Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Board of Ed meets at 8:30

And they'll start with opening remarks...I'll post til I need to duck out to get to the Foundation Budget Commission hearing, but Mary Lewis-Pierce (@GoogieBaba on Twitter) will be coming in for later coverage. I'll update this post as the meeting begins.
Sagan comments that it's a very crowded agenda, that he'll move things along.
In introductions Donald Willyard announces he's been elected student rep for next year (again)

Commissioner: a number of comments in the Board book
Teacher of the Year, spring conversation on curriculum and instruction
charter school application round for next year, included 668 seats in Boston
first installment of study from American Institute for Research on student assessment
in-depth analysis in four district that use the full range of assessments, not completed yet, expect by end of month
testimony before Joint Committee of Education on three year moratorium "on accountability uses of assessment" not sure that's what I'd classify it as
notes that Willyard and Stewart both testified as well
small municipalities that don't have schools, certify tutitioning of students
accounting of grants

Secretary: no opening comments

Public comment: first on civics education
two teachers from Needham testifying on power of civics education
interdisciplinary learning, application in civic learning and engagement
"thoughtful, responsible and active citizens of the world"
"concept of change itself"
capstone project "how they can be the ones to make a difference in the community"
"concrete real-world project of their own making"
"we believe that these projects are an undoubted success"
civic learning is an empowering approach to education
Two students who have been through their program up now:
student testifies that she was able to comfortably give a sermon at her church after having been through the program
"attempting to achieve it was enough"
other student: three skills: self-direction, collaboration, communication
CEO of Mass Service Alliance: state commission on service and volunteerism
"clear evidence that a year of service has" impact on long-term attitudes and actions
support recommendations in report, particularly statewide regional advisory councils

Public comment on revision in autism regs
recommendations 'are very thoughtful'
some outstanding issues: require gen ed teachers complete advanced studies in subject before entering endorsement program; concerned lack of foundational knowledge
waive any or all of field work; does not guarantee candidate has received experience in various classrooms
requiring 2 years experience under the pre-req license before endorsement
(another speaker from Lesley University): consider excluding regular ed teachers from endorsement
differences in preparation between regular ed and special ed teachers
"make an evidence-based decision" and restrict to special ed teachers
VP, MTA: propose removing gen ed teacher from endorsement
include that this is a voluntary endorsement
should be clear regulatory language so as to not lead to replacement of special ed teachers who are licensed
inclusion of panel review to demonstrate school-based experiences
issue in regulation so all can see what is required
renewal language: proposal creates a mis-alignment with license renewal

And Mary Lewis-Pierce picks up here with the liveblog, partway through Commissioner Chester's evaluation:

Maryanne Rubric could be made available earlier.
 Woman 1: develop criteria over years, last year we had criteria revised, evolving process, because the work of department evolves, this criteria is comprehensive and demonstrative of work, thanks commissioner for exceptional work,
 Woman 2: Concerned that materials were not made available before meeting. Need more than rubric, what is needed are measurable goals. i.e. high school graduation rates. Communication has gotten better with superintendents but don’t know if they feel heard, tying license to evaluation caused conflict with teachers even though we (the Board) knew that would happen so it caused more work. The Board did the right thing but it was more work. We have all asked to do a self-evaluation. This is a very generic one. Commissioner should do one.
 Man 1: There is a mutually assured destruction clause in contract. There could be an interim commissioner while Chester works as advisor. But we would work it out.
 Motion BOE approved performance rating of Chester as Outstanding. Motion passes.
 Chester: humbling experience, thank you for trust board has placed in him, whatever positives the credit goes to staff. Senior staff and middle managers have done an outstanding job. Great to work with Jim (Peyser) and Gov. Baker and have chance to work with Baker and Peyser is a really neat opportunity.

