New York State School Boards Association
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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
Editor-in-Chief

"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?


Some boards consider armed personnel

On Board Online • April 2, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Should someone in school have a gun?

Where the question has arisen, it has led to others: Who? What kind of gun? How much training should be required?

At least two Long Island school districts, Miller Place and Hauppauge, have heard those questions debated at public forums.


Why you want FLABBY board retreats

On Board Online • April 2, 2018

By Jamie McPherson
Leadership Development Manager

A common misconception is that only boards who are in some type of dysfunction should engage in a retreat.

Although dysfunction necessitates a retreat, many high performing boards see the value in holding regular retreats. They discuss processes and protocols on items such as requesting information, communicating via email and responding to community complaints.


Walkouts take somber tone

On Board Online • April 2, 2018

Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Walkouts that drew thousands of New York students from their classrooms on March 14 unfolded largely as solemn observances honoring the memory of 14 students and three adults who were shot and killed in Parkland, Fla.

Schenectady, Baldwin and Carthage were among many school districts where students participated in somber rallies as classmates, teachers and administrators observed silently.


What the research says about K-8 schools vs. separate elementary and middle schools

On Board Online • April 2, 2018

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

A growing number of schools - particularly in urban areas - have embraced grouping students in kindergarten through eighth grade together in one building rather than separate elementary and middle schools.

The trend is due in large part to a body of recent research suggesting that this model benefits kids academically and socially. But a new study strongly favors the traditional model of placing students into separate elementary and middle schools.

The study, published in February in the peer-reviewed Journal of Urban Economics, involves a school district - unnamed in the report - that closed several schools and rezoned those students to other schools with new boundaries.


Can college ambassadors help high schools reduce cyberbullying?

On Board Online • April 2, 2018

By George Basler
Special Correspondent

Cyberbullying hit home for Marc Badalucco during his senior year of high school. A fellow student, whom Badalucco describes as smart but socially awkward, ended up taking his own life after being targeted on social media.

The 20-year-old Siena College junior hasn't forgotten the shock. "I wanted to see if I could make a difference, even the smallest part," he said.

For this reason, Badalucco signed up to be part of a new initiative aimed at increasing awareness about cyberbullying and empowering teenagers to stand up against it.


An issue that won't go away

On Board Online • April 2, 2018

By Courtney Sanik
Senior Policy Consultant

State legislators have proposed amending the penal code to establish the crime of non-consensual dissemination of explicit images (S.2725) and create the crime of cyber harassment (A.7662).

Neither bill would have direct policy implications for school boards if passed by both houses of the Legislature and signed into law by the governor. But they reflect growing concern about sexting - the act of sending someone sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone or other device.


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