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NYS superintendents start a conversation about diversity, equity in schools

On Board Online • January 22, 2018

By David Kraus
Special Correspondent

Lack of racial and ethnic diversity among educators in New York State is a problem that must and can be solved.

That was a key theme at a symposium hosted by the New York State Council of School Superintendents (the Council) on Dec. 8. The day-long gathering was co-sponsored by NYSSBA.

The event drew more than 130 superintendents, assistant superintendents, school board members and other educators to Saratoga Springs to learn about issues involving equity. Equity is the idea that treating all students the same does not achieve fairness; rather, students from different backgrounds may need different kinds of support in order to reach their potential.


Hope remains for 'Dreamers' despite Trump action on DACA

On Board Online • January 22, 2018

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

On Sept. 4, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions announced the Trump administration's intent to end a program begun five years earlier by President Obama called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The change will affect 800,000 undocumented aliens, including about 42,000 New York State residents.

Often referred to as Dreamers, DACA program participants are young people (currently 35 or younger) who were brought to the United States as children. After passing criminal background checks, they were afforded prosecutorial discretion to avoid deportation by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in its immigration enforcement efforts. Notably, the program did not confer any substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship to its beneficiaries.


Commissioner upholds transfer of teachers by superintendent-receiver

On Board Online • January 22, 2018

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

The commissioner of education recently issued a decision interpreting the authority of a superintendent-receiver to supersede actions of a board of education.

In Appeal of Williams, a school superintendent who is also the superintendent-receiver for the district's struggling middle school challenged a board resolution that imposed a moratorium on involuntary teacher transfers, the district's policy on teacher transfers as well as other board directives regarding transfers.


Safe and supportive environment is goal in Schenectady's 'trauma-sensitive' schools

On Board Online • January 22, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

It's shortly after lunch at Hamilton Elementary School in Schenectady, and Ashleigh Caster's students are stretched out on the floor of her second-grade classroom, eyes closed.

A recording of a woman's voice leads them through a soothing meditation: "Take a breath in through your nose ... Feel how your tummy gets like a big balloon ... Imagine you are lying on the grass in a beautiful park ... a very friendly butterfly comes to say 'hi' ."

Next, it's time for a lively round of rhythmic movement set to some silly lyrics - "Banana, banana, meatball!" - before turning to the first lesson of the afternoon.


Today's teens may not distinguish between a friend and a follower

On Board Online • December 11, 2017

By Merri Rosenberg
Special Correspondent

In any generation, the social shoals of youth - especially in middle and high school - are treacherous for many students. Figuring out where one fits in the social hierarchy is a classic task and seldom an easy one, according to psychologists.

Whether a student feels popular among his or her peers no longer depends on who sits at what table in the lunchroom or what verdict peers render about one's shoes or outfit. Today, experts say, social status mostly plays out in cyberspace.


NYSSBA, allies call for $2B school aid increase $1.5B needed to maintain current programming

On Board Online • December 11, 2017

By Brian Fessler
Deputy Director of Governmental Relations

A coalition of state education groups including NYSSBA is calling for an increase in school aid of $2 billion over 2017-18 funding levels.

The Educational Conference Board, or ECB, is comprised of seven leading educational organizations representing parents, classroom teachers, school-related professionals, building administrators, superintendents and school boards.


SED creates 'pre-screening' phase for capital projects

On Board Online • December 11, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

As part of a fresh effort to speed the approval process for capital projects, the State Education Department (SED) has established a new "pre-screening" phase. The goal is to ensure that all projects are fully ready for review before they are scrutinized by SED's Office of Facilities Planning.

The procedural change is the latest in a string of efforts to permanently reduce delays that have plagued the review process for several years. The causes have included SED staff shortages and state restrictions on funding and approvals for hiring. More recently, the pipeline for approval has been crowded with projects approved in local capital project referendums and funded through the Smart Schools Bond Act.


Talking about suicide, depression should be OK in public schools

On Board Online • December 11, 2017

By Jason Thomson
Superintendent Delaware Academy CSD at Delhi

Depression and suicide are interconnected and directly related among teens, with untreated depression being the number one cause of suicide. Teens who experience depression are 12 times more likely to attempt suicide than teens not going through depression bouts. More than half who successfully complete suicide had major depression and suicide issues as well as a connection between the two factors.

As a start, we as educators can look for and recognize warning signs for depression and suicide. About 9 in 10 teens who are suicidal display clues or warning signs to others.


Report notes efforts to increase numbers of minority teachers

On Board Online • December 11, 2017

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

Eight minority high school students in Syracuse with an interest in a career in teaching will soon be doing job shadow days in school, making lesson plans and taking college courses. The program is one of several initiatives across the state aimed at increasing the number of teachers of color.

About 43 percent of students in New York school districts are black or Latino, but only 16 percent of teachers are, according to a recent report called See Our Truth by the Education Trust - New York.


Leadership Lessons from the North Pole

On Board Online • December 11, 2017

Patrick Longo
Member Relations Manager

I'll never forget Christmas morning of 1975. My father was a teacher, and teachers were on strike. My four siblings and I dashed down the stairs and into our family room. Rather than a mountain of presents, we found just one present for us all to share: a puppy.

Small present, big impact. So much so that we didn't even realize that we didn't get any other major gifts that year.


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