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 commissionerNews and Notes from Commissioner King
Dear Colleagues,

The holiday season is a special time of year. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress we've made, and more importantly, it gives us a chance to express our appreciation to those who work tirelessly every day to help our students achieve success in school and in life. Thank you for your continued commitment to New York's students. Best wishes to you, your families, and your school communities for a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season.

John B. King, Jr.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnKingNYSED
cteNew York Perspectives
Check out New York Perspectivesthe new feature on EngageNY.org where we share bright spots from publications across the State:
teacher working with students"The CCLS also can help ensure that students are receiving a high-quality education consistently, from school to school and state to state, so that all students - no matter where they live or how often they move to a new school - are prepared for success in post-secondary education, the workforce and the military, if they choose to serve."
Michael Hall, retired Major General in Elmira
"With the Common Core and EngageNY, we now have more meaningful professional conversations and collaboration that are helping students succeed in the classroom and, hopefully, beyond."
Theresa L. Gray, coordinator of Integrated Education Services for Erie 2 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES
father reading to kids "'There's a whole new change this year. These students are deeply engaged.'"
Watervliet Elementary School principal Theresa O'Brien via Kristen Brown, Times Union
"Students are rising to the challenge of increased rigor and demonstrating impressive outcomes."
Jason A. Andrews, superintendent, Windsor Central School District, and Jason R. VanFossen, superintendent, Maine-Endwell Central School District
 parentsRegents State School Aid Proposal

At its meeting this week, the New York State Board of Regents approved its State School Aid proposal for the 2014-15 state budget, calling for a $1.3 billion increase in state aid, more equitable funding for high needs school districts, and increased investments in universal pre-k programs and professional development for teachers and principals. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is also addressing recommendations made by the New York State Educational Conference Board (ECB) to continue to improve implementation of the Common Core Standards. NYSED is moving forward in each of the five areas identified by the ECB that will help implementation of the Common Core:
1. Increasing understanding
Commissioner King and Board of Regents members have just completed a series of 20 forums across the state, including five broadcast on public television. NYSED is expanding its Common Core website, EngageNY.org, which includes a toolkit for parents and other instructional resources. (EngageNY.org receives more than 20,000 unique visitors every day.) NYSED is also highlighting the good work on the Common Core happening in schools through its new feature, EngagedVoices, and through videos of great instruction. And NYSED will work with the New York State Special Education Parent Centers to develop understanding around the Common Core and materials for parents of students with disabilities to empower collaboration between parents and school districts as they plan individualized education programs for students with disabilities.
2. Professional development
NYSED has trained thousands of teachers and principals in best practices for implementation and will hold more events on the regional level. More than $70 million in Race to the Top professional development grants (Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness grant program) is headed to high-need districts. The Board of Regents is also proposing a $125 million (increasing to $200 million per year in subsequent years) Core Instructional Development Fund to support professional development and parental involvement.
3. Ensuring adequate funding
The Board of Regents State Aid Proposal is a $1.3 billion total funding increase request for State school districts, including additional funding for new instructional materials, while improving funding equity.
4. Concerns with testing
NYSED reduced the number of questions and testing time on the federally-required assessments for grades 3-8, and our State budget request will include funding to further reduce testing time and eliminate standalone, multiple choice field tests.  NYSED is also asking the U.S. Department of Education for adjustments to assessment policies for English language learners and students with disabilities.
5. Review and refinement
As the Common Core is phased in for high schools, students will be given the option of taking the old form of certain Regents exams, alongside the Common Core-aligned version, to help ensure fairness. Read this memo for more information about the plan for transitioning to Common Core Regents exams. And NYSED is strengthening the role of the Department's Content Advisory Panels - comprising educators from across the State - to guide professional development and state-created optional instructional materials in different content areas.

 parentsStrengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Grant Program

Watch how one school district is successfully developing and supporting effective teachers and school leaders through a New York State Department of Education grant. The "Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness" program currently supports more than 100 school districts across the State through individual and BOCES-led consortia grants. Funding from this grant supports work being done in districts with approved Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plans and at least 25% of students from low-income households. A third round of the grant will be announced early in 2014. It is estimated that in total over $70 million will be provided to support grantees utilizing a comprehensive approach to recruitment, development, support, retention and equitable distribution of effective teachers and school leaders as part of their implementation of their APPR plan.
cteSign Up to Apply to Become an edTPA Scorer

The edTPA is our new teacher performance assessment for candidates pursuing certification in New York State. It was developed by Stanford University faculty and staff at the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) with substantial advice from teachers and teacher educators. Teacher candidate portfolios are scored by K-12 teachers, administrators, National Board-certified teachers, teacher education faculty, and clinical supervisors of student teachers. For more information about the edTPA or to apply to be considered as a possible scorer of teacher candidate portfolios, see the edTPA flyer.
engagenyRecent EngageNY.org Updates
General Updates
See below for December 2013 curriculum module updates