EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY
OF THE STATE OF
Jean C. Stevens
Implementation of the Regents Three-Model Strategy on
June 8, 2006
Goals 1 and 2
Issue for Information
The Board of Regents asked staff to provide periodic status reports on the three-model middle-level strategy adopted to implement the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education.
To inform the Board on implementation of policy.
When the Board of Regents revised Commissioner’s Regulations to reflect the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education and the related three-model strategy to implement the Regents Policy, the Regents requested that the State Education Department provide periodic status reports on the implementation of the Regents Policy, the three-model strategy, and related Commissioner’s Regulations. The attached report includes background information, information on applications for Models B and C and Experiments in Organizational Change, and the Essential Elements Schools-to-Watch Recognition Program.
Staff recommends that the Regents review the attached report and identify any additional information they need to monitor implementation of their policy on middle-level education.
Timetable for Implementation
STATUS REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
In July 2005, the Board of Regents revised Commissioner’s Regulations to reflect a three-model strategy to implement the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education. The new regulations mandate that schools with middle-level grades must provide each student with a comprehensive education that includes instruction in all of the State’s 28 learning standards.
The Regents, aware that each district has unique needs and conditions, also included several flexibility provisions in the Commissioner’s Regulations that allowed local districts to tailor their educational programs to reflect local circumstances. For some districts, the flexibility available in the regulations was not sufficient to permit them to meet their students’ needs. To accommodate those districts that needed additional flexibility beyond what is explicitly allowed in regulations, the Regents approved the following three-model strategy to implement the Regents policy:
· Model A is for those districts that elect to comply with existing regulations. Districts and schools with middle-level grades (grades 5, 6, 7, 8) continue to comply with the current regulations, making full use of the existing flexibility provisions. All schools with middle-level grades are eligible for Model A. No application is required, and State Education Department approval is not necessary.
· Model B is for districts desiring to strengthen the academic core. Districts, on behalf of their schools with middle-level grades, can propose a program that strengthens the academic core, provides effective academic intervention services, and ensures that all students receive instruction in those standards areas where there are no required State assessments. Only schools that are either newly formed or that have been identified as a school requiring academic progress (SRAP) in year 3, 4, or 5, including a school identified for school improvement for three or more consecutive years under 20 U.S.C. section 6316(b), or a school under registration review (SURR) pursuant to section 100.2(p) of Commissioner’s Regulations, are eligible to submit a Model B application. Model B applications must be approved by the State Education Department.
· Model C is for successful districts that are interested in building on their success and developing the next generation of middle-level schools and programs. Districts, on behalf of their schools with middle-level grades, can propose either new ideas for restructuring the full educational program (Model C-1) or specific program refinements or enhancements in an area where there are no required State assessments (Model C-2). Schools that are either newly formed or do NOT meet the Model B criteria are eligible to submit a Model C-1 or C-2 application. Model C-1 and C-2 applications must be approved by the State Education Department.
Carrying Out the Three-Model Strategy to Implement the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education
Following the revision of Commissioner’s Regulations in July 2005, the State Education Department solicited applications for Models B, C-1, and C-2 for beginning implementation in September 2006.
received Model B applications from two school districts:
1. Physical education instruction in the middle grades (grades 5-8) must continue to meet the time requirements specified in Commissioner’s Regulations. Approval of the Model B application does not provide permission to reduce the amount of instruction in physical education below that specified in Commissioner’s Regulations.
September 15, 2006, the
a. Align with the learning standards in their respective content areas; and
b. Include specific, locally developed assessments to gauge student achievement, both within schools and across schools.
NOTE: Each curriculum must be accompanied by a detailed explanation of the process (actions/steps) and timeline followed to develop the curriculum, along with the related assessments. Districts have been asked to include the names and responsibilities of those who were involved in the preparation of each curriculum. The State Education Department needs to be assured that classroom teachers responsible for teaching the newly constituted courses have had a meaningful and significant involvement in course development.
September 1, 2006, the
a. Aware of the content of their new curriculum and prepared to teach it; and
b. Actually teaching the new curricula over the course of the year.
the schools included in the Model B plan have administered the HiPlaces survey
for several years as part of their Comprehensive School Reform (CSR)
effort. As a result, these schools
have an extensive and common set of valid and reliable baseline data related to
“opportunity to teach” and “opportunity to learn” conditions and practices.
These data are a complement to actual student achievement results. During the period the
received Model C applications from five districts:
January 15, 2007, the
a. Align with the new Home and Career Skills Core Curriculum and its 10 Content Topics published by the State Education Department in the Fall of 2005; and
b. Include specific student performance indicators to gauge the achievement of the Home and Career Skills learning standards.
