Preview of BESE meetings next week

February Board Book
The Board Book arrived this weekend with the information and backup needed in preparation for the upcoming meetings on 2/22 and 2/23. The agenda hasn't been posted publicly, yet; absent requests from Board members to add to or adjust it, here's a preview of what we can reasonably expect:

At the special meeting in Malden Monday night (5-7 PM) we'll hear updates on the status of receiverships for Southbridge and Holyoke Public Schools. This is the first monthly update on Southbridge since the Board voted to bring the district into receivership last month. We'll hear about the search process for an external receiver, status on setting up the Local Stakeholder Group, and strategies for family and community engagement. The report on Holyoke includes an update on the Therapeutic Intervention Program (TIP) at the Peck School and an overview on the status of the turnaround plan. Following that we'll go into Executive Session to discuss strategy with respect to pending litigation.

At the regular meeting in Malden Tuesday morning (8:30-1:00 PM) we'll first hear comments from the Chair, the Commissioner, the Secretary, and the Public. Among the Commissioner's comments will be remarks about recent studies on curriculum and assessment:
  • a study out of Harvard University on teachers' perspectives for the first full year of common core curriculum implementation in five states, including Massachusetts;
  • from the Fordham Institute a study that examines how well MCAS, PARCC, SBAC, and ACT measure college-and-career-ready standards; and
  • a similar study conducted by the Human Resources Research Organization. Spoiler alert (but perhaps not...!): both assessment studies found limitations with MCAS, while the "newer" assessments generally rated "higher".
As we'll be wrapping up "charter school season", the first five "Items for Discussion and Action" are related to charter schools, including a discussion on the Report to the Legislature (as required by MGL, c.71, s.89(kk) and recommendations for new charter schools (Libertas Academy Charter School, Springfield and New Heights Charter School, Brockton); discussion and VOTES on both schools.

The final four are "Other Business Items": 6.) discussion & VOTE on Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School; 7.) discussion and VOTE on the Revised Definition of College-and-Career-Readiness, Incorporating Civic Learning; 8.) discussion of Governor Baker's State Education Budget Proposal for FY17; and 9.) discussion of the new student assessment process.