Four charter schools set to open in city
The D&C reports that "Two high schools, elementary and middle school are in the mix. There will be four new charter
schools this fall in Rochester, including an arts-heavy elementary school, a middle school with small class sizes
and a careerfocused high school for boys.
The elementary school, Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts
, will aim for an “enlightened adolescence”
with a focus on arts, literacy and “character education,” according to its website. It will begin with grades K-2
in August and eventually expand to K-6.
PUC Achieve Charter School
, the middle school, will follow the same model as several schools now open in California.
“PUC” stands for “partnerships to uplift communities,” and the schools stress small class sizes, long school days
and honorslevel education for all students. It will enroll fifth-graders in August and will eventually be open to
The high school, Vertus Charter School
, will run year-round, incorporating online lessons with “learning labs” and
group work, according to its website. It is led by Perry White, founder of the high-performing Citizens Academy
charter school in Cleveland, and Leigh McGuigan, a former lawyer and investment banker who has been involved with
public and charter schools in Cleveland and New York City. It will enroll ninth graders only when it opens in
Also opening in the fall is Rochester Preparatory Charter School
, a high school that will collaborate with Rochester
Institute of Technology and accept students graduating from Rochester Prep’s middle school classes."
Gates Chili new Superintendent to begin in February
The D&C reports that "Kimberle Ward, superintendent of the Naples Central School District, has been selected to
become the leader of the Gates Chili school system. Ward is expected to be formally appointed to the position by
the Gates Chili Board of Education during its regular meeting" in December "She will begin her new role in early
February, according to the district. 'The board is impressed with Kimberle's energy, passion and leadership skills,'
said Lowell Benjamin, school board president. 'We are very much looking forward to her engagement with the Gates
Chili community with a focus on student achievement and instructional excellence.' Ward has previously worked as a
teacher in Brighton, Marcus Whitman, Newark and Wayland. She was a principal in the Union Springs Central School
District and an assistant principal in the Corning-Painted Post Area School District. She joined Naples in 2009. 'I
am excited to continue Gates Chili's tradition of inspiring students to engage in their learning the Spartan Way:
Respect, Responsibility, Compassion and Hard Work,' Ward said in a written statement. 'The district motto of
teaching and inspiring excellence for all learners will be my focus in all efforts for the community.'"
A Fairport BOCES 20 year student drowns in Canal
In a very sad story, a Fairport BOCES Special Needs student drowned in the Canal while in School.
Click this link to read a pdf of the story
In a follow-up to this story the D&C reported on 1/11/14 that there had been an agreement reached in this case
The D&C reports that "The family of a 20year-old Kendall man with disabilities who drowned while under the care
of a BOCES program has reached an “agreement” to avoid a lawsuit, according to a short statement from the family. Michael
Vyrvoss apparently wandered away from Monroe 2-Orleans Board of Cooperative Educational Services’ Spencerport facility
in September 2012 and drowned in the Erie Canal. The family had filed a notice of claim against the district,
according to the statement, which provided no further details. BOCES had no comment, according to a spokesman."
NY State 2012-13 School Administrator Salaries
What does your Superintendent make? What do your District's Top Administrators make?
Click this link to download a pdf of the 2012-13 NY State Administrator Salaries
Click this link to go to the NY State Web Page with this data.
D&C Database on NY State Schools
From the D&C 10/12/12.
"The numbers are stark. Only 20 percent of kids in the Rochester School District read at a level appropriate for their
age. But there’s a dramatic difference between how well the kids perform from one school to another.
Last Sunday, our education reporter, Tiffany Lankes, told the story of two city schools a mile apart. At the first,
74 percent of students are proficient in math. At the other, the total is only 9 percent.
That’s a huge contrast, but how is a parent supposed to know how well their child is being served by their school?
The state’s Department of Education issues annual report cards for each school, but they’re not particularly easy to
use. Data from each school are presented in a series of PDF files. It’s difficult to do year-to-year comparisons, and
it takes some effort to see how different schools or school districts compare.
