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News and Notes Archive


From Senior Deputy Commissioner John B. King, Jr.
February 18, 2011



Quick links to headlines in this edition of News and Notes:


February Meeting of the Board of Regents

At its meeting on February 7-8, the Board of Regents acted in support of the following initiatives:

  • General Educational Development (GED) Testing Program – Budget and Policy Considerations

    The Board approved a motion directing Department staff to develop a plan to establish a requirement for a student’s demonstration of GED test readiness via the OPT or other Department-approved instruments. The plan will be brought to the Board for discussion at the June 2011 Regents meeting. Any plan will include promotion of access and multiple pathways to GED preparation opportunities that will result in enhanced student success and an improved GED statewide pass rate. Any plan will also address the need to build capacity for readiness screening that does not currently exist.

    In addition, the Board voted to submit a recommendation to the Governor and the Legislature advocating for the revocation of Section 317 of the Education Law, thus permitting the Board to promulgate regulations imposing a fair and equitable fee on GED test candidates that will help ensure the viability of New York’s GED Testing program for the students and adults who need this credential as a pathway to higher education, post-secondary training, and the workforce.

    See the Regents item on the General Educational Development (GED) Testing Program – Budget and Policy Considerations for more information.

  • Technical Amendment of Section 100.2 (ee)(2) of the Regulations of the Commissioner

    The amendments concerning diploma credit for languages other than English (LOTE) and State assessments in Social Studies, which were adopted at the December 2010 Regents meeting, inadvertently omitted language in section 100.2(ee)(2), concerning Academic Intervention Services, that was previously adopted by the Regents in July and October 2010.

    The Board voted to amend paragraph (2) of subdivision (ee) of section 100.2 of the Regulations of the Commissioner, effective February 15, 2011, as an emergency action. This action served to immediately clarify and resolve inconsistencies in section 100.2(ee)(2) of the Commissioner’s Regulations, ensuring that the regulation’s provisions are properly administered pursuant to the policies established by the Board of Regents.

    See the Regents item on the Technical Amendment of Section 100.2 (ee)(2) of the Regulations of the Commissioner for more information.

  • Emergency Adoption of 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 voted to add a new subparagraph (45) of subdivision (b) to Section 80-1.1; to amend subparagraph (i) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of section 80-3.3; to amend clause (c) of subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of section 80-3.7; and to add a new section 80-5.22 to the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. This emergency action, effective February 15, 2011, addresses the demonstrated shortage of certified teachers in science and mathematics in grades 5-9 and 7-12.

    See the Regents item on the Emergency Adoption of 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.

The Board of Regents also discussed and considered policy questions for several crucial issues:

  • Graduation Rate: Data Collection and Reporting Processes

    The Board discussed the Department’s procedures for collecting and reporting the cohort graduation rate, including recent audit findings and recommendations. The discussion focused on how graduation rate cohorts are defined, including reasons why students may or may not be included and the documentation required for any student who is to be excluded from the cohort for graduation rate reporting.

    See the Regents item on Graduation Rate: Data Collection and Reporting Processes for more information.

  • Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Assessment Update

    The Board received an update on the design and development of the PARCC assessments, which are scheduled to be operational in 2014-15. The Board discussed the work of the Assessment Design and Development Team, the Leadership Team, and the Governing Board, all of which were convened by Achieve, Inc. in December 2010 to begin development and design of the assessments. The Board discussed recommendations for assessment design options, including rich performance tasks, through-course assessments, and end of year assessments. Staff will come back at a future meeting to present additional information on the design of the PARCC assessments.

    See the Regents item on the PARCC Assessment Update for more information.

  • Credit for Online and Blended Coursework

    The Board discussed proposed amendments to regulations that would prescribe requirements for earning credit for online coursework or a combination of online and blended coursework. The discussion focused on current science laboratory requirements and the increasing availability of high-quality virtual laboratory experiences and discussions that will take place with the field regarding alternative approaches to this requirement. The Board also expressed the importance of monitoring the progress of students who take online courses to see if they make significant improvements on assessments. Staff will develop guidance documents to inform public school districts and BOCES interested in offering new learning opportunities for students through online instruction. It is anticipated that the proposed rule will be presented for adoption at the May Regents meeting.

    See the Regents item on Credit for Online and Blended Coursework for more information.

