Showing posts with label DESE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DESE. Show all posts

Friday, May 27, 2022

Editorial Statement: For Crying Out Loud (audio)

FM #802 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 802 in the series. 


This session of the radio show is an editorial statement. Something I don’t do often, in fact rarely do but given the circumstances of this week, I feel compelled to share this. 

The recording runs about 7 minutes, so let’s listen.

Audio file -> https://franklin-ma-matters.captivate.fm/episode/fm-802-for-crying-out-loud-05-25-22

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The text 

“For crying out loud”


For, crying out loud


We’ll begin with a moment of reflection, take a deep breath, centering where we are in the present


The headlines yesterday were all over DESE going after Boston Public Schools for insufficient progress on a “myriad of problems”. In their 120+ page assessment, the litany of errors, shortfalls, discrepancies out outlined in detail with a particular focal point, rather myopic in that, DESE is the same organization that throughout the pandemic struggled to generate timely and accurate guidance. Those who live in glasshouses should not throw stones!


For crying out loud


The headlines were all about Boston and DESE until word came on yet another shooting, another elementary school, lives young and old cut short by someone misguided at best, armed unnecessarily, who likely had cried for help and the yet system did not respond. You can say it starts at home. He did. He shot his grandmother first.


For crying out loud


Perhaps lost among the other news headlines, was one that 12 students at FHS received the Commonwealth seal of biliteracy, achieving proficiency in two languages. It had been 11 when I created the headline Tuesday. It was raised by one more to 12 as another confirmation of a student award was received. Not unlike the initial reports or 14, then 18, 19… where will it end


I recall a poem by Robert Bly

“Let's count the bodies over again.


If we could only make the bodies smaller 

The size of skulls 

We could make a whole plain white with skulls in the moonlight!


If we could only make the bodies smaller 

Maybe we could get

A whole year's kill in front of us on a desk!


If we could only make the bodies smaller 

We could fit

A body into a finger-ring for a keepsake forever.”


Written during the Vietnam war, and the repetition of body counts the news broadcast daily.


For crying out loud


We’ll come back to FHS. There are more than 20 languages heard within the halls of FHS and these 12 students have mastered a couple. Maybe, there is hope. Maybe, among the halls of students, mastering language, they can lead us to a better place. Maybe they can bring a cracking (some would say breaking) system to its senses.


I hope so, I am tired of crying out loud


We’ll end with a moment of reflection, take a deep breath, centering where we are in the present. If we don’t use the past lessons to foster change, what will our future be?


For crying out loud


I’ll close with my own poem written in the pandemic

sherku: fear knot

I wake fearful

take a breath

realize

it is a

new day, we

can do this!

 

For more about Robert Bly -> https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/robert-bly

--------------

We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.  

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/ or www.franklin.news/

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!

------------------

You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

 

Editorial Statement: For Crying Out Loud (audio)
Editorial Statement: For Crying Out Loud (audio)

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

"A majority of the state board endorsed a patient approach on Tuesday"

Before the school news from Texas took over the headlines, the possible takeover of Boston Public Schools dominated the headlines. That DESE charges Boston with disfunction coming from an institution which is also disfunctional at times is more than ironic, especially since the period in question is primarily the pandemic.

"State Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley hammered Boston Public Schools for its “bloated” central office and “unconscionable” transportation failures in his first public comments Tuesday on a new state review of the district, but held off on recommending any takeover of city schools, saying he remains “hopeful and optimistic” that the state and city can reach agreement on a plan for urgent improvement.

Addressing the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education at its monthly meeting, as dozens of people protested outside and dozens more were turned away from the packed meeting room, Riley said he will give Mayor Michelle Wu a chance to respond to his initial proposal for next steps. Details of that plan have not been released to the public."
Continue reading the Boston Globe article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/05/24/metro/state-education-board-mayor-weigh-fate-boston-public-schools/

Parents and teachers gathered outside the Massachusetts State House before walking the short distance a Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to show opposition to a state takeover of Boston Public Schools. The state on Monday released a scathing review of the district. JONATHAN WIGGS/GLOBE STAFF
Parents and teachers gathered outside the Massachusetts State House before walking the short distance a Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to show opposition to a state takeover of Boston Public Schools. The state on Monday released a scathing review of the district.JONATHAN WIGGS/GLOBE STAFF

