Whereas: The Cambridge School Committee and Superintendent urged the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to suspend MCAS for school year 2020-21; and

Whereas: That the Cambridge School Committee passed a motion (#20-204) on September 15, 2020 resolving, in part, that, "if DESE does not suspend MCAS this year, the Cambridge School Committee and Superintendent will discuss how to enable educators to have the capacity to focus on developing pedagogy adapted to this new context and to focus on teaching, assessing student progress, and other scholar support"; and

Whereas: Many Massachusetts school committees have joined the Cambridge School Committee in publicly opposing administering MCAS in the 2020-21 academic year; and

Whereas: The Urban Superintendents' Network of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, including Superintendent Salim, has sent a letter to the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education requesting that Commissioner Riley and Secretary Peyser petition the US Secretary of Education to waive the federal requirement for state testing this year; and

Whereas: DESE has expressed the intention to administer MCAS in the 2020-21 academic year; and

Whereas: CPSD families and caregivers may not be aware that MCAS will be administered in-person for all students this year, including those attending school remotely, and on what timeline that will be; and

Whereas: CPSD families and caregivers may not know that DESE has decided that in 2020-21 academic year students in grades three through eight who do not take this year's MCAS will not face consequences for their grades or graduation and this year their school and school district will also not face consequences related to student MCAS participation rates; and

Whereas: CPSD is committed to "rigorous, joyful, and culturally responsive learning for all students," and assessments are part of a strategy for ensuring rigor; and

Whereas: There are district-wide assessments that can give educators and families the information needed for supporting students during the 2020-21 school year; therefore be it Resolved: That prior to April 15, 2021, if DESE does not suspend MCAS this year, per motion #20- 204, the Superintendent will update the School Committee how the district is enabling educators to focus on teaching, assessing student progress, and other scholar support; and be it further Resolved: That prior to April 15, 2021, the Superintendent will update the School Committee on plans to administer the MCAS in the least disruptive way possible while supporting the needs of all students taking MCAS; and be it further Resolved: That prior to April 15, 2021, the Superintendent will provide updated information to CPSD families and caregivers about MCAS administration and timeline, including information about what any consequences will and will not be for students who do not take MCAS this year, with timely updates in the event of changes to DESE plans; and be it further Resolved: That the Superintendent will ensure that any scholars who do not take MCAS this year will be provided with an appropriate alternate learning experience and environment while MCAS is being administered; and be it further Resolved: That prior to June 1, 2021, the Superintendent will provide CPSD families and caregivers with information about assessments the district is using to assess student learning during the 2020-21 school year and how to determine whether their children are performing at grade level expectations.


School Committee Actions

Action Action Date Reconsidered By Referred to Subcommitee
04/06/2021 Adopted as Amended
04/06/2021 Adopted

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