Curriculum and Instruction Updates

Resource for Bellingham's Instructional Staff

I hope that you find this resource helpful. If there are topics that you would like to see included, please email me. The topics I have chosen to include at this point are based on frequently asked questions and updates from DESE on curriculum and licensure. Each time I add new information, I will send an email out with a new link to this site. You may also want to bookmark the site or create a shortcut on your desktop for future reference. I hope you all have an AMAZING school year. Don't hesitate to reach out to me if I can be of assistance.

Carolyn Rafferty

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

March 12, 2020 Early Release Professional Development Day

Here is the link to the March 12th Early Release PD Grid for our BTA staff. This is predominantly a building based PD day, meaning most of you will be working in your own buildings. There are a few events taking place that some groups are involved in: Wellness Committee, Everfi Presentation, and Math 6-8 Pilot Program Presentation. I have sent emails to those groups with more information.

Educator Evaluation System

While the 4 Standards, 16 Indicators, and 33 elements in the Model Rubric for teachers are the foundation for Bellingham's Educator Evaluation System, we have chosen to emphasize what we call Power Standards, due to how closely they align with the District Vision and our improvement and strategic planning documents. The Power Standards include:

I-A-4. Well Structured Lessons - Develops well-structured lessons with challenging, measurable objectives and appropriate student engagement strategies, pacing, sequence, activities, materials, resources, technologies, and grouping.

I-C-3. Sharing Conclusions With Students - Based on assessment results, provides descriptive feedback and engages students and families in constructive conversation that focuses on how students can improve their performance.

II-D-3. Access to Knowledge - Consistently adapts instruction, materials, and assessments to make challenging material accessible to all students, including English learners and students with disabilities.

III-B-2. Curriculum Support - Regularly updates parents on curriculum throughout the year and suggests strategies for supporting learning at school and home, including appropriate adaptation for students with disabilities or limited English proficiency.

IV-B-1. Professional Learning and Growth - Consistently seeks out and applies, when appropriate, ideas for improving practice from supervisors, colleagues, professional development activities, and other resources to gain expertise and/or assume different instruction and leadership responsibilities.

Teach Point

Teach Point is the tool that Bellingham uses to store our evaluation forms. Teach Point can be accessed from our district webpage under Employee Information or at the link provided below. All DESE licensed educators and administrators need to be able to access this site to complete the requirements of the Educator Evaluation System:

Form 1- Educator Plan Form with IPDP for educators that hold a DESE Professional License

Form 1a - Educator Plan for for educators that hold a DESE Initial and/or Provisional License

Forms 2 and 3 - Announced and Unannounced Observation Forms

Form 4 - Evidence Collection Forms

Forms 5-7 - Formative and Summative Evaluations

Form 8 - Educator Response Forms

Your building principal will hold a Supervision and Evaluation training during one of the first staff meetings to review the district expectations for this process.

If you have not been given log-in information or have any difficulty during the year accessing Teach Point, please contact me directly at so I can assist.

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Update Resources from DESE

  1. Updated resources

NEW! 2018 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework, adopted by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on June 26, 2018.

With the release of these new frameworks, we will spend this current year reviewing the documents and attending any DESE provided training that become available. DESE has indicated that Phase 4 of their roll out of these frameworks is for district curriculum adjustment and implementation from July 2018-July 2020.

Over the summer, I attended a Civics Institute with several of our Grade 8 teachers. These teachers will be adjusting their courses to meet the frameworks for eighth grade civics THIS YEAR.

Classroom teachers are encouraged to begin to familiarize themselves with the new frameworks and are welcome to explore new learning opportunities for themselves and their students. We will launch a formal curriculum review for History and Social Science in the summer of 2019.

