A Report from Cindy Gallagher, SAANYS Director of Government Relations
This summer was packed full of events and meetings here at SAANYS, I am sure the same goes for all of you. Your Government Relations office was engaged throughout these summer months in many task force meetings, rounds of presentations to various units, and planning for the fall. The following will provide you with a brief summary of some of those events.
New Laws and/or Regulations
After the legislative session concluded, the governor signed several bills related to education during the summer months.
A.8262/S.6581 – requires the commissioner of education to provide guidance on the educational needs of students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia. The guidance required of NYSED would provide information to districts on evaluations, eligibility determinations, and development of IEPs.
A.5151/S.2724 – this bill expands the types of services that may be provided by school health services to include diabetes risk analysis. Additionally, this bill permits school district nutrition advisory committees to make recommendations on the nutritional policies of the district regarding healthy weight.
A.6910-b/S.5251-b – allows BOCES to purchase food directly from NYS farm businesses and exceed monetary restrictions (same as schools may do currently).
Regulations Passed by NYSED During the Summer
Academic Intervention Services – The amendment of Section 100.2 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education became effective July 1, 2017 as an emergency action and is anticipated to become permanent in September. The amendment would continue the two-step identification process for students needing AIS services. The process would identify students that perform at or below a median cut point between a Level 2/partially proficient and a Level 3/proficient (determined by the commissioner) for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school year. This amendment delays a new standard setting process until the 2019-20 school year. Scan the QR code to learn more.
School Health Services – Amends Section 136 of the Regulations of the Commissioner as a second emergency action and eliminates the requirement that school districts enter into collaborative agreements with emergency health care providers to purchase epinephrine auto injectors. Also, districts are no longer required to report every use of an injector to the emergency health provider. Scan the QR code to learn more.
Approval of Pathway Exams in Languages Other Than English (LOTE) – Amends Sections 100.2 and 100.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to establish criteria for evaluating LOTE Pathway examinations that will be used to meet assessment requirements for graduation. Contact Cindy Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Appeals Process for the ELA Regents
Examinations – Amends Section 100.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to allow eligible ELLs to appeal scores of 55-61 on the ELA Regents exam. Contact Cindy Gallagher at email@example.com to learn more.
Task Force/Advisory Boards
SAANYS is well represented on a multitude of groups acting in an advisory role to the State Education Department. SAANYS representation is provided by members and/or staff. At this point in time SAANYS participates on the:
- Committee of Practitioners
- New York State Teacher Certification Examinations Content Specialty Tests in the Arts
- 180 Day Session Requirement Advisory Group
- Principal Preparation Project
- ESSA Think Tank
- SCIS Methodology Advisory Group
- Mental Health Advisory Group
- Early Learning Blue Ribbon Panel
- ESSA Reporting Requirements Workgroup
- Data Privacy Workgroup
- Alternative Education Advisory Committee
- DASA Advisory Group
Some of these groups have been newly formed and have not met yet while others are advisory groups in longer standing (Committee of Practitioners, Principal Preparation Project, and ESSA Think Tank) and meet consistently throughout the year. As work within these groups progresses, we will provide updates throughout the year.
In addition to all of the above, SAANYS hosted a meeting with Congressman Paul Tonko and administrators from his district (see page 1). The discussions were very powerful and the congressman heard serious concerns and insights from school leaders. Two of the issues most on the minds of the administrators attending the meeting were the escalating crisis of mental health issues in our schools and the toll on educators from the negativity towards public education. Administrators discussed the increased anxiety levels of students, increased trauma from events outside the school, increased challenges facing families, increased impact of social media, and increased use of drugs. Embedded in these conversations were concerns regarding inadequate levels of services both within the district and community and funding needed to address shortages. Congressman Tonko was fully engaged in this discussion and supportive of the need to address these critical issues.
SAANYS thanks Congressman Tonko for dedicating such a large amount of time and interest on educational issues.
If you would like more in-depth information on any of these issues or others, please feel free to contact us. Each of your questions is welcomed and appreciated. The more we hear from our members, the better we are at advocating for ways to support you all. Please call us at (518) 782-0600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. n