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Hoosick Falls helps students overcome hidden hindrances of stress, depression

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

By Pauline Liu
Special Correspondent

What a difference a year has made for Nina Lawrence, a high school sophomore in Rensselaer County's Hoosick Falls Central School District. Last year, she was failing most of her classes. She suffers from depression and was hospitalized in the past, when her symptoms were at their worst.

Now the 15-year-old has an upbeat attitude, and her grades are soaring. That includes a 98 in Introductory Spanish and a 95 in in Studio Art, which she earned during the first quarter marking period.


Celebrating success

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

William Miller
NYSSBA President

Like many others, I have always admired Olympic athletes. Earning a spot on the Olympic roster is an incredible achievement, one that requires hard work, sacrifice and perseverance.

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are now underway in PyeongChang, South Korea. Some of our Olympic athletes graduated from New York State public schools, and you can read about them in this issue of On Board. I know I will certainly be cheering for them.

Not long after the Olympic Games end, another set of world class athletes will compete in PyeongChang as part of the Paralympic Games.


'Generally positive' trend seen in grad rates

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

New York's four-year graduation rate continued a trend of gradual improvement in 2017, rising to 80.2 percent in time for June commencement ceremonies. The 2017 rate improved by nearly two more percentage points when students who received their diplomas in August are included.

The rates were calculated for 207,165 students who entered ninth grade in 2013. The June 2017 graduation rate was up half a percentage point from a year before, when the state posted a rate of 79.7 percent (after some data was corrected) for students who entered high school in 2012.


A funny thing happened on the way to rebooting state teacher evaluations

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Just minutes after Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia briefed the Regents on a survey that launches a comprehensive review of New York's teacher and principal evaluation system, leaders of the statewide teachers union said they won't encourage members to participate.

Leaders of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) say the state should simply scrap any statewide method for evaluating educators.

"We feel like teachers have made it really clear how they feel about the system," said Jolene DiBrango, executive vice president for NYSUT. "We feel we need to restore it to local control with no state mandates of any kind."


Three ways to connect the dots to support English language learners' performance

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

By Janet Ives Angelis & Kristen Campbell Wilcox

Why do the English language learners (ELLs) in some elementary schools beat the odds?

One reason is that their teachers and administrators effectively use data to monitor and support their performance, according to our study of six outstanding elementary schools.


Busting the myths of school policy

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

By Stephanie Combs
Associate Policy Consultant

When your board discusses school policy, do you ever hear things you consider "fake news"? It's out there. Many myths in the world of school policy have been brought to our attention. Here are just some of the misconceptions that have been recognized over the past year:


Myth #1:
Every policy needs an administrative regulation, and all regulations must be adopted by the board.


Elia: 'I am not interested in approving your budgets'

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

By David Kraus
Special Correspondent

Amid myriad potential financial headaches facing school board members this year, Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says she would like to ease at least one.

"I want to go on record. I am not interested in approving your budgets," Elia told board members at NYSSBA's annual Capital Conference.

"I don't want to be in a position where I have to look at these budgets and say yes or no. That's your job. Just do it well, and we will all be happy."


The 'public policy exception' can be asset in contract negotiations, grievance disputes

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

As school boards prepare for negotiations this spring, one question is sure to arise: "Why is this in the contract?" And the next question might be: "Can we take that out?"

Generally, the removal of important substantive provisions from a collective bargaining agreement is no easy task. The rules and precedents involved have been set by the Legislature, the courts, the commissioner of education and a quasi-judicial body called the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).


School nutrition programs get higher profile as policies change in Albany, Washington

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

By Alan Wechsler
Special Correspondent

School food service operations in New York State are dealing with a lot of change at once, from both state and federal authorities.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a five-point plan in January, including a demand that "lunch shaming" be eliminated.

And the Trump administration is loosening federal nutrition requirements.


Proposals would erode local control

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Julie Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2018 executive budget includes two proposals that, if approved by the Legislature, would directly impact local school district budget practices.

"We see this as an attempt by state government to influence local decision-making and autonomy," said NYSSBA President William Miller. "The proposals are inconsistent with the long-standing concept of local control."

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