From Senior Deputy Commissioner John B. King, Jr.
December 20, 2010
I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your school communities a happy and healthy holiday season. As we embark on a new year, the Board of Regents continues to discuss the College and Career Readiness of our students. Please take the time to provide input by completing our College and Career Readiness survey. More information on the survey can be found later in this newsletter. Thank you for your continued commitment to improving education in New York State and for all that you do every day to help students achieve success in school and in life.
Dr. John B. King, Jr.
Quick links to headlines in this edition of News and Notes:
- December Meeting of the Board of Regents
- College and Career Readiness Survey
- Prior Written Notice Form
- Emergency Preparedness Materials for Students
- News from the Office of Educational Management Services
- Informational Online Session on Education Jobs Fund
- Report of Incidents of Complaints Form
- Guidelines for Grade 9 Entry Data for Ungraded Students with Disabilities in the 2006 and Later Cohorts
At its meeting on December 13-14, the Board of Regents acted in support of the following initiatives:
Age Eligibility and Four-Year Limitations for Senior Athletic Competition
The Board voted to amend subclause (1) of clause (b) of subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (7) of subdivision (c) of section 135.4 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education; and to add clause (d) of subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (7) of subdivision (c) of section 135.4 of the Commissioner’s Regulations, effective January 5, 2011, as a permanent rule.
The Board also voted to amend subclause (1) of clause (b) of subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (7) of subdivision (c) of section 135.4 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education; and to add clause (d) of subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (7) of subdivision (c) of section 135.4 of the Commissioner’s Regulations, effective December 26, 2010, as an emergency action to ensure that the emergency rule adopted at the October 2010 Regents meeting remains continuously in effect until the effective date of its adoption as a permanent rule, and thereby avoid disruption to the administration of the waiver process for participation in senior athletic competition by students with disabilities during the 2010-2011 school year.
See the Regents item on Age Eligibility and Four-Year Limitations for Senior Athletic Competition for more information.
The Board of Regents also discussed and considered policy questions for several crucial issues:
Elimination of Certain State Assessments
The Board discussed the proposed amendment that implements recent decisions made by the Board of Regents to eliminate certain State assessments (Checkpoint A Second Language Proficiency examinations (SLP) for languages other than English; Checkpoint B Regents comprehensive examinations in Hebrew, Latin, and German; and the elementary and intermediate assessments in social studies) as a cost-saving measure in the administration of State assessments; and ensures that students have a continued opportunity to earn diploma credit in Languages Other than English prior to grade 9 and meet State learning standards despite the elimination of these examinations.
See the Regents item on the Elimination of Certain State Assessments for more information.
Revised Comprehensive English Regents Exam: Standards Revisitation Update
The Board discussed steps taken by the Department to maintain the rigor of the Comprehensive English Regents Examination as the exam changes from a two-day exam to a one-day exam. The discussion focused on the changes made to the format and composition of the test and how the development of the new exam concentrated on maintaining the validity and consistency around the content being assessed. A memo from the Office of Assessment Policy, Development and Administration providing an overview of the changes made and the steps taken to maintain rigor on the newly-revised English Regents exam has been widely distributed to the field to inform school officials, teachers, parents, and students.
See the Regents item on the Revised Comprehensive English Regents Exam for more information.
Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools Update
The Board received an update on the Department’s efforts to support districts to intervene in their persistently lowest-achieving (PLA) schools. The discussion focused on the intervention models that PLA schools are required to implement and the impact that School Improvement Grants and RTTT funding have had on that implementation. The Board also discussed the Commissioner’s December 9 release of SURR/PLA schools identified for the 2010-11 school year.
See the Regents item on the Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools Update for more information.
Students with Disabilities Regulations
The Board discussed proposed amendments to regulations that would change the term “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability.” Following a multiple-state survey of disability classifications and seeking input from members of the Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for Special Education Services, it was determined that replacing the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” ensures the Commissioner’s regulations are consistent with the terminology used in federal law and addresses issues of respect and dignity for individuals with disabilities. The amendment would also make other technical revisions. The proposed amendment will come back to the Board in March for approval.
See the Regents item on Students with Disabilities Regulations for more information.
The Board discussed proposed amendments to regulations that would award units of credit for online and blended courses by allowing school districts to provide students with opportunities to earn course credit through alternative pathways. The proposed policy is intended to provide guidance to public school districts and BOCES interested in offering new learning opportunities for students through online instruction. The discussion focused on a statewide survey conducted last spring directed at district-level leaders and high school-based staff in New York State’s public schools. The survey revealed that 59 percent of respondents stated that online learning options are currently used as a strategy for academic improvement initiatives. The Board also discussed steps that school districts and BOCES must take to ensure readiness and to implement effective online courses.
See the Regents item on Online Learning for more information.