That challenge prompted us to develop our own interactive tool for navigating the school data, available at
. We gathered the data from the various state reports for all of the public schools in New York
and put them in one place.
You can use our tools to see test scores for each district or for individual schools. This includes results of
more than a dozen different Regents exams, and the yearly proficiency tests for math and English given to all students
from third to eighth grade.
We also have included information on topics such as college readiness, demographics and staffing. And with a click of
a button, you can compare data from different districts, or even between different schools.
Our reporters cover the public schools pretty extensively during the course of a year, and we publish dozens of
separate school-related data sets — everything from graduation rates to teacher salaries. Moving forward, we’ll
integrate these sorts of data sets into our Schools Database, providing a more robust source of information about
the public education system than you can find anywhere else. It’s part of our renewed focus on providing databases
that let readers explore topics on their own. At Roc-Docs.com
, we’ll continue to offer deep collections of
information on a variety of topics that affect people in our community."
Click this link to read go to the Roc-Docs.com
BOCES overcharges School Districts in NY State Millions
A recent report by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that BOCES districts routinely overbill local schools
and regularly price those services higher than necessary. Daniel T. White, superintendent of Monroe 1 BOCES in
Fairport said the overcharges generally fall within acceptable budgeting and accounting limits.
Click this link to download a pdf of the D&C story
Ex-Hillside worker pleads not guilty to sexually assaulting two teens
What is going on at Hillside. The D&C reports today that "A former Hillside Children’s Center employee accused of
sexually assaulting two teens pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning in Monroe County Court.
Matthew D. King, 29, of Rochester is facing five counts of third-degree criminal sexual act, a felony, and four
counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
King is accused of having inappropriate sexual contact earlier this year with two teenage boys he met while working
as a youth counselor at Hillside’s residential center on Monroe Avenue, said Assistant District Attorney Kyle Rossi.
King also is accused of providing alcohol and cigarettes to teens he met while working at the center.
Some of the alleged incidents occurred at the center, Rossi said, while others occurred elsewhere in the Rochester
region. All of the alleged acts stemmed from relationships that started at Hillside, Rossi said.
King worked for Hillside for about 1½ years, ending July 27.
King “has been a coach, counselor and teacher’s aide his whole adult life, so we’re concerned” that authorities may
not be aware of all potential victims, Rossi said. Any potential victims are asked to contact State Police or the
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
County Court Judge Frank Geraci Jr. issued orders of protection for the two teens Wednesday morning.
King’s lawyer, Amanda Oren, said in court that King’s family posted $50,000 bail. King remained free on that bail
and is scheduled to return to court for argument of motions on Nov. 7.
Hillside Staffer charged with sexual abuse at Hillside
A male Hillside Staff Member has been charged with having sex with a 15 year old Hillside student.
Click this link to read a pdf of the story
Monroe County Schools need over 1 Billion for School Repairs
The D&C reports that area Schools need over 1 Billion dollars in repairs.
Click this link to read a pdf of the story
Monroe County District Changes for 2012-13 School Year
An Article from the D&C outlining changes in staff, schools, and programs for all Monroe County School Districts for
the 2012-13 School Year.
Click this link to read a pdf of the story
Two New Charter Schools Open in City
Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School opens with its first 9th grade class.
Young Women's College Prep, Rochester's first public School exclusively for young women.
Click this link to read a pdf of the story
Say Yes Foundation has programs in Syracuse and now in Buffalo
The Say Yes Foundation with provides educational aide to Schools and financial aid to students to attend college has already
had a program in Syracuse. It is now beginning its work in Buffalo. Why not Rochester? According the D&C "Rochester
was one of the metropolitan areas in the state invited to submit proposals that resulted in the selections of
Syracuse and more recently Buffalo for Say Yes initiatives, but no proposals were submitted, said Gene Chasin,
who is the chief operating officer for Say Yes national."
