The Board of Regents conducted an abbreviated monthly meeting on Monday, June 8th via video conference. The meeting began with current and former Board of Regents members offering some reflective thoughts on events occurring across the country.
Regent Dr. James Cottrell began with recognizing the month of June as Gay Pride Month.  Dr. Cottrell talked about his experiences in the 1980s as a physician in New York City and as a medical advisor to Senator Ted Kennedy when the AIDS virus emerged. He feels many of the challenges we are currently facing with the COVID-19 crisis are similar to the struggles and resistance he encountered working to secure funding for adequate AIDS research and in building AIDS awareness across the country. Dr. Cottrell stated, “AIDS forced our society to begin recognizing and respecting the struggles that members of our gay communities encounter.”
Regent Lester Young then offered some reflections on the death of George Floyd, the ongoing protests that are occurring around the world, and the need for change. Emphasizing that “silence is not an option,” he stressed that it is the responsibility of Board of Regents members to seek remedies for the mistreatment of Black men in our country. He said we must ensure that schools truly commit to teaching Black History, and that meaningful ways to promote diversity in schools are consistently promoted. Regent Young concluded that the Board of Regents must act to ensure that George Floyd did not die in vain.
Former Regent Adelaide Sanford addressed the Board and stressed the need for changes at the classroom level. She feels that through curricular reforms we could ensure students, including future first responders, gain a greater awareness of multicultural awareness and the meaning of justice for all people.
• Interim Commissioner Tahoe expressed her sincere congratulations to the Class of 2020 high school and college graduates and expressed appreciation to all the educators who assisted them in their educational journey.
New York State Museum Director, Mark Shaming presented information on a special digital montage that is being created to honor the Class of 2020. The montage will highlight the unique experience of the 2020 graduates and will be on display at the NYS Museum in Albany. He also noted that they will continue to accept photos to be included in the display through the month of June.
• Chancellor Rosa expressed concerns regarding the Governor’s recent executive order allowing districts to conduct in person special education instruction during the summer. The Chancellor does not feel that NYSED has received adequate guidance from the NYS Department of Health since the instruction will involve some of our most fragile students with regards to immunity. Chancellor Rosa went on to say that many questions still need to be addressed and they will continue conversations with the Governor’s Office.
• Deputy Commissioner for P12 Instruction and Support, Kim Wilkins, updated the Board on the status of the Statewide Task Force for Reopening Schools. The Deputy Commissioner provided a general framework for the process the task force will follow in developing recommendations along with the dates/times for the four upcoming Regional Meetings.
The link below provides a summary of the presentation, including the proposed timeline for the work, the areas of focus, and the dates of the four Regional Task Force meetings which will be used to gather stakeholder feedback.
• NYSED Chief Financial Officer Phyllis Morris updated the Board on the status of funding associated with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. She reviewed the steps that NYSED has taken to secure the funding, the amounts that have been received, and the processes which are being used to determine how funds will be distributed.
• The Board was presented with several amendments to address additional issues resulting from the interruption of the school year due to COVID-19. Most of the revisions are minor changes or additions to amendments that were passed at previous meetings. They include:
  • Modified requirements for achieving the High School Equivalency Diploma
  • Hands Only CPR Instruction Requirement exemptions
  • Regents Exam requirements for Online Blended Learning Classes and for Make Up, Incomplete, or Failed courses
  • Required hours for Summer School instruction
  • Flexibility in requirements for students who are Home Schooled
  • Extension of certification expiration dates for Teaching Assistants
  • Extending the deadline for completion of Child Abuse training
  • Certification extensions
  • Coaching evaluations
  • Expansion of options for obtaining Emergency COVID-19 teaching certificates
  • Extending the date for adoption and publishing Data Security and Privacy policies until October 2020.
•         Director of Education Finance Brian Cechnicki presented an update on the implementation of the new Financial Transparency Requirements associated with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). He outlined the specific information which will be included in the first phase of the published reports that will be released shortly. He also reviewed the additional data due to be released later in 2020.
The link below includes an outline of the presentation along with sample reports demonstrating the format for how the data will be presented to the public.