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Dear Colleagues,

As we reach the end of an eventful year, I'd like to wish you, your families, and your school communities a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season and a wonderful new year. Thank you for all you do every day to serve students and for your continued commitment to education in New York State.

MaryEllen Elia
APPR Transition Period
Last week, the Board of Regents approved an emergency regulation that makes adjustments to the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) for teachers and principals as the State continues its transition to higher learning standards. The emergency regulation removes any consequences for teachers' and principals' evaluations related to the grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Math State Assessments and the State-provided growth score on Regents exams until the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

The emergency regulations approved by the Board prohibit the use of results from the grades 3-8 ELA and math State assessments and State-provided growth scores for grades 9-12 principals in evaluating the performance of individual teachers or principals for the next four school years. During this time, districts and BOCES will continue to implement their approved APPR plans and provide teachers and principals with their HEDI scores and ratings calculated pursuant to that approved plan. However, districts and BOCES will also provide teachers and principals with "transition scores" and HEDI ratings that exclude the results of State assessments in grades 3-8 ELA or math (including where State-provided growth scores are used) or on State-provided growth scores on Regents exams.

The transition scores and subsequent ratings will be determined based on the remaining subcomponents of the APPR that are not based on the grades 3-8 ELA or Math State assessments and/or a State-provided growth score on Regents examinations. During the transition period, only the transition score and rating will be used for purposes of evaluation, and for purposes of employment decisions, including tenure determinations and for teacher and principal improvement plans. State-provided growth scores will continue to be computed for advisory purposes and overall HEDI ratings will continue to be provided to teachers and principals. Additional information will be forthcoming.
Video: My Brother's Keeper Initiative
Brooklyn and Rochester teens describe the challenges of being African American and Hispanic as the Board of Regents launches its My Brother's Keeper Initiative. Read more about the New York State Board of Regents Workgroup on Improving Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color.

student at home
Preliminary Data from AIMHighNY Common Core Standards Survey
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has undertaken a comprehensive review of the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. Our review began in October with an online, public survey called AIMHighNY. The survey gave anyone with an interest in our schools the opportunity to comment on our current standards. 

The survey was open from October 21 to November 30. During that period, more than 10,500 respondents provided feedback. The majority of responses, about 71 percent, were supportive of the standards, and 29 percent of responses were in disagreement. Most disagreement was focused in the early grades for both ELA and math. We will use this feedback in the coming weeks to help us identify where and what changes are needed to make New York's Common Core ELA and Math Learning Standards stronger. You can learn more about our review process here.

Feedback from those who know our current learning standards best-our educators and parents-has been especially valuable. Their voices must continue to be a part of this conversation. In the coming weeks, we will announce additional opportunities for teachers and parents to be involved in our standards review process. Their ideas and suggestions will help make sure New York's learning standards are the right ones for our students.
Auditions for the 2016 New York State Summer School of the Arts
students dancing
Applications are currently being accepted for the 2016 New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA). Auditions begin in January and will be held throughout New York State. A complete schedule of audition sites, application materials and program information is available on the NYSSSA website.
Video: New York State Blue Ribbon Commission for the Arts
This video provides an overview of the work by the NYS Blue Ribbon Commission for the Arts to make recommendations to the Board of Regents and Commissioner of Education on arts assessments of comparable rigor to a Regents Exam to be used as pathways assessments in the arts.

Arts assessment experts, arts educators and arts organizations gathered on November 17, 2015 at the State Museum in Albany for a full panel meeting, and on December 14th, a progress report was presented to a joint session of the P-12 and Cultural Education Committees.
student working on an art project
Combat Heroin & Prescription Drug Abuse 'Kitchen Table Toolkit'
A new Kitchen Table Toolkit is now available as part of the New York State Combat Heroin and Prescription Opioid Abuse campaign. The toolkit features two new videos which can be used by parents, teachers, and community members to help begin conversations with youth concerning the health risks and dangerous consequences of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse.

The Kitchen Table Toolkit was developed to assist individuals (parents, spouses, siblings, teachers, coaches, counselors, probation officers, etc.) with initiating conversations about heroin and opioid abuse. Information, resources, and supports are available so no one needs to be alone in the fight to combat heroin and opioid abuse. Recognizing that addiction is not exclusive to heroin and opioids, this information may be applicable for alcohol and other drugs, also addressed in this toolkit. See page 12 for school-focused information.
Summer Reading Teen Video Challenge
student reading
New York State is very pleased to participate in the 2016 Teen Video Challenge, as part of Summer Reading at New York Libraries. Please encourage teens ages 13 to 18 to create and submit an entry promoting summer reading and libraries. This year's slogan for the Teen Video Challenge is "Get in the Game - Read!"

Teens should submit entry forms to their local library by March 4, 2016. All information and forms for the competition are available on the Summer Reading at New York Libraries website.

For more information, please contact: Sharon B. Phillips, coordinator of Summer Reading at New York Libraries, at Sharon.Phillips@nysed.gov or at (518) 486-4863.
EngageNY Updates
Curriculum Updates

Mathematics modules 1, 2, and 3 have been updated for all grades.

All mathematics modules will be updated in the coming months. Check back at the Curriculum Module Updates chart for details.
Many translated mathematics modules are now posted. Additional translations will be posted as they become available.

Social Studies Update
Social Education, flagship journal of the National Council for the Social Studies, contains a balance of theoretical content and practical teaching ideas. Published six times a year, the most recent issue features a special section on the New York State Social Studies Toolkit. The Editor's Notebook explains the articles that are included in this special section. April Francis, a middle school teacher at Lawrence Road Middle School, is featured on the cover and is the subject of an interview. April served as a member of the Teacher Collaborative Council and describes her experiences using one Inquiry.  

Assessment Update
The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) is designed to annually assess the English language proficiency of all English Language Learners (ELLs) enrolled in Grades K-12. It is a component of the State's compliance with federal laws that mandate annually assessing and monitoring the English Language proficiency progress of all ELLs.

Rather than preparing a lengthy webinar to prepare an overview of the NYSESLAT, we have divided the information into smaller "webinettes." In conjunction with the other resources found on EngageNY, these webinettes can be used to help align instruction to the administration of the NYSESLAT.