Revised LOOK Act Regulations Released

The Commissioner has posted a memo with the revised regulations for the LOOK Act, in preparation for the Board of Education vote on June 26. The Coalition is reviewing the revisions and preparing a statement for the Board.

The memo reports on the number of public comments and meetings that took place during the public comment period:

The Department received public comments from 130 commenters. Most of the comments were from teachers (63 percent), school and district administrators (20.5 percent), and parents and community members (8.3 percent). Faculty and staff of higher education institutions, college students, elected officials, and statewide associations, including the Massachusetts Language Opportunity Coalition (LOC), Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), and American Federation of Teachers-Massachusetts (AFT-MA), also provided written comments regarding the proposed regulations.

In addition, at various points during the public comment process, the Department conducted face-to-face meetings, webinars, and phone conference presentations for EL directors/coordinators, union leadership (AFT-MA, MTA), the Massachusetts Language Opportunity Coalition leadership, superintendents, assistant superintendents, other directors, and representatives from institutions of higher education. During such meetings and presentations, the Department received input on the proposed regulations and encouraged submission of public comments.

There are substantial revisions to the Seal of Biliteracy regulations, in response to the issues raised in the public comment:

Seal of Biliteracy

  • The proposed regulations retain grade 10 ELA MCAS performance as a criterion for demonstrating a high level of proficiency in English, but also add options for students who are required to complete an Educational Proficiency Plan to earn the Competency Determination. Those students will be able to demonstrate proficiency in English by achieving a minimum score or level determined by the Commissioner on a nationally recognized and readily available English proficiency assessment approved by the Department.
  • The proposed regulations have been further changed to reflect that the minimum scores or levels on foreign language proficiency assessments must be aligned to higher education standards for awarding advanced credit by examination and ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.
  • These revised proposed criteria should create additional options for students to earn the State Seal of Biliteracy, and afford former and current English learners more opportunities to demonstrate English proficiency.
  • The Department plans to review the criteria as needed to ensure that the award remains consistent with a high level of proficiency as stated in M.G.L. c. 69, § 1Q.
  • The Department will, in guidance, establish levels of distinction for the State Seal of Biliteracy.


There are also revisions to the Bilingual Education Endorsement:

Bilingual Education Endorsement

The Department proposes to reduce the number of hours of field-based experience that an educator needs to earn the Bilingual Education Endorsement from 150 hours of field-based experience to 75 hours. The recommendation to reduce the required hours is based upon the limited number of bilingual education programs where prospective candidates for the Bilingual Education Endorsement can obtain field-based experience.

To read the entire memo with summary of all the revisions and view the text of the regulations, see this page:

If you have any comments, leave them below or use the Contact Us form to get in touch with the Coalition.

Language Opportunity Coalition Honored for Advocacy

June 4, 2018 — Four Massachusetts nonprofits and two nonprofit leaders today were cited as role models for the sector when they were named Nonprofit Excellence Award winners at a State House event in connection with Nonprofit Awareness Day, a 10-year-old statewide celebration of the contributions of Massachusetts nonprofits.

The awards were selected and announced by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN), the state’s nonprofit trade association, to a gathering of 250 nonprofit and business leaders.

Leading up to the event, MNN coordinated a social media campaign, called #MAkingadifference, during which organizations, using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, shared pictures, stories, and statistics to communicate the breadth and depth of the state’s nonprofit sector.

Receiving the awards were the following:

  • Excellence in Advocacy – Language Opportunity Coalition, Boston, founded in 2014 to increase language learning opportunities for learning English, native, heritage, and world languages, and to ensure that all learners have equal access to a high quality education and professional opportunities.

Read more from Mass Nonprofit Network…

On hand to receive the award on behalf of the coalition were steering committee members Nicole Sherf (MaFLA), Phyllis Hardy (MABE), and Helen Solorzano (MATSOL). In her remarks, Helen Solorzano thanked Mass Nonprofit Network for the honor, and urged members of the nonprofit community to promote multilingualism in Massachusetts by supporting the expansion of language education in schools under the LOOK Act and looking for the Seal of Biliteracy on job candidates’ resumes.

Our coalition also congratulates the all finalists for the Excellence Awards, and especially our colleagues in the Advocacy category: Jett FoundationNew England Hemophilia Association, and Samaritans.  It was very moving to receive this recognition in the company of so many other impressive nonprofit organizations and leaders.

Comment on LOOK Act Regulations

Language Opportunity Send_2.25.15

The Language Opportunity Coalition has released additional comments on the proposed LOOK Act regulations:

  • Placement of Students in English Learner Programs 603 CMR 14.04
  • Parent Advisory Councils 603 CMR 14.09
  • Bilingual Education Endorsement 603 CMR 17.04
  • Vocational Technical Education – SEI Teacher Endorsement

View the Coalition’s full public comment submission on the LOOK Act regulations, including our statement opposing the Seal of Biliteracy regulations.

Public comment is open until Friday, May 18!

See instructions for how to submit public comment on the regulations.

LOOK Act for Parents

Resources for parents in English, Spanish, and Portuguese to give public comment on the LOOK Act, from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.



