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From Senior Deputy Commissioner John B. King, Jr.
June 4, 2010



June 1 Press Release: New York State Submits Race to the Top Application

New York State submitted a Phase II Race to the Top application in Washington, DC today for $696.6 million in funding to advance progress of the Regents reform agenda through 27 projects over four grant years. $477 million of the RTTT funds would be awarded directly to participating LEAs (school districts and charter schools) over the course of the grant while $219.6 million would be used to build statewide capacity of educators and directly support new curriculum models, standards, assessments, teacher and principal preparation and professional development as well as the statewide student data system.

"In recent weeks, New York State’s educational community has come together in an unprecedented show of support for the Regents education reforms detailed in the State’s Race to the Top application," said Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch. "Thanks to the leadership of the Governor, Assembly Speaker Silver, and Senate Majority Conference Leader Sampson, New York State has new laws to support educational excellence and ensure that we are able to fully execute the innovative, coherent reform agenda outlined in our Race to the Top application."

"We believe that the application submitted in partnership with our stakeholders constitutes a comprehensive agenda for education reform. Success in the Race to the Top will raise achievement for New York State’s 3 million students," said Education Commissioner David Steiner. "We are especially grateful to our partner organizations whose efforts in securing a high level of support strengthened our application: New York State United Teachers, the New York State Council of School Superintendents, the New York State School Boards Association, the BOCES District Superintendents and the New York City Charter School Center."

New York State’s Race to the Top application includes signed memoranda of support (MOUs) from the state’s school superintendents, presidents of local school boards, BOCES district superintendents, local teachers’ union leaders and charter school leaders. Ninety-one percent of public school districts (632 of 694) submitted MOUs. All 40 of the school districts with the highest levels of poverty (including all Big 5 City districts) submitted MOUs. Seventy percent of school district submissions (445 of 632) include an MOU signed by the local teachers’ union leader including one from the United Federation of Teachers in New York City.

"The education reform legislation passed last week allows our Race to the Top application to build on the many excellent educational models in public schools across the state," said John King, Senior Deputy Commissioner. "A fair and rigorous evaluation system, additional options for parents via public charter schools, and a robust data system will all raise student achievement statewide."

New York State’s Race to the Top application incorporates reforms enabled by legislation passed last week by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. The legislation (1) establishes a new teacher and principal evaluation system that makes student achievement data a substantial component of how educators are assessed and supported, (2) raises our charter school cap from 200 to 460 and enhances charter school accountability and transparency, (3) enables school districts to enter into contracts with Educational Partnership Organizations (the term for non-profit Education Management Organizations in New York State) for the management of their persistently lowest-achieving schools and schools under registration review, and (4) appropriates $20.4 million in capital funds to the State Education Department to implement its longitudinal data system.

USED will announce finalists for Phase II in July.

New York State’s complete Race to the Top application is posted on the web: www.nysed.gov.


Revised Test Scoring Timeline

During their May meeting, the EMSC Committee of the Board of Regents voted to postpone the release of the Grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics test scores until the week of July 26, 2010. Given the importance of the Grades 3-8 Testing Program and the need to ensure that the tests return valid and reliable information to school districts, parents, and students, the Department will not release the scores in late June.

The Department has been working with its vendor and its Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on the research necessary to reset cut scores for the program. A series of studies are currently underway; these include analyzing the relationship between: 1) Grade 8 ELA and math scores with Regents cut scores; 2) NYS cut scores and NAEP; and 3) Regents exam performance with postsecondary remediation rates. The TAG has recommended that it would be significantly better to add an additional month to the test scoring timeline to collect, analyze, and utilize the data. Adding an additional month to the timeline ensures that the Department can implement the best practices recommended by the TAG.

See the Regents item on the Grades 3-8 ELA & Mathematics Testing Program for more information.


Scoring Materials for June 2010 Examinations

A change in procedure for the distribution of scoring materials provided to schools will be implemented for the June 2010 administrations of the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English and the Second Language Proficiency Examinations.

Schools that requested the June 2010 Regents Comprehensive Examination in English will not receive printed copies of the Scoring Key and Rating Guides. At approximately 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 16, 2010, the Scoring Key and Rating Guide for Session One will be available on the Department web site at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/osa/scoring/.  At approximately 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2010, the Scoring Key and Rating Guide for Session Two will be available on the Department web site at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/osa/scoring/. Schools must print sufficient copies of the Scoring Key and Rating Guide for each session to supply one to each rater.

Schools that requested any of the Second Language Proficiency Examinations will not receive printed copies of the Scoring Key for any of these examinations. At approximately 11:00 a.m. on Monday, June 21, 2010, the scoring keys for these examinations will be available on the Department web site at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/osa/scoring/. Schools must print sufficient copies of each scoring key to supply one to each rater.

Thank you for your support. We appreciate your cooperation in helping us to maintain the New York State testing program during these very difficult fiscal times.


May Meeting of the Board of Regents

At its meeting on May 19, the Board of Regents acted in support of the following initiatives:

  • Regents Examinations Scoring Practices

    The Board of Regents approved the recommendation to phase in the requirement that school districts begin to scan Regents examination answer sheets, in response to a recent audit conducted by the Office of the State Comptroller. The recommendation has two phases:

    1. All Regents Exams will be scanned for Department analysis, starting with the June Regents Administration in the 2010-2011 school year, in the following titles: Comprehensive English, Integrated Algebra, Global Studies and Geography, U.S. History and Government, Living Environment, and Earth Science (these exams are all used for the awarding of a Regents Diploma)
    2. All remaining Regents Exams will be scanned, starting with the 2011-2012 school year (June Regents Administration).

