DESE Updates

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... More

DESE Update: September 27th, 2019

1. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Meeting: The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met September 24 at Taconic High School in Pittsfield. They heard from a Pittsfield educator diversity panel and a presentation by the Berkshire County Education Task Force. The Board voted to solicit public comment on a proposed amendment to Competency Determination regulations. Members also discussed Commissioner Riley's goals for 2019-2020 school year; 2019 student, school, and district MCAS and accountability results; the FY20 budget; and the FY21 budget timeline. 2. 2019 National Green Ribbon Honorees: Picture of the Week: Students and staff at Boston Green Academy display the Green Ribbon Award plaque they received this week for being a National Green Ribbon School. (Photo courtesy of Boston Green Academy) Three Massachusetts schools and districts – Boston Green Academy, More

DESE Update September 20th, 2019

1. Board to Meet: The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24 at Taconic High School in Pittsfield. The agenda includes a Pittsfield educator diversity panel; a presentation by the Berkshire County Education Task Force; a discussion of Commissioner Riley's goals for 2019-2020 school year; a discussion of 2019 student, school, and district MCAS and accountability results; a vote to solicit public comment on a proposed amendment to Competency Determination regulations, and an overview of the FY20 budget and the FY21 budget timeline. The Department plans to stream the meeting online at https://livestream.com/accounts/22459134. Picture of the Week: September 19 was STEM Day at Fenway Park. With funding from CITGO, the Red Sox donated 500 tickets that DESE distributed... More

DESE Update: August 30th, 2019

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... More

DESE Update: August 9th, 2019

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.

DESE Update: August 2nd, 2019

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... More

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DESE Update: July 26th, 2019

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... More

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DESE Update: July 19th, 2019

1. Note about July Local Education Aid Payments: Due to the delay in the passage of the final FY20 state budget, the Department of Revenue has announced that it will make the July cherry sheet payments and assessments based on the amounts in the Governor’s House 1 budget proposal submitted in January. This affects Chapter 70 aid as well as charter tuition payments and reimbursements. Charter school amounts, in particular, may be significantly higher or lower when the final budget is enacted, so districts and charter schools are cautioned not to rely on the July payments as they finalize their district and school spending plans. As soon as there is a final state budget, DESE will provide districts with final Chapter... More

DESE Update: July 12th, 2019

1. Deeper Learning and the Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning Pilot Program: Deeper learning – learning that is interactive, relevant, and collaborative – 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: Students from the Young Queens and Kings Scholar Program at Edison K-8 School in Boston (pictured here with their principal... More