The September 2019 Board of Regents meeting began with the Board unanimously approving the formal appointment of Beth Berlin as the Interim Commissioner of Education.
The Board was presented with an update on the success of students participating in the My Brother’s Keeper Project (MBK). Initiated by President Obama several years ago, MBK has been implemented in many schools across the state in an effort to improve the graduation rate for young men of color.
Ms. Penny Ciaburri, one of the grant evaluators, presented academic data from several schools that have implemented MBK. Using information collected during site visits, Ms. Ciaburri presented composite findings of both achievement data and best practices from schools that have demonstrated significant gains in improving graduation rates.
The link below provides a summary of the presentation including the common best practices that are being consistently observed in successful schools.
The Board continued discussions from their July meeting on the proposal to convene a Blue Ribbon Commission to review current high school graduation requirements. Assistant Commissioner Kim Wilkins presented a revised tentative timeline for the process that sets a goal of presenting the finalized recommendations to the Board of Regents in the fall of 2021.
Regional workgroups are currently being established across the state through BOCES District Superintendents and will begin meeting in November 2019. Based on discussions which have occurred thus far, primary areas of focus will include:
- Multiple Pathways to Graduation
- NYS Exit Exam Criteria
- Barriers to Equity
- Consistency of Rigor with Graduation Requirements
Interim Commissioner Berlin and Assistant Commissioner Wilkins reviewed data from the 3-8 testing administered in 2019. Key points discussed included:
- While there were slight improvements in overall achievement and within subgroups, a significant achievement gap between underachieving subgroups remains.
- 2018-19 was the third year that schools have had the option to participate in Computer Based Testing. More than 194,800 students participated at an estimated 1,100 schools.
- The test refusal rate was 16% which represented a decline of 2% from 2017-18.
Unified Sports Programs have been implemented in many schools across the state in recent years. The unique program offers an opportunity for students with or without disabilities to participate on athletic teams for the purpose of training and competition.
The Board discussed a proposed amendment which would extend the eligibility for students participating in Unified Sports. Many who participate in the program, most particularly students with disabilities, remain in school until the age of 21. Because Unified Sports are designed to promote participation and inclusivity, the Board is proposing that eligibility be extended to include four consecutive seasons beyond the age of 19.
It is anticipated that the proposed rule will be presented to the Board for adoption at the January 2020 meeting.
The P-12 Committee continued discussions related to developing priorities to guide their future efforts. Board of Regents members were surveyed and asked to rank potential areas of priority. Most members support focusing on the areas of:
- High School Diploma and Graduation Requirements
- Early Childhood Education
- Exit Measures Required for Graduation
The Board discussed proposed amendments relating to required inspections of Educational Facilities to comply with new legislation that was passed as a part of the 2019 legislative budget.
In the coming months, the NYSED Office of Facilities will be communicating with districts about the changes associated with building inspections and the completion of Building Condition Surveys. It is anticipated that an amendment will be presented for adoption at the December 2019 Regents meeting.