with the memorandum to assist emergency response partners and school administrators to comply with regulations and keep accurate records. Fire departments are required to conduct fire drills in schools four times a year, and one of the drills must happen within three days of the start of the school year.

1. Memorandum on School Fire Drills:

State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey has sent a memorandum to local Heads of Fire Departments reminding them of the state requirements for school fire drills, multi-hazard evacuation plans, and Medical Emergency Response Plans. School superintendents or their designees are required to meet with local police and fire chiefs to develop a multi-hazard evacuation plan for each school under the superintendent’s supervision. A copy of the Fire Prevention in Schools pamphlet and a fire drill checklist are included with the memorandum to assist emergency response partners and school administrators to comply with regulations and keep accurate records. Fire departments are required to conduct fire drills in schools four times a year, and one of the drills must happen within three days of the start of the school year.

3. Significant Disproportionality in Special Education:

In accordance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), DESE recently identified districts where there was significant disproportionality by race and ethnicity with regard to students with disabilities’ identification, placement, or discipline. All district superintendents, special education directors, and district business leaders received emails from DESE with information on the status of their district. A more detailed letter along with a data snapshot showing district data has been made available in each district’s Special Education State Performance Plan DropBox in the security portal. The information in the DropBox also includes a June 21, 2019 memorandum(download) from Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston. The letter and memorandum go into greater detail about significant disproportionality in special education and IDEA’s requirements.
 
During the 2019-20 school year, DESE will run a series of meetings and organize a professional learning community for identified districts or those at risk for identification next year. These activities will help participating districts review their policies, practices, and procedures; analyze data; and, for those identified with significant disproportionality, plan for implementation of comprehensive coordinated early intervening services in FY21. More information about this opportunity will be available soon.

4. Minimum Grade 10 ELA and Math Scaled Scores for Interim CD Requirement:

As determined in 2018, in order to earn their high school competency determination (CD), the classes of 2021 and 2022 (this year’s juniors and sophomores) must earn a next-generation MCAS scaled score that is equivalent to a legacy MCAS scaled score of at least 240 on the grade 10 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics tests or earn the next-generation MCAS equivalent of a legacy scaled score between 220 and 238 and fulfill the requirements of an Educational Proficiency Plan. The new scaled scores needed to graduate with an Educational Proficiency Plan are 455 in ELA and 469 in mathematics, and the new scaled scores needed to earn a CD without an Educational Proficiency Plan are 472 in ELA and 486 in mathematics for the classes of 2021 and 2022.
 
The interim passing standard for these two classes defines a level of achievement on the next-generation tests that is equivalent to the current standard on the legacy tests. The Raw-to-Scaled Score Conversion Tables available at www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/results.html contain the grade 10 next-generation scaled score ranges and the corresponding legacy MCAS achievement levels and CD status.
 
The Department plans to give districts access to interactive reports in Edwin Analytics on September 4. Those reports will include students' updated CD status using the MCAS Student Item Analysis Roster (IT616) in the security portal.
 
The CD status codes for high school MCAS subject area tests are as follows:

  • 0 or blank = did not pass
  • 1 = passed and requires an Educational Proficiency Plan (ELA and Mathematics)
  • 1 = passed (Science and Technology/Engineering)
  • 2 = passed (ELA and Mathematics)

Additional information about the high school graduation requirements and upcoming assessment and acocuntability releases is available online. Anyone with questions can contact Student Assessment Services at 781-338-3625 or mcas@doe.mass.edu.

5. EWIS and VOCAL Opportunities:

The Department will offer an hour-long webinar on the Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) at 2 P.M. on Thursday, September 12. Additionally, the Department will offer several in-person data usage workshops entitled "Maximizing EWIS and VOCAL (Views of Climate and Learning) data in a Cycle of Inquiry" this fall. Each session will cover the basics of EWIS as well as an introduction to VOCAL data. More information, including dates, locations, registration, is available online. Anyone with questions can email ewis@doe.mass.edu.

