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Archive for the ‘Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) wants to hear your thoughts about the parent fee scale.

So please register for one of the information sessions – Monday, March 8, 2021, at 11a.m. and Monday, March 8, 2021, at 7p.m. with Spanish translation – and share your thoughts.

The parent fee scale indicates the amount that families have to pay toward their state subsidized child care.

Unfortunately, the current fee scale is outdated. It was last revised in 2006, with additional minor adjustments made in 2014. (more…)

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Photo: Pixaby from Pexels

The pandemic has forced schools to offer remote learning.

Now Massachusetts is promoting high-quality remote learning. State educational officials have put together a four-part webinar series focusing on children in preschool-through-third-grade classrooms.

Register today for Part II, which is tonight at 6:00 p.m. This webinar will focus on building strong collaborations between public schools and community-based programs.

Launched last week, the series – sponsored by the Executive Office of Education, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and the Department of Early Education and Care – covers a range of topics. (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

One of the most powerful ways to help children succeed is through evidence-based family engagement efforts.

The challenge is how to do this work well, which is why a newly released state resource — “Strengthening Partnerships: A Framework for Prenatal through Young Adulthood Family Engagement in Massachusetts – is so important.

As this framework explains:

“Family engagement is crucial for healthy growth of children and youth in all domains of health and development.”

To help children achieve this healthy growth, the framework points to five guidelines:

• “Each family is unique, and all families represent diverse structures.”

• “Acknowledging and accepting the need to engage all families is essential for successful engagement of diverse families and includes recognizing the strengths that come from their diverse backgrounds.”

• “Building a respectful, trusting, and reciprocal relationship is a shared responsibility of families, practitioners, organizations, and systems.”

• “Families are their child’s first and best advocate,” and

• “Family engagement must be equitable.” (more…)

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Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

 

On Wednesday,Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, spoke at a virtual town hall meeting. Here are some excerpts of what she said. A recording of the meeting is posted here.

 

For the duration of the closure, we know that you are working to try to support your staff, your families, and yourselves, and sustain that work. And we are doing as much as we can to help with whatever is in our power to make sure that you have the resources you need to be able to endure this difficult and challenging time.”

“I want to assure you that all of the federal funding that is available to small businesses is available to for-profit, nonprofit, and family child care providers.”

“We also know that in addition to being a valuable educational resource for families and children, child care in this moment is also a critical resource for the economy, even the baseline economy that we have running right now.”

“We are building on the wonderful relationship that DESE [the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] has with WGBH to try to think about what kind of resources might be available to families.”

“The commitment I can make to you now is when the governor decides to reopen schools and child care, we will be thoughtful and supportive.”

 

Register here for another virtual town hall meeting with the commissioner that will be held on Thursday, April 16, 2020, at 3 p.m.

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

 

In Massachusetts, there’s a new state law on the books – the Student Opportunity Act. It calls on school districts to close the achievement gap by investing historic new state funding for education ($1.5 billion over seven years) in proven solutions.

One solution that districts can choose: high-quality early education and care.

Districts have until April 1, 2020, to develop and submit their plans for closing the gap to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley explained last fall that school superintendents have to work with school committees to develop:

“…a three-year, evidence-based plan to address persistent disparities in achievement among student subgroups. In developing its plan, each district must consider input and recommendations from parents and other community stakeholders, including special education and English learner parent advisory councils, school improvement councils, and educators.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Next month, the Departments of Early Education and Care and Elementary and Secondary Education are sponsoring a free conference called, “Building Inclusive Communities in Early Childhood.”

The conference will be held on Friday, March 15, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (check-in starts at 8:30 a.m.) at the Devens Common Center in Devens, Mass. Click here to register.

“Inclusion in early childhood programs refers to including children with disabilities in early childhood programs, together with their peers without disabilities,” according to a 2015 joint statement from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.

These children often “face significant barriers to accessing inclusive high-quality early childhood programs…” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

This year’s MCAS test results have been released.

And while this assessment of Massachusetts students is 25 years old, this year’s results are part of a “new generation” of testing that’s designed “to measure how a school or district is doing and what kind of support it may need,” according to a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

The next-generation MCAS “is more comprehensive than the previous system and complies with the 2015 federal Every Student Succeeds Act.” This is the second year that the new MCAS has been administered, so this year’s results can only be compared to last year’s – and not to earlier years.

Students’ test scores are sorted into one of four assessment categories:

• exceeding expectations

• meeting expectations

• partially meeting expectations, and

• not meeting expectations

The year’s results are similar to last year’s, the press release notes. In English and math, “approximately 50 percent of the students who took the test scored Meeting Expectations or above.” (more…)

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JD Chesloff

We caught up with JD Chesloff, who just completed a 10-year term on the Board of Early Education and Care (EEC), and asked him about what he’s seen over the last decade.

As readers of this blog know, JD’s career includes working at Strategies for Children and in the State House. He was also chair of EEC’s Board, and he is currently the executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.

What has he seen as an EEC board member?

“The organization has matured over the last 10 years. It started out as a fledgling idea of having all of the early childhood activity in one place.”

“It’s grown up over that time and now it’s a clearly equal member at the education table with K-12 and higher education.”

JD praises the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and its focus on ensuring that children and families have access to high-quality programs. The department has also wrestled with serving all children, making universal access part of its vision in a 5-Year Strategic Plan.

What was the most personally satisfying part of JD’s time on the Board? (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Yesterday, Massachusetts officials released the results of the new MCAS, “an updated version of the test that was given for the first time in spring 2017 to students in grades 3-8 in English language arts and mathematics,” according to a press release.

The results show some good news. But the new test also reveals how much work Massachusetts still has to do to help all of its students succeed.

The new version of the MCAS “was created with input from hundreds of teachers following a thorough review and update of the state’s curriculum frameworks. The next-generation MCAS establishes high expectations to better reflect whether students are on track for the next grade level and ultimately for college and a career.”

“In general, the new standards for Meeting Expectations are more rigorous than the standards for reaching the Proficient level on the legacy MCAS.”

“Spring 2017 is a baseline year for a new test in grades 3-8, and spring 2017 scores should not be compared to previous years’ scores.” (more…)

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Foreground: Representative Claire Cronin (D-Plymouth) speaking to Commissioner Mitchell Chester, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

We are very sad to hear that Mitchell Chester, commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, passed away on Monday. He was committed to improving education across the commonwealth.

“Commissioner Chester’s leadership improved the lives of thousands of students & helped make MA’s public school system a national leader,” Governor Baker said on Twitter.

Massachusetts Secretary of Education Jim Peyser said, “He was a thoughtful leader. He loved the job he did. He cared deeply about all the children in the state,” the Boston Globe reports.

We are thinking of Commissioner Chester and his family, and we are grateful for his leadership.

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