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News and Notes Archive


From Senior Deputy Commissioner John B. King, Jr.
June 30, 2011



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


State Education Department Releases High School Graduation Rates; Overall Rate Improves Slightly, But Gaps in Achievement Persist and Too Few Schools Meet New Aspirational Performance Measures

On June 14, the State Education Department released high school graduation rates for the 2006 cohort – those students who entered ninth grade in 2006. These data show that New York’s overall graduation rate continues to rise slowly over time. The Department also released outcome data based on aspirational performance measures – measures designed to indicate how schools and districts are performing on rigorous measures more closely aligned with college and career readiness. Outcomes on these aspirational performance measures were achieved at rates lower than the cohort graduation rates. The data also show that with regard to both the graduation rate and the aspirational performance measures, the achievement gap between white students and students of color remains.

Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said, "New York has some of the highest performing schools and districts in the country, but [the] data makes clear that we have tremendous work to do to reduce the drop-out rate, close a stubbornly persistent racial achievement gap, and ensure that more of our graduates are prepared for college and the workforce. This data underscores the urgency of our efforts to continue to raise standards, improve assessments, and support the highest quality teaching in all of our classrooms."

Overall Graduation Rates:

Statewide, 73.4% of the students who started ninth grade in 2006 had graduated after 4 years by June 2010. The previous year’s graduation rate – for the 2005 cohort – was 71.8%; the rate for the 2001 cohort was 65.8%. The graduation rate is defined as the number of students in a cohort who earned a Regents or local diploma divided by the total number of students in that cohort.

Graduation rates for the state’s Big 5 city school districts have increased overall during the past six years, and all except Buffalo improved over last year (but note: Buffalo’s decrease was caused primarily by a change in its cohort size). Graduation rates in the Big 5 for the 2006 cohort are as follows:

  • Buffalo: 47.4% (down from 53.1% for the 2005 cohort)
  • New York City: 61% (up from 59% for the 2005 cohort)
  • Rochester: 46.1% (up from 42.1% for the 2005 cohort)
  • Syracuse: 45.9% (up from 45.2% for the 2005 cohort)
  • Yonkers: 63.2% (up from 58.1% for the 2005 cohort)

The overall graduation rate for black students also rose over the previous year, from 55.7% to 57.7%. Similarly, the rate for Hispanic students rose from 54.8% last year to 57.3% this year. While a large gap in graduation rate between black and Hispanic students – as compared with white students – persists, that gap continues to narrow. The difference in graduation rates for black and white students declined from 30 percentage points for the 2001 cohort to 26 points for the 2006 cohort. For Hispanic students, the gap narrowed from a 33 percentage point difference for the 2001 cohort to a 27 point difference for the 2006 cohort. Statewide, a greater percentage of black and Hispanic students rely on the local diploma to graduate – as opposed to a Regents diploma or a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation – than do white students.

A report detailing these results and others – including individual school and district graduation rates for the 2006 cohort and graduation rates for the various Need/Resource Categories of school districts (i.e., high-need urban-suburban, rural, average wealth, and low-need); students with disabilities; charter schools; English language learners; students who graduate after a fifth or sixth year; and males/females is available at this web address: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/press.html.

Aspirational Performance Measures:

Recognizing that remediation rates in New York’s colleges are far too high, and that much more needs to be done to enhance the State’s economic competitiveness, the Board of Regents has begun an in-depth discussion of the knowledge, skills, and abilities high school graduates must demonstrate in order to show they are prepared for college and careers.

To inform that discussion, the Regents have been working to determine which data are good indicators of future post-secondary success. This past summer, for example, they reviewed research that analyzed how student performance on the state’s grade 3-8 math and English tests relates to performance on the NAEP exam and on Regents exams, and how performance on Regents exams relates to first year performance in college. The research indicated that some students who had scored “proficient” on state exams found themselves unprepared, without remediation, to do the work required of them when they reached college. Specifically, the data showed that in 2007, 44% of first-time students at two-year institutions of higher education – and 13% of first-time students at four-year institutions – took remedial coursework. Accordingly, the Regents and the Commissioner adjusted the cut scores on the grade 3-8 exams to more accurately indicate proficiency.

The Board also looked at data showing the gap between high school and college expectations. In February, the Regents reviewed data comparing the graduation rate for the 2005 cohort with the "college and career ready" graduation rate – defined at that time as the percentage of students in the cohort who graduated with a score of 80 or better on a math Regents exam and 75 or better on the English Regents exam. The Regents view these data as an important indicator of future student success. Students who graduate high school – but do so with a score below 80 on a math Regents exam and below 75 on the English exam – are likely to require remediation in college.

