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Next Generation standards approved

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The Board of Regents approved a revised set of math and English language arts learning standards for New York students at their September meeting, officially launching a transition from the controversial Common Core standards to a new version to be known as Next Generation standards.

The transition period calls for full implementation of the new standards in the 2020-21 school year. Until then, state tests will continue to be based on the current standards, and professional development will unfold to help teachers develop curriculum and teaching strategies based on the Next Generation standards.


Arts standards updated after two decades

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The Board of Regents have approved the first comprehensive update of New York's arts learning standards in two decades.

This school year is designated as a transitional year for the new arts standards, and full implementation is anticipated in 2018-19.


Regents lower passing score for teacher certification

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The Board of Regents recommended new adjustments to New York's teacher certification process, including extension of a "safety net" provision through June 2018, at their September meeting. Following a 45-day public comment period, the changes are to be considered for adoption in December.

The plan would lower the passing score from the current 41 to 38 for the edTPA, a subject-specific performance exam required for initial certification, in 2018 and 2019. Candidates would pass by scoring 39 in 2020 and 2021, and 40 beginning in January 2022.


ERS rates continue downward trend

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

The rate school districts will have to pay to the state Employees' Retirement System (ERS) in 2018-19 will decrease slightly from the 2017-18 rate, the state comptroller's office announced.

The employer contribution rate for 2018-19 will be 14.9 percent of employee payroll, down from 15.3 percent in 2017-18. ERS covers non-instructional school district employees such as food service workers, custodians and secretaries.


Teacher shortages: Where recruitment and retention goals intersect

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

If you want to hear a tale of woe, ask any rural superintendent if he or she has had any difficulty filling open teaching positions lately.

"I could write a volume about hiring in the Adirondacks!" said Leslie Ford, superintendent in the 500-student Northville school district in Fulton County. "I have never encountered such difficulty! It is hard to attract teachers - even beginners - to a rural district where the pay scale does not attract you through to retirement. We have been trying to hire a technology teacher for two years. We currently have an opening for FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences) that we reopened due to no certified applicants. Math and science are also very difficult."


Shenendehowa's Counseling, College and Career Center deemed one of six top H.S. counseling depts. in the U.S.

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Alan Wechsler
Special Correspondent

About 10 years ago, the staff at what was then called the Counseling Office at Shenendehowa High School noticed that parents were calling and asking questions about college applications. In the 11th grade, students are asked to write an autobiography as part of working with the counselors, and staff noticed that those essays were also often coming from the parents.

"It started getting our attention that parents were taking over the process," recalled Jan Reilly, who has been a counselor in the Saratoga County district for 20 years.


Counting the ways we love BOCES

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Sandra Ruffo
Area 4 Director

Each of us entered school board service with a strong interest in young people and a desire to provide them with the best possible educational opportunities. As we pursue that ongoing goal, we cannot overstate how much our school districts rely on the services provided by our regional BOCES, which touch the lives of all of our students and so many adult members of our communities.

BOCES represent New York State's commitment to the idea that all children can learn. With services and support from BOCES, school districts are in a much better position to provide each student with an educational program appropriate for him or her, including special education and career and technical education.


Field trips today are different from what adults remember

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

At the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, fifth-graders Logan Cornelius and Landon Albertina slipped their hands into tattered old mitts and clutched vintage baseballs known as "lemon peels." They laughed as they tried on oversized chest protectors, shin guards and masks.

In spite of the laughter, the activities they and other Sherburne-Earlville students enjoyed during a three-hour visit to the Hall of Fame in May were aimed at more than fun.


How BOCES ensure field trips are worthwhile and make them more affordable for school districts

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Field trips were one of the first budget lines to hit the chopping block when school funding tightened during the latest recession.

While they weren't viewed as a frill, field trips were among a handful of non-mandated items that districts could eye for trimming during tough times.

Among school districts that answered a 2010 NYSSBA statewide survey asking how they were responding to New York's state budget crisis, 65 percent expected to trim or eliminate field trips to help balance their budgets.


Frankly, my dear, you don't need a policy on absolutely everything

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Courtney Sanik
Senior Policy Consultant

"Do you have a sample policy on ________?"

Welcome to my world. In NYSSBA's Policy Department, we get about 1,200 requests per year, and most take the form above.

Often, the answer is yes. But sometimes the answer is no, because school districts don't need to have a policy on everything under the sun.


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