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April 2022

We hope you're enjoying this season of renewal and we're happy to welcome you to Educator Effectiveness News! This monthly newsletter from DESE’s Center for Instructional Support includes timely information, resources, and opportunities for Massachusetts schools, districts, and educator preparation providers in support of preparing, developing, and retaining a diverse and effective educator workforce, so that all of our students thrive. We're grateful to partner with you in this work. 
In this newsletter you will find: 

Spotlight

Using OPTIC (Online Platform for Teaching and Informed Calibration) in 2022-23 

DESE is excited to extend access to OPTIC (Online Platform for Teaching and Informed Calibration) for another year at a discounted rate for MA districts and educator preparation providers! OPTIC is a video-based professional development tool supporting groups of educators to come together to calibrate around expectations for teaching practice. The platform allows educators to collectively observe and discuss teaching practice in order to build a shared understanding of what great teaching looks like and how to support it with high-quality feedback. Click on Resources at www.ma-optic.com and learn how OPTIC can support calibration on : 

  • Culturally responsive teaching 

  • Student writing samples 

  • Standards-aligned instruction 

  • Video observations through virtual coaching 

  • Mixed-reality gateway tasks for teacher candidates  

Submit a signed order form or purchase order by July 31, 2022 to receive this year’s discounted OPTIC organization license price of $950 per district or educator preparation program with access for up to 50 users, with the option to add users for $19 per user. (After July 31, 2022, the 2022-2023 OPTIC organization license will be available for $1,095 per district or EPP for access for up to 50 users, with the option to add users for $24 per user.) 

To receive an order form for OPTIC, please click on the following link and complete the form: https://forms.gle/RGkF2TmEqpv4MQNw7.  For questions or more information, please contact TeachForward at linda.bellamy@teachforward.com

PK-12 Corner

Summative Evaluation Resources 

Summative evaluations provide an opportunity to collaboratively reflect on an educator’s progress towards their goals and their performance relative to the four Standards of effective practice. The following resources may be supportive as we approach the end of evaluation cycles:  

Latinos for Education Fellowships - Applications Now Open! 

Latinos for Education is accepting applications for fellowship programs through May 12. The Latinx Teachers’ Fellowship will provide a national cohort of 50-75 Latinx K-12 teachers with a learning network of peers and the tools to collaboratively prepare to maintain and improve the skills needed to serve large ELL populations during the re-entry process. The fellowship’s goal is to equip Latinx teachers to navigate the increased demands of a post-pandemic education system and improve their likelihood of progressing in their careers as teacher leaders into the next school year and beyond. Learn more here and nominate a teacher today!  

The Aspiring Latino Leaders Fellowship is a 9-month program that supports Latino education leaders in Massachusetts, Houston, and the Bay Area to advance in their leadership journey and ultimately expand their sphere of influence in the education sector, so more of our students succeed.  Learn more here, and apply today

Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science Curriculum Guide 2022 

The Department has partnered with STEM Learning Design to publish the Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) Curriculum Guide with reviews on available curricula. The new 2022 guide also provides guidance on building a strong DLCS Implementation and selecting a K-12 curriculum pathway. Each curriculum review includes ratings on curricular tools such as differentiation supports, English Learner supports, and cultural responsiveness. This detailed guide provides teachers and districts with the information they need to select the appropriate DLCS curricula for their students.  

Learn Computer Science for Educators this Summer! 

The CSforMA Summer Professional Learning Institutes for 2022 features courses for educators in emerging technologies that track closely to our Digital Literacy and Computer Science standards and licensure requirements.  Workshops include:  

  • CS Resources for K-5 Educators 
  • eTextiles  
  • Civics+Data for High School 
  • …and many other computer science topics!

Thanks to significant contributions from the Digital Literacy Now Grant and business partners, CSforMA is able to offer scholarships for educators in MA public schools and private schools that serve a large number of underrepresented minorities or economically- disadvantaged populations. Please check to see if you qualify! Visit the workshop listings and registration page as more workshops will be added in the coming months.

Ed Prep Corner

2022 State Annual and Title II Reports  

The 2022 Annual SAR/Title II reporting window opened Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022 and closes Friday, April 29th, 2022. As in years past, DESE will be handling the collection and certification of data for your preparation programs as required by the SAR and Title II requirements. This includes any/all programs (Initial, Professional, Administrative, etc.) for which your organization had approval during the 2020-2021 academic year – September 1, 2020 through August 31, 2021. If you were an approved Sponsoring Organization in 2020-2021, you must complete the SAR/Title II report even if you did not complete any candidates. 

