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Dear Colleagues,

What a difference a school year makes! Educators who gathered for the Network Team Institute in May talked about the transformation in teaching and learning this year across New York State. They say we've turned a corner with Common Core Learning Standards, with strong evidence of teacher collaboration and positive outcomes for students. Thanks to your hard work, Common Core instruction is happening in classrooms across the state.

NTI progress video

Thank you for all of the hard work you have put in to make this a successful school year. Have a great summer.


John B. King, Jr.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnKingNYSED
Understanding the 2014 Common Core Regents Exams
In Spring 2014, New York State administered the first Regents Examinations in Algebra I (Common Core) and English Language Arts (Common Core) intended to provide students, families, educators, and the public measures of student proficiency that directly link to the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in college and careers. You can now access a representative sample of the questions used on the Spring 2014 Regents Examinations in Algebra I (Common Core) and English Language Arts (Common Core), which have been annotated to display the kinds of analysis students are required to do in this new exam. In addition to the annotated questions, you will also find the released Spring 2014 exam booklets, scoring key and rating guides, and conversion charts. These documents will be helpful for better understanding the requirements of the Regents Examinations in Algebra I (Common Core) and English Language Arts (Common Core).

Students Visit Archaeologists at Lake George Dig Site
In May 2014, a group of fourth grade students visited State Museum archaeologists at a dig site at Million Dollar Beach in Lake George. State Museum archaeologists were working at the site to conduct archaeological investigations in advance of a construction project.

The archaeologists uncovered archaeological remains dating back to approximately 8,000 B.C and shared some of the artifacts they found with the students. Board of Regents member James Dawson, State Museum Director Mark Schaming and State Archaeologist Christina Rieth met with the students as they learned about the importance of preserving history.

Statewide High School Graduation Rate Shows Incremental Increase, Achievement Gap Persists
This week, the New York State Education Department released high school graduation rates for the 2009 cohort (students who entered 9th grade in 2009). While the overall statewide graduation rate increased to 74.9 percent from the previous year's 74 percent, large achievement gaps remain, particularly with respect to the Regents with Advanced Designation diploma, which requires the completion of additional rigorous course work in preparation for college and careers. The groups at biggest risk of falling into this gap are black and Hispanic males in large city schools.

For the first time, the Department released the graduation rate for students once identified as English Language Learner (ELL) and previously served by bilingual and English as a Second Language programs. For the 2009 cohort, such students graduated at a rate of 71 percent, much closer to the overall population than that of current ELLs who graduated at a rate of 31 percent. Such data demonstrate that when ELLs are provided with high quality programs they are able to achieve success comparable to their non-ELL peers.

iPad Homework Videos Keep Parents in the Loop
Long Island parent Cathy Itri shows how video 'mini-lessons' are keeping her informed about her daughter's 5th grade classwork. Mineola Middle School provides iPads to all students, to improve instruction and as a valuable connection with parents. "It's wonderful...I'm in the loop," says Itri. Visit this link to learn more about Mineola's "Common Core Video Help" initiative: https://sites.google.com/site/ccvidhelp/

Long Island Parent Supports Higher Standards
Lisa Fox, PTA president and a parent at the Cutchogue East Elementary School on Long Island, says her children are being challenged academically, learning to be responsible and to have a sense of community - all factors that will help them become college and career ready.

Digging Deeper: Ensuring All Students Are College and Career Ready
This week's post from our EngagedVoices educator blog features Dr. Lorna Lewis, Superintendent of Plainview-Old Bethpage CSD. Dr. Lewis shares her plan to reduce remediation rates and better prepare students for college and careers.

At the Plainview-Old Bethpage Cental School District, we have all of the indicators that enable us to consider ourselves a high-performing district. We typically send 96% of our graduates to college, with 82% attending 4 year colleges and 14 % who go to Nassau Community College (NCC). Approximately 70% percent of our graduating class has taken one or more Advanced Placement course.

When we were presented with statewide data from the class of 2012, which showed a 74 percent graduation rate and 35 percent declared College and Career ready, I felt assured knowing that we were far out-performing the rest of the State. But slowly, after this information continued to be presented at various conferences, I became troubled not only by what the low percentage of students who are College and Career ready meant for students across the state but also what it means in districts like Plainview-Old Bethpage.

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Six years for high school? Why two extra years is catching on
Mike Fritz of the PBS News Hour highlights the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), where students attend for up to six years and receive training in STEM skills. The P-TECH model is designed to provide students with the skills they need for entry-level employment, moving away from more traditional, generalized education. The P-TECH model has been so successful that Governor Cuomo announced 16 new P-TECH schools will open their doors across the state in September, and President Obama announced a $100 million competitive grant program to encourage other such partnerships between high schools, private industry, and U.S. universities across the country.

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Summer Reading at New York Libraries
The New York State Library is pleased to announce nine new translations of two summer reading tip sheets:

"Easy Ways to Grow a Reader" for parents of young children This flyer contains helpful tips that parents can use to prepare their child for success when they enter kindergarten.  

"10 Easy Ways to Get Children to Read This Summer" for parents of school age children 
This flyer contains helpful tips that parents can use to encourage and motivate their children to read during the summer months.

The flyers are available in English, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Haitian Creole, French, Korean, Polish, Russian, and Spanish. Download the flyers here.
New York Perspectives
Use the Common Core. Use It Widely. Use It Well.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 10, 2014
Higher Education leaders William E. (Brit) Kirwan, Timothy P. White, and Nancy Zimpher express their support for the Common Core.