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Commissioner warns district to avoid appearance of partisan impropriety

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

In the weeks leading up to a school budget vote in 2017, principals in a Monroe County school district placed signs saying "Supporting our Public Schools" and "ACT for Education" in front of school buildings, including a high school that served as the district's single polling location.

A social media account associated with the school district said that such signs were available for purchase and provided contact information for the district's public relations coordinator.

Seven ways your district can engage parents

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By Jason Franchuk
Special Correspondent

An engaged parent makes for a better student. But how can schools get parents to show up for school events?

Sure, serving food helps. So does providing child care.

We picked the brains of superintendents for their favorite engagement methods and heard about everything from "frequent visitor" prizes to encouraging attendance at basketball games.

Headline : District access to state aid increases to be subject to DOB, SED approval

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By Julie M. Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

The final enacted state budget included a proposal many feared but few thought would be included: a requirement that every school district report to the state the amount budgeted per pupil in each school building.

The reporting requirement will be phased in over three years. If a given district's report is found incomplete or noncompliant (or is not received), the district's state aid increase can be withheld until the report is deemed compliant by both the state Division of the Budget (DOB) and the State Education Department (SED).

Vaping woos a generation

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The enticing whiff of rebellion that once drew many students to sneak their first cigarettes has faded over the last 20 years. But there's a new fad with the power to launch nicotine addiction: vaping.

A term referring to the use of devices that deliver flavored vapor to the lungs, vaping is wooing a new generation of teens who shun traditional cigarettes.

New student protests coming April 20

On Board Online • April 2, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Grief, outrage and a determined sense of solidarity with the students of Parkland, Fla. have fueled a wave of activism by New York students.

Protests began on Wednesday, March 14, when students in about 200 local schools around New York held 17-minute vigils, walkouts and other events to mourn the loss of students and staff when a gunman attacked Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.

Should schools be hardened? Or softened?

On Board Online • April 2, 2018

By Pauline Liu
Special Correspondent

In the wake of deadly shootings in Parkland Fla., school districts are re-examining "target hardening," a police and military term for using architecture, technology and procedures to make it more difficult for an intruder to gain entry to a school building.

"We can always do more to harden our buildings," John Perrino, president of the Middletown school board told On Board. The district already has more than 700 surveillance cameras to help keep its 7,000 students safe.

It's okay to be different

On Board Online • April 2, 2018

By William Miller
NYSSBA President

As school board members, we care about every child in our schools. But we have a special obligation to care about students with special needs.

April is Autism Awareness Month, so let's start there. Autism is present in virtually all of our schools and many of our families, including mine.

Stephen M. Shore, an education professor at Adelphi University, has said, "If you've met one individual with autism, you've met one individual with autism." He was referring to the fact that there is a great variety in the nature and severity of symptoms or behaviors associated with autism, which is why autism symptoms are often described as falling on a spectrum.


'Emotional literacy' is goal of designers of forthcoming mental health curriculum

On Board Online • April 2, 2018

By Eric D. Randall

"How will schools meet the forthcoming mental health education requirement?"

That was the topic of a panel of experts at NYSSBA's Mental Health Summit held on Long Island on March 15.

The short answer: We'll have a better idea once the State Education Department (SED) provides guidance on the requirement.

Understanding the TRS employer contribution rate

On Board Online • April 2, 2018

By David P. Keefe
Board President NYS Teachers' Retirement System

The ability of the New York State Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) to provide teachers in your district with a secure pension is a shared responsibility. Your school district and your employees provide required contributions, and TRS provides disciplined investment management to achieve optimal long-term returns.

Let's re-imagine public education

On Board Online • April 2, 2018

By Allison Duwe

As a school board member, I am a huge supporter of public education. At the same time, I am also a fierce critic.

  • Are we teaching the subjects and skills that students really need?
  • Are we measuring the most important things, or just what's easy to measure?
  • Do we have the right priorities?

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