Update on the Common Core State Standards
The Board discussed recommended additions to the Common Core State Standards for ELA and Math. The recommendations follow a five-week statewide public feedback period, during which the Department received over 800 teachers, parents, school administrators, and other stakeholders. A survey seeking comments on the PreK standards is currently underway. Survey results will be analyzed and necessary edits made based on public input.
The Board also discussed a Request for Information on the Development of Curriculum Models due at the end of January, the results of which will shape the Request for Proposal for the development of curriculum models.
Finally, the Board discussed the timeline for development and implementation of the curriculum models for PreK-12 ELA and Math and the timeline for integrating the Common Core into our State assessments. In January, staff will present two sets of new PreK-12 standards (ELA and Math), which include the Common Core and NYS standards, and a summary of the public survey data.
See the Regents item on the Common Core State Standards for more information.
Potential Revisions of High School Graduation Requirements
The Board continued its discussion of the possible policy directions for the Regents to consider as they continue their discussions about how to prepare students for college and careers. The Board was presented with information on the rationale for the proposed changes and policy directions for consideration, including increased flexibility to improve student outcomes and enhanced strategies to increase graduation requirements. Department staff will begin to engage stakeholders on the development of these ideas through regional forums being held around the State to provide comment and feedback on impact, sustainability, capacity, and timelines related to these possible policy directions. The regional forums will begin in early January and run through February.
See the Regents Item on the Potential Revisions of High School Graduation Requirements for more information.
Panel Discussion on Arts Integration Programs
A panel of administrators and teachers of the Arts presented overviews of their programs and answered questions relating to arts integration programs and their connection to school improvement and school turnaround. The panel members included:
- Carrie Haymond, Music Teacher, Genesee Community Charter School at the Rochester Museum (Grades K-6), Rochester
- Ramon M. Gonzalez, School Principal, MS 223: The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, Bronx
- Suzanne Pazienza, Arts Teacher, Schodack Central School District (K-12), Castleton
- Brenda Pacheco, Principal, and Alan Tirre, Arts Director, Rochester School of the Arts (HS), Rochester
The discussion focused on how these schools integrate arts education into core courses so that students can benefit from a quality arts education while still meeting the standards. The arts programs discussed at the meeting demonstrate success through their connection to the community, increased attendance, cultural diversity, and quality programs that prepare students to be successful in college and careers. The panel was provided the following discussion questions to help guide the conversation:
- Would a graduation credential in the Arts be helpful in motivating students and signaling students' skills to post-secondary options?
- What courses, teacher skills, performance opportunities, etc. are required to build high school programs that effectively prepare students to pursue post-secondary opportunities in the arts?
- How might academic courses be effectively integrated with arts courses at the middle and high school level?
- What unique preparation do secondary-level arts teachers need?
- If students were to be awarded credit for an arts internship, what assessments could be used to ensure rigor?
- What are the keys to a successful middle school arts program? A successful high school arts program?
Art Commencement Certificate by NYC
Paul King, Executive Director of the Office of Arts and Special Projects at the New York City Department of Education presented information to the Board of Regents on the New York City Chancellor’s Arts Endorsed Diploma. To receive this designation on their diploma, graduating seniors must complete a five-unit sequence in dance, music, theater, or visual arts. They must also pass a rigorous Commencement Assessment in their arts discipline, which includes 50 multiple choice questions, a 250-300 word essay, live performances, and an exit project-portfolio of work. The Board discussed the benefits of offering the arts endorsement at school districts and BOCES outside of New York City, including validation of student commitment and the added endorsement on college transcripts.
Descriptions of each discipline assessment are available online at http://schools.nyc.gov/offices/teachlearn/arts/curriculum.html .
Proposed Regulations to Allow Individuals with Advanced Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and Related Teaching Experience at the Postsecondary Level to Obtain a Teaching Certificate in Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, or in a Closely Related Field
The Board discussed the proposed regulations and decided to postpone the vote until February 2011 to allow staff additional time to review and revise the criteria to allow individuals with advanced degrees in the STEM-related fields to obtain certification in science, mathematics, and related certification areas in grades 5-9 and 7-12.
See the Regents Item on the Proposed Regulations to Allow Individuals with Advanced Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and Related Teaching Experience at the Postsecondary Level to Obtain a Teaching Certificate in Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, or in a Closely Related Field for more information.
New York State Mentoring Standards
The Board discussed the proposed NYS Mentoring Standards presented by the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching. The mentoring standards were drafted in coordination with the NYS Teaching Standards and the established NYS Professional Development standards. These sets of standards will guide and support the development of NYS teachers through the continuum of their teaching careers.
See the Regents item on the New York State Mentoring Standards for more information.
Time Extensions to Initial and Provisional Teacher Certification for Individuals Awaiting Permanent Residence
The Board discussed the proposed amendment to Section 80-1.6 relating to time extensions to initial and provisional certificates for individuals awaiting United States permanent residence as the last uncompleted requirement for professional and permanent certification.
