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School budgets pass by large margins

On Board Online • May 29, 2017

By Eric D. Randall
Editor-in-Chief

Voters across the state supported almost all proposed school spending plans when they went to the polls on May 16, but voter turnout was the lowest since the State Education Department began tracking vote totals in 2003.

"I think it's a good sign," Sara Lattin, president of the Elmira school board, said when asked about the turnout trend in her district. Five years ago, 4,099 residents flocked to the polls in Elmira, upset about layoffs and eager to vote in highly contested school board races. But this year, only 751 people showed up, with 82.8 percent voting yes.


Convention speaker Zhao sees need to develop 'entrepreneurial' students

On Board Online • May 29, 2017

By Eric D. Randall
Editor-in-Chief

In an age of globalization, smart robots and rapid change, schools need to prepare students for jobs that don't yet exist, or jobs they create themselves, according to an acclaimed professor who will be the keynote speaker at NYSSBA's 98th's Annual Convention, which will be held Oct. 12-14 in Lake Placid.

"We are in the age of smart machines," said Yong Zhao, a professor of education at the University of Kansas. "That is going to render obsolete a lot of traditional jobs. It's a big shift."


Learning standards and creativity

On Board Online • May 29, 2017

Susan Bergtraum
NYSSBA President

The release of the state's new draft "Next Generation Learning Standards" to replace Common Core has prompted debate about what we should be teaching students in our schools.

After a comment period that ends June 2, it is expected the state will formally adopt new standards. Teachers will begin implementing them in the classroom. School boards and administrators will align local curriculum and assessments to the new standards.

While the emphasis in the standards appropriately has been on English language arts and math skills, I hope we don't lose sight of another important skill: creativity.


Draft state accountability plan includes new ways to measure school progress

On Board Online • May 29, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

A draft state plan for implementing the federal Every Student Succeeds Act would give schools a wide new range of options for demonstrating quality and success.

State education leaders say revisions are ongoing as the draft ESSA plan moves through a series of public hearings and a public comment period that concludes in mid-June.


Name of Common Core successor: Next Generation Learning Standards

On Board Online • May 29, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The new name unveiled this month for the latest reboot of New York's math and English language arts standards might have a familiar ring for some Star Trek fans. The new standards will be known as the "Next Generation Learning Standards," echoing the subtitle of an updated version of the sci-fi series that ran in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


Regents approve new regulations on 'access' to school counselors

On Board Online • May 29, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Revised regulations approved by the Regents at their May meeting include new provisions designed to ensure that all K-12 students, including those in primary and elementary grades, have access to the services of a certified school counselor.

School counselors work in three primary student support areas: academic program planning and development, social-emotional development and college and career readiness preparation.


Plenty of out-of-state teachers use SED's EngageNY website

On Board Online • May 29, 2017

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

The State Education Department's EngageNY website was designed for teachers in New York State, but it's a big hit nationally, according to the Rand Corporation.

Teachers striving to produce lessons connected to specific standards in math and English language arts find the site invaluable, the think tank said in a new report, Use of Open Educational Resources in an Era of Common Standards: A Case Study on the Use of EngageNY.


At summit, leaders confront school mental health crisis

On Board Online • May 29, 2017

By Alan Wechsler
Special Correspondent

All school districts in New York State will have to provide instruction regarding mental health as part of health classes beginning July 1, 2018. It's an opportunity for schools to address a disturbing pattern - a rising number of mental health diagnoses in school-age children.

That was one of the messages experts delivered at a one-day summit that NYSSBA held on May 20 in Albany. Entitled "Your Role in Addressing the Growing Mental Health Crisis among Students," the event attracted more than 100 school leaders and educators from across the state.


Appellate court reinstates termination of teacher found incompetent

On Board Online • May 29, 2017

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

Lisa Broad, a tenured elementary school teacher in New York City public schools, received her unsatisfactory ratings in the 2009-10, 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. Observations found issues with inattentive students and a dirty classroom as well as multiple concerns involving the quality of her teaching and classroom management skills.

In Broad v. New York City School Board/Department of Education, the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, First Department, upheld her termination.


Decisions, decisions: Putting your manual online

On Board Online • May 29, 2017

By Stephanie Combs
Associate Policy Consultant

In the digital age, many districts have posted their policy manuals online or desire to do so. This article will explain how to select the best option for your district.


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