NYSED.gov logo
News and Notes
Dear Colleagues,

It's American Education Week! This week is a good opportunity to celebrate public education and also to reflect on everything you do to  make a difference for children in New York State. I truly appreciate all of your contributions and efforts to help students succeed.

In this edition of News and Notes, I provide updates related to the following:
Again, thank you for all you do. Happy American Education Week!


MaryEllen Elia
climateSchool Climate and Safety
Schools must remain safe havens where students are free to learn without fear of discrimination, harassment, or intimidation directed towards them because of their race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other basis.

We encourage school administrators to engage with the entire school community and to keep an open dialogue that promotes a positive and safe school climate. Schools should hold gatherings for staff and students to help prevent incidents from happening and to inform them of what to do if they witness or experience discrimination, harassment, or intimidation.  We must all work together to keep students safe in schools.

NYSED will provide additional guidance to school districts soon.
assessments2017 Grades 3-8 State Assessments
student taking a test
In preparation for the 2017 grades 3-8 state assessments, NYSED reviewed the many initiatives that were implemented in 2016, including:
  • a decrease in the number of test questions, resulting in a shorter test;
  • a shift to untimed testing;
  • a new testing vendor; and
  • the greater involvement of educators in the test development process.
We heard positive feedback across the state about these changes to the assessments, and we will be carrying them forward to 2017.  We also collaborated with our assessment contractor, Questar, the assessment Technical Advisory Committee, and Board of Regents leadership to engage in a thorough review of the feasibility of modifying the assessments to a two-session design for 2017. We determined that making such a substantial change to the test design would make longitudinal comparisons of test results inappropriate at the school, district, and statewide levels. For this reason, we will not make significant changes to the spring 2017 assessments.

We will not make any decisions about the 2018 assessments at this time, and we will continue to look for opportunities for more flexibility. There are indications that the new federal administration may provide more flexibility to the states, so we want to maintain the ability to gather all of the facts before making any determinations for 2018 and beyond.
task-forceEarly Learning Task Force Call for Applications
two children sitting at a desk happily working
NYSED is currently accepting applications for membership in our Early Learning Task Force. The Early Learning Task Force will be selected through an open application process and include 30 early learning educators, including classroom teachers, parents, teachers of students with disabilities, English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers, program administrators, curriculum specialists, college professors, developmental specialists, and school administrators.

The Early Learning Task Force application is open to the public until November 30. The application and additional information about the Early Learning Task Force are available here.
summerreading2.1 Million Children Participate in 2016 Summer Reading Program
three students reading outside together on a nice day
This week, NYSED and the State Library announced that more than 2.1 million students and children statewide participated in the 2016 summer reading program, an increase of approximately 115,000 participants over last year's program with 1.99 million participants.

The State Library partners with 1,100 main public libraries and neighborhood branches statewide every year on the summer reading program.

counselorsProposed Amendments to School Counselor Regulations
student talking to school counselor
School counselors are certified professionals who are uniquely qualified to address the academic, career and personal/social development of all students. They are trained to provide a combination of preventive and supportive services; they work together with other school professionals to ensure students' current and future success.

NYSED will seek public comment on proposed regulations to ensure all school counselors are well-prepared to help students address the wide array of issues and problems they face every day. The proposed regulations are based on extensive public comment and stakeholder feedback received by NYSED over the past several months. The public comment period will run from November 30 through December 30.

Read our news release on the school counselor regulations  for more information.
grantsBoard of Regents Approves $425,000 in Grants for Education Department Priorities
This week, the New York State Board of Regents voted to approve $425,000 in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support New York's My Brother's Keeper initiative and to improve the delivery of professional learning for educators in New York State.

The one-year My Brother's Keeper grant for $225,000 will be used to identify schools in New York State that are already achieving strong outcomes with boys and young men of color and share their best practices. The six-month grant for $200,000 will allow NYSED to create a new professional statewide learning structure.

Read our news release on the education grants for more information.
kids-curateState Museum Encourages Kids to Curate a Special Exhibition by Voting for Their Favorite Objects
Kids Curate logo
Children across the state are invited to "curate" a special three-day exhibition at the New York State Museum by voting for their favorite artifacts and specimens during the month of November. A voting ballot is available on the Museum's website for children to vote for which objects they want to see in the "Kids Curate" exhibition in February 2017. Voting will close on Wednesday, November 30. The online ballot is available here.
The ballot includes 15 objects from the State Museum's collections representing various areas including history, biology, paleontology, geology, and ethnography. The seven objects with the most votes will appear in a special exhibition on the 4th floor of the State Museum February 24 - 26, 2017. Children are encouraged to submit their comments on why they voted for a particular object; selected comments will be featured in the exhibition.
assessment-101Assessment 101 Web Page
three happy students with teacher
Following the success of the Statewide grant program, Teaching is the Core, in which New York State school districts were encouraged to eliminate or improve unnecessary and redundant assessments, NYSED has created the Assessment 101 web page

The Assessment 101 web page provides guidance for teachers, administrators, parents, and community members on responsible and creative assessment practices. It also provides a community for those interested in better understanding and improving the assessment process.
paemstPresidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
students performing science experiment in front of teacher
Each year, the President of the United States recognizes outstanding teachers in mathematics and science from across the nation. The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)  is the highest national honor for outstanding teaching and leadership in mathematics and science. Annually, New York State can recognize up to five mathematics finalists and five science finalists.
The 2016-2017 PAEMST program is now accepting award nominations for eligible exemplary 7th through 12th grade mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers.  The nomination period will close April 1, 2017. The deadline to submit an application is May 1, 2017.  Nominate an outstanding mathematics or science teacher today !