NY Board of Regents approves new graduation standards to better prepare students for the future

Earlier today, the New York State Board of Regents approved new options for students to meet the State’s high school graduation requirements. The new regulations establish multiple, comparably rigorous pathways to graduation, including pathways in Career and Technical Education (CTE); Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); the Arts; Biliteracy (languages other than English); and the Humanities. The new regulations also establish a two-year Global History and Geography course requirement and modify the design of the Global History and Geography Regents Exam.  

Check out NYSED’s video explaining the changes.

News and reactions from around NY: (we’ll be updating as coverage continues)


Friday Rundown: 10.10.14

Good morning and let us be among the first to wish you a happy Columbus Day Weekend. In the news this week: NYSUT, Common Core in relation to improving SAT scores and inadequate funding for upstate schools. If you missed anything, we have you covered. Here’s your Rundown.

In Common Core transition, N.Y. looks to Kentucky (Capital New York)

Pearson’s wrong answer — and why it matters in the high-stakes testing era (Washington Post)

Schools in ‘limbo’ as Cuomo ponders evaluation bill (Capital New York)

Tisch, school groups lukewarm to Cuomo bond proposal (Capital New York)

NYSUT gets permission to intervene in tenure case (Capitol Confidential)…Teachers union challenges ‘gag order’ (Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin)

Study on upstate school funding (Albany Times Union)…Statewide #wecantwait education campaign hits home (Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin)

Parents have rights in children’s education (Times Herald Record)

Study: New York preschool push benefits wealthier families first (Washington Post)

Opinion: Regents should OK new path to careers (Utica Observer Dispatch)

SAT scores for Class of 2014 show no improvement (Washington Post)…Tisch: Common Core will boost students’ SAT scores (Capital New York)

Campaign calls on Cuomo to sign bill to allow CPR lessons in schools (WTEN)

NYSUT: State Ed ban on discussing tests violates free speech

New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has filed suit in federal court against the State Education Department, arguing that the state is infringing on teachers’ First Amendment right to free speech by restricting them from discussing their concerns about specific questions on standardized tests.

“How can you learn from a test that you can’t talk about?” asked NYSUT officials. Under state law and policy, discussing the material on the exams is actually a punishable offense. You can read NYSUT’s press release on the lawsuit here.

News coverage

SFOS: “We Believe”

Stories_schoolsToday’s Stories from our Schools entry comes to us from the Cohoes City School district, where administrators, faculty and staff at Cohoes High School are taking a new approach to support academic success and encourage students to set and achieve personal goals through the “We believe” campaign.

“We believe” is the beginning of a statement. Whether it’s a broad statement such as, ‘We believe you can do this,’ or ‘we believe you can graduate,’ or a specific statement for just one student, we want students to know that the Cohoes High School community believes in them,” said Co-principal Joseph Rajczak.

To introduce the campaign, notable Cohoes High School alumni were interviewed for a video message that was shared with all ninth grade students during transition activities as students came back to school in September.

You can read more about the “We Believe” campaign on the Cohoes City School District’s website.

Friday Rundown 10.3.14

A good Friday morning to you – the first Friday in October! Here’s what you may have missed in education headlines this week.

State officials discuss changes in Regents format (Glens Falls Post Star)

Assemblyman James Skoufis: Stop balancing budgets on the backs of our children (Skoufis press release)

Cuomo announces $22.4 million education grant for NYS (NY.gov)

New York tax system is archaic (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)

State judge tosses challenge to NY tax cap (Press Connects)

How much time will new Common Core tests take kids to finish? Quite a lot. (Washington Post)

Superintendents share classroom tech successes (Capital New York)

Rethinking the 
high school diploma (Education Next)

In your opinion: New school snacks will help children (The Daily Star)

U.S. Department of Education announces 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools (Ed.gov)

18 NY schools awarded national “Blue Ribbon” status

On Sept. 30, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized 337 schools – 18 from New York – as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2014 based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

The Department will honor 287 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 10-11 in Washington, D.C.

