From Deputy Commissioner Ken Slentz
October 5, 2011
On behalf of all of us in SED’s P-12 office, my heartfelt sympathy and best wishes go to those of you whose homes, schools, and communities were impacted by the severe weather of late August and early September. It has been inspiring to watch you work diligently to bring back a sense of normalcy to your students and I wish you continued strength and progress moving forward.
As I assume my new role as Deputy Commissioner for P-12 Education, I look forward to continuing to lead and learn with you as we continue our efforts to close the achievement gap and ensure that New York’s students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college and careers. The challenges to meet this goal in these economic and political times are many, the obstacles are high, and the call for leadership at every level has never been greater. But as Commissioner King noted in his recent address to the state’s superintendents, “Let us be clear in understanding that our global economic competitors will not wait for us to weather the economic challenges we face. They will keep surging ahead. Let us also be clear that the vexing problems of the 21st century – from the threats to our environment to the threats to our security – will not wait for us to weather the economic challenges we face. The future of our economy and our democracy depends on our rejecting the call to wait for easier times.” Having worked with so many of you over the years, I have tremendous confidence that we will in fact reject that call to wait, and we will find our way through this. We simply must.
I want to thank you for your continued support and commitment to the education of our three million children. It is a humble honor to serve the Board of Regents, the Commissioner, educators across the State, and most of all, our students.
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Quick links to headlines in this edition of News and Notes:
- September Meeting of the Board of Regents
- Commissioner's Back to School Message: "Work Hard, Get Smart"
- 2011–12 Academic Intervention Services Requirements – One Year Waiver Ends
- Updated Guidance on Annual Professional Performance Review
- Web-Based System for 2011-12 School Reporting Requirements Launches
- Race to the Top Annual Program Report Now Open
- Letter to ARRA Grant Recipients
- No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Waiver Update
- 2011-12 Testing Schedule Update
- State-required Forms for IEPs, Meeting Notices, and Prior Written Notice
- Reimbursement to Counties for Transportation Costs for Preschool Students with Disabilities
- Intensive Teacher Institute for Teachers of the Blind and Visually Impaired
- Professional Development for Impartial Hearing Officers
- Extreme Weather Event Guidance to Schools
- RFI: Teacher/Principal Practice Video Libraries and Technology Platforms
- RFP: Model Induction Program 2011-2014
- List of Approved Student Assessments for Use by School Districts and BOCES in Teacher and Principal Evaluations
- List of Approved Teacher and Principal Practice Rubrics
At its meeting on September 12-13, the Board of Regents acted in support of the following initiatives:
January 2012 Regents Exams
The Board voted to accept $1.5 million from the Fund for Public Schools and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to restore the January 2012 Regents Exams.
See the Regents item on the January 2012 Regents Exams for more information.
Testing Improvement Options
The Board directed staff to take immediate action to secure an independent review of the Department’s procedures related to incident reporting and follow up of allegations of testing impropriety at schools. The Board also directed staff to further develop specific proposals for consideration in October including centralized scanning and scoring of multiple choice assessments and distributed scoring for open response questions. Additional actions underway include requiring grade 3-8 exams to be administered on the same day, as shown on the testing calendar released on August 26, 2011; and requiring a training certification for proctoring and scoring 3-8 assessments similar to what is required for the Regents exams.
See the Regents item on Testing Improvement Options for more information.
Amendment to Regulations Relating to School Bus Driver Safety Training and Reporting of School Vehicle Idling on School Grounds
The Board voted to amend subparagraph (iii) of paragraph (5) of subdivision (b) and paragraph (5) of subdivision (h) of section 156.3 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. The amendment of section 156.3(b)(5)(iii) will provide mandate relief to school districts and afford greater flexibility to school bus drivers to complete required semi-annual school bus driver safety training by allowing the training to be scheduled coincidental with other professional development days scheduled during the year.
In addition, the Board voted to amend paragraph (5) of section 156.3 (h). The amendment to section 156.3(h)(5) will provide mandate relief to school districts by repealing requirements that each school district monitor compliance with school bus idling restrictions at least twice a year and prepare, retain, and submit written reports of such reviews. The amendment ensures student safety in that it will still require each school district to periodically monitor compliance with school bus idling restrictions.
The amendment became effective as an emergency rule on September 19, 2011 and will become a permanent rule on October 5, 2011.
Amendment to Regulations Relating to Vision Screenings for Hyperopia
The Board voted to amend subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of section 136.3 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, effective October 5, 2011. The amendment will provide mandate relief to school districts by repealing the requirement that school districts provide vision screening for hyperopia to all new entrants.
