Turn to SAANYS for Your Summer PD!

SunLet SAANYS build the kind of learning tailored to the needs of your leadership team and district. Here is just a sample of the kinds of topics we can feature in workshops, facilitated conversations, or administrative retreats that fit your needs and time frame. 

  • Inter-Rater Reliability Practice
  • Observation Practice that Reflects Where We are Now
  • Building Capacity: Leadership Through the Lens of Michael Fullan
  • Three Leadership Actions that Build True Collaboration
  • Rethinking Traditional Approaches to Grading and Homework
  • *Working with Difficult and Resistant Staff
  • What are Learning Targets and Why are They So Vital?
  • And many more…

Download the flier for more information.

Contact Karen Bronson today at (518) 782-0600 kbronson@saanys.org to learn more.

BOR Meeting Covers Regents Reform Agenda, ESEA Flexibility Renewal, Transgender Students

SED-BORThe New York State Board of Regents convened on July 20 for their monthly meeting. The public portion of the meeting was abbreviated so that board members and the SED leadership team could meet in “retreat” for the balance of the day and for the following day.

The Regents Reform Agenda – At the opening full-board meeting, Elizabeth Berlin presented an Update on the Regents Reform Agenda. Click here to read the full presentation. During the course of the presentation Commissioner Elia interjected relevant thoughts and information, including the following:

  • She was pleased with the improving high school graduation rate, but noted the continuing needs of high need and large urban school districts.
  • In regard to college and career readiness, the continuing  need for professional development for all educators was highlighted and the implementation of multiple pathways to high school graduation.
  • The commissioner also indicated the need to review the common core standards and common core-aligned tests; and to better communicate with educators, parents, and the general public about “what has been done and next steps.”
  • In regard to APPR, Commissioner Ilia indicated that many changes occurred in a short period, and that there is a need to review and improve the system – to improve classroom practice.

Regent Cashin and Regent Johnson expressed support of the commissioner’s intention to review common core standards – and the common core-aligned tests. She and Regent Rosa also stressed the need for appropriate time and program adjustments for subpopulations of students, such as students with disabilities and English language learners.

Regent Young raised attention regarding the adjustment to the “aspirational” performance requirement on Regents examinations (equating to 75/80) by 2022. He asked for data detailing changes in student performance over the past five years. He was joined by Regent Tilles in expressing concern that the current method by which students are determined to perform at level 3 (equating to 65), does not provide an adequate basis for monitoring student performance on a year-to-year basis.

ESEA Flexibility Renewal Waiver – Assistant Commissioner Ira Schwartz presented an action item for revisions of §100.18 of regulations that are necessary for the implementation of New York State’s ESEA Renewal Waiver. The USDOE approved New York State’s waiver application last week, for a four-year period.  Regulatory revisions regarding receivership (for Struggling Schools and Persistently Struggling Schools) received the most attention from Board members. Regent Young sought confirmation from SED that the receivership approach would be evaluated by SED, and Regent Johnson recommended that the evaluation methodology be determined soon in order to ensure that necessary data are available and collected. The assistant commissioner confirmed that an evaluation of the intervention model will be completed. The last comment on this item came from Regent Chin, who expressed concern regarding the willingness of experienced teachers to go to or stay in a Struggling School or Persistently Struggling School. She expressed that there is no “incentive” for teachers and is concerned that such school may not have sufficient capacity in regard to long-term experienced teachers.

Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students – The board unanimously approved the New York State Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students Guidance Document. The news release was issued by SED shortly after the meeting and includes quotes of support from several education organizations, including SAANYS.  Click here to read the full news release.

We hope that you will find this information helpful. We will continue to keep you updated. All the best. …Jim Viola

The New York State Board of Regents September 2014 Meeting

The Board of Regents met on September 15 and 16. The main item discussed regarded the establishment of a Career and Technical Education Pathway for high school graduation. Based on the latest data available, for the 2012-13 school year, 8,380 high school graduates (4.67 percent) are awarded high school diplomas with CTE endorsements. At the Regents meeting, Assistant Commissioner Charles Szuberla reviewed the various examinations (i.e., Advanced International Certificate, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, SAT) that have been determined to be equivalent to Regents examinations in ELA, mathematics, science, and social studies. He also indicated that 13 CTE examinations have been determined to be equivalent to Regents examinations. At this time, however, Regents members are pursuing a 4/1 CTE Pathway option, whereby successful student performance on an equivalent CTE examination may be applied in lieu of a social studies “or perhaps a science” Regents examination for high school graduation.

