News and Notes
October 2021
Commissioner Betty A. Rosa
Dear Colleagues,

October is National Principals Month, and I would like to thank all of the principals for their hard work and leadership in support of their schools, teachers, and students. We are very fortunate to have amazing school leaders here in New York State who work tirelessly to ensure their schools provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students. All month, we are recognizing principals on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn. Follow along with us, and don't forget to thank your principal!

This week, we announced that Carnegie Corporation of New York will award the New York State Education Department (NYSED) a philanthropic grant of $500,000 to support a pilot project that will supplement research work related to our Graduation Measures Review initiative. The pilot project will explore the potential for New York’s educational assessment system to be reimagined in a way that purposefully fosters high-quality instructional opportunities, provides authentic measures of deeper learning, and better prepares students for college, the workplace, and citizenship. We anticipate presenting proposed pilot regulations to the Board of Regents during the 2021-22 planning year. If approved, the regulations would allow participating districts and schools to grant Regents diplomas to students on the basis of multiple measures in the future.
In February 2019, the Board of Regents and NYSED committed to a thoughtful and inclusive review of New York State’s high school graduation measures. In winter 2020, we held nearly 20 regional meetings across the state to gather feedback on what a high school diploma should signify to ensure educational excellence and equity for every student in New York State. In March 2020, the remaining meetings were postponed due to COVID-19. We are pleased to announce that this winter, NYSED and the Board of Regents will hold the remaining regional meetings virtually. Next month, we will provide additional information on when the meetings will be held.
The Board will consider the findings of the pilot program as it contemplates potential changes to Graduation Measures in New York State in the coming years. For more information about the Graduation Measures initiative, visit NYSED’s Graduation Measures website.

Below, you can find information about the following:

  • New York State 2020-21 Grades 3-8 Assessment Results
  • In Honor of International Day of the Girl, NYSED Issues Guidance to Schools Regarding the Crown Act
  • NYSED Awards $3.45 Million in My Brother’s Keeper Grants for Teacher Opportunity Corps II
  • NYSED Announces $14 Million for 135 Public Library Construction Projects Statewide
  • U.S. Department of Education Honors 19 New York Schools as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools
  • NYSED Recognizes 55 Employers of Individuals With Disabilities
  • Special Education Virtual Stakeholder Meetings
  • Call for Peer Reviewers
  • Veterans Pin Design Challenge


Betty A. Rosa
New York State 2020-21 Grades 3-8 Assessment Results
Later this month, NYSED will release the results of the New York State 2020-21 grades 3-8 assessments, and there are limitations to the assessment data that you should be aware of. 
Only students who attended school in person in Spring 2021 were required to take the state assessments. Therefore, a much smaller percentage of students took last year’s exams, and the results are not representative of the state’s student population. As such, the results of the 2020-21 assessments should not be compared statewide, by statewide subgroup, or with previous years’ exams. In addition, depending on the percentage of students who took the assessments in a given school or district, those results may not be representative of that school’s or district’s student population.
For these reasons, student reports for the Spring 2021 state assessments will look different than they have in previous years. For example, there will be no comparisons in an individual student report; instead, the report will contain only the student's score.
In an ordinary year, state assessments provide value to educators, parents, and families as one of multiple measures to assess student learning. On the student and classroom levels, the assessments are one tool to help determine needed support for students and teachers. In the big picture, they represent one of many ways to identify achievement and opportunity gaps for our most vulnerable student populations and play an important role in getting students the supports they need to be successful in school and in life. Therefore, NYSED will return to regular testing in 2022. 
In Honor of International Day of the Girl, NYSED Issues Guidance to Schools Regarding the Crown Act
In honor of International Day of the Girl on October 11, NYSED released guidance to assist local education agencies in their obligation to implement and educate students about the CROWN Act. The CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, prohibits racial discrimination based on hair texture or hairstyles and protects students’ rights to wear or treat their hair however they desire, without the threat of racial discrimination or loss of access to school. Each year, International Day of the Girl celebrates the importance, power, and potential of girls around the world.

