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News and Notes
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Dear Colleagues,

The New York State Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) are celebrating Black History Month all month, including through moving reflections from Regents on the meaning, intent, and significance of recognizing historical contributions by African Americans throughout our nation's history at the February Board of Regents meeting. In addition, Board members honored the first African American Regent, Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, with a resolution recognizing him as a groundbreaking educator, author, psychologist, and advocate for racial integration. The Clark Auditorium at the New York State Museum is named for Dr. Clark.

Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow poster
Throughout February, NYSED and New York State Museum are recognizing the importance of Black History Month in a number of ways. Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow is a poster exhibition now open at the Museum that details the national story of the struggle for black equality after the end of slavery and through the Jim Crow era. In addition, artifacts from the State Museum's African American history collection will also be on display from February 5 through March 3. Black History Month events are also planned at museums and historical societies across New York and the State Museum's website will be updated often to keep people informed of these events.

NYSED, together with The Education Trust-New York, is highlighting New York State My Brother's Keeper (MBK) students throughout the month on social media including Twitter and Facebook. The #MyHistoryMyFuture campaign features inspiring quotes from outstanding students who are sharing how MBK has changed their lives and what their hopes and dreams are for the future.

At the February Board of Regents meeting this week, Regent Judith Johnson began the Black History Month reflection by remembering the words of Frederick Douglass who said, "Some know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it." Other Board members who shared compelling and poignant thoughts on Black History included Regents Nan Eileen Mead, Catherine Collins, Josephine Finn, Wade Norwood, Lester W. Young, Luis O. Reyes, Roger Tilles, Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown, and Chancellor Rosa. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first black woman to serve in her position, also joined the Regents. The entire meeting was live streamed and these moving and inspirational messages are available to be viewed on the Board of Regents website.

This edition of News and Notes includes updates related to the following:
Thank you for all you do for New York's students.


MaryEllen Elia
6NYSED Releases 2014 Cohort High School Graduation Rates
students in graduation hats and gowns
NYSED recently released graduation rates for the 2014 cohort, those students who first entered 9th grade in New York's public schools in 2014. The overall graduation rate increased slightly to 80.4 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from 80.2 percent for the 2013 cohort. The 2014 cohort graduation rate is 9.5 percentage points higher than it was a decade earlier, when the 2004 cohort graduation rate was 70.9 percent.

When August graduates are included, the 2014 cohort graduation rate improved to 82.6 percent, an increase of 0.5 percentage points over last year. Despite these overall gains, significant gaps in achievement persist.

Individual school district data is available on our interactive data website.
3Statement from Chancellor Rosa and Commissioner Elia on Legislature's Actions on the Dream Act

The New York State Assembly and Senate recently passed the Senator Jose R. Peralta DREAM Act and by doing so clearly demonstrated that when the government works in harmony for just causes, great things are possible. With the passage of the DREAM Act, undocumented college students will be able to participate in the State's Tuition Assistance Program and other state financial assistance and awards, gain a college degree, and fulfill the promise of a bright future in New York State. The Board of Regents and NYSED remain committed to achieving equity across our education system, and the DREAM Act moves us closer to that goal.

8NYSED Now Accepting Applications for Summer Food Service Program Sites
cafeteria tray filled with healthy food
NYSED is accepting applications for the 2019 Summer Food Service Program. Eligible programs include public or nonpublic nonprofit school food authorities; all local, county, municipal, or state governmental entities; Indian tribal territories, migrant programs; nonprofit agencies; faith-based organizations and camps interested and eligible in sponsoring a Summer Food Service Program.

Approximately 400,000 free meals are served daily to NYS children through the USDA's Summer Food Service Program. Find information on how to become a food site here.
2NYSED Announces New York State Nominees for Federal Green Ribbon Schools Program

U.S. DOE Green Ribbon Schools logo
This week, NYSED nominated two schools for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) program distinction. The nominees are Sanfordville Elementary School and Warwick Valley Middle School, both located in Warwick, New York.

The ED-GRS program recognizes schools where staff, students, officials and communities have worked together to produce energy efficient, sustainable and healthy school environments and to ensure the environmental literacy of graduates. The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices proven to result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government-wide goal to increase energy independence and economic security.

Congratulations, Warwick Valley Central School District!
5NYSED Submits Comments on Proposed Changes to Title IX

NYSED recently submitted comments detailing serious concerns with changes to Title IX that were proposed by the U.S. Department of Education. Congress enacted Title IX both to prohibit the use of federal resources to support discriminatory practices in education programs and to provide individual citizens effective protection against such discriminatory practices. NYSED is concerned that the proposed rulemaking will have the opposite effect by discouraging the reporting of incidents of sexual harassment in elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. NYSED is further concerned that the proposed rulemaking would result in bifurcated systems for reporting, investigating, and resolving employee and student disciplinary matters involving the same incident. 

7NYSED Awards $1.6 Million in Safe and Supportive Schools Grants
high school students in school hallway
NYSED recently awarded $1.6 million in Safe and Supportive Schools grants to 16 school districts. The funds will be used to support initiatives to improve school climate in economically disadvantaged schools identified as being in the greatest need of assistance in building healthy, supportive, and safe learning environments. The 2018-19 enacted State Budget included $2 million to establish the Supportive Schools Grant Program. The remaining funds will be used to establish a Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center.
4State Monitors Release 2017-18 Report on the East Ramapo Central School District

State Monitor Charles A. Szuberla, Jr. and former Monitor Dr. John W. Sipple recently released their 2017-18 report on East Ramapo Central School District's accomplishments and progress. The report also cited concerns and made recommendations to improve the financial stability, academic opportunities, and outcomes for all students in the East Ramapo Central School District.

9State Museum Launches Online Educational Guide About New York's Dutch History
Fort Orange
The New York State Museum has launched an online resource for educators about New York's Dutch history, including an educational guide, photos of historic artifacts and artwork, and video interviews with content experts. Funded through a generous grant from the Dutch Culture USA program administered by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, the educational guide provides five lessons that introduce students to Fort Orange (present-day Albany, NY) and the world of New Netherland, the first Dutch colony in North America.