BPS Curriculum Review Process

This curriculum review process provides the Bellingham School district with a procedural system for the systematic ongoing evaluation of curriculum, instruction, and assessment across all content areas. A high-quality, standards-aligned curriculum is essential to supporting the teaching and learning process. Our district believes that exemplary teaching and a high-quality curriculum will equip our students for success after graduation in whatever path they choose. Participating in curriculum review provides the opportunity for careful evaluation of our current practice in order to maintain high academic standards and educational opportunities for all students, to align to local, state, and national frameworks, and to remain current with the best instructional practices. Our curriculum review process will be guided by our district vision, theory of action, and beliefs about curriculum.

Math Curriculum News

In the near future, I will be soliciting a team of teachers interested in forming a Math Curriculum Review Committee to research, pilot and recommend a math program to replace Think Math in grades K-5. The tentative timeline for this work will be as follows:

Spring 2018: Committee Development

Summer 2018: Math program reviews

Fall-Winter 2018 -19: Program pilots

Spring 2019: Identify our program for K-5 and develop a plan for purchasing and PD for 2019-2020.

I am hearing from staff already about this work and programs that they are interested in reviewing. One program that has already caused quite a buzz is a part of i-Ready. We have some samples floating around and this will be one of the programs we review given the high ratings it has received from EdReports. I'm excited about this work and I look forward to working with you to find a program that meets our needs. If you have any questions, please email me.!?f=&b=title&o=0

Learning Walks are Coming!

Over the course of the school year, the Instructional Leadership Teams at each school will be conducting Learning Walks. The first round of walks is scheduled to begin this month. I’d like to provide a little information to help our staff to understand the purpose and value of Learning Walks.

Why Learning Walks?

The engine of improvement, growth, and renewal in a professional learning community is collective inquiry. People in such a community are relentless in questioning the status quo, seeking new methods, testing those methods, and then reflecting on the results. Not only do they have an acute sense of curiosity and openness to new possibilities, they also recognize that the process of searching for answers is more important than having an answer. (DuFour 1998, 25)

Learning Walks serve as a progress monitoring tool for our ILTs

Learning Walkthroughs are a systematic and coordinated method of gathering data to inform district- and school- level decision making. They involve establishing a Focus of Inquiry, and then engaging strategically selected teams of individuals in collaborative observations of classrooms with an emphasis on the interactions among teachers, students, and academic content (the instructional core). Learning Walkthroughs can be a powerful means of helping educators learn more about the ways in which instructional practices support student learning and achievement. Evidence from Learning Walkthroughs can inform analyses of other data. For example, teams can compare the relationship between student MCAS scores and what is happening in the classroom. The resulting insight can help clarify and focus the work that is needed to help all students achieve at their fullest potential.

The team-based structure of a Learning Walkthrough encourages collaborative conversations among participants about the nature of teaching and learning. These conversations lead to decisions and actions that are informed by actual classroom instruction. The Learning Walkthrough process, when fully implemented, can yield critical data on instructional practices for use by Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in schools or districts in planning steps for making a significant impact on student learning. As Richard Elmore (2004) found, collaboration raises student achievement, but only when the collaborative work places a primary focus on teaching and learning. Learning Walkthroughs provide a structured, team-based approach to gathering information on instruction and learning within the classroom. Learning Walkthroughs promote organizational learning and the monitoring of school-wide progress in the use of targeted instructional practices.

It is important to note that Learning Walkthroughs are NOT intended to serve as a means of evaluating individual teachers. Rather, Learning Walkthroughs offer educators a systematic way to gather evidence to answer the question: To what extent are we seeing what we expect to see in our classrooms, given where we are focusing our energy and resources?

Source: DESE Learning Walkthrough Implementation Guide

Accessing your District PD Records

While you are working on your IPDPs, you may want to access your PDP records.

Visit the District Website at

Click on Employee Information and scroll down to Bellingham PD

Click on Log In

Enter your username (first initial and last name)
Enter your password
(If you forgot your password, click on Forgot your Password to create a new one)

Click on the tab for Records on the left side of the screen

This is also a place for you to view upcoming PD Offerings.

