NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs – October 2015

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

October 2015 – In This Issue

In the Spotlight


NYS Capitol
NYS PTA Advocacy Guide
The updated NYS PTA Advocacy Guide has been posted to the website. This brief guide provides contact information for the entire NYS PTA Advocacy Team, lobbying and political campaign activity guidelines, plus New York State, Governor, Senate and Assembly leadership contact information. The links to check the status of bills are also in the guide.

To download, click here


Common Core Task Force

An Opportunity to Share Your Views with the Governor Regarding Common Core and Testing
Governor Cuomo has initiated a Task Force to explore six areas of the Common Core and Testing Reform. Here is your opportunity to share your story of how the Common Core Standards and Testing has impacted you, your children and your school. We expect the NYS Education Department to offer opportunities to weigh in on the Standards and Testing later in the year. For a series of questions to enable you to offer specific solutions to the Common Core Task Force, click here.

Revision of NYSED Policies to Include Opiate Overdose
The new regulations regarding opioid overdose prevention in schools begin this month. These regulations provide school districts with guidance regarding administering naloxone (Narcan) in case of an opiate overdose.

This change is voluntary. Schools are not mandated to provide Narcan or train their staff in opiate overdose prevention. If PTAs choose to advocate for their schools to have Narcan available onsite, it is important to understand what the regulations state.

The following documents will help you understand the changes:


Share your opinion

Share Your Opinions with the NYS Senate
The NYS Senate has added an opportunity to their website for constituents to provide feedback on issues and bills being looked at in the legislature. To share your thoughts with them, click here.

To find out about important issues that are being discussed in the Senate, click here.

NYS Assembly Public Information Office
Do you find it difficult to navigate the NYS Assembly website? The Public Information Office has everything you need to begin your search on NYS Assembly activities here.

NYS PTA Convention and Advocacy
For PTA members seeking ways to learn how to advocate, a number of workshops will be held at this year’s Convention. You can learn how to write a resolution and what to do once you leave Convention. We look forward to seeing you at Convention.

To review the Proposed Resolutions packet, click here.

Special Education

Children with disabilities in early childhood programs

Guidance on Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs
A joint policy statement by the US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services provides guidance about policies and task forces to promote inclusion, set and track goals, and consider reallocating funding, among other steps. Additional information can be found here.

Board of Regents Discussion on Students with Disabilities
Two important discussions at the last Board of Regents meeting might impact students with disabilities. One deals with an amendment to the commissioner’s regulations about graduation requirements. This would extend the appeal process to include appeal of scores for the safety net local diploma. Click here to read.

The other is a proposed amendment of Section 100.7 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, relating to the state high school equivalency diploma. Click here to read.

October is Learning Disability/ADHD Awareness Month
October is time to pay attention and share information about children and adults with learning disabilities.

The federal government has also designated October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. We need to pay attention to these students and adults and what they can accomplish.

For additional information, please go to:

November Awareness Events

To see more events for this month and other dates, visit the NYS PTA Wellness Calendar.
In the Spotlight

New Parent Guide from NYSUT and NYS PTA

ELL Brochure
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has partnered with the New York State PTA to create a guide for parents of English language learners (ELLs).

Yours, Mine, Ours: English Language Learners (ELLs) in New York State answers parents’ questions about assessment of children who speak little English, and the kinds of English as a New Language (ENL) and bilingual programs available to them. The guide will be released in a number of languages. Click here for the guide in English.

Health and Wellness

Electronic cigarette

Centers for Disease Control Webcast on Electronic Cigarettes
On October 20 from 1:00-2:00 p.m., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will hold a Public Health Grand Rounds webcast entitled, “E-Cigarettes: The Cutting Edge of Tobacco Control.” To register for the live webcast, click here

To view the NYS PTA Position on Electronic Cigarettes, go to “Where We Stand” here

Teens Abuse Drugs to Cope with Underlying Mental Health Conditions
According to an article published in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, a survey of more than 1,000 13-18 year olds from across the country showed teens use prescription drugs (not prescribed to them) as a means to deal with emotions such as anxiety. Many obtained the prescriptions from homes and had a perception that these drugs were not risky. To learn more about the study, visit the Join Together website.

National Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has partnered with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to establish a National Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. “IECMHC is an intervention that builds the capacity of teachers, home visitors and parents to address challenging behaviors and promote social-emotional development. The model has shown positive impacts in: improving children’s social skills, reducing challenging behaviors, increasing family-school collaboration, improving child-adult relationships, preventing preschool suspensions and expulsions, and increasing classroom quality, and reducing teacher stress, burnout and turnover.” For more information, click here.

Social media tips for families Media Tips for Families
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed a list of 10 tips for parents on media use in the digital age. To review the recommendations, click here.

Sodium Initiatives in New York City
The NYC Health Department will now require some chain restaurants to include a salt shaker symbol next to menu items that exceed the daily recommended limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium. This will make NYC the first city in the entire nation to have these requirements. Consuming too much sodium can lead to a greater risk of heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure. Read more here.

Get the Flu Shot!!
The NYS Department of Health is reminding New Yorkers that flu season is right around the corner and the best way to protect yourself is to receive a flu shot. Flu season generally runs from October through May. According to NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, the flu shot is one of the most important preventive strategies to take to stay well. Read more here.

School Lunches are Healthier
A recent federal report shows that school lunches have become healthier in the US since higher government standards went into effect in 2012. Offerings of both fruits and vegetables have increased over the years and about 1/3 of all schools now have salad bars. According to the CDC, students consume up to half their daily calories at school. Read more about school lunches here.

Juvenile Protection

Youth Justice Awareness Month
Youth Justice Awareness Month
NYS PTA has advocated for youth who are involved in the criminal justice system. President Obama issued a proclamation declaring October as Youth Justice Awareness Month. Read more here.

Raising the Age
At a recent meeting in Albany, raising the age of criminality was a topic of discussion. Local groups are calling on legislators in Albany to raise the age of criminal responsibility to age 18 in NYS. This measure failed to pass in the last legislative session making New York one of only two states in the entire country that automatically prosecute youths that are only 16 and 17 years old as adults. To learn more about the RaisetheAge movement, please go to the website of NYS PTA’s Cooperating Partner, Families Together in NYS.

Read the NYS PTA position on Juvenile Justice in NYS here.
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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