MCAS Vs. PARCC: What’s The Difference?

At one point, all of Massachusetts schools used Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exams to measure student performance. Now, over half of the state’s school districts have switched over to a new standardized test — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam.

Some parents, educators, and students may be scratching their head: What, exactly, is the difference? Read More →

Week Ahead: Scheduled Events In Education

Our weekly roundup of top education events in the state:

Saturday, October 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ClubZ! Tutoring of Chelmsford hosts “Outsmart the SATs – Maximize Your SAT Score!” at the Chelmsford Police Station Auditorium, 2 Olde North Road in Chelmsford. Do you struggle with timed, standardized … Read More →

School Committee Roundup: Hopkinton, Chelmsford, Marshfield, Easton, Bellingham, Berlin-Boylston

(Wikimedia)

(Wikimedia)

Here’s what’s happening right now in school districts across the state:

Hopkinton: Emergency Meeting After Drunk Bus Driver Transports Students

The Hopkinton School Committee held an emergency meeting in which Superintendent Cathy MacLeod criticized state regulations that require bus drivers undergo background checks that only go back 5 years. MacLeod says that policy is to blame for the incident, The Milford Daily News reports. Read More →

School Committee Roundup: Fitchburg, Westfield, Milford

(Stephan Savoia/AP)

(Stephan Savoia/AP)

Here’s whats happening right now in school districts across the state:

Fitchburg: School Committee Outraged Over Coakley’s Charter School Comments

Members of the Fitchburg School Committee ripped into Martha Coakley, Massachusetts’ attorney general and Democratic candidate for governor. Committee members expressed outrage and disapproval over Coakley’s remarks publicly supporting efforts to create a new charter school in the area, The Sentinel & Enterprise reports. Read More →

Board Of Education Places The State’s First Virtual School On Probation

State officials are considering whether or not to place the Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School, Massachusett's first virtual school, on probation. (Mary Ann Chastain/AP)

State officials placed the Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School, Massachusetts’s first virtual school, on probation. (Mary Ann Chastain/AP)

Educators around Massachusetts are closely monitoring the state’s exploration of virtual schools, which offer nearly all instruction online.

Now, due to low academic achievement and a failure to meet state curriculum standards, state education officials have unanimously approved probation for the Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School, Massachusetts’ first virtual school. Read More →

Week Ahead: Scheduled Events In Education

Our weekly roundup of top education events in the state:

On Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m EdCamp Malden hosts “EdCamp Malden 2014 Theme: ELL Success” at Malden High School, 77 Salem St. in Malden. The theme for this year’s day is “ELL Success” because we’re invested in learning … Read More →

Even With No Threat Of Ebola, BPS School Leaders And Nurses Prepare To Respond

(Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

(Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Several schools in Texas and Ohio closed following reports that a nurse infected with Ebola traveled to those areas. This has other school districts around the country looking for Ebola-like symptoms in staff and students and asking anyone with a fever about recent travel to West Africa.

There has been no reported threat of Ebola in Massachusetts schools, however, Boston school officials are preparing staff, just in case. Read More →

School Committee Roundup: Groton-Dunstable, Minuteman, Chicopee, Wareham, Reading, Lowell

(Steve Pisano/Flickr)

(Steve Pisano/Flickr)

Here’s whats happening right now in school districts across the state:

Groton-Dunstable: New Indoor-Sports Program Gets A Running Start

A pair of new sports programs were approved by the Groton-Dunstable School district for the high school, The Valley Dispatch writes.

At a School Committee meeting Wednesday, members voted for a request by the district’s Athletic Director Michael McCaffrey to create indoor track and field and gymnastics programs.

According to McCaffrey, the indoor track-and-field program was needed to “bridge” the gap between the fall and spring programs when students can exercise outdoors.

Read the full article here. Read More →

School Committee Roundup: Marshfield, Brookline, Agawam, Fall River, Chelmsford, Concord

(Wikimedia)

(Wikimedia)

Here’s whats happening right now in school districts across the state:

Marshfield: Change Of ‘Christmas Vacation’ To ‘Holiday Break’ Upsets Residents

At last night’s school committee meeting residents asked committee members to reconsider the vote that changed the name “Christmas vacation to “holiday break,” The Marshfield Mariner And Patriot Ledger writes.

Resident Elaine Taylor presented the committee with a petition signed by 443 people who want to see the vote reversed and the name “Christmas vacation” restored. Read More →

New Independent Charter Schools Unlikely This Year

Sixth grade students, from left, Shakerrah Baptiste, 12, Shamari Banks, 11, Kyron Brown, 11, and Brielle Walker-James 12, raise their hands during a lesson on the myth of Narcissus during class at the Brooke Roslindale Charter School in Boston on Oct. 26, 2012. (Josh Reynolds/AP)

Sixth grade students, from left, Shakerrah Baptiste, 12, Shamari Banks, 11, Kyron Brown, 11, and Brielle Walker-James 12, raise their hands during a lesson on the myth of Narcissus during class at the Brooke Roslindale Charter School in Boston on Oct. 26, 2012. (Josh Reynolds/AP)

Update on October 17, 2014: Charter School Applicants Seek State Waiver

The groups seeking to open charter schools in Brockton and Fitchburg have requested the state education commission reverse their ruling that stopped their applications from moving forward.

The schools were told they could not proceed in the application process because of a state law that requires school districts that apply for independent charter funding to be in the lowest 10th percentile of MCAS scores in the state.

Our original post continues:

Massachusetts probably won’t approve any new independently run charter schools this year.

Two new charter school applications, in Brockton and Fitchburg, were halted last week after state officials uncovered a procedural error that allowed the schools to advance in the approval process, the Boston Globe reported. Read More →