Changes to Licensure and Educator Preparation Regulations

Summary Now Available on Changes to Licensure and Educator Preparation Regulations:

On June 27, 2017, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved changes to the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval (603 CMR 7.00), Educator License Renewal (603 CMR 44.00), and Certification of Supervisors of Attendance (603 CMR 13.00). The amended regulations have been filed with the Secretary of State, and the Office of Educator Licensure has already begun to implement them. In order to assist applicants, school districts, sponsoring organizations and other interested parties, ESE has prepared a summary of the changes. In the near future, ESE will be soliciting public comment on new subject matter knowledge guidelines, a panel review process for educators prepared outside of the United States, and guidelines for the new validity period for the Provisional license.

What is the difference between SEI Endorsement and the 15pdp requirement for Recertification?

Who must hold the endorsement?

Who needs to have the SEI Endorsement at the time of renewal is largely based on what subject(s) the educator teaches (core or non‐core) and whether they have any ELL students in their classroom. If the educator is a core academic teacher who had one or more ELLs in their classroom during their district’s cohort training window, they must possess the SEI Teacher Endorsement in order to renew the license.

As of July 1, 2014, educators applying for their first Initial license (specifically core academic teachers of ELLs and principals/assistant principals and supervisors/directors who supervise or evaluate such teachers) must obtain the SEI endorsement. See applicable licenses below:

  • Core Academic Teachers (early childhood, elementary, teachers of students with moderate and severe disabilities, English, reading, language arts, mathematics, science, civics and government, economics, history, and geography)
  • Academic Administrators (principal/assistant principal or supervisor/director only)

As of July 1, 2016, school districts must ensure that ELLs are assigned to core academic teachers who have obtained the SEI Endorsement, or are required to obtain the Endorsement within a year of the assignment.

Individuals with a core academic teacher license(s) that has been restricted are required to hold the SEI Teacher Endorsement as a licensure requirement in order to renew, advance, or extend the restricted license(s).

This would have happened if you had an ELL student in your class and you DID NOT complete the endorsement class and apply for the endorsement.

What is the 15 pdp requirement?

This is a License Renewal requirement.

A minimum of 150 PDPs is required to renew a Primary area license, or a Primary area license that has been deemed Inactive or Invalid.

At least 90 PDPs in content/pedagogy with no less than 60 PDPs in or related to the content area of the educator's Primary area (Content or content‐based pedagogy)

At least 15 PDPs related to SEI or English as a Second Language

At least 15 PDPs related to strategies for effective schooling for students with disabilities and instruction of students with diverse learning styles

The remaining required 30 PDPs may be earned through either “elective” activities that address other educational issues and topics that improve student learning, or additional content, and/or pedagogy

SEI Requirements for DESE Licensed Educators

Please click on the button below to a presentaion that outlines the TWO SEI requirements for licensed educators in Massachussets.
IPDP: The IPDP should focus on the educator’s goals for strengthening his or her content knowledge and professional skills in his or her license area(s) and for remaining current with other educational developments. The IPDP also should identify the expected goals for improvement in teaching and learning to be achieved over the five‐year period. In addition to the educator’s goals, the Plan must address the goals of the school and/or the district. At least 80% of the proposed PDPs in the educator’s plan must be consistent with the educational needs identified by the school and/or district plan. As outlined in 603 CMR 44.04, educators working in a Massachusetts public school must obtain initial approval and final endorsement of their professional development plans from their supervisor.

Educator Plan:
Each educator must have an Educator Plan according to the regulations (603 CMR 35.06(3). An Educator Plan outlines a course of action that an educator will take to pursue goals. Educator Plans include a minimum of one individual or team goal to improve the educator’s professional practice tied to one or more Performance Standards and a minimum of one individual or team goal to improve the learning, growth, and achievement of the students under the educator’s responsibility. The Educator Plan outlines actions that educators will take in order to attain these goals, including but not limited to: professional development activities, self‐study, and coursework, as well as other resources for completing these actions.

The basic difference is the IPDP adds a tracking mechanism for your PDPs, which are not included in your Educator Plan Form. Much of the language in both plans will be identical.