NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs – April 2015

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

April 2015 – In This Issue

In the Spotlight


New York State Budget and Reform Agenda
Invest in education
The New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo have adopted budget proposals that include major policy changes for education. The NYS School Boards Association and the NYS Council of School Superintendents perspectives on the 2015 state budget bill education reforms appear below: About School Funding Gaps
This Hechinger Report analyzes how funding of schools has created a greater economic gap across the US with comparison of state data: The gap between rich and poor schools grew 44 percent over a decade – the Hechinger Report.

Another Way to Improve Student Achievement
While there is much angst about what makes students and schools successful, here is a district looking to build success on criteria beyond testing. The concept is new and judging its impact will take a bit more time. This District Is Trying To Improve Student Achievement By Making Kids Feel Good About Themselves.

What Impact Might Opting Out Have on Teacher Evaluations
This article sheds light on intended and unintended consequences of opt-out from state testing. The interpretation of data with or without a full complement of students is certainly worth considering. Click here to read more.

Parent Teacher Data Conferences
A new way to hold parent-teacher conversations, data sharing conferences hold great promise for improved student outcomes through stronger parent and family engagement. Education leaders prepare easy-to-read data reports to improve a parent/family understanding of the key elements of student success. With these data packets, parents and teachers are having focused, shared conversations around student learning and what can be done to improve individual performance at school and at home. Sharing Data to Create Stronger Parent Partnerships.

Special Education News

April is Autism Awareness Month
Autism Awareness Month
National Autism Awareness Month represents an excellent opportunity to promote autism awareness and acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an autism diagnosis each year. Click here for more.

Special Education Webinar
National PTA will offer a webinar about Special Education on Monday April 20 at 1:00pm. It is entitled “The Ins and Outs of Special Education” and will focus on issues that parents face as well as how a PTA can support them. You can register here.

Alternate Exams
Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have released a new proposal to update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind). This proposal would keep the 1% rule that would allow students with disabilities to be counted as proficient for taking alternate exams. Read more here.

Juvenile Protection

Funding for Juvenile Justice: NYS Budget Includes Raise the Age Provisions
Raise the Age
According to the NYS Division of Budget website, “the 2015-16 Executive Budget begins the implementation of Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice recommendations to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from age 16 to age 18.” These recommendations were “made with regard for both public safety of the community and improving outcomes for young offenders and their families.

The Budget includes $25 million to support the planning, creation and expansion of services for 16 and 17 year old youth involved in the criminal justice system and to place newly sentenced 16 and 17 year old youth in OCFS facilities.” Juvenile jurisdiction would extend to age 17 on January 1, 2017 and to age 18 on January 1, 2018. Read more here.

As part of budget proposal #62: Raise the Age legislation will be introduced to implement the recommendations by the Governor’s Commission to reform the juvenile justice system. Click here to read more.

In the Spotlight

New Design Will Change SAT Prep

SAT Prep
For many high school juniors, springtime is SAT time. But, beginning next spring, the SAT will look different. The current SAT is three hours and 45 minutes long, including an essay, and is scored out of 2400 points. The new test will return to a 1600-point scale and be about three hours long, with an additional 50 minutes for an optional essay.

The test will focus on the knowledge and skills that are most necessary for college and career success — similar to the state tests students in grades 3 through 8 are taking this month — and will have three sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, Math and the Essay. The reading and writing portion will require students to use evidence to support their answers, while the math section will cover fewer topics in greater depth.

Read more about the redesigned SAT from Delivering Opportunity and the College Board.

Health and Wellness

Governor Cuomo Announces Additional Budget Support in Fight Against the Opioid Epidemic
The recently-passed state budget provides new funding for a widely-used heroin antidote, Naloxone, specifically in schools. The extra funds will also help train school personnel in using Naloxone to counter a drug overdose. For more information, see below: Fire Up Your Feet Spring Challenge
Healthy Kids
The Fire Up Your Feet Spring Challenge begins April 13 and ends May 15. This is an opportunity to earn rewards for your school by staying active. According to the USDA, “Fire Up Your Feet is offering even more awards to schools participating in the Fire Up Your Feet Activity Challenge. With multiple awards in several categories, your school has even more chances to win awards to support physical activity and wellness programs.” To register, click here.

Parents! Sign up for the Digital Driving Coach
One of NYS PTA’s Cooperating Partners, The Teen Safe Driving Coalition, is asking parents to sign up for the Digital Driving Coach. This initiative will increase parent involvement in teen safe driving and “high school organizations and parent groups can earn up to $200 for signing up parents for the Digital Driving Coach.”

As a feature of the National Safety Council's DriveitHOME™ website, the Digital Driving Coach is a series of weekly emails with tips for parents to exemplify good driving habits, and coach their teens to become better drivers and responsible passengers. The lessons follow best practices based on Graduated Driver Licensing. To sign up or learn more, go to: Product Recalls
NYS PTA Cooperating Partner “The Safety Institute” has released a new listing for recalls and safety tips, with current information regarding cyber safety and email hacking. To learn more, click here.

April Awareness Events
To see more events for this month and other dates, go to the NYS PTA Wellness Toolkit Calendar.


Ideas for Reading with Children
Father reading to children
The slideshow in this piece offers great advice, whether you are trying to help an emerging reader or enhance a reader’s experience: 37 Ways to Help Kids Learn to Love Reading.
Did You Know...
The NYS Board of Regents meets monthly, except for August. To access the 2015 meeting schedule, agendas, materials and webcast opportunities, go to: www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings.

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