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/.

SFOS: Scientific research, students and sports!

Stories_schoolsToday’s “Stories From Our Schools” edition comes to you from Guilderland Elementary School. On Friday, September 12, the entire fifth grade class at GES participated in a variety of outdoor activities focused on using the systems of the human body. The event served as a kick-off for a year-long initiative that includes a grant-based research project with members of the University at Albany Department of Educational Theory and Practice.

Read more about this cool project that combines scientific research with students and sports.

Hudson Valley schools to stand up for fair funding Sept. 30

FF_rally14_for webAfter a successful advocacy campaign last fall, school districts in the Hudson Valley are at it again.

On Sept. 30, school leaders, boards of educations and community advocacy groups from districts in Orange, Sullivan, Ulster and Dutchess counties, will seek to get the attention of local legislators in the Hudson Valley region by holding an advocacy event aiming to do away with the Gap Elimination Adjustment.

The Regional Advocacy Event: “Fair Funding for Our Schools”, will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Middletown High School in Middletown, NY. The event, sponsored by the Hudson Valley Committee for Fair Funding for Our Schools, will feature Billy Easton, the executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education.

The GEA was first introduced for the 2010-11 fiscal year by then-Governor Paterson as a way to help close New York’s then $10 billion budget deficit. Under the legislation, a portion of the funding shortfall at the state level is divided among all school districts throughout the state and reflected as a reduction in school district state aid. The GEA is a negative number, money that is deducted from the aid originally due to the district. And it means that many school districts have a gaping hole in their budget due to this reduction in aid.

Since the introduction of the GEA, New York schools have lost $7.7 billion in state aid.

“We have a long way to go to guarantee our children’s education will be funded fairly and adequately,” a statement reads on the Fair Funding for Our Schools website. “…Our collective efforts will put politicians on notice that we are unified and we aren’t going away.”

All area parents, community members, taxpayers, educators, and business leaders are invited to attend the event.

If you are planning on attending on Sept. 30, you can connect with us on social media that night and tell us what is happening from your perspective. Tweet us your photos and updates – @edspeaksny, #NYSchoolsinPeril

Ed Speaks has a number of advocacy resources available for you. Check them out here.

AQE launches new campaign: #WeCantWait

#WeCantWait is a powerful statewide photo campaign started by the Alliance for Quality Education, powered by parents, students, teachers and other advocates who believe in the need for urgent action to make funding New York’s public schools a priority.   Here at Ed Speaks we’ve written numerous times about how many NY schools are systematically underfunded, and the #WeCantWait campaign is showing exactly what’s missing from our schools as a result.

What a great idea! Here’s info from the AQE web site on how you can get involved:

Take a #WeCantWait selfie

  • 1) Make a #WeCantWait sign and write why you can’t wait for New York to fully fund public schools. 
(tell the world what your school is missing because of funding cuts).
  • 2) Share that picture across social media with #WeCantWait and at @AQE_NY!

 or email it to chadradock@gmail.com
  • 3) Challenge your friends and family to take their own #WeCantWait selfies to support our schools!


Can praise be bad?

Recent research shows that praising kids for their intelligence or ability can backfire, causing them to give up more easily when the work becomes hard. 

According to Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford who has been researching this specific topic for many years:

“What we’ve shown is that when you praise someone, say, ‘You’re smart at this,’ the next time they struggle, they think they’re not. It’s really about praising the process they engage in, not how smart they are or how good they are at it, but taking on difficulty, trying many different strategies, sticking to it and achieving over time.”

Apparently the research shows that this type of praise can have more of a negative impact on young girls, and seems particularly damaging when it is applied to math.  Check out the whole article.


Gloversville teacher named 2015 NYS Teacher of Year


Mr. Charles Giglio of the Gloversville Enlarged City School District has been named 2015 NYS Teacher of the Year.

Gloversville Enlarged School District teacher Charles Giglio was named the 2015 Teacher of the Year by the New York State Board of Regents Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Giglio, the 45th NYS Teacher of the Year, has been teaching at Gloversville Middle School and Gloversville High School for the past nine years. While recognized for reviving the district’s now flourishing Latin program, Giglio also has been able to reach out to students and teachers beyond the language program and is known as a mentor, a tutor, a supporter, a listener and an inspiration to others.

