News and Notes
October 2013
New York State Education Department
News and Notes

Message from Commissioner King

Dear Colleagues,

Now that the school year is in full swing, teachers have been working hard to bring the Common Core State Standards alive in schools across the State. As I visit classrooms each week, I'm impressed and excited to see evidence of the instructional shifts that are preparing our students with the skills they need to be successful after high school graduation. I'm confident that our teachers will help all students reach these higher standards -- teaching is the core.

In an effort to help educators with Common Core implementation, New York State has developed and shared optional and supplemental resources that can be used in the classroom. And every few months, we bring together educators from across the State to work together using these resources, compare notes, and plan for next steps. Last July, over 1,200 New York educators joined us for five days of learning, discussion, and collaborative planning.

Demand for these optional and supplemental curricular materials has been skyrocketing. Since we launched, the website pages have been viewed more than 30 million times, and there have been close to two million downloads of curricular module resources.

While the curricular modules are optional for teachers to use, we are thrilled that so many have found them helpful. Some educators have chosen to adopt individual lessons or whole modules, which are a collection of learning materials that include lesson plans within a curricular unit. Some have chosen to adapt these materials and integrate them with district-provided or teacher-developed materials. As always, teachers and other school leaders are paving the way as we proceed with this incredibly important and challenging work.

Thanks for all you do to help our students learn.

John B. King, Jr.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnKingNYSED



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See the September 2013 Committee Report for a summary of all Board of Regents actions and discussions.

Watch Our Newest Common Core Instruction Video!


This Common Core video features Kindergarten students from Watervliet, NY using objects to compose and decompose numbers from 11-16 and drawing equations to demonstrate their understanding. The lesson demonstrates Instructional Shift 4: Deep Understanding; Standard for Mathematical Practice 6: Attend to Precision; and Standard for Mathematical Practice 7: Look for and make use of structure. Students use a familiar tool, a ten frame, to compose and decompose numbers bigger than 10.

2014 Teacher of the Year
Congratulations to the 2014 Teacher of the Year!

Congratulations to Ashli Skura Dreher, a high school special education teacher at the Lewiston-Porter Central School District in Youngstown, NY, for being named the 2014 New York State Teacher of the Year!


guidanceGuidance on Integrating Curricular Materials into the Classroom

The optional curricular materials on EngageNY are designed to be adopted or adapted. Educators will find both PDF and Word versions available for their use. Some lessons provide detailed instructions or recommendations but it is important to note that the lessons are not scripts and rather they should be viewed as vignettes so that the reader can imagine how the class could look. 

Lessons are adaptable and allow for teacher preference and flexibility so that what is happening in the classroom can both meet students' needs and be in service to the shifts and the standards. If you do choose to make significant changes to lessons, the Tristate/EQuIP rubric is available to help you evaluate the quality, rigor, and alignment of your adapted lessons.

Also, please note that the Math modules include a significant number of problem sets so that students have ample opportunity to practice and apply their knowledge. Educators can help students to achieve deep conceptual knowledge by asking them to complete selected problems that have been designed in a sequential, thoughtful order. It is not expected that all the problems in a problem set be administered, but rather educators can choose from the ample amount of problems provided. Educators may certainly adapt this curriculum using their own judgment regarding student needs and pace of the semester and/or year.


updatesCurriculum Module Updates

New and fully updated curricular materials are now ready for your classroom. Charts are available on that reflect Mathematics and English Language Arts curricular materials and resources that have been updated or are posted for the 2013-14 school year. As additional materials are updated or posted, these charts will be updated. All other materials that are currently on EngageNY are ready for instructional use.

feedbackCurriculum Feedback

We know during this first year of full implementation of curriculum modules in ELA and Mathematics, you will be deeply engaged in using materials. If you have any feedback during use, let us know by accessing the contact us form on EngageNY:

We will work to make any improvements based on feedback received as soon as possible. Please note, we will collect and monitor feedback throughout the intended use of a particular module.