From Senior Deputy Commissioner John B. King, Jr.
April 28, 2010
April Meeting of the Board of Regents
At its meeting on April 19-20, the Board of Regents acted in support of the following initiatives:
Emergency Adoption of Proposed Regulations Relating to the Establishment of Graduate Level Clinically Rich Teacher Preparation Pilot Programs
At the November and December 2009 meetings, the Board of Regents approved the conceptual framework for graduate level clinically rich teacher preparation pilot programs. At the February 2010 meeting, the Board of Regents endorsed the plan to implement this pilot program through a Request for Proposal (RFP). This month, the Board endorsed revisions to Section 52 as an emergency action in order to implement the provisions of the proposed amendment so the Department can begin the competitive bidding process and institutions can begin offering these programs in a timely manner consistent with the state’s Race to the Top application. The RFP for the pilot program will be reviewed by the Board at its July meeting. The State Education Department will then issue the RFP.
Amendment of Section 100.2(o) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Relating to the Annual Professional Performance Review for Teachers in the Classroom Teaching Service
The Board of Regents acted in support of the recommendation that subparagraph (o) of Section 100.2 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education be amended, as submitted, effective May 1, 2010, as an emergency action upon a finding by the Board that such action is necessary to support New York’s application for Race to the Top funds.
See the Regents item on the Amendment of Section 100.2(o) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Relating to the Annual Professional Performance Review for Teachers in the Classroom Teaching Service for more information.
Proposed Amendment to Sections 80-4.13 and 80-5.18 of the Commissioner’s Regulations, Relating to Teacher Certification Flexibility to Avoid or Mitigate Reductions in Force
The Board of Regents adopted emergency regulations concerning teacher certification flexibility that will help school leaders save jobs and retain effective teachers to meet students’ needs. The Regents voted to adopt three initiatives originally requested by the Council of School Superintendents on behalf of school districts. Essentially, the changes will permit general education and special education teachers currently in a school district to be reassigned by the district to teach in grades close to their current certification area, in order to avoid or mitigate layoffs. These new regulations address certification issues only. Hiring decisions and appointments to tenure areas continue to be governed by existing law and rules.
A change in regulation, as summarized in the attached chart, was adopted and will become effective on April 27, 2010. A second emergency adoption will be necessary at the June Regents meeting and confirmed at the July meeting. This will ensure that the regulations remain continuously in effect until the final regulation becomes effective on August 11, 2010. For a more complete description of the change in regulations, please see Attachment A, which is an excerpt from the Regents item.
Invitation for New York to be a Governing State in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career
The Board of Regents acted in favor of accepting the invitation for New York to be a Governing State in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career. The Race to the Top Comprehensive Assessment Systems grant program is providing consortia of states with the opportunity to develop assessment systems based on the Common Core Standards in math and ELA. New York will partner with Massachusetts, Florida, Tennessee, and Louisiana to set the direction for the next generation of critical work on standards, assessments, and curriculum. Applications are due to USDOE on June 23, 2010.
The Board of Regents also discussed and considered policy questions for several crucial issues:
Update on Actions Taken to Respond to the Findings and Recommendations in the Office of the State Comptroller Audit of Regents Examinations Scoring Practices
The Office of the Comptroller conducted an oversight audit of scoring practices on Regents Examinations. The final Audit report was issued on November 20, 2009. In December 2009, the Regents Subcommittee on Audits discussed the Audit findings and recommendations. To respond to the audit recommendations, the Subcommittee on Audits was briefed this month on a proposal to phase in a requirement that school districts begin to scan Regents examination answer sheets. The proposal would call for the scanning of some exams in June 2011 and the balance of the exams commencing with the 2011-12 school year.
The introduction of the scanning will allow the collection of item level and test taker demographic data that the Department needs for federal reporting. It is expected that the districts will benefit by an accelerated exam scoring process and the elimination of manual inputting of test results. The scanning will provide actionable data that can be used to inform districts’ instructional programs.
The Regents’ Audits Subcommittee agreed to forward this proposal to the EMSC Committee for discussion and approval.
See the Regents item on the Update on Actions Taken to Respond to the Findings and Recommendations in the Office of the State Comptroller Audit of Regents Examinations Scoring Practices for more information.
Middle Level Arts Instructional Requirements
The Board discussed options for possible changes to the middle level arts instructional requirements to expand arts education opportunities for all New York State students. Currently, all students in grades seven and eight are required to receive one-half unit of study in visual arts and one-half unit of study in music. The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) has requested that the arts education disciplines of dance and theatre be added to the grade seven and eight arts instructional requirements to provide students the opportunity to pursue in-depth, sequential learning in more arts disciplines than are currently available. The Regents considered two options:
- Permit school districts to choose any two arts disciplines (dance, music, theatre, visual arts) that they will offer in each school and continue to require one-half unit of study in two arts disciplines. In this case the district will decide the disciplines offered.
- Permit school districts to provide one or more programs in the arts disciplines (dance, music, theatre, visual arts) and allow students to complete the arts instructional requirements in only one discipline.
Following the discussion, the Regents determined that Option 1 is the direction in which they would like to proceed. Staff will draft regulations for the Committee to discuss in May.
See the Regents item on Middle Level Arts Instructional Requirements for more information.