Read the full DESE report -> (at the bottom of this Globe article)


"STATE EDUCATION COMMISSIONER Jeff Riley said the Boston Public Schools face a “myriad of problems,” from special education and English language learner services in disarray to data systems reporting inaccurate student outcomes, but he made it clear on Tuesday that he is hoping to reach agreement with Mayor Michelle Wu on a plan to address them rather than recommend that the state’s largest school district be put in receivership. 
“I am hopeful and optimistic that we can come to some kind of an agreement on next steps forward,” Riley told members of the state board of education on Tuesday at a meeting dominated by several hours of discussion of the plight of the Boston schools."


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

DESE "will not renew the state mask requirement after it expires on February 28, 2022"

"Please see the following release from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education https://t.co/Ao8cJFbwFq"  or here

Shared from Twitter ->   https://twitter.com/MASCSchoolComm/status/1491432725072707585

DESE update on mask policy, allowing expiration as of Feb 28, 2022 ->   https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop/2022-0209mask-requirement-update.pdf


Other DESE policy statements, etc.   https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop.html



DESE "will not renew the state mask requirement after it expires on February 28, 2022"
DESE "will not renew the state mask requirement after it expires on February 28, 2022"


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Recap: School Committee Budget Workshop - all around the starting point for understanding the costs and drivers

Quick Recap:
  • The budget workshop doc is rich with with links to supporting material. Each of the links was opened and info it contained talked of, clarification questions asked and answered. In one instance, there was a slightly different slice of data requested and it can be prepared.
  • Of all the info shared, this budget workshop doc should be the basis for your dive into the information. This gets to the basic DESE categories, Chapter 70 funding, etc. The list goes on.
  • Of note, a presentation is scheduled for a January meeting of the full committee on Special Education. I anticipate (based on prior views), this will go into more specifics on the overall programs and the in-house programs where the District saves money by providing the services here rather then sending out of District. At a minimum, it avoids the transportation cost. This is not something that can be done to provide all services, some for the number of students required is still better served by an outside resource

-------

 
As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter while I attended the meeting in the 3rd Floor Training Room. 
 
The Twitter hashtag #schcommbudget1214  can be found online The thread begins with  
https://twitter.com/FranklinMatters/status/1470892996333903880 
 
  • #schcommbudget1214 budget workshop opens, being recorded so if the gremlins are held at bay, the recording will be available later this week.
  • Miriam Goodman, Business Manager for FPS provides an overview of the budget process. meeting agenda for this session ->   https://www.franklinps.net/sites/g/files/vyhlif4431/f/agendas/agenda_budget_workshop_12-14-2021.pdf  #schcommbudget1214 
  • Q on negotiation, how does it affect timeline if it does? We put a placeholder in for what we may expect required to keep the timeline #schcommbudget1214 
  • comment on substitute pricing to be more competitive; comment on common planning time (time is money)
  • Q - to be address along way, how do we get programs previously cut back? Comment on SEL supports for students, retaining what we have and possible expansion; #schcommbudget1214 what tech can we add to help prepare students for workplace?
  • #schcommbudget1214 how to appropriately address learning loss due to pandemic (i.e. with tutors) comment on staff and student well being is a common thread being heard by cmte; amount of physical activity for FHS students; DEI cmte motivated; budget impact
  • relook at support processes, Tier 1 used to be primary focus but there are other needs along the tier calling for help too; comment on 'boots on the ground' interventionists, both MS and ES #schcommbudget1214 these SchComm requests are aligned with principals, etc. feedback
  • a special ed presentation coming in Jan 2022 for #SchCommbudget1214 to help understanding and budget prep; fees were increased in 2020 and first time since 2008; MA Supt spreadsheet does provide 'some' info from other districts for comparisons
  • Q on clubs and activities; reduced offerings due to pandemic but overall they have grown in breadth and participation; it varies among elem, middle and FHS; #schcommbudget1214 principals monitor participation to ensure an appropriate offering for school
  • can pull report together to determine offerings and participation; some were reduce for lack of participation, some combined to improve offering #schcommbudget1214 some clubs are not supported by stipend; aside - NHS has 115 students; some fund raising for clubs
  • Portrait of a Graduate is kept in mind as budget is developed; see link to budget doc; 85% is salaries/benefits ... #schcommbudget1214 DESE counts 11 categories for the foundation budget; amt of revolving funds and grants/offsets included in pages of budget summary
  • once through the Exec Summary doc, then the budget breaks down by school (according to the level of DESE codes) #schcommbudget1214 there are unbudgeted donations, via PCC's, FEF, etc.  details in packet; the concession stand donation helped to drive the 2019; ....
  • District Analysis Resource Tool (DART) helpful info to do further drill down research on comparable districts for specific categories, etc. #schcommbudget1214 also a link for charter school finance; currently 372 student enrolled; most funding is handled by Town side/via State
  • if charter school were to expand to high school, it would be a charter change with local impact statements and DESE decision; a planning process; but not on the known horizon #schcommbudget1214 could we survey charter families to see why? has been considered but not …
  • a priority; a portion say the language offering is a factor; #schcommbudget1214 not at this time but likely many over the months to come; adjourn here, go to next meeting
 Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days 

