Massachusetts Elementary School Principals' Association
MESPA Monday Memo
January 9, 2017
Annual Survey on the Principalship
Deadline extended to Friday, January 13.
The survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete. Past survey information has been very useful to members in negotiating their employment contracts and providing them with an overview of the principalship in Massachusetts.

Enter our Raffle: Enter your name at the end of the survey to be in a drawing for a half-price registration to our Spring Conference March 22-24. Your responses will still remain anonymous.  

Thank you to the 250 who already completed the survey - our highest participation since 2010!
We will begin sharing results in this space later this month.
MESPA Spring Conference
New Time of Year: March 22-24
New Location: Devens Common Center
Registration Coming Soon!
  We invite school leaders and teams to present during the concurrent break-out sessions at our Spring Conference.  Share your craft knowledge and best practice with colleagues. To submit a proposal, go to: Spring Call for Proposals  

If you have questions or would like to talk through an idea, please contact either Professional Development Chair Julie Vincentsen ( or MESPA Executive Director Rick Rogers (
Join This Month’s Twitter Chat:
"Hacking Homework"
Wednesday, January 11
8:00-9:00 pm
Guest Moderator:
Connie Hamilton
Co-Author of “Hacking Homework

Q1 - Share some experiences that would support a need to rethink homework. 

Q2 - Why doesn’t homework always give us dependable information about student learning?

Q3 - What are some common mistakes teachers make when assigning homework?

Q4 - What role do parents play in the homework scene?

Q5 - How can responsibility be reinforced more authentically at home beyond just expecting compliance of doing homework?

Q6 - Share some experiences that inspired students to initiate their own learning.

From the Executive Director:
Educator Evaluation Update
At the November meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Commissioner Mitchell Chester submitted proposed amendments to the regulations for educator evaluation. The proposed amendments relate to the student impact rating and would eliminate the separate student impact rating, but preserve a focus on student learning in the evaluation framework. The proposed changes include establishing a "student learning indicator" under standard II in the evaluation rubric.   

MESPA has joined with the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS) and the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association (MSSAA) in submitting a letter in support of the proposed changes, stating in part: “ Our associations are unified in the belief that student learning outcomes are legitimate and meaningful data which should be discussed and acknowledged as part of the educator evaluation process.  We also believe that contextual issues in schools and classrooms should be considered in any overall evaluator discussions…It is our belief that eliminating the separate impact rating and placing impact on student learning as one of the five indicators in Standard 2 will provide a reasonable balance for reflection of pedagogy and student outcomes in the assessment of educator performance.”  

The Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) and American Federation of Teachers - Massachusetts are opposed to the proposed changes.   Representatives from all three administrator associations and both unions held a series of meetings in November and December in an effort to identify a proposal that could be supported by all stakeholders. Unfortunately, we were not able to come to a resolution.   All of the associations as members of MassPartners have agreed to continue working together to  

Public Comment:   If you’d like to comment individually, copies of the proposed amendments are available at  Written comments on the proposed amendments should be submitted (via mail, fax or email) by Friday, January 27, 2017.
          Craig Waterman
          Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
          75 Pleasant Street
          Malden, MA 02148
          FAX: 781-338-3395

The Board is expected to vote on the proposed amendments at its regular monthly meeting scheduled for February 28, 2017.

Rick Rogers
Two Posts from the MESPA Blog
“Mindfulness Leads to Success and Happiness in Schools”
by Andrea McGrath – Principal and
Lauren Badolato & William Foss -
School Adjustment Counselors
John R. Briggs School, Ashburnham, MA

In this week’s post, Andrea, Lauren and William describe a school-wide approach to teaching mindfulness, including how to pay attention, manage stress and regulate thought/emotion/body sensations. The implementation of a mindfulness program for students and staff allows for “ the creation of a school culture and educational climate where everyone is actively engaged in their learning, recognize the importance of handling stress and being present in the moment.”  
To read more, go to: MESPA Blog 01/08 /2017.
“3 Keys to Leading
Child Centered Change”
by Brad Gustafson
Principal of Greenwood Elementary School, Plymouth, MN

Last week’s post featured guest blogger Brad Gustafson, a Minnesota Principal and author of  “ Renegade Leadership: Creating Innovative Schools for Digital-Age Students.”  He reminds us that schools leaders need to stay focused on meaningful change that can directly impact students.  Brad describes “renegade leaders” as leaders who love kids, question the status quo with the same fervor as new ideas, and understand their school community’s context.   

To read more, go to:  MESPA Blog 12/30/16

4 Teacher Workshops Left!
(In-person @ MESPA Education Center)
Click on titles for details. 
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017  

Teachers can register at the membership rate if principal a MESPA member.
Earn 6 PDPs toward new requirement in Special Education.
Discounts for teams of 3 or more from same school.
Thomas C. Passios
Outstanding Principal Award
MESPA annually presents an award to an elementary and middle-level principal who has demonstrated clear leadership in developing successful programs for children and teachers, exceptional dedication to education, outstanding professionalism and an unselfish attitude toward helping others. Once chosen to represent the principals of Massachusetts, the recipients also participate in the National Distinguished Principal Program which was established in 1984 and is sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

Updated nomination materials are now available on our website at:  Nomination deadline is February 1, 2017.   

Do you have a worthy colleague?  Encourage your superintendent or someone from the colleague’s school to nominate him or her. 
Next-Generation MCAS Achievement Levels
This fall, DESE convened a 14 member standard-setting commit to recommend new achievement level names and descriptors for the Next-Generation MCAS tests.  The changes would replace Advanced, Proficient, Needs Improvement, and Warning.

The Department is seeking feedback on these recommendations prior to a Board of Education vote. The MCAS Achievement Levels Survey will be open online until January 27, 2017. The first page of the survey provides a clear description of the proposed levels. 
Connecting great leaders across all levels, the 2017 National Principals Conference is the first-ever joint national conference of Pre-K–12 school leaders. This dynamic conference and its four session strands will motivate you to collaborate across the continuum and shape the trajectory for student success. Come to Philadelphia, July 9–11, 2017, and turn theory into practice, create opportunities across all grade levels, and make connections that will last far beyond the conference. Visit for details.
Register now and save with promo code NEWYEAR17!
Discount is available until January 29.