Your primary, secondary, and data contacts received an email with more details including the survey link and guidance documents. Please email educatorpreparation@mass.gov with any questions.  

Program Approval Updates  

As described in the December 2021 memo to the field, revisions to the Program Approval Guidelines are in development. The Program Approval Guidelines will be updated and shared for public comment in phases according to the timeline on the Program Approval Updates webpage. Drafts for the first set of updates, which includes ten sections of the Guidelines, will be shared in June 2022 for public comment. Projected cohorts and review years for all Sponsoring Organizations will also be shared in June. 

Later this week, we will be launching our Spring 2022 Listening Tour to hear from a range of stakeholders from educator preparation, PK12 schools/districts, and communities to inform revisions to the formal review process. We are excited to be partnering with Rivera Consulting in designing and supporting meaningful, authentic opportunities to share input about teaching and learning, and to ensure that we are elevating the voices and perspectives of those who have been historically excluded from DESE’s policy decisions. Rivera will be joining the May 3rd Educator Preparation Open Meeting from 10-11am to facilitate a town hall and hear feedback directly from educator preparation stakeholders. All representatives from Sponsoring Organizations are welcome to attend Open Meetings. Additional information for Open Meetings can be found here

Save the Date! On August 23rd, 2022, we will be holding an Ed Prep Convening. This virtual convening will be an opportunity to hear from Rivera some of the key takeaways from the listening tour, learn more about the vision and work ahead, and do a deep dive into specific supports for 2022-2023. There will be more information about the convening shared in the coming weeks. 

COVID Corner

COVID Flexibilities for Educator Preparation Programs Expiring 

Given the tremendous progress that’s been made in managing COVID-19 as well the full return of teachers, students, and staff to K-12 settings, all flexibilities granted to educator preparation programs in response to the pandemic will expire at the end of this academic year (see COVID-19-Related Impacts on Ed Prep in 2021-2022 Advisory). We will revisit flexibilities should there be a new surge in COVID cases and shifts are made in the K-12 settings.  As always, approved preparation programs continue to have the authority to waive programmatic requirements as outlined in Regulations, 603 CMR 7.03 (1) (b). 

Please continue to refer to State Regulations and DESE guidelines for programmatic decisions, and reach out to EducatorPreparation@mass.gov with specific questions.  

Research Corner

What has happened to MA’s educator workforce 18 months into the pandemic? 
 
When schools shuttered their doors in March 2020 and teaching went virtual overnight, there were widespread concerns about the impact COVID-19 would have on the educator workforce. In partnership with researchers from BU-Wheelock, DESE are launched a series of research studies seeking to better understand the impact of the pandemic on the educator workforce in Massachusetts. The first set of findings show that overall teacher turnover in MA remained stable over the past five years, up to and including Fall 2020. A year later, 18 months into the pandemic, teacher turnover showed an uptick but no evidence of a mass exodus. From the updated findings

  • Turnover increased by 15-20% after 18 months of the pandemic (Fall 2021). 
  • The turnover increases in Fall 2021 were largest among white teachers and early-career teachers. 

  • During the pandemic, newly-hired teachers have been more racially/ethnically diverse than in prior years, particularly among teachers holding emergency licenses. 

  • Increased turnover among white teachers and an increased hiring of teachers of color has yielded small increases to the diversity of the workforce. 

Upcoming analyses will dive deeper into the impact of the Emergency license on the composition of the workforce and on teaching and learning.

Focus Groups Launching this Spring 

What is this project about?   
The Department has embarked on a groundbreaking study to examine the extent to which Massachusetts' teacher preparation and licensing systems produce educators who are effective in improving outcomes for students of color. With support from USDE's Institute of Education Sciences, this 3-year research study centers the experiences of students of color, defines outcomes beyond standardized test scores, and identifies characteristics of educators who have the greatest impact. We leverage Massachusetts' unique state longitudinal data system (SLDS) to measure teacher impact on students in ways not captured by standardized test scores, including immediate outcomes such as absences, discipline, and grade progression as well as long-term outcomes such as college enrollment and civic engagement. 

Purpose of Spring 2022 Focus Groups.  
This spring, we will be conducting focus groups with recently licensed teachers to better understand their experiences around racial equity in their teacher training programs, and how these training experiences have translated to their first years in the workforce. Our research partners will begin recruiting participants across the state in May 2022 and conduct focus groups in May-June 2022. 

Please direct any questions about this study and others to EducatorDevelopment@mass.gov. We will share findings with you in this space and on our website as they are available. 

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