“These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education—that all students, no matter their name or zip code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative, and challenging learning environments,” Secretary Duncan said.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

All schools are recognized in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates are also at the highest levels.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups and all students over the past five years. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates for each subgroup are at high levels.

“National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student,” Duncan said.

2014 New York Blue Ribbon Schools

Voorheesville Elementary School
Voorheesville Central School District
Principal: Thomas Reardon

Ledgeview Elementary School
Clarence Central School District
Principal: Keith E. Kuwik

Cobbles Elementary School
Penfield Central School District
Principal: Donald Bavis

Genesee Community Charter School
Principal: Lisa A. Wing

Munsey Park Elementary School
Manhasset Union Free School District
Principal: Jean Kendall

Glenwood Landing Elementary School
North Shore Central School District
Principal: Bridget Finder

PS 150
New York City Geographic District # 2
Principal: Jennifer Bonnet

South Bronx Classical Charter School
Principal: Lester Long

PS 11 Purvis J Behan
New York City Geographic District #13
Principal: Alonta Wrighton

PS 254 Dag Hammarskjold
New York City Geographic District #22
Principal: Linda Alhonote

Queens College School For Math, Science & Technology New York City Geographic District #25
Principal: Helene Jacob

PS 205 Alexander Graham Bell
New York City Geographic District #26
Principal: Karen Scott-Piazza

Deerfield Elementary School
Whitesboro CSD
Principal: Kelli McGowan

Enders Road Elementary School
Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District
Principal: Deborah Capri

Franklin Avenue School
Pearl River Union Free School District
Principal: Maureen Alaimo

Hillside Elementary School
Niskayuna Central School District
Principal: Shireen Fasciglione

East Moriches Elementary School
East Moriches Union Free School District
Principal: Charles T. Russo

Carrie E. Tompkins School
Croton-Harmon UFSD
Principal: Kelly Maloney

SFOS: Reinstated tutoring program focuses on math support

Stories_schoolsPamela Kostbar-Jarvis sends an email to her fellow Cobleskill-Richmondville High School teachers every evening.

It’s a moderately sized list that she’d like to see become even bigger.

The list contains the names of high school students who have sought her help for various problems in math during that school day.

Seven years ago, enrollment fluctuations allowed the district to pull a teacher from the classroom to implement CREW – Cobleskill-Richmondville Educational Workplace, which offered widespread tutor availability during the school day. However, when enrollment increased several years ago, the program was halted to accommodate the need for more classroom staff.


Mrs. Kostbar-Jarvis

For the 2014-15 school year, the district is able to bring CREW back because the high school’s teacher-student ratio is at a point where the program could be restarted. Mrs. Kostbar-Jarvis, who has taught all levels but calculus at Cobleskill-Richmondville, is available to help (along with a student teacher) in Room 117.

She is currently visiting each high school math class to introduce herself. Mrs. Kostbar-Jarvis is careful not to make her subject appear more valuable than any other discipline. She doesn’t want to sound like math is the be-all, end-all of a student’s day.

But amid a national trend of lagging math and science aptitude, she points out that getting students ahead of the curve – which often means catching them up now – is critical right away, even well before college years.

“Almost everybody requires an extra boost when it comes to math,” Mrs. Kostbar-Jarvis said as three students sat nearby, getting assistance from a student teacher during the day’s final period. “That’s the reality of it.”

Mrs. Kostbar-Jarvis’ big concern is students falling behind, which many national resources point out will begin to limit college eligibility – especially for courses or majors that students may have their hearts set on when they leave high school.

She teaches more traditional math classes during three periods, but is otherwise available to assist students in a myriad of math topics during periods 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9. In-school tutoring is important as students may be too busy after the final bell to seek help.

