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What you need to know, legally, if you hate the rise of hate

On Board Online • September 4, 2017

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

The march of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12 has called attention to Americans who are openly proud to be racist and raised questions about how everyone else (including President Donald Trump) should respond.

Overt racism appears to be an issue for public schools, too. Groups that track incidents involving hate symbols and racial slurs have reported an increase in bias-related incidents in school districts across the nation this year, including swastikas spray-painted on Syosset High School in August.

When incidents involving expressions of racial animus occur in schools in New York State, district leaders will be under scrutiny for how they react. This article will cover the relevant legal standards.

Test refusals steady at about 1 in 5

On Board Online • September 4, 2017

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

About one in five students in grades 3 - 8 refused to take the English language arts (ELA) and math exams last April, according to figures released in August by the State Education Department (SED).

Although down slightly from last year, the proportion of students "opting out" of the tests has held steady since SED started reporting this information in 2015.

Elia: 'Progress takes time' on grade 3-8 test scores

On Board Online • September 4, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Student scores on state math and English language arts tests continued a trend of gradual improvement in 2017, "but troubling gaps persist" between groups of students of differing economic, geographic and racial backgrounds, according to Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.

"Real progress takes time," Elia said.

Overall, less than half of New York students who took the grades 3-8 tests achieved scores indicating they were "proficient" in math or English language arts (ELA).

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.

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