NYSED.gov logo
News and Notes
Dear Colleagues,

This edition of News and Notes provides important updates related to New York State's My Brother's Keeper initiative; certification of out-of-state teachers and leaders; public comment on draft goals and guiding principals for school accountability; creation of Community Schools; Charter School Dissemination Grants; the Summer Food Service Program; and construction grants for public libraries. In addition, we recap conversations I have had with students via Google Hangout about cyberbullying and technology in the classroom.

Thank you for all you continue to do on behalf of the students across New York State. I hope you are enjoying your summer.


MaryEllen Elia
New York State My Brother_s Keeper logo

$9 Million in Grants Now Available for Family and Community Engagement Program and Teacher Opportunity Corps

The State Education Department (SED) is now accepting applications for $9 million in grants for two New York State My Brother's Keeper Initiatives: The Teacher Opportunity Corps (TOC) and the Family and Community Engagement Program. These grant opportunities are available to develop programs and strategies to help boys and young men of color-and all students-realize their full potential.

Regents Approve New Certification Requirements for Qualified Out-Of-State Teachers and School Leaders
This week, the New York State Board of Regents amended the rules by which well-qualified, out-of-state teachers, school leaders, and school district leaders may obtain New York State certification. The new rules are expected to expand the pool of qualified educators in New York, thereby helping to fill positions in underserved subject areas and communities.

For more information, please see our press release regarding the new certification requirements.
State Seeking Comment on Draft Goals and Guiding Principles for School Accountability
The State Education Department is accepting public comment on draft goals and guiding principles to create highly effective schools that prepare students for post-secondary education, careers, and life. After seeking input from a variety of stakeholders, NYSED developed draft characteristics for highly effective schools and guiding principles for a public school accountability system to inform development of the state plan that NYSED is required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to submit to the U.S. Department of Education. 

NYSED is accepting comments on both draft documents through August 26. For more information, see our press release on the draft goals and guiding principles for school accountability.
Regents Take Action to Support Creation of Community Schools at Persistently Struggling and Struggling Schools
school bus in front of school building
This week, the New York State Board of Regents took action to support persistently struggling and struggling schools in establishing community schools. The Regents adopted grant eligibility requirements for the $75 million in funding that the Governor and Legislature provided in the 2016-2017 State Budget to support these grants. This is the first step in the rulemaking process needed to award the funding. For more information, see our press release regarding community schools .
State Education Department Awards $4 Million in Charter School Dissemination Grants
Last week, the State Education Department awarded $4 million in Charter School Dissemination Grants to eight public charter schools in New York City and Rochester. These federally funded grants will help charter schools disseminate successful practices and programs to public school districts. Each of the eight successful applicants will receive up to $500,000 for the three-year project period.
Summer Food Service Program to Serve 400,000 Free Meals Daily
Approximately 400,000 free meals will be served daily to children at 2,900 sites across New York State through the Summer Food Service Program through September 5, 2016. The Summer Food Service Program was established to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when schools are not in session.
  • Statewide, there are 348 organizations serving nutritious meals every day
  • There are approximately 2,900 Summer Food Service Program sites throughout the State
  • It is anticipated more than 20 million nutritious meals will be served to children this summer
For more information, including tools to find a Summer Food Service Program sites near you, see our Summer Food Service Program news release.
State Education Department Announces $14 Million in Library Construction Grants for 173 Public Libraries Statewide
In June, the State Education Department awarded $14 million in grants to 173 public libraries statewide for construction projects. Project activities eligible for grants include financing construction of new library buildings, construction of additions to existing buildings, and the renovation or rehabilitation of existing space. The projects can include roof replacement, purchase and installation of alternative energy resources and new HVAC systems, windows, doors, and lighting systems, electrical upgrades, and construction of new or replacement of old walkways and parking lots. New furniture, shelving and equipment, including computer equipment, can be purchased for new or newly renovated space. Renovations designed to provide accessibility for patrons with disabilities is a high priority.
Professional Spotlight: Clinical Laboratory Technologist
What is a Clinical Laboratory Technologist? This video highlights the work of a healthcare profession licensed by the New York State Education Department's Office of the Professions.

Professional Spotlight

Students Discuss Technology, Cyberbullying in Google Hangouts
students with Commissioner Elia during Google Hangout on cyberbullying
In June, Commissioner Elia hosted a lunchtime Google Hangout session with high school students from Troy City School District, Ogdensburg City School District, the City School District of New Rochelle, & Buffalo Public Schools. During the discussion, the students shared great ideas and suggestions for addressing the problem of cyberbullying in schools across New York State. Watch a video about this Google Hangout.

students with Commissioner Elia during Google Hangout about technology in schools

In April, three students from Albany Public Schools joined the Commissioner in person for a Google Hangout conversation, and six other students connected on the digital platform from Mineola, Poughkeepsie, and Wayne-Finger Lakes Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The Commissioner was interested in hearing students' views about the benefits of technology, high speed Internet at school and home, and online learning.
Performance-Based Assessment: A Test That Doesn't Feel Like A Test
Sixth graders in a western New York classroom are taking a test, but it's not the paper and pencil kind where they fill in the blanks. Instead, they are helping to develop a performance-based assessment that tracks their growth over time, enhanced with hands-on activities and peer review. This practice is the result of an approximately $9.2-million-dollar initiative called "Teaching is the Core" (TITC), administered by the New York State Education Department with federal grants. The goal: encourage districts to eliminate locally adopted tests that do not contribute to teaching and learning, while identifying and improving high-quality assessments. Awardees representing 260 districts included 25 BOCES, four large city school districts (Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, and Yonkers) and two school district consortia (Binghamton CSD and Williamsville CSD). TITC awardees were encouraged to incorporate performance-based assessment into their practices where appropriate.
students in classroom