MSAA Matters

July Volume I

July 7th

Dear Colleagues,

Whew, the 2019-2020 school year is behind us. I truly hope that at the very least, each of you were able to get some R & R the last week of June and into the long July 4th weekend. We know here at MSAA, that much work lies ahead in the coming weeks, regarding planning for the 2020-2021 school year. We know you are measuring, wondering where you will get enough PPE, creating new scheduling models, ensuring that you are setting up a trauma sensitive school, and grappling with how to talk about racism with our children at all levels.

As we look ahead, to what will surely prove to be another unique and challenging school year, MSAA will be here for you. Our primary goal will be to provide you with the resources and partnership you need as you plan for the school year. We need each other! Membership invoices for the 2020- 2021 school year are being sent to the District Offices later this week.

And now for our exciting upcoming plans for the summer and beyond!

On a weekly basis since March, we have been sharing our ideas, feelings, and humor talking issues through and really supporting one another through our Ring Central Gatherings. They were a great support and enormously popular. And they are back starting next week! Please note the time changes that we agreed upon in our last gatherings.

Mondays: High School 9AM

Tuesdays: PK-6 9AM/APs 10AM /Sp Ed 11AM/ MIddle Level 3 PM

Thursdays: All Level 9 AM

Be on the lookout for an email with the new links this Friday.

As noted in the last issue of Matters we have set up in partnership with MIAA, 3 Book Study Groups to run through the summer to help us to confront and understand better, and our own biases. Last week well over 100 members connected in one of the groups. If you haven't joined yet, we are only one week in and you could easily hop on. Contact me directly at or Julie Vincentsen at and we will get you connected to the book group of your choice. The 3 books that are being read are: White Fragility, So You Want to Talk About Race and How To Be An AntiRacist

As we enter the 2020-2021 school year and we plan for the myriad of unknowns that await us, MSAA is able to offer several low cost, high quality, virtual, professional development opportunities that are sure to assist you in navigating these uncharted waters.

Several of our educational partners have made financial contributions to our professional development program, allowing us to offer these important opportunities at reduced cost to our membership. Currently, as of this writing, these partners are: Comcast Internet Essentials, Jostens, Reading Plus, Ribas Associates and Publications, and School Brains. As always we are grateful for our partnership with each organization and know that we are better together.

Two upcoming workshops, offered in partnership with Ribas Associates and Publications, should prove to be particularly helpful.

1: How to Close Pandemic-Related Achievement Gaps and Further Narrow Achievement Gaps and Further Narrow Achievement Gaps for Special Education, Minority and Low-income Students. This workshop is being offered on Thursdays, July 9th, 16th, & 23rd from 8:30 - 11:30 AM. Register

2. The Four Right Drivers of Change and Whole School/School System Change. This is being offered Tuesdays, July 14th and July 21st from 8:30 - 11:30 AM. Register

Please pay close attention to your email, our website,, and our Twitter feed, @msaa_33 for important registration information for the following innovative and exciting professional development opportunities. All are offered at reduced cost to members.

Ted Hall, Teachers 21 Consultant will provide strategies and options on How to Transition When You Had No Transition! This workshop will be helpful for all levels but particular emphasis is given on the middle to high school transition. Ted will host this workshop on July 28 and July 30, 2020.

Katie Gray, DESE consultant, leadership coach, school counselor and administrator, along with her colleague Karen Harrington, will present the virtual professional development opportunity on August 3, 5, and 7, 2020 titled, Returning to School During a Time of Crisis: Classroom Practices to Promote Healing and Hope. Jostens will partner with MSAA to offer this very important workshop.

Attorney Richard Cole, a nationally known civil rights attorney and former Assistant Attorney General and Civil Rights Division Chief at the Massachusetts Office of Attorney General, will repeat his popular workshop, Building Positive Race And Ethnic Relations in the Current Political Climate on August 6, 10, and 11, 2020.

On August 11, 12, and 13, 2020, Teachers 21 Professional Learning Consultant, Dr. Nicole L’Etoile will offer her popular series, Seven Strategies for Virtual Student Engagement with Zoom Instruction.

MSAA has developed ways to make it more convenient for members to participate in our professional development opportunities. After consultation with the MSAA Teaching and Learning Committee, we created several asynchronous professional development opportunities that will not only increase your knowledge base, but will afford you and your teachers the opportunity to earn 15 PDP’s in Special Education and English Language Learners.

This asynchronous (on demand) modular series includes two opportunities: Succeeding with English Language Learners presented by Ribas Associates consultant Cindy Crimmin and Succeeding with Students with Special Needs presented by Ribas Associates consultant Jane Hardin. Each of these series include five modules. Participants may take any of the modules separately for 3 PD hours each or take all five modules which will afford you the 15 PDP’s required for licensure renewal.

In addition a stand-alone asynchronous workshop, The Impact of Trauma on Teaching, Learning and Living in the Era of Covid-19 presented by Ribas Associates Consultant Jane Hardin will be offered this summer as well. Participants in this on demand workshop will earn 3 PD Hours.

Switching gears, please note that we have been asked by the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) to share the following information with you.

The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) is conducting a short survey to better understand the specific training and coaching supports K-12 schools need to better address children's mental/behavioral health and social/emotional learning needs in the upcoming school year. Survey link here:

This survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. If you feel you are not the best person to fill it out from your school, we would greatly appreciate it if you would share this with someone in your school or district who would be better positioned to answer these questions.

Additionally, the Office of the Child Advocate has a Childhood Trauma Task Force that put out a report last week, it is a very helpful resource. “Protecting our Children’s Well-Being During Covid-19: Recommendations for Supporting Children and Families Who Have Experienced Trauma and Stress During the Pandemic."

The Rennie Center has asked us to share the following

The Rennie Center's Excellence Through Social and Emotional Learning is offering some new and pertinent resources. Their focus this year will be on helping educators address the unprecedented challenges communities and students have faced following school closures. We will leverage the resources curated as part of the Rennie Center’s Back-to-School Blueprint to help districts and schools navigate the coming year and address critical issues, like rebuilding communities, addressing trauma and helping families access essential services.

From our great partner Jostens.

Jostens Renaissance is offering Global Back to School Summit - a Virtual Conference from July 13-15, 2020 starting daily at 10:00 CST (this is 11:00am EST). This three day summit focuses on solutions-based best practices to concerns with going back to school:

*Teacher Morale

*Student Motivation

*Educational Equity

*Social Emotional Wellbeing

*School Culture and Identity

*School Health Safety

View more information for this NO COST conference at Jostens Renaissance Conf Documentation for Continuing Education Credits will be provided to all those who register.

On a final note I have included a very interesting article on how On Line Learning should look differently from face to face learning. See the link directly below the body paragraph.

On behalf of MSAA and Executive Director, Bill Gaine: Stay safe, stay strong and take time for yourself.

Warm Regards,


Beth Wittcoff

MSAA Assistant Executive Director

MSAA Matters Newsletter

Middle Level and Elementary Committee Liaison

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Zoom Gatherings

MSAA High School Gatherings Mondays ​ @ 9:00 AM

MSAA PK - 6 Gatherings Tuesdays @ 9:00 AM

MSAA Assistant Principals Tuesday @10:00 AM

MSAA Special Education Gatherings Tuesdays @ 11:00 AM

MSAA Middle Level Gatherings Tuesdays @ 3:00PM

MSAA All Levels Gathering Thursdays @ 9:00 AM

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