Click this link to read a pdf of the story
For more information on the Say Yes Foundation click this link
Student numbers undergo decline: Gates Chili, Greece among hardest hit
The D&C report that the City as well as Rochester's suburbs have declinging enrollments. The article notes that
"Gates Chili, for example, had a student enrollment topping 7,000 in the late 1970s but now has 4,547 students,
according to data kept by the state Comptroller’s Office. In a narrower data set kept by the state Education
Department, the Gates Chili district lost 255 students between 2009 and 2011, or 5.4 percent of its enrollment.
Other hard-hit districts were Fairport and East Irondequoit. Fairport lost 337 students, or 4.9 percent of its
enrollment, during the same period. East Irondequoit lost 147 students, or 4.4. percent. In Greece, enrollment fell
about 3.8 percent, or 486 students, continuing a trend that began in the early 2000s. Indeed, enrollment in that
district has fallen more than 12 percent since its peak of nearly 15,000 students in the 1990s."
While many District's with decling enrollment have had to cut staff positions, the East Rochester School District
has increased its staff positions. The article notes that "One district, East Rochester, is an example of the many
variables that can affect enrollment. That district, the only one in the county to register positive growth, saw a
minimal 1.8 percent enrollment increase — from 1,174 to 1,195 students, but increased staff by 9.8 percent — from 153
to 168. The growth in enrollment and staffing, Superintendent Ray Giamartino Jr. said in an email, was the result of
a district initiative to bring students who were receiving special education services elsewhere back to the district.
Staff grew at a higher rate than student enrollment because some special education students required more attention from
staff members. However, Giamartino said the district was still able to save money by educating those students “in-house”
rather than contracting with outside groups.".
Click this link to read a pdf of the story
BOCES 1 Teacher Aide suspended for allegations of sex trafficking
The D&C reports that "BOCES 1 has suspended a teacher’s aide charged Monday with the alleged sex trafficking of a 15-year-old girl.
Click this link to read a pdf of the story
Lawsuit alleges bullying at Fairport School
The D&C reporter, Meaghan M. McDermott, reports that "Parents of a Fairport Central School District student have
filed a federal lawsuit against the district, alleging officials there didn’t take adequate steps to protect their
child from bullies." The parents allege a pattern of bullying that began at Martha Brown Middle school and continued
at Johanna Perrin, after the District and parents moved the child to avoid the bullying that had occurred at Martha Brown.
Click this link to read a pdf of the story
Suspensions Are Higher for Disabled Students
The NY Times reports that a new analysis of Department of Education data, shows that 13 percent of disabled students
in kindergarten through 12th grade were suspended during the 2009-10 school year, compared with 7 percent of students
without disabilities. Among black children with disabilities, which included those with learning difficulties, the
rate was much higher: one out of every four was suspended at least once that school year.
New York State was not included in this report "due to problems with thier data."
Click this link to read the story
Click this link to download a pdf version of the report
Click this link to download a pdf file of the NY Times article
States Struggle To Meet Special Education Goals
The nation is showing some signs of improvement in educating students with disabilities, though federal officials say nearly half of states continue to need help.
For the 2010-2011 school year, 30 states met a series of goals for their special education programs, according to an analysis of new U.S. Department of Education
ratings that was done by Education Week. That’s up from 28 the year prior.
Click this link to read about the story
Click this link to see a map showing State rankings
Click this link to download a pdf file of the US Map with State Rankings
Cost of Preschool Special Education Services in NYC Sky Rocket
The Cost of Preschool Special Education Services are sky rocketing in NY City. Concerns are also noted about the
quality of the services provided.
Click this link to go to the NY Times article about the story
Which Western NY State Teachers make the most? Where does your District Stand?
Teachers in Livonia are generally paid the most in the Rochester region – that’s according to Business First which tanked the 67 districts in the eight-county Rochester area
As reported by Channel 10 news - "According to Business First, "pay levels were analyzed at the fifth, 25th, 50th, 75th and 95th percentiles in each district, using official data from the New York State Education Department. Percentiles indicate the ranking of a given salary on a district's payroll. A salary at the 25th percentile, for example, is larger than 25 percent of all teachers' salaries within that district. Livonia's salaries are among the five highest in the Rochester Area at all five percentiles, including a region-topping $74,416 at the 75th percentile.""
