MSDE vis­its for ESSA Lis­ten­ing Tour

Dorchester Star - - Regional - By VIC­TO­RIA WIN­GATE vwingate@ches­pub.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @ vic­to­ri­adorstar and on In­sta­gram @dorch­ester.star.

CAM­BRIDGE — The Mary­land State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion made a stop at the Dorch­ester Ca­reer and Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter on Tues­day, Jan. 10, as part of their statewide ESSA Lis­ten­ing Tour.

The pur­pose of the meet­ing was to gather feed­back and ideas from com­mu­nity and ed­u­ca­tion stake­hold­ers re­gard­ing the draft of the Ev­ery Stu­dent Suc­ceeds Act State Con­sol­i­dated Plan.

The ESSA was signed into law by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama on Dec. 10, 2015, and is a reau­tho­riza­tion of the El­e­men­tary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Act, for­merly known as No Child Left Be­hind.

MSDE has as­sem­bled the first draft of the State Con­sol­i­dated Plan and is seek­ing feed­back from ed­u­ca­tors, ad­min­is­tra­tors, par­ents, and other com­mu­nity stake­hold­ers. The thoughts and ideas of these groups will be con­sid­ered when re­vis­ing the plan for sub­mis­sion to the fed­eral Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion in Septem­ber of this year.

Un­der the new law, states are given more flex­i­bil­ity to choose their goals and how to de­ter­mine ac­count­abil­ity. There is also an em­pha­sis on sup­port­ing and im­prov­ing the low­est per­form­ing schools.

At­ten­dees at Tues­day’s meet­ing were sep­a­rated into three groups, and MSDE rep­re­sen­ta­tives led each group through three dis­cus­sion ses­sions: ac­count­abil­ity and stan­dards/as­sess­ments, sup­port­ing ex­cel­lent ed­u­ca­tors, and sup­port­ing all stu­dents and low per­form­ing schools.

On the topic of ac­count­abil­ity and stan­dards, stake­hold­ers said that con­sis­tency and ease of ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion is key, and ex­pressed in­ter­est in us­ing ad­di­tional in­di­ca­tors of suc­cess out­side of aca­demic stan­dards.

Sug­gested ways to sup­port ed­u­ca­tors and pro­vide each stu­dent with the equal ac­cess to an ex­cel­lent ed­u­ca­tor in­cluded more hands-on class­room time for those train­ing to be teach­ers, bet­ter pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment pro­gram­ming, pro­vid­ing them with bet­ter knowl­edge of how to teach a di­verse group of stu­dents, and morale-boost­ing pro­grams.

Strate­gies for sup­port­ing low per­form­ing schools fo­cused on com­mu­nity and par­ent en­gage­ment, teach­ing life skills through a work-study style pro­gram, and in­vest­ing in good lead­ers in the schools.

Through Tues­day, Jan. 31, a sur­vey is avail­able on­line at http://mar yland­pub­lic-schools.org/Pages/de­fault. aspx to pro­vide ad­di­tional feed­back on the new plan for Mary­land’ s public ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. The dates for three ad­di­tional ESSA Lis­ten­ing Tour stops are planned in other ar­eas of the state, and can also be found through the link above.

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