Recap: School Committee Budget Workshop
Recap: School Committee Budget Workshop


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

school mask mandate is extended through "at least January 15, 2022"

MASC-SchoolCommittee (@MASCSchoolComm) tweeted Tue, Oct 26, 2021:
Commissioner Riley has announced that the state #MAEdu school mask mandate is extended through "at least January 15, 2022." 
Please see attached documents for more information. https://t.co/2TC9w7Mp93

Today, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced that after consulting with medical experts and state health officials, Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley notified school districts in the Commonwealth that he will extend the mask requirement in all K-12 public schools through at least January 15, 2022.
 
The Department, in collaboration with medical experts and state health officials, will continue to evaluate and consider other criteria that could be used in the future to lift the mask requirement based on public health data.
 
“Massachusetts is a national leader in vaccination rates for adults and eligible children, and in anticipation of the vaccine becoming available in the coming weeks for children ages 5 to 11 years old, this extension of the mask requirement will allow time for the elementary school population to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Education Secretary James Peyser. “This will be another big step forward in our efforts to keep school safe for our kids.”
 
“Masks remain a simple and effective measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep students in school safely,” said Commissioner Riley. “Together with the Test and Stay program, high vaccination rates, low transmission rates in schools and all the hard work in keeping our students safe, our kids are able to stay in school where they belong and can flourish.”
 
School officials will continue to be able to lift the mask requirement if they can demonstrate that at least 80 percent of all students and staff in a school building are vaccinated after submitting documentation to DESE. Lifting the mask mandate through the vaccination threshold is a local decision made by school and district leaders if they choose to take advantage it.
 
The following mask requirements will remain in effect:
  • Public school students ages 5 and older in all grades and staff are required to wear masks indoors in schools, except when eating, drinking or during mask breaks
  • All visitors are also expected to wear a mask in school buildings, regardless of vaccination status
  • Masks are not required outdoors
  • It is strongly recommended that students younger than 5 also wear a mask in school
  • Students and staff who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, and students who cannot wear a mask for behavioral reasons are exempted from this requirement
All districts are required this school year to provide in-person learning to all students. Since the start of the year, approximately 920,000 public school students have been learning in schools with minimal disruptions. In addition to masking, this progress has been possible thanks to school communities working together to participate in the state’s COVID-19 testing program, combined with high vaccination rates among eligible populations.
 
Massachusetts has become a national model for surveillance and rapid testing in schools. More than 2,200 public and private schools have opted into either one or multiple forms of testing that the state is providing free to all schools. DESE and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services launched a groundbreaking Test and Stay program for students identified as close contacts in school, allowing students to be tested daily and remain in class if they test negative. This innovative approach has saved students across the Commonwealth more than 48,000 days of in-person learning this school year.
 
In August, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education gave the commissioner the authority to require masks for public school staff and students (ages 5 and above) in all grades through at least October 1, 2021. The commissioner said he would revise the requirement as warranted by public health data.