1. Livonia (Livingston County)
2. Pittsford (Monroe County)
3. Gates Chili (Monroe County)
4. Webster (Monroe County)
5. Greece (Monroe County)
6. Wheatland-Chili (Monroe County)
7. Fairport (Monroe County)
8. Brighton (Monroe County)
9. Addison (Steuben County)
10. South Seneca (Seneca County)
11. Hammondsport (Steuben County)
12. Penfield (Monroe County)
13. Avoca (Steuben County)
14. Canandaigua (Ontario County)
15. West Irondequoit (Monroe County)
16. Odessa-Montour (Schuyler County)
17. Corning-Painted Post (Steuben County)
18. Caledonia-Mumford (Livingston County)
19. Hilton (Monroe County)
20. Churchville-Chili (Monroe County)
21. Seneca Falls (Seneca County)
22. Canisteo-Greenwood (Steuben County)
23. Victor (Ontario County)
24. Naples (Ontario County)
25. Rochester (Monroe County)
26. Prattsburgh (Steuben County)
27. Spencerport (Monroe County)
28. Wayland-Cohocton (Steuben County)
29. Jasper-Troupsburg (Steuben County)
30. North Rose-Wolcott (Wayne County)
31. Rush-Henrietta (Monroe County)
32. Geneseo (Livingston County)
33. Bloomfield (Ontario County)
34. Watkins Glen (Schuyler County)
35. Dalton-Nunda (Livingston County)
36. Honeoye Falls-Lima (Monroe County)
37. Manchester-Shortsville (Ontario County)
38. Sodus (Wayne County)
39. Bath (Steuben County)
40. Clyde-Savannah (Wayne County)
41. Marcus Whitman (Ontario County)
42. Phelps-Clifton Springs (Ontario County)
43. Brockport (Monroe County)
44. Arkport (Steuben County)
45. Waterloo (Seneca County)
46. Red Creek (Wayne County)
47. Wayne (Wayne County)
48. East Irondequoit (Monroe County)
49. Marion (Wayne County)
50. Honeoye (Ontario County)
51. Dansville (Livingston County)
52. Romulus (Seneca County)
53. Hornell (Steuben County)
54. Campbell-Savona (Steuben County)
55. East Rochester (Monroe County)
56. Williamson (Wayne County)
57. Newark (Wayne County)
58. Avon (Livingston County)
59. Geneva (Ontario County)
60. Penn Yan (Yates County)
61. Lyons (Wayne County)
62. York (Livingston County)
63. Palmyra-Macedon (Wayne County)
64. Bradford (Steuben County)
65. Gananda (Wayne County)
66. Dundee (Yates County)
67. Mount Morris (Livingston County)
Click this link to see the Channel 10 news story
What are your District's Superintendent and other Top District Adminstrator's Salaries?
Chapter 474 of the Laws of 1996 and Education Law section 1608 required that the State Education Department prepare a statewide compilation of the salaries and other personnel costs of certain school administrators and make it available to all interested parties. Listed here are data, provided by school districts, of the salaries, employee benefits and other forms of remuneration for superintendents of schools (Type 1), deputy, assistant or associate superintendents (Type 2) and the salaries of any other certified school administrators or supervisors (Type 3) who are budgeted to be paid at or above a certain level ($123,000 for 2012-13). This listing refers to information budgeted in May 2012 and expected to be paid in 2012-13 and applies to a particular position in a school district, not necessarily a particular individual. In order to fully understand the meaning of the data, clarification from individual districts may be necessary.
