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December 2015

IMPORTANT DATES

January 13, 2016

Governor Cuomo's State-of-the-State Address and Executive Budget Release

February 27-28, 2016

NYS PTA Legislation/Education Conference
Albany, NY

February 29, 2016

NYS PTA Lobby Day
Albany, NY

March 19, 2016

NYS PTA PARP Conference
Melville, NY

In the Spotlight

Regents Propose $2.4 Billion 2016-17 School Aid Increase

The NYS Board of Regents at their December 15 meeting, proposed an increase in state aid for the 2016-17 school year of $2.445 billion. This follows a nearly identical proposal developed by the NYS Educational Conference Board (ECB), of which NYS PTA is a contributing member, that was released in early November.

Click here to read more.

Legislation Updates

Action Needed to Protect Kids from Candy Flavored E-Cigarettes: The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is calling for Congress not to weaken FDA oversight of flavored e-cigarettes and cigars by exempting these products from important health and safety reviews by the Food and Drug Administration.

Please spread the word to click on the link below and tell Congress to stop making it harder to protect the health of our kids.

Click here for more.

Resolutions Update

2015 NYS PTA Adopted Resolutions: The newly-adopted NYS PTA resolutions presented at the 2015 Convention this past November are available on the website here.

Education News

More Items from the December Board of Regents Meeting

Appeals for Students with Disabilities to Achieve a Local Diploma: After commentary in November, the Regents voted to enable students with disabilities to appeal Regents exams scored within 3 points of the 55 passing grade, if they have 95% attendance and two failed attempts to pass the exam, to be eligible for a local diploma. Read more here.

Academic Intervention Services: Emergency action to extend the district flexibility in providing AIS, based on ELA or Math 3-8 Assessments, for students who score below Level 4 Proficient but are at or above the scale score for the 2015-2016 school year.

Algebra II/Trigonometry Flexibility: On the June 2016, August 2016 and January 2017 test administrations only, students receiving Algebra II (Common Core) instruction may, at the discretion of the applicable school district, take the Regents examination in Algebra II/Trigonometry aligned to the 2005 Learning Standards, in addition to the Regents examination in Algebra II (Common Core), and may meet the mathematics requirement for graduation in clause (a)(5)(i)(b) of this section by passing either examination.

APPR Revisions: The Regents, as recommended by Commissioner Elia, adopted an emergency revision to APPR rules, that is now in the public comment phase, before permanent adoption at the February 2016 meeting. Please send comments or questions to NYSED during the required 45 day comment period that begins December 30, 2015.

The revision to APPR rules defers the use of 3-8 ELA and Math assessment student growth scores and state provided growth on Regents exams during the transition to higher learning standards from March 2016 through June 2019. State provided growth scores for educators (teachers and principals) will be advisory only during the transition until the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Instead, a Transition Score, based on backup student learning objectives and are not tied to the 3-8 assessments, will be used for the overall composite score. The State Education Department maintains a list of appropriate SLO assessment tools used in the measure of growth. Districts and educator unions should have already set growth targets based on their agreed approved assessment tool within their submitted APPR plan. This move will enable State Ed to develop a three year average growth factor to be used from 2019 and beyond.

A teacher’s or principal’s final composite score and rating, for all purposes under section 3012-c and 3012-d of the Education Law, and for of tenure and other employment decisions, will be based on the transition composite score and rating. To see specific language that is open for comment, you can read it here.


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (formerly ESEA) was signed into law by President Obama. This new law replaces the No Child Left Behind Act.

Key elements of this current fix are “rejection of the overuse of standardized tests and one-size-fits-all mandates on our schools, ensures that our education system will prepare every child to graduate from high school ready for college and careers, and provides more children access to high-quality state preschool programs.” To read more, click here.

NY Common Core Task Force Report Released: The Governor’s Common Core Task Force final report has been released with over 21 recommendations. To review the report, click here.

Tax Cap Issues: ECB has sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance regarding issues related to the tax cap. Click here for more.

Special Education Updates


NYSED has announced a three year pilot program, IEP Facilitation. The purpose of the program is to offer parents and districts the ability to use a neutral third party to settle disputes stemming from the CSE/CPSE process. Effective immediately, it will be available in two NYC districts as well as on Long Island. More info here.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a page dedicated to families with special needs. It contains useful information as well as additional resources. Check it out here.

NYSED has issued a field memo about the transition process from Early Intervention (EIP) to preschool (CPSE process). It is important that all involved parties work together to ensure a smooth transition by reviewing the child’s progress and determining eligibility for preschool special education services. Additional information and the field memo can be found here.

NYSED has released its Blueprint for Improved Results for Students with Disabilities. The purpose of this document is to ensure that students with disabilities have the opportunities to benefit from high quality instruction, to reach the same standards as all students, and to leave school prepared to successfully transition to post-school learning, living and employment. Click here to read more.

Family Engagement Resources


Discussing Tragedy With Your Child or Student:
In wake of the recent tragedies surrounding us, we as parents and educators have been handed the task of answering some very difficult questions. Kids see the news or hear about events at school, home or activities, and some are worried about their own environment. Here are some links to ideas on how to answer questions while keeping our kids at ease. An open dialogue between home and school is vital during these times and, by being on the same page, you may alleviate some of the anxiety our kids are feeling. Check these links below.

Wellness/Health Updates

Synthetic Marijuana: There has been a rise in the number of emergency department visits and poison control calls related to synthetic marijuana. To learn more, click here.

Ending the Epidemic: Governor Cuomo recently announced the next phase of New York's plan to end the AIDS epidemic. He has committed an additional $200 million dollars to support HIV/AIDS efforts. The governor also called on the federal government for additional support to address this issue, and increase its contribution nationwide for housing assistance for people living with HIV and AIDS. These announcements regarding the state's plan to end the epidemic of HIV/AIDS came in recognition of World AIDS Day, held on December 1, 2015. Learn more here.

For more info on ending the AIDS epidemic in New York, click here.

New Opioid Overdose Drug Approved: The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently announced that intranasal Naloxone has been approved by the FDA. Intranasal Naloxone is a nasal spray formulation of the medication used to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. This new technology is needle-free and easy to use, which will provide first responders, caregivers and family members an alternative to injectable Naloxone for a suspected opioid overdose. Check these links for more info.

Declining Life Expectancy in America: Decades of improving life expectancy in America has reversed, according to a paper by Princeton economist and Nobel laureate Angus Deaton and economist Anne Case. According to the article, “Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century” (read full article here), white non-Hispanic American men and women experienced a marked increase in all-cause mortality during the period from 1999 to 2013.

According to Case and Deaton, “This change reversed decades of progress in mortality and was unique to the United States; no other rich country saw a similar turnaround.” Increasing mortality was largely “accounted for by increasing death rates from drug and alcohol poisonings, suicide and chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis.”

The bit of good news in this report is that northeastern states (including New York) are doing better than most of the rest of the United States. Also, the causes of declining longevity are reversible and preventable, and PTA has positions on these issues.

December-January Awareness Events

Statewide Holiday Toy, Coat and School Supply Drive runs through December 18. To find locations to drop off items for needy families, click here.

NIDA has new materials available for observing National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, January 25-31, 2016. Find out more here.

To see more events for this month and other dates, visit the NYS PTA Wellness Calendar.

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