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Meeting of the Board of Regents | June 2003

Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 11:00pm




The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


James A. Kadamus


Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education


Deputy Commissioner�s Report


May 19, 2003




Current Activities in the Office of Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education


Goals 1 and 2



Among the topics highlighted in this report are:

  • High Schools That Work State Meeting
  • Chinese Education Delegation Visit
  • School Quality Review Initiative
  • Title I Local Consolidation Allocations
  • Extension of Locally Selected Assessment Option for Students With Disabilities
  • Funding for Incarcerated Programs
  • GED Testing




High Schools That Work State Meeting

A one-day High Schools That Work (HSTW) State Meeting was held on May 8, 2003 in Albany for site coordinators and representatives of the following HSTW sites:

Albany City School District, Abrookin Vocational Technical Center

Broome-Tioga BOCES

Career Magnet at Kensington High School, Buffalo

Edison Technical and Occupational Education Center, Rochester

Harry Van Arsdale Jr. High School, Brooklyn

Mohonasen Senior High School, Schenectady

New Utrecht High School, Brooklyn

Niagara Falls High School

Orange-Ulster BOCES - Pine Bush High School

Oswego County BOCES - Burton Ramer Technical Center

Questar III � Rensselaer-Columbia-Greene BOCES

Ralph R. McKee Vocational and Technical High School, Staten Island

Southern Westchester BOCES


Chinese Education Delegation Visit

A senior Chinese delegation of nine members from the Ministry of Education, the People's Republic of China, led by Ms. Shu-Ian Tian, the Vice Minister, visited the Department's Brooklyn office on April 14, 2003. They were greeted by Associate Commissioner Shelia Evans-Tranumn and Regional Associate Rhoda Lowinger.

The purpose of the visit was to understand:

  • the function of the policy-making body, the Board of Regents;
  • the newly approved New York State's System of Accountability for Student Success (SASS) under NCLB; and
  • the Schools Under Registration Review (SURR) process�how to improve and work with low-performing schools.

The delegation members were very impressed with the State's SASS and measuring tools used to meet the State's standards. They expressed great interest in exploring future partnerships with the Department.




School Quality Review Initiative

Fourteen schools that were recently removed from registration review are participating in the School Quality Review Initiative. The School Quality Review Initiative is a unique program designed to support former SURR schools in sustaining their school improvement gains. Three of these schools: P.S. 197, District 85, Bronx; P.S. 5, CSD 16, Brooklyn; and P.S. 126 - CSD 9, Bronx; requested external reviews. Reviews were conducted February 3-5, March 3-4, and April 7-9, 2003, respectively.

The external reviewer component is essential for each school. It provides feedback and perspectives from a team of "critical friends" on how closely the school is achieving the goals it has set for itself. The team includes current and former principals, teachers, staff developers, and parent and university partnership reviewers. The primary focus is on teaching and learning and the students' experiences within the classroom. Other areas are explored to the extent they impact teaching and learning. A final report is sent to the school faculty, which reflects the collective perspective of the external reviewers.


Title I Local Consolidation Allocations

The Department has recently been informed that the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) intends to use, for the first time, Census 2000 population and poverty data to calculate 2003-2004 Title I allocations. Although the USDOE has not yet provided specific allocation information to the states, we have advised school districts to alert their fiscal administrators to pay close attention to developments in this regard, since it is possible that school districts may realize a reduction in Title I funds, notwithstanding any increases in the State Title I allocation. Consistent with national trends, New York's age 5-17 population decreased by 12 percent based on the Census 2000 counts. How this will affect individual districts will be determined once we receive the 2003-2004 Title I allocation information from the USDOE. We will post information on our web site as it becomes available.


