In an effort to boost the graduation rate of high school seniors across the state, the Board of Regents has implemented multiple pathway options for students to pursue a diploma. Despite these efforts, graduation rates have shown minimal improvement in recent years, particularly among disadvantaged subgroups. Commissioner Elia began the July Board of Regents meeting by announcing a major initiative aimed at further increasing the number of students who graduate each year.
The Commissioner presented a proposal which will involve the formation of a Blue Ribbon Panel tasked with conducting an extensive review of the current New York State graduation requirements and making recommendations for potential changes.
Some key areas the Panel will be working on include:
1. Reviewing New York’s current graduation options
2. Examining graduation options and policies used in other states
3. Extensive outreach to stakeholder groups across the state to gather ideas
According to the tentative draft timeline, the Blue Ribbon Panel’s finalized proposal will be presented to the Board of Regents in the fall of 2020.
Some interesting points brought forth in the follow-up discussion included:
- 60% of states across the country do not require any exit exams for students to graduate high school.
- Many states have a wider variety of options and variations within the scope of a single diploma for students
- Of the approximately 562 schools in NYS that were recently designated as Highly Recognized Schools in the area of student achievement, only 2% represent schools with a culturally diverse, high need student body.
- Concerns that easing the graduation requirements may reduce the rigorous standards New York expects its high school graduates to achieve, making them less prepared for future academic success.
The link below provides an outline for the scope of the project, the plan for gathering stakeholder feedback, and a tentative timeline for its completion.
The Board formally adopted the new School Safety Regulation which requires any school district that contracts with law enforcement or public/private security personnel, including School Resource Officers, to establish a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that delegates school discipline to school administrators. The MOU must be included as part of the District-wide School Safety Plan for the coming year. The regulation is effective as of July 1, 2019.
The Board was updated on the implementation status of the new financial transparency requirements associated with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Brian Cechnicki, NYSED Director of Education Finance, reviewed the steps that were taken in developing the financial transparency plan and outlined the recent revisions that have been made based on stakeholder feedback.
NYSED will begin collecting 2018-19 data this fall and plans to release the first set of reports in the spring of 2020.
To ensure compliance with measures included in this year’s state budget, the BOR formally adopted the requirement prohibiting the inclusion of 3-8 assessment scores on report cards, transcripts, or in permanent records.
The Board was updated on the status of the development of the Data Security and Privacy Plan. A revised draft plan, which included changes based on the public comment that has been received, was presented.
The Board approved an amendment to assist certain districts that are currently unable to meet the new Minimum Instructional Hours requirement due to safety or scheduling issues. Districts will be allowed to request a waiver for up to four years allowing them an extended period to gradually increase instructional time to comply with the regulation.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Commissioner Elia announced she will be resigning from her position as Commissioner of Education at the end of August. As was mentioned in a communication from ESSAA early last week, the Commissioner “has always been candid and collaborative in her interactions with ESSAA.” We sincerely appreciate her dedication to working with us toward improving the lives of students in New York State and wish her well in the future.