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NYS officials counter DeVos on transgender bathroom issue

On Board Online • March 12, 2018

By Eric D. Randall
Editor-in-Chief

New York State officials and the Trump administration remain divided regarding whether transgender students are protected by federal civil rights law.

On Feb. 12, the U.S. Department of Education confirmed a report by BuzzFeed that it no longer will investigate allegations that schools have violated the civil rights of transgender students by denying them access to bathrooms that match their gender identity.


A tipping point on guns?

On Board Online • March 12, 2018

Tim G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

I did not grow up in a family that owned guns, and I have never wanted one. Socially, I try to avoid conversations about guns because they tend to lead to stories about hunting (not my cup of tea) or disagreements about the meaning of the Second Amendment.

NYSSBA has no position on gun control. It's just never come up at our Annual Business Meeting.

But now those of us associated with public education can't avoid the subject of guns. Columbine (1999), Virginia Tech (2007), Sandy Hook (2012) and Parkland (2018) lead a nauseatingly long list of school shootings. Our nation has been devastated by these tragedies, but nothing ever seems to change.

 


Quiet Revolution helps schools appeal to introverts

On Board Online • March 12, 2018

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

Cozy Corners and Zen Zones.

Sound like the latest feng shui fad? Actually, they're examples of ways schools are trying to make school better for introverted students.

A Cozy Corner is a cushion-lined reading nook for young students. Zen Zones are 10-minutes relaxing breaks for young students to stretch, write and listen to soft music. Both are among recommendations of the Quiet Schools Network, founded by Susan Cain, author of the 2012 book


HFM BOCES attracts national attention to the value of PTECH approach

On Board Online • March 12, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

New York's P-TECH schools - Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools - have developed a reputation within the Empire State and beyond for their innovative melding of high school and community college diploma programs.

Now, one standout program is being singled out for national attention. The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) put a spotlight on the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES PTECH as a model for innovation at its national conference in Nashville last month.


Decision offers timely reminders regarding elections

On Board Online • March 12, 2018

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

A recent decision of the commissioner of education offers reminders of best practices for running school district elections.

To invalidate the results of a school election, a petitioner must establish that irregularities occurred in the conduct of the election which actually affected the outcome and either (1) were so pervasive that they vitiated the electoral process or (2) demonstrated a clear and convincing picture of informality to the point of laxity in adherence to the Education Law.


Your policies have to work in a crisis

On Board Online • March 12, 2018

By Courtney Sanik
Senior Policy Consultant

The Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. renews troubling questions about whether adults have done all they can to keep students safe in school.

The good news is that, statistically, schools remain one of the safest places for kids. A young person in the U.S. is nearly 11 times more likely to die in a swimming pool than in a school shooting, according to James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology, law and public policy at Northeastern University.


Hoosick Falls helps students overcome hidden hindrances of stress, depression

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

By Pauline Liu
Special Correspondent

What a difference a year has made for Nina Lawrence, a high school sophomore in Rensselaer County's Hoosick Falls Central School District. Last year, she was failing most of her classes. She suffers from depression and was hospitalized in the past, when her symptoms were at their worst.

Now the 15-year-old has an upbeat attitude, and her grades are soaring. That includes a 98 in Introductory Spanish and a 95 in in Studio Art, which she earned during the first quarter marking period.


Celebrating success

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

William Miller
NYSSBA President

Like many others, I have always admired Olympic athletes. Earning a spot on the Olympic roster is an incredible achievement, one that requires hard work, sacrifice and perseverance.

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are now underway in PyeongChang, South Korea. Some of our Olympic athletes graduated from New York State public schools, and you can read about them in this issue of On Board. I know I will certainly be cheering for them.

Not long after the Olympic Games end, another set of world class athletes will compete in PyeongChang as part of the Paralympic Games.


'Generally positive' trend seen in grad rates

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

New York's four-year graduation rate continued a trend of gradual improvement in 2017, rising to 80.2 percent in time for June commencement ceremonies. The 2017 rate improved by nearly two more percentage points when students who received their diplomas in August are included.

The rates were calculated for 207,165 students who entered ninth grade in 2013. The June 2017 graduation rate was up half a percentage point from a year before, when the state posted a rate of 79.7 percent (after some data was corrected) for students who entered high school in 2012.


A funny thing happened on the way to rebooting state teacher evaluations

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Just minutes after Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia briefed the Regents on a survey that launches a comprehensive review of New York's teacher and principal evaluation system, leaders of the statewide teachers union said they won't encourage members to participate.

Leaders of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) say the state should simply scrap any statewide method for evaluating educators.

"We feel like teachers have made it really clear how they feel about the system," said Jolene DiBrango, executive vice president for NYSUT. "We feel we need to restore it to local control with no state mandates of any kind."


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