Click this link to go to the NY State Department webpage with the data
Click this link to download a pdf file of the salary amounts for all of NY State
Click this link to download an excell file of the salaries for all of NY State
Majority of Special Ed. Students in Texas Suspended, Expelled
On Special Education Blog , Education Week
A new study by the Council of State Governments Justice Center took a close look at how often students in Texas
are disciplined by in- and out-of-school suspension and expulsion. Among the findings: Students with disabilities
are especially likely to be punished by one or more of these methods. The researchers looked at records for close
to one million students and found that 75 percent of middle and high school students with disabilities in the
nation's second-largest public school system were suspended, expelled, or both at least once. That compares to about
55 percent of students without a disability.
Majority of Special Ed. Students in Texas Suspended
Rural and urban students suffer under New York state aid losses
Disparities in School Districts across the NY State are growing due to the fact that State lawmakers can not help
themselves in giving wealthier Districts more money.
rural students suffer under new york state aid losses
Schools from 12 Rochester NY area Districts cited as underperforming.
The Schools include the following:
BROCKPORT HIGH SCHOOL Improvement (year 2) - Basic Secondary-Level English Language Arts
FRED W HILL SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) -Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
CHURCHVILLE-CHILI MIDDLE SCHOOL 5-8 Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
EAST IRONDEQUOIT CSD
EAST IRONDEQUOIT MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
LAURELTON-PARDEE INTERMEDIATE SC Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
MARTHA BROWN MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
GATES-CHILI MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
WALT DISNEY SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
APOLLO MIDDLE SCHOOL Restructuring (year 1) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
ARCADIA MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
ATHENA HIGH SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
OLYMPIA HIGH SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
MERTON WILLIAMS MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
VILLAGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
ROCHESTER ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL
ROCHESTER ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
ROCHESTER CITY SD
BIOSCIENCE & HEALTH CAR HS-FRANKLI Restructuring (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts and Secondary-Level English Language Arts
CHARLOTTE HIGH SCHOOL Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
DR FREDDIE THOMAS HIGH SCHOOL Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
EAST HIGH SCHOOL Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level Mathematics
GLOBAL MEDIA ARTS HIGH SCH-FRANKLI Restructuring (year 1) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
INTERNATIONAL FINANCE & ECON DEV H Restructuring (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
and Secondary-Level English Language Arts
JAMES MONROE HIGH SCHOOL Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
JOHN MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
JOSEPH C WILSON FOUNDATION ACADE Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
JOSEPH C WILSON MAGNET HIGH SCH Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
NORTHEAST COLLEGE PREP HIGH SCHO Corrective Action (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
NORTHWEST COLLEGE PREP HIGH SCHO Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
and Elementary-Middle Level Mathematics
SCHOOL 12-JAMES P B DUFFY Improvement (year 1) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 15-CHILDREN'S SCHOOL OF RO Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 16-JOHN WALTON SPENCER Corrective Action (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 17-ENRICO FERMI Corrective Action (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 20-HENRY LOMB SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 22-LINCOLN SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts and Elementary-Middle Level Mathematics
SCHOOL 28-HENRY HUDSON Corrective Action (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 29-ADLAI E STEVENSON Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 30-GENERAL ELWELL S OTIS Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 34-DR LOUIS A CERULLI Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 36-HENRY W LONGFELLOW Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 39-ANDREW J TOWNSON Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 3-NATHANIEL ROCHESTER Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts and Elementary-Middle Level Mathematics
SCHOOL 41-KODAK PARK Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 42-ABELARD REYNOLDS Corrective Action (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 44-LINCOLN PARK Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 45-MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 46-CHARLES CARROLL Improvement (year 1) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 50-HELEN BARRETT MONTGOM Improvement (year 2) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 5-JOHN WILLIAMS Corrective Action (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 6-DAG HAMMARSKJOLD Improvement (year 1) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 7-VIRGIL GRISSOM Improvement (year 1) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 8-ROBERTO CLEMENTE Improvement (year 2) - Comprehensive -Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL 9-DR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive -Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SCHOOL OF ENGNRG & MFG-EDISON Restructuring (year 1) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts and Secondary-Level Mathematics
SCHOOL WITHOUT WALLS Corrective Action (year 1) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
SKILLED TRADES AT EDISON Corrective Action (year 2) - Comprehensive - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
THOMAS JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL Restructuring (advanced) - Comprehensive - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
CHARLES H ROTH MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
A M COSGROVE MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
KLEM ROAD NORTH ELEMENTARY SCHO Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
SPRY MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
WEST IRONDEQUOIT CSD
DAKE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
Ontario County Schools
CANANDAIGUA CITY SD
CANANDAIGUA MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
GENEVA CITY SD
GENEVA HIGH SCHOOL Restructuring (year 1) - Focused - Secondary-Level English Language Arts
GENEVA MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
NORTH STREET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Focused - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
PHELPS-CLIFTON SPRINGS CSD
MIDLAKES INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
MIDLAKES MIDDLE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
VICTOR INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL Improvement (year 1) - Basic - Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts
Click this link to read Cara Matthews and Meaghan McDermott's D&C article as a PDF file
Click this link to go to the NY State webpage to read the entire list
US Teachers feel that Schools fail diverse learners.