1, 2007, the
a. Align with the new Home and Career Skills Core Curriculum and its 10 Content Topics, published by the State Education Department in the Fall of 2005; and
b. Include specific student performance indicators to gauge the achievement of the Home and Career Skills learning standards.
The reviewers also felt the Home and Career Skills electives, as proposed in the application, were not fully reflective of the State Education Department’s newly updated Home and Career Skills curriculum, and they should be revised to align more closely with the recommended program. Possible electives might include: “Clothing and Fashion” (rather than sewing); “Foods and Nutrition” (rather than cooking); “Career Development;” “Human and Child Development;” “Consumer Resource Management and Financial Management;” “Interior Design and Personal Environment;” and “Community Connections.”
1, 2007, the
Lansingburgh: The Lansingburgh Model C-2 application proposed a complete integration of the Home and Career Skills learning standards into other instructional areas. The Department did not approve the application, citing the following reasons:
1. The proposal was more an enhancement of the English Language Arts program than the Home and Career Skills program.
2. The lack of a certified Home and Career Skills teacher on staff and the absence of a discrete program “placeholder” for the Family and Consumer Sciences learning standards to ensure that students receive dedicated foundational instruction in the Family and Consumer Sciences learning standards by an appropriately certified teacher were problematic.
3. The idea of enriching the curricula of several standards areas by using real-world experiences that reflected, reinforced, and enhanced the Family and Consumer Sciences learning standards, as proposed in the Lansingburgh application, had merit but only if students had access to a discrete Home and Career Skills program that provided foundational information and was taught by a certified Home and Career Skills professional.
4. The curriculum revision process and the evaluation design proposed lacked sufficient specificity and rigor.
Canandaigua: The Canandaigua Model C-2 application proposed to address the Technology Education learning standards at the intermediate level by providing a core Technology Education program for all students in grades 7 and 8, and to enhance this core program with related instruction in the library media program in grade 7 and the computer education program in grade 6.
The Canandaigua Middle School’s Model C-2 application was approved, effective September 1, 2006, with the following conditions:
September 15, 2006, the
a. When a representative sample of students will receive the core Technology Education program in grades 7 and 8; and
b. When these same students will receive the enhanced instruction in the grade 7 library media program and in the grade 6 computer education program.
January 15, 2007, the
a. Align with the Technology Education learning standards and include specific, locally developed assessments to gauge student achievement (above and beyond the four State-developed Technology Education assessments); and
b. Indicate clearly where and how it intersects and connects with the enhanced instruction in the library media program and in the computer education program.
January 15, 2007, the
a. Show how they align with the Technology Education learning standards, and include specific, locally developed assessments to gauge student achievement; and
b. Indicate where and how both the library media program and the computer education program intersect with (and enhance) the Technology Education learning standards and the instruction occurring in the core Technology Education course.
The reviewers felt that the greatest strength of the proposal was in its interdisciplinary approach to achieving the Technology Education learning standards. State Education Department staff are particularly interested in learning exactly how they are “knitting” the three discrete courses together into an integrated, highly connected, interdisciplinary whole (and how they are ensuring that this “knitting” does not come unraveled) so as to offer students a truly innovative way to achieve the Technology Education learning standards.
1. Just adding additional time for instruction in a particular discipline (or in the case of LOTE, adding an additional language) is not considered by the State Education Department to be a program enhancement or a refinement.
2. Finding time for additional instruction in one area by reducing time in another is not an acceptable Model C-2 approach. While the Department is prepared to grant relief from the unit of study time requirements for a program being enhanced or refined, it is not prepared to grant relief from the unit of study requirements for a program in one area in order to allow for scheduling changes in another area.
3. The proposed elimination of programmatic placeholders for Technology Education and Home and Career Skills, the reassignment out of the building of staff with the content expertise in these areas, the proposed integration of the standards from these areas into other courses, and the lack of a plan for developing the interdisciplinary programs that would address the Technology Education and Home and Career Skills standards are problematic and not approvable.
Why There Were So Few Model B and C Applications
With all the conversation and discussion that preceded the development and approval of the three-model strategy, the Department expected to receive a large number of proposals, especially Model C-2 applications. The anticipated influx never happened. Subsequent conversations with middle-level practitioners suggested a number of possible explanations:
· No one wanted to be first. Most districts would rather be pioneers and settlers and were waiting for other districts to be the discoverers and explorers.
· The pressing and immediate demands associated with both the revision of the mathematics curriculum in the middle grades and the planning required for the administration and scoring of the grades 3 through 8 State assessments monopolized the attention of district and building administrators and their staff. In many districts there was no excess “capital” available to devote to the development of a Model B or C application.
· For the first time, many building and district administrators actually knew and understood the flexibility that existed in Commissioner’s Regulations and was available to districts and schools under Model A without having to apply to the State Education Department. They realized they could do what they wanted to do within the current regulations and did not need to seek Department approval.
the districts with Model B eligible schools had recently experienced (or were
about to experience) leadership changes at the top (e.g., Buffalo, Syracuse,
· There were some indications that a number of school/district leaders believed, albeit wrongly, that the teachers’ bargaining unit must sign off on any Model B or C application and, therefore, decided not to develop a proposal.
· Budgetary pressures, while still there, were not as intense or acute as they were in prior years. Districts were able to accommodate the regulations financially (i.e., follow Model A) and didn’t need to look to Model B or C as a possible means of budget relief.
· Districts, while they still found Model A to be overly restrictive and inflexible, felt the additional flexibility available under Model B or C was not sufficient enough to justify the amount of time and effort needed to develop and implement a Model B or C application.
Research Study on the Three-Model Strategy to Implement the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education
At the time the Board of Regents approved the three-model strategy, the State Education Department committed to conduct a multi-year evaluation of its implementation. The Request for Proposals (RFP) for this evaluation project was released on March 27, 2006. Proposals were due to the State Education Department by May 8, 2006, with the selection of the successful bidder occurring no later than July 1, 2006.
When a school district is granted an Experiment in Organizational Change (or, as it is commonly called, “Experimental Middle School Status”), the assignments permissible pursuant to this regulation are:
· A certified elementary school teacher (i.e., a teacher of the common branch subjects) may provide instruction in one or more of the common branch subjects, exclusive of those defined as special subjects in grades seven and/or eight of a middle or intermediate school; and
· A certified teacher of a secondary academic subject may provide instruction only in the academic subject for which he or she is certified in grades five and/or six of a middle or intermediate school.
Approval is for a period of five years and can be renewed.
Since Section 80-5.12 was reauthorized in July 2005, seven school districts have submitted applications to the Department requesting approval for an Experiment in Organizational Change. An additional 46 districts were implementing an Experiment in Organizational Change under prior authorization. Over the years, a total of 186 school districts have had an approved Experiment in Organization Change.
Essential Elements: Schools-to-Watch Recognition Program
The State Education Department, in partnership with several statewide organizations including the Statewide Network of Middle-Level Education Liaisons, the New York State Middle School Association, the New York State United Teachers, the School Administrators Association of New York State, the New York State Association of Teacher Educators, New York State Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, the New York State Parent-Teachers Association, and the NYC Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, sponsors the Essential Elements: Schools-to-Watch (EE: STW) Recognition Program. The EE: STW program is affiliated with the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform’s Schools-to-Watch program. The purpose of the EE: STW program is to identify and recognize outstanding middle-level schools that will:
schools submitted applications to be considered for the first cohort of
The two remaining
middle-level schools that received a site visit,
Breaking Ranks in the Middle: In March 2006, the National Association of Secondary School Principals released a new publication titled Breaking Ranks in the Middle, a companion document to its high school document, Breaking Ranks II. The philosophy and recommendations in Breaking Ranks in the Middle mirror those that are in the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education and the Department’s Essential Elements of Standards-Focused Middle-Level Schools and Programs.
in the Middle contains
multiple examples of research-based, good practice drawn from the experiences of
the best middle-level schools in the country, including three from
· Student focus
· Academic challenge
· Supportive, personalized school environment
· Developmental appropriateness
· Effective instruction
· Ongoing professional learning
· Strong building leadership
· Appropriate structures/organization (teams, dedicated planning time, flexible schedule, etc.)
between Breaking Ranks in the Middle and
The Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education and the Department’s Essential Elements of Standards-Focused Middle-Level Schools and Programs target the middle-level educational community – students, teachers, parents, central office staff, boards of education, and, of course, administrators. Their major purpose is to define and describe a model middle-level school that addresses the dual needs (academic development and personal growth) of adolescents well. As such, they deal more with describing the “what” of middle-level education rather than providing specific strategies related to “how” to transform a middle-level school. The Regents Policy Statement and the Department’s Essential Elements also advocate for a comprehensive educational experience that reflects all of the State’s 28 learning standards, including those related directly to numeracy and literacy.
Breaking Ranks in the Middle focuses less on describing “what” middle-level education is and more on explaining the “how” of change at the middle level to achieve academic excellence. It is a strategy document specifically for middle-level principals to use to transform their buildings into educational institutions that address the intellectual and development needs of each student. Breaking Ranks in the Middle presents a series of nine cornerstone strategies, thirty specific recommendations, and numerous examples from high performing middle-level schools for improving student achievement. Its target is a series of “essential learnings” in literature and language, writing, mathematics, social studies, science, and the arts.
