From Senior Deputy Commissioner John B. King, Jr.
November 29, 2010
Quick links to headlines in this edition of News and Notes:
- November Meeting of the Board of Regents
- Response to Intervention: Guidance for New York State School Districts
- News from the NYSED Title I Office
- Free Online Courses from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
At its meeting on November 15-16, the Board of Regents acted in support of the following initiatives:
P-12 Strategic Vision
The Board discussed the action steps, significant 2009-10 developments, and Race to the Top priorities for 2010-11.
See the Regents item on the P-12 Strategic Vision for more information.
Special Education Mandate Relief
The Board of Regents voted to amend sections 200.2, 200.4, 200.5, 200.6, 200.9, 200.10, 200.11, 200.13, 200.20, 201.2 and 201.11 of the Commissioner's Regulations, effective December 8, 2010. The amendments will provide mandate relief and appropriate flexibility for committees on special education (CSE) to make special education recommendations based on students' individual needs by repealing minimum level of service requirements for speech- and language- related services and for instruction to address the individual language needs of students with autism. The amendments also authorize the addition of up to two additional students in an integrated co-teaching class when it is necessary to do so to address the unique needs of students in that class. To conform to federal and state requirements, the rule will also ensure that the State regulations use language consistent with federal regulations for CSE meeting notices and State statute for district plans of service for special education. The Board discussed the importance of keeping parents informed and using the parent guide to communicate clear and understandable information.
See the Regents item on Special Education Mandate Relief for more information.
Qualified School Construction Bonds and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds
The Board voted in favor of an emergency amendment, effective November 23, 2010, to repeal section 155.22 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education relating to Qualified Zone Academy bonds and Qualified school construction bonds, which was adopted at the September 13-14, 2010 Regents. The Board also voted to amend section 155.22 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, effective November 23, 2010, as an emergency action to ensure that the emergency rule adopted at the September 2010 Regents meeting, as revised, remains continuously in effect until it can be adopted as a permanent rule. The purpose of the amendment is to prescribe the procedures for New York State to allocate its $174,782,000 2010 State limitation amount to those school district bond issuers not receiving a direct federal Qualified School Construction bond allocation. In addition, the amendment revises the provisions relating to Qualified Zone Academy bonds (QZAB) to provide for a separate charter school allocation from the QZAB State limitation amount.
See the Regents item on Qualified School Construction Bonds and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds for more information.
The Board of Regents also discussed and considered policy questions for several crucial issues:
P-20 Data System Update
The Board was given an update on the P-20 Data System, including information on the $114.7 million in additional funding from federal and state grants. The discussion focused on three major deliverables: linkages between teachers and course data, linkages between P-12 and higher education, and the Data Portal and Instructional Reporting and Improvement System.
See the Regents item on the P-20 Data System Update for more information.
Distinguished Educator Program
The Board discussed proposed amendments to regulations establishing criteria regarding the selection, roles, responsibilities, protocols and procedures, and expenses for distinguished educators. The proposed rule will enable the Commissioner to appoint distinguished educators to districts and schools that are experiencing extremely serious academic challenges. The proposed rule will also ensure the appointment of qualified individuals who have experience in achieving consistent growth in academic performance or educational expertise, including superior performance in the classroom, to serve as distinguished educators to assist low-performing schools. Department staff reviewed relevant research prepared by the New York Comprehensive Center, held conference calls with other state education agencies that have similar programs, consulted with experts, and held focus meetings with key stakeholder groups on the conceptual framework for a Distinguished Educator program. The proposed amendments will come back to the Board in January for approval.
See the Regents item on the Distinguished Educator Program for more information.
Mandatory School Board Training
The Board discussed the importance of strong leadership and governance for school boards and superintendents as districts examine their practices towards the goal of increasing the college and career readiness of our students. The discussion focused on the framework for development of proposed amendments to regulations for the required training of school board members in five major areas: roles and responsibilities of the school board; powers and duties of other governing and administrative authorities and their affect on public education; communication and interaction with the community; legal and ethical issues; and education issues. Department staff will begin work on the development of proposed amendments to regulations to present to the Board of Regents at a future meeting.
See the Regents item on Mandatory School Board Training for more information.
Release of Scores for the Grades 3-8 Testing Program 2011
The Board discussed two possible timelines for the release of the Grades 3-8 test results. Due to Easter falling so late in April, the tests cannot be given until the first week in May. This makes it impossible for school districts and scanning centers to maintain the scoring and scanning schedules met in 2010. The Board was presented with two timelines. Timeline 1 maintains the aggressive milestones necessary to return test scores by the last day of school (June 23), but is impractical. Timeline 2 returns scores nine working days after school ends (July 7) which maintains an aggressive timeline, but makes it manageable for both school districts and scanning centers. The Regents endorsed the staff recommendation to follow Timeline 2.
See the Regents item on the Release of Scores for the Grades 3-8 Testing Program 2011 for more information.
Revised Comprehensive English Regents Exam: Standards Revisitation Update
The Board revisited the discussion and previous actions taken on the implementation of the new Comprehensive English Regents Exam. The Board discussed the challenges associated with the new exam, including cost and timing (the test is not being given during the regular January testing period; it will be administered on January 11, 2011 and schools will be required to score the test that afternoon and ship the answer sheets to the vendor by January 12, 2011). A memorandum will be sent to the field with information on steps taken to ensure that the new one-day exam is as rigorous as the previous two-day exam. Staff will provide additional updates at the December meeting.
See the Regents item on the Revised Comprehensive English Regents Exam for more information.
