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Should superintendents evaluate school boards? Corning-Painted Post likes 360-degree feedback

On Board Online • August 13, 2018

By George Basler
Special Correspondent

Every summer, school boards throughout New York State evaluate the performance of their superintendents. In the Corning-Painted Post Area School District, it's a two-way street. Michael Ginalski, superintendent for 12 years, gets a chance to comment on how the board is doing its job at the same time as the board rates his effectiveness.

"There's a trust present," said board member Mary Franklin. "We trust Mike to give us honest feedback."

The process of a subordinate evaluating his or her boss is often called 360-degree feedback.

Camps target skills, career exploration

On Board Online • August 13, 2018

By Eric D. Randall

"It's never too early for students to be exposed to possible career tracks," according to Donna Singer, an administrator at Eastern Suffolk BOCES. That's why her BOCES hosted a July program for students entering eighth, ninth and 10th grades. Over two weeks, students completed projects related to culinary arts, automotive technology, cosmetology, pet care and welding.

"Our Summer Exploration Program provides attendees with the opportunity to begin thinking seriously about the professions they may pursue and where they want to study," Singer said.

Board members must ask: 'To what end?'

On Board Online • August 13, 2018

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

The late Stephen Covey, author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, offered this valuable advice: Begin with the end in mind.

In public school leadership, this means never losing sight of our long-range goal - to develop citizens who are ready to positively contribute to society. Our graduates need to be prepared to face whatever challenges the future holds, which is hard to predict in a world of nanotechnology, driverless cars, artificial intelligence and (sooner than you think!) space colonization.

Our schools are preparing students for challenges none of us has ever faced and can only imagine.

TRS contribution rate rises to 10.62 percent

On Board Online • August 13, 2018

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

A three-year downward trend involving teacher retirement contributions has ended.

For the 2018-19 school year, school districts and BOCES will be required to pay 10.62 percent of teachers' salaries to the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS). The rate is up from 9.80 percent for 2017-18.

Prevalent problem of 'food insecurity' addressed in backpack programs

On Board Online • August 13, 2018

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

Skipping school three times per week during the school year is considered chronic absenteeism, and that's exactly what one third-grader at Gilbertsville-Mount Upton Central School District did last fall. But her attendance in her rural Otsego County school improved dramatically beginning in January, when the district included her in a new food backpack program, according to Raquel Norton, the district's library media specialist and backpack program coordinator.

Commissioner explains new thinking on when a suspension is 'permanent'

On Board Online • August 13, 2018

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

If a high school senior is given an eight-month suspension, is that "tantamount" to a permanent suspension? That was the question a student's mother asked the commissioner of education in Appeal of a Student with a Disability (Decision 17,408).

In reviewing cases of student discipline, the sanction imposed must be proportionate to the severity of the offense. A permanent suspension is an extreme penalty which is only permitted in extraordinary circumstances such as when a student exhibits "an alarming disregard for the safety of others and it is necessary to safeguard the well-being of other students," according to the commissioner.

Free NYSSBA guide explains New York's ESSA regulations

On Board Online • August 13, 2018

To help school board members, district administrators and members of their school community understand new federal and state school accountability requirements, NYSSBA has published a 55-page guide on its website.

Originally developed for NYSSBA's Summer Law conference, the guide reflects a federally approved state plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

Allow no shame in your school lunch game

On Board Online • August 13, 2018

By Courtney Sanik
Senior Policy Consultant

Lunch policy changes, again? Yes. Federal and state governments have made changes in the past two years that require school boards to update policies to eliminate "lunch shaming" - taking a hot meal away from a child, stamping a child's hand or otherwise humiliating him or her because the student's food service account is in the red.

Updating the policies isn't complicated, said Jessica Goldstein, NYSSBA's deputy director for policy services. But financially, there may be a reckoning.

College-tested approach to teaching science helps Long Island teacher win national award

On Board Online • August 13, 2018

By Mareesa Nicosia
Special Correspondent

How do you make stew with a recipe that calls for canned chickpeas when you only have dried chickpeas in the cupboard and can't get to the grocery store? What's the best way to rehydrate the chickpeas and avoid a dry, crunchy dish?

That was the problem that confronted about 70 educators - all from colleges, high schools or middle schools throughout the Northeast - during a three-day training at Manhattan College in New York City in July.

The teachers were playing the role of students for this 100-minute exercise. In teams, they weighed the chickpeas, soaked them in water, and weighed them again. Then they repeated using salted water.

Advocacy Update: DOB Releases FAQ on the New York State Funding Transparency Form

August 9, 2018

Last night, the New York State Division of the Budget released a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document to assist districts in the completion and submission of the New York State School Funding Transparency Form.  A link to the FAQ is included below.

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