Key items brought before the Board included:
Back to School 2021-22 – This presentation by Dr. Wilkins and CFO Phyllis Morris summarized priorities for the new school year and federal funding. Three key priorities are maximizing in-person teaching and learning, ensuring the health and safety of students and staff, and being responsive to student needs. The presentation included results of stakeholder engagement conducted by SED.
Three questions were asked of the field, with the following as the primary responses:
What Worked? Acclimating to e-platforms, increased communication,
What Was Challenging? Student engagement, technology inequities and lack of personnel to teach concurrent instruction,
What is Needed from SED? Increased cross-sector communication, consistency, guidance on local district obligations, and clarity on remote instruction. A point of discussion on this issue was the role of SED in ensuring accountability of LEAs to the masking and testing requirements. Much of the discourse focused on the interaction of multiple agencies and the need to balance local control, yet consistent parameters for the health and safety of students.
P-12 Education Subcommittee
Accountability Requirements – The proposed regulations make adjustments to some accountability requirements as a result of the waiver from the USDE.
The proposed regulations:
• Would suspend the identification of schools as needing support as Comprehensive, Targeted, or additional Targeted Support and Improvement for the 2021-22 school year, based on data from the 2020-21 school year.
• Would suspend assigning a Level 1-4 for out-of-school suspensions to any accountability group and would delay the out of school indicator until 2021-26.
• Would delay requirements related to participation rate audits and plans.
This presentation provided an update on the Individual Arts Assessment Pathway (IAAP) timeline. The new timeline includes dates for in-school pilots and full implementation in September 2023.
Higher Education Subcommittee
Bilingual Education Extension, Supplementary Bilingual Education, and Registration Requirements – A series of actions are proposed that would revise bilingual education extension requirements for candidates who hold the provisional, permanent, initial, or professional school counselor certificate and apply for the extension on or after 2/2/23. One revision would reduce the number of semester hours to 12 hours from 15 hours. Also, for candidates who are classroom teachers, study in sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics would be needed for the extension.
Report from NYS Department of Health
New COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations Among Adults – NYSDOH released this report recently. The report examines COVID-19 cases from May to July 2021. During this time frame, the Delta variant increased from 2% of cases to 80% of new cases. Also, vaccinations increased from 40% to 65%.
Key results indicated that:
• Vaccines are highly effective against hospitalization (Vaccine Effectiveness (VE) was greater than 90%) for fully vaccinated persons.
• Rates of new cases increased for both vaccinated and unvaccinated but was lower for vaccinated persons.
• Available vaccines are effective for preventing the COVID-19 virus.
• The findings are consistent with those found in other countries.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Workgroup
Regent Young began the session discussing the importance of this work. It is the first time that the state has had a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy and that is being used as the lens upon which all of the work going forward will be based. It is a policy that will benefit all students and is needed to determine the education we want all children to have, not just some children.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Website – A substantive segment of this meeting was focused on the resources available through SED and the work they have been doing with stakeholders. One of the resources that a number of Board members discussed was a 21-day challenge that some districts have undertaken.
One of the last discussion areas was on Critical Race Theory (CRT). The discussion began with a video which addressed the concept of racial disparity. Concepts such as eugenics and problems with opportunities have been used to explain racial disparity. CRT is a concept that emerged in the 1980’s to examine systems that continue to permit and reinforce racial disparity.