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News and Notes

Dear Colleagues,

As always, thank you for all you do for the students of New York State.


MaryEllen Elia


aimhighBoard of Regents Reduces Number of Days of Grades 3 – 8 Assessments Beginning with Spring Exams in 2018



The Board of Regents earlier this week announced its decision to reduce the number of days of student testing on the grades 3-8 State assessments in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics from three days for each exam to two. This change takes effect beginning with the tests that will be administered in Spring 2018.

In addition to reducing the number of test sessions, the Board’s decision also reduces scoring time for teachers and may help enable more schools to transition sooner to computer-based testing.

Visit our website for more information on the benefits of the decision and a projected timeline.

essapublicUpdate on Draft Every Student Succeeds Act Plan


This week, the State Education Department will wrap up its public hearings on the draft Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan.

Many stakeholders expressed appreciation for the opportunity to provide input and feedback on the draft plan and noted the wide variety of stakeholders engaged as well. Some stakeholders raised concerns about the level of funding that is needed to fully achieve the plan, particularly for high-poverty schools and districts.

Changes to the draft plan based on public comment will be presented to the Board of Regents at the July 2017 Regents Meeting, with permission requested to send the plan to the Governor. The current timeline is for the Regents to approve and submit the final plan to the federal Department of Education by September 18.

For more information please visit the Department’s ESSA webpage. A summary of the draft plan is also available.


75 Percent of Questions from 2017 Grades 3 – 8 ELA and Math Tests Released


The State Education Department released 75 percent of questions that counted toward student scores from the 2017 Grades 3-8 English language arts and mathematics tests. This is the second year in a row that more questions have been released than in previous years. Several instructional reports based on the 2017 assessments are available to districts and schools. Educators and parents will once again be able to review their students’ answers to constructed-response questions this year, giving them an even clearer picture of how well students are doing.

Visit our website to learn more about the released questions.

reading Summer Reading Program

It’s summer reading time! The State Education Department and the New York State Library have teamed up with over 1,000 public libraries to encourage parents and caregivers to support their children’s literacy skills during the summer months. Last year, more than 2.1 million students and children statewide participated in a summer reading program.

2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the New York State Summer Reading Program. This year’s summer reading theme is “Build A Better World” and all children and students are encouraged to participate in a summer reading program this year.

Visit the Summer Reading at New York Libraries website for more information about the program including reading lists and to register for a summer reading program at your local library.

OCEresources Office of Cultural Education Resources for Teachers

  • State Archives Annual Student Research Awards – Encourage your students to explore the wealth of historical records found in archives and libraries and apply for the State Archives Annual Student Research Award. The award consists of a cash prize and certificate; deadline for submissions is July 1.
  • New York State History Collection on PBS Learning Media – WNET New York Public Media, in collaboration with New York’s Public Television stations and NYSED, has launched a new collection of elementary social studies resources on PBS LearningMedia, a free website for teachers. The New York State & Local History & Government collection features over 70 multimedia educational resources that are aligned to topics in the New York State Social Studies Framework for Grade 4.


 New York State Excelsior Scholarship Application Now Available

New York State recently enacted the Excelsior Scholarship Program to provide college tuition for New York students at SUNY or CUNY college.

The Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) is administering the program and has an Excelsior Scholarship website with more information about the program, eligibility requirements, and information on how to apply.

The Excelsior Scholarship application is now available on the HESC website. The application deadline is July 21.


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