Based on these findings, the Board of Regents has begun to consider changes to New York’s graduation requirements – options that include raising the required passing scores on the English and math Regents exams and/or requiring students to pass a second Regents exam in math; allowing greater flexibility in meeting graduation requirements; and allowing alternative and supplemental credentials. Additionally, the Department is implementing changes to the assessment program that will better support the determination of student readiness for college and careers (including aligning the state assessments to the new New York State Common Core Standards by 2012-2013).

Because it will take time to implement those changes to our exams and graduation requirements that the Regents determine are necessary, they have determined that in the interim it is important to establish aspirational performance measures to be used by schools, districts, and parents to better inform them of the progress of their students – and to report those outcomes. Therefore, in addition to reporting cohort graduation rate results, the Department is also reporting on the following aspirational measures of achievement:

  • The percent of students in the cohort who earned a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation (i.e., earned 22 units of course credit; passed 7-9 Regents exams at a score of 65 or above; and took advanced course sequences in Career and Technical Education, the arts, or a language other than English); and
  • The percent of students in the cohort who graduated with a local, Regents, or Regents with Advanced Designation diploma and earned a score of 75 or greater on their English Regents examination and an 80 or better on a math Regents exam (note: this aspirational measure is what had been referred to as the “college and career ready” graduation rate in February 2011; it is now referred to as the “ELA/Math APM”).

Students reached these aspirational performance measures at rates significantly lower than the cohort graduation rates:

  • Statewide, 30.9% of the 2006 cohort graduated with a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation and 36.7% met the ELA/Math APM – compared with an overall graduation rate of 73.4%.
  • In New York City, 16.4% of the 2006 cohort graduated with a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation and 21.4% met the ELA/Math APM – compared with an overall graduation rate of 61%.
  • In Buffalo, 3.2% of the 2006 cohort graduated with a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation and 8.1% met the ELA/Math APM – compared with an overall graduation rate of 47.4%.
  • In Rochester, 6.8% of the 2006 cohort graduated with a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation and 5.9% met the ELA/Math APM – compared with an overall graduation rate of 46.1%.
  • In Syracuse, 7.5% of the 2006 cohort graduated with a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation and 9.3% met the ELA/Math APM – compared with an overall graduation rate of 45.9%.
  • In Yonkers, 8.2% of the 2006 cohort graduated with a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation and 14.5% met the ELA/Math APM – compared with an overall graduation rate of 63.2%.

Statewide, there is a large gap between white students and students of color with regard to success in achieving the aspirational performance measures:

  • White students: 43.3% of the 2006 cohort graduated with a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation and 50.6% met the ELA/Math APM.
  • Black students: 9.5% of the 2006 cohort graduated with a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation and 12.8% met the ELA/Math APM.
  • Hispanic students: 11.7% of the 2006 cohort graduated with a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation and 14.9% met the ELA/Math APM.

A report detailing these results and others – including individual school and district outcomes in achieving these aspirational performance measures and outcomes in achieving these APMs for the various Need/Resource Categories of school districts (i.e., high-need urban-suburban, rural, average wealth, and low-need); students with disabilities; charter schools; English language learners; students who graduate after a fifth or sixth year; and males/females – is available at this web address:
http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/press.html


June Meeting of the Board of Regents

At its meeting on June 20-21, the Board of Regents acted in support of the following initiatives:

  • Establishment of Graduation Rate Goal and Progress Targets for 2011-12 School and Local Educational Agency Accountability

    The Board approved the proposed graduation rate goal of 80 percent and requested that new gap reduction progress targets be established at 10 percent for the four-year graduation rate cohort and 20 percent for the five-year extended graduation rate cohort. The Board also directed staff to seek approval from the U.S. Department of Education to amend New York’s No Child Left Behind Accountability Workbook to use this goal and these progress targets for 2011-12 school and district accountability.

    See the Regents item on the Establishment of Graduation Rate Goal and Progress Targets for 2011-12 School and Local Educational Agency (LEA) Accountability for more information.

  • Credit for Online and Blended Coursework

    The Board voted to add paragraph (10) of subdivision (d) of section 100.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, effective July 15, 2011, to prescribe requirements for earning credit for online coursework or a combination of online and classroom-based coursework. Staff will come back to the Regents with additional information on implementation of the credit recovery regulations adopted in July 2010.

