Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Annual Instructional Support Convening Registration is Now Open!

New for school year 2016-2017, the Center for Instructional Support has combined the Annual Fall Summit and the Annual Spring Convening!  The new Annual Instructional Support Convening will continue to feature great topics to assist educators and districts to ensure all students have access to high quality instruction, effective educators, and opportunities for success during and beyond their K-12 experiences. Registration is now open.

C&I Annual Convening
Ensuring Every Student Succeeds: Setting Ambitious Expectations

Date & Time:  Tuesday, February 14th and repeated on Wednesday, February 15th
                      Registration: 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
                      Program: 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Location: Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, 181 Boston Post Road West, Marlborough, Massachusetts 01752

Participants: The program will be the same both days; district and organization teams should coordinate their attendance and are welcome to attend on the same or different day.
Each person must register individually.

Districts: Districts are invited to bring a team of 4, including school leaders, district leaders, and other members of the superintendent's choosing.
  • Statewide Organizations: Statewide organizations are invited to bring a team of 4.
  • Educator Preparation Programs: Ed prep programs are invited to bring a team of 2. 

Please note:  Due to space limitations, walk-in participants will not be admitted.

Please contact your Superintendent’s office for registration information

Monday, December 12, 2016

Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) Puts Massachusetts among Top Nations!

The 2015 results from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) have just been released. They report that if Massachusetts were a nation, we would be among the top spots in reading alongside eight other nations worldwide. In science, Massachusetts student's shared the second place spot with 10 other nations and in math Massachusetts followed closely behind 11 other nations.
Last year, over 500,000 students from across the globe participated in PISA, including more than 5,700  from the United States. Massachusetts was one of only two states that participated in order to receive state level results in comparison to nations worldwide.  
Governor Charlie Baker commented, "I'm thrilled to see Massachusetts students rank among the top performers in the world in reading, math and science. The Commonwealth is proud of our longstanding commitment to education, and as we continue to compete in a global economy, it is great to see our students perform well on an international stage."
To see more results from the report click here.

Friday, December 2, 2016

2011 ELA and Math Framework Revision Update

Proposed Changes to ELA and Math Standards Available for Public Comment:

This week the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to release for public comment new drafts of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy (ELA/Literacy) and Mathematics. Comments may be made from December 1, 2016 through February 17, 2017 through an online survey. Educators interested in learning more about the proposed changes to the Frameworks are encouraged to check out the ELA/Literacy and Math Standards Review page on ESE’s website or sign up for one of ESE's Office Hours sessions scheduled throughout the comment period.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Massachusetts Science Ambassadors

With the release of the 2016 Science, Technology Engineering Standards (STE) this past year, ESE in partnership with the Museum of Science have assembled a group of talented science educators to assist schools and districts as they shift to the new standards. Interested districts and schools can request a one to two hour professional development session facilitated by a science ambassador. Popular session topics include:
  • 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
To learn more about this opportunity or to schedule a visit email or click here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Approved MCAS Graphic Organizers Available on ESE Website

The pre-approved graphic organizers, checklists, and reference sheets for use by students with disabilities in grades 3–8 who have this MCAS accommodation listed in their IEPs or 504 plans are now available on the ESE website. To access these reference sheets, click here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

3 WIDA Professional Development Opportunities

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is proud to announce the offering of 3 WIDA professional development (PD) opportunities intended to support English language learners (ELs). These workshops, free of cost, are open to educators, content specialists, specialists, coaches, curriculum developers, department chairs, directors, building and central administrators and any other staff serving ELs.