Based on conversations with Regents members and department leaders during 2013-14, SAANYS was aware that such an item would be raised and acted upon early in 2014-15. Therefore, SAANYS met with partners from the NYS Federation of School Administrators and the Council of School Administrators and Supervisors to develop a position paper under the NYS School Administrators Consortium (NYSSAC) moniker. The NYSSAC document posted on the SAANYS website indicates:

  • General support for the expansion of pathways to be made available to students to graduate with a meaningful high school diploma/credential that opens doors to post-secondary education college and career opportunities that are commensurate with students’ interests and abilities.
  • Specific support for the establishment of a Career and Technical Education Pathway that aligns academic and industry standards.
  • Students matriculating in a CTE Pathway should be permitted to apply at least one, but preferably two appropriate CTE assessments that are tied to or required by industry standards in lieu of one or both social studies Regents examinations.
  • Students successfully completing such a pathway should be awarded a Regents Diploma with CTE Designation.

SAANYS also conferred with other members of the Education Conference Board (ECB)* to develop a second position paper in support of a CTE Pathway for high school graduation. The ECB position paper will be posted on the SAANYS website upon being finalized.

Regents members also indicated an interest in pursuing the establishment of an Arts Pathway for high school graduation. For this reason, the Board will establish and convene a Blue Ribbon Commission for the Arts, to be led by Regent Roger Tilles. A report in this regard is expected in the spring of 2015.

*The Education Conference Board is comprised of the following organizations: Conference of Big 5 School Districts, NYS Association of School Business Officials, NYS Congress of Parents and Teachers, NYS Council of School Superintendents, NYS School Boards Association, NYSUT, and SAANYS.

For more information about the Board of Regents meeting, contact James Viola, Director of Government Relations, by e-mailing JViola@saanys.org. Both the NYSSAC and ECB position papers are posted on the SAANYS website.

SAANYS Intervenes in Violation of Anti-abolishment Clause

SAANYS successfully litigated a case for the Elmira Schools Supervisory and Administrative Council (ESSAC) against the City School District of Elmira for violating the terms of a May 2012 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).


During the 2011-12 budget process the district eliminated four ESSAC positions as part of budget cuts. With the assistance of SAANYS, ESSAC negotiated an anti-abolishment clause to protect the remaining 32 ESSAC members’ jobs. Specifically, SAANYS negotiated the following contractual provision: “In exchange for the association waiving the aforementioned contractual rights during the 2012-2013 school year the district agrees that no positions contained within the association shall be abolished or positions unfilled during the 2012-2013 school year only.”

In essence, ESSAC bargained away guaranteed compensation to maintain unit jobs.  Specifically, ESSAC agreed to waive five-sixths of its members’ 3.9 percent salary increase for the 2012 – 13 school year, and limit the number of unused vacation days that members could cash in from seven days to one day that school year. These compensatory sacrifices were made based on the district’s promise that the 32 positions within ESSAC as of May 2012 would remain filled during the entire upcoming school year.

This MOA was a short term job security provision.  However, shortly after reaching this agreement, the superintendent negotiated with an ESSAC member a separate employment contract for the member, a director, without the knowledge of ESSAC. The superintendent and the director reached an agreement in July 2012 that removed the director position from ESSAC, thereby reducing the number of positions below 32 and breaching the MOA. ESSAC was unaware of the secretly negotiated individual employment contract with the director until late November, when ESSAC leadership demanded the director pay his ESSAC dues. Upon learning that the director refused to pay union dues because he was no longer a member of ESSAC, ESSAC filed a grievance in December 2012.  With the assistance of SAANYS, the case progressed to the arbitration stage before Arbitrator Nancy Eischen in the summer of 2014.

SAANYS Intervenes

SAANYS prosecuted the grievance at the arbitration stage for ESSAC. Arbitrator Eischen held that the district violated the MOA by reducing the agreed upon number of positions below 32 when the district unilaterally negotiated an individual employment contract with an ESSAC member, which also constituted an improper practice of “self-dealing.” Arbitrator Eischen considered the breach and fashioned the remedy to make ESSAC members whole again.  Arbitrator Eischen ordered the district to pay ESSAC members the 5/6 salary increase and the ability to cash in six more vacation days this year, as both items were forfeited as part of the original MOA.  The remedy SAANYS was able to achieve for ESSAC shall result in in an $180,000 award for the ESSAC members.

In regard to anti-abolishment clauses, school districts are constantly facing budgetary constraints from living within the property tax cap and members may be involved in negotiating agreements to preserve the positions of its members. It is important to understand what elements should be included in anti-abolishment provisions and what rights you have if such clauses have been violated. When negotiating an anti-abolishment clause, such provision must be explicit, unambiguous, comprehensive, and of relative brief duration. Further, the agreement should be clear on how any disputes will be resolved. SAANYS recommends that such matters should be processed through the grievance procedure, which ultimately ends in binding arbitration. Having a detailed grievance procedure in a CBA is very important to protect the unit’s rights when a violation has occurred.