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

  • Amendment of Section 100.2(p)(14) of the Regulations of the Commissioner, Relating to Public School and District Accountability

    The Board approved an amendment to Section 100.2(p)(14) of the Regulations of the Commissioner to conform the Commissioner's Regulations with recent amendments to New York State’s accountability plan that reset New York’s annual measurable objective (AMO) for grades 3-8 English language arts (ELA) and mathematics beginning in the 2010-11 school year, as prescribed in New York's approved accountability workbook. The amendment will take effect on July 15, 2011.

    See the Regents item on the Amendment of Section 100.2(p)(14) of the Regulations of the Commissioner, Relating to Public School and District Accountability for more information.

  • Individual Evaluation Pathway to Teacher Certification Regulation

    The Board approved an amendment to Section 80-3.7 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education relating to certification in the classroom teaching service through individual evaluation. This amendment extends the individual evaluation pathway to September 1, 2013.

    See the Regents item on an Individual Evaluation Pathway to Teacher Certification Regulation for more information.

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

  • Guidelines and Resources for Social and Emotional Development and Learning

    The Board discussed the draft guidelines which were developed through extensive collaboration with the Department’s Office of Student Support Services along with educators from around the State. The guidelines provide school communities with strategies to address child and adolescent affective development as well as cognitive development. Final guidelines will be brought back to the Regents in July for approval.

    See the Regents item on Guidelines and Resources for Social and Emotional Development and Learning for more information.

  • Charter School Office Strategic Planning Summary

    Department staff presented an update on the progress of the Charter School Office strategic planning process and the grant from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

    See the Regents item on the Charter School Office Strategic Planning Summary for more information.

  • Dignity for All Students Act Program Update

    The Board received an update on the Dignity for All Students Act for which implementation will begin on July 1, 2012. A Dignity for All Students Task Force has been established and has been involved with Department staff on the development of proposed amendments to regulations to be presented to the Regents at a future meeting. At the direction of the Regents, staff will work collaboratively with the Dignity for All Students Act Task Force and other stakeholders to continue the work to implement the provisions of the Dignity Act.

    See the Regents item on the Dignity for All Students Act Program Update for more information.

  • Results for Students with Disabilities and Strategies to Improve Performance

    The Board discussed data results for students with disabilities, including information on classification rate, least restrictive environment, performance on State assessments and Regents examinations, and exiting data. The Board also discussed strategies to improve performance results for students with disabilities. Strategies include a more focused monitoring review process for the 2011-12 school year with priority on quality IEP development; timeliness of individual evaluations and provision of special education services; transition planning; and the provision of IEP recommended special education programs and services for students with disabilities. Finally, the Board discussed the Department’s plan to address key instructional and related issues that lead to poor results for students with disabilities.

    Panel members provided a brief summary about their individual programs and had a conversation with the Regents on such topics as how to address over-representation; classification/declassification; and reforming the certification structure for teachers. The Board also discussed the challenges of assessing the extent of a student’s disability and how to separate the levels and complexities of varying disabilities. Panel Members included:

    • Julie Ludwig, Special Education School Improvement Specialist from the Central Region Special Education Technical Assistance Support Center;
    • Linda Brown, Behavior Specialist from the Mid-State Special Education Technical Assistance Support Center; and
    • Job Thomas, S3TAIR Statewide Facilitation Coordinator.

    Please see the Regents item on the Results for Students with Disabilities and Strategies to Improve Performance for more information.

  • Update on the Roosevelt UFSD and State Oversight Authority

    Staff provided updated information on the Board of Education and budget vote, high school construction plans, and accountability status.

    See the Regents item on Roosevelt UFSD and State Oversight Authority for more information.

  • Transition Planning and Services for Students with Disabilities

    The Board discussed the roles of the P-12 Office of Special Education and the ACCES Vocational Rehabilitation Office for transition planning and services for students with disabilities. Transition planning and services are required by federal and State law and are designed to ensure that students with disabilities are prepared for post-school living, learning, and earning. Staff presented an example of a student IEP and discussed possible obstacles that the student may face in a high-need or large city school district, such as lack of resources and limited access to programs. School districts are responsible for providing transition planning and services beginning no later than the school year in which the student turns 15 and until the student graduates with a regular diploma or ages out of school at age 21. Two years prior to a student’s expected school exit, a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor meets with school personnel to identify potential individuals for referral to VR services and/or independent living. Staff will revisit this issue in the upcoming months and present the Regents with updated information in the fall.

    See the Regents item on Transition Planning and Services for Students with Disabilities for more information.

  • Mentoring Standards

    The Board endorsed the proposed New York State Mentoring Standards.

