I hope you are enjoying the fall. I would like to provide you with information about several recent noteworthy items, including the review of New York State's graduation measures; two My Brother's Keeper grants; the 2019 Student Archives Awards winners; and opportunities for public comment.
The three phases of the graduation measures review include:
Phase I: Information Gathering (November 2019 - February 2020)
- Regional Workgroups
- Regional Stakeholder Feedback on Guiding Questions
- Review of Research and Practices in Other States
Phase II: Blue Ribbon Commission (March 2020 - Spring 2021)
- Blue Ribbon Commission Meets and Develops Recommendations
Phase III: Regents Discussion (Fall 2021)
- Board of Regents Presentation and Policy Discussion
Our new Graduation Measures web page provides information about the review process and a link to subscribe for updates. Keep checking back; we will continue to add more details. The specific dates and locations of the Regional Workgroup meetings, which will take place between November 2019 - January 2020, will be added as they become available.
Consistent with our goal to ensure educational excellence and equity as laid out in our ESSA plan, our My Brother's Keeper (MBK) initiative also aims to improve equity and increase the success of all students. To that end, NYSED is now accepting applications for two MBK grants, totaling $4.4 million: the MBK Fellows Program and MBK Native American Program.
Many young men of color do not have access to the resources and opportunities necessary to reach their full potential. The MBK Fellows and MBK Native American Programs aim to end the educational opportunity gap by providing students with mentors, resources, and experiences that help them graduate from high school and achieve success.
The MBK Fellows Program provides leadership opportunities to rising high school seniors, with an emphasis on boys and young men of color. Grants for the MBK Native American Program are intended to incentivize and support school districts to accept the My Brother's Keeper initiative and implement a coherent cradle-to-college/career strategy aimed at improving the life outcomes for disadvantaged Native Americans, with emphasis on boys and young men. The application deadline for both programs is December 6, 2019.
Another exciting piece of news from our MBK initiative is that the New York State My Brother's Keeper Community Network now includes 25 member communities! The program recently added connections with Peekskill and Monticello, the 24th and 25th communities to join the growing initiative to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.
This week, the New York State Archives and the Archives Partnership Trust announced the winners of the 2019 Student Research Awards. This annual awards program is a statewide competition open to all New York State students in grades 4-12. The awards recognize excellence in student research and encourage students to explore the wealth of historical records held in cultural institutions and records repositories across New York State.
Celina Alicea, Ava Burgess, Cormac Denniton, Keira Donaher, Gavin Henning, Jonas Henley, Evelyn Frick, Lura Kersbergen, Megann Lada, and Savannah Langenfeld from Palmyra-Macedon Intermediate School in the Palmyra-Macedon Central School District won the NYS Archives Award for Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 4-5! Under the direction of their teacher, Karin Thomas, the students created a website detailing the influence of the Phelps family on the community of Palmyra.
||Students from Palmyra-Macedon Intermediate School
Eva Goldfinger from Ramaz Middle School in New York City won the NYS Archives Award for Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 6-8! Under the direction of her teacher, Judy Sokolow, Eva wrote a research paper about the role of the Va'ad ha-Hatzalah in the rescue of Jews during World War II.
|Eva Goldfinger from Ramaz Middle School
For the first time, three winners are recipients of the high school category awards. Although unprecedented, the judges strongly felt each of the winning projects were exceptionally exemplary and all deserving of recognition.
Ashley Vincenzo from The Wheatley School in East Williston Union Free School District won first place in the high school category (Grades 9-12). Under the direction of her teacher, Jo Beth Roberts, Ashley researched how the coup staged by the United States and Great Britain to remove the Iranian Premier in 1953 led to poor relations between the U.S. and Iran.
Aarya Ayarnial, Abhinav Goyal, Aditya Lodha, and Prameet Shuh from Herricks High School in Herricks Union Free School District won second place in the high school category. Under the direction of their teacher, Melissa Jacobs, the students researched the history of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Z.O.B. (Jewish Fighting Organization) as an example of resistance against Hitler.
Rahul Ajmera from The Wheatley School in East Williston Union Free School District won third place in the high school category. Under the direction of his teacher, Jo Beth Roberts, Rahul researched the protest by Jewish women against a raise in kosher meat prices in 1902.
In addition, the Archives honored Toni Stevens-Oliver, fourth grade teacher at Thornell Road Elementary School in Pittsford Central School District, with the 2019 Bruce W. Dearstyne Archives Award for Excellence in the Educational Use of Historical Records. Toni's knowledge and enthusiasm for learning and her ability to create lasting community collaborations has helped her students understand the importance of community and regional history, why historical records are important, where to find these records, and how to incorporate them into their school work. The Archives also recognizes Toni for her successful efforts to encourage students to locate and use historical records from their local community and to participate in the State Archives Student Research Award program.
||Toni Stevens-Oliver, fourth grade teacher from Pittsford Central School District
Thank you for your continued support.
Interim Commissioner of Education