EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY
OF THE STATE OF
Jean C. Stevens
Monitoring Report on Implementation of the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education
February 27, 2007
Goals 1 and 2
Issue for Discussion
Does the Board of Regent request or need additional information on the implementation of the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education?
Monitoring of policy.
This question will come before the Regents EMSC-VESID Committee on March 19, 2007.
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 Department staff to provide periodic status reports on the implementation of the Regents policy, the three-model strategy, and related Commissioner’s Regulations. This is the second report submitted to the Board of Regents; the first report was submitted in June 2006. The attached report includes background information, information on applications for Models B and C and the Essential Elements: Schools-to-Watch Recognition Program, as well as information on other initiatives undertaken by the Department.
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 fall 2006, the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Support included middle-level education as part of the focus of the Curriculum, Instruction and Instructional Technology Office. This move shifts the Department’s previous policy making emphasis for middle-level toward whole school reform highlighting best practice. Since that time, the Department has been working on a number of initiatives to set the stage for this renewed focus. The initiatives are centered on the following three major categories, which are briefly described in this material:
· Leadership Development: Communication.
· Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment.
· Professional Development.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: COMMUNICATION
Creating effective schools with middle-level grades requires systemic change and strong leadership.
Discussions with school leaders have resulted in a variety of recommendations to improve communication supporting middle-level education. Through contact with the New York State Middle School Association, the Statewide Network of Middle-Level Liaisons, the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform as well as school leaders seeking technical assistance, the Department has gained information regarding the needs of the field regarding leadership development and communication. The following actions have been taken.
Creation of Middle-Level Education Web Page
In response to field input, the Department has developed a comprehensive web page at http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/mle/middle.html. This site offers a single source for all national and State guidance materials and information relating to middle-level education. Middle-level practitioners are able to download current applications and information regarding the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education, the Essential Elements of a Standards-Focused Middle-Level School Program, and applications for Models B and C, including guidance information on completing those applications. There are also resources available with regard to curriculum development, instructional strategies and assessment techniques.
Revision of Model B and C Application Packages and Guidance Documentation
The Department worked with the New York Comprehensive Center (NYCC) over a period of four months to revise and edit the Model B and C application packages as well as guidance documents to assist school districts in the application process. The updated applications provide clarified instructions as well as a streamlined set of guidance rubrics to assist in producing quality applications. The goal was to produce an instrument that could be more easily understood by the field, thereby encouraging future applications. The revised and streamlined packages were posted on the new website in November. A targeted statewide promotion of this material followed which will continue throughout the school year.
The Department has developed a protocol of standard operating procedures
for the acceptance, review and approval of Model B and C applications from
CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION AND ASSESSMENT
Creating effective schools with middle-level grades requires systemic change, strong leadership and a challenging and rigorous educational program.
The Department recognizes the need to refocus the application process on research- based practices in the areas of curriculum design, instructional strategies and assessment techniques. Models of best practices must be highlighted and shared broadly. Partnerships with existing national entities have been forged as an initial step.
Essential Elements: Schools-to-Watch Program (EESTW)
The Department has partnered with the National Forum to Accelerate Middle
Grades Reform to implement the Schools-to-Watch program in
These schools were honored at the National Forum’s annual conference in
The program is now in year two of implementation. Three schools have applied to be 2007 EESTW schools. Two of those schools were granted site visits, which will be completed by April 1, 2007. Reviews will then be undertaken to decide on successful designations.
Three-Model Strategy to Implement the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education
The Department has received to date a total of 9 applications on behalf of 28 schools in 5 different school districts. Two were Model B applications, one was a Model C-1 application and six were Model C-2 applications.
2006, Department staff reported on Model B and C applications. At that time, three applications were
approved for implementation, two were under review and two were denied
approval. The status of those
applications approved or under review is listed below. In January 2007, the Department received
two additional Model C-2 applications from the
Approved Model B Applications
Pending Model B Applications
Approved Model C Applications
Pending Model C Applications
Honors School –
Creating effective schools with middle-level grades requires systemic change, strong leadership, a challenging and rigorous educational program and ongoing professional learning.
The Department recognizes the need for ongoing professional development to build leadership capacity around middle-level education. Partnering with existing State professional organizations for a statewide rollout is essential.
Network of Middle-Level Liaisons and
The Department offered a two-day awareness level program for the
Statewide Network of Middle-Level Liaisons and
o Standards, Assessment and Reporting
o Curriculum and Instructional Support
o Curriculum, Instruction and Instructional Technology
o Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities
State Conference – The Department sent a representative to the conference to update middle-level practitioners on SED initiatives and to build capacity throughout the State.
Monthly Board Meetings – The Department participates at each monthly board meeting to update the board members on SED initiatives and to collaborate with the Association to further the Essential Elements: Schools-to-Watch (EESTW) program.
The Department contributes to the monthly meetings of the Forum to update
Creating effective schools with middle-level grades requires systemic change, a philosophy and mission committed to developing the whole child, a challenging and rigorous educational program, a supportive organization and structure, skilled and knowledgeable teachers who use effective research-based instructional practices, strong leadership, a network of support appropriate to the needs and characteristics of young adolescents, ongoing professional development, and a strong will to succeed.
Department, in collaboration with the
Develop a Statewide Adolescent Literacy Initiative
Research on high-need schools with high percentages of at-risk students achieving literacy proficiency indicates a common theme. Schools that improve school-wide adolescent literacy across the content areas integrate literacy into the fabric of
pedagogy, monitor literacy performance and provide aggressive research-based
interventions for students who continue to struggle to read (Meltzer &
Okashige, 2001). Model B
flexibility gives schools an opportunity to teach literacy across the content
areas and to teach for conceptual understanding rather than mere coverage of
content. The Department, in
collaboration with the
and Evaluate the
Call to Action and the Governor’s budget proposal require a review and
evaluation of the State learning standards with completion of the review for
English language arts by June 2008.
The Department has engaged the
Northeast & Islands Regional Education Laboratory (NEIREL) in
Develop a “Toolkit of Resources” which Requires Applicants to Address the Core of Instruction
The Department, in ongoing collaboration with national and State leaders in middle-level education, will develop a “toolkit of resources” that includes research-based strategies to change teaching and learning and to promote provocative thinking during the application process. Consideration will be given to refocusing the Self-Study section of Model B on the core of instruction to encourage greater emphasis on reexamining the school’s educational program to meet the criteria of being comprehensive, purposeful, integrated and standards-based. The current application does not compel applicants to consider these facets. A renewed focus will redirect discussion on what strategies the school will use to teach literacy across the content areas; for example, how to teach art through literature. If restructuring is to improve the core of teaching and learning, applicants must give more attention to the instructional strategies that answer these questions.
Emphasize the Imperative for Professional Development
The Department will assure ongoing, sustained professional development opportunities to build teacher capacity and to ensure that teachers receive ongoing and embedded adequate professional development that supports research-based instruction. Simply changing structure – small class sizes, length of school day/year – without attending to teaching practices is likely to produce minimum change in student achievement. Effective restructuring requires adaptation and more sophisticated use of staff and available resources. Effective restructuring also requires adopting research-based practices that change teaching. Changing teaching practice requires professional development that provides teachers with the content pedagogy necessary for improved student performance.