October 31, 2013
Bernard F. Creeden, Superintendent of the Topsfield Public Schools, was informed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of an upcoming Coordinated Program Review that will be taking place this school year. As part of this Coordinated Program Review, Department staff will visit the district during the week of November 18th. Such visits are routinely conducted by the Department to satisfy federal and state requirements for the periodic review of specific education programs and services in schools throughout the Commonwealth. The Department is reviewing several programs during a single visit in order to use Department and school staff’s time most efficiently and to encourage strong connections among the programs.
The Department's Coordinated Program Review will address the following programs: Special Education, English Learner Education, and Civil Rights. After reviewing school district procedures for these programs, a Department team will make its onsite visit, during which it will review individual student records, interview administrators, teachers and paraprofessional staff, survey parents and observe instructional spaces. After the onsite visit it will prepare a report for the superintendent and school committee, with detailed findings for each program.
Using a scale of ratings ranging from “Commendable” to “Not Implemented,” the report will rate the implementation of each requirement reviewed by the Department. Where requirements are found not implemented or only partially implemented, the district must propose to the Department corrective action to bring those areas into compliance with statutes and regulations. Districts and schools are encouraged to incorporate the corrective action into their district and school improvement plans and professional development plan. The school district will be provided with technical assistance from the Department in developing a corrective action plan. Both the Department’s report and the corrective action plan are public information and will be available to the public upon request. Program Review Final Reports are also available on the Department’s Internet website at <http://www.doe.mass.edu/pqa/review/cpr/reports/>.
Any member of the public may request to be interviewed by telephone by a member of the Department's visiting team. Those wishing to be interviewed should call the superintendent's office at 978-887-0771, no later than November 5th, to leave their name and phone number, or they may call the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at (781) 338- 3720, to speak with Nathan Lemmon, the DESE’s on-site Chairperson. Mr. Lemmon or another member of the visiting team will contact each person desiring an interview within two weeks after the completion of the onsite visit. If an individual is not comfortable communicating in English or requires some other accommodation, the Department will make arrangements to communicate appropriately with the individual.