Shared from Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MASCSchoolComm/status/1453047563679113221?t=M3ibA_AbhgZE472tEIjmDw&s=03

school mask mandate is extended through "at least January 15, 2022"
school mask mandate is extended through "at least January 15, 2022" 


Sunday, October 24, 2021

FPS participates in MA State Seal of Biliteracy Program

Dear Franklin Families,

We are pleased to inform you of Franklin Public School District’s participation in the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy for the 2021-2022 School Year. The Seal of Biliteracy is for any student who demonstrates proficiency in English and any other language, whether they speak the non-English language at home or learned it at school or in the community. 

The State Seal of Biliteracy aims to:
(a) Encourage students to study and master languages;
(b) Certify attainment of biliteracy skills;
(c) Recognize the value of language diversity;
(d) Provide employers with a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills;
(e) Provide universities with a method to recognize and give credit to applicants for attainment of high-level skills in languages;
(f) Prepare students with skills that will benefit them in the labor market and the global society; and
(g) Strengthen intergroup communication and honor the multiple cultures and languages in a community.*

In order to earn the Seal of Biliteracy, students must:

(a) Demonstrate a high level of proficiency in English by satisfying one of the following:
● Earn a score of 472 or higher on Next-Gen MCAS or
● Earn a score of 455 or higher on Next-Gen MCAS and complete an Educational Proficiency Plan 

(b) Demonstrate a high level of proficiency in a foreign language through one of the following:
● Attaining a minimum score equivalent to Intermediate-High on a state approved assessment or
● For languages that do not have readily available assessments, completing a portfolio demonstrating Intermediate-High proficiency in speaking, writing, reading, and listening
MA State Seal of Biliteracy
MA State Seal of Biliteracy


We will be administering the ELA MCAS for 12th graders who have not taken the MCAS yet on March 9 and 10 and for 10th graders on March 22 and 23. We will be administering a proficiency assessment in a language other than English on a date to be determined. Students seeking to earn the Seal through portfolio assessment must have portfolio scores submitted to the district prior to their graduation date.

We look forward to honoring the language expertise and diversity in our district through this initiative. If you have any further questions, please contact Dr. Linda Ashley, Interim Curriculum Director (ELA/SS) at ashleyl@franklinps.net or Ms. Laura Evans, Director of World Languages at evansl@franklinps.net.


Sincerely,
Linda Ashley, Ed.D.

*Taken from Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website.  - https://www.doe.mass.edu/scholarships/biliteracy/  



Thursday, October 21, 2021

Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School

During the week of November 29, 2021, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Office of Public School Monitoring (PSM) will conduct a Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School. The Office of Public School Monitoring reviews each district and charter school every three years to monitor compliance with federal and state special education and civil rights regulations. Areas of review related to special education include student assessments, determination of eligibility, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team process, and IEP development and implementation. Areas of review related to civil rights include bullying, student discipline, physical restraint, and equal access to school programs for all students. 

Parent outreach is an important part of the review process. The review chairperson from the Office of Public School Monitoring will send all parents of students with disabilities an online survey that focuses on key areas of their child's special education program. Survey results will contribute to the development of a report. During the review, the Office of Public School Monitoring will interview the chairperson(s) of the district's Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). Other activities may include interviews of district staff and administrators, reviews of student records. 

Parents and other individuals may call Corey Steinman, Public School Monitoring Chairperson, at (781) 338-3742 to request a telephone interview. If an individual requires an accommodation, such as translation, to participate in an interview, the Department will make the necessary arrangements.

Within approximately 60 business days after the review, the review chairperson will provide the district with a report with information about areas in which the district meets or exceeds regulatory requirements and areas in which the district requires assistance to correct or improve practices. The public will be able to access the report at http://www.doe.mass.edu/psm/tfm/reports/.


About the Benjamin Franklin Charter School
The Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School's mission is to assist parents in their role as primary educators of their children by providing students with a classical academic education coupled with sound character development and community service. Our mission is supported by four distinct, yet interconnected pillars that provide for a collaborative, rigorous education for all students. These pillars guide, direct and define the school in all it does.
 