For additional information on the CROWN Act or the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), please visit NYSED's DASA website.
NYSED Awards $3.45 Million in My Brother’s Keeper Grants for Teacher Opportunity Corps II
New York State My Brother's Keeper logo
NYSED recently awarded $3.45 million in Teacher Opportunity Corps II (TOC II) grants to 17 New York colleges and universities. The purpose of TOC II is to increase the rate of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals in teaching careers. The project period is September 1, 2021 - August 31, 2026, with an anticipated allocation of $3.45 million annually.

NYSED Announces $14 Million for 135 Public Library Construction Projects Statewide
$14 million awarded for 135 public library construction projects statewide
NYSED awarded $14 million to 135 public libraries and systems statewide to support construction and renovation projects. These funds help libraries construct new buildings, create additions, update electrical wiring and computer technology, improve broadband infrastructure, meet energy efficiency standards, renovate facilities to provide full accessibility to library users with disabilities, and provide meeting spaces to accommodate community needs.

U.S. Department of Education Honors 19 New York Schools as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools
The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) recently announced the 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools. Eighteen New York public and charter schools and one nonpublic school have achieved this honor and recognition by USDOE. A full list of New York's honorees is available on NYSED's website.
NYSED Recognizes 55 Employers of Individuals With Disabilities
In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) throughout October, the NYSED is honoring 55 businesses across the state that do an outstanding job of employing individuals with disabilities. This year’s theme, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement, especially during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virtual events are taking place throughout the month to safely celebrate and honor businesses and workers. A full list of honorees is available on NYSED's ACCES-VR website.
Special Education Virtual Stakeholder Meetings
Stakeholder engagement
October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, and NYSED is seeking to engage stakeholders in activities to improve outcomes for students with disabilities in New York State. NYSED is currently developing the 2020-2025 Special Education State Performance Plan (SPP)/Annual Performance Report (APR). Stakeholder engagement activities will include input through online surveys and​ virtual meetings with stakeholder groups in November 2021.

Additional information about the SPP/APR, including an SPP/APR Overview webinar and At-a-Glance State Performance Plan: Summary of Indicators 1-17, as well as information on how to register to participate in the November 2021 virtual stakeholder meetings, may be found on the SPP/APR Stakeholder Involvement webpage. Pre-registration is required by October 29, 2021. Please visit NYSED's Special Education Stakeholder Involvement web page to register.
Call for Peer Reviewers
▪	NYSED is seeking qualified peer reviewers to review applications for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) progra
NYSED is seeking qualified peer reviewers to review applications for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program. Selected reviewers will read and evaluate proposals utilizing their direct experience in applicable fields. Examples of the types of experienced individuals we are seeking include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Teachers, principals, school counselors, and other pupil personnel service providers
  • Experts in expanded learning opportunities
  • College and university faculty
  • Community educators
  • Community service providers
  • Staff from faith-based organizations
  • Staff from foundations and charitable organizations
  • Education program evaluators

If you are available and interested in participating in this review process, please carefully read the reviewer qualifications and submit an online application.

The application deadline is Wednesday, October 27, 2021.
Veterans Pin Design Challenge
Veterans Pin Design Challenge
The Army Education Outreach Program (AEOP) has partnered with Future Engineers on a mini-challenge for students in 4th-8th grade to create a wearable 3D designed pin to show their appreciation for our nation’s veterans!

The 10 finalists will have their designs printed and distributed to veterans at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio. The top winner will win a 3D printer donated to the school, library, or organization of their choice.

The challenge is free to enter and open to 4th-8th grade students. Designs must be submitted by Veterans Day (11/11/21).

For full challenge details, as well as resources and design tips, please visit the We Heart Veterans Pin Design Challenge web page.