See the Regents item on the Amendment to Regulations Relating to Vision Screenings for Hyperopia for more information.
Amendment to Regulations Relating to School Facility Report Cards
The Board voted to repeal section 155.6 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. This emergency rule became effective on September 19, 2011 and the permanent rule will become effective on October 5, 2011.
See the Regents item on the Amendment to Regulations Relating to School Facility Report Cards for more information.
The Board of Regents also discussed and considered policy questions for several crucial issues:
Mathematics Requirements for Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation
The Board discussed a proposed technical amendment to regulations to ensure that students who complete an appropriate series of math assessments, regardless of cohort, will be determined to have met the mathematics assessment requirements for a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation. If endorsed by the Regents, these proposed regulations will be brought back for final approval in December.
See the Regents item on Mathematics Requirements for Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation for more information.
Update on Network Team Summer Institute
Staff provided an overview of the activities and outcomes of the Network Team Institute held August 1-5, 2011. Participants of the Institute were provided with training, tools, and resources including professional development seminars given by national presenters on such topics as the Common Core Standards, school-based inquiry and data-driven instruction, and the new APPR system for teachers. The Board was also provided with a brief walk-through of the Department’s new implementation website - EngageNY.org.
See the Regents item on the Network Team Summer Institute for more information.
Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential for Students with Severe Disabilities
The Board discussed proposed amendments to regulations to replace the current individualized education program (IEP) diploma with a Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential. If approved, the new credential would become effective in the 2013-14 school year and would only be for students with disabilities who have been instructed and assessed on the alternate performance level for the State learning standards. The Board asked to be kept updated on the comments received from the field on these proposed amendments.
See the Regents item on the Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential for Students with Severe Disabilities for more information.
Charter School Office Update
The Board was updated on the activities of the Charter School Office and the progress being made on implementing the new approach to charter authorizing. Discussion focused on preliminary draft amendments to regulations relating to charter school lotteries; development of enrollment and retention targets; updates on the $113 million federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) grant; and the proposed parameters for the Request for Proposals (RFP) to establish charter schools authorized by the Board of Regents. The Board expressed concerns relating to charter school location issues and fair representation of certain student populations at charter schools. Staff will continue to provide updates at future meetings on these and other areas relating to charter school authorizing.
See the Regents item on the Charter School Office Update for more information.
Updates from the Office of Accountability and the Office of School Innovation
Staff provided information on the status of the 2011 School Improvement Grant (SIG) Awards. Currently, there are 72 schools in New York State that have been awarded SIG funds – this number includes 25 schools that began implementation in the 2010-11 school year and are now receiving a 2011-12 continuation grant. Department staff will work closely with districts and schools to assess their student academic achievement progress.
The Board was also updated on the School Innovation Fund (SIF) grant process. These grants provide an opportunity for districts to target low-performing schools before they become classified as persistently lowest-achieving (PLA). Twenty-six applications were received and are currently under review. The Department’s School Turnaround Office is currently planning a statewide professional development event for PLA principals and district administrators to be held in October. Staff will provide the Regents with the details of this event as they become available.
For more information, see the Regents item on Updates from the Office of Accountability and the Office of School Innovation.
Teacher and School Leader Effectiveness Initiatives
The Board heard a presentation on the teacher and school leader effectiveness initiatives that are part of the Regents Reform Agenda and which were initially framed by the Board in November 2009. These initiatives span the continuum of an educator’s career, from recruitment and preparation through development, assessment, and retention, and are focused on addressing educator shortages in high-need schools and districts. The NYS P-12 Common Core Learning Standards, data-driven instruction, and educator standards of practice are common themes running through these initiatives. Presenters updated the Board on the development of new exams for teacher and principal certification; described the Department’s strategy for engaging the field in the development and implementation of these exams; described the $20 million RFP just issued for induction/mentoring programs; and emphasized the importance of continuing to work with the Regents Task Force on Teacher and Principal Effectiveness on implementation of the new teacher and principal evaluation system—particularly in developing the value-added/growth model with our Growth Model contractor, American Institutes for Research.
Commissioner John King has posted Back to School messages for students, parents, and educators on our website. The Commissioner has also posted an additional video for educators, “Tools for School Reform.” This piece looks more in-depth at the Common Core, data-driven instruction, educator practice, and network teams.
The videos are available at the following links:Back to School Message for Students and Parents
Back to School Message for Educators
Tools for School Reform
For more information, please visit: http://www.oms.nysed.gov/press/CommissionerBackToSchoolMessage.html
The AIS waiver that permitted districts not to provide services during the 2010-11 school year to students scoring above a scale score of 650 but below the Level 3/Proficiency Standard on the 2009-10 NYTP Grades 3-8 ELA or math assessments was for one year only and is no longer in effect.
