Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May meeting of the Board of Education: opening remarks

You can find the agenda here. Note that we'll hear from Scituate as part of the opening this morning, as Sciutate High School is hosting today.
Also, interesting note for DESE watchers: the Commissioner is not here today, so Deputy Commissioner Wulfson is sitting in.

Congratulations to Katherine Craven who is home with a new daughter!

Welcome today to Scituate High School.
"flies under the radar, but is doing some exceptionally well things here"

as Superintendent McCarthy talks about how he's retiring, Sagan comments "Massachusetts schools have a way of pulling people back in"

Sagan: calling on others for topics
Morton who chaired last night's receivership session
thanks DESE for support of three receivership districts
"shared with us the unique challenges that exist in their districts"
sharing best practices with each other
"I think that we are well-served by the receivers"
Lawrence "well on its way to success with its students, Holyoke is building up steam, and Southbridge is just getting started"
Noyce appreciated seeing focus on teaching and learning in Southbridge
all three districts focused on improvements on the secondary school level
nationally, easier to turn around elementary schools than secondary schools
Peyser: high schools "kind of leading the way"
taking risks, being thoughtful about breaking the problem into smaller chunks, preparation for college and career
Sagan: "by the time they were put in, it was much much later than it should have been"
"much much worse on the ground than they imagined"
should have been put in five years earlier
"good reminder for us that there are deep troubles out there...and something we need to keep in mind"
Noyce: asked yesterday, demurred about coming in earlier in Holyoke, receiver said it's been that way for 40 years
"frequent visits aren't going to give you the same insight as being there"
Noyce on Commissioner's annual evaluation: "on track"
have reviewed Commissioner's self-evaluation and discussed, have interviewed those who directly work for him, interviewed all three receivers, all members of Board save Craven
currently drafting report

Stewart: running for 4th Middlesex district Senate seat
has consulted with Ethics Commission to ensure she's appropriately advised

Moriarty in Houston yesterday on the state school boards; gathering on ESSA
"we were unusually well poised to respond to the passage of this new federal statute in a way"
things in ESSA plan are activities "that we were engaged in anyway"

Wulfson: very busy month for the department
two celebrations of outstanding educators this month: 2017 National Teacher of the Year
Massachusetts State Teacher of the Year for 2018
ceremony on June 15 at State House
interagency task force by office of Child Advocate, private special education schools and programs
task force continue to act over coming month
May 8, second conference on civic engagement and learning
"once again very well received"
licensure changes out for comment: "in some quarters, it may have been misinterpreted as an overreach on First Amendment rights for teachers"
No such intent: that's why it is out for comment
coming back to Board in June
charter school waitlist: number of unique students has declined slightly, as carryovers are being phased out
ESSA plan back to fed in response to comments
"continue to be in the pipeline for approval of that plan"
clarification on accountability and impact on schools over time (I have this as a hard copy; I'll share later) Pertinent section: 
While the details of that system are still being developed, the system will be consistent with the Board's November 2015 vote. As a result, the test scores from the spring 2017 MCAS administration in grades 3-8 will not negatively impact accountability results in 2018, and going forward. While subject to further deliberation by the Board, ESE plans to use the 2017 next-generation MCAS results as the baseline for setting targets for 2018 and beyond in order to measure improvement over time. In addition, the participation data used in the 2018 accountability determinations will reflect participation rates from both 2017 and 2018.
VISTA survey to principals
Black Educator Alliance of Massachusetts: concerns around level 3, 4, 5 schools in Boston in budgeting
Supt. Chang to come to Board at an upcoming meeting
Mystic Valley Charter on their dress code
"The department immediately reached out to the school to initiate a discussion"
worked with AG, met with "Attorney General Healy herself"
"discriminatory in effect if not in intent"
suspend any discipline for the balance of the year "we clearly haven't reached a final resolution of this issue"
DESE is committed "bring about permanent changes in dress code going forward"
Department did not know about dress code issue at Mystic Valley earlier
Sagan: want to be right there
"we're the authorizer but not the administrator for the school...have to hold them accountable"
Peyser on Springfield Empowerment Zone "autonomies, powerful as it plays out on the ground"
"some very concrete examples on
"tentative effect on student outcomes"
smaller decisions that can make a large impact
consultation on curriculum with teachers
"pay attention over time"

Public comment
early college:
need for challenging work for higher performing students
adaptive assessment for higher performing students
speaker now speaking on behalf of Gateway to College
biggest impact on those who wouldn't otherwise be going
prepare students in all ways
see themselves as learners who can succeed in academic settings
set bars for success
don't hinder a student's further education
consider all students: holistic student support
realistic levels of academic support

Lawyers' Committee on Civil Rights delivering a letter on Mystic Valley
seeking revision of the policy, reversal of all punishment, anti-bias training

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