6. Chapter 74 New Program Applications:

 

The Office for College, Career, and Technical Education is pleased to announce the opening of its Chapter 74 New Program Application process for the 2019-20 school year.
 For 2019-20 submissions (for programs intended to open in September 2020) the timeline is as follows:
 
Application Component Date Due
Intent to Apply (required prior to Part A submission) 9/23/19
Preliminary (Part A) 11/22/19
Concluding (Part B) 3/13/20
Final Decisions (except where facility and/or licensure does not permit) 6/30/20
Final Decisions (all other) 11/1/20

 
Please note that evidence of regional consultation is now expected as a component of the Preliminary (Part A) application.
More information on the process, including links to online submission forms and a series of application process webinars, is available online. Anyone with questions can contact Marnie Jain at 781-338-3908 or mjain@doe.mass.edu.

7. DESE Resource Corner

 

Back-to-school resources: The Department has posted the following back-to-school resources for superintendents and principals online:
  1. The Year Ahead: An overview of work at DESE that will impact schools during the coming year.
  2. Deeper Learning Webpage: Information about DESE’s deeper learning initiative.
  3. Teacher Recruitment Webpage: Massachusetts needs teachers who are energized, innovative, and diverse.
  4. Back-to-School Basics: A brief video for parents on how the state and districts work together to support teaching and learning. The video transcript is available in Chinese, Haitian Creole Portuguese Spanish, and Vietnamese.
  5. Teacher Recognition: Ways for superintendents and principals to celebrate strong teachers.
  6. Superintendents' Checklist: A list of data, financial, and other reports that local school districts must submit to DESE throughout the year and requirements such as safety drills.

DESE Update: August 16th, 2019

By Andree EntezariAugust 22nd, 2019
1. EWIS and VOCAL Data Release and Training Opportunity:

Initial Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) and preliminary Views of Climate and Learning (VOCAL) data will be coming out on or around August 21. The Department will offer several data usage workshops entitled "Maximizing EWIS and VOCAL data in a Cycle of Inquiry" this fall. Each session will cover the basics of EWIS as well as an introduction to VOCAL data. More information, including dates, locations, registration, is available online. For more information, email ewis@doe.mass.edu.

  • Views of Climate and Learning (VOCAL) Data Release: The VOCAL data include index scores (overall school climate score and three-dimension scores) and item response data based upon all students within participating districts and schools. Full graphical reports that provide subgroup data will be available in the fall. The data are in the Office of Planning and Research’s folder within Drop Box Central in the Security Portal. The data is provided in an Excel workbook for each district and school.
  • Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) Data Release: Educators can review EWIS data in Edwin to understand which students are at risk of missing important academic milestones and to develop additional supports tailored to their students’ strengths and needs. Student claiming must be complete to see EWIS information for the 2020 school year. See the Student Claiming User Guide for details.

Early Warning Indicator System data is only available for districts that submitted all of their statewide data collections (Education Personnel Information Management SystemStudent Course Schedule, and School Safety Discipline Report). Districts that did not meet the due dates for this data will not have EWIS data in the initial release in Edwin Analytics in time for the start of the school year.

Picture of the Week:
On August 15, Commissioner Riley spoke with members of the State Student Advisory Council who were at DESE for leadership training. The student chair of the State Student Advisory Council, currently Matthew Tibbitts of Ludlow High School, serves as a full voting member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

In a large room, Commissioner Riley stands on the left with his back mainly to the camera as he talks to a roomful of high school students at DESE.

3. Accountability and Assistance Advisory Council Nominations:

The Department is seeking nominations to fill three vacant seats on the School and District Accountability and Assistance Advisory Council. The 15-member council advises the Board on matters pertaining to the development and implementation of the Commonwealth’s district and school accountability and assistance system. The council includes eight at-large members with a demonstrated record of achievement or academic expertise in an education-related field, one business/industry member with a proven commitment to education, and six members who are nominated by specific entities. The current vacancies are for three at-large members. The Department encourages diverse candidates to apply. Please submit nominations by email to Erica Gonzales, the council’s liaison, at egonzales@doe.mass.edu by September 6.

4. Openings on Digital Learning Advisory Council:

The Digital Learning Advisory Council has seats open for individuals interested in helping DESE and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education envision an effective digital learning future for all students. Specifically, council members may work on areas such as:

  • Policies guiding virtual schools, supplemental online courses, education technology, and other matters related to virtual education;
  • Best practices for encouraging online education to complement classroom instruction in district schools; and
  • The fee that DESE may retain for the administration of the virtual school program.

