New York State Education Department

News and Notes

December 2012
Message from Commissioner King


Dear Colleagues,


Obviously, our joy during this holiday season has been replaced by an overwhelming sadness. The incomprehensible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut has left all of us with heavy hearts and somber spirits. My thoughts and prayers go out to every parent, teacher and resident in Newtown. I cannot imagine their sorrow.


When I think of what happened, two things strike me. One is the remarkable courage and strength the teachers, principal, and staff showed throughout this ordeal. Their bravery and sacrifice undoubtedly saved lives that horrible day. They are a reminder of the extraordinary responsibility educators live up to everyday: the responsibility to protect our most vital treasures, our students.


The second thing that strikes me is that we must always, always be vigilant. Our schools need to be havens from violence and tragedy. Our students must feel safe and protected when they walk through the classroom door. We have to constantly review our policies and procedures, and we have to constantly train and review. Last Friday, working with the State Police, I sent a letter out to every district in the state, reminding administrators to review their safety plans. We must pray nothing like this ever happens again, and be prepared in case it does. The SED website ( has guidelines and information to help schools ensure they're doing everything they can to keep students safe.


Earlier this week, I announced that we have approved more than 440 APPR plans from districts across the state. More than 660 districts have submitted plans for approval. I know how much hard work and energy goes into developing these plans. The fact that so many local bargaining units and districts have gotten the job done is an important achievement for our state's students. Well-crafted evaluation plans are vital to providing the right kind of feedback and professional development to help educators improve their practice. Our goal is to help every student graduate college and career ready, and sound, effective APPR plans will help us reach that goal.


There is a lot of good work going on across the state on the Regents' Reform Agenda. The Board of Regents is considering new pathways to a diploma that will integrate career and technical education (CTE) more deeply into the high school environment (the Chancellor on behalf of the Board of Regents and I on behalf of the Department recently co-sponsored, along with the Business Council and IBM, a CTE conference in Albany). The resources on continue to expand. We're working on improving the teacher and principal certification process. Changes that will help improve teaching and learning in New York are in full swing. Please check out the links within this newsletter to get the full picture.


Let me close by wishing all of you, along with your students and your families, a safe and happy holiday season and the very best possible New Year.


John B. King, Jr.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnKingNYSED 

Conference on Education and the Workforce

On December 7, the Chancellor on behalf of the Board of Regents and the Commissioner on behalf of the Department, in conjunction with IBM and The Business Council of New York State, Inc., hosted an Educational Conference for Focus Districts with high schools in accountability status entitled Educating Tomorrow's Workforce: Preparing Students to Compete in the 21st Century Economy. This valuable opportunity provided great insights into how we as a state can leverage partnerships to drive improved outcomes that will ensure college and career readiness for all of our students. For a video of the conference, please visit:
New Website from the Office of Higher Education

The State Education Department's Office of Higher Education has launched a new website to coordinate and strengthen New York State's higher education system. The website supports our work to implement the Statewide Plan, promote P-20 alignment, launch new certification examinations, and partner with SUNY, CUNY and the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities on faculty development initiatives. The new site features many new resources that will help us all as we continue this work.

Please visit:  

Regents Propose Expanding Access to High-Quality Pre-Kindergarten

In its State Aid proposal this month, the Board of Regents recommended $75 million in available grant funding be used to expand full day Prekindergarten programming. Approximately 73 percent of these funds would be allocated to high need school districts and 27 percent to all others to strengthen the provision of educational opportunity.

High-quality prekindergarten programs ensure that children acquire the foundational knowledge and skills needed for success in elementary school and to put them on track for college and career readiness. Children's early language development and preliminary reading skills directly benefit from participation in quality early childhood programs and grade level reading ability in the early elementary grades provides a reliable predictor of future school success.

See the full text of the Regents' State Aid proposal here:
Auditions for NYSED's 2013 Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA):

Dignity Act Resources and Guides:



Follow us on Twitter
 Like us on Facebook
Quick Links


December Meeting of the Board of Regents 

See the December 2012 Committee Report for a summary of all Board of Regents actions and discussions.