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News and Notes Archive


From Deputy Commissioner Ken Slentz
November 4, 2011



Greetings from Albany! I hope this message finds each of you off to a successful start to the 2011-12 school year. As this is a year of critical transitions and challenges, our goal is to keep you as informed as possible about the goings-on in the Department and in Washington. To help accomplish this, we will utilize News and Notes, the materials and information on EngageNY.org, and our visits to your regions and districts to provide information and to listen to your suggestions, successes, and concerns. As Commissioner King and I have noted to many of you, it will take our collective leadership and hard work to accomplish the reform agenda and ensure that each of our students has opportunities to be college and career ready. We need clear lines of communication in order to accomplish this. To that end, let’s take a look at some of the things that are happening.

Sincerely,

Ken


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


Commissioner King Talks About Superintendent Leadership

In late September, Commissioner King spoke at the fall conference of the New York State Council of School Superintendents (NYSCOSS).  The Commissioner's speech focused on superintendent leadership as it relates to the key points of the Regents Reform Agenda. Highlights include: the need to focus on preparing students for college and careers; mandate relief efforts; work underway in common core and assessment implementation; teacher and leader evaluation; and the ESEA waiver.

View the video and the slides from Commissioner King's presentation

October Meeting of the Board of Regents

See the October 2011 Committee Reports for a summary of all Board of Regents actions and discussions, including charter school actions.

At its meeting on October 17-18, the Board of Regents acted in support of the following initiatives:

  • New York State’s Next Generation Accountability System

    On September 23rd, President Obama announced an ESEA initiative allowing states to apply for regulatory flexibility in certain areas for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. If certain conditions are met, flexibility may be extended to the 2014-15 school year. The Board of Regents directed Department staff to prepare the ESEA Flexibility Request for submission by mid-February 2012.

    See the Regents item on New York State’s Next Generation Accountability System for more information.

  • Prekindergarten Learning Standards

    The Board approved the release of the newly-revised Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core, with rollout scheduled to occur in academic year 2011-12.

    See the Regents item on the Prekindergarten Learning Standards for more information.

  • Determination of Kindergarten Readiness

    Contingent on New York State winning a Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant external link icon the Board of Regents directed Department staff to:

    • Develop a comprehensive proposal for implementing a common readiness tool for implementation in the 2014-15 school year
    • Create a Kindergarten Readiness Advisory Council made up of expert stakeholders from around the State to inform this process

    See the Regents item on Determination of Kindergarten Readiness for more information.

  • Preliminary 2012-13 Budget Request for Assessments

    The Board adopted the 2012-13 preliminary budget request for $10 million for assessments and Regents exams.

    See the Regents item on the Preliminary 2012-13 Budget Request for Assessments for more information.

  • Improving the Integrity of the State’s Exams

    The Board discussed specific proposals on proctoring, scanning, and scoring of exams and took the following actions:

    For school year 2011-12:
    • Request funding of $1.0 million in the 2012-13 State Budget to perform scanning/erasure analysis on 10% of 3-8 assessments and Regents exams post-administration for multiple choice
    • Request funding of $0.7 million in the 2012-13 State Budget to support additional inter-rater reliability analysis of open response scoring on 3-8 assessments and Regents exams
    • Request funding of $0.2 million to plan and begin a computer-based testing (CBT) pilot
    • Request funding of $0.2 million to support additional data forensics, in consultation with the Technical Advisory Group, and in partnership with academic partners
    • Create a small working group to make recommendations for local monitoring protocol requirements
    • Request Independent Reviewer make recommendations on appropriate retention time of answer sheets and assessment booklets

    For school year 2012-13:
    • Prohibit teachers from scoring their own students’ exams. Districts must develop the capacity to implement alternative scoring processes, such as external, regional, or distributed technology for the scoring of open responses on State assessments. Outreach to districts will be conducted to determine how this will be accomplished.

    See the Regents item on Improving the Integrity of the State's Exams for more information.

