Massachusetts SEI Endorsement Course Survey


Massachusetts Association of Teachers of Speaker of Other Languages (MATSOL), in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), is conducting a third-party, independent survey of Massachusetts educators to evaluate and review the Massachusetts Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) Endorsement Courses for teachers and administrators. 

The goal of the survey is to gather feedback on course content and materials and on the course’s effectiveness in meeting instructional goals. Information gathered from this survey will support DESE’s future revisions of the SEI Endorsement Course.

Who should participate?

We invite participation by educators who have experience or familiarity with the SEI Endorsement Courses (Teacher, CVTE and/or Administrator courses), including:

  • Instructors of the SEI Teacher, CVTE and Administrator Endorsement courses offered by DESE-approved PD providers as well as instructors in SEI Teacher Endorsement Courses in college and university teacher preparation programs;
  • Teachers, administrators and other educators working in the Massachusetts public schools;
  • Providers of professional development or coaching in Massachusetts;
  • Faculty in teacher preparation programs in Massachusetts;
  • Researchers of Massachusetts public schools.

The survey will be open from February 27 to March 12, 2023.

Higher Ed for All

Affordable high-quality public higher education is essential to expand opportunity  in all of our communities and create a more equitable and prosperous Commonwealth, including multilingual students.

MATSOL has joined the Higher Ed For All Coalition to advocate for fully funded community colleges, state universities and UMass campuses. The Coalition proposes the following actions to knock down the barriers that too many potential college graduates encounter – and to create a public higher education system that demonstrates its respect for workers by providing fair wages and working conditions.

The coalition’s goals include:

  • A debt-free college plan that covers not just tuition and fees but also living expenses, including food and housing
  • Expansion of existing programs that support student success and address staffing shortages
  • Recruitment and retention of high-quality and experienced faculty and staff – and make it possible for them to meet the needs of their students, particularly those who face the most significant challenges
  • Return to the historic model of public funding for public buildings on college and university campuses and include faculty and staff when assessing campus needs

Advocacy Day at the State House

Tuesday, February 28
10:30am – 2:30pm
Massachusetts State House

Free round-trip bus transportation is available from: UMass Amherst, Ludlow Park & Ride, Auburn Park & Ride, Mass College of Liberal Arts, Greenfield Community College, Fitchburg State College, Bridgewater State College, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Lowell, & Salem State. (You will receive a link to sign up for a bus after you register).

MATSOL Board of Directors – Call for Applications

Do you want to help shape the future of MATSOL?

Are you passionate about promoting equity and excellence in the education of English learners?

Submit an application to join the MATSOL Board of Directors! 

MATSOL seeks a diverse range of committed and energetic members of MATSOL with a passion for our mission to take a leadership role, work on behalf of the organization, and represent MATSOL members and stakeholders.

The MATSOL board encourages members to apply:

  • who have a strong commitment to racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • who are from backgrounds not historically represented on the Board of Directors including diverse racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds.
  • who represent different educational sectors serving English learners (including but not limited to PK12, higher education, adult education), job types, and at different stages of their careers.
  • who represent diverse professions and experiences within the field of education of multilingual learners.

Deadline to apply: March 1, 2023

Advocacy Alert! Public comment on proposed changes to MCAS requirement for graduation

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to put the following regulatory changes out for public comment. The proposal is to raise the MCAS passing standard for the high school Competency Determination starting with the class of 2026 (this fall’s ninth graders) and changes to the Educational Proficiency Plan and other supports for students’ academic success.

MATSOL is planning to submit comments on behalf of our organization and we are asking for your input and examples to include in the comment. Submit your input to MATSOL via this form to help inform our response:

You can also submit comments directly to DESE by following this link: Comments are due June 3, 2022.

DESE Board of Education Request for Public Comment on MCAS Proposal:

The proposed amendment would establish a new competency determination standard in English language arts, mathematics, and science and technology/engineering for students in the classes of 2026–2029.

Board members expressed particular interest in comments on:

1. The proposed new standard for students in the classes of 2026–2029:

  • Students in the classes of 2026–2029 would be required to earn a scaled score of 486 (the scaled score just beyond the midpoint within the Partially Meeting Expectations achievement level category) on the ELA, mathematics, and STE MCAS tests to earn their competency determination in those subjects.
  • Students in the classes of 2026–2029 who earn a scaled score of at least 470 (the lowest scaled score in the Partially Meeting Expectations achievement level) would not be required to take an MCAS retest or file an appeal, but they would be required to complete an Educational Proficiency Plan (EPP) in ELA and/or mathematics.