    See the Regents item on Mentoring Standards for more information.

  • Higher Education Opportunity Program

    The Board discussed an amendment to Section 27-1.1 of the Rules of the Board of Regents relating to student eligibility for the Higher Education Opportunity Program. This item will be submitted for action at a future Regents meeting.

    See the Regents item on the Higher Education Opportunity Program for more information.

  • Smart Scholars Early College High School Program

    The Board was given a presentation on the strategies that Smart Scholars Early College High Schools (SS ECHS) are using to ensure the quality of instruction in college-level courses provided to ECHS students. The panel of presenters included a representative of SUNY/EdWorks who serves as intermediary for the Smart Scholars program; a representative from a SS ECHS partnership between Yonkers Public Schools and Westchester Community College who shared the successful collaboration in planning and implementing a College Prep Skills course for the ninth grade Smart Scholars; and the executive director of School Support and Development at CUNY who provided a brief overview of the structure and success of the Early College Initiative (ECI) at CUNY, which has an eight year history of developing early college high schools.

    See the Regents item on the Smart Scholars Early College High School Program for more information


Additional News

  • Summer Reading at New York Libraries – Reaching Children and Families

    The New York State Education Department encourages school administrators and teachers to work with your local public library now to ensure that your students get into the summer reading program this year. You and your district’s teachers can contact your public library system Youth Services Coordinator for additional resources. To find the public library system in your area, please see: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/youthsvs/roster.htm.

    The kind of voluntary summer reading offered through the public library provides an excellent opportunity for students to enhance and retain the literacy skills they have developed throughout the school year.

    The positive impact of summer reading programs on student achievement is especially evident in high-need communities where students often have access to fewer resources. It is during the summer when differences in reading gains between students in high-need communities and those in more affluent communities occur. Involving students in summer reading programs is an important part of an effective strategy to close the achievement gap. To learn more about the benefits of participating in public library summer reading programs, please visit the New York State Library Summer Reading at New York Libraries web page at http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/summer/research.htm.

    To see examples of how public library summer reading programs reach children in Persistently Low Achieving school districts, visit http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/summer/sm_pla.htm.

    Through Summer Reading at New York Libraries, the New York State Education Department offers an effective, voluntary summer reading program, planned and implemented collaboratively with local public libraries and free to students and their families. Students can visit their local library or neighborhood branch library to engage in reading and reading-related activities for fun, with a wide variety of options at their own level of interest and ability.

    Last year, 1.5 million students participated at more than 1,100 library sites. The 2011 Summer Reading at New York Libraries getting underway now has age- and reading-level appropriate activities and fun reading suggestions under two globally-related slogans —“One World, Many Stories” for children and “You Are Here” for teens.

    The New York State Library has distributed Summer Reading at New York Libraries materials to all public libraries throughout the state. Partnering materials have also been provided to all school librarians through the 41 School Library Systems. The resources are available to download at the New York State Library’s Summer Reading Program web site: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/summer/

    In addition, the Assembly’s Summer Reading Challenge and Senate’s Summer Reading Program are both promoting and supporting Summer Reading at New York Libraries this year as a way to reach New York families with the benefits of summertime reading. The Assembly and Senate materials will be distributed through school districts throughout the State beginning in June.

    Educators and school administrators are encouraged to work with their school librarians and teachers to share information with children and families about Summer Reading at New York Libraries, the summer reading program offered in public libraries statewide.

    To see the June 20 press release on the New York State Summer Reading Program, please visit http://www.oms.nysed.gov/press/SummerReading.2011.html.

    For more information about Summer Reading at New York Libraries, please feel free to contact the program coordinator, Karen Balsen, Library Development Specialist, New York State Library at: kbalsen@mail.nysed.gov or 518-486-2194.

  • Guidance on Annual Professional Performance Review Law and Regulations

    Education Law §3012-c requires a new performance evaluation system for teachers and principals. New York State will implement a statewide comprehensive evaluation system for school districts and boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES). The evaluation system is designed to measure teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance, including measures of student achievement and evidence of educator effectiveness in meeting New York State teacher or school leader standards.

    The purpose of this guidance is to answer questions that educators, administrators, and community stakeholders may have about Education Law §3012-c (Chapter 103 of the Laws of 2010) and Section 100.2(o) and Subpart 30-2 of the Commissioner’s regulations.

    Please find the NYSED guidance at http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/teachers-leaders/fieldguidance/.