The council will meet at least four times annually. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter of interest and a resume to Commissioner Riley care of Ruth Hersh at rhersh@doe.mass.edu or Ruth Hersh, 75 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 02148 by September 15. While the law specifies that the council include specific representatives from various stakeholder groups, DESE is also recruiting candidates representing diverse communities with expertise in digital learning and education.

5. Anti-Hazing Data Collection Procedures:

On August 29, the anti-hazing data collection for the 2019-2020 school year will begin and can be accessed by logging into the anti-hazing application accessible via MassEdu Gateway. Certification from secondary school principals or headmasters that the school complies with the anti-hazing law is due on or before October 1.

6. Charter School Prospectuses:

The Department recently announced that prospectuses had come in from four groups seeking to open new charter schools in Lynn, Milford and Westfield. In addition, three existing charter schools have submitted requests to expand their enrollment: a Horace Mann (district-approved) charter school in Boston and Commonwealth (independent) charter schools in Saugus and Springfield.

Commissioner Riley will decide by mid-September which applicant groups to invite to submit full proposals for new schools, and comments on proposed new schools will be solicited during the final application stage.

With respect to the expansion requests, the commissioner and Board will consider comments solicited from the superintendents within each charter school's proposed district or region. Members of the public may also submit written comments regarding expansion requests to: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, c/o Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign, 75 Pleasant St. Malden, MA 02148 or by email to charterschools@doe.mass.edu.

DESE Update: August 9th, 2019

By Andree EntezariAugust 22nd, 2019in DESE Updates
1. Arts Education Ambassadors:

The Department is pleased to announce the launch of an Arts​ Education Ambassadors Program for the 2019-20 school year.​ Arts Education Ambassadors have an exciting opportunity to work as​ a regional arts team, connect with other arts educators, offer​ professional development opportunities with supporting resources,​ and serve as point people for the 2019 Arts Curriculum Framework.​ Applications are due August 16. Anyone with questions can email Arts Content Support Lead Dawn Benski.

Picture of the Week
On July 25, Commissioner Riley visited the Summer Institute for Literacy Leadership at Winter Hill Community Innovation School in Somerville. The program integrated coursework and a practicum designed to support the development of structured literacy practices.

Three students and a teacher sit arond a table. They each have a copy of the same picture book and are looking at the books together.

DESE Update: August 2nd, 2019

By Andree EntezariAugust 2nd, 2019in DESE Updates
1. FY20 Budget Signed:

On July 31, Governor Baker signed the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, a $43.321 billion plan with $5.2 billion for Chapter 70 education aid. Every school district will receive at least $30 in additional aid per student. The budget includes foundation budget rate increases in four areas identified by the Foundation Budget Review Commission: benefits and fixed charges, special education, English learners, and economically disadvantaged students. More information, including summary charts, a white paper, and a spreadsheet showing the calculations for each municipality and district, are available through DESE’s finance web page.

Picture of the Week:

On July 29, Commissioner Riley visited the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Summer Program at Warren Community Elementary School in Warren, part of the Quaboag Regional School District. With help from a special guest, physical therapist Dr. Peter Ouellette, students learned about biomedical engineering and designed knee braces, applying their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to a real world challenge. The activity was a great example of deeper learning.

 

3. Recording on MCAS Preliminary Data and Discrepancy Process:

The Department has created a recording that provides principals and test coordinators with an overview of 2019 MCAS preliminary data and discrepancy process. The recording and accompanying slides are available through the MCAS Resource Center. (Please note that the recording will not play if it is opened with a Firefox web browser. Please use a different browser). The discrepancy period will continue through close of business August 6.

Schools and districts can contact the MCAS Service Center via email or phone (800-737-5103) during regular business hours for answers to logistical questions. Policy questions should be directed to the DESE’s Office of Student Assessment Services via email or by calling 781-338-3625.

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DESE Update: July 26th, 2019

By Andree EntezariJuly 26th, 2019in DESE Updates
1. Deeper Learning Reminder:

Deeper learning – learning that involves mastery, identity, and creativity (see "In Search of Deeper Learning" by Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine) – was a major focus at Kairos, and it is central to the plans Commissioner Riley outlined in “Our Way Forward,” his recent report to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

This fall, DESE will release the application for the Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning pilot program, giving individual schools and entire districts the opportunity to apply to rethink classroom instruction around deeper learning. We encourage school and district leaders who would like to join the pilot program to indicate their interest online.