2. Whether a standard should be set now for students in the class of 2030 and beyond, and if so, whether the standard should be Meeting Expectations on the high school MCAS exams.

3. The proposed changes to the Educational Proficiency Plan and other supports for students’ academic success:

  • A requirement that the school provide a student’s EPP to their parents/guardians on an annual basis
  • A requirement to describe the tutoring or other individualized academic supports the student will receive
  • The establishment of different expectations for the EPP for students who are actively enrolled and successfully progressing in the Mass Core curriculum, an approved Chapter 74 vocational-technical program, or a designated Early College or Innovation Pathway program
  • Clarifications to the types of courses and assessments required in a student’s EPP
  • Clarifications around the expectation for adult learners, students who have exited high school without a CD, seniors who have already completed all their required courses in the relevant subject matter, students who are not continuously enrolled or are enrolled in an alternative program, and students who enroll in senior year

Considerations for Educators Supporting Muslim Students in Post-Pandemic Ramadan

Mark your calendars! This year, Ramadan is expected to start on Saturday, April 2, 2022, and end on Sunday, May 1, 2022. 

One can start this by wishing someone a happy Ramadan and saying “Ramadan Kareem!” or “Ramadan Mubarak!”  Educators can also take additional affirmative steps to support and accommodate their Muslim students’ religious needs during such a significant period, as well as to address common misconceptions about Islam and fasting in the school community.  

Islam is built on five pillars which represent its core beliefs and practices. They are: Profession of Faith (Shahada), prayer (Salat), alms (Zakat), fasting (Sawm) and pilgrimage (Hajj). Sawm, which means fasting, is the fourth pillar of Islam observed during the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar during which only healthy adults and young adolescents who passed the age of puberty observe an obligatory act of fasting. The importance of the month commemorates the first revelation day of the Qur’an called Laylat al-Qadr (the night of decree) hidden in one of the days of the holy Ramadan month. Fasting is practiced in various dominant religions including Christianity and Judaism. Unlike these religions, in Islam fasting is refraining from all food, water and other human desires from dawn to dusk for 30 days. Through this temporary deprivation, Muslims are allowed to control their needs, desires, and distractions, giving themselves room to reflect upon their gratitude, devotion, and submission to Almighty Allah. Hence, Ramadan is the month of empowerment because people realize that desires do not drive a person, but it is the person who holds control over them. Fasting is also a learnable moment to share the hunger and thirst of the needy as a reminder of the religious duty to help those less fortunate.  

Some Muslim students may feel lonely or isolated during this period. There are a few suggestions for educators to continuously support their students during Ramadan and show compassion to their religious practice.


  • offering a safe place for fasting students to go during lunchtime so that they could rest during breaks
  • avoiding consuming food and beverages in front of these students whenever possible.
  • rearranging high stake exams to be done during the morning sessions closer to when Muslim students have eaten
  • offering alternative, i.e., less intensive, activities during PE classes
  • offering short breaks during lessons
  • avoiding questioning a student if they are fasting or not
  • not planning tests or exams on a recognized religious holiday like Eid-al Fitr

Students might show exhaustion and sleepiness at different levels, not necessarily because of hunger or thirst, but because of changes in sleeping and eating routine. Fasting students and their parents wake up early in the morning to perform morning prayer and have a meal before dawn known as suhoor. The Iftar time, the meal at breaking fast during sunset comes 14-15 hours after suhoor. Because of these changes, fatigue may be noticeably enhanced during this time. Showing compassion and empathy to students during this special time is a good starting point for the normalization of cultural and religious sensitivity. Teachers can encourage students and their colleagues to fast for at least one day in solidarity with Muslim students and/or organize a “Dawn to Dusk fasting” challenge in support of Muslim communities.

Muslim communities are not monolith. Islamic practices may vary from culture to culture and from family to family. While some cultures allow children to fast at the age of seven for several hours a day, others do not. While some families perform additional Tarawih prayers in the evening and spend several hours at night reciting the Qur’an, others do not. For these reasons, communication with students and their families about their Ramadan traditions is the best option to get to know their way of observing Ramadan.

