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Dear Colleagues,

All students deserve an education that prepares them for success in college, careers, and life. That's why the Board of Regents passed a ground-breaking initiative on October 20 to offer students new options to meet the State's high school graduation requirements. The new regulations establish multiple pathways to graduation, including pathways in Career and Technical Education (CTE); Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); the Arts; Biliteracy; and the Humanities. I encourage you to watch an overview video below and to learn more about the ways multiple pathways will help students develop the skills necessary to succeed in postsecondary education and a variety of demanding, high-skill career paths.

Also in News & Notes, we hear perspectives from students on Long Island and the Finger Lakes about meeting the challenges of higher standards. And as auditions draw near for the 2015 New York State Summer School of the Arts, we share a video profile of the modern dance program, where students are learning college and career ready skills, while putting on a great show.

In addition, I hope you'll enjoy reading about districts and BOCES throughout the state that were just awarded $11 million in grants to provide professional development to current principals and teacher leaders, plus a unique perspective from the Niagara Falls City School District on the changing role of the principal. Finally, I am pleased to announce a new opportunity for teacher engagement, the Hope Street Group New York State Teacher Fellows Program.

Thank you for all you do as educators, family and community members in supporting our students.


John B. King, Jr.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnKingNYSED
Regents Approve Historic 'Multiple Pathways' Option

On October 20, the New York State Board of Regents passed a ground-breaking initiative that will offer students new opportunities to develop college and career-ready skills in the arts, humanities, biliteracy, CTE and STEM fields. 'Multiple Pathways' create comparably rigorous options to encourage students to pursue strong interests and skills in order to succeed in higher education and the careers of today and tomorrow.


New York Students: Reaching Higher Standards
An 8th grade student from the Finger Lakes describes how he's diving into the classic novel, The Outsiders; and a Long Island 4th grader tells us how it's easy to convert metric units. 

Watch the videos here and here

Call for Auditions: New York State Summer School of the Arts
Auditions are fast approaching for the popular New York State Summer School of the Arts program. In January and February, students can try out for one of seven summer residency programs ranging from music to dance to visual arts. In this video, watch how students in the modern dance program learned college and career-ready skills while putting on a spectacular show. 

Engaged Voices: The Changing Role of a Principal
In our latest EngagedVoices educator blog post, Mary Kerins, Principal at Kalfas Elementary School in the Niagara Falls City School District, describes how her central challenge now is to understand how to keep getting better. 

Just like most educators at the beginning of every school year I pause to reflect on the previous one.  Looking back what has stood out most is how much my building has changed starting with my role as a school principal.

With the transition to the new standards, many have spoken about the shifts in teaching and learning and the role of the teacher.  Much less attention has been paid to what this means for principals and our leadership roles in the transformation.  Over the last few years, our school has embraced the change process and focused on our central challenge: to understand how to keep getting better. Read more
$11 Million in Grants to Strengthen Teacher and Principal Effectiveness

Twenty-one applicants have received preliminary notification that they have been awarded more than $11 million through the Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Dissemination Grant: Principal Leadership (STLE-D) Program. Grant recipients will use the funding to provide professional development to current principals and teacher leaders on principal pathways and to enhance programs that focus on teacher and leader effectiveness. Successful applicants include school districts, BOCES, one public charter school, and consortia of districts and BOCES that, in total, serve more than 220,000 students.


Since 2012, New York State has provided funding, through three separate rounds of Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) grants, to help schools and districts take a comprehensive approach to the recruitment, development, support, retention and equitable distribution of great teachers and leaders. STLE focuses on activities that ensure rigorous implementation of teacher and principal evaluations (APPR) and the use of APPR results to advance teachers and principals into "career ladder" roles where they can have more influence over, and impact on, student learning and educator effectiveness. STLE grants and activities are supported, in whole or in part, by New York State's Race to the Top federal funds.

"We have said all along that teacher and principal evaluations aren't about creating a 'gotcha' system; they're about improving the teaching and learning that goes on in our classrooms," said Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch. "These STLE grants will help ensure that districts and BOCES use evaluations the right way - by embedding their APPR processes into a comprehensive system that continually improves teacher and leader effectiveness."

"These grants reinforce the Board of Regents' commitment to the goal that every student is in a classroom led by a great teacher in a school led by a great principal," said Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. "STLE is a direct investment in districts across the State that strive to use the great talent available in their schools to ensure the continuous growth of students and educators. With this latest round of grants, nearly one-third of all school districts and BOCES in New York now have additional resources to help make that a reality."