    The introduction of scanning will allow the collection of item level and test taker demographic data that the Department needs for federal reporting. It is expected that school districts will benefit from the accelerated exam scoring process and elimination of manual inputting of test results.

    See the Regents item on Regents Examinations Scoring Practices for more information.

  • Emergency Adoption of Proposed Regulations Relating to the Establishment of Graduate-Level Clinically-Rich Principal Preparation Pilot Programs

    At the November and December 2009 meetings, the Board of Regents approved the conceptual framework for graduate-level clinically-rich principal preparation pilot programs. The Board approved sections 52.1, 52.21, and 80-3.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, effective May 25, 2010, as an emergency action upon a finding by the Board of Regents that such action is necessary for the Department to begin the competitive bidding process so that institutions can begin offering these programs in a timely manner consistent with the State’s Race to the Top application.

    See the Regents item on the Emergency Adoption of Proposed Regulations Relating to the Establishment of Graduate-Level Clinically-Rich Principal Preparation Pilot Programs for more information.

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

  • College and Career Readiness Work Group

    The Regents College and Career Readiness Work Group held its scheduled meeting on May 17, 2010.

    • The Work Group was presented with additional data on college readiness for students attending CUNY as requested at the April 2010 meeting. Associate Commissioner Ken Slentz provided information on the phase-out of the local diploma, course credit, and Regents exam requirements for general education students.

    • The Work Group participated in a panel discussion about college and career readiness challenges in New York State. The panel included the following experts:

      • Dr. Charles S. Dedrick, District Superintendent, Capital Region BOCES
      • Dr. Kathleen Spring, Superintendent, Mohonasen School District
      • Dr. Joseph Dragone, Superintendent Ballston Spa School District
      • Michael Tucker, President and CEO, Center for Economic Growth
      • Mark Eagan, President and CEO, Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce

      The panel provided input and answered questions relating to New York State’s high school graduates and how well they are prepared for college and the workforce. There was consensus that today’s students need to be critical thinkers, innovators, and have appreciation for global awareness. Discussion focused on CTE programs and how important it is to integrate core courses into the CTE program so that students see the relevance to the work they are doing. The panel made suggestions relating to project-based learning for CTE students and possibly making that the key to graduation. The College and Career Readiness Work Group will meet again at the June Regents meeting.

  • Conceptual Approval of Examination Framework for Teachers and School Leaders

    The Board discussed the conceptual design of performance-based assessments for the certification of teachers and school leaders. The assessments for both teachers and school leaders should be available for candidates to use by January 2012. This timeline is consistent with the Regents initiative for clinically-rich pilot programs approved at the April meeting.

    See the Regents item on the Conceptual Approval of Examination Framework for Teachers and School Leaders for more information.

  • Arts Education Initiative

    Senior Deputy Commissioner John King and Deputy Commissioner Joseph Frey provided an update on discussions relating to Arts Education that have taken place since the April Regents meeting. On May 3, a meeting was held with stakeholder representatives to continue discussions on the middle level arts instructional requirements and possibly allowing teachers in early childhood grades to complete substantial arts teaching preparation that could lead to an early elementary (grades PreK-2) arts annotation. The Committee requested additional information on the specific staffing challenges faced by the New York City Department of Education that precipitated the request for changes in the requirements before making a decision. Additional information will be brought to the EMSC and Higher Education Committees in June.


Additional News

  • Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting (VADIR)

    School districts, BOCES, and charter schools may report 2009-10 violent and disruptive incident data to the Department beginning September 7, 2010 through the SED Web Business Portal accessible at http://www.nysed.gov. The due date to complete 2009-10 VADIR reporting to the Department is September 30, 2010. No revisions or modifications in the data collected or format have been made to the 2009-10 VADIR form. Forms, instructions, and a glossary of VADIR terms are available at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irts/vadir/.

    User IDs and passwords necessary for access to the SED Web Business Portal are managed by the SED Delegated Account System (SEDDAS). Information regarding SEDDAS can be found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/seddas/seddashome.html or by calling the SEDDAS help desk at (518) 473-8832.

    Contact: NYSED Information and Reporting Services (518) 474-7965.

  • Request for Proposals - Extended School Day/School Violence Prevention Grant Program

    The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Extended School Day/School Violence Prevention grant program (ESD/SVP). The primary purpose of this grant is to provide support to students through extended school day and/or violence prevention activities.

    NYSED anticipates funds to be appropriated in the 2010-2011 New York State budget for grants to public school districts and not-for-profit organizations working in collaboration with public school districts.

    To view the announcement of the ESD/SVP Competitive Grant Application, please visit http://www.p12.nysed.gov/funding/currentapps.html

  • State Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Technical Assistance Center

    The New York State Education Department announces that it has established a State Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Technical Assistance Center (NYS PBIS TAC). The award for the NYS PBIS TAC has been made to the Capital Region BOCES.

    PBIS is a research-based approach for schools and districts which is used to teach positive behavior to all students and offers additional behavioral support for students with or at risk of developing socially challenging behaviors. For more information see http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/techassist/PBISTAC.htm.

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Last Updated: September 23, 2010