Proposed Regents State and Federal Legislative Priorities for 2011
The Board discussed the proposed Regents state and federal legislative priorities for P-12 that will be recommended for approval, as part of a larger package, by the full Board of Regents. The legislative proposals are aligned with the Regents budget proposals and strategic goals.
See the Regents item on the Proposed Regents State and Federal Legislative Priorities for 2011 for more information.
The full Board approved three State legislative priorities described in more detail below:
Raising the Achievement of English Language Learners
The Board discussed and approved a recommendation by staff to adopt as a part of their legislative agenda the development of a proposal in support of additional resources and strategies needed to raise the achievement of English Language Learners (ELLs). Specifically, three strategies are proposed to be included: (1) Parent Education Initiative; (2) Teacher Recruitment Strategy; and (3) Virtual/Blended Learning.
See the Regents item on Raising the Achievement of English Language Learners for more information.
BOCES as Regional Leader
The Board discussed and approved a recommendation by staff to adopt as a part of their legislative agenda an increased role for District Superintendents and BOCES. The District Superintendent is both chief executive of the BOCES and the Commissioner's representative in the field to promote education reforms and solve local problems. Increasingly, the District Superintendent is being asked to serve as Regional Leader as well as Regional Service Provider. The Board requested that the proposed legislation on lifting the salary cap for District Superintendents be combined with this proposed legislation.
See the Regents item on BOCES as Regional Leader for more information.
Intervention in Chronically Underperforming School Districts
The Board discussed and approved a recommendation by staff to adopt as a part of their legislative agenda an expansion of Education Law section 306 which governs the removal of school board members under certain circumstances. Specifically, the Regents are encouraged to seek additional authority to implement a system of progressive intervention in chronically underachieving or fiscally distressed districts, which may in fact lead to the removal of a school board member(s). The general framework will be determined through discussions with stakeholder groups including NYSSBA, NYSCOSS, school officials, parents and other community members. The Board also discussed how other states hold their school boards accountable for district performance.
See the Regents item on Intervention in Chronically Underperforming School Districts for more information.
Reporting of College- and Career-Ready High School Graduation Rates – Part II: Planning for the Transition
The Board discussed a proposed timeline for the release of college and career ready graduation rates for all schools and districts based on the percentage of graduates passing the English language arts Regents examination with a score of at least 75 percent and a mathematics Regents examination with a score of 80 percent. Between now and March, regional conversations will take place on college and career readiness policy options via regional forums, panel discussions, and a statewide survey. Feedback from these conversations will be considered and possible revisions made to graduation requirements. Staff will come back to the College and Career Readiness Working Group in March 2011 with recommendations. If directed by the Regents, staff will publicize the graduation rate in March 2011.
College and Career Readiness Discussion
Michael Cohen, President of Achieve, Inc. and Allison G. Jones, Senior Fellow for Postsecondary Engagement at Achieve (formerly the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at The California State University) presented national data on college and career readiness, including supporting data showing that too many students graduate from high school unprepared for college and careers. Michael Cohen discussed several key problems for the Board to think about, including issues relating to college-ready cut scores on state assessments, accountability, graduation requirements, and Career and Technical Education. Allison Jones talked about the Early Assessment Program (EAP) used in California, which is designed to assess college readiness at the end of 11th grade, and encourages students who are not yet college-ready to use their senior year more effectively by taking a 12th grade math course and an Expository Reading/Writing class. The Expository Reading/Writing class fulfills the English requirement for college readiness.
Regents 2011-12 Conceptual Proposal on State Aid to School Districts
The Board discussed the Regents Conceptual State Aid Proposal to ensure that the proposal represents the Regents priorities. The detailed State Aid proposal will be presented to the Regents for approval at the December meeting.
See the Regents item on the Regents 2011-12 Conceptual Proposal on State Aid to School Districts for more information.
The New York State Education Department is pleased to announce the release of the document Response to Intervention: Guidance for New York State School Districts. Response to Intervention (RtI) is a multi tiered early prevention and intervention system designed to improve outcomes for all students. It is available at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/RTI/guidance/cover.htm.
The purpose of the guidance document is to provide information and guidance to school districts on how to design and implement an effective RtI process, including, but not limited to information regarding regulatory requirements, quality indicators, staff development, tools to assist districts in selecting a specific model and procedures for the use of RtI data in determining if a student has a learning disability. This guidance document should be used in conjunction with information available from the New York State Response to Intervention Technical Assistance Center (NYS RtI TAC) at http://www.nysrti.org .
Please see the recent field memo from Roberto Reyes, State Title I Director, below:
- New York City Charter Schools and Community School District Preference for Homeless Students Charter School Q and A
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education has developed the following free online courses specifically for the education community:
IS-100.SCa Introduction to the Incident Command System for Schools
The primary audience includes kindergarten through high school personnel.
IS-100.HE Introduction to the Incident Command System, ICS-100, for Higher Education
The primary audience includes persons involved with emergency planning, response and/or recovery efforts for higher education institutions.
IS-366 Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters
The target audience for this course is emergency managers and planners, as well as individuals and groups directly involved with meeting the needs of children during disasters – such as school personnel.
IS-362 Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools
This course is designed for school administrators, principals, and first responders. However, anyone with a personal or professional interest in school preparedness is welcome to participate. Teachers, students, bus drivers, volunteers, and parents alike will find useful information in this course.
These courses were designed specifically for individuals with emergency planning and response responsibilities in P-12 settings, as well as higher education communities.
As a reminder, NYSED Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17(e)(2) requires that building-level emergency plans define the school’s chain of command during an emergency in a manner consistent with ICS.
Please take advantage of these free training opportunities. For questions on ICS, please contact the BOCES health and safety coordinator in your area or Laura Sahr at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-486-7336.