Draft Proposed Policy on Providing Academic Intervention Services
The Board discussed proposed policy changes that would give districts options and provide flexibility relating to Academic Intervention Services (AIS). The proposed policy was developed due to ongoing concerns about the quality of the required AIS program. Staff made recommendations that would allow districts to:
- Continue with a current AIS model,
- Move to or expand on a Response to Intervention (RtI) model,
- Use a blended approach of AIS and RtI (ex: RtI in lower grades, AIS in upper grades), or
- Submit a plan via the district’s website on or before October 1, 2010 on how the district will provide services (such a plan must be substantially equivalent to AIS/RtI requirements).
Following the discussion, the Regents endorsed the proposed policy, which requires regulatory changes to include the proposed options. Draft regulations will be discussed at the May meeting of the Board of Regents.
See the Regents item on the Draft Proposed Policy on Providing Academic Intervention Services for more information.
Proposed Amendment of Section 100.2(p)(9), (10), and (11) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, Relating to the Merger of the Schools Under Registration Review (SURR) and Persistently Lowest-Achieving (PLA) Schools Processes
The Board discussed proposed regulations that would consolidate the process of identifying SURR schools under Commissioner’s regulations with the U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) framework for identifying schools as Persistently Lowest-Achieving (PLA) in order for states to access State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (Phase II), School Improvement Grants, and other federal funding opportunities. The proposed regulations also require all newly identified SURR schools to implement intervention strategies based upon School Improvement Grant guidelines issued by USED in January of this year. The Regents voted to endorse the merger of the SURR and PLA processes, effective for the 2010-2011 school year as specified in EMSC (D) 3, and to commit to adopting regulations in June 2010 to accomplish this merger.
See the Regents item on the Proposed Amendment of section 100.2(p)(9), (10) and (11) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, Relating to the Merger of the Schools Under Registration Review and Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools Processes for more information.
Preliminary Draft Regulations to Implement the Regents Policy on Receiving Course Credit for Independent Study
The Board discussed preliminary draft regulations to implement Regents policy on receiving course credit for independent study. The proposed amendment states that independent study credit may be awarded for elective courses, and not for courses required for a Regents diploma; and that study must be academically rigorous and aligned to the NYS learning standards, overseen by a teacher knowledgeable and experienced in the subject area, based on a syllabus on file and of comparable scope and quality to classroom work that would have been done in school. The Board discussed the criteria that would make students eligible to participate in independent study and also the additional requirement that students may only earn a maximum of 3 units of elective credit through independent study. Staff will make any necessary changes to the draft regulations and will present proposed amendments for Regents approval in July.
New York State Common Core Standards Review and Adoption Process Update
The Standards Work Group discussed the NYS Common Core Standards Review and Adoption Process and changes to the timeline that have occurred since the last discussion. The Race to the Top Round Two application calls for states to adopt the Common Core Standards developed by NGA/CCSSO by August 2, 2010. It is anticipated that the final Common Core Standards will be released in late May. The Regents are scheduled to take action on the Common Core Standards at the July Regents meeting in order to meet the Race to the Top deadline. After this action, there will be a review of the final set of NGA/CCSSO Common Core Standards, and a proposed draft of P-12 NYS Learning Standards for ELA and Mathematics will be developed for statewide public comment. The Common Core Standards will constitute at least 85% of the proposed draft, and additional recommended NYS Standards will constitute up to 15%. Final standards will be brought to the Regents for action in the fall for use beginning in the 2011-12 school year.
See the Regents item on the New York State Common Core Standards Review and Adoption Process Update for more information.
Results for Students with Disabilities and Strategies to Improve Performance
The Board discussed the results of some of the key outcome measures for students with disabilities from the 2008-09 school year and targeted improvement actions VESID is taking to address these results. The discussion focused on participation and performance on state assessments, Regents and RCT examination results, exiting data, graduation and dropout results, timely evaluations of students for special education services, transition of children from early intervention to preschool special education, transition planning, and suspension rates for students with disabilities.
See the Regents item on Results for Students with Disabilities and Strategies to Improve Performance for more information.
Cost Containment Proposals Relating to Special Education Requirements
The Board considered cost-containment recommendations relating to special education to determine if there is support to advance cost containment proposals that would not diminish a district’s responsibility to provide a free, appropriate public education for all students with disabilities. The recommendations were related to certain requirements pertaining to regulating New York’s continuum of service for special education, the distribution of copies of the Individualized Education Program, the statute of limitations for bringing due process appeals, and Commissioner’s appointments of students to State Supported and State Operated Schools. The Regents affirmed Department staff moving forward with the process for seeking stakeholders’ comments.
See the Regents item on Cost Containment Proposals Relating to Special Education Requirements for more information.
Teaching Standards Development
The Board discussed a preliminary draft of Teaching Standards and Elements. The draft was presented to the Board for review and discussion prior to convening educational stakeholders to assist in further development. These standards will serve as a basis for the alignment of preparation programs, the assessment of candidates for certification, the performance evaluation of practicing teachers under the APPR, and the targeting of practice-based professional development.
See the Regents item on Teaching Standards Development for more information.
Endorsement for Elementary Level Teachers to Teach Visual and Performing Arts
The Board discussed a proposal to create one or more annotations in the area of arts education. The purpose of the annotations would be to develop a statewide mechanism for early childhood teachers to strengthen their knowledge and skills in the areas of theater, dance, music, and/or visual arts to improve the instructional program provided to students in these disciplines.
See the Regents item on the Endorsement for Elementary Level Teachers to Teach Visual and Performing Arts for more information.