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News and Notes
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Dear Colleagues,

In this edition of News and Notes, we share perspectives on the Common Core and assessments from a parent in Greece and educators in Watervliet, Fulton, Livonia, and Ithaca. We also highlight the New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework that the Board of Regents approved yesterday. In addition to the Social Studies Framework, we have posted other new resources on our website, EngageNY.org, including ELA curriculum modules, instructional videos, and Frequently Asked Questions about the 3-8 testing program.
 
Sincerely,
 
John B. King, Jr.
Commissioner
Follow me on Twitter @JohnKingNYSED
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New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework
Yesterday, the Board of Regents adopted the New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework to provide schools and teachers with information they need to consider modifications to local social studies curriculum for students in grades K-12. The Social Studies Framework has drawn support from social studies teachers, professional organizations, and other state and national education organizations. It includes key ideas and concepts for each grade level and incorporates Common Core skills in literacy, writing, speaking and listening, as well as social studies practices. Watch the video below and see our news release to learn more about the New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework.
 
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Preparing students for college and career
After hearing her college-aged son talk about the academic demands on campus, Lisa Christoffel, a Greece, NY parent, describes the advice she's now giving her 8th grade son who attends Odyssey Academy.
Greece parent
 
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Sixth Graders: Rising to Expectations
Watervliet 6th grade teacher Don Stevens says his students are meeting new challenges everyday, by analyzing texts like "The Lightning Thief."
 
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Teaching is the Core
teacher with students
NYSED is pleased to announce the release of Teaching is the Core, a request for proposals (RFP) that aims to foster high quality assessment practices throughout New York State.
 
The purpose of this RFP is to encourage eligible applicants to review their current assessment systems and create a resulting action plan that may facilitate the elimination, replacement, or improvement of assessments that are deemed insufficiently helpful to student learning. In addition to these activities, applicants are expected to develop and incorporate professional development activities that will serve to improve the use of assessment, as well as assessment data, in schools.
 
NYSED has reserved $16.7 million for this initiative that promotes efforts to enhance the quality of local assessments that are currently in use, while simultaneously reducing the number of assessments that are perceived to take away from instructional time. During the course of the grant period, NYSED will also offer webinars that describe and support best practices in assessment. While these webinars will aim to assist successful awardees in their work, the information will also be publically posted for others who may be interested. 
 
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Ensuring Equal Opportunities for English Language Learners
This week, the State Education Department presented to the State Board of Regents the framework for an historic plan to revise Commissioner's Regulations Part 154, which governs English Language Learner education. The principles guiding the revisions were embodied in the new Blueprint for ELL Success released earlier this month.
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Competitive Cheerleading as an Interscholastic Sport
The Board of Regents this week voted to revise the Extra Class Athletic Activities Guidelines ("Guidelines"), established pursuant to 135.4 of the Commissioner's regulations, to reflect competitive cheerleading as an interscholastic sport. More information is available in the Regents item.
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New York Perspectives
WXXI News
April 19, 2014
Matt Cole, Superintendent of Schools at Livonia Central School District, says that meaningful learning is happening in classrooms as a result of the Common Core. Superintendent Cole says he thinks the state is moving in the right direction and that the Common Core "will stand the test of time."
Ithaca Journal
April 23, 2014
Luvelle Brown, Superintendent of Ithaca City School District, and Dan Breiman, Principal of Belle Sherman Elementary School, value the opportunity to measure critical thinking using the New York State Common Core assessments in grades 3-8.
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EngagedVoices: Assessment is About Measuring Progress
Elizabeth Conners
This week's post from our EngagedVoices educator blog features Elizabeth Conners, Executive Director of Instruction and Assessment at Fulton City School District. Conners explains why assessments are important: they help us see how students are progressing toward college and career readiness.
 
Teachers and students have been working hard all year. Teachers are implementing instruction tied to the Common Core Learning Standards while students are learning new knowledge and skills such as making evidence-based arguments and deeply understanding and applying math concepts. The NYS 3-8 English Language Arts and Math assessments are one way to measure what has been achieved and it is time for our students to now be able to demonstrate their learning based upon the standards which we began implementing in 2010.
 
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Congratulations to the ACTE Teacher of the Year!
Congratulations to Tara Berescik of Grahamsville, who was recently named the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Teacher of the Year. Berescik is an agricultural educator with Tri-Valley Central School District.
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EngageNY Updates
General Updates
See below for April 2014 curriculum module updates