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School districts becoming pronoun-savvy for transgender and questioning students

On Board Online • December 16, 2019

By George Basler
Special Correspondent

Malcolm Greenspun came out as transgender to his parents when he was in eighth grade. When he entered Ithaca High School as a freshman this fall, he asked teachers and administrators to call him by his new first name.


Parting thoughts

On Board Online • December 16, 2019

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

At the end of this month, I retire. I approach this change with a sense of nostalgia, because working with and for school boards has been very rewarding.

Throughout my 40 years in this business, I have never lost sight of the fact that school boards are principally decision-making bodies, and that what they need most from their association is information to assist them in making well-informed local decisions. My colleagues and I are committed to delivering relevant, accurate and timely information, when it is most needed, in a format that is easily accessible.

A second principle that has guided me is our members need to know NYSSBA cares about them.


Regents: Let's study revising aid formula

On Board Online • December 16, 2019

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The Board of Regents is proposing an intensive review of New York's 12-year-old foundation aid formula, along with a $2 billion overall aid boost in 2020-21.

The proposal includes $1.2 million for the State Education Department to review the foundation aid formula and investigate potential changes to improve its effectiveness.


SED issues guidance on 'equitable course access'

On Board Online • December 16, 2019

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

To encourage more diversity among students who take advanced classes in subjects such as calculus, physics and music, the State Education Department is recommending less restrictive prerequisites, more tutoring and providing parents with information in languages other than English


Ken-Ton BOE president Jill O'Malley invents 'Closet' to address local poverty

On Board Online • December 16, 2019

By Pauline Liu
Special Correspondent

When Rose Izard of Western New York needed warm coats for her four children this winter, she skipped the malls and headed for the Ken-Ton Closet, a volunteer-run, nonprofit facility that operates out of former school building in the Kenmore-Tonawanda Central School District.


SED, Regents focus on teacher diversity

On Board Online • November 25, 2019

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

More than 200 school districts in New York do not employ even one teacher who is black, Hispanic or from another racial or ethnic background of color, according to a draft report on educator diversity that's nearing completion at the State Education Department.

And while students of color make up a growing majority of statewide school enrollment, fewer than 5 percent of teachers in most regions of the state have backgrounds placing them in that category, the researchers found.


Shannon Tahoe appointed acting education commissioner

On Board Online • November 25, 2019

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The Board of Regents has named New York's second acting education commissioner since Commissioner MaryEllen Elia stepped down at the end of August.

Shannon Tahoe, also the State Education Department's acting deputy commissioner for legal affairs, was tapped to take on the additional duties of acting commissioner, effective Nov. 16. That was the day after Interim Commissioner Beth Berlin departed to accept another position outside of the department.


How to have a difficult conversation

On Board Online • November 25, 2019

By Mark Snyder
Leadership Development Manager

If you are a school board member, you probably are going to be part of some difficult conversations. And if you are a school board president, it is virtually certain that you are going to be part of some difficult conversations.

Discussions with angry parents, post-evaluation meetings with the superintendent, and conflict with other board members (or mediating such conflicts) are just a few examples. Keys to success in these challenging circumstances include being prepared and remaining calm.


Two-thirds of NYS high schools start before 8 a.m.

On Board Online • November 25, 2019

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

Most high schools in New York start the instructional day before 8 a.m., the time at which a growing number of research studies say students should just be waking up, according to an analysis by Start Schools Later, a group that advocates for later school starting times.

The analysis found that 66% of high schools begin their first period or home room before 8 a.m., while 13.5% begin before 7:30. Three percent of high schools start at 8:30 or later. The average start time is 7:48, with dismissal at 2:35.


Issue of teen dating violence has implications for school districts

On Board Online • November 25, 2019

By Mary Williams-Noi
Policy Consultant

School boards have a duty to ensure that policies are conducive to a positive school environment, and that may require addressing issues related to teen dating violence.

Dating violence is defined as a pattern of behaviors used to exert power or control over a dating partner. A form of domestic abuse (or "intimate partner violence"), teen dating violence can include a broad range of abusive behaviors such as hitting, kicking, stalking, verbal abuse, unsolicited sexting, and "revenge porn" (where intimate images are shared without consent).

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