Dear Colleagues,
It’s almost time for students and educators to go back to school! I hope you had some time to relax and recharge with family and friends this summer. I know you are now hard at work preparing for the school year.
In this edition of News and Notes, I provide information about the following:
1Spring 2019 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Assessment Results

The State Education Department released the results of the 2019 Grades 3-8 English language arts (ELA) and mathematics tests. In ELA, 45.4 percent of all test takers in grades 3-8 scored at the proficient level (Levels 3 and 4), an increase of 0.2 percentage points from 2018. In math, 46.7 percent of all test takers in grades 3-8 scored at the proficient level, up 2.2 percentage points from 44.5 in 2018.
Our press release about the 2019 assessment results has more information, including data on 2019 test refusals, which dropped two percentage points from last year’s refusal rate. Test refusal data by school district is available on NYSED’s Information and Reporting Services website. Additionally, district- and school-level results are available on our public data website.
2National September 11 Memorial & Museum Hosts Educational Webinar

9_11 Memorial and Museum September 11_ 2019 webinar
On September 11, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum will host a free live webinar, “Anniversary in the Schools.” The webinar will showcase artifacts from the Museum and feature personal stories from survivors and first responders.
The webinar will be accessible beginning at 8 a.m. and will be captioned and interpreted in American Sign Language. Museum staff will be available from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. via a live chat to answer student questions in real time.
3NYSED Announces $34 Million in State Aid for 251 Public Library Construction Projects Statewide

library books on shelves
The State Education Department recently awarded $34 million in state aid to 251 public libraries statewide to support construction and renovation projects. These funds help libraries construct new buildings, create additions, update electrical wiring and computer technology, improve broadband infrastructure, meet energy efficiency standards, renovate facilities to provide full accessibility to library users with disabilities, and provide meeting spaces to accommodate community needs.
4Updated Guidance Regarding the Sea of Japan/East Sea

Although the State Board of Regents sets the learning standards (what a student should know and be able to do), curriculum decisions, including which textbooks to use in the classroom, local lessons, and the pace of the instruction, are locally decided by the school districts. With the ongoing implementation of the NYS Social Studies Learning Standards and related Framework, school districts across the State must reflect on the use of terminology that has historical significance to different countries, groups, or individuals.
One such example is the use of the term Sea of Japan, which, when referenced within lessons or curriculum materials, has also been called the East Sea. The New York State Social Studies Framework does not specifically refer to the Sea of Japan or the East Sea; however, while teaching about this geographical location, school districts should be sensitive and responsive to the historical significance of both names. The NYSED recommends teachers refer to the body of water on the eastern boundary of Asia between Korea and Japan as both the East Sea and the Sea of Japan. Read the full guidance regarding the Sea of Japan/East Sea.
5State Library and myON Partnership

Summer Reading at New York Libraries_ A Universe of Stories
Summer reading season is quickly drawing to a close, and the excitement of a new school year is beginning. New York State students can still access the free myON digital library resources offered through Summer Reading at New York Libraries until September 30!

With one simple statewide login, the myON digital library provides students and families with unlimited access to over 6,000 fiction and nonfiction eBook titles. Many books are also available in Spanish. A mobile app allows up to 20 books to be downloaded and read while away from home. As students and families prepare for the start of school, encourage them to keep reading, learning, and exploring new worlds with myON digital books!

6NOVELNY Provides Free Online Resources for Students

NOVELny logo

Looking for free online resources and databases to use for school assignments? Through the New York Online Virtual Electronic Library (NOVELNY), students can access many free resources from Gale, a Cengage Company. Resources available include:

  • New York State Newspapers, which offers over 2,000 full-text New York newspapers
  • Kids InfoBits, which contains over 550 age-appropriate magazines for grades K-5, as well as Merriam-Webster’s Elementary Dictionary, maps, flags, charts, and more
  • Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints, a database with over 21,000 perspectives on important issues
  • Gale in Context: Middle School, which has magazines, newspapers, primary resources, and videos for students in grades 6-8
Find a complete list of all available Gale resources here. For more information, contact your school librarian or the NOVELNY help desk at NYSLNOVEL@nysed.gov.