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What makes a school building project an aesthetic and environmental success?

On Board Online • August 14, 2017

By Timothy Bonaparte

Imagine you are touring a brand new school building. Inside, it has a creative layout and an attractive interior design. Outside, there is a beautiful facade.

But what if you had to park a quarter mile away? What if there were no sidewalks and big puddles because of an absence of infrastructure to manage storm water runoff? And what if there was nothing green in sight?

Site design and environmental sustainability are as important in school building projects as building design and construction.


Schools cannot engage in 'viewpoint discrimination' when students wish to form political, religious clubs

On Board Online • August 14, 2017

by the New York StateAssociation of School Attorneys

Divisive political issues have been splitting the nation, and many Americans have responded by joining political organizations or forming their own. When public school students decide to form groups with a political, religious or philosophical perspective, it is important for school leaders to know their legal obligations when responding to requests from student groups to meet or raise funds on school grounds.

A federal law called the Equal Access Act prohibits schools from engaging in a kind of bias sometimes called "viewpoint discrimination."


Districts welcome tuition-paying students

On Board Online • July 24, 2017

By Merri Rosenberg
Special Correspondent

Looking to boost their enrollment numbers this fall, some districts are putting out the welcome mat for out-of-district families who are willing to pay tuition of $10,000 to $25,000 per child.

On YouTube, the Tuxedo school district has a promotional video that ends with the message: "Now open to non-district students" and "Enroll your student today!" The Orange County district charges $14,312 for non-resident students in grades 7-12.


Early adopters praise computer-based testing

On Board Online • July 24, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

An estimated 28,000 elementary and middle school students in nearly 200 schools around New York took their state math and English language arts tests on computers this spring, and officials in those districts said their students took to the new format with ease.

This is first year that computer-based test (CBT) scores will count toward statewide grade 3-8 test results.

"It went extremely well," said Lisa Mato, director of special programs and data reporting for the Longwood school district on Long Island, where about half the students who took the ELA tests for grades 3, 5 and 7 in selected schools used computers.


Mayoral control extended; SUNY makes charter deal

On Board Online • July 24, 2017

By Julie M. Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

The last week of June in the state Capitol was filled with an eerie sense of deja vu. The legislative session officially had ended, yet all the players were back in the building, having the same conversations as the week before.

The reason? Gov. Andrew Cuomo had summoned the Legislature to re-convene for a mandatory "extraordinary session."


NYS readies ESSA plan for feds

On Board Online • July 24, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The state Board of Regents is getting closer to sending the state's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) school accountability plan to the federal government before a Sept. 18 deadline.

The 201-page plan refers to the "important role that locally elected school boards have in improving student outcomes" and pledges that the state will provide boards with "critical data ... to spearhead improvement and promote equity both within districts and between districts."


Reading attitudes, but not skills, rise with canine companionship

On Board Online • July 24, 2017

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

If you are looking to improve primary school students' enthusiasm for reading, consider bringing a dog into the classroom. But don't expect big changes in reading ability, according to a recent study by the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction at Tufts University.

They wanted to measure how reading aloud to dogs in school affected reading competencies and attitudes about reading in a controlled study.


Court rules educational equity lawsuit may go forward but with conditions

On Board Online • July 24, 2017

By Jay Worona
Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel

The state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, has issued a mixed ruling in a lawsuit by New Yorkers for Students Educational Rights (NYSER), an educational advocacy group of which NYSSBA is a party. Although the case can proceed to trial, arguments will be limited to how students in two school districts - New York City and Syracuse - have suffered due to underfunding by the state.

In the lawsuit, individual parents of children in a number of school districts assert that the state government has failed to fund public education in a manner which satisfies the state's obligation to provide its students with a sound basic education in accordance with the state constitution.


Regents strengthen commitment to equity imperative

On Board Online • July 24, 2017

Betty Rosa
Regents Chancellor

The June meeting of the Board of Regents was meaningful to me, both as chancellor and on a personal level. At the meeting, the board acted on two issues that I believe will have long-term, positive implications for our students and our state.

First, we announced our decision to reduce the number of days that children will spend taking state exams. Starting next year, the grades 3-8 assessments in English language arts and mathematics will be reduced from three days to two. This decision not only limits the amount of time students will spend taking tests, but also returns valuable instructional time back to our teachers - where it belongs.


Regents plan more testing changes

On Board Online • July 3, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

At their June meeting, the state Board of Regents cut the number of state testing days for students in grades 3-8. State education officials said they hope the change will ease concerns of those who say the length of the exams stresses out students and robs them of valuable lesson time.

The change from a three-day schedule for each of the math and English language arts exams - a total of six days for both subjects - to a two-day test format (for a total of four days for both subjects) may serve to encourage participation and reduce test refusals, officials said. But Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said influencing current "opt out" advocates wasn't the only goal driving the decision.


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