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Eye-tracking tools seen as transformative for students with multiple disabilities

On Board Online • April 29, 2019

By Heather Battaglia

Some students have disabilities that interfere with their ability to use a computer. Eastern Suffolk BOCES is using eye-tracking tools so these students can independently access technology.

Some of the students now have a way to communicate with others for the first time. The BOCES has seen results with students who are both cognitively impaired and suffer from multiple physical handicaps.


In diversity there is strength

On Board Online • April 29, 2019

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director


"We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't."
- Frank A. Clark

Last October, delegates at NYSSBA's Annual Business Meeting passed a resolution calling upon NYSSBA to help school boards develop action plans to improve cultural competency, diversity and inclusivity within school districts. Since that time, I have been thinking a lot about how to do this.

The idea that diversity is a virtue is not a controversial one. The goal is not simply to improve representation but make public education better.


Districts now can create TRS reserve funds

On Board Online • April 29, 2019

Briana McNamee
Governmental Relations Representative

On April 12, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed this year's Article VII budget bills, including a provision allowing school districts to set aside funds in a reserve for employer contributions to the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS).

The legislation, now Chapter 59 of 2019, was effective immediately upon the governor's signature.


Student teaching minimum raised to 70 days

On Board Online • April 29, 2019

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Student teachers will need to spend at least 14 weeks, the equivalent of a full college semester, working in schools with experienced teachers under regulations approved this month by the Board of Regents.

The revised certification requirements, the first approved for New York in nearly two decades, will increase the minimum required student teaching time from 40 days to 70


Long-term suspension for Snapchat posting upheld by commissioner of education

On Board Online • April 29, 2019

By Jeffrey Mongelli
Senior Staff Counsel

The commissioner of education recently rejected various challenges to a long-term suspension that was the result of a student's social media posting that was uploaded off school grounds and during non-school hours.

In Appeal of a Student with a Disability (Decision 17,610, 2019), a high school student and several friends participated in an off-campus paintball game to celebrate the student's birthday. On the day of the party, Sept. 2, 2018, the student took a photo of another district student in front of a rack of mounted paintball guns and added the caption: "Don't come to school on Tuesday." The photograph with caption was uploaded by the student using Snapchat, a social media application.


Harvard to study rural school strategies

On Board Online • April 8, 2019

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

A Harvard University research team is looking for rural school districts to test new strategies for reducing absenteeism, building college readiness and boosting college enrollment.

Nearly 340 school districts in New York are eligible to apply to participate in the project. Applications are due by April 30 for the full five-year initiative, which is funded by a $10 million federal gra


I believe in immunization

On Board Online • April 8, 2019

By William Miller
NYSSBA President

Spring has finally sprung! And with that comes - I hope - a respite from all the illnesses that were going around this winter.

This has been a particularly harsh year so far. The lower Hudson Valley and parts of New York City, for example, were slammed with the worst measles outbreak in recent memory. Currently there is a medical state of emergency in Rockland County that bans unvaccinated children from public places, including schools.


Arts education lessens behavior problems, boosts writing skills

On Board Online • April 8, 2019

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

By participating in arts education partnerships, elementary and middle school students in the Houston Independent School District improved writing ability, displayed more concern for others and had fewer disciplinary problems, according to a new study by researchers at Texas A&M and the University of Missouri.

The study is the first to examine the casual effects of school-community art collaborations in an educational environment.


NYSSBA supports implementation of state mental health initiative

On Board Online • April 8, 2019

By Stephen Jambor
NYSSBA Adjunct Faculty

At NYSSBA headquarters in Latham, Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia meets quarterly with school board members (nominated by members of the Board of Directors) to have an in-depth discussion on a single educational topic. One I will never forget took place in September 2016. The topic was student mental health. With my background as a school board member and school psychologist, I relished the intersection of two subjects I care about deeply.

In group dynamics, sometimes something is said that galvanizes the whole room.


Second Circuit rules hostile environment claims can exist under the ADA

On Board Online • April 8, 2019

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

It has long been established that employers can be found in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act if an employee is subjected to a "hostile work environment" in violation of his or her rights under that law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, with jurisdiction over New York, recently ruled that employees also can assert that a hostile work environment exists under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In Fox v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, an employee with Tourette Syndrome brought multiple claims under the ADA and New York Human Rights Law seeking redress for alleged harassment.

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