Extension of Locally Selected Assessment Option for Students with Disabilities

Deputy Commissioners Lawrence Gloeckler and James Kadamus recently issued a joint field memorandum indicating that the availability of the locally selected assessment option in lieu of State assessments for certain students with disabilities has been extended to the 2003-2004 school year. Students who may qualify are those who, due to a performance gap resulting from a student�s unique disability needs, are unable to meet the grade/age level expectations to take the regular State assessments and do not meet the eligibility criteria for the State Alternate Assessment for Students with Severe Disabilities. School districts may refer to the March 2002 guidelines for participation of students with disabilities in State assessments: locally selected assessments, at, for additional information.


Funding for Incarcerated Programs

Information was mailed to school districts providing a two-year fiscal picture of the maximum allowed State aid and total annualized costs for incarcerated programs. This information will be useful in preparing the Incarcerated Education Program Plan and budget for the 2003-04 school year. Carl Perkins and Workforce Investment Act continuation funding letters were mailed to operators of incarcerated programs. These letters indicate the 2003-04 program year is the last of the three years that the grant has been approved. Department staff anticipate a new competitive process for multiple-year funding beginning in 2004-05, pending availability of funds. The letter provides a year�s notice to program staff to gather the necessary data and information required for submittal of a successful application. It also provides instructions to assist recipients of current funding to submit the appropriate information to close existing grants and to receive continuation funding for the 2003-04 school year. Incarcerated Education Program Plans are anticipated to be on the Office of Workforce Preparation and Continuing Education web site by the end of May. Annual program plans are required to be submitted to the Department for all agencies providing mandated educational services to incarcerated youth under Chapter 683 of the Laws of New York State and Part 118 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.


GED Testing

The transition to GED 2002 is complete. Although the GED 2002 test series required extra administration time and adjustment to new procedures, the Department was able to streamline the scanning, scoring and test editing process through the use of a consultant-designed database. This increased efficiency has significantly shortened our document turnaround time. Additional staff has helped to improve accessibility and increase the Department�s field presence to provide better technical assistance for GED test sites. The GED Chief Examiner training curriculum was redesigned and training sessions are now offered more frequently.

To improve test administration and processing further, we have implemented the New York State GED Examination Booklet at all GED test sites. This State-specific, consolidated booklet is facilitating testing procedures for candidates, test sites and for Department staff. GED preparation programs were provided with sample booklets for classroom use. In addition to reducing test anxiety by familiarizing students with this new examination booklet, classroom practice can minimize data errors and help to produce documents more efficiently.

The GED web site,, is being revised. In addition to providing information for potential testing candidates, we want to make this a more valuable and user-friendly tool for a variety of staff associated with GED preparation and testing. We have added notices for training for GED Chief Examiners and for workshops on GED Testing Accommodations. The NYS Testing Schedule and Information Guide is available on-line, which gives us the ability to make ongoing revisions. A "Frequently Asked Questions" section is being added and will provide answers to common questions. Another publication, soon to be available on the web site, is the NYS GED Chief Examiner Training Manual. Future additions include on-line GED Chief Examiner training and other interactive activities.

Data improvement is a major focus for 2003. With the current emphasis on National Reporting System requirements, we have re-examined our GED data collection procedures to provide more valid reports to the field. Our new database allows us to extract more valuable information than ever before. Now that 2002 data is complete, we are beginning to analyze the first year of testing to identify trends. We will share our findings with preparation programs and with all Staff Development Consortia. This provides a unique opportunity to partner with both the adult literacy regional representatives and the Staff Development Consortia directors. Using this quality data, we can function as a team to develop plans for both targeted technical assistance to GED preparation programs and focused GED professional development activities for adult literacy program staff. With this new partnership, we look forward to continued enhancement of GED services leading to improved statewide GED performance.

The following data on 2001 and 2002 is provided:



New York State GED Testing Data

(2001 � 2002)





Total # of Candidates

Total # Qualified for a Credential*

Total # of Candidates

Total # Qualified for a Credential*


















*Includes diplomas and passing transcripts

For 2001, about 57 percent of the total number of candidates were qualified for a credential. For 2002, that percentage decreased to 51 percent.