  • Appeals Process for Local Diplomas

    The Board amended Commissioner’s Regulations section 100.5(b)(7)(i) to clarify that the appeals process for general education students remains in effect.

    See the Regents item on the Appeals Process for Local Diplomas for more information. Attachment A of the Regents item outlines the various diploma types available to New York State students and identifies the student populations that have access to each diploma type.

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

  • Making Up Incomplete or Failed Course Credit

    The Board discussed the Making Up Incomplete or Failed Course Credit regulation adopted in April 2010, which is intended to ensure appropriate levels of rigor and quality for make-up (credit recovery) programs implemented by local schools. Since then, anecdotal evidence and staff observation of current practices suggest that in certain programs of credit recovery, students may be given credit without completion of appropriate work or without receiving adequate instruction.

    The Board’s discussion focused on the importance of ensuring that students are being given rigorous opportunities and earning meaningful credits.  To this end, the Board directed staff to enlist the assistance of the Office of the State Comptroller in auditing the practice of awarding credit under the Making Up Incomplete or Failed Course Credit regulation.  The audit will focus specifically on adherence to and documentation of the procedures required under Section 100.5(d)(8) of Commissioner’s Regulations.

    For more information, see the Regents item on Making Up Incomplete or Failed Course Credit.

  • Proposed Regents State and Federal Legislative Priorities

    The Board discussed proposed legislative priorities for Commissioner’s Intervention in Chronically Underperforming Schools; Mandate Relief and Flexibility; BOCES as Regional Leaders; NCLB/ESEA Reauthorization; and Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act).  Final legislative priorities will be presented to the Board for approval at the November meeting.

    See the Regents item on Proposed Regents State and Federal Legislative Priorities for 2012 for more information.


Additional News

  • ARRA Final Expenditure Reports

    As a reminder, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided over $700 million in IDEA Section 611 and 619 grants to eligible school districts. Those grants ended August 30, 2011 (or September 30th with an approved extension). Final expenditure reports (FS-10-F long form) are required to close out these funds. Please submit these final reports as soon as possible, but no later than November 15, 2011. Thank you for your attention to this.

  • Updated Lists: Teacher and Principal Practice Rubric Providers

    The New York State Education Department has updated its lists of Approved Teacher Practice Rubrics and Approved Principal Practice Rubrics.

    The updated rubrics are available at the following link:
    http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/teachers-leaders/practicerubrics/

  • 2011-12 Title I School Improvement Section 1003(a) Grant Application

    Section 1003(a) of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 requires that state education agencies allocate funds to local education agencies to support Title I schools identified for improvement to meet the progress goals in their school improvement, corrective action, and/or restructuring plans and thereby improve student performance.

    Schools must target the funds toward the area(s) of identification and toward the particular subgroup(s) identified for improvement. The funds must be used to complete required Differentiated Accountability interventions and support the goals for school improvement outlined in the school's Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP) or Restructuring Plan.

    Please find more information at the following link:
    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/funding/2011-12-1003a/

  • Approved Private Preschool and School-age Programs for Students with Disabilities – Delays in the Start of the School Year

    In light of the difficulties many school districts and private special education schools and providers faced opening this year and in response to questions raised about delaying the start of the school year due to the recent storms, the Office of Special Education and the Special Aids and Medicaid Unit are providing information to assist schools and providers.

    Please find more information at the following link:
    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/delaystartschool-911.htm

  • Public Comment - Proposed Amendment of Sections 100.5, 100.6, 100.9, and 200.5

    Written comments on the proposed amendment of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to repeal the individualized education program diploma for students with disabilities and establish a Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential will be accepted for 45 days after its October 5, 2011 publication in the New York State Register.

    Please find more information at the following link:
    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/comment/alternatecredential-announce.htm

  • Update on Part 154 of the Commissioner’s Regulations Regarding LEPs/ELLs

    After a review of Commissioner's Regulations (CR) §154.2(e)(1)(ii) requested by school districts, the New York State Education Department has determined that the regulations permit common branch (K-6) teachers with a bilingual extension to teach the English as a Second Language (ESL) component of a K-6 bilingual program.