After a month of devotion and self-control, Muslims around the world celebrate the accomplishments of sacred duties performed during Ramadan with the tremendous celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast. Usually, the celebration lasts three days depending on the culture but can be limited to one day, which in no way detracts from its significance. The celebration starts with Eid prayer and continues with family gatherings, gift-giving, and sharing celebratory meals with families and friends. Importantly, Eid accomplishes another core pillar of Islam, paying the annual obligatory payment on the property for charitable purposes called Zakat. Zakat is given to less fortunate families so that they also can enjoy festivities with their beloved ones.

It is equally important to raise awareness of school administrators, nurses, coaches, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, and all other school staff about significance of Ramadan for Muslim communities to ensure a multifaceted accommodation. Additionally, accommodating working Muslims during Ramadan is a generous and thoughtful gesture, and they will undoubtedly feel valued and taken care of.

My two middle-schooler children and I are looking forward to Ramadan with immense excitement. We appreciate the time given to us for devotion, submission, and reflection. By sharing this post, I hope to encourage cultural and religious sensitivity for all school communities who have been teaching and welcoming Muslim students of local, immigrant, and refugee backgrounds.

My family wishes you a Happy upcoming Ramadan!

Written by Nasiba Norova
International Ph.D. Student in Applied Linguistics
Research & Teaching Assistant
University of Massachusetts Boston

State Seal of Biliteracy Update for Class of 2022

Graduating students in the Class of 2022, who were not able to take 10th Grade ELA MCAS due to the pandemic, now have the opportunity to earn the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy. Legislation passed in December allows 2022 graduates who earn the modified competency determination in ELA to also satisfy the English language criteria for the award. Read more!

2021 MATSOL Award

Congratulations to Gail Ball, who has been honored with the 2021 Anne Dow Award for Excellence & Creativity. Gail is EL Department Head at Worcester Public Schools.

The Dow Award is given annually to a professional who has made outstanding efforts that reflect enthusiasm and creative, energetic, independent thinking. Specific criteria vary from year to year, to reflect the many facets of Anne Dow’s career and interests.  The 2021 award was given for promoting diversity, equity & inclusion for multilingual students and families.  The award is supported by the Anne Dow Family Foundation.

Help Wanted: Virtual Conference Host

Temporary, part-time contract position. Must be available May 24 through June 4, 2021 from 10AM – 5 PM (EDT)

MATSOL is looking for an upbeat professional to support presenters on our digital conference platform during the 2021 MATSOL Virtual Conference, which brings together educators of English Learners from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to share expertise and best practices. This is a great opportunity for someone who wants to learn more about TESOL and EL education!

The conference will use ZOOM Meeting Pro integrated with the Whova conference platform. MATSOL will provide a ZOOM account for hosts to use during the conference.


  • Act as the primary support person for presenters assigned to you during the conference week.
  • Manage attendees in large meetings (up to 100 or more) to ensure presentations go smoothly.
  • Set up ZOOM Meeting and the Whova features before sessions start.
  • Do a tech check with presenters 15 minutes before each session. 
  • Start and stop recording the session.
  • Play conference introduction video and introduce the presenter.
  • Monitor chat and Q&A and relay questions to the presenter. Assist presenters as needed by sharing links, launching polls, etc.
  • Create breakout rooms (if applicable).
  • Remain professional and upbeat throughout the presentation.
  • Troubleshoot any problems during a presentation.
  • Remain in communication with MATSOL team throughout the conference. 


  • Experience facilitating large group meetings and presentations with the ZOOM Pro meeting platform, including using breakout rooms, chat, Q&A, polls, YouTube livefeed etc. 
  • Experience with a virtual conference platform is a plus.
  • Computer or laptop with reliable high-speed internet connection (Two devices, such as a dual monitor or a laptop plus tablet or phone is preferred).
  • Proficient with computers and technology and able to learn new systems quickly.
  • Professional, upbeat demeanor with good communication skills.

Time commitment: 

  • Week of May 24, 2021: Independently review and complete training materials and participate in at least two live training sessions (M/W/F 10-11AM)
  • Tuesday-Friday, June 1-4, 2010: Host up to three conference sessions per day between 10am to 5pm, with breaks in between sessions.

Location: Remote

Stipend: $500.00

Application closed

MATSOL is a nonprofit professional association of educators of English learners in Massachusetts. Our members include educators in PK-12 schools, adult basic education, workplace programs, private language schools, and institutions of higher learning, as well as pre-service and in-service teacher educators. MATSOL is the state affiliate of TESOL International Association.