For more information, please visit:
Updated Guidance on Annual Professional Performance Review
The New York State Education Department has released updated guidance on the Annual Professional Performance Review Law and Regulations. The Department has also released an updated Summary of Provisions in the Regulations.
The updated guidance and summary are available at: http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/teachers-leaders/fieldguidance/
The New York State Education Department has launched the 2011-12 School Reporting Requirements (SRR) web-based system. The SRR system provides school districts, charter schools, and BOCES with a single access point for all Prek- 12 plans, applications, reports, and data that must be submitted to the Department throughout the year.
As a reminder, the Race to the Top (RTTT) Annual Program Report (APR) is open for submissions. Please see http://usny.nysed.gov/arra/rttt/apr.html for a tutorial, screen shots of the system, and frequently asked questions.
A letter to District Superintendents, School Superintendents, and Other ARRA Grant Recipients has been released as a reminder of approaching deadlines.
The letter is available at:
On September 23, Commissioner John King joined President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan at the White House as details of the NCLB waiver package were announced. We are reaching out to key stakeholder groups and accountability experts to make recommendations to the Board of Regents for how New York can best take advantage of the increased flexibility to implement the accountability provisions. The Regents will start initial discussions regarding the waiver at their meeting in October.
More information is available at: http://www.oms.nysed.gov/press/NCLB.WaiverPackageAnnounce.html
As many are aware, Commissioner John King has released a memo with details on the revised testing schedule for the 2011-12 school year. There are a few changes this year. First, the Grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics assessments will now be given in April rather than May. The second significant change this year is the implementation of uniform testing dates for these assessments. Finally, New York City Mayor Bloomberg and several private donors have provided funding to restore January Regents exams in 2012. Please see the full memo for details.
The memo is available at the following link:
A memorandum is available to remind all school districts of the special education requirements that go into effect for the 2011-12 school year related to individualized education programs, prior written notices, and meeting notices.
Please find more information at the following link: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/reminder-requiredforms-911.htm
A new memorandum provides information regarding the requirements for processing reimbursement claims by counties for the costs of transporting preschool students with disabilities pursuant to section 4410 of Education Law and the Part 200 Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. The memo also details the responsibilities of municipalities regarding the approval of certain transportation costs.
Please find more information at the following link: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/preschooltrans-811.htm
The P-12 Office of Special Education is pleased to announce the establishment of the Intensive Teacher Institute for Teachers of the Blind and Visually Impaired (ITI-TVI).
Please find more information at the following link: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/techassist/announce-ITITVI.htm
The P-12 Office of Special Education announces the award of a five-year contract to establish a technical assistance center for the professional development of impartial hearing officers.
Please find more information at the following link: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/techassist/announce-IHOTAC.htm
TIn response to direct requests for information, the State Education Department has provided guidance to schools related to extreme weather events.
Please find the guidance at the following link:
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking information about the availability for purchase of Teacher and/or Principal Practice Video Resource Libraries that will serve as a professional development resource and training tool to school districts and teachers and principals across New York State. NYSED also seeks information about online software and technology platforms (separate or linked to the video libraries) that are available for purchase or license that enable educator professional development and/or support evaluator inter-rater reliability training and certification.
The RFI is available at the following link:
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) will leverage the federal support from Race to the Top to provide funds to districts to improve the readiness of early career educators in low-performing schools and shortage teaching areas by supporting select high-quality induction programs. NYSED is offering a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Model Induction Programs. This RFP includes a planning period for applicants beginning in January 2012 and running until July 2012. The programs run from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014. A total of $20,000,000 is allocated for this grant program.
Please find the RFP at the following link:
List of Approved Student Assessments for Use by School Districts and BOCES in Teacher and Principal Evaluations
The New York State Education Department (NYSED), as part of its implementation of the provisions of Education Law §3012-c regarding annual professional performance reviews (APPR) of classroom teachers and building principals, is pleased to post its List of Approved Student Assessments for Use by School Districts and BOCES in Teacher and Principal Evaluations ("List of Assessments").
The List of Assessments is available at the following link: http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/teachers-leaders/assessments/
The New York State Education Department, as part of its implementation of the provisions of Education Law §3012-c regarding annual professional performance reviews of classroom teachers and building principals, is pleased to post its lists of Approved Teacher Practice Rubrics and Approved Principal Practice Rubrics that Local Education Agencies (LEAs) can select for use in their evaluation system.
The list of approved rubrics is available at the following link: http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/teachers-leaders/practicerubrics/