Massachusetts Elementary School Principals' Association
MESPA Monday Memo
March 6, 2017
2 Weeks To Go!
MESPA Spring Conference: Leading Innovation & Change
March 22-24, 2017
Devens Common Center

For details or to register on-line , go to: 
Don't Forget to book your hotel for discounted rate.
3 Keynotes

Be Inspired Stay Current
Learn from and Connect with Colleagues
Be Supported In Your Work

Click flyer to enlarge & print registration form. 
Join our Next Twitter Chat #Mespachat
Wednesday, March 8
8:00-9:00 pm EST
Guest Moderators:
Rebecca Cote & Rick Jetter
Authors of:
"Escaping the School Leader's Dunk Tank:
How to Prevail When Others Want to See You Drown
From The MESPA Blog:
Pushing Performance through Praise
By Craig Martin, Principal, Michael J. Perkins Elementary School, Boston
In this week’s post, Craig talks about the power of praise for both students and teachers, likening it to the feedback that athletes receive from coaches.   He goes on to describe a system his school has developed to provide real-time feedback to their student scholars three times a day.   The result can be seen in increased performance, as well as the level of student’s “energy, tenacity, and motivation.”   

Editor’s Note :  Craig will be presenting on this topic on Friday at the MESPA Spring Conference.
From the Executive Director:
Understanding the Impact of Poverty on Students

Many of us were called to a career in education out of a desire to serve others and to help make the world a better place.  American public education has long been considered, in the words of Horace Mann, “the great equalizer of the conditions of men (sic), the balance-wheel of the social machinery.”  

Despite these good intentions, achievement gaps continue to persist among our students.   One particular gap relates to socio-economic status.   We know that children living in poverty can start school significantly behind their peers. Hart and Risley famously identified a 30 million word gap in words addressed to children by age 3 between professional families and those living on public assistance ( ). In addition, we are learning more about the impact on children’s brains of stress, including “micro-stressors” associated with living in poverty.  In the words of one principal commenting in our MESPA survey about challenges faced in our work, “Our students come to school with so many worries that should not be a part of childhood.”   

In Massachusetts, one particularly troubling statistic is the over-identification of economically disadvantaged students in special education, particularly in high income districts, as found in a study by Thomas Hehir and Associates in 2012 ( ),  

In February, I attended the annual “Instructional Support Convening” sponsored by Massachusetts DESE.  There I learned of some new resources available to promote a better understanding of the impact of poverty on students and to begin the conversation about how to support students while maintaining high expectations.    

While the Low-income Education Access Project (LEAP) is found under the Special Education section of the DESE website, it is intended for broader use.  DESE developed a free online interactive training module that can be used as a tool by individuals, a study group, or a faculty.  Participants can now earn PDPs for completing the module by printing a certificate of completion. One particularly powerful part of the training is a 3 ½ minute video in which students speak about how poverty has touched their lives   

The training module could be used in a one-hour faculty meeting to start the conversation in your school. However, it is recommended that you make it part of an on-going effort in your school. To help with that process, there are trainers from twelve educational collaboratives available to assist you.  Click to find the contact for the collaborative serving your school district.  

Horace Mann also said, “Education is best provided in schools embracing children of all religious, social, and ethnic backgrounds.”  The LEAP project holds promise as a resource to help us better understand and meet the needs of our students living in poverty. For more information about LEAP, contact Susan Fischer, LEAP Coordinator, at

Rick Rogers

Free Computer Tables!
We are cleaning house and have 36 computer tables in excellent condition. All are on wheels.
Just arrange for a truck to pick them up
and deliver to your school.

Contact Frank Hefler  
Take 12. Take 24. Take them all!

Pick up should be scheduled by March 31
if possible.
New Elementary Principals’ Science Network
Click on the link for details.
Applications are due March 15. 
Elementary principals interested in improving student access to high quality science instruction in the early grades, especially those with a background in science, are encouraged to join a new Elementary Principals’ Science Network. The network is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and MESPA.  

Massachusetts ESSA Plan
Public Comment Closes March 9.
The Massachusetts draft plan required under the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is available for public comment through March 9.

Go to: Mass. DESE ESSA Plan for more information (Three documents are available for your review: the Full Plan, an Executive Summary, or a two-pager with Highlights.)     

Kelly Pollitt from NAESP will speak at our Spring Conference about actions principals should take at the district level.  
Apply to be an Ed Prep Reviewer
Deadline extend to March 12.
Get the application, read the FAQ and see the flyer here.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is currently accepting applications for the 2017-2018 cohort of Ed Prep reviewers. Reviewers are responsible for reviewing, analyzing, and evaluating evidence of educator preparation program effectiveness. Together with ESE, reviewers help to guarantee that educator preparation in MA results in effective educators ready to support the success of all students. Past reviewers have described the opportunity as a great learning experience:  
Museum Institute for Teaching Science Workshop
The Museum Institute for Teaching Science (MITS, Inc.), in collaboration with the Lloyd Center for the Environment and the South Shore Natural Science Center, will be holding a two-day workshop for grades 4-8 educators on March 17th and 18th.  Lighting the Way with Wind and Solar: Pathways to a Sustainable Energy Future will highlight inquiry-based activities that engage participants in hands-on, minds-on learning.  Partners: Museum Institute for Teaching Science, Lloyd Center for the Environment & South Shore Natural Science Center.  

Friday and Saturday, March 17 & 18, 2017
8:30 am – 3:30 pm
South Shore Natural Science Center, Norwell, MA
$125 (includes lunch both days)
13 PDPs are available for this workshop.
For details and to register: