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Superintendent's Message
Massena Central School Board of Education Update
January 29, 2016
Massena CSD Designated a School in Good Standing

Good news!  This week, we received an e-mail from the NYS Education Department indicating that Massena Central School remains a District in Good Standing.  This designation is based on state assessment data for 2014-15.  Below is the correspondence and attached is the memo announcing this designation.

Dear District Superintendents, Superintendents of Public Schools, and Principals of Charter Schools:

Based on 2014-15 school performance results, your district or charter school remains a District or charter school in Good Standing for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.

The attached memo provides more details. Questions concerning the information contained in the attached memo should be directed to: accountinfo@nysed.gov.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

Currently, there is a case before the US Supreme Court which could have a significant impact on public employee unions in 23 states including those here in New York.  The case is Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association brought by a group of teachers who contend that their union advocates ideological viewpoints in which they are in disagreement.  Therefore, they would like to forgo paying the “agency fees” required under the law in their state.  Agency fees are union dues paid by those in an organization who do not join the union but are represented by it for contracts and labor relations.  Some of these monies are used for political advocacy thus making the case a free speech First Amendment issue for these petitioners who do not want their money to be used for furthering viewpoints adverse to their own.

It is unknown at this point how the case will be decided but many predict it could end in a 5-4 vote in favor of the petitioners.  Such a decision will have a significant impact on unions across the country who may lose significant membership and funding.  Below is an article from Education Next which takes an objective look at the facts of this potential landmark case.


Comptroller’s Report Concludes Massena Not Under Fiscal Stress
This week, I received the following correspondence from the NYS Comptroller’s Office in regard to their  
study of schools and municipalities under fiscal stress.  As noted, Massena has no designation under the Comptroller’s statewide fiscal monitoring system.  It is important to note that such a categorization does not mean that the District isn’t facing significant funding challenges.  In my opinion, it  only denotes that it did not register for being under stress based on the selected criteria from the Comptroller’s Office.
Dear School Superintendent Brady:
In 2013, Comptroller DiNapoli implemented a statewide fiscal monitoring system to identify local governments experiencing fiscal stress.  This system provides an objective picture of the fiscal challenges facing local governments and school districts so that corrective actions can be taken to avoid a fiscal crisis. 

This letter is to notify you that as of December 31, 2015, our review of the 2015 ST-3 (annual financial report) for your school district has been completed. Detailed information about your district’s fiscal stress condition is available on our website by using the user name and password above. It is important for you to share this letter and website link with your school board president and chief fiscal officer. The table below provides the financial and environmental scores and designations for the most recent and two previous years.
  Financial Stress Environmental Stress
FYE Score Designation Score Designation
2013 20.0% No Designation 16.7% No Designation
2014 23.3% No Designation 11.7% No Designation
2015 20.0% No Designation 11.7% No Designation

We recently conducted a webinar to help school officials understand how to interpret their scores and to prepare for public inquiries and media reaction. If you were unable to participate in the live webinar, you may view it here. We also have additional tools available that you may find useful. 

You should be aware that scores for all school districts will be released to the public in the near future and you may receive questions about your score/designation as well as any notable changes and trends. 

For additional information on scores and designation categories refer to the Fiscal Stress Report. Please contact the Division of Local Government and School Accountability with any questions you may have at (866) 321-8503.
Here is a Courier Observer article about three schools in the region which did make the fiscal stress list:
St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES E-Blast
The following e-blast was sent this week by the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES.  It has some of the latest information form the Board of Regents impacting public education.
Book of the Week:

Reach Before You Teach: Ignite Passion and Purpose in Your Classroom
by Paula Prentis and Chris Parrott
with Amy Smith

Students face pressures that undermine the development of a solid sense of self, jeopardizing success in school and in life: Family issues, economic concerns, media influences, social pressures, physical changes, and more influence how students feel about themselves.

When these go unnoticed, even the best teaching methods fall short. Reach Before You Teach shows educators how to form the nurturing, individualized connections that make students feel worthy, fulfilled, and ready to flourish as learners. 

The book details:
  • Practical, empowering information about how a sense of self comes to be, and what threatens it.
  • Interventions that soften the myriad defenses students develop to protect themselves.
  • How to address the often-overlooked connections between physical, social, and emotional health and classroom performance.
Access the full list of available e-books books here.

Please contact your librarian or Kelly Wilson (kelly.wilson@sllboces.org) for the password, and find more useful online books at INFOTRAC.
NY State Education News You Can Use:

News From NYSED:

Changes to APPR
  • REMINDER: NYSED has received input from District Superintendents and superintendents of school districts with approved §3012-d APPR plans, as well as representatives of NYSCOSS, NYSSBA, NYSUT, SAANYS, and UFT on how transitional APPR scores and ratings will impact the field.
    • Click here to view the guidance document on EngageNY.
    • Key questions and answers in the APPR document

Students with Disabilities
Science Learning Standards Survey
  • NYSED spearheaded the development of draft New York State P-12 Science Learning Standards. The Education Department recently posted the draft New York State P-12 Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS) for public preview. 
    • In order to collect feedback related to the draft NYSSL, the Department has posted a survey (open until Friday, February 5, 2016) allowing respondents to rate the draft NYSSLS against a set of research-based standards evaluation criteria. The feedback received will inform revisions to the draft NYSSLS prior to presenting them to the Board of Regents for discussion and eventual adoption.

  • NYSED has announced a number of changes to the Grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics assessments for the spring 2016 administration window.  
  • These include a new testing vendor, greater involvement of educators in the test development process, fewer numbers of passages and test questions, and a shift to untimed testing.
  • Please see the attached memo that describes these changes in greater detail.  
  • Information for Teacher Participation in Assessment can be found here.
State Assessment Schedules
  • The August 2016 Regents Exam schedule has been posted here.
  • The Office of State Assessment released the 2016-17 ELA/Math 3-8/Science 4/8, NYSAA, NYSESLAT testing schedule.
    • View the schedule here.  

Grant Survey Reminder:

Computer-Based Field Test Training
  • Here is the link to the Power Point file and a document explaining the various roles and responsibilities for test administration that were used for the training on Friday, Jan. 15th.
  • For questions about the CBT field test process, please contact:
Questar New York Customer Support
  • Questar and SED plan to have more specific training webinars as the field testing gets closer and the test administration manual is completed.

Model Schools
  • In response to districts’ request Model Schools is offering the following Google workshop on Feb 9th from 12-3 at the ESC in Canton: Intro to Google Apps for Non-Instructional Staff
    • This introductory workshop will include basic level instruction on the following Google Apps:
      • Drive
      • Gmail
      • Calendar
    • The workshop is for anyone in the district that uses Google for management tasks: support staff, TAs, administrators. Please register online in MyLearning Plan or WebReg

Professional Development:
Upcoming PD Sessions
  • Training for Administering the New York State Alternate Assessment in ELA and Math (02/02)
  • eDoctrina Resources for Rookies (02/02)
  • Primary Principals' Network Meeting (02/04)
  • Instructional Rounds Visit- Norwood-Norfolk High School (02/04)
  • School Library System Day (02/04)
  • Secondary Principals' Network Meeting (02/05)
  • Principal's Academy Follow-Up Session 4 (02/05)

Other Learning Opportunities
Last Updated: 2/9/16
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