The September 9, 2016 Commissioner’s Weekly Update was a virtual playground of DESE news on computer-based testing, funding opportunities and real-life networking events.

Also included in the update were updates on the 21st Century Community Learning Grants, a letter from the US ED and Justice Department regarding school resource officers, and a link to the Letters about Literature program.

DESE is planning to launch the first round of computer-based MCAS testing in Spring 2017 and districts should start planning now, if not sooner. A conference call will be held on September 19 to explain the technology specifications and deadlines.

If a district’s infrastructure or technology needs are not quite ready to implement computer-based testing, a variety of federal and state funding options are currently open.The federal E-rate program provides access to discounted internet access services. The Massachusetts School Building Authority has made $10 million in low- or no-interest loans available to districts for the purposes of updating district IT services. The DESE Office of Digital Learning has posted the applications for the Digital Connections Partnership Schools Grant and Loan Program to supplement internet access not covered by E-rate.

Check out the Office of Digital Learning  page for more information on any of these programs and upcoming events.

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