STLE-D represents the final round of STLE funding. The grants are targeted to support the dissemination of promising and/or successful principal practices and programs found in existing STLE districts. STLE-D will allow the 21 preliminary awardees, comprised of 45 STLE districts, five STLE BOCES, and 1 STLE public charter school to share their successful innovations in a collaborative endeavor with 39 districts and one BOCES that have not previously been involved with and/or awarded an STLE grant. Final grant awards are contingent on the review and approval of the Office of the State Comptroller.


A map of grantees from all three STLE cohorts and STLE-D


Below are reflections on the STLE program from previous STLE award winners. These grantees will not only continue their work, but will also share successful practices through their participation in STLE-D.


"The Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness 3 Grant has provided the South Glens Falls Central School District with the opportunity to provide our teachers and administrators with the resources that are necessary to focus on improving our curriculum and expanding the instructional strategies that are required by the new Common Core Learning Standards. During these challenging fiscal times, our district would not be able to offer this support for student learning without the support of this grant. South Glens Falls is looking forward to the positive results that this investment will have on student learning and achievement."  - Michael Patton, Superintendent of Schools, South Glens Falls Central School District

"STLE 2 funds have allowed our districts to enhance the level of support provided to teachers and leaders with implementing Common Core, data driven instruction and STEM. The career ladder initiative has enabled both teachers and leaders to be empowered to share their content and pedagogical expertise with colleagues, establishing a culture of shared ownership of district and building initiatives. Furthermore, the model of supports has helped with our district's ability to expand STEM initiatives and building programs at the high school level that will expose our students to college and career opportunities." - Dr. Jared Bloom, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Curriculum, South Huntington Union Free School District

"Improving teacher and leader effectiveness is the most critical factor to raising student achievement and improving the quality of education for Greece students. The STLE grant provided the resources to create a high quality leadership development program for teachers and school leaders to improve practice through quality implementation of the New York State reform agenda." - Barbara Deane-Williams, Superintendent of Schools, Greece Central School District

Educators Share Latest Teaching Models at October NTI
Earlier this month, over 850 New York educators gathered in Albany for our October Network Team Institute (NTI). It was a productive week of high-quality training, professional development and collaboration among educators from all over New York State. Read more
Hope Street Group New York State Teacher Fellows Program
This fall, Hope Street Group, a national nonprofit organization known for its teacher engagement work, will select teachers from across the state to participate in a yearlong fellowship, beginning in January 2015, focused on fostering teacher leadership and professional growth through the sharing of ideas and expertise around teacher and principal leadership opportunities, career ladder pathways, and other teacher and leader effectiveness efforts. Hope Street Group's state teacher fellowship program was launched in Kentucky in 2013 and in Hawaii in 2014 in partnership with teacher associations. "KEA applauds Hope Street Group's self-examination and desire to become even better at helping promote teacher participation in the issues facing public schools today," said Mary Ann Blankenship, Executive Director of the Kentucky Education Association. To hear more about the fellowship, watch the Hope Street Group State Teacher Fellows Motion Story. For inquiries and more information on applying to the fellowship visit: apply.hopestreetgroup.org.
Transfer Credit Granted for Students at State Facilities
Effective October 1, 2014 the Board of Regents amended section 100.5(d) of the Commissioner's Regulations to require that principals of registered public high schools grant transfer credit to a student when a state agency, such as the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), attests that a student has completed coursework that is aligned with the applicable New York State commencement-level learning standards that meets the requirements for the award of units of credit including, but not limited to, the requirement for 180 minutes of instruction per week throughout the school year. The instruction must have been provided by a teacher certified pursuant to Part 80 of this Title.

This amendment was made in order to:
� Expand opportunities for students to receive high school credit for work completed while enrolled in an educational program operated by a State agency.
� Create consistency across the State in how coursework completed at State agency facilities is credited.
� Provide an incentive for students to re-enroll in school once released from State agency facilities.

SED will later this school year disseminate to districts additional information on the process by which agencies such as the Office of Children and Family Services will provide attestations to schools regarding credits that principals must award for work completed by students in these facilities.

More specific information about the amendment of Section 100.5(d) of the Commissioner's Regulations can be found at: