New York State School Boards Association

On Board Online May 7 2018

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In walkout #2, students call on lawmakers

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Putting to rest a host of worries that preceded a second national school walkout on April 20, most New York school districts found ways for their students to speak their minds without sparking the disciplinary nightmares or student safety risks that some had envisioned.

The length of the walkouts varied, and it's not clear how many followed the national organizer's vision for an event that would begin at 10 a.m. and last all day.

State tests remain controversial

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

It has been another spring of controversy for New York's math and English language arts testing program for students in grades 3-8.

Amid steps to trim testing time and other measures state education officials had hoped would ease concerns about the exams, technical glitches disrupted administration of computerized tests in some places. At the same time, state lawmakers began weighing proposals to permanently abandon the use of state test results in teacher and principal evaluations.

Hearing the community's voice

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

William Miller
NYSSBA President

Although finding money for new initiatives is always difficult, this budget season your school board may be proposing spending more money on school safety.

In response to school shootings, most recently in Florida and Maryland, this year we are seeing many districts around the state enhancing security measures. In fact, school districts from Cornwall to Plattsburgh, from Cato-Meridian to Hadley-Luzerne are planning to upgrade security and safety. The addition of school resource officers, in particular, seems to be prevalent. Chenango Valley, for example, plans on putting police officers in all its schools.

What is right for your school district? School resource officers, video surveillance cameras, metal detectors, hall monitors, ID cards or changes to the physical school building (entrances, exits, windows, etc.)?

Senate power balance unchanged after special election

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By Julie M. Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

Special elections held for state legislative seats on April 24 proved a bit anti-climactic. Hours before the polls closed, Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat, issued a statement indicating that, regardless of the election results, he would continue to caucus with the Republicans for the remainder of the session.

That meant Republicans would maintain control of the Senate, no matter what.

What superintendent candidates look for in a board of education

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By William Silky

When school boards search for a superintendent, they develop a list of characteristics of what they seek in a candidate. But it's a two-way street. Before your board seeks its next superintendent, it should consider what kind of boards are most appealing to superintendent candidates.

School Administrator magazine recently tackled this subject in an article entitled "What Candidates Look for in a Board.

When tenured educators break the rules, one-third of districts don't seek discipline

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

More than one-third of school districts and BOCES that consider disciplining a tenured employee choose not to file disciplinary charges, according to the results of the latest in a series of periodic surveys conducted by NYSSBA.

Asked why, school officials in these districts said they thought the process was "too expensive" (20 percent) and/or "too cumbersome" (14 percent).

Mineola, Coxsackie-Athens seen on vanguard of digital education

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By Alan Wechsler
Special Correspondent

At the Mineola Public Schools on Long Island, everyone gets an iPad. Even kindergarteners.

"I have pre-K kids who understand coding," says Diane Nodell, a library specialist at Mineola's Hampton Street School. "We're beginning to start earlier and earlier, they're grasping it so fast. It's never too early to find their passion."

'ESTEAM' makes a difference in Yorktown

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By Merri Rosenberg
Special Correspondent

You've heard of STEM and STEAM. How about "ESTEAM"?

In the Yorktown Central School District in Westchester County, the first E stands for Empathy.

It's not such a big stretch, according to Christopher DiPasquale, now in his 13th year as a social studies teacher at Yorktown's Mildred E. Strang Middle School.

"When they're learning the history of the past, of other cultures, they need to be able to relate to people," said DiPasqual

Sharing information about students who are perceived as dangerous

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

While school safety experts say there is no accurate or useful "profile" of students who engage in targeted school violence, the U.S. Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation have reported these statistics:

  • 95 percent of school shooters are enrolled students.
  • 93 percent engaged in some kind of behavior prior to the attack that caused others to be concerned.
  • 80 percent gave some advance warning to at least one person.

Commissioner rules absentee ballots may only be issued to the applicant

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

Under the Education Law, absentee ballots are required to be made available at every election of school board members and at the vote on the school budget. In Appeal of Campbell, an incumbent up for re-election challenged the outcome of the election based in part upon the absentee balloting process. She argued the district's process disenfranchised over 100 voters and also claimed district resources were used for an improper robo-call.

In order to be issued an absentee ballot a voter must submit an application. As part of the application, a voter must explain his or her inability to vote in person due to illness, physical disability, hospitalization, incarceration (unless incarcerated for a felony), or travel outside the voter's county or city of residence for business, studies or vacation on the day of election.

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