  • Mandate Relief and Flexibility

    The Board discussed draft mandate relief options intended to increase flexibility and reduce requirements in ways that do not adversely impact the health and safety of students and essential elements of education reform. While many of the draft mandate relief options relate to the requirements for special education, there are also suggestions for mandate relief in the areas of school operations, facilities, pupil transportation, curriculum and instruction, and teacher certification.

    Please see the Regents item on Mandate Relief and Flexibility for more information.

  • Executive Proposal on State Aid to School Districts

    The Board discussed budget highlights of the 2011-12 Executive Proposal pertaining to education, including school aid. The Regents 2011-12 proposal on State Aid to school districts included the following recommendations:

    • a $91 million increase in general support to public schools;
    • a commitment to phasing in the foundation aid formula;
    • a small increase for Universal Prekindergarten;
    • moderating aid for school construction, pupil transportation, and BOCES services; and
    • providing mandate relief.

    The 2011-12 Executive Budget proposes $19.4 billion in funding for general support to public schools. This represents a year-to-year reduction of $1.5 billion, or 7.3 percent, compared to the previous year as supplemented with federal funding restorations. The Executive proposes two new grant programs for school districts totaling $500 million that would provide incentives for school district efficiency and improved performance.

    The Executive proposal calls for a report by a Mandate Relief Redesign Team. Commissioner Steiner and Chief Operating Officer Val Grey are members of the Redesign Team.

    See the Regents item on the Executive Proposal on State Aid to School Districts for more information.

  • Graduate Level Clinically Rich Principal Preparation Pilot Program Request for Proposals (RFP)

    The Board discussed and reviewed policy issues related to the RFP for the Graduate Level Clinically Rich Pilot Programs. The policy issues under consideration included:

    • a regional approach to funding;
    • the evaluation role of the Blue Ribbon Commission;
    • the critical programmatic elements being reviewed and scored;
    • the Regents Priorities to be addressed; and
    • the budget scoring process.

    See the Regents item on the Graduate Level Clinically Rich Principal Preparation Pilot Program Request for Proposals for more information.

  • New York State Teacher and Principal Effectiveness – Evaluation Policy Options for Local and Non-tested Assessments

    The Board discussed options relating to the 40 percent of teacher and principal evaluation to be based on assessments (20 percent tied to growth or a comparable measure and 20 percent based on locally-selected assessments). Options were presented with regard to non-tested subjects and which year-to-year assessment systems can be used. Additionally, options were presented on which locally-developed or locally-selected assessments are appropriate. Staff will come back in March to discuss policy options for value-added/growth modeling for the 20 percent that is tied to State assessments (ELA and Math 4-8).

  • Panel Discussion on College Readiness

    A panel of college administrators and other prominent professionals gave brief descriptions of their programs and answered questions relating to New York State’s high school graduates and how well they are prepared for college and careers. There was consensus that students need solid basic skills in math and science, critical thinking, writing, and organization. If students go on to college without these basic skills, they will likely need remediation and have difficulty catching up. Panel members expressed the importance of early childhood and middle-level programs and quality teacher training and preparation. The panel members are eager to work with the Board of Regents to develop mutual goals and complementary strategies to improve student achievement and create a more seamless educational experience for all students.

    The panel members included:

    • Laura Anglin, President, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU)
    • Elizabeth Van Nest, Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel; Executive Director, Council of Governing Boards (CICU)
    • Susan Birkhead, MS, RN, Director, Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing
    • Susan Scrimshaw, Ph.D., President of The Sage Colleges
    • David Lavallee, Ph.D., Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost of SUNY
    • Ann Marie Murray, Ph.D., President, Herkimer County Community College
    • Nancy Kleniewski, Ph.D., President, SUNY College at Oneonta
    • Alexandra Logue, Ph.D., Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost of CUNY
    • Felix V. Matos Rodriguez, Ph.D., President, Hostos Community College
    • Russell K. Hotzler, Ph.D., President, New York City College of Technology

Additional News

  • Allowance for January 2011 Graduating Seniors Attending Schools that Canceled Regents Examinations Due to Inclement Weather

    The Department realizes that January's inclement weather caused disruptions to the administration of Regents Exams statewide. Below, please find a link to the memorandum, “Allowance for January 2011 Graduating Seniors Attending Schools that Canceled Regents Examinations Due to Inclement Weather.” Please share this information with administrators and guidance counselors in your schools. Thank you for all the hard work you do on behalf of our students in New York State.

