New York State Education Department_ Knowledge_ Skill_ Opportunity
News and Notes
Dear Colleagues,

graduates in caps and gowns holding diplomas_ with one smiling graduate in the foreground
Last week, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) released high school graduation rates for the 2013 cohort, students who entered 9th grade in 2013. The overall graduation rate increased to 80.2 percent, up 0.5 percentage points from 79.7 percent for the 2012 cohort. The 2013 cohort graduation rate is more than 11 percentage points higher than it was a decade earlier, when the 2003 cohort graduation rate was 68.6 percent.

When August graduates are included, the 2013 cohort graduation rate increased to 82.1 percent, which exceeds the goal established for federal accountability in 2010 to have 80 percent of students graduate by August of their fourth year in high school. The state's graduation rate is on track to meet its first Every Student Succeeds Act plan long-term goal for a graduation rate of 83.9 percent in 2021-22. Despite this, significant achievement gaps exist.

This year's graduation rate improved for black and Hispanic students, for students with disabilities, and in four of the state's Big 5 city school districts. While the graduation rate declined slightly for current English language learners (ELLs), it improved again for former ELL students, or "Ever ELLs."

New York's graduation rate continues its steady, upward trend. We see incremental improvements across the State, holding onto last year's gains and slowly building upon them. And that's good news. At the same time, however, troubling gaps in achievement persist, and we must accelerate the pace of improvement. With its focus on equity, the State's newly approved ESSA plan will help drive the changes we need to ensure all children have the same opportunities for success.

More information about  high school graduation rates is available in our  news release. Individual school district data may be found on our interactive  data website.

Watch the video below for my remarks on the June 2017 (2013 cohort) high school graduation rates. 

VIdeo_ New York State 2017 Graduation Rates_ State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia

This edition of News and Notes also includes information about the following:
Thank you for all you do for the students of New York State.


MaryEllen Elia
aCommissioner's APPR Survey

On February 6, all public school teachers, as well as school and district leaders, received an invitation to complete the Commissioner's Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR) Survey. The survey is designed to collect feedback about current requirements from those who are most directly impacted by the  system. The survey also seeks feedback on what an ideal evaluation system could look like. The survey is the first part of NYSED's larger effort to develop an evaluation system that provides meaningful feedback to educators and supports their ongoing development. Survey responses are due back to NYSED by March 7, 2018.
sScholarships for Academic Excellence

high school student studying in library with notebook and laptop
School administrators: Just a reminder to submit your nomination packets for the Scholarships for Academic Excellence! The deadline has been extended to  Friday, March 9.

The Scholarships for Academic Excellence afford financial support to top students graduating in June 2018 from New York State high schools. We anticipate having 2,000 scholarships available valued at $1,500 and 6,000 scholarships available valued at $500. 

Questions may be directed to the Scholarships Unit at (518) 474-3719 or

mRegents Recognize Milken Award Winners

At its meeting this week, the Board of Regents recognized Aja Brown of Metropolitan Soundview High School in the Bronx and Andrew Franz of Buffalo's Hamlin Park Claude and Ouida Clapp Academy as 2017 Milken Awardees . The Milken Educator Awards provide public recognition and financial rewards to outstanding educators. Franz and Brown received the awards and $25,000 each during assemblies at their schools in October from the Milken Family Foundation. 

In addition to participation in the Milken Educator Network, 2017-18 recipients will attend a Milken Educator Forum in Washington, D.C. in March. Educators will have the opportunity to network with their new colleagues and hear from state and federal officials about maximizing their leadership roles to advance educator effectiveness.

Congratulations, Aja Brown and Andrew Franz!

Aja Brown and Chancellor Rosa
Aja Brown and Chancellor Rosa
Regent Collins and Andrew Franz
Regent Collins and Andrew Franz

r155 Reward Schools Identified

Earlier this month, NYSED identified 155 high achieving and high progress schools as Reward Schools. Reward Schools are schools with high academic achievement or those with the most progress in the State and do not have significant gaps in student achievement between subgroups. Each Reward School will receive a certificate of recognition from Commissioner Elia. More information on the Reward School designation, as well as a full list of schools, can be found in our press release.
Last month, Commissioner Elia testified at the joint legislative budget hearing on elementary and secondary education and at the joint legislative budget hearing on higher education.

The Commissioner's budget presentations are available here:
fSummer Food Service Program

two children eating school lunch
NYSED is accepting applications for the 2018 Summer Food Service Program from public or nonpublic, nonprofit school food authorities; all local, county, municipal, or state governmental entities; Indian tribal territories, migrant programs; nonprofit agencies; and camps interested and eligible in sponsoring a Summer Food Service Program. 

About 400,000 free meals are served daily to New York State children through the USDA's Summer Food Service Program, which will operate this summer throughout New York State from June 18 through September 3, 2018.

Summer Food Service Program sponsors receive federal and State reimbursement for each meal served to a child, according to predetermined reimbursement rates. NYSED will hold training workshops in March and April for sponsors planning to participate in summer 2018.