    Please see the memo for additional information:
    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/biling/docs/
    UseofbilingualcommonbranchteacherstoprovideESLinstructi.pdf

  • Important Information Regarding PCB's in Lighting Fixtures

    Please review important environmental, health, and safety information regarding certain fluorescent light fixtures provided in the link below. Some lighting fixture ballasts built and installed prior to 1980 contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). There is evidence that these ballasts can leak when they fail, leading to elevated levels of PCBs in the air. Elevated levels should not represent an immediate health threat, but they could pose health concerns over time. The New York State Education Department recommends the inventory of all lighting fixtures in schools built or renovated before 1980.  It is strongly recommended that a plan be developed to replace all lighting fixtures identified as containing PCBs.

    The letter is available at the following link:
    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/facplan/documents/PCB_Letter_to_field_100711_final.doc

  • RFP: Curriculum Modules and Professional Development for ELA-Literacy/Math

    The New York State Education Department seeks proposals to develop curriculum (ELA & Literacy P-2 only) and curriculum modules with associated statewide professional development aligned to the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards, which for English Language Arts & Literacy and Mathematics include the Common Core State Standards.

    Please find more information at the following link:
    http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/rfp/sa-03/

  • RFP - Principal Evaluator Learning System: Training and Tools for Principal Evaluators

    The New York State Education Department is requesting proposals from qualified vendors to plan, design, and deliver a training program employing the participant-centered case method system using a train-the-trainer model to implement new performance evaluations for principals. The training for principal evaluators will be provided throughout the contract period to superintendents, other LEA staff, BOCES staff, and key members of network teams who will then train evaluators of principals, most of whom will be LEA-level administrators.

    Please find more information at the following link:
    http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/rfp/gt-12/

  • RFP - Teacher Effectiveness: Training and Tools for Teacher Evaluators

    The New York State Education Department is requesting proposals from qualified vendors to plan, design, and deliver a training program using a train-the-trainer model to implement new performance evaluations for teachers. The training for teacher evaluators will be provided throughout the contract period to field-based school district staff and network teams, who will then train evaluators of teachers, most of whom will be school principals.

    Please find more information at the following link:
    http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/rfp/gt-14/

  • RFP: State-Level Evaluation of the New York State 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program

    The New York State Education Department is seeking proposals for the State-level evaluation of its 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Program that is required by the U.S. Department of Education. The selected evaluator will assess the extent to which the expected outcomes of this program have been achieved. The results of this evaluation will be used to guide the Department’s efforts to: direct and improve its administration of the program; provide assistance to local grantees; and to improve program quality and outcomes for participating students.

    Please find more information at the following link:
    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/compcontracts/12-004/

  • RFP: Graduate-Level Clinically-Rich Principal Preparation Pilot Program

    The New York State Education Department Graduate-Level Clinically-Rich Principal Preparation Pilot Program is seeking proposals for innovative, clinically-rich principal preparation pilot program partnerships that will prepare cohorts of candidates to take roles as principals or assistant principals in high-need, low-achieving schools, and with high concentrations of underserved and/or underprepared students, like those living in poverty, those with special needs, or those who are learning English as a second language.

    Please find more information at the following link:
    http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/rfp/gt-02/

  • Notice of Intent - RFP: NYS Student Assessments for Science and Social Studies

    The New York State Education Department will be issuing a request for proposals for State Student Assessments for Science in Grades 4 and 6-8 and Social Studies in Grades 6-8.  NYSED will evaluate proposals on their alignment with the requirements established in the forthcoming Request for Proposals (RFP).

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

    Should you have any questions on the above items, please let use know by emailing NYSEDP12@mail.nysed.gov.

    Thanks for your time and service.


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Last Updated: December 22, 2011