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Emphasis on social-emotional learning seen as 'paradigm

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

At its May meeting, the Board of Regents advanced several initiatives to support local educators working to build school environments that are more attentive to the social, emotional and mental health needs of students.

That includes providing new resources to help school leaders set benchmarks and policies for promoting social-emotional learning. It also includes a plan for the State Education Department (SED) to release guidance for implementing mental health instruction, which state law requires to be part of the health curriculum as of July 1.

NY students join Second Amendment rallies

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Students from at least two school districts in New York participated in school walkouts to express their support for gun rights on May 2.

Will Riley, a high school senior from Carlsbad, N.M, said he conceived the "Stand for the Second" walkouts as a response to the student-led March for Our Lives on March 25. He said they were also a counter-protest to the walkouts and anti-gun rhetoric inspired by the school shootings in Parkland, Fla., on Feb 14.

School budget voter turnout drops by 50,000 voters

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

Voter turnout for last week's school budget votes plummeted by more than 50,000 from a year ago - the lowest total since the inception of the tax cap in 2012, according to a NYSSBA analysis of State Education Department data.

The total number of votes cast was 505,075, compared with 561,833 in 2017 - a drop of 56,758. The number of votes cast in 2018 was nearly 300,000 fewer than in 2012 - a 37 percent decline.

Retirements, title changes may explain big drop in number of school librarians

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

School librarians may be becoming an endangered species in American public schools. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of U.S. school librarians has declined 19 percent since 2000.

The sizable dip in the profession may very well be attributed to retirements, title changes and changing school needs, according to School Library Journal.

Should 'equity' become an organizing principle for your school district?

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Eric D. Randall

On the issue of whether students from all backgrounds and races are treated fairly, schools in New York State have a long way to go, according to speakers at a NYSSBA summit meeting on "Equity and Opportunity for Every Student" in New York City on May 3.

College professors and other experts analyzed undesirable racial patterns that they said have persisted for too long, including the well-documented "achievement gap" in which white and Asian students in New York State consistently outperform black and Hispanic students by about 20 percentage points.

Commissioner upholds 4-month suspension for student with 'kill list'

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Attorney

A four-month suspension for a student who sent a group text message about wanting to kill three classmates was recently upheld by the commissioner of education. The commissioner determined the length of the suspension was not disproportionate to the offense despite the student lacking a significant prior disciplinary record.

In Appeal of M.B and A.W., a principal who became aware of the text message alerted the boy's parents that they should keep their son home while school officials performed an investigation. The principal later met with the student and his father and showed them the group text message, which the student admitted sending.

My Brother's Keeper

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

MaryEllen Elia
Commissioner of Education

We have all heard the rhetorical question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" That inquiry, with biblical origins, has come to symbolize the unwillingness of some to accept responsibility for the welfare of their fellow man. Last month, students, educators, and community activists from around the state answered that age-old question with a resounding "yes."

In April, more than 600 participants arrived in Albany for the New York State My Brother's Keeper Symposium. They came to discuss New York's young, but flourishing, "MBK" program - a program whose goal is to ensure that boys and young men of color are given opportunities to succeed in school and in life.

Does your board need a policy on Pooperintendents?

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Courtney Sanik
Senior Policy Consultant

You've probably heard about the New Jersey superintendent who was arrested on April 30 after a surveillance operation allegedly caught him defecating and/or urinating on the football field and track of his district's high school. (Google "pooperintendent" if you haven't.)

You will be relieved to know that we very serious people who work in NYSSBA Policy Services will not let this story go without finding a wee bit of wisdom to pass on regarding your board's responsibilities to have policies regarding use of school facilities.

Student's cancer prognosis prompts school to hold honorary diploma ceremony

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Pauline Liu
Special Correspondent

In January, Shenendehowa High School student Jacob Monday made the decision to discontinue treatment for bone cancer. He had learned that the cancer had spread to his lungs, and the prognosis had become terminal. The 16-year-old sophomore from Ballston Lake had battled the disease known as osteosarcoma for nearly two years.

"He was very upset," his mother, Barbara Williams, told On Board. "It's heartbreaking when you're told that it's back in less than a month."

Avon's Welch named NYSSBA's Champion for Change

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Eric D. Randall

Julie Welch, who has sparked a "growth mindset" on the Avon school board, has been named the 2018 recipient of the New York State School Boards Association Champion for Change Award.

The award is presented to an individual who is serving in their first five years as a school board member and demonstrates leadership by enhancing educational opportunities for all students

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