Regents of the University


Robert M. Bennett, Chancellor , Tonawanda

Merryl H. Tisch, Vice Chancellor, New York

Saul B. Cohen, New Rochelle

James C. Dawson, Peru

Anthony S. Bottar, Syracuse

Geraldine D. Chapey, Belle Harbor

Arnold B. Gardner, Buffalo

Harry Phillips, 3rd, Hartsdale

Joseph E. Bowman, Jr., Albany

James R. Tallon, Jr., Binghamton

Milton L. Cofield, Rochester

Roger Tilles, Great Neck

Karen  Brooks Hopkins, Brooklyn

Charles R. Bendit, New York

Betty A. Rosa, Bronx

Lester W. Young, Jr., Oakland Gardens


TO:                  District Superintendents of Schools

                        Superintendents of Public Schools

                        Teacher Center Directors

            Teacher Organizations

            School Board Members

                        Deans of Institutions of Higher Education

                        Parent Organizations

                        ELA Teachers

                        ESL Teachers

                        Bilingual Education Teachers

                        Special Education Teachers

                        Interested Parties


FROM:            Robert M. Bennett, Chancellor, Board of Regents     


SUBJECT:      Public Forums on the New York Learning Standards



You recently received a memorandum from Senior Deputy Commissioner Johanna Duncan-Poitier inviting stakeholders to participate in one of the public forums that the Board of Regents is sponsoring on the New York Learning Standards.  The forums will be convened in April and May throughout the State and will focus on the Standards related to English language arts (ELA) and English as a second language (ESL).


On behalf of my colleagues on the Board of Regents, I would like to thank you for your interest in providing us with your valuable insights, informed by your classroom experience.    I urge you to attend one of the forums; the schedule of all sessions is provided at the end of this memorandum.


Each forum will include a general overview on the Standards initiative with the majority of the session devoted to small group discussions that are designed to elicit your feedback on three key issues:



1.     ELA/ESL Standards Content and Substance.  Considering the content and substance of the Standards and Performance Indicators, what do you recommend be kept?  What do you recommend be dropped?  What do you feel is missing?  What needs to be updated and/or revised?


2.     Organization and Format of the ELA/ESL Standards.  Is the organization/format of the current Standards and Performance Indicators easy to understand by teachers and others?  Does the current format and organization promote engagement by teachers and does this format make the Standards easily "usable" by teachers?  What organization and format would you recommend be considered?


3.     Are the ELA/ESL Standards Measurable?  How do you feel about the current ability of these Standards and Performance Indicators to be properly measured?  Can student understanding or proficiency be measured through multiple assessment approaches?  Also, the measurability of the Standards through local assessment measures, State assessments and classroom methods (observation, portfolio evaluation, etc.) will be addressed.


Please note that participant comments will be recorded and shared with the Regents.


The New York Learning Standards are the basis and building blocks for curriculum and instruction, and they will form the framework for statewide assessments as new tests are developed and aligned with the revised Standards.  Since this first review area is in ELA and ESL, it is important that English teachers, English as a second language teachers, bilingual teachers, school board members, and special education teachers participate in the forums to ensure that affected practitioners are well represented.  I, therefore, strongly encourage superintendents and building principals to permit teachers to attend these sessions. 






April 24, 2008

Erie One BOCES

Education Campus

Conference Room B -1

355 Harlem Road

West Seneca, NY


Pre-registration: Geri Hoffman 


2:00–4:30 p.m.

May 7, 2008

Western Suffolk BOCES Conference Center

31 Lee Avenue

Wheatley Heights, NY


Pre-registration: Joan Johnson,



2:00–4:30 p.m.

May 8, 2008


United Federation of Teachers Headquarters

52 Broadway, 5th Floor

New York City, NY


Pre-registration:  errill Adams


1:00–3:30 p.m.


May 9, 2008

Adirondack Community CollegeGymnasium*

640 Bay Road

Queensbury, NY


Pre-registration: Janice Keller


12:00–3:00 p.m.**


May 13, 2008

Nottingham High School, Cafeteria

3100 E. Genesee St.

Syracuse, NY


Pre-registration: Kathy Southwell


3:00–5:30 p.m.

May 21, 2008

Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES

School Services Building, West Conference Room

200 BOCES Drive

Yorktown Heights, NY


Pre-registration: Marla Gardner


2:00–4:30 p.m.

* The Gymnasium is the first building on the right on entering the campus’ south entrance on Bay Road.  Parking is immediately to the right after the Gymnasium.

** Participants are invited to bring lunch, if they so wish.  Food and beverages will be available for purchase.



I look forward to your partnership on this critical work for the students of New York.  More detailed information on the Standards review process and the forums will be available shortly on the Curriculum and Instructional Services website –


c:         Members of the Board of Regents

            Richard P. Mills

            Johanna Duncan-Poitier