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Opioid deaths, arrests rattle NYS communities

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

By Pauline Liu
Special Correspondent

In Allegany County's Genesee Valley School District, tragedy struck twice this school year. Two parents of elementary school students overdosed on opioids and died in separate incidents, according to Superintendent Brian Schmitt.

Also this school year, three teenagers from the same county were charged with negligent homicide after allegedly failing to get medical help for an 18-year-old friend who died of a heroin overdose during a car ride to Rochester.

ABC journalist to discuss ethics at NYSSBA's Annual Convention

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

John Quiñones, host of the hidden-camera program "What Would You Do?," will offer a personal perspective on the everyday challenges of recognizing and doing the right thing when he delivers the keynote address at NYSSBA's 99th Annual Convention and Education Expo in New York City.

His speech on Oct. 25 will take place at the New York Hilton Midtown, which is located a short walk from this year's host hotel, the Sheraton New York Times Square. In 2020 and 2021, the Hilton will house all convention and expo events

Five lessons from the budget votes

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

William Miller
NYSSBA President

Another school budget vote has come and gone. What have we learned?

I see five key takeaways:

1. Community support for schools is strong. Voters statewide approved 98 percent of school budgets this year. While no one likes paying taxes - including me! - it is clear that public education is a top priority of voters in New York State.

2. The tax cap undermines democracy by suppressing voter turnout.

Comptroller to conduct school safety audits

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

By Eric D. Randall

In a new audit program beginning this month, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli will examine whether school districts have adequate and up-to-date safety plans in the event of a school shooting or major emergency.

The Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Act that was signed into law in 2000 requires schools to implement comprehensive safety plans, which include policies and procedures covering such topics as safe evacuation, communication in emergencies, emergency responder access to building plans and school violence prevention training. If a school district fails to comply fully with the SAVE Act, that could hamper communication with first responders and prolong emergencies, according to a news release from DiNapoli's office.

Teachers, coaches can get opioid help guide from state

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

This spring, three state agencies created the New York State Addiction and Substance Use Disorder Educational Resource for teachers, coaches and other school personnel.

The resource, available from the state free of charge, includes:

  • A resource packet to help school districts meet the requirements of modernizing health education instruction by including heroin and opioid content in the curriculum.
  • Presentations, videos, and discussion guides about the opioid and heroin epidemic.
  • A training program approved by the State Education Department (SED) for school personnel toimplement an opioid overdose prevention program and instructions on how to obtain free naloxone.

Security camera surveillance systems: Best practices and policy concerns

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

To address heightened community concerns about school safety, many school boards are considering installing surveillance security camera systems in their school and administration buildings. These systems can be used to detect suspicious behavior or other potential dangers to the health and well-being of its students and employees. Some systems are connected to local police. However, there are various legal and "best practices" considerations that ought to be taken into account before such a system is implemented, especially with regard to unionized employees subject to such surveillance.

In mock trial competition, students explore school justice in the era of high-stakes tests

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

By Eric D. Randall

A teacher at Bigtown High School said she saw Carson Conners push another student in the hallway and reported that the girl loudly refused to go to the assistant principal's office. When two school resource officers arrived, Conners was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

Was this an open-and-shut case of a student violating the state's penal code? Or was it an allegation without an identified victim, and unsupported by any witness testimony, that benefited the probationary teacher by preventing a traditionally low-scoring student from participating in an upcoming district-wide assessment?

At 2030 summits, board members ponder preparing students for ever-changing world

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Clothing that never needs to touch laundry soap? Concrete that can mend its own cracks? How about tires that last forever?

Such products might be commonplace by the time today's kindergarteners become adults, according to technology trend-watchers. Even more profound developments could build on or eclipse innovations such as smartphones, social media and genetic mapping.

98 percent of school budgets approved

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst
Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Voters across the state approved nearly 98 percent of school spending plans when they went to the polls on May 15.

Of the 675 budgets put before voters, 659 passed - an approval rate of 97.6 percent. Sixteen budgets were defeated.

APPR is one thing, tests another

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

In one of Shakespeare's most famous plays, Macbeth is anguished over the meaning of life, concluding that "it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

The same could be said for the state's mandated Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) system for evaluating teachers and principals. After eight years of tinkering, the current APPR system is a confusing and controversial morass of growth measures, rubrics and observations, as well as an alphabet soup of SLOs and HEDI ratings.

The current APPR system, required by law, is burdensome, a source of anxiety and a turnoff for those considering the profession. You have to know things are bad when the only relief comes in the form of a four-year moratorium!


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