Picture of the Week:
On July 19, Commissioner Riley visited the summer learning programs at Thompson Island Outward Bound, which serves Boston Public Schools students and has a special focus on students in grades 5-8. The programs at Thompson Island are part of Boston Summer Learning, which offers students free opportunities across the city and which marked its 10th anniversary this year.

In a forest with tall trees, two students stand on a huge ladder made out of long logs and robes. They're wearing helmets and green t-shirts, and other adults and students stnad on the ground wearing the same thing. In the background, a photographer is taking a picture of the giant ladder.

3. Superintendents’ Checklist:

The Department has posted the 2019-20 Superintendents’ Checklist online. The checklist includes tasks, notifications and best practices of which district leaders should be aware. This year’s checklist clearly identifies which items districts must submit to DESE and is organized in a way that makes it easier to sort into categories, record who is working on each task, and mark tasks as complete.Questions or suggestions for improving the checklist should be directed to Helene Bettencourt, associate commissioner for communication and planning.

4. Preliminary 2019 MCAS Data:

Earlier this week, DESE provided districts and schools with embargoed access to their partial preliminary 2019 MCAS achievement data via the MCAS 2019 Data dropbox in Drop Box Central in the Security Portal. The Department anticipates making preliminary achievement data available in Edwin Analytics on Wednesday, July 31. Available data include raw scores only; scaled scores, achievement levels, and student growth percentiles (SGP) will be available in late August.

To help district and school leaders review their MCAS data, preliminary assessment participation rate data are also available in the same dropbox. District and school leaders are asked to review their data and report potential discrepancies via the MCAS Service Center website by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 6. Please keep in mind that discrepancies reported after the deadline may not be included in MCAS Parent/Guardian Reports or in the public release of official results in the fall and that any unreported discrepancies may also negatively impact accountability results.

As a reminder, district and school leaders may discuss their preliminary MCAS and participation results internally, but data should not be discussed publicly until DESE releases official results, including data corrected as the result of accepted discrepancies, in the fall.

Full preliminary 2019 MCAS data (including scaled scores, achievement levels, and student growth percentiles) and accountability results will be available in late August. Please see the 2019 assessment and accountability reporting schedule (download) for more details. For help with questions about MCAS results, please e-mail mcas@doe.mass.edu or call (781) 338-3625. For help with questions about accountability reporting, please e-mail esea@doe.mass.edu or call (781) 338-3550.

5. Teams Needed to Test Drive a How Do We Know? Toolkit:

The Department is seeking 10 teams from districts, schools, or a combination of both who are interested in evaluating a program of their choosing using a new program evaluation toolkit that is part of the department’s How Do We Know? Initiative. This pilot evaluation program aims to build schools’ and districts’ capacity to answer the question: How do we know whether a program we’ve implemented is working? Teams participating in the pilot will identify a program to evaluate, use a set of DESE pilot evaluation tools, and provide feedback on the tools’ usefulness. Groups will participate in three face-to-face convenings throughout the year and monthly technical support calls.Schools and districts interested in participating should complete the applicationby August 15 (Deadline 1) or August 30 (Deadline 2) and may reach out to Brianne Rok at brok@dmgroupk12.com or Kendra Winner at kwinner@doe.mass.edu with any questions.

6. New Innovation Pathways Designations:

Earlier this month, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded Innovation Pathway designations to Agawam, Brockton, and Burlington high schools and Atlantis Charter School in Fall River. They join 14 other high schools that received the designation previously.  Launched in 2017, Innovation Pathways give students experience in a specific high-demand industry through coursework and internships at local employers. Students earn college credits, at no cost to them, and gain insight as to whether the field is something they want to pursue in college or as a career. Congratulations to the newly designated programs!

  • Statistics in Schools Ambassadors: The U.S. Census Bureau is looking for teachers to serve as ambassadors in the bureau’s Statistics in Schools program, which uses statistics to educate pre-K through 12thgrade students about the importance of an accurate census count. Application reviewers will consider factors such as teachers’ past leadership positions, knowledge of or experience with Statistics in Schools materials, and social media presence. To apply, email CLMSO.SISambassador@census.gov.
  • Summer Nights Initiative:The 2019 Summer Nights Initiative offers increased programming and extended operating hours at several Department of Conservation and Recreation facilities in select urban communities during the summer vacation months. The initiative also includes Free Family Flicks.

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