Please contact SAANYS if your unit is considering negotiating an anti-abolishment clause/lay-off clause; SAANYS attorneys who will be happy to provide you with guidance in this process.

2012-13 APPR Data Available August 28, 2014

The State Education Department has announced that APPR data will be posted and available on August 28, 2014. This posting of APPR data, for teachers and principals, is required under Section 3012-c(10) of Education Law. As a courtesy, we have attached a one-page slide depicting the types of data that is required to be included in the disclosure report.

We hope that you will find this information helpful. We will continue to keep you updated. All the best. …Jim Viola

Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 1:37 PM
Subject: Heads Up: 2012-13 APPR Data Available Tomorrow

Pursuant to Education Law §3012-c(10), the Department is required to publicly disclose Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) data in a manner that does not compromise the privacy of individual educators.

Although 2013-14 APPR data will not be available to the Department until later this fall, 2012-13 APPR data are available now. Final 2012-13 APPR data will be available at https://data.nysed.gov beginning the afternoon of Thursday, August 28.

For a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, please see: https://data.nysed.gov.

Academic Intervention Service Requirements for 2014-15

The attached document from Deputy Commissioner Cosimo Tangorra lists the 2014 3-8 ELA and math cut scores for the provision of Academic Intervention Services (AIS). Based upon our review, the cut scores are the same as those that were in place for 2013-14. In the field memo, the Deputy Commissioner indicates that, “The department will further recommend [to the Board of Regents] that those students scoring at or above these scale scores but below level three/proficient not be required to receive academic intervention instructional and/or student support services during the 2014-15 school year…”

The information contained in the field memorandum will be presented to the Board of Regents for approval at their next meeting, on September 15 and 16. By November 1, 2014 school districts are required to either post on their respective websites or provide written information to parents regarding their uniform process for determining whether to provide AIS to struggling students during 2014-15.

We hope you will find this information helpful. We will continue to keep you informed. All the best. …Jim Viola

Two Updates: NYSTRS Rates and 2014 3-8 ELA and Math Test Results

This communication includes attachments containing updated information in regard to two matters:

  • NYSTRS Pension Contribution Rates — The local contribution rate is scheduled to increase by approximately .8 percent, from 16.25 percent to 17.53 percent.
  • Student Performance on the 2014 ELA and Mathematics State Assessments — Deputy Commissioner Wagner indicated that the same cut points used in 2013 were used for the 2014 administration, and the data are felt to be comparable year-to-year. Some preliminary observations follow:
    • “Significant” statewide progress was posted in mathematics (Overall 3-8 proficiency rate (i.e., scoring at levels 3 and 4) increased from 31.2 percent to 35.8 percent). Progress was achieved across all need/resource capacity groups and across all student race/ethnicity groups.
    • In mathematics, the grade-by-grade proficiency rates were: Grade 3, 42.2 percent; Grade 4, 42.6 percent; Grade 5, 40.0 percent; Grade 6, 38.1 percent; Grade 7, 32.9 percent; Grade 8, 22.2 percent. (Note: Grade 8 student performance will have been affected by students opting to take the Algebra 1 Regents examination in lieu of the Grade 8 assessment.)
    • “Slight progress” was noted in ELA (Overall 3-8 proficiency rate increased from 31.1 percent to 31.4 percent)
    • In ELA, the grade-by-grade proficiency rates were: Grade 3,31.8 percent; Grade 4,33.2 percent; Grade 5, 29.7 percent; Grade 6, 28.9 percent; Grade 7, 29.5 percent; Grade 8, 35.5 percent.

We hope that you will find this information helpful. We will continue to keep you informed. All the best. …Jim Viola

Link: GRC OCt 2014 NYSTRS Rates

File: 2014 Grades 3-8 ELAMath – final 8-13-14.pdf

New Deputy Commissioner Appointed

The Board of Regents met in Albany on July 9. At the full board meeting they unanimously acted to approve the appointment of Dr. Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. to the position of deputy commissioner, to assume the responsibilities formerly assigned to Ken Slentz. For the past 12 years, Dr. Tangorra been employed as the school superintendent of the Central Valley School District which is located in Ilion, New York.  Earlier in his education career he was a school principal and a special education teacher.   Also at the Board of Regents meeting, board members unanimously approved a consent item for “Postponement of the Use of a Value-Added Model for the State-Provided Growth Scores for Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR) Until, at the Earliest, the 2015-2016 School Year for Classroom Teachers in Grades 4-8 and Their Building Principals and High School Principals.”   We hope that you will find this information helpful. We will continue to keep you updated. All the best. …Jim Viola

Grades 3-8 Assessment Data Released

Message from Deputy Commissioner Ken Wagner:


In response to feedback and requests from teachers, principals, and superintendents, the Department has authorized the early release of instructional reports for the 2014 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Testing Program.  These reports can be accessed via your Regional Information Center (RIC) and/or Level 1 data center.  Report availability will be determined by your RIC / Level 1*.