Language Opportunity Coalition Named Nonprofit Excellence Award Finalist

Boston, MA (May 3, 2018) The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) is pleased to announce that the Language Opportunity Coalition has been selected as a finalist for the 2018 Nonprofit Excellence Award in Advocacy. The Excellence Awards will be presented at MNN’s annual celebration of Nonprofit Awareness Day: A Celebration of Nonprofit Excellence presented by Citizens Bank, a statewide holiday that highlights the work of the nonprofit sector and raises awareness of causes throughout Massachusetts presented by Citizens Bank, at the Massachusetts State House on Monday, June 4.

“The Nonprofit Excellence Awards honor the important work being done by nonprofits in every subsector and region of Massachusetts,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. “We are excited to celebrate the effectiveness and diversity of these impressive finalists and the dedication and impact of the 33,000 nonprofits and more than half a million nonprofit employees in Massachusetts.”

The Excellence Award in Advocacy recognizes a nonprofit organization whose work has resulted in significant progress on a public policy or awareness issue in the last two years. The Language Opportunity Coalition was founded to bring together diverse organizations in Massachusetts to increase language learning opportunities for learning English, native, heritage, and world languages, and to ensure that all learners have equal access to a high-quality education and professional opportunities. The Coalition advocated for the expansion of bilingual program options for English learners through the LOOK Act, and opportunities for all students to pursue language study with the Seal of Biliteracy. The Coalition also coordinated the Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project from 2014-2018, prior to approval by the state legislature.

Seal of Biliteracy Celebration at Muñiz Academy in 2016. (Photo: Boston Public Schools)

The LOOK Act with the Seal of Biliteracy was signed into state law on November 22, 2017, representing a major victory for the Coalition and bilingual education advocates across Massachusetts.

“We are honored to receive this recognition on behalf of the educators and stakeholders who collaborated in the work of this Coalition,” said Helen Solorzano, Steering Committee Member of the Language Opportunity Coalition. “We hope that this recognition will help spread the word about the Seal of Biliteracy, the value of multilingualism, and the opportunities for language learning in our public schools.”

This year, MNN’s independent panel of nonprofit and business leaders reviewed over 150 Excellence Award nominations that highlighted the incredible work of nonprofits across the state. The finalists range from large education providers to small arts organizations. These 27 nonprofits and individuals are improving communities across the Commonwealth, representing every region of Massachusetts from the Berkshires to the Cape. One finalist from each category (Advocacy, Collaboration, Innovation, Leadership, Small Nonprofit, and Young Professionals) will be announced as a winner during the Nonprofit Awareness Day: A Celebration of Nonprofit Excellence event presented by Citizens Bank on Monday, June 4.

Nonprofits across the state will also be engaging in a social media campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram leading up to June 4 using hashtag #MAkingadifference to highlight their unique contributions to their communities.


Statement Opposing Proposed State Seal of Biliteracy Regulations

The Language Opportunity Coalition strongly objects to the proposed regulation 603 CMR 31.07 that establishes the award criteria for the State Seal of Biliteracy. We ask the Board of Education not to approve the regulation in the current form.

  1. Seal-of-Biliteracy-LogoThe proposed award criteria do not follow national guidelines for proficiency levels for the Seal of Biliteracy.
  2. The proposed award criteria for English proficiency based solely on 10th grade ELA MCAS scores will inequitably exclude English learners, former English learners, and other students.
  3. The proposed award criteria do not allow English Learners the same amount of time to develop language proficiency as world language learners: Proficiency in English has to be demonstrated in 10th grade, while proficiency in a world language does not need to be demonstrated until 12th grade.
  4. The proposed award criteria do not implement the multi-tiered award structure developed by the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project to promote and reward long term and sustained language study.

The award criteria defined for the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project (2014-18) were designed to be a motivational and inclusive award that recognizes the language attainment of as many students as possible. Our goal in supporting establishment of the Seal of Biliteracy is to 1) support and reward long-term and sustained language study of English, native languages, and world languages, and 2) recognize and reward the linguistic assets that multilingual students bring to our schools. The proposed regulations will exclude many students, especially students whose native language is not English.

The LOOK Act requires that the Department consider national standards and the local work of the Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project in developing criteria for the award. Massachusetts is in a unique position because we can learn both from the local three-year Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project and from emerging research on implementation of the Seal of Biliteracy nationally. We ask that the Department consult with the Language Opportunity Coalition and members of the Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project to revise the regulations to ensure equity and opportunity for all students pursuing language study.

View the Coalition’s full public comment submission on the LOOK Act regulations, including the Seal of Biliteracy.

Comment is open on the proposed regulations until May 18. See these links to give public comment.

Webinar: How to provide input on proposed LOOK Act regulations

The public comment period is open on the proposed regulations for the LOOK Act. The proposed changes include the proposal requirement for establishing an alternative EL program, EL Parent Advisory Councils, criteria for the Seal of Biliteracy, draft requirements for the Bilingual Education Endorsement, and SEI Endorsement for Vocational Technical teachers and changes to voc-tech licensure requirements. It is important that educators of English learners provide input. This webinar will give an overview of the new regulations and provide instructions on how to comment.

Presented by the Language Opportunity Coalition and MTA

LOOK Act Regulations – Public Comment 101: How to provide input on proposed regulations
Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 4:00 PM

View/print the the webinar slides (pdf)

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