 II. Strengthening civic learning
Working group's recomendations on civics:
  1. Revise the definition of college and career readiness to include readiness for civic life.
  2. Establish a statewide network of regional advisory councils that will provide the Board with advice and recommendations to improve and enrich civic learning in the Commonwealth.
  3. Convene an annual conference sponsored by the Department and planned in partnership with the many professional organizations commited to effective practice in history, social studies, and civics. This conference should have as its goal the identification and promulgation of promising practices in civic learning across all disciplines.
  4. Initiate the process to revise the 2003 History and Social Studies Curriculum and in doing so, consider developments in the field that, if thoughtfully integrated into our existing frameworks, could enhance the effectiveness of civics instruction.
  5. Establish funding to support district adoption and expansion of the six promising practices in civic learning. a) Offer grants to match local funds to expand and improve local practice. b)Offer grants to existing educational collaboratives to establish dissemination projects c) Dedicate funds to support professional development in these areas.
  6. Develop a strategy to assess each school and district's effectiveness in developing and delivering sound civics instruction, including ample opportunities for community engagement and varied practice in democratic practice in democratic processes to ensure every Massachusetts student graduates from high school prepared for active citizenship.
Working group – got charge last June based on meeting in feb, asked to take a look at what is happening in civic learning in Commonwealth and nationally, and identify opportunities for civic learning and areas of collaboration in higher ed and creation of pathways. The report represents are response to that charge.
 National perspective: 2 reports from Guardian of Democracy (Civic commission in schools). It calls for richer approach to civic learning and follow up report that affirmed that call. Should intentionally pursue civic learning we could strengthen democratic accountability
 Promising practices: reduce drop out rate and school climate
 College career and civic life report: experiential learning, targeted opportunities and informed public action 
Now discussing how to assess. This is happening nationally and a lot to do at state level. Commonwealth higher ed activity: in 2010 BOE passed vision project and 2012 preparing citizens as a goal in vision project. Hasn’t been given enough attention to civic role in preparing citizens.
Study group established to make recommendations. What should that look like?
 Definition had civic learning: knowledge, intellectual skills, applied competencies, and understanding of social and political values in democratic practice.
 Four action steps: 1. Universities should be built into strategic plan so that it is an outcome for student 2. Department of higher ed provide support 3. Develop methods to measure what is going on in terms of what colleges are doing 4. Department of higher ed to collaborate with elementary and secondary ed for seamless learning Civic learning in Commonwealth
current practices: K-16 school systems, implementation for civic requirements and model curriculum and implementation of MCAS history and student engagement.
Civic engagement as PRIMARY aim of schools. 100 model curriculum units. Currently, 25% of schools offer 3 or fewer classes in history and civics, 52% offer more than four. 20% of schools have 3 years of history and social science requirement , community service as a requirement.
80 superintendents rates level of civic learning as insufficient. 30% said it was sufficient, and many said it offered on few opportunities for civic learning
 Done well: Classroom instruction, highlights of work being done well, philanthropy work, kids survey what is good in their community, write for grants, send out RFPs and then decide what initiatives to fund and then go back out and check work. Community service and go onto colleges, many students receive awards, graduate from college and work for companies that value service. Very effective learning.
 Classroom instruction: discussion of current events and controversial issues, solving community problems, extra curricular activities, school governance, some school districts implementing civic learning. Hudson course in civics, service learning component for all students, Braintree requires civics requirement, some districts have 2 year history course. A lot is already happening in classrooms.
When we talk with student advisory groups, we see they don’t read newspaper or watch news because they don’t see relevance. Need to make connection much more effectively. Follow through on commitment that both boards work together on this matter, energize that conversation, expand definition to readiness for civic life, commissioner should establish committee (for what?), and expand membership, first meetings in fall, first report back to this board
 Conference should get going, statewide message to teachers, clear message to establish conference for best practices in civic learning. Raise profile of civic learning, process to quantify practice, professional development of teachers and expansion of promising practices
 Board will come back to recommendations in September. Guy next to Chester is saying that we have to make sure another year doesn’t pass for us to work on this because they have been working for this for 3 years. It is embarrassing that MA lacks in this. Public education is to create engaged civic students.
 New motion: Accept report Thanks working group Direct commissioner to make speedily recommendations Report back
 Motion passes: Accept and endorse recommendations of report

 III. Receivership Lawrence:
 Chester: Work in Lawrence, incredibly pleased with progress, renewed 3 years and extended Riley’s contract for 3 years, no promises about how this will end but need district with strong performance Jeff Riley: largest graduating class in Lawrence history, thousands of people came, special day for Lawrence, proud of work that has taken place, test scores and graduation are up but still work to do. This year, key initiatives, reimagining high school open up family resource center for registration process, Lawrence partnership council, awarded federal preschool expansion grant.
Leadership opportunities for teachers. Very proud of Lawrence teachers. Fundamentally, get them great teachers is what we are doing for kids. Lots of visitors: Duncan, Randi Weingartern, Baker and Patrick complimentary of work.
 Renewed turnaround plan to sustain High school redesign very important, must expand kindergarten Issues with SPED and ELL will be working on that.
 Partnership council with union, career latter, career level 4, hole that needs to be fixed, and provide additional compensation. 59 Non renewals (teahcers), 3 rehired back by district, we take very seriously, number will go down as additional openings arise, 28 were from high school
 New goals: proficiency rates over 55, number of schools over state average on proficiency Decentralize system but district orientation for new teachers.
 Board member: every district has right to non renewals but teachers write to us and say no one was in their classroom all year, did not receive evaluation or received proficient evaluation but all of sudden they were told they are not a good fit, but just because someone has a right to do something doesn’t make it right, these are professionals and should be given a reason why they are not being renewed. Principals made these decisions, but if evaluation as proficient or not given feedback, these cases should be renewed.
 Riley admits it may have more to do with need of school instead of “fit”
 Chester: work at high school critical, no longer tracking students, reinforce the freshman class and entry point, and fully supportive of redesign work. Student climate: art, enrichment and sports really help climate, as well as fixing school buildings. Kids know better than anyone and have discussed issues with them.
 Holyoke receivership:
 Steve: Thanks Board for opportunity.
Talking about Listen and Learn tour. Concerns expressed from community about length of school year. Not extending school year next year.
 Praise from around the Board.
 IV: Budget: CHESTER: conference committee meeting to reconcile so we don’t have a joint agreed upon budget, yesterday House passed 1 month extension
 Key items on budget. Securing funding for assessment account.
Big difference between bodies (4.5 million) proper transition funding in order to implement PARCC. Next priority, education data service, fund our data collection, need House version, legislature had different approach to kindergarten grant, $17.5 m difference, differences in district reimbursement accounts, Senate more generous, charters, and nonresidential vocational transportation and circuit breaker and small difference in chapter 70.

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