Office of the Commissioner

Commissioner's Back-to-School Update

Welcome to a new school year!

In education, we get a new beginning each fall. Teachers have spent a lot of time planning their classes and our students are ready to learn, including my own two kids who attend the Boston Public Schools.

In my new role as commissioner, I want to thank everyone who has met with me or invited me to their events during my first months on the job. I appreciate your warm welcome, and I am confident that we can all work together to continue improving how we serve Massachusetts students.

Over the past 25 years, we have focused on education reform. It is time to begin a new chapter in Massachusetts schools. While we take the time to chart our course forward, our short-term plans at DESE involve working with districts to do more to celebrate teachers and strong instruction, the keys to helping our students learn.

One of my favorite parts of the job so far has been to recognize and celebrate teachers, including our 2019 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Jamil Siddiqui. His enthusiasm for math and for his students inspired 20 of his students to become teachers themselves!

We will share more information with you about celebrating teachers in the coming months. In the meantime, please visit our new aMAzing Educators website.

As we look toward the new school year, we want to help you keep your school committee, teachers, parents, and communities informed and engaged. To that end, I have attached the following resources:

  1. The Year Ahead: Major developments from DESE that will impact your 2018-2019 school year.

  2. Back-to-School Basics: A brief overview for parents on how the state and districts work together to support teaching and learning. [Chinese | Haitian Creole | Portuguese | Spanish | Vietnamese]

  3. 10th Grade MCAS Transition Timeline: A timeline and brief FAQs about the transition to the 10th grade next-generation MCAS in English language arts and math, including anticipated changes to the graduation requirement for the class of 2023. [Chinese | Haitian Creole | Portuguese | Spanish | Vietnamese]

  4. The New School and District Accountability System: One-page summary on Massachusetts' new system to measure how a school or district is doing and what kind of support it might need. Please note: As we roll out the first year of accountability results under the new system, we will also be assessing its usefulness and considering where it may need to be adjusted. [Chinese | Haitian Creole | Portuguese | Spanish | Vietnamese]

  5. Superintendents' Checklist: A list of data, financial, and other reporting requirements local school districts must submit to DESE throughout the year.

Please do not hesitate to let us know if there are other materials that would be helpful in your communications to your school community, and thank you for all the work you have done over the summer to prepare to welcome students back this fall.

Best wishes for a great school year,

Jeffrey C. Riley

Jeffrey C. Riley
Jeffrey C. Riley
Commissioner of Elementary
and Secondary Education

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.