  • Teacher and Principal Evaluation Webinar

    On June 13, State Education Department officials engaged in a conversation about the implementation of teacher and principal evaluations and answered questions from the field. The recording of the webinar and the accompanying slide show are available for viewing at http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/teachers-leaders/webinar0611/.

  • Update on Network Teams and Implementation of the Common Core

    The June 15 memo shares information and resources related to Network Teams and implementation of the Common Core.

    On June 28, Department officials engaged in a conversation about the Network Team Summer Institute, which will be held in Albany from August 1-5. The recording of the webinar and the accompanying slide show are available for viewing.

    Please find more information at the following link: http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/memos/june152011.html

  • Increase in School Districts’ Share of Maintenance Costs

    Chapter 58 of the laws of 2011 amended section 4405 of the Education Law to increase school districts’ share of ten-month school year maintenance costs (room and board) for students placed in residential schools by Committees on Special Education from 20 percent to 38.424 percent).

    To access the document on the increase in school districts’ share of maintenance costs, please visit the following link: http://www.oms.nysed.gov/stac/
    Increase_in_Maintenance_Costs_of_School_Districts.pdf

  • Technical Assistance Center

    The P-12 Office of Special Education is pleased to announce a contract for a New York City (NYC) Preschool Bilingual/English as a Second Language Technical Assistance Center which will increase the capacity of section 4410 preschools located in NYC to serve preschool students with disabilities with limited English proficiency by providing training and referrals.

    Please find more information at the following link: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/techassist/NYCbilingualpreschoolTAC.html

  • Public Hearings

    At its May meeting, the Board of Regents issued a vote of support for NYSED to seek public comment on selected special education mandate relief proposals prior to proposing statutory revisions or adopting regulatory changes. Three public hearings on these special education mandate relief proposals have been scheduled.

    Please find more information at the following link: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/policy/mandaterelief-publichearing611.htm

  • School District Data

    The P-12 Office of Special Education has posted, effective June 1, 2011, each school district's Special Education Data Profile for the 2009-10 school year as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This report provides individual school district data relating to compliance and performance results for students with disabilities.

    Please find more information at the following link: http://eservices.nysed.gov/sepubrep/

  • Topical Policy Briefs

    The Office of Special Education has issued three policy briefs on the topics of: Functional Behavioral Assessments, Behavioral Intervention Plans, and the Use of a Time Out Room.

    Please find more information at the following link: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/topicalbriefs/

  • Statewide Central Register of Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR) – Online Clearance System

    A memorandum with information about online enhancements the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has made to its online clearance system for the purposes of employment, certification, or licensure in the child care field is now available at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/SCR-clearance.htm.

  • 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 is due on July 15, 2011. The report form, which covers the six-month period of January 1, 2011 – June 30, 2011, is available online at:
    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/sss/ssae/schoolsafety/
    CorplPunish/CorporalPunishment.html

    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 July 1, 2011 because it requires data through June 30, 2011.

  • RFP: Braille and Large Print Books and Educational Materials for Blind and Visually Impaired Students

    The New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Special Education is seeking proposals to establish and operate one Center to provide Braille and large print books and educational materials for blind and visually impaired school age students in New York State (NYS). Eligible applicants are organizations with documented experience in producing and providing Braille and large print materials to school districts.

    Please find more information at the following link: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/compcontracts/10-026/

  • RFI: Early Warning System

    The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to determine system capabilities with respect to NYSED’s Early Warning System needs. The intent of this RFI is to explore the spectrum of existing solutions and capabilities which currently exist. This process is part of the information-gathering phase of our project. We may use the information garnered from the RFI process to enhance future procurement(s).

    Please find more information at the following link: http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/rfi/earlywarning/

  • RFI: Electronic Student Record Exchange System

    NYSED has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to determine system capabilities with respect to NYSED’s Electronic Record Exchange System needs. The intent of this RFI is to explore the spectrum of existing solutions and capabilities which currently exist. This process is part of the information-gathering phase of our project. We may use the information garnered from the RFI process to enhance future procurement(s).

    Please find more information at the following link: http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/rfi/erecord/

  • RFP: School Innovation Fund: New Schools / School Redesign Partnership

    The purposes of the School Innovation Fund are to increase high school graduation, college persistence, and college graduation rates by increasing the availability of new high quality seats for students at most risk for dropout, disengagement, and poor academic performance.

    Through this grant application, NYSED seeks to identify Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and key partner organizations that are jointly committed to the rigorous work required to redesign and turnaround schools into high performing, high quality organizations.

    Please find more information at the following link:
    http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/rfp/ta-05/


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Last Updated: July 29, 2011