Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Timely News

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted today to release the draft versions of the revised Literacy and Mathematics Frameworks for public comment. Below is a link to the documents we have prepared to support educators' knowing what the revisions are and why they were made. These documents are the result of almost 2 years of work that started with the input of educators on a survey of lessons learned while using the standards for 5 years.

You can access all of the Board documents here: You will find the full red-lined versions of each Framework, grade-by-grade revisions in easy to read tables (I recommend these.), and a pair of Quick Reference Guides (QRG) for educators (I recommend these, as well.).  The grade-by-grade summaries explain what was proposed and what adjustments were made as well as why they were made. The QRGs give an overview of the process.

The public comment survey  will be live from 12/1 through 2/17. Additionally, Office Hours are scheduled in each region to assist educators in learning about the changes and to get feedback from the field. Office Hours information sessions  will be offered on 1/12/2017 at 10 (after the curriculum administrators meeting) at the Cape Cod Collaborative, 418 Bumps River Road, Osterville and on 2/6/2017  at the North River Collaborative Conference Center, 525 Beech Street, Rockland. Please share this information and encourage all to participate in the survey.

On February 14 and 15, ESE will host that annual Instructional Support Convening. There will be a workshops  to provide participants with an updates on current ESE initiatives. Convening invitations go to superintendents who are asked to assemble and bring a team from the district. Each district may attend on one of the two days.

Online survey: The Department is seeking input from educators and others to inform the upcoming revision of the MA History and Social Science Curriculum Framework by participating in a survey, now available here; it should take approximately 10–20 minutes to complete, and it will remain open until February 6, 2017. Please share this information with any of your colleagues who might be interested in providing input.

The Second Annual Civics Literacy Conference will take place at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston on Monday May 8, 2017. Many thanks to EMK for partnering with us again this year and to those of you who made it such a success last year. This is a great conference in a gem of a Massachusetts institution. 

Next-Generation Test Designs and Other Information Now Available
The 2017 next-generation MCAS test information for grades 3–8 ELA and Mathematics tests is now available. This includes the test design, number of sessions, question types, and other information related to the newly redesigned MCAS tests.

Information Sessions on New ELA and Mathematics Test Designs for Grades 3–8:
The Department will hold two conference call sessions for elementary and middle schools to give information on the new test designs for ELA and Mathematics for grades 3–8, as well as new accessibility features and accommodations.

The sessions will provide the following information:
  • an overview of the new test designs (Participants should view the ELA and Mathematics test designs prior to the session.)
  • similarities to and differences from the 2016 tests
  • new question types and sample questions
  • accessibility features and accommodations
Presenters will also hold a question-and-answer period at the end of the presentation.
Each session will be held according to the schedule in the table below.
         Day                                                                                         Time
Thursday, December 8                                                      1:00–2:30 p.m.
Friday, December 9                                                           9:00–10:30 a.m.

Registrations may be submitted here until December 2.

Principals are asked to invite educators in their schools to participate, but a recording of one of the sessions will be made available for those who are unable to attend, along with the slide deck presented.

If you have not signed up for regular Student Assessment ServicesUpdates, please do. They are available to all.  To subscribe, email with the following information in the body of the email: “subscribe SASUpdate Your_Name” (Example: subscribe SASUpdate John_Smith).

Science Ambassadors:  The Science Ambassadors are a group of talented science educators available to assist schools and districts to understand the impact of the 2016 Science Technology Engineering (STE) standards on their curriculum and instruction efforts. In partnership with the Museum of Science, ESE prepares Ambassadors to deliver presentations on the key shifts and considerations for transition and implementation of the STE standards. In addition, they share and explain the many helpful resources available.

What is a Science Ambassador Session?
Ambassadors travel to your district at a time conducive to educator professional development opportunities. The Ambassadors will actively engage with educators to review the standards for 1-2 hours. Some of the most popular session topics are:
  • Overview and rationale behind the new standards
  • Sharing Massachusetts’ vision for PreK-12 science education
  • Integrating science and engineering practices
  • Implications of the new standards for curriculum and instruction.
ESE follows up after each session to gather feedback, offer technical assistance as needed, support your next steps, and answer questions.

We are excited to schedule a session for you. District science leaders (e.g., curriculum director, science department chair, teacher leader) are encouraged to email with your proposed date(s), time and the audience. Ambassadors also regularly present at conferences, regional meetings, Head Start programs, informal science organizations, after school and summer programs, and other gatherings. Contact ambassadors today!

Hope you can and will take advantage of these important opportunities!