The Benjamin Franklin Classical 
Charter Public School
500 Financial Park
Franklin, MA 02038
www.bfccps.org


For reference: 
new school sign at the entrance
BFCCPS school sign at the entrance (taken day of ribbon cutting)

Friday, August 27, 2021

FM #591 & 592 - School Committee Meeting - 08/24/21 - audio recording in 2 parts

FM #591 & 592 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, numbers 591 & 592 in the series. 


This session of the radio show shares the Franklin, MA School Committee meeting held on Tuesday, August 24, 2021.


The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format: the School Committee members were in the Municipal Bldg along with some of the public, other members of the public joined via conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.


The recording runs about an hour and forty eight minutes (1 hour 48 minutes), so I split the meeting into two segments:

  • First - covers the opening, the handbook updates, and re-opening status (~56 mins)

  • Second - covers the citizens comments on the masking policy from DESE, the consent agenda, through to the closing of the meeting (~53 mins)

Links to the meeting agenda and associated documents released for this meeting are included in the show notes. The link to my notes taken during the meeting is also provided.


Let’s listen to this segment of the School Committee meeting Aug 24, 2021

 

Part 1 -> https://player.captivate.fm/episode/5f222fa5-c28e-4fea-990e-c82a38fadb91



Part 2 -> https://player.captivate.fm/episode/78bb69ef-d83c-49e9-9562-dd85585b60af



--------------


School Committee Agenda doc (including connection info) ->  https://www.franklinps.net/district/meeting-packets/files/sc-agenda-8-24-21

 

Agenda folder -> https://www.franklinps.net/district/meeting-packets/pages/august-24-2021-school-committee-meeting-packet


My notes captured during the meeting

https://www.franklinmatters.org/2021/08/recap-school-committee-meeting-82421.html 


--------------


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.  


This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

 

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know


Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.


For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/ or www.franklin.news/


If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com


The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.


I hope you enjoy!

------------------


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

 

FM #591 & 592 - School Committee Meeting - 08/24/21 - audio recording in 2 parts
FM #591 & 592 - School Committee Meeting - 08/24/21 - audio recording in 2 parts

Saturday, August 21, 2021

In another shift, Baker Administration will mandate masks for K-12 school opening

Massachusetts K-12 (@MASchoolsK12) tweeted Fri, Aug 20, 2021:

PRESS RELEASE Education Commissioner to Ask Board for Authority to Mandate Masks in Public Schools to Provide Time to Increase Vaccinations - https://t.co/CLO6N5sTXC #MaEdu #COVID19MA @MassEducation

"Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley will ask the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to grant him authority to mandate masks for all public K-12 students, educators, and staff through October 1 to ensure schools fully reopen safely and to provide time for more students and educators to get vaccinated. After October 1, the commissioner’s policy would allow middle and high schools to lift the mask mandate for vaccinated students and staff only if the school meets a certain vaccination rate – at least 80 percent of students and staff in a school building are vaccinated. Unvaccinated students and staff would still be required to wear masks.

The mandate would include exceptions for students who cannot wear a mask due to medical conditions or behavioral needs.
 
The Commissioner will revisit the mandate in the near future to revise it as warranted by public health data. The purpose of the policy is to encourage higher vaccination rates among students and staff and to implement a uniform policy for all schools to begin the year."
Continue reading the full press release:  https://t.co/CLO6N5sTXC

Assuming the proposal does come to reality, the Franklin School Committee will remove from its agenda its own policy update as 'not needed'

Press release hared from Twitter:   https://twitter.com/MASchoolsK12/status/1428737492627468290?s=03





State education commissioner Jeff Riley. (Photo by Llyr Johansen)
State education commissioner Jeff Riley. (Photo by Llyr Johansen)



Senator Rausch responds to DESE Masking Guidance

Statement from Senator Becca Rausch (D-Needham):

"Families across Massachusetts will finally have peace of mind sending their children back to classrooms with the protection of universal masking in K-12 schools. This victory belongs to every student, parent, teacher, school committee member, public health expert, and advocate who joined me in speaking up for science and safety. The Baker Administration owes our Commonwealth an apology for holding our communities' health and well-being in limbo until mere days before our children return to school, and I urge the Governor to extend these same protections to our early education settings. Statewide data-driven public health measures will give our children the safe, supportive, and successful school year they deserve."

