Monday, April 23, 2012

Current Events

There are many things going on in Massachusetts education right now. Most of them connect to literacy instruction and learning either directly or indirectly. So, I thought I would take some time to help my region be up-to-date.

By now, most of you are aware of the RETELL (Rethinking Equity and Teaching of English Language Learners) initiative. Information is available at on the Department's Web site. There you will find information on the SEI (Sheltered English Immersion) Endorsement and the latest recommendations with regard to current and past Category training. The public comment period on RETELL ended Friday and the Board of Education will vote on proposed regulations at the April meeting. Information on the Board is available on the Home Page of the Department's Web site as well. WIDA (World-Class Instructional  Design and Assessment) is expected to be able to be put in place in the 2012-2013 school year. WIDA aligns with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and therefore with our new Framework for ELA and Literacy. More than that, WIDA provides academic language instruction in Math, science, and social studies as well as social and instructional language. Keep up-to-date on time lines and trainings at the Web site above or check out WIDA at

Our Race to the Top (RttT) project for developing model curriculum units with embedded performance-based assessments met and worked for two days during the first week in April. Members from schools and districts signed recommitment letters while a second cohort of educators was being recruited from member-districts. There is a full week session scheduled for August and in the meantime, content specialists and experts from our partner states will review the work so far with an eye to providing valuable feedback. The group with whom I worked has been diligent and collaborative, making good progress and with the unit complete, is putting the finishing touches on the lesson plans. It has been exciting to make visible the literacy work involved in the science units based on our literacy standards for the content disciplines.

Enhancing Content Learning with Disciplinary Literacy, Grades 6-12 is a session designed for district staff responsible for implementing/training others to consider how the literacy standards for the content disciplines have implications for all subject-area instruction. They are being offered through the Readiness Centers throughout the state. No dates are announced yet for the Southeast but you may find information at I will send out notices when the Southeast dates are arranged.
I hope you are all following the progress of PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career) at You may wish to sign up for periodic email updates. Currently, ESE is working on the application process for Massachusetts PARCC Educator Leader Fellow Team of 24 K-16 educators. These educators will work with PARCC, ESE and DHE (Department of Higher Ed) to learn everything there is to know about PARCC resources and assessments. They will then disseminate that information within Massachusetts. I expect to know more next week - stay tuned.
ESE has decided to work with USED (US Department of Ed) to develop curriculum maps for the new standards in math and ELA. An RFQ has been posted to identify a provider for professional development, based on the USED model, for the next two years. These opportunities will combine face-to-face as well as webinar venues.

Our regional literacy network meetings for Grant 738 - Literacy Partnership Grant - will be held on April 30 and May 21. This message should have been received by the district grant contact.

Original Message:
Dear Literacy Partnership Colleagues,

We hope you enjoyed the statewide Literacy Partnership event on April 3. We are looking forward to seeing you at the regional sessions. In these sessions, participants will continue their work on reading comprehension in K-3 with experienced presenters focusing in breakout sessions on specific areas such as oral language instruction, the reading/writing connection and informational text. Regional meetings will focus on these topics in both sessions. As you know, both meetings in your region are a requirement for all PK-12 Literacy Professional Development Partnership Grant recipients. Please register for the events in your region. 
As always, we appreciate your commitment to your work with your PK-12 Literacy Professional Development Partnership Grant. Should you have any questions about the upcoming meetings, please feel free to contact Dorothy Earle of Jane Myers. Dot can be reached at 781-338-6265 or Jane can be reached at Questions on how to register online should be directed to Alexia Cribbs at 781-338-3581 or

Regional sessions will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at:
Holiday Inn, 700 Myles Standish Blvd, Taunton, MA ~ April 30; May 21
The agenda for each event will be:
8:30-8:50 Welcome
8:55-11:30 Breakout Sessions; 11:30-12:30 Facilitated, guided discussion.
Dorothy Earle, Office of Literacy Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148 781-338-6265,
 If you are not a 738 Grant recipient and wish to attend please let me know and I will check on availability.