A new survey shows that a majority of teachers feel that Schools do not adequately prepare diverse
learners for success after High School. In the Study conducted by MetLife, Education Week reports
that "Fully 91 percent of the public school teachers interviewed for this year’s annual MetLife
Survey of the American Teacher said that strengthening programs and resources to help “diverse
learners”—defined as students with low-income status, limited fluency in English, or learning
disabilities—become college- and career-ready should be a priority in education.
read the full article here
Buffalo Superintendent resigns
Buffalos' embattled Superintendent resigns and Buffalo's School Board accepts resignation.
read the full story here
Empathy education teaches students to care for others
The student first met her new teacher close to the end of his ill-fated battle with pancreatic cancer.
As he lay waiting for the end, Lionel Honorat had no interest in talking to Marissa Malone when she arrived at Isaiah House as part of a Harley School class on empathy. He told her to go away. He wanted to be alone on his death bed.
"I said, 'That's unfortunate,'" said Malone, who graduated last month. "He was very independent. That was one of the hardest things for him to let go of."
Malone stayed anyway, sitting in the corner reading a book until Honorat finally opened up to her. She visited him every week after that, comforting him until he passed away several months later.
Students at Harley, a private school in Brighton that serves 500 students from nursery through high school, have been doing this kind of hospice work for years as part of the school's empathy education program, which aims to teach compassion, listening and social outreach skills they will be able to use in life and the workplace.
Now, Harley leaders hope to extend their efforts to schools all over the country. With a $250,000 grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation - the school will match the funds - Harley plans to establish a Center for Service for Empathy Education where educators will receive training in how to create similar programs at their own schools.
"It has become broadly accepted that empathetic skills, in particular, underlie the success we experience in the relationship-based interactions that permeate professional and personal life," said Tim Cottrell, head of the school. "We feel we have a knack as a school to teach emotional intelligence. The question becomes how can we share that with the world of educators?"
Teaching emotional intelligence and social skills has become more prevalent in schools in the past decade, in part because of attention to issues such as bullying and school violence. At the most basic level, character education programs teach students about values, decision making and respecting others. At Harley, educators have taken those lessons a step further, having students learn about emotional intelligence by applying what they learn in the classroom to a hospice setting.
Research suggests that students best learn skills such as empathy and compassion through first-hand experience with others, and that's exactly what the program aims to accomplish. The curriculum, which the school has used for seven years, has been recognized and adopted at colleges.
The center, which will open next summer, will build upon the hospice work already being done at the school. Harley educators point out that empathy can be taught through a number of projects, from bullying prevention in the middle years to work with people who are homeless or cancer patients.
Researchers at the University of Rochester will be studying their results, looking at whether the service work makes students more compassionate and their teachers feel more valued.
"We all have this ability," said teacher Bob Kane, who brought the program to Harley. "It just has to be allowed to open up. I'm hoping that the center will be an open space where we can explore these possibilities."
For some Harley students, the experience has already offered anecdotal evidence of the program's success.
