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Science summer school

On Board Online • September 4, 2017

By Barbara Bennett
Communications Associate

Several dozen Capital Region high school students took advantage of a free, three-day summer camp that focused on careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Taught by volunteer professionals who work in the high technology industry, students participated in a variety of hands-on activities that exposed them to the intricacies and critical thinking needed for STEM-related jobs.

To teach climate change, let data speak for itself

On Board Online • September 4, 2017

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

Climate change is one hot topic - no pun intended.

Surveys suggest that one's belief about climate change often corresponds to one's political affiliation. A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found that less than 10 percent of conservative Republicans think climate science is based on sound research "most of the time," compared to more than 50 percent of liberal Democrats.

School district's residency determination overturned

On Board Online • September 4, 2017

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

After an investigator observed two children leaving for school from an out-of-district residence and returning to the same home on six dates, a school district began a residency proceeding.

Upon learning of the challenge to the students' residency, the parents' attorney provided additional documents including utility bills, a credit card statement, dental bills for the students and a mortgage bill for the in-district residence. The district determined this additional documentary information did not refute the investigatory evidence that the students did not live in the district.

Tips and reminders for a successful school year

On Board Online • September 4, 2017

MaryEllen Elia
Commissioner of Education

I hope students in your school district were among the more than two million children across the state who avoided the "summer slide" by participating in summer reading programs at public libraries. This is one of many statewide initiatives of the State Education Department.

People are often surprised to learn the vastness of the scope of the department's work. Our stated mission is "to raise the knowledge, skill, and opportunity of all the people in New York."

In book, Rochester board member seeks to redefine the term 'hero'

On Board Online • September 4, 2017

By George Basler
Special Correspondent

As a child growing up, Van White and his brother would spend countless hours drawing their own comic books featuring heroic characters created from their own imaginations - Afroman and The Fly.

Now White is president of the Rochester Board of Education, but he hasn't lost his passion for writing about heroism. He has self-published a book for young readers called HEROES. His subjects don't wear capes or masks. Instead they're what White calls "everyday heroes" - teachers, firefighters and caregivers -who can have a big impact on others.

While TRS rate drops, health costs could be next budgetary headache

On Board Online • August 14, 2017

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

Want to start the new school year with some good news? School districts will see a decrease in their contribution rates toward the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) for the 2017-18 school year.

But there is bad news as well: Health insurance rates are continuing to climb.

TRS contributions and health insurance premiums are both significant components of school districts' annual budgets.

Students engaged as teacher wins big on 'Jeopardy!'

On Board Online • August 14, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The answer is: This five-time "Jeopardy!" champion's recent performance earned him the popular TV quiz show's distinction as "The Final Streaker of Season 33."

The question: Who is Moravia High School social studies teacher Justin Vossler?

For more than a week in July, the Moravia school district community and "Jeopardy!" fans across the nation were riveted by the string of victories chalked up by Vossler, 28.

Government's job is to do the right thing

On Board Online • August 14, 2017

Susan Bergtraum
NYSSBA President

After reviewing the State Education Department's draft plan for complying with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), I've concluded that the plan has potential. The problem is that it goes beyond federal requirements and carries an uncertain price tag.

ESSA, the long-anticipated successor to No Child Left Behind, deals with how the state will evaluate schools that need improvement. The law is intended to offer states and school districts new flexibility on how to assess school performance.

To be sure, New York's proposed plan has many positive attributes.

Teacher absenteeism emerges as an issue in Syracuse schools

On Board Online • August 14, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The Syracuse City School District, already in the midst of an effort to improve student attendance, has begun examining trends in faculty and staff attendance and considering ways to improve it.

In a report presented at a Board of Education work session in July, Superintendent Jaime Alicea outlined a study that showed particularly high rates of teacher sick-day absences on Fridays.

'Telemedicine' may be good Rx for schools

On Board Online • August 14, 2017

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

Picture this: A fifth-grader tells her teacher she feels sick and it hurts to swallow. She visits the nurse's office in her school. The nurse establishes a video connection with the girl's family physician 10 miles away, allowing him to assess the girl's health and communicate with the child, the nurse and her mother. Digital images of her throat are taken and sent electronically to her doctor, who reviews the images and confirms the girl has strep throat. The doctor then calls in a prescription to the local pharmacy.

Welcome to the world of telemedicine, which uses telecommunication and information technology (e.g., computing imagery) to provide clinical health care from a remote location.

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