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The Empire State Supervisors and Administrators (ESSAA) had its monthly Stakeholder Meeting with Commissioner of Education, Mary Ellen Elia, and Senior Deputy Commissioner, Jhone Ebert, on Wednesday, April 26, 2017.

Present at the meeting representing ESSAA were: ESSAA President, Carol Conklin-Spillane, ESSAA Executive Director, Mike Starvaggi, Matt Kravitz, Monroe Woodbury Central Schools, John Rickert, Niskayuna Central Schools, Paul Scampini, ESSAA Regents Liaison and Executive Vice President, Albert Skip Voorneveld via phone.

The topics discussed included:

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Commissioner Elia provided an update on the development of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) application.  She indicated that SED is finalizing a draft plan which will be presented to the Board of Regents at the upcoming May meeting.  During May and June, a series of public hearings will be held across the state to obtain feedback on the draft proposal. After making any necessary revisions, the completed plan will be presented to the Board of Regents for final approval at their June meeting.   The application then moves on to the Governor’s Office for review and approval before being submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in September.

The Commissioner was asked to highlight some of the key accountability components of the draft plan. She said that the major shift in comparison to NCLB will be the use of a variety of school quality indicators to measure school effectiveness in addition to test scores. She indicated that while the key indicators that will be assessed are included in the draft, the framework for how they will be measured has not yet been determined. This will not occur until after the plan receives final approval from the Department of Education.

Below you will find the link to the schedule of upcoming public meetings across the state.  You are encouraged to attend one or more of these sessions to provide your input on the ESSA application.

Release of New Learning Standards

The Commissioner informed us that the updated revisions to the new learning standards will be presented to the Board of Regents at the May meeting.  After they are reviewed, Commissioner Elia anticipates that they will be presented to the Board for final adoption at the June meeting.

Data Privacy Advisory Council

Deputy Commissioner Ebert informed us that NYSED has hired Temitope Akinyemi as the Department’s new Chief Privacy Officer.  In her role, Ms. Akinyemi will develop, implement and oversee the Department’s policies and procedures to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of student, teacher and principal data.  She is currently in the process of organizing an Advisory Council of stakeholders to assist with the development of policies.  Commissioner Elia invited us to have an ESSAA member serve on the council.  We are therefore looking for ESSAA members who are interested in representing us in on the Council.  Deputy Commissioner Ebert indicated that there will be meetings in the Albany area on a quarterly basis at the outset of the Council and that virtual meetings may be instituted thereafter. Any interested ESSAA member can e-mail

Staff Members Whose Certification is Due to Expire in August

Commissioner Elia informed us that all school employees across the state whose certification expires in August will receive a reminder email from NYSED in the near future.  Additionally, district superintendents and HR offices will also receive a list of staff members within their district with expiring certification next month via email. She stressed the importance that this information be communicated to appropriate staff as soon as it is received so that necessary steps can be taken as early as possible.

Pending Legislation Relating to School Codes of Conduct

Ms. Conklin-Spillane asked the Commissioner about proposed legislation which focuses on reducing suspensions of elementary school students.   She expressed concern over the approach taken in the draft bill.  Commissioner Elia responded that she just learned of the proposal, has not been involved in its development, and will look into it further.  The ESSAA stakeholder team will follow-up on this issue at our May meeting and report back to the membership thereafter.

3-8 Testing

The Commissioner shared that SED is still gathering opt-out data from the recently administered ELA Assessments.

With regard to future assessments, she indicated that the three day administration framework will remain the same for next year, but that changes are possible in the future as assessments related to the new learning standards are gradually phased-in.

Aspiration Index

Ms. Conklin-Spillane thanked the Commissioner for delaying the implementation of the Aspiration Index for 7th Grade Algebra.

CTE 4 + 1

The Commissioner reminded us of the recent memo that went out to the field regarding the assessment protocols for CTE 4 + 1 assessments and the need to pay close attention to the directions for submitting accurate and appropriate assessment data.


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