The Board of Regents would like your feedback on a College and Career Readiness Survey which focuses on three topics: College and Career Readiness Frameworks, Necessary Skills and Knowledge for College and Workforce Success, and New York State Graduation Requirements (current requirements can be found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/gradreq/gradreq3columnstyle01_10.pdf).
The survey should take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete and it must be completed in one session.
Please follow this link to access the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LJTTZ6R
This survey is one aspect of a series of meetings, presentations, and data collection processes conducted in 2010 by the Board of Regents' College and Career Readiness Working Group. Results of the survey will be shared with the Board of Regents at their March meeting.
The deadline for your input is January 31, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.
Thank you in advance for your time and your continued support of all students in New York State. Your input matters!
The Office of Special Education developed a model Prior Written Notice form. This form will be required for use by all school districts beginning with the 2011-12 school year and thereafter.
To assist school personnel and others in understanding the Prior Written Notice form and related requirements, the State has posted on its website PowerPoint presentations and a comprehensive question and answer document. These materials are available at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/formsnotices/PWN/training/.
New York State has been impacted by a wide variety of natural, technological, and human-made disasters and emergencies. It is critical that students, staff, and their families be prepared for such events. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), New York City Office of Emergency Management, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and the American Red Cross have developed age-appropriate interactive programs to assist in preparing students for a wide variety of emergencies. These materials are available at no cost to schools. The following provides a brief summary of these programs:
FEMA Ready Kids
The FEMA Ready Kids program provides a template for developing a family emergency plan, as well as a variety of interactive puzzles, games, coloring pages, videos, and fact sheets about a variety of emergencies.
NYC Office of Emergency Management: Explore Ready New York for Kids
The goal of Explore Ready New York for Kids is to help children understand three basic steps to prepare for all types of emergencies: make a plan, pack a "go bag," and create an emergency supply kit. This includes an interactive crossword puzzle, word search game, and more.
PBS: Let’s Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies
Sesame Workshop, along with its project partners created Let’s Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies with tips, activities, and other easy tools to help the whole family prepare for emergencies. This web site includes a children’s activity book, a template for students to develop a family emergency plan, and guidance to assist parents in preparing for emergencies.
American Red Cross: Masters of Disaster
The Masters of Disaster program was developed to assist educators in helping students prepare and recover from a wide variety of emergencies. The program is divided into modules for grades K-2; grades 3-5; and grades 6-8. Modules include Facing Fear, In the Aftermath, Hurricanes, Fire Prevention and Safety, Floods, and more.
The New York State Education Department is pleased to announce the release of Education Jobs Funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Funds have been allocated to public school districts in the State. These funds will help sustain school-level jobs this year and next in order to provide early childhood, elementary, or secondary educational and related services.
Each Superintendent must file a brief Budget Summary and Narrative for the 2010-11 school year in the on-line ARRA Reporting System on the SED Business Portal by January 14, 2011. Guidance documents and additional information are available on the SED ARRA website at http://usny.nysed.gov/arra/ejf/. Districts should note particularly the allowable uses of Education Jobs Funds as shown in Section D, beginning on page 6 of the August 25, 2010 guidance from the U.S. Department of Education. There is also important information from November 2010 about how to consider the use of Ed Jobs Funds relative to current Title I, Part A ESEA supplement-not-supplant fiscal requirements.
Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Office of Educational Management Services at 518.474.6541. Questions regarding Title I, Part A fiscal requirements should be directed to T1ARRA@mail.nysed.gov.
Informational Online Session on Education Jobs Fund
The Office of Educational Management Services is offering an online session on the Education Jobs Fund on January 4, 2011. Education Jobs Fund (EJF) is a new Federal program that provides assistance to States (districts) to save or create education jobs for the 2010-2011 year and funds may be spent through September 30, 2012. Jobs funded under this program include those that provide educational and related services for early childhood, elementary, and secondary education. School district business officials and other central office administrators with responsibility for monitoring school district financial conditions should participate in this session. More information is available at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/mgtserv/docs/edjobfund.pdf.
Report of Incidents of Complaints Form
The New York State Education Department reminds District Superintendents, School Superintendents, and Charter School Leaders that the Report of Incidents of Complaints about the use of Corporal Punishment must be submitted on January 15, 2011. The report form, which covers the six-month period of July 1, 2010 – December 31, 2010, is available online at:
Please complete and return the report form with the original signature of the District Superintendent, School Superintendent, or Charter School Leader to the address on the report form.
Please do not submit the report form before January 1, 2011 as data up to December 31, 2010 is required.
Guidelines for Grade 9 Entry Data for Ungraded Students with Disabilities in the 2006 and Later Cohorts
A joint memorandum from the Office of Special Education and Office of Information and Reporting Services provides guidelines for determining the first entry date into grade 9 for ungraded students with disabilities for graduation rate reporting beginning with the 2010-11 school year results and accountability reporting beginning with the 2011-12 school year results. It is available at: