A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

April, 2021
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Volume 5, Issue 25 - April 2, 2021

A Message from Associate Commissioner Elizabeth L. Bennett
On March 29, 2020, I started in this role at the Department. I thought back then that moving into my office and meeting in-person with my team was only a few weeks away. Little did I know that a year later we would still dealing with impact of this pandemic. But in many ways it has also been a wonderful year. I’ve had the opportunity to bond with my CCTE team, set goals, and move the work forward. I’ve been able to work closely with the field through site visits, Monday Zooms, and discussions with MAVA. And our work vocabulary has changed as we say “Zoom, TEAMS, You’re on mute, We are just waiting for a few more people to log on, Can you make me host so I can share my screen”. As I think back over the past year, I want to thank you for welcoming me into this role. Thank you for trusting in me, for your feedback, and for your collaboration. What a year to start a new job!

Our next CCTE call will be on Monday, April 5 at 11:00am and a zoom link will be sent.

Associate Commissioner Bennett on a site visit.


Recognize World Down Syndrome Day recently with this video about the importance of representation in employment.

News & Updates
Career/Vocational Technical Education Reopening Guidelines Updated
Please find linked the most updated Reopening Guidance for CVTE. Updates have been made to Culinary and Cosmetology programs. Please reach out to Elizabeth Bennett with any questions or concerns.

New Innovation Pathways Designated
The Baker-Polito Administration this week awarded designations to 18 high schools for launching new Innovation Pathways that will connect students’ learning to a career pathway by providing work-based learning experiences with rigorous technical coursework. These early career programs provide high school students with a coherent course of study focused on a particular field, while also offering them access to college-level courses and internship opportunities to gain work experience and insight about whether the field is something they would like to pursue in college or a career after high school. Congratulations to those involved! See the designated high schools at this link.

Innovation Pathways 101 for Middle School Partners
Join us on Tuesday, April 13 from 2:00 - 3:00pm for a webinar designed for middle school staff and partners. This webinar will introduce Innovation Pathways programs, the purpose, benefits, and common core characteristics.  Participants will have the opportunity to brainstorm ideas and strategies for introducing middle school students to Innovation Pathways, including in a remote / hybrid context. We strongly encourage that current and prospective Innovation Pathways designees invite middle school counselors, leaders and advisors from their districts to attend! Register for the April 13 webinar here. Find information about Innovation Pathways on the DESE Innovation Pathways website.

Signal Success Trainings
DESE is once again offering high school educators the opportunity to be trained in Signal Success, a proven comprehensive work-readiness curriculum that helps teens develop essential skills for future success. Signal Success is intended to be offered to students throughout the high school years who will be participating in career development experiences, including freshman and sophomore year exploration courses and other work-based learning experiences.

This is an interactive training opportunity facilitated by experts from Commonwealth Corporation. See the link for full registration info and dates. In the trainings, participants will discuss the overall structure of the curriculum and how it is being used with different populations; explore key components of Signal Success and understand how best to implement a variety of core activities and instructional techniques; and begin to discuss how to best support learning objectives and address challenges specific to different implementation models and student needs. The training is intended for high school educators who are creating broad career exploration courses and/or have received a designation for an Innovation Pathway, or who are considering applying for that designation in school year 2021-2022. Schools are encouraged to bring two staff members to be trained. Please review the registration info at the link and contact Kerry Akashian or Jennifer Gwatkin with any questions.

Perkins V Postsecondary Reporting
Postsecondary reporting for Perkins V is due in May, 2021. Please see the Template for Perkins V Postsecondary Career and Technical Education Data Collection ("Report 2021") on the CVTE Data and Resources website and the postsecondary indicators Definitions and Indicators at a Glance on the Perkins V Manual page.

CVTE Graduate Follow-up Data
Thank you for the efforts submitting the CVTE Graduate Follow-up for 2020 graduates. We understand that this is a big undertaking in any year, and appreciate the commitment to understanding positive placement of CVTE programs. 

News from Around the Department
Summer Grant Opportunity
The Department has posted the RFP and application for the Development and Enhancement of Quality Summer Programming (fund code 527), a summer grant for districts and/or schools where at least 45 percent of the student population is categorized as economically disadvantaged. Applicants may apply for one program per district for up to $50,000 per program. Proposals are due Friday, April 30. Please contact with any questions about the grant.

Massachusetts Academic Excellence Roadmap
To support schools and districts in addressing the varied academic needs of students in the 2021-22 school year and beyond, the Department is creating an Academic Excellence Roadmap. The Roadmap, which will be released in mid-May, will include easy-to-navigate guides, resources, and training opportunities on evidence-based instructional strategies for accelerating student learning and will be designed for use by Massachusetts school system leaders and educators.

To help in the development of this guide, we will be conducting a round of stakeholder engagement to ensure the Roadmap’s content addresses questions from the field and that it is user-friendly. The Department is seeking a diverse group of instructionally-focused staff (including Superintendents, Assistant/Instructional Superintendents, Chief Academic Officers and other district-level instructional staff, building principals, academic deans, instructional coaches, teacher leaders, etc.) to participate in this process. Interested parties should complete this initial interest form and a member of the project team will follow up shortly.

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 
April is National Safety Council Distracted Driving Month where the theme is "Just Drive." Though traffic has dropped significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our roads have only gotten more dangerous. On a typical day, more than 700 people are injured in distracted driving crashes. Talking on a cell phone – even hands-free – or texting or programming an in-vehicle infotainment system diverts attention away from driving. Keep yourself and others safe and #justdrive. Join in Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April to help make our roadways, others, and yourself safer. Whether driving a forklift, semi-truck or just headed home after work, attentive driving is more important than ever. 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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