Full Board


James A. Kadamus


New York State Virtual Learning System and USNY Partners



October 13, 2005


Goals 1 and 2







Issue for Discussion


Are there areas in which Board members would provide additional guidance in the provision of educational resources and individual student data reports through the New York State Virtual Learning System and USNY partners?


Reason(s) for Consideration


For information.


Proposed Handling


This question will come before the full Board on November 3, 2005.


Procedural History


Not applicable.


Background Information


          Over the past several years, the Department has involved many USNY partners in developing educational content for the Department’s New York State Virtual Learning System. This presentation focuses on several key initiatives that over time will bring together the State learning standards, instructional practices/educational resources, and student assessment data.


New York State Virtual Learning System (VLS)


VLS is a web-based system that houses the single authoritative source of the New York State learning standards in seven content areas.  These standards, or student expectations, are the foundation upon which educational resources are made available.  These resources are aligned to each of the 28 learning standards at the performance indicator level – what students should know and be able to do.  Currently, VLS contains approximately 5,000 sample tasks and approximately 1,000 classroom lesson plans directly tied to performance indicators with new resources coming online daily.  In addition, VLS features links and resources from other USNY educational and cultural institutions. 


MarcoPolo Initiative


MarcoPolo, through the private MCI Foundation, has produced and distributed statewide the video, MarcoPolo and NYSED VLS: Redefining the Future of Education.  The video reflects the culmination of a five-year partnership among the New York State Teacher Centers, the New York Institute of Technology and the MCI Foundation, brought together by the mutual goal of improving student achievement through the rich education resources of the national MarcoPolo program.  To date, MarcoPolo, with its partners, have reviewed, aligned and supplied approximately 1,000 classroom lessons linked to the State’s learning standards in seven content areas.  This initiative offers New York State the unique combination of rich, comprehensive online educational content and professional development aligned to the State’s learning standards, coupled with the New York State Teacher Centers’ extensive standards alignment project and statewide training rollout on the use of these tools.


NYSED Score Reporting Initiative


The Department has chosen Grow Network/McGraw-Hill as the vendor to provide educators, policy makers and the general public with access to data in the New York State Repository System.  The repository system will provide a single source of standardized individual records for public school students linked over time by State-assigned unique identifiers.  The Grow Network will provide a data analysis system designed to enable school administrators, teachers and parents to better meet the instructional needs of individual students.  Teachers will be able to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of individual students, adjust instructional practice in the classroom, and promote standards-based learning in their classrooms. 


The Grow Network will provide district and school summary reports, showing subgroup performance and, beginning in 2006-07, showing longitudinal performance.  In addition to analyses of overall performance on each assessment, educators will be able to analyze performance at the subtest or performance indicator level.  This system will be available to all public schools and BOCES and eventually include almost all State exams.  The Grow Network will provide clear, relevant individual student reports for the grades 3-8 English language arts and mathematics general and alternate assessments that can be printed and distributed to parents.  These reports, available in English and Spanish, will be tailored to the student’s grade and performance level and will include a web address where parents can obtain additional information appropriate for students at that level.  The Grow Network is committed to a program of continual improvement of the reporting system based on feedback. 


PBS WNET/Thirteen Ready to Teach Initiative


The Department supported the Public Broadcasting Station WNET/Thirteen Ready to Teach project that was one of four grant recipients by the federal government. This three-year $4.8 million project, entitled Video in Teaching and Learning (VITAL), will identify and deliver educational content to public school teachers throughout the State by embedding select video segments in the Grow Network reports tied to the State’s learning standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics.  As a public television station, WNET/Thirteen has been producing the highest quality television for more than 40 years.  Its Education Department, through its National Teacher Training Institute, has more than 15 years of experience in delivering professional development designed to help teachers make effective use of video in teaching and learning.  WNET/Thirteen has been the driving force behind the introduction of the educational video-on-demand service that is available free to all teachers and students in New York State.  VITAL builds upon WNET/Thirteen’s experience with video-on-demand in schools, and targets video segments to the specific instructional needs of students in grades 3-8 in both ELA and mathematics.


The above initiatives have the potential of influencing a systems change at the classroom level.  The tools and content generated from these projects can transform the way we think about education reform in New York State.  Up until now, we have focused a great deal on the large system change of education, but these tools begin to help us look at how we can influence change in all New York State classrooms through a web-based environment.




          We recommend that the Board share with staff any additional guidance it may have for providing educational resources and student performance results through the above initiatives.




          Not applicable.