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Dear Colleagues,
As many of you may know, I became State Education Department Commissioner over the summer break. I bring nearly 45 years of experience to the job. In 1970, I began my career as a social studies teacher in the Sweet Home School District near Buffalo. I taught for 19 years before moving on to various administrative positions. Most recently, I was the superintendent of the Hillsborough County Public School System in Florida, the nation's eighth largest school district with 206,000 very diverse students, 30,000 employees, and a multi-billion dollar budget.
Since becoming Commissioner, I have visited dozens of schools and colleges and met with hundreds of teachers, principals, parents, administrators, school board members, and students. The visits bring back wonderful memories of my early days in the classroom. Even though I'm no longer in front of students every day, I still consider myself a teacher, and I always will. It's in my DNA.
My visits to schools give me the opportunity to meet with and listen to teachers, parents, administrators, school board members, and students. Since becoming Commissioner, I have made listening my priority.
It's clear to me that we all agree we must educate all children so that they can contribute to society as competent and caring citizens. Every child must graduate from our schools prepared for success in college, the workforce, and citizenship.
For this goal to become reality, we must have high learning standards for our students; provide our teachers with the right supports and resources; engage parents as meaningful partners in their child's education; and have policies that make sense and ultimately lead to better outcomes for our students.
I need your help to get us there. We will review our learning standards, curriculum resources, assessment program, and educator evaluation system in a way that will allow everyone to have a voice, particularly the practitioners who are implementing standards in our schools and the parents who know their children best. If something isn't working, I want to know about it. I'm always open to hearing suggestions on how to fix those problems.
AIMHighNY standards survey

Last week, NYSED launched AIMHighNY, an online survey that will allow New Yorkers to provide detailed feedback on the State's English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy and Math Common Core Learning Standards for prekindergarten through grade 12. The survey allows respondents to review and comment on any ELA and math standard for any grade level. The survey will be open until November 30, 2015, and the results will help inform changes made to the standards.

If you haven't already, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook . I'll be filling you in on what I'm doing and the places I'm visiting. And I'd love to hear about how the school year is going for you, too!

MaryEllen Elia
Newburgh Educator Named 2016 New York Teacher of the Year
The New York State Board of Regents announced that Dana McDonough has been named the 2016 New York State Teacher of the Year. McDonough, a second grade teacher at Newburgh Enlarged City School District in Newburgh was presented with a certificate of recognition by Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. McDonough, the 46th New York State Teacher of the Year has been teaching first or second grade in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District for her entire career of 22 years. She currently teaches second graders at Fostertown ETC Magnet School.

Teacher of the Year accepts award
NYSED Recognizes Employers of Individuals with Disabilities

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)

The New York State Education Department has been celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) by recognizing businesses from across the State that do an outstanding job of employing individuals with disabilities. The Department's Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (ACCES), along with the State Department of Labor (DOL), New York State Commission for the Blind, and other partners, has organized several events this month to highlight the connection between businesses seeking qualified workers and workers, who just happen to be individuals with disabilities. Through the Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) program, the Department assists individuals with disabilities in securing and maintaining employment in order to support independent living. All month long, businesses of all sizes from all parts of the state are being acknowledged for their willingness to invest in qualified people with disabilities in their communities by offering them employment opportunities.

NYSED Announces Nominees for Presidential Scholars Program
graduating girl
Last week, Commissioner Elia announced the nomination of 25 New York State high school seniors for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The Presidential Scholar recognition is one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. 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.

Introduction to NYS School Receivership
In this video, educators, parents, and school advocates who gathered in July for the NYSED Conference on School Receivership talk about their plans and hopes for turning around low-performing schools. After Commissioner Elia identified 144 schools in 17 school districts as persistently struggling or struggling, they were required by a new state law to enter into receivership. Superintendents are granted new authority to develop robust plans to improve student performance, but if schools fail to show demonstrable improvement within 1-2 years, independent receivers assume control for up to three years.

children and teacher in classroom
Green Ribbon Schools Recognition
The State Education Department is pleased to announce that New York State is participating in the fifth year of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) program, and invites public and nonpublic schools to apply for this national recognition.

The ED-GRS program recognizes schools where staff, students, officials and communities have worked together to produce energy efficient, sustainable and healthy school environments and to ensure the sustainability and environmental literacy of graduates. The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices proven to result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government-wide goal to increase energy independence and economic security.

See submission details, including the program timeline and application process here.

Find more information about the ED-GRS Green Ribbon Schools program here.
Every Student Present
Every Student Present websiteEvery Student Present resource materials are designed to help parents understand the detrimental impact that chronic absence has on their young children's school success and to direct parents to resources that can help them with issues that may impede their children's school attendance (e.g., school anxiety, health, or academic challenges).

We invite school administrators and staff to visit the Every Student Present resource page where they can:
  • download posters that can be displayed throughout school buildings and at after school and youth programs;
  • find code that will allow them to embed the Every Student Present web tile on school websites so parents can click on the image and be directed to the Every Student Present parent website; and
  • download the parent tips sheet that can be shared with families.

For more information about Every Student Present, contact Mary De Masi or Cate Bohn.

EngageNY Updates
Curriculum Updates

English Language Arts

All 3-8 ELA modules were updated over the summer. See the Curriculum Module Updates chart for details.

Grades 9-12 ELA modules will be updated in the coming weeks. Check back at the Curriculum Module Updates chart for details.

All mathematics modules will be updated in the coming months. Check back at the Curriculum Module Updates chart for details.

Translated mathematics modules are now posted. Additional translations will be posted as they become available. 
Social Studies Updates

Video Updates

Assessment Updates

New York State Bilingual Common Core Initiative

Teacher/Leader Effectiveness Updates