“Mr. Giglio is more than just a great teacher, he exemplifies the commitment and dedication necessary to achieve excellence in 21st century education.” Superintendent of Schools Michael B. Vanyo said. “The impact that a dedicated professional like Mr. Giglio can have on his students – and students and teachers districtwide – is beyond measure. Gloversville is truly fortunate to have Mr. Giglio.”

Known as “Mr. G” by his students and others, Giglio can often be seen offering guidance and advice to students outside of class and attending extracurricular activities. He annually organizes field trips to such locations as New York City, Washington, D.C. and Italy and also regularly brings to school Tanner, his certified, licensed therapy dog, for students’ enjoyment and comfort.

“The selection of Mr. Giglio as the 2015 New York Teacher of the Year is an honor that is well-deserved, for not only for him, but our entire Gloversville staff,” Gloversville High School Principal Dr. Richard DeMallie said. “Mr. Giglio’s recognition as Teacher of the Year shines a light on the many great things going on in our district. One of Mr. Giglio’s goals from the start was to have everyone know about the Gloversville Enlarged School District, and now he will achieve that. Words cannot describe how proud we are of Mr. Giglio.”


Mr. Giglio greeting a student on the first day of school this year.

Giglio’s career in education spans more than 50 years, beginning as a fifth-grade teacher in Manhattan. He started teaching in Gloversville following his retirement as the deputy director of the New York State Office of Mental Health Bureau of Forensic Services when he decided to re-enter the field, out of his love and passion for teaching, to take over the Gloversville Latin program in January 2006.

It was the district’s intention to have Giglio, phase out the small Latin program, but instead, he was able to rebuild and enhance it.

Today, the Gloversville Latin program features an Alumni Club, and the program is connected with SUNY Albany’s University in the High School Program, which gives Gloversville Latin students the opportunity to earn college credits. He now works collaboratively with Union and Skidmore College professors to promote Latin and is a member of the area’s Latin teacher consortium, which creates Latin exams for Capital Region high schools.

During his career, Giglio has taught Latin, English, theology and typing at schools in New York City, New Jersey and Staten Island and was a school principal in New York City’s Chinatown and at a residential school in Pomona.

“Teachers have always been the backbone of the nation’s citizenry, social conscience and academic excellence,” Giglio said. “It’s truly an honor to be recognized among the many excellent teachers across the state that undertake this sacred endeavor.”

Giglio is a graduate of Long Island University in New York City, where he earned a master’s degree in bilingual and urban education; Fordham University in New York City, where he received a diploma in administration and supervision; Richmond College on Staten Island, N.Y., where he earned a master’s degree in secondary education; and the Catholic University of America in Washington, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Latin and Greek.

NYSUT applauds Gloversville teacher’s selection as 2015 Teacher of the Year
NYSED: Gloversville Enlarged City School District Latin Teacher Wins 2015 NYS Teacher of Year

Friday Rundown 9.12.14

A good Friday morning to you!

Cuomo defeats Teachout, liberal rival, in the Democratic primary (NY Times)

Tenure war on teachers rages (Albany Times Union)

Why do New York’s poor schools have lower-rated teachers? (Capital New York)

Common Core 2.0: Common Core by another name (Washington Post)

Common Core: What’s True, False and Fuzzy (Washington Post’s Answer Sheet Blog)

Making sense of Common Core resistance (Ed Week)

America’s Top High Schools for 2014 (Newsweek)

Will America’s Education System Endanger its Prosperity? (Wall Street Journal)

And lastly, these literary-themed school supplies put a smile on our face. Have a great weekend!

POV: Poverty and achievement are inextricably linked


This Point of View was submitted by Shaker Junior High School principal Dr. Russell Moore of the North Colonie Central School District. Dr. Moore is currently in his 27th year as a principal. You can read more from him at his blog “Moore Perspective.”

