Guidance for Defining and Implementing Two-Way Immersion and Transitional Bilingual Education Programs

New from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: Guidance for Defining and Implementing Two-Way Immersion and Transitional Bilingual Education Programs

  • Overview: Defining TWI and TBE Programs
  • Defining and Designing a Two-Way Immersion Program
  • Defining and Designing a Transitional Bilingual Education Program

View guidance document...

Mass Senate unanimously passes the LOOK Bill

On July 7, 2016 the Massachusetts Senate passed S.2395 An Act for language opportunity for our kids – the “LOOK bill” – by a unanimous vote.

The LOOK bill gives school districts the flexibility to choose high-quality, research-based programs to meet the needs of English Language Learners (ELLs) and establishes the State Seal of Biliteracy to recognize high school graduates who speak, read, and write in two languages, a valuable asset in the 21st century global economy. View the LOOK Bill Fact Sheet …

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LOOK Bill to be heard in Senate

 On June 30, the the Senate Ways and Means Committee favorably reported out the LOOK bill. The bill has been placed in the Orders of the Day to be heard in the next Senate session on July 7th.

If you have not done so already, please contact your State Senator to urge support for the LOOK Bill!

  1. Find contact information for your State Senator.
  2. Contact your Senator by phone or email. Suggested language for your message: 
    My name is [NAME] from [ADDRESS]. Please support S2288 An Act relative to Language Opportunity for Our Kids (the LOOK Bill).Now is the time for the Massachusetts legislature to advance language education that foster bilingualism and biliteracy. Approving An Act relative to Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK Bill) S2288 would ensure the academic success of English Language Learners (ELLs) by giving school districts the flexibility to establish language education programs that reflect the true educational needs of our ELLs students. ELLs are a diverse group of students with complex educational needs that cannot be met under the current “one-size-fits-all” program mandate. This bill will remove the current barriers to selecting the best programs for our students, and includes a state Seal of Biliteracy to recognize students who speak, listen, read and write proficiently in another language in addition to English. Thank you in advance for supporting S2288. We hope we can count on you to stand up for language learning programs that will help our students acquire skills to be competitive in the 21st century global job market.

The Growing Need for Bilingual Workers in Massachusetts’ Economy 


Partnership for a New American Economy, a national bipartisan group of mayors and business leaders, has released a new research brief, Language Diversity and the Workforce: The Growing Need for Bilingual Workers in Massachusetts’ Economy. The report finds that in the past five years, demand for bilingual workers in Massachusetts has more than doubled. The group also calls for the creation of a state Seal of Biliteracy to help meet this need.

LOOK & Seal of Biliteracy Bills Reported Out Favorably

The LOOK bill and Seal of Biliteracy Bill were both referred out favorably by the Mass Legislature's Joint Committee on Education, and are moving ahead in the legislative process. 

MA Joint Committee on Education Unanimously Votes Out ELL Bill

An Act for Language Opportunity for Our Kids includes key reforms in English language education and dual language learning.

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Boston Globe articles on language education policy

The Boston Globe published several articles and letters to the editor recently about language education policy in Massachusetts: 


Interactions Matter: Impact learning through student, classroom, family and community partnerships

Seats are still available for Harness the Power of Partnerships for Student Engagement and Achievement on May 4, presented by Dr. Debbie Zacarian. Read the article below for more information about the topic. Register now!

Interactions Matter: Impact learning through student, classroom, family and community partnerships

Debbie Zacarian and Michael Silverstone

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Rights of Students

Rights of Students

Here is important information that you may wish to share with your colleagues and other educators, to protect legal, civil and human rights of students and their families, under law.  

With recent raids aimed to legally deport families in Massachusetts, attention to the needs and the status of students and families is heightened, for those directly targeted and for those who are not. Therefore it is critical that schools remain vigilant about maintaining and protecting the rights of students regardless of their immigration status.

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Mass SLIFE Guidance Document Released

The Department of Elementary and Secondary education has released new guidance on SLIFE students: "Massachusetts Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) Definition and Guidance."

  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Definition of SLIFE
  • Part 1: Initial Identification of SLIFE
  • Part 1.1: Identification of SLIFE Currently Enrolled in Massachusetts Schools 
  • Part 2: SLIFE Programming Guiding Principles 
  • Part 3: Programming Considerations 
  • Part 4: Redesignation Criteria for SLIFE into Non-SLIFE Status 
  • Appendix A: Sample SLIFE Pre-Screener 
  • Appendix B: Sample SLIFE Interview
  • Appendix C: Sample Individualized Learning Plan
  • Appendix D: Glossary of Key Terms

Education Department Releases Resource Guide on Supporting Undocumented Students in High School and College

In an effort to ensure that all students have access to a world-class education that prepares them for college and careers, the U.S. Department of Education released a resource guide today to help educators, school leaders and community organizations better support undocumented youth, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

“Our nation’s public schools should be welcoming, safe, and supportive places where all students, regardless of their zip code or where they were born, are given the opportunity to succeed. We know undocumented youth face unique challenges and we also know that educators and other caring adults in schools and colleges can play a major role in helping all students, including undocumented students, to achieve at the highest levels,” said John King, senior advisor delegated the duties of deputy secretary of education. “This guide provides actionable information and resources that educators and school and campus leaders can use to help improve outcomes for high school and college students.”

