Showing posts from May, 2016

Student Data Privacy

As students, schools, and districts move more and more of their work online, ensuring data privacy has become a key issue. According to Steve Smith, Cambridge Public Schools addressed this issue before many other districts, and remains ahead of the curve in this regard, in part because families and the community had high expectations that they do so.

Steve is CPS Chief Information Officer and I recently had the occasion to meet and chat with him about his work in CPS and elsewhere. He came to lead CPS Information, Communications, and Technology Systems team seven years ago, which had been established some years before. He's passionate about helping all schools (not just CPS) become digitally and technologically savvy and he has worked in collaboration with districts and states to develop common standards for both expectations and best practices that ensure student data privacy.

Steve is also DESE's liaison to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the primary fed…

Special Meeting of the Board: Massachusetts Educator Evaluation

I find it difficult to both attend a meeting as a member of the Board and take notes of said meeting for a blog post, especially a post I hadn't decided to do until some time afterward. Ergo, there are holes. A very busy week, nonetheless, with two Board meetings and me trying to pull together my first slidedeck for a course I begin teaching next Tuesday...all this by way of apology for getting this post out so long after the fact. Do remember these are not "minutes" and any errors and/or misrepresentations are unintentional, but are mine.

This past Monday, May 23, the Department brought forward the topic of Educator Evaluation (Ed Eval) for a Special Meeting of the Board at 5:00 PM: "Educator Evaluation: Overview, Progress Report, and Key Issues - Discussion". The Board's agenda and back-up documents are HERE.

The Department presented a brief overview of the Ed Eval system that the Board adopted in 2011 as part of the run up for Race to the Top dollars. Seni…

Strong Families, Strong Schools

Based on my keynote at the Family Leadership Conference, Saturday, May 21, 2016. When our eldest entered school, I wanted to know his teachers, the principal, and other families* in our neighborhood. I'm on the state Board of Ed now as the Parent Representative and I'm there with no particular education expertise to speak of, but by virtue of having a child in the public schools at the time I was appointed by Governor Deval L. Patrick in August 2014. I've learned quite a lot about our children and our schools over the years as a parent, as a former Lexington School Committee Member and Chair, and as a past state PTA president. I want to share some of what I've learned about what it means - and why it's important - for modern families to be engaged in their child's education. Over forty years of researchdemonstrates that when families are engaged in their children's education, student achievement and graduation rates increase and this holds true regardless of a…

Family Leadership Conference

Saturday, May 21, 2016 - Plymouth North High School, Plymouth MA I was honored to keynote the inaugural Family Leadership Conference, a free, half-day conference presented by thePlymouth Public Schools(PPS) in collaboration with many volunteers and community organizations - and linked to thePPS Strategic Plan (2016-2020)! "The mission of the Conference is to provide training, information, and assistance to equip families with strategies to successfully support children." The conference offered a format for participants to learn about building positive relationships, supporting early literacy development, understanding the district's curriculum and instruction, parenting, nutrition, wellness, and more. Presentations were offered by educators and community organizations and targeted for various school levels - elementary, middle/high, all levels. Following registration, coffee, and time for networking, PPS Assistant Superintendent Dr. Chris Campbellkicked off the conference w…

The Fair Share Amendment

The Legislature meets in a Formal Joint Session this afternoon, scheduled for 1:00 PM, to consider a vote on the Fair Share Amendment.

In the last few days, an organization opposing the Amendment has sent out a scurrilously misleading and inflammatory mailing, district-wide, in the districts of several Legislators who have publicly supported the Amendment; my representative, Jay Kaufman, House Co-Chair of the Joint Revenue Committee, is one of them. I hope Rep.Kaufman and his colleagues who have been targeted have heard that their constituents want them to support the Amendment!

If the measure passes, this is what the Amendment will do*:

The proposed constitutional amendment would establish an additional 4% state income tax on that portion of annual taxable income in excess of $1 million. This income level would be adjusted annually to reflect increases in the cost of living by the same method used for federal income-tax brackets. Revenues from this tax would be used, subject to appro…

Annual & Special Town Meetings

Meeting just called to order by Deputy Moderator, Barry Orenstein.
Updating as we go.

Tonight's Annual & Special Town Meeting is expected to cover the remaining articles:

Article 12 - Wastewater System Improvements

Article 45 - Amend Zoning Bylaw - Brookhaven (to be referred back to Planning Board to complete negotiations) by Voice Vote - APPROVED
Motion to dissolve 2016 Annual Town Meeting
by Voice Vote - APPROVED
Moving on quickly to STM 2016-4: Article 5: Purchase of Belmont Country Club Land (to be indefinitely postponed) Report of the Capital Expenditures Committee received and placed on file.
TMM: asks School Committee about enrollment relative to this site. SC Chair: We have enrollment projections; for 5-10 years from now would be pure conjecture and speculative TMM: I don't find this answer at all helpful. How good are our school enrollment predictions? SC Chair: The second part of your first question - we do not have other sites to use for new s…

Raise Up MA Community Briefing, Bedford

Middlesex Community College, Cafe East, 10:30-12:00 Live-blogging, updating as we go. Welcome from Margaret Heitz of Lexington. There are 11 Community Briefings scheduled across the Commonwealth, for folks to speak to representatives and to hear from them about what they are focusing on. Just completed a busy time on budgeting. Raise Up MA (RUM) is a coalition of more than 50 organizations committed to building an economy that invests in families, gives everyone the opportunity to succeed, and creates broadly shared prosperity. The coalition works to pass laws, through the Legislature or at the ballot box, that support working families with jobs that pay a living wage and policies that allow them to balance work and family. To support important investments in the people and our communities, RUM believes everyone should be asked to pay their fair share. RUM Agenda includes: A Constitutional Amendment to support education and transportation infrastructureA Living Wage for Big Box Retail and Fa…