The NYS Commissioner of Education, John B.King, Jr., recently posted a letter on a NY public access web site regarding the 2014 NYS assessment results, released in late August.  Included in his letter are two scatterplots of all the New York State results by school, one graph for ELA and the other for math.  Each school is displayed based on their 2014 percent proficient and their reported percentage of economically disadvantaged students.  In other words, the scatterplots (which can be viewed along with King’s entire letter at engageny.org and are reproduced below) show the relationship between academic achievement, as measured by the NYS assessments, and poverty:

math scatterplot

The relationship is fairly clear to see in both scatterplots; as schools’ poverty levels increase their achievement results decrease.  This is not a universal surety, as there are always exceptions to any rule, but the trend is obvious.   And this trend is not shocking or contrary to historical data.  Indeed, there is a clear correlation heavily supported by research between poverty and achievement.  Students of poverty perform worse, in general, on all measures of academic achievement.  I want to stress that there are exceptions to what research clearly indicates.  There are, of course, economically disadvantaged students who do very well academically, in fact, some who do as well as typical wealthier students.

Commissioner King writes, however,

“These results make clear that those who claim that demography is destiny and that we cannot improve teaching and learning until we have first fixed poverty are simply mistaken.  In New York, there are many examples of higher poverty/higher performance schools…this is not to imply that poverty is an unimportant factor – it is extremely important, for all of us.  But the idea that poverty or family circumstances outside of school are insurmountable obstacles for teaching and learning is a fallacy.”

When considered only on the surface, his statement is meant to empower, to reinforce that poverty does not mandate poor performance for every student but instead that any student has the capability to rise above his/her poverty and succeed.  Indeed, while accurate, his statement tends to remove poverty from the equation, which is misleading and even disingenuous.  I encourage Commissioner King to read Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol, in which the plight of East St. Louis schools is detailed.  Kozol would agree that even in the poorest of schools there are individual students who rise above their poverty and succeed academically, but he would stress the obvious:  that doing so is highly improbable.

And that’s where King’s message is misleading.  Academic achievement is strongest where opportunities are richest.  Where do opportunities abound?  Not in poor districts, but in the wealthier ones.  Money is needed to provide opportunities for students, to provide facilities that put students in a proper environment, to provide top quality teachers, to provide programs that allow students to stretch, to provide, well, to provide all that the students in wealthy districts have.   You cannot provide equal opportunities for students until you address the inequity of wealth between districts.  Until you do that, students in poverty will not have anywhere the same opportunities and the trends seen in the scatterplots above will continue, if not worsen.

Commissioner King, let’s be honest.  Your pep talk is empty until there is equitable funding for schools.  You can attempt to encourage all you want but there will only continue to be the exceptions you mention in your letter.  You cannot will away the link between poverty and achievement.

And that is my perspective.

Could students benefit from year-round school?

New York state requires 180 instructional days in the classroom. Historically speaking, those 180 days are spread out between the months of September through June, with July and August serving as summer recess.

But, what if a district took those 180 days and spread them out over an entire 12-month calendar year? At one school in West Virginia, administrators, teachers and parents swear by a year-round calendar that has the same number of teaching days as any other school, but spread throughout the year.

WATCH VIDEO: Could students benefit from year-round school? (PBS News)

Friday Rundown 9.5.14

By now, most students across New York state have returned to school. If you were busy and missed anything this week getting the kids ready for school, we’ve got you covered. Here’s this week’s Rundown.

State backing off on Common Core mandates after so many weighed in (Albany Times Union)

Astorino’s plan: Regents overhaul, Common Core replacement, vouchers (Capital New York)

NYSUT fights back in tenure attack (Albany Times Union)

School lunch prices on the rise (Buffalo news)

Opinion: Cuomo must use state surplus to remedy separate and unequal education system (Buffalo News)

Common Core to sink or swim this school year (Journal News)

State Board of Regents plans easier paths to high school graduation (NY Daily News)

View: Smart Schools bond a bad investment (Journal News)

What it actually takes for schools to ‘go digital’ (The Herchinger Report)