Malone thought her hospice work would mainly serve to comfort patients in the last days of their lives. But in the end, she learned more about herself, drawing from her own feelings and emotions to help others. She gained an appreciation for life and the legacies people leave behind.
"The whole idea is that in the end it wasn't about death at all," Kane said. "It's about living."
NY State again pares down Regents Exams
The NYS Board of Regents has again changed the schedule for NY State regents exams to save money. This makes it easier to graduate for some and harder for others.
Click this link to read about the changes
NY State signs into regulations a new teacher evaluation system
The NYS Board of Regents adopted regulations that will implement a statewide teacher and principal performance evaluation system.
Click this link to download and read the pdf file about the changes from the NY State Board of Regents
NY State Board of Regents elects John King Commissioner of Education
The New York State Board of Regents voted today to elect Dr. John B. King, Jr. as New York State Education Commissioner and President of the University of the State of New York. The Regents took this action at their May meeting held today in Albany.
Dr. King currently serves as Senior Deputy Commissioner for P-12 Education at the New York State Education Department where, for the past two years, he has led the effort to implement the Regents reform agenda and coordinated New York's successful Race to the Top application. Prior to joining the State Education Department in 2009, John was a nationally recognized education leader who founded and led urban public schools that have won acclaim for their success in closing the achievement gap and preparing students to succeed in college.
"For the past two years John King has been at the forefront driving the implementation of every aspect of New York's reform agenda across this state. In that role he has won deep respect from teachers, school leaders, superintendents and policy makers for his results-oriented leadership and a style that has consistently brought together diverse groups of stakeholders to achieve consensus around critical reforms for our public schools. John has dedicated his career to closing the achievement gap and raising the level of achievement for all. He has a deep, passionate, personal commitment to public education and will be an outstanding Commissioner for all New Yorkers," said Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch.
"In selecting John King the Regents are sustaining the pace and focus of the reforms intended for all our schools," said Vice Chancellor Milton Cofield, co-chair of the Boards Search Committee. "John has demonstrated the remarkable energy and insight that the Board wants in place to implement the Regents reform agenda," added Regent Anthony Bottar, who co-chaired the Search Committee.
"John was my partner in every reform we have pursued over the past two years from realigning proficiency standards on our 3rd-8th grade assessments, to advancing new models for teacher preparation, evaluation and development, to rethinking how we turn around failing schools. He coordinated our Race to the Top application and has worked closely with me in the effort to make New York's standards and assessments more rigorous and more aligned to college and career readiness. He will be an excellent Commissioner who will make a tremendous difference in the lives of New York's 3.1 million school children," said Commissioner David M. Steiner.
"My life story is about the power of schools to shape lives, even against great odds. Through my experiences as a teacher, as a school leader, and as Senior Deputy Commissioner, working with superintendents, principals, and teachers across this state, I know that all of our schools can be places that ensure our children succeed," said King, the son of New York City public school educators and a product of New York City public schools.
"There has never been a more exciting time to be in public education in New York. While I know the fiscal environment and the pace of change are challenging, over the past two years I have been struck by the commitment of school leaders from every part of this state to push forward and implement bold reforms that will mean better schools for all of our kids. As we move toward implementing the core of the Regents reform agenda, I am committed to ensuring that the State Education Department will work in close partnership with districts and individual schools to capitalize on that commitment and fully implement meaningful, lasting change," said King.
King will succeed David M. Steiner, who announced in April plans to return to his former position as Dean of the Hunter College School of Education. King will be the 14th Education Commissioner to serve the State since the position was created in 1904. He will be the first African-American and first Puerto Rican Commissioner of Education in New York State. His salary as Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York will be $212,500. King requested that the salary for the position be reduced by 15%, from the current $250,000, in recognition of the challenging fiscal environment facing New York State and the State Education Department. He will assume his new post on June 15, 2011. Until that time, David Steiner will continue to serve as Commissioner.
