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News and Notes
Dear Colleagues,

The holiday season provides an opportunity to express our appreciation to those who work tirelessly every day to help our students achieve success in school and in life. Thank you for your continued commitment to New York's students. Best wishes to you, your families, and your school communities for a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season.

In this edition of News and Notes, I provide updates related to the following:

MaryEllen Elia
scienceBoard of Regents Approves New P-12 Science Learning Standards
young students in science classroom
This week, the New York State Board of Regents approved new P-12 Science Learning Standards. These standards are based on two nationally respected guiding documents, feedback from teachers, school and district administrators, and on survey data that indicated the need to adapt specific portions of the standards to reflect New York's mission and vision for P-12 science education.

The Statewide Leadership Team, Science Education Steering Committee, and Science Education Consortium served in a formal advisory capacity to New York State Education Department (NYSED) staff throughout the five-year process to develop the new standards. They are based on the National Research Council's "A Framework for K-12 Science Education" and Achieve, Inc.'s "Next Generation Science Standards" (NGSS). NYSED also gleaned important information from two public surveys. 

Please see our news release t o learn more about the process and to view the new science standards.
assessments2017 Computer-Based Testing for Grades 3-8 ELA and Math
children at computers
School districts across the state will have an expanded opportunity to voluntarily use computer-based testing (CBT) to administer grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Math tests in 2017.  This is the first time schools will have this option and follows the successful pilot of computer-based field testing last spring.

In 2017, schools have the option to administer Grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics tests on paper or computer.  To provide schools with the maximum flexibility, for this year's operational administration schools can select computer- or paper-based testing by grade and subject area.  Additionally, at the request of school administrators, the test-administration window for the operational CBT has been extended to six days to provide extra time for districts with a limited number of devices to be able to test multiple grade levels on computer.

To learn more about the transition and on training to ensure educators and administrators are fully prepared to administer and score the computer-based tests, please see our news release.

mbkNYSED Awards $10 Million in My Brother's Keeper Grants
high school young man of color
This week, NYSED announced that it awarded $10 million in grants to 56 organizations for two New York State My Brother's Keeper Initiatives: the Teacher Opportunity Corps II (TOC) and the MBK Challenge Grant Program. These grants support programs and strategies to help boys and young men of color-and all students-realize their full potential.

Strategies supported by these grants are explored in a report commissioned by NYSED, which provides an overview of the outcome trends among boys of color in K-12 school environments. The report also provides a research review of the most prevalent strategies currently being implemented in schools and communities across the country.

Read our news release for more information about the My Brother's Keeper grants.

budget2017 State Aid Proposal and Budget & Legislative Priorities
This week, the Board of Regents called for phasing in Foundation Aid over the next three years, proposed a $1.8 billion increase in Foundation aid and $290 million in priority investments as part of the Board's 2017-2018 State Aid Proposal.

The Board seeks to invest $290 million in four priority program areas: Universal Pre-K, education of English language learners and multilingual learners, college and career pathways, and professional development for teachers and principals.

In addition, the Board adopted its P-12 and Higher Education Budget and Legislative Priorities, which include streamlining the state's seven distinct prekindergarten programs, continued funding for the monitors in East Ramapo, and resources and tools to better support English Language Learner students.

The Board's priorities also reaffirm its commitment to ensuring all of New York's students have equal opportunity and access to higher education with its support for the DREAMers Act.

Read our news release for more information about the 2017 State Aid Proposal and budget & legislative priorities.

Watch this video  of  Commissioner Elia discussing the 2017 State Aid Proposal and the budget & legislative priorities.

Commissioner Elia discusses the 2017 state aid request and budget and legislative priorities - video screen shot

safeGuidance to Help Ensure Schools Are Safe Havens for Learning
There is nothing more important than the safety of children. In November, Commissioner Elia and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman sent a letter to school districts providing guidance on how to ensure schools are safe havens where students are free to learn without fear of discrimination, harassment or intimidation as a result of their race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other basis.

Please familiarize yourselves with the letter and accompanying resources and tools that are intended to help schools comply with the Dignity for All Students Act and to prevent and address hate-based actions.
grantsBoard of Regents Approves $500,000 in Grant Funding
This week, the Board of Regents approved a $500,000 grant from the Wallace Foundation to broaden research to restructure school building leader preparation in New York State. NYSED will review and learn from work in several districts and states around the country as well as initiatives implemented by the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). The grant will support work that is being done to improve principal preparation in high-needs districts. Read our news release on the education grant funding for more information.
archivesState Archives Invites Students to Enter Research Awards Contest
Student Research Awards contest poster
The New York State Archives invites students statewide to enter the 27th Annual Student Research Awards Contest. The contest is open to all New York State students in grades 4 - 12 who use historical records in their research projects. 

The contest is designed to encourage students to explore the wealth of historical records found across New York State and to increase cooperation between schools and organizations that manage historical records. The deadline for entries is July 1, 2017. Three awards will be presented in the fall of 2017. 

Visit the State Archives website for more information.
nysssaNYSED Encourages Students to Apply for the 2017 New York State Summer School of the Arts
High school students throughout New York State are encouraged to apply to the 2017 New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA). Auditions begin in January and will be held across the state. A schedule of audition sites and application materials are available.
Founded in 1970, NYSSSA is a program of the State Education Department. The program provides more than 400 talented high school students the opportunity to study with some of the world's foremost artists in the visual and performing arts. Four weeks of intensive work and interaction with internationally acclaimed artists and performing arts companies, such as the New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra, give students a unique opportunity to experience the rigors of their chosen arts field.
Students are accepted into the schools through a competitive audition process conducted by the artistic staff. Tuition rates are maintained at a modest level and tuition assistance is available, enabling every student who qualifies the opportunity to participate in the program.
scholarsNYSED Announces Nominees for 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program
happy high school students working together in a group
Last week, NYSED announced that 25 New York State high school seniors have been nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The Presidential Scholar recognition is one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. Every year, one young man and one young woman from each state are named as Presidential Scholars.

Students chosen as U.S. Presidential Scholars receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. in June and  the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House. During their visit to Washington, Scholars will meet important national and international figures, including government officials, educators, authors, musicians and scientists.

For more information on the U.S. Scholars Program please visit the U.S. Department of Education's website.

For more information on New York's nominees, please see our release.