Senator Rausch responds to DESE Masking Guidance
Senator Rausch responds to DESE Masking Guidance

Saturday, July 31, 2021

DESE releases fall guidance for school districts

MASC-School Committee (@MASCSchoolComm) tweeted on Fri, Jul 30, 2021:
"Just released fall guidance from the @MASchoolsK12. 
Please note:
"Today's guidance is a recommendation for districts, and individual districts should make decisions based on their own particular circumstances." 
https://t.co/w4lpqGbr1v"

Shared from Twitter: https://twitter.com/MASCSchoolComm/status/1421132978516860934?s=03

Full document available -> 

https://twitter.com/MASchoolsK12
https://twitter.com/MASchoolsK12


Saturday, May 29, 2021

DESE issues guidance for school in Fall

"All coronavirus-related protocols, including social distancing, will be lifted at schools for the start of the 2021-22 academic year, and every school will be required to be back fully in person, state education officials told superintendents on Thursday.

School districts will not be allowed to offer remote learning as a standard learning model, according to the new guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“Pathways that existed prior to the pandemic for offering virtual learning to individual students in limited cases will remain available to districts and schools,” including single-district virtual schools or home- or hospital-based tutoring programs for documented medical conditions, the state education agency said."
Continue reading the article online  (subscription may be required)




Wednesday, April 21, 2021

MA news: Mass. board of education approves two major changes

#1 

"For the first time since the MCAS became a graduation requirement in 2003, high school juniors will be exempt from having to pass the exam to receive their diploma.

The state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unanimously approved the waiver on Tuesday. State Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said the massive academic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic made it necessary to suspend the requirement.

If not for the pandemic, juniors would have taken their 10th grade math and English MCAS exams last year. But when the tests were canceled, it meant they would not have at least three chances to take the tests and, if needed, receive academic support before graduation."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

#2

"State education officials on Tuesday approved preliminary changes to the admissions process at vocational high schools aimed at giving disadvantaged students a better chance of attending.

The unanimous vote by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education came after members and advocates criticized the current criteria as unfair to students of color, low-income students, English learners, and students with disabilities, depriving them of an important career pathway.

The draft regulations, which were recommended by education Commissioner Jeff Riley, would eliminate the current requirement that vocational schools consider grades, attendance, discipline records, and recommendations from guidance counselors. Instead, the schools would be able to set their own criteria for admissions as long as those policies follow state and federal laws, lead to student demographics that are “comparable” to their communities’ school districts, don’t disproportionately deny admission to students from marginalized groups, and “promote equitable access for all students.”
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of Tri-County Regional Scheduled

During the week of April 26, 2021 the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Public School Monitoring (PSM) will conduct a Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School. The Office of Public School Monitoring visits each district and charter school every three years to monitor compliance with federal and state special education and civil rights regulations. Areas of review related to special education include student assessments, determination of eligibility, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team process, and IEP development and implementation. Areas of review related to civil rights include bullying, student discipline, physical restraint, and equal access to school programs for all students. 

In addition to the onsite visit, parent outreach is an important part of the review process. The review chairperson from the Office of Public School Monitoring will send all parents of students with disabilities an online survey that focuses on key areas of their child’s special education program. Survey results will contribute to the development of a report. During the onsite review, the Office of Public School Monitoring will interview a representative of the district’s Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). Other onsite activities may include interviews of district staff and administrators, reviews of student records, and onsite observations.  

Parents and other individuals may call Henry Ndakalu, Public School Monitoring Chairperson, at (781) 338-3706 to request a telephone interview. If an individual requires an accommodation, such as translation, to participate in an interview, the Department will make the necessary arrangements.

Within approximately 60 business days after the onsite visit, the review chairperson will provide Tri-County with a report with information about areas in which it meets or exceeds regulatory requirements and areas in which it requires assistance to correct or improve practices. The public will be able to access the report at http://www.doe.mass.edu/psm/tfm/reports/.

 

Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of Tri-County Regional Scheduled
Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of Tri-County Regional Scheduled