A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

April, 2021
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Volume 5, Issue 26 - April 16, 2021

A Message from Associate Commissioner Elizabeth L. Bennett
For those scaling back or taking off next week, please have a well-deserved break! Our next CCTE call will be on Monday, May 3 at 11:00am and a zoom link will be sent.


Request for Responses: Career Technical Initiative Adult Training Round 3
Up to $1,030,000 available for retraining and employment programs to support our state’s recovery

The Workforce Skills Cabinet is pleased to announce additional investments to support our state’s recovery through the Partnerships for Recovery Plan recently announced by the Baker-Polito Administration.
On behalf of the Workforce Skills Cabinet, Commonwealth Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the Career Technical Initiative Adult Training Round 3 Request for Responses. This Request for Responses makes available up to $1,030,000 to fund the Career Technical Initiative to retrain unemployed and underemployed workers at Massachusetts High Schools with designated aligned Chapter 74 vocational programs in partnership with MassHire Career Centers.

  • Upcoming Planning Grants: Additionally, the Workforce Skills Cabinet is also making Planning Grants available to schools who are not yet ready to implement adult training programs and will benefit from additional time and capacity for planning and program design. More information about Planning Grants will be released later this month. If your school is interested in applying for a Planning Grant please let us know by emailing: Jessica Sáenz at
  • Questions will be accepted in writing. We encourage applicants to submit questions by May 5th to allow adequate time to respond before submission. Please submit these via email to Jessica Sáenz at
  • Need to talk through an idea? If you are a vocational school or workforce partner, please reach out to CommCorp ( to get connected with staff to talk further about how your idea may fit into the Career Technical Initiative application.
  • Applicants can sign up at this link ( to receive email notifications when new responses are posted.
  • The deadline to submit responses is Monday, May 10, 2021 by 5:00 PM. Please upload your submission electronically to the following link:

Please see the Request for Responses for more information.

News & Updates
Proposed Amendment to Vocational Technical Education Regulations
A proposed amendment to regulations comes before the Board next week. See item #2 for the full proposal and details at Board Documents: April 2021 - Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).

FAFSA - '"Worth It"
Fewer high school seniors have filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) this year than in the previous two years, and DESE, the Executive Office of Education, the Department of Higher Education, MEFA (the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority), MassEdCO, American Student Assistance, uAspire, and others are working together to help more students complete the FAFSA and keep college an option. A statewide "Worth It" campaign began on Thursday, April 15, and statewide and regional resources and events for April and May are posted online at If you know high school seniors who haven’t filled out the FASA yet, please encourage them and their families to connect with their school counselor and use the resources at to help keep college an option this fall!

Innovation Pathways Designation and Planning Grant Opportunity
Innovation Pathways are structures within our high schools that are designed to connect student learning to a broadly-defined industry sector that is in demand in the regional and state economy. In 2021 DESE is excited to open a fifth round of applications for the Innovation Pathways Designation, along with a separate planning grant opportunity. The planning grant is designed to support applicants who intend to apply for the Innovation Pathways Designation in school year 2021-2022. The lead applicant for Innovation Pathway program designation must be a Massachusetts school district or charter school, and it must apply in collaboration with a local MassHire Board and an Employer partner as a supporting partner. Applicants submitting an application for a planning grant, due June 24, 2021, agree to submit a Part A application to DESE in fall 2021. Learn more about the Innovation Pathways Designation Criteria and application timeline/process for school year 2021-2022. Please contact  Jennifer Gwatkin with any questions.

Student Experiences in Innovation Pathways
Thank you to those who joined us to hear from a panel of students from Innovation Pathway programs across Massachusetts as they shared their experiences in a pathway and their plans for the future. This exceptional group of students represented four pathway sectors and shared important lessons for adults that are designing Innovation Pathways programs across Massachusetts. The Program Spotlight recording is now available. Other materials from the Program Spotlight, including the full session transcript, are also available.

Learn About Careers in Computer Science!
School counselors and other educators in advising roles are key advocates for access and equity in computing. MASCA and CSforMA are pleased to offer an exciting opportunity on April 22 or June 28 to learn more about careers in the technology field to better support your students. Technology is transforming the way we learn and work! It permeates every aspect of our society, creating a high demand for technological innovations that change how we think, connect, conduct research, build products, & more. This demand drives the economy and creates a direct impact on the job market. These skills underpin other careers as a highly versatile, sought-after & essential in today’s information economy. School counselors are uniquely positioned to support students on paths to successful, flexible, & sustainable careers by sharing with K-12 students how careers are changing with advances in technology. Register here,  or if you have questions about this opportunity, please contact Deborah Boisvert, Executive Director, CSforMA, Inc.

Making Room for Ethics in CTE Classrooms
Ethical behavior is fundamental to a healthy, functioning civic society, and educators play an important role in helping children and youth develop an ethical compass. In Massachusetts, VTE Frameworks Strands 4, 5, and 6 make reference to ethical decision-making, and these skills are also applicable across the college and career readiness spectrum. See resources courtesy of a recent Advance CTE Blog and consider how they might be used in your specific settings.

Communications Survey
Clear communication is essential to bring us together and plan for a safe future. DESE is continuously working to improve communication with all those involved in and impacted by our public schools. Please take this two-minute survey to help inform DESE's communication efforts. Thank you!

Safety Corner - from Dave Edmonds, CCTE's Safety Specialist 
In last week's safety newsletter article, I spoke of April being NSC Distracted Driving Month. I am going to use the April Newsletter articles to explore this issue. On Easter Sunday I was walking my dog near a public park. The street nearby is very busy, but also has several marked crosswalks. As I waited at the cutout to cross, I realized the car approaching me was not slowing down. I realized the driver was on his phone. I stepped back and waived my arms. Suddenly the driver realized I was at the crosswalk and engaged his brakes. If I had not been focused on my own safety, I may have been struck by the vehicle.  This could have been one of the more than 700 distracted driving accidents that happen in the U.S. every day. You chose how to drive. Make safe choices not only for yourself but others. Be safe.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Office for College, Career and Technical Education
Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, All rights reserved.

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