Please note that these reports will be based on raw scores only.  They will not include scale scores or performance levels until the statewide results are released later this summer.

See attached for more information.

If you have questions about these instructional reports, please contact the Office of Information and Reporting Services at dataquest@mail.nysed.gov or your RIC or your Big 5 city school district data center at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/sirs/RICBIG5.pdf.

Link: Grades 3-8 Assessment Data Released 

File: Early Release of Instructional Reports – 7-23-14Early Release of Instructional Reports – 7-23-14Early Release of Instructional Reports – 7-23-14


 The New York City Department of Education and the Yonkers school district serve as their own Level 1 data center and will have different reporting solutions and time lines. 

Update: Principal and Teacher APPR Evaluations

On  April 9, SAANYS orchestrated a Lobby Day in which teams of Government Relations Committee members met with the Governor’s office and members of the state legislature. The number 1 priority issue discussed at the meetings was an APPR moratorium — and securing APPR adjustments for principals and teachers has remained “the” priority issue for which we have lobbied on multiple occasions until yesterday evening. In doing so, we worked with the NYS Federation of School Administrators – the organization representing administrators in Buffalo, Yonkers, and New York City; and with other Education Conference Board organizations, including NYSUT. On June 19, Governor Cuomo introduced Program Bill 56 – Temporary Provisions for Common Core Learning Standards – which passed by the Assembly 114-1 (A-10168) and by the Senate 60-0 (S-7921).

Program Bill 56 includes measures expressly for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years for the issuance of annual professional performance review (APPR) evaluations to teachers and principals. For teachers and principals rated ineffective or developing, an alternative scoring procedure would be implemented, possibly amending scores for one or two APPR subcomponents (i.e., student achievement and/or locally selected measures), by excluding from the evaluation calculation student performance that is based on common core-aligned tests in grades 3 to 8. (The provisions of the bill will have no effect upon the APPR evaluations of principals and teachers rated effective or highly effective.) For such teachers and principals, the higher calculated composite APPR score and rating would be used. The higher APPR score would also be used for any action related to termination, tenure determinations, expedited hearings, and decisions related to retention.

The bill is good, but not perfect in protecting teachers and principals from unfair and negative impacts accruing from annual professional performance reviews that are based upon flawed common core-aligned assessments results. Until last night, we sought three revisions:

  • The APPR safeguards do not extend to Regents common core-aligned examinations. It is SAANYS’ position that the same safeguards that will be in place in regard to student performance on common core-aligned tests in grades 3 to 8 should apply to students taking common core-aligned Regents examinations. SAANYS feels there is no basis to expect that the high school tests, which are high stakes for student graduation, are more valid and fair than the common core-aligned tests in grades 3 to 8 for the evaluation of students – or educators. The governor declined this modification, at least in part because of districts offering optional examinations aligned with the 2005 NYS Learning Standards.
  • Individual employment records and APPR documents that may be disclosed to parents must include both the original APPR score and the re-calculated APPR score. SAANYS feels that only the better APPR score should be entered into employment records and made available for disclosure to parents. There is no rationale for treating employment records and the release of APPR scores to parents in a manner that is different than for other purposes. Moreover, releasing both the original and adjusted APPR scores may lead to confusion for parents and guardians.
  • The APPR alternative score provision is restricted to teachers and principals rated developing or ineffective. Consistent with State Education Department guidance, some school districts have established APPR plans that include additional compensation for teachers and principals rated highly effective. Extending the alternative scoring provisions in the Program Bill to teachers and principals rated effective would help ensure that such educators are not financially disadvantaged by student performance on common core-aligned assessments.

Education Commissioner John King warned that removing common core-aligned test scores from consideration in teacher and principal APPR evaluations would endanger federal funding. On June 18, the commissioner said, “We are committed to include student performance and student progress on state tests in the evaluation system.” Click here to read more.

On June 12, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch spoke of the need to “honor our federal obligations” related to APPR and said that, “We are ready to make this a ‘go’ in September.” The chancellor also  said that failure to implement the new APPR system “would cost New York State lots of federal dollars,” but provided no specific information in this regard.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan commended Governor Cuomo and those involved in the agreement which will “ensure that schools across the state can continue to build on the significant progress they have made over the past four years.” As is stated in the attached news article, “New York appears not to be in danger of losing federal funding…”

We hope that you will find this information helpful. We will provide additional information in regards to the temporary APPR provisions – the Board of Regents meet next on June 23 and 24. All the best. …Jim Viola