Support the Work of Teachers and other School Leaders

A critical element in school improvement is ensuring that all students, particularly those educationally at risk, have access to highly qualified teachers and that those teachers are supported.  Research indicates that the single most important factor in advancing student learning is the availability of a highly qualified teacher supported by school leaders whose primary focus is improving teaching and student learning.  The Regents 1998 teaching policy, “Teaching to Higher Standards: New York’s Commitment,” was the beginning of a process to strengthen teaching and learning in the State.

The Department is committed to assessing the effectiveness of teaching policies, including the teacher certification structure, teacher supply and demand, research-based professional development, improving teacher retention, helping districts to recruit teachers to high-need schools, and improving the school work environment.  In addition, the Department has applied for a Wallace Foundation grant to strengthen school leadership, beginning with pre-service programs for school leaders through professional development and school leader performance assessments, focused on the importance of a school leader to student learning.  It will also promote research-based models for teacher/principal collaboration to strengthen classroom instruction.  The centerpiece of our focus on school improvement will continue to be to provide teachers and other school leaders with the appropriate support and resources to be successful in raising student performance and closing achievement gaps.

Target Resources toward Advancing Regents Priorities

To advance the Board of Regents priorities to support student success, it is essential that both new and existing resources be used to directly support the Regents policy direction.  Department staff will be closely analyzing all existing federal and State funding streams to identify opportunities for maximizing these resources to carry out the P-16 Plan.

Expectations and Feedback on the New P-16 Structure

Our colleagues in the field look forward to further discussion of these directions with the Board of Regents and to continuing to develop short-term and long-term strategies with Department staff and our partners across the State.  Preliminary feedback on the new P-16 structure and leadership has been positive.  A selection of actual comments received includes:

The Department thanks the many individuals and groups who took the time to provide invaluable insights over the course of the year.  This will serve as an investment in our future and will help shape the P-16 agenda for all students from pre-kindergarten through college and/or the workforce.  The positive comments and messages are very encouraging.  It is important to note that this will not be an easy process, and our organizational transformation will not occur overnight.  However, the benefit to the children of the State and our future is too important not to move in this direction.

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