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Dear Parents,

This month, the Board of Regents and the State Education Department (NYSED) have taken measures to help students and teachers displaced by recent natural disasters. In my last update, I informed you of NYSED's  guidance to school districts to help students displaced by the recent hurricanes . And last week, the Board of Regents took action to  allow teachers displaced by Hurricane Maria to obtain temporary nonrenewable teaching certification  in New York State.

In this newsletter, I would also like to provide you with information about NYSED's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan; a new pathway to a high school equivalency (HSE) diploma; and free online resources available to New York students.

The Board of Regents approved New York's ESSA plan at its September meeting, and NYSED then submitted the plan to the U.S. Department of Education. See  highlights of New York's ESSA plan and information on the comprehensive stakeholder engagement that went into writing it. We are confident that the plan will ultimately be approved, and we will then begin to move forward to implement these initiatives that are critical for New York's students.

In addition, NYSED released  ESSA fact sheets for parents, educators, and school board members . These summary documents explain the final ESSA plan and will be translated in additional languages.

Last week, NYSED proposed regulatory changes to provide an additional pathway to earn a high school equivalency (HSE) diploma by allowing individuals to use passing scores on certain Regents exams in place of the corresponding TASC subtests. A 45-day public comment period on the proposed amendment will be held from November 1 through December 18.

Regents exams are a valid and reliable measure of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for high school graduation. So, it makes sense to count passing scores on those exams for people seeking a high school equivalency diploma, providing them with more avenues to succeed.

Finally, I want to make sure you are aware of the collection of free resources available at the New York Online Virtual Electronic Library (NOVELNY). NOVELNY is a great resource for students, from answering questions to conducting research to doing homework. NOVELNY includes many free resources, including:
  • InfoTrac Newsstand: offers over 2,000 full-text newspapers that include several New York State newspapers--Buffalo News, Glens Falls Post-Star, New York Times, New York Post, and Newsday.
  • Kids InfoBits: contains over 550 age-appropriate magazines for grades K-5. Also includes Merriam-Webster's Elementary Dictionary, maps, flags, seals, charts, graphs, and 600 videos to support STEM topics.
  • Opposing Viewpoints in Context: contains a range of perspectives on many important issues, with over 21,000 pro/con viewpoints. Includes a variety of resource types: reference, news, primary sources, multimedia, and more.
  • Research in Context: resources for students in grades 6 to 8. Offers magazines, newspapers, primary sources, over 12,000 videos, and more on a variety of topics. Supports national and state curriculum standards in language arts, social studies, and science.
Please visit our NOVELNY website for a complete list of resources . For more information, please contact your child's school librarian or the NOVELNY Help Desk at  [email protected] .

I appreciate your continued support, and I hope you encourage other parents to sign up for our
parent email list  to receive updates. I look forward to staying in touch.


MaryEllen Elia