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Dear Colleagues,


In April 2014, the Board of Regents approved an updated New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework, which was developed in partnership with New York State educators over a two-and-a-half-year process, including three rounds of public comment.  


Today we're releasing the New York State Social Studies Field Guide at https://www.engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-k-12-social-studies-field-guide. This Field Guide is the first in a set of documents designed to help educators update local curricula following the adoption of the Social Studies Framework.  Produced collaboratively with New York State teachers, the Field Guide includes a sample unit and highlights three instructional shifts: Focus on Conceptual Understanding; Foster Student Inquiry, Collaboration and Informed Action; Integrate Content and Skill Purposefully.


Additional resources will be released later this school year as part of the collaboration among the Department, Binghamton University, and New York State teachers called the New York State K-12 Social Studies Toolkit Project.  The Toolkit Project will provide more guidance to educators as they design curricula, instruction, and classroom-based assessments. Instructional resources are being developed, reviewed, and piloted by New York State teachers.  The sample unit and unit template in the Field Guide will be updated as feedback is gathered from New York State teachers.


The Social Studies Framework, the Field Guide, and the Toolkit Project all underscore the Department's commitment to teaching and learning Social Studies at all grade levels.  Rigorous Social Studies instruction is vital as we prepare our students to be active and engaged participants in civic life.


Also in this edition of News & Notes is the introduction of a math standards video series, a video on a parent academy event held recently at Columbia University and a video of a Brooklyn 4th grader who is proud of his progress in writing. 


You'll also find a blog post from the U.S. Department of Education about EngageNY.org; an overview of a great high school equivalency program at LaGuardia Community College; information on NYSED and the Attorney General's review of district enrollment procedures for unaccompanied minors and other undocumented students; and information on a special computer science event called The Hour of Code.


Thank you for all you do as educators, family and community members in supporting our students.


John B. King, Jr.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnKingNYSED
Math Standards Video Series: Kindergarten - Grade 5

Common Core standards help students have a deeper understanding of math while promoting both accuracy and the application of math concepts.  While we all remember algorithms or rules that we memorized in school, we are now looking forward to a generation of students who understand how and why these algorithms work so that they can use this knowledge to tackle new and more challenging math concepts as they grow.


We're introducing a new series of videos that go through many of the properties or "back stories" of these algorithms. Math coach Nick Timpone takes us from standards in kindergarten through Grade 5 and demonstrates hands-on ideas, games, activities and models that teachers can take back to their classrooms or parents can use as a tool as they help their children with their homework.  Since the standards move students from a basic understanding of numbers to more complex math like decimals and fractions, you will also see how these concepts and strategies build upon each other to help students' math knowledge progress from grade to grade. The math standards emphasize both fluency and conceptual understanding; these videos demonstrate the relationship between the two. 

Watch the brief introduction below and take a look at the full video series here .

Education Week: Parent Academy

Last month, parents and family members learned how to help their children become college and career ready by attending workshops and hearing from education and community leaders at Teachers College, Columbia University. Watch a video here


Brooklyn Student Proud of His Progress in Writing
Brooklyn 4th grader Rashard says he's proud of his writing skills. Watch how higher standards have played a role.

U.S. Department of Education Blog Post on EngageNY.org
The U.S. Department of Education recently posted a blog post about EngageNY.org titled "High Quality and Easy-to-Use Resources Draw Educators from Around the Nation to EngageNY".

Here's a preview of the article:

Mathematics coach Lori MacDonald has spent a lot of time getting to know the material available on EngageNY, a comprehensive website for New York State's educators, parents, and other interested stakeholders run by the New York State Education Department. The thing is, MacDonald lives and works in Berkeley, California, 2,922 miles away from Albany, New York's capital.


"In our district, we are using exactly what schools are using in New York, and we're using it for free," MacDonald said. "A lot of what we need is on EngageNY."


Read more. 

LaGuardia Community College's Bridge to College and Careers Program
On November 6, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Regent Betty Rosa, Commissioner John King and Deputy Commissioner Kevin Smith visited students at LaGuardia Community College's Bridge to College and Careers Program. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee also joined the visit.

The Bridge to College and Careers Program offers career-focused classes in healthcare, science and business to help students earn their high school equivalency diploma and prepare for college or a career. Students not only have the opportunity to take career-related classes, but they also have class time dedicated to exploring their interests and skills and planning their next step after earning their high school equivalency diploma.


The Bridge program complements the Regents Multiple Pathways initiative by connecting high school equivalency students with career-focused coursework in a college environment.  Many of the Bridge students work full-time in related fields and find their classes at LaGuardia support the skills and knowledge they need at work.


MDRC, a nationally known not-for-profit research organization, released a report last year stating that LaGuardia's Bridge Program significantly boosted high school equivalency exam pass rates and college enrollment. The study found that after one year in the program, Bridge students were more than twice as likely to have passed their high school equivalency exam and three times as likely to have enrolled in college than students in a more traditional preparation class.  


Group photo with leaders and students of LaGuardia Community College

Assemblywoman Nolan, Chancellor Tisch, LaGuardia Community College President Gail Mellow and Commissioner King

Commissioner King visiting with a student in the Health Bridge Program at LaGuardia

Regent Rosa visiting with a student in a Bridge to Health class at LaGuardia

NYSED and Attorney General's Office Launch Review of District Enrollment Procedures for Unaccompanied Minors & Other Undocumented Students

Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch, State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently announced that the State Education Department and State Attorney General's Office will conduct a compliance review of school districts' enrollment policies and procedures for unaccompanied minors and other undocumented students.  The review, which will examine whether students are being denied their constitutional right to an education, will initially focus on districts experiencing the largest influx of unaccompanied minors from Central and South America.


"We have a legal and a moral obligation to provide every child, no matter where they come from or what they look like, with an education," said Chancellor Tisch. "And we're going to do everything possible to make sure that happens.  The Department will take strong and swift action against any district that breaks the law and denies a child a seat in a classroom. 


"The Board of Regents recognizes the fiscal impact an unanticipated influx of new students has on districts.  We are asking New York's Congressional delegation to support urgent action on proposals for federal funding for districts receiving unaccompanied minors.  Our State Aid proposal, to be announced later this fall, will call for immediate action on additional state aid for districts managing an influx of new students this school year."


"Schoolhouse doors must be open to every student in our increasingly diverse state regardless of their immigration status-there is simply no excuse for denying that basic right, which is protected by the Constitution," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "More than 30 years after the Supreme Court guaranteed a free public education for undocumented children, we must do everything we can to uphold the law and ensure equal access for all our students. This review is a crucial step in that effort."


"Every school district in New York State has an obligation to educate all of our children regardless of their immigration status," King said. "We will not stand by while districts ignore the law and prevent these children from receiving an education.  Department staff has already started this process, and we won't stop until we're sure every district is following the law and every child is in school."


Read more.

Computer Science Education: Hour of Code

Computer Science Education Week is December 8 -14. Schools across the nation and world are encouraged to participate in the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science; designed to demystify computer code and show that anyone can learn the basics.


The Hour of Code is supplying educators with tutorials for students of all ages. Visit about http://hourofcode.com/us to learn more about the Hour of Code and register your classroom to participate in an Hour of Code event.