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MATSOL 2015 Conference Photos

Enjoy this montage of photos from the MATSOL 2015 Conference. Photographs by Christie C. White.

Rembering Mary-Margaret Almonte

We are saddened to share the news of the death of Mary-Margaret Almonte on May 12, 2015. Mary-Margaret worked in the Malden public schools, and was a long-time and active MATSOL member. In 2011, she received a Linda Schulman Innovation Grant for the project "Children Reading the World," which promoted literacy by having students take photographs of family and community and work in cooperative groups to develop literacy projects. In 2012, she was recognized for her work with ELLs by receiving the MATSOL Teacher of the Year award. She was a valued colleague and friend, and contributed to MATSOL and our field in many ways. MATSOL extends our deepest condolences to Mary-Margaret's family, friends, students, and colleagues.

Mary-Margaret founded Healing Hope, a nonprofit organization that donates pharmacy and food-store gift cards to cancer patients. In lieu of flowers, per her wishes, tax-deductible donations will be gratefully accepted. Please write checks to Freedom Hill Community Church, write “Healing Hope donation” on the memo line and mail to 77 Kennedy Dr., Malden, MA 02148.

Boston Globe editorial supports LOOK Bill

A Boston Globe editorial endorses the LOOK Bill filed by Rep. Sánchez and Sen. DiDomenico:

… the solution may lie beyond the Boston school system — more specifically, on Beacon Hill. Massachusetts’ school districts have been restricted in the way they teach English learners since 2002, when a ballot question crippled bilingual education. Districts were required to use “Sheltered English Immersion,” a method that focuses on teaching academic content in English, limiting the help students can receive in their native language…

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We had a great turnout for the MATSOL get together at TESOL 2015 in Toronto. It was great to see everyone! 

Robert Saitz 1928-2015

The MATSOL community is saddened to learn of the death of Robert Saitz, a MATSOL founder, our first President, and an influential leader in our field. We extend our condolences to his family and colleagues.


MATSOL Awards Nominations & Proposals due March 2, 2015.

Nominations & Proposals for the MATSOL 2014 Awards are due March 2, 2015. 

Nominate a colleague: 

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Condition of Education in the Commonwealth 2015

This report from The Rennie Center identifies and measures state-level indicators linked to outcomes to inform decision-making among Massachusetts education leaders. These indicators focus on critical stages in learning and development from school readiness and early learning to the emergence of a strong and productive workforce. It identifies three areas in which statewide action can build on existing, effective practice to generate significant improvements in student outcomes. 

The Rennie Center identified three areas in which statewide action can build on existing, effective practice to generate significant improvements in student outcomes.

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Contact your state legislators!

MATSOL is proud to join the Language Opportunity Coalition in announcing that through our efforts assisting our state legislators, two exciting bills have been filed for the 2015-2016 Massachusetts legislative session. One bill establishes a State Seal of Biliteracy.  The second bill, the Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK) bill, addresses language acquisition programs, and also includes the (identical) text as the Seal of Biliteracy bill, giving us two opportunities to seek the seal’s passage. We are asking for your help today to secure co-sponsors for both bills.

Contact your state legislators and ask them to co-sponsor two important bills! The deadline for co-sponsorship is Friday, January 30. Take action now!

2015 Call for Nominations: MATSOL Board of Directors

Show your commitment to the value of the MATSOL and help to shape its future! The MATSOL Nominations Committee is charged with developing a slate of qualified candidates to fill open positions on the MATSOL Board of Directors. We invite your participation in this important process.  Help us identify competent, energetic, committed members of MATSOL to take a leadership role, work on behalf of the organization, and represent MATSOL members and stakeholders. Nominees will be elected by the membership at the MATSOL Annual Meeting on May 7, 2015 at the MATSOL Conference.  Nominations are due April 1, 2015.  More information...

English Learner Toolkit

From the US Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition: English Learner Tool Kit – Chapter 1: “Tools and Resources for Identifying All English Learners”

This is the first chapter of the English Learner Tool Kit, which is intended to help state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) in meeting their obligations to English Learners (ELs). This tool kit should be read in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice’s joint guidance, “English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents,” which outlines SEAs’ and LEAs’ legal obligations to EL students under civil rights laws and other federal requirements.

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