Testing Equity for English Learners

Date: April 6, 2022

To:  Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

From: Massachusetts Association of Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages (MATSOL) and Multistate Association for Bilingual Education (MABE)

Re:  Testing Equity for English Learners

While we applaud the decision of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to allow students in grades 3-8 to take the MCAS tests remotely this spring, the policy does not address the inequity of in-person testing required for English Learners. In addition to MCAS, English Learners take an annual English proficiency test, ACCESS for ELs, which is only administered in-person. As a result, while their peers have the option to complete all testing remotely, English Learners, many of whom live in communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, still need to go into school buildings for in-person ACCESS testing. This is an inequitable policy that favors some students over others.  

Additionally, as many students return to in-person learning for the first time all year, we believe that students will benefit from more time for academic learning, language development, and social-emotional support, not on taking tests. We call on the Department to immediately postpone the ACCESS for ELs testing for this school year, as allowed by federal guidance.

For a more detailed explanation of our concerns, please see the statement from MATSOL and MABE “2021 ACCESS for ELs Testing” (Dec 8, 2020), which was created with input from our membership.

Below are the action items we requested in the statement. Although conditions have changed since our first statement was released, the concerns detailed in the statement have not been addressed.

  1. School districts should not be penalized for low student participation in the ACCESS for ELs test during the pandemic. As of this date, the Department has not decided about how lack of participation will affect district accountability measures. Likewise, schools and teachers should not be penalized if students do not meet English Proficiency Benchmarks. The Department needs to address how students’ English Learner Success Plans will be impacted.
  2. If the testing goes forward, the Department should provide Districts with a clear message to send to families stating that if a family does not feel safe sending their child to school for testing, they do not have to take the test and that the student and family will face no negative consequences. The Department should assist districts with this communication by providing the message in English and translated into the most common languages. Families can then decide what is best for their child.
  3. Under current guidelines, students can only exit EL programs with a minimum ACCESS score, along with other relevant data including local assessments, MCAS, grades, observations, and the WIDA Performance Definitions to determine “whether students can perform ordinary classroom work in English.” This year, districts should be allowed to use other evidence of language proficiency to reclassify ELs and exit them from EL programs without the ACCESS score.

Read our December 8 statement “2021 Access for ELs Testing” here.

See our Letter to the Editor in The Boston Globe, April 9, 2021

MATSOL Condemns Anti-Asian Bigotry and Violence

MATSOL condemns the surge in anti-Asian bigotry and violence since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that has negatively impacted the Asian, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders community, many of whom are our students and colleagues. Specifically, we are horrified and saddened by the shootings in Atlanta on March 16, 2021 that killed 6 Asian women. We strongly stand in support of racial justice. 

Racism and hatred have no place at MATSOL. We are committed to doing the necessary work to ensure we as an organization are practicing and supporting anti-racism. 

Too often the history of discrimination against the Asian and AAPI community is overlooked and not included in our educational curriculums or conversations about racial justice. We want to make sure our members know that we are a community of educators who value diversity, equity and inclusion both within the organization and within the field of English education.

Please look for updates about how MATSOL will continue to collaborate with our members to address this issue going forward.

MATSOL Board of Directors & Staff


The MATSOL Educators of Color SIG will meet on Friday, April 9 at 3:30 PM for a listening session. The agenda will be to vent and support each other from the current hate crimes

Please know that this is a space for all educators who identify as People of Color. Please respect the space.

If you’d like to join the group, email Jason Fei at

Here are a few helpful resources for teaching about the history of anti-Asian violence and racism in the United States (Thanks to Dr. Christine Leider):

TESOL Statement

As an affiliate of TESOL International Association, MATSOL strongly stands by the TESOL statement below:

TESOL Condemns Global Acts of Violence and Discrimination Against Asians

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous media reports and high-profile incidents have shown a growing number of verbal and physical assaults against adults and children of Asian descent in communities around the world. Often fueled by a rhetoric of lies about the origin of COVID-19, these actions and incidents of hate and xenophobia cannot be tolerated and must be denounced at all levels of government and society.

Last year, TESOL International Association (TESOL) supported House Resolution 908 in the U.S. House of Representatives, condemning the growing acts of discrimination and violence that were perpetrated against Asians since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear that despite recognition of this problem by many world leaders and advocates, these despicable actions have only continued to grow in frequency.

At its core, TESOL is an organization that values diversity, multiculturalism, and multilingualism. These acts of hatred and discrimination, directed toward communities that are made up of countless English learners around the world, run counter to those values.

TESOL is committed to working with its partner organizations and allies in order to combat the current epidemic of racism, discrimination, and xenophobia that is affecting our communities of color.