Signing out of study hall is an option. Though, tricksters beware: that’s in part why the CREW organizer checks in with her colleagues. She’ll ensure students are where they say they are going. So far, that’s hardly been an issue.

“CREW works because it is a choice given to students,” Principal Melissa Ausfeld said. “They are the ones making the decision to receive extra help, and they get to choose the time and the topic they work in. Any time that a student is given a choice for anything, the buy-in is greater.”

More than anything, Mrs. Kostbar-Jarvis likes to add names to the list of attendees, whether they’re getting help for five minutes or nearly 45. That’s why she sends the nightly email to update the other teachers, especially her math colleagues.

Her phrase: “Energy begets energy.”

Meaning: She gets pumped up by seeing students work hard to improve and even more excited at seeing their pleasure with the results.

“It’ll take time to build CREW Math up,” Mrs. Kostbar-Jarvis said. “It may take the first marking period, but I think it’ll catch on.”

Cuomo announces $22.4 million education grant for NYS

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that New York state has received a $22.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant will help low-income and at-risk students receive college readiness preparation and support beginning in seventh grade and continuing through high school.

GEAR UP will raise students’ awareness of college and financial aid options, increase participation in academically challenging coursework, and support them through completion of their college freshman year.

“By providing more young New Yorkers with the tools for academic achievement now, their chances for future success dramatically increase, benefiting them and the state as a whole,” Cuomo said.

Participating school districts will also have the opportunity to count their students among the thousands who prepare for high skills jobs of the future through the NYS Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools program – which combines high school, college and career training focused on the knowledge and skills students need for science, technology, engineering and math careers, targeted to at-risk, disadvantaged students.

Changes in the pathway to graduation could be on horizon

State officials are considering alternative ways for students to get a high school diploma, such as getting an industry certification.

New York is one of 24 states that utilizes “exit exams” by requiring students to be proficient on specific standardized tests in order to graduate from high school. To earn a Regents diploma, students need to score 65 or higher on the five core-subject exams (English, math, global history, U.S. History and science). The Board of Regents has been developing a plan that would allow NY’s students to substitute one of the social studies Regents with a “Pathway” program and exam in arts, career and technical education, the humanities or STEM (science, technology and engineering and math.)

Why are the Regents considering the switch? To quote Cosimo Tangorra, NY’s deputy commissioner for P-12 education, “The path to college isn’t the only path that’s going to lead to happiness.”

Read the article here.

What do you think about the possible new pathways option?

SFOS: Warwick School District to host Google for Education Summit

Stories_schoolsThe first annual Hudson Valley Google for Education Summit will be hosted by the Warwick Valley Central School District at Kings Elementary School on October 23 & 24, 2014. This two day event focuses on deploying, integrating, and using Google Apps for Education to promote student learning in K-12 and higher education.

The program features Google Certified Teachers, Google Education Trainers, practicing administrators, technology specialists and teachers who have made Google Apps for Education the foundation of their collaboration and instruction. Open to all, the programs are designed for teachers, administrators, tech directors, library media specialists, tech support staff and anyone who is interested in learning about using Google Apps for Education to support student learning.

Sessions include two keynote presentations and two full days of informative breakouts, cutting-edge demonstrations and hands-on workshops led by experienced and knowledgeable professional developers, a demo slam competition and closing capstone session.

“The Google Apps for Education Summit is important because it represents best practices in using Google Apps tools to support instruction in relevant and engaging ways,” Warwick Valley CSD director of professional learning Jennifer Cronk said.

All presenters are Google Certified Teachers, Google Apps for Education Trainers or teachers with local success stories.

This event is jointly presented by the Warwick Valley Central School District and the EdTech Team.

“This is the first time a Google Summit has been held in the Hudson Valley, making it much easier for area educators to attend,” Cronk said. “This is significant, since many of the region’s public schools are currently using Google Apps or considering it for the future.”

For Summit and registration information, go to http://ny.gafesummit.com/.