Success in the Middle: In May 2006, the National Middle School Association released Success in the Middle: A Policymaker’s Guide to Achieving Quality Middle-Level Education. This publication laid out five general goals, each with a series of specific action steps, needed at national, state and local levels for achieving excellence in the middle grades. The Board of Regents and State Education Department have already acted on each of the five goals and implemented many of the recommended action steps.
Goal #1: Ensure that all middle-level students participate in challenging, standards-based curricula and engaging instruction, and that their progress is measured by appropriate assessments, resulting in continual learning and high achievement.
· In 1996, the New York State Board of Regents adopted learning standards for all content (subject) areas (28 learning standards in seven standards areas). Since then, the State Education Department has issued a series of core curricula, which provide an additional level of specificity to these learning standards. The core curricula are particularly important to local curriculum developers/educators since they contain the State’s expectations of what students must know and be able to do in relation to the content areas. For each learning standard, the core curricula present key ideas (broad, unifying, general statements of what students need to know) and performance indicators (statements of what students should do to provide evidence that they understand the key idea). These core curricula are the foundation upon which State assessments are aligned and developed.
· The State Education Department prepares intermediate assessments in English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and languages other than English each year. In addition, the Department has developed an intermediate assessment for the technology education program.
· In 2005, following the approval of the three-model strategy, the State Education Department developed a series of Middle-Level Indicators of Achievement Checklists for the Non-Tested Content Areas. These checklists of knowledge and skills assess the strengths and limitations of programs in the non-tested areas, to facilitate student achievement of the State’s intermediate learning standards. The Department recommends that administrators and instructional staff use the checklists to assess their instructional programs in the non-tested areas to determine strengths and alignment with the appropriate learning standards.
Goal #2: Support the recruitment and hiring of teachers and administrators who have strong content knowledge and the ability to use research-based instructional strategies and assessment practices appropriate for middle-level students.
· The State Education Department offers several certification options for teachers, both veteran and prospective, who are interested in teaching in the middle grades and educating young adolescents well:
o Prospective middle-level teachers may elect to pursue a Middle Childhood Certification to teach in grades 5-9. A part of the Middle Childhood preparation program includes instruction in:
o Teaching professionals with a K-6 or 7-12 certification can pursue a grade 7-9 extension or a grade 5-6 extension, respectively. Persons interested in securing a certification extension must take courses that focus specifically on:
Acceptable studies include courses in child development and variations (with focus on middle childhood), introduction to middle school, and teaching reading and writing in the content areas for elementary and middle school classrooms.
Goal #3: Support organizational structures and a school culture of high expectations that enable both middle-level students and educators to succeed.
· In July 2003, the Board of Regents adopted the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education. This Policy Statement identifies seven essential elements that must be in place in a middle-level school if young adolescents are to succeed academically and develop personally:
1. A philosophy and mission that reflect the intellectual and developmental needs and characteristics of young adolescents.
2. An educational program that is comprehensive, challenging, purposeful, integrated, relevant, and standards-based.
3. An organization and structure that support both academic excellence and personal development.
4. Classroom instruction appropriate to the needs and characteristics of young adolescents provided by skilled and knowledgeable teachers.
5. Strong educational leadership and a building administration that encourage, facilitate, and sustain involvement, participation, and partnerships.
6. A network of academic and personal support available for all students.
7. Professional learning for all staff that is ongoing, planned, purposeful, and collaboratively developed.
· In 2003, the State Education Department also updated its Essential Elements of Standards-Focused Middle-Level Schools and Programs to align with the Regents Policy Statement. The Essential Elements, with its associated rubrics and protocols, serve as resources for schools and districts interested in assuring that their middle-level schools are academically challenging, developmentally appropriate, and socially equitable.
Goal #4: Develop ongoing family and community partnerships to provide a supportive and enriched learning environment for every middle-level student.
· The Regents Policy Statement and the Department’s Essential Elements emphasize and promote school-family partnerships and community connections.
Goal #5: Facilitate the generation, dissemination, and application of research needed to identify and implement effective practices that lead to continual student learning and high academic achievement at the middle level.
· In July 2005, the Board of Regents revised Commissioner’s Regulations related to the middle grades to reflect the Regents Policy Statement and to encourage innovation. The revised regulations included several flexibility provisions allowing local districts to tailor their educational programs in response to local circumstances. For some districts, however, the flexibility available in regulations was not sufficient to allow them to meet their students’ needs. To accommodate those districts that needed additional flexibility beyond that explicitly allowed in regulations, the Regents approved the three-model strategy to implement the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education and codified it in regulation.
· The three-model strategy to implement the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education included a longitudinal evaluation of its implementation. The Department has received eight applications from potential contractors and will decide on the successful vendor in June. The evaluation study is scheduled to commence in September 2006.