    Link to the memorandum: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/osa/hsgen/weather-allow-111.pdf

  • Dignity For All Students Act

    The Dignity for All Students Act (Chapter 482 of the Laws of 2010) was signed into law on September 13, 2010. The goal of this law is to provide students in public elementary and secondary schools (including BOCES and public charter schools) with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, on a school bus, or at a school function.

    Regulatory, policy, and procedural requirements must be developed, promulgated, and enacted by the Department and school districts to comply with the provisions of the Dignity for All Students Act and ensure full implementation by July 1, 2012. At the January 2011 meeting of the Board of Regents, staff recommended the formation of a Task Force comprised of key stakeholder groups in the education community, advocates, and Department staff to guide the implementation process.

    See: www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2011Meetings/January2011/111p12d1.pdf.

    This Task Force will be comprised of four Advisory Work Groups charged with conducting research and making recommendations to the members of the larger Task Force. The four Advisory Work Groups include: (1) Local Policy and Implementation; (2) State Policy and Implementation; (3) Professional Development; and (4) Curriculum and Instructional Design. Engaging outside partners and advocates in this process will be critical in developing holistic strategies and recommendations. Some of the organizations involved in this effort include: NYCLU, ADL, GLSEN, ESPA, SAANYS, NYC-CSA, NYSCOSS, NYSSBA, NYAPT, NYSUT, and NYSPTA.

    As the work of the Task Force progresses, additional articles will be included in future issues of News and Notes. Questions on the Dignity for All Students Act may be directed to the Student Support Services Office at (518) 486-6090 or you may email questions to Laura Sahr at: lsahr@mail.nysed.gov.

  • Request for Proposals - Long Island Special Education Parent Center

    The Office of Special Education of NYSED is seeking proposals to establish a Special Education Parent Center in the Long Island region of New York State. The Long Island Special Education Parent Center will serve the Long Island region of NYS (Nassau and Suffolk Counties), which includes the following Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) service areas: Nassau, Eastern Suffolk and Western Suffolk. Submissions must be received at NYSED no later than March 23, 2011 at 3:00 PM.

    Link to the RFP: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/compcontracts/10-025/

  • Request for Proposals - School District Management Systems Certification Center

    NYSED is seeking proposals for the creation and operation of a School District Management Systems Certification Center. Eligible applicants include not-for-profit entities, for-profit entities, private colleges and universities, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, and municipalities. Submissions must be received at NYSED no later than March 24, 2011 by 3:00 PM.

    Link to the RFP: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/compcontracts/10-015/

  • Request for Proposals - Network Training Center

    The Office of Special Education of NYSED seeks to establish a Network Training Center to provide professional development to the State’s Special Education School Improvement and other specialists in the State’s Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Centers (RSE-TASC). The RSE-TASCs form a comprehensive and coordinated system of technical assistance and school improvement resources available to directly assist school districts, particularly those school districts with the poorest performance for students with disabilities, to improve results for students with disabilities. Submissions must be received at NYSED no later than March 8, 2011 by 3:00 PM.

    Link to the RFP: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/compcontracts/10-020/

  • Request for Proposals - District Data Coordinator Technical Assistance Center

    NYSED is seeking proposals for the creation and operation of a District Data Coordinator Technical Assistance Center. Eligible applicants include not-for-profit entities, for-profit entities, private colleges and universities, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, and municipalities. Submissions must be received at NYSED no later than March 17, 2011 by 3:00 PM.

    Link to the RFP: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/compcontracts/10-016/

  • Annual Performance Report

    The State submitted its Annual Performance Report (APR) for Federal Fiscal Year 2009 to the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). This annual report is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to evaluate the State’s efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of Part B of IDEA and describes how the State will improve such implementation. The report includes the State’s progress toward meeting measurable and rigorous targets for 20 indicators established under three monitoring priority areas:

    1. Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE);
    2. Disproportionality; and
    3. General Supervision Part B, including child find, effective transition and effective general supervision.

    The full report is posted on the Office of Special Education website at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/spp/.

  • Results of Survey on Commercially-Available Assessments

    We sincerely appreciate your thoughtful responses to our recently disseminated survey on commercially-available assessments being utilized in NYS schools. We invite you to view the results of this survey at
    http://www.surveymonkey.com/sr.aspx?
    sm=_2fLO1NUtkvisx_2fpGnVC8amTsn33RERn7kPPkILKcGvaU_3d
    external link icon.


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Last Updated: March 15, 2011