SHIELD 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 its maximum enrollment from 500 to 320 students and to remove Westfield and Northampton from the districts in its charter region. In other business, the Board voted to send the draft updated arts curriculum framework out for public comment and established... More

Tagged: , , , ,

February 13th, 2019

Dear Colleagues, With permission, I am attaching a letter that Pam Vaughn, RN, BSN, School Nurse at the Harrington Elementary School in Lexington, recently received from a grateful student. It’s the reason why we do what we do every day! While Pam is not alone, I’m sure in receiving a note of appreciation from a student, a staff member or from a family member, we often fail to acknowledge the good we do with our peers – and supervisors! I want to thank Jill Gasperini, the Director of School Health Services for the Lexington Public Schools for sharing this letter with us! Remember, as Maya Angelou once said, “They will forget what you do, they will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you make them feel!” Hope all of you who will be on vacation next week during school vacation week are able to take time to relax, refresh and renew! Thank you for all you do…every day! Mary... More

Tagged: , , , , , ,

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 next-generation science MCAS; and discussion of Governor Baker’s education funding proposals. The meeting will be streamed online at Picture of the Week: Commissioner Riley speaks with students at the LearnLaunch Across Boundaries Conference on February 1 in Boston. The students were participating... More

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Bullying & Leaders from Babies Perspectives and the Food & Beverage industry’s role in the NCD pandemic

By Andree EntezariFebruary 8th, 2019in SHIELD Updates

Bullies and Leaders, According to Babies By Sampada Nandyala, PHP Fellow February 5, 2019 Research Babies may have a more complex perception of their environment than previously understood, picking up on visual and audible cues to make judgements about the people around them. Babies are also making decisions about their own actions. For example, babies who bounced rhythmically and in sync to music with a dance partner were highly likely to help that partner with small tasks, like picking up an object out of reach. Results from a recent study indicate 21-month-old infants may be able to differentiate a bully from a leader. Francesco Margoni and colleagues assessed babies’ reactions to different scenarios involving two types of authority figure: either a respected or feared character. The respected character represented a leader, and the feared character represented a bully. All of the infants first watched two scenes involving characters playing ball before an authority figure arrives. These scenes were used to familiarize the babies with the two... More

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, that district will be listed as open to school choice enrollment. Anyone with questions can contact Rob O’Donnell at or 781-338-6512. Picture of the Week: On January 17, Commissioner Riley visited UP Academy Holland, a pre-kindergarten through fifth grade school in Dorchester. More

Tagged: , ,

January 30th, 2019

Dear Colleagues, Included in the email below is a new American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement that recommends among other things that pediatricians avoid writing excuses for school absences when the absence is not appropriate.  Both excused and unexcused absences contribute to chronic absenteeism and pediatricians must partner with schools to encourage school attendance.  This may be the time for you to work with your local pediatricians and educate them as to how they should be encouraging school attendance and not provide notes for absences that they have not deemed appropriate.  Please also note that this policy statement encourages families to share health concerns with their child’s school nurse. This year, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health marks its 150th Year! DPH will celebrate its “sesquicentennial,” in 2019 with a series of events and a new logo to be used throughout the year. Massachusetts has a long and distinguished history as a public health pioneer. America’s first board of health was... More

Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

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 and place the school on probation with conditions related to improving the school’s academic performance as well as school climate. Also on January 22, the Board voted to keep the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy Charter School in Boston on probation... More

Tagged: , , , , ,

January 22nd, 2019

Dear Colleagues, It’s a busy (shortened week) filled with Regional Meetings in the West, Southeast and Northeast!  If you work in one of these areas, we hope to see you there!  In the meantime, here are some limited, but important updates for this week! Thank you for all you do- every day – to serve our students and their families! Mary Ann and the School Health Team Ask yourself three questions ... and you will know who you are. Ask: what do you believe in? What do you hope for? But most important -- ask: what do you love?   Paullina Simons, author, in "The Bronze Horseman" SCHOOL NURSES IN THE NEWS! Allison MacGilvray, BSN, RN, NCSN, School Nurse Medford Public Schools has achieved recognition as a Nationally Certified School Nurse!  Congratulations to her! IMPORTANT:  2018-2019 PEDIATRIC ASTHMA & DIABETES SURVEILLANCE FORMS The 2018-2019 Pediatric Asthma & Diabetes surveillance forms will be sent out to you in mid-February 2019. Please tell us how you would like to... More

Tagged: , , ,

January 18th, 2019

Dear Colleagues, With an impending snow storm looming for the coming weekend, I hope you – and all the children you serve – find yourselves in a warm, dry and safe home.  We look forward to seeing many of our at the regional meetings in the west, southeast and northeast next week! Several issues have risen to our attention this week; one concerning the preparation of “home-prepared tube feeding preparations”.  I want to remind nurses of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing Advisory Ruling on Nursing Practice, Title: Infusion Therapy, Advisory Ruling Number: 9204 most recently revised in May 2015 which states, that an RN or LPN must “Not administer an infusion solution that the nurse has not procured, removed from the sealed container, and prepared.  It is the Board’s position that it is not possible to safely verify the contents of a solution that has been removed from its outer, sealed container.”  We advise that this policy should be applicable... More

Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

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 least one essay per grade in grades 3-8 this year. If the human score and the computer score are different, the student will receive the higher of the two scores on the essay. The Department plans to analyze the results... More

Tagged: , , , ,