The following provides a summary of the two-day May meeting of the Board of Regents. Topics on the agenda ranged from APPR to optional certification paths for certain teachers.
Annual Professional Performance Review
A discussion on teacher/principal evaluations was added to the Board of Regents agenda as a result of proposed legislation (A.10575/S.8301) that passed in the Assembly on May 2, 2018 and referred to the Senate Education Committee. The proposed bill would make the use of state assessments optional for the student performance category. The required component would consist of an SLO for all teachers and be based on assessments negotiated at the local school district level. This component is required to result in a student growth score. The optional component provides an opportunity to use multiple assessment measures that may result in either a student achievement or growth score. The proposed bill also prohibits student scores on the grade 3-8 ELA and Math state assessments from being part of a student’s permanent record.
Discussion around the table–The members of the Board discussed the pros and cons of the proposed bill. Some members of the Board were concerned that an unintended consequence of the bill could be additional student testing, while other members thought it was a positive step forward to reducing the “toxic” environment surrounding APPR. The members discussed the need to refocus evaluations on building the knowledge and capacity of teachers. The discussion included balancing ESSA and state APPR requirements.
Mental Health Education
The Board voted to adopt regulations, effective July 1, 2018, which require the instruction of mental health education as a part of health education. Further, mental health instruction must include the relationship between physical and mental health and improve student understanding of behavior that promotes healthy well-being and human dignity. Increased discussion has occurred across the state in regard to awareness and instruction. SAANYS has provided several professional learning events across the state in partnership with NYSED and other major state educational associations. Additionally, The Educational Conference Board has developed a paper on mental health education in schools and will soon be available.
Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)
The Board of Regents enacted emergency regulations that amended regulations on DASA. The regulations were amended to provide examples of types of harassment, bullying, and discriminatory actions that must be reported. Because the regulations were adopted as an emergency action they went into effect on May 8. The regulations will be available for public comment for 60 days and then acted upon permanently in July. Further information on the enacted regulations may be found at:
Currently, there are three categories of substitute teachers that districts may hire:
1) Persons with valid teaching certificates may work for an unlimited number of days,
2) Persons without certification, but who are working towards certification (no less than six semester hours per year) may work for an unlimited number of days, and
3) Persons who do not hold a valid teaching certificate and are not working toward certification. Such persons may not work for more than 40 days during a school year. In extreme circumstances, this type of substitute may be employed up to 90 days. In rare circumstances, the 90 days may be extended, if good faith efforts show that there are no certified teachers for the position.
When the third option was added in 2016, the Board wanted to ensure that the new allowance didn’t result in an over hiring of uncertified substitute teachers. Therefore they required that the new provision sunset on June 30, 2018, in order to examine impact in the field. The Department undertook a study that demonstrated that districts did not employ a significant increase of uncertified substitute teachers. At the May meeting, the Board of Regents voted to adopt and extend the provision until June 30, 2020.
The link to this item may be found at http://www.regents.nysed.gov/common/regents/files/518hea1.pdf.
Clinical Student Teaching Experience
The Board began initial discussions on revising requirements for student teaching. This work started a few months ago after discussing recommendations from the eTPA Task Force, which recommended establishing a committee to examine the length and content of student teaching experiences in teacher preparation programs. The following are some of the proposed revisions to student teaching requirements:
• Foundational and intermediate clinical experiences must total at least 150 clock hours, with at least 100 of the clock hours devoted to intermediate clinical experiences.
• At least 20 clock hours of the total 150 clock hours must include a focus on understanding the needs of students with disabilities.
• At least 20 clock hours of the total 150 clock hours must include a focus on understanding the needs of students learning English as a new language.
• School-based educators engaged in supervision at the intermediate and/or culminating levels must have at least three years of full-time P-12 teaching experience or the equivalent in the subject area of certification sought by the teacher candidate or in a related area.
• University-based teacher educators engaged in clinical supervision must be involved in program development and must have at least three years of full-time P-12 teaching or related school-based experience. Such educators must be employed as a higher education faculty or staff member, classroom teacher, or educational leader in the past five years.
• School-based and university-based teacher educators who work with teacher candidates during culminating clinical experiences must participate in professional development designed in partnership with P-12 and higher education faculty in order to provide effective clinical supervision.
Next steps will include the drafting of regulations, public comment, and further discussions. More information on this topic can be found at: http://www.regents.nysed.gov/common/regents/files/518hed2.pdf.
New Pathway for Teachers of Speech and Language Disabilities
The Board of Regents is considering whether to develop a new pathway for obtaining initial certification for graduates from speech and language pathology programs. The new pathway would require candidates to:
• Complete a master’s or higher degree program in speech and language pathology as accredited by ASAH,
• Receive a passing score on the Educating All Students exam,
• Complete 150 hours of practicum in speech and language disabilities in a classroom, and
• Complete other requirements in Subpart 80-1 (workshops, fingerprinting, etc.)
These regulations will go out for a 60-day comment period for anticipated adoption in September. More information on this topic may be found at: http://www.regents.nysed.gov/common/regents/files/518hed3.pdf.