As Commissioner of Education, Dr. King will serve as chief executive officer of the State Education Department and as President of the University of the State of New York (USNY). USNY is comprised of more than 7,000 public and independent elementary and secondary schools; 270 public, independent and proprietary colleges and universities; 7,000 libraries; 900 museums; 25 public broadcasting facilities; 3,000 historical repositories; 436 proprietary schools; 48 professions encompassing more than 761,000 licensees plus 240,000 certified educators; and services for children and adults with disabilities.
Prior to his appointment as Senior Deputy Commissioner, King served as a Managing Director with Uncommon Schools, a non-profit charter management organization that operates some of the highest performing urban public schools in New York and New Jersey. Prior to joining Uncommon Schools, King was a Co-Founder and Co-Director for Curriculum and Instruction of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School. Under his leadership, Roxbury Prep's students attained the highest state exam scores of any urban middle school in Massachusetts, closed the racial achievement gap, and outperformed students from not only the Boston district schools but also the city's affluent suburbs. Prior to founding Roxbury Prep, King taught high school history in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Boston, Massachusetts.
King earned a B.A. in Government from Harvard University, an M.A. in the Teaching of Social Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an Ed.D. in Educational Administrative Practice from Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition, King has served on the board of New Leaders for New Schools, is a 2008 Aspen Institute-New Schools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellow, and was recently appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to serve on the U.S. Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission. King grew up in Brooklyn and currently lives in Slingerlands with his wife and two children.
School budgets being voted on on Tuesday May 17th
School budget votes go before the public in Suburban Districts in Monroe County on Tuesday. The Democrate and Chronicle provides an overview
of District budgets.
Click this link to go to the article online
What is your Monroe County School District paying its top Adminstrators?
The Democrat and Chronicle reports on top adminsistrator pay in the Suburban Districts in Monroe Coounty.
Click this link to read the pdf of the article
Click this link to go to the article online
Buffalo Parent Group calls for 1 day School Boycott
Buffalo Parents are upset about School Performance. They recently held a meeting with the Superintendent, School Board, Mayor's office, and
repesentatives of the governor. The 400 parents present then voted to hold two actions to try to get change in the Buffalo City School
District. The first is to have a School Boycott on a school half day on Monday, May 16th. The second is to have a
day of 100% School attendance on June 1st.
Click this link to read about the boycott
Greece appoints new Superintendent
The Democrat and Chronicle reports that the Greece CSD has named a new Superintendent after two national searches. The D&C reports
that "Barbara Deane-Williams, currently head of the Lyndonville Central School District
in Orleans County, will take over Greece schools on July 1."
Click this link to download a pdf file of the D&C article
Webster Schools raises taxes, dip into reserves, and still face cuts in staff for 2011-12
The Democrat and Chronicle reports that the Websters School District is raising taxes 1.9 percent, dipping into its reserve funds for the
second year in a row, and is trying to negotiate with unions for concessions. If conceessions are not given, the District is looking
to lay off up to 55 teachers.
Click this link to download a pdf of the D&C article
Hilton Schools propose budget cuts and increased taxes for 2011-12
The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The spending plan, reviewed by the Board of Education earlier this month, calls for $68.4 million
in spending, a reduction of 0.3 percent over this year's $68.6 million budget. Due to a decline in revenues — mostly attributed to
a expected drop of $1.2 million in state aid as called for by Gov. Andrew Cuomo — the plan calls for increasing the tax levy by
about $1 million, or 3.08 percent."
Click this link to read the D&C article
Pittsford Schools propose spending more in 2011-12
The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "The preliminary 2011-12 budget is $111.6 million, a 1.69 percent increase from the current
budget. The school tax levy, the amount of money a school district raises on taxes, is $84.8 million, a 2 percent increase."
Click this link to read the D&C article
Seperate but not equal - race in Monroe County Schools
A very good Democrat and Chronicle article by Tiffany Lakes on racial
disparities in Schools and School Districts across Monroe County.
Click on this link to download a pdf file of the Story
Budget Cuts Threaten