WIDA Workshop: Creating Language-Focused Collage and Career Ready Units for Content and ESL Educators
Dates: November 14 - 16, 2016
Time: 8:30-3:30
Location: Devens Common Center, Devens
Audience: Teams of content and ESL teachers, coaches, curriculum writers, administrators
Description: Participants will use resources from the WIDA ELD Standards Framework to plan student centered units of instruction which integrate content and language standards.
Register here: 

WIDA Workshop: Purposeful Lesson Planning for English Learners
Dates: December 13-14, 2016
Time: 8:30-3:30
Location: Devens Common Center, Devens
Audience: ESL, bilingual, content teachers, coaches, curriculum writers, administrators and support staff familiar with the WIDA Standards Framework
Description:  This two day workshop will enhance participants' lesson planning process, specifically focusing on creating contexts for meaningful language use within settings that integrate content and academic language learning.
Register here:

WIDA Workshop: Leadership for English Learner Achievement
Dates: February 22-23, 2017
Time: 8:30-3:30
Location: Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel, Marlborough
Audience: Educational leaders who work with ELs
Description: This two day workshop focuses school leaders on applying their learning about policy, programs and professional standards for educational leaders by creating a list of personal leadership action steps to support collaborative school improvement processes related to the achievement and well being of language learners (ELs).
Register here:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Massachusetts Chooses Vendor for Next-Generation MCAS

Last week, Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester announced that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has signed a contract with Measured Progress to collaborate on the Next-Generation MCAS. Over the next 5 years, Measured Progress and its subcontractors (Pearson Education North America) will build the new statewide assessments in English language arts, mathematics and science.

The initial version of the next-generation tests for English language arts and mathematics will be administered in the spring of 2017 to grades 3-8. Grade 10 will be ready in the following years. The science tests for grades 5, 8 and high school will also transition over the coming years. To view the full press release, click here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Online Calibration Training Tool Released from ESE!

ESE is excited to announce the release of an Online Calibration Training Tool to be used in conjunction with ESE's Calibration Video Library. These tools can be used for professional development in a variety of ways. They include:
  • focused calibration for evaluators on high-priority elements of practice;
  • cross-role calibration to develop a shared understanding of practice across educators; and/or
  • join district/ed prep calibration to define common expectations of practice.

Using this tool, participants are able to watch a video of classroom instruction from ESE's Calibration Video Library, individually assess the educator's practice related to specific elements from the Model Classroom Teacher Rubric, and provide the educator with written feedback using an online form. Through real-time data displays, participants then come together to compare their finds. The goal of this calibration training tool is to help leaders promote a shared understanding of effective practice and actionable feedback.

To access the tool and video library, click here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Civic Literacy Conference

Registration is now open for the upcoming conference on civic literacy hosted by ESE and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate. The conference titled, "Serving America: Promising Practices for Building Literacy and Civic Learning" will provide educators an opportunity to learn the role civic learning plays in maintaining our democracy, increase civic knowledge and engagement for students grades K-12 and make natural connections between this discipline and literacy. Presenters will include K-12 educators and representatives from state, education and community organizations. This free event, held on May 23rd, will run from 8 a.m. to  3:30 p.m. at the Edward Kennedy Institute (210 Morrissey Blvd., Boston).

To learn more, or register for this event, click here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Boston EdTalks are Coming

Phew, it has been a while. The tulips are beginning to bloom and I am finally getting back to finding a moment to blog about an exciting upcoming opportunity. On May 5th, The Boston Foundation will be sponsoring their 5th annual Boston EdTalks. This event, held live will feature five 10-minute presentations by local teachers about current classroom challenges and with their view of solutions.

If interested, click here to RSVP. The details are as follows:
When: May 5th
Time: Pre-event Reception: 5:00-6:00pm
Presentations: 6:00-8:00pm
Location: The Boston Foundation, 75Arlington Street, Boston, MA

Below are a list of presentations and presenters:

 Educating the Heart & the Mind: Social and Emotional Learning for Success in and out of the Classroom
by Colleen Galvin Labbe, Kindergarten Teacher at Lee Academy Pilot, Boston Public Schools
 Empowering Mathematical Minds: The Making of Math Champions
by Jeffrey Parks and Michael O’Halloran, 3rd Grade Teachers at Everett Elementary School, Boston Public Schools
Voices of Activism: Creating Empathy & Breaking Barriers
by Jennifer Staysniak, High School History Teacher at Mount Alvernia High School, Newton
What We Believe: Building Teacher-Driven Innovation through Collaboration
by Alice Laramore, 7th Grade English Language Arts Teacher, and Katy Ramón, 8th Grade Math Teacher, at Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School, Boston Public Schools with Marcus Penny, 7th & 8th Grade Science Teacher, Katharine Atkins-Pattenson, 7th Grade Humanities Teacher, and Randyl Wilkerson, 6th Grade Humanities Teacher, at Gardner Pilot Academy, Boston Public Schools 
Twitter Chats and EdCamps: Innovations in Professional Learning
by Abbey Dick, 10th grade English and AP English Language and Composition Teacher at Malden High School, Malden Public Schools
What if? Targeted Literacy Instruction within a Rigorous Curriculum
by Nicole Tabolt DaSilva and Caitlin MacLeod-Bluver, 9th & 10th  Grade English Language Arts at Boston International Newcomers Academy, Boston Public Schools with Juliet Buesing, 10th Grade Humanities and 11th & 12th Grade AP English Language & Composition Teacher  at Urban Science Academy, Boston Public Schools

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

ELA What to Look For Documents are Available!

The ELA Kindergarten-Grade 8 'What To Look For' documents are finally live! Click here to check them out.  I prefer and recommend the PDF versions, which are more user friendly.  In addition to the ELA documents, ESE has published science and math guides (grades 1-8).

The "What to Look For" documents were created to provide additional support to help district and school staff identify what should be observed in particular content-area classrooms, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), in partnership with educators in the field, has developed a suite of straightforward observation guides for grades 1–8.

They describe what observers should expect to see in a classroom at a particular grade level in a specific subject area. This includes the knowledge and skills students should be learning and using (as reflected in state learning standards) on the front of the page and best practices related to classroom curriculum, instruction, and assessment for each subject area on the back of the page.

The observation guides are particularly useful to observers who may not have the subject matter experience to know what to look for in classrooms outside of their personal background. The "What to Look For" guides are not designed to replace any evaluation system or tools districts currently use, but are a resource to help classroom observers efficiently identify what teachers and students should be experiencing in specific subjects and grade levels.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Candlewick Press Giveaway This Week!

I just received an email from MRA announcing that Candlestick Press will be hosting a promotional giveaway scheduled for Wednesday, January 13th  and Thursday, January 14th in Somerville, MA. The details are listed below:

WHEN:  January 13 and 14 from 3:00-5:00 PM

Candlewick Press is hosting a giveaway of promotional materials including advance readers, posters, guides, bookmarks, t-shirts, and even some books. This is an open invitation to any educator.

99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA, right behind the Davis Square T-stop and there is metered parking in front.

We recommend that you bring bags or boxes to carry your materials. and ask that you kindly
RSVP to Anne Irza-Leggat so she will have a sense of how many people to expect each day.


Your friends at Candlewick Press

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Speaking and Listening

Ever wonder how you can implement and assess the speaking and listening standards in the classroom? PARCC has released a Speaking and Listening Tool. This tool has been developed to "help teachers better understand how to implement the Speaking and Listening standards into the classroom, and to gather ideas for feedback needed to shape student learning."
These tools include:
  • K-2 tools which include a performance task and a framework for classroom discussions and a more simplistic presentation task
  • Mode 1 Listening Comprehension (Grades 3,5,7,9,11) tools which include performance tasks in which students listen to a text and build their understanding through note-taking and discussion.
  • Mode 2 Research and Presentation (Grades 4,6,8,10,12) tools which include performance tasks in which students conduct research on a topic and present their findings and conclusions to their classmates.
  • Classroom Presentation (grades K-12) tools which provide a framework for conducting classroom discourse in a structured way
To access the speaking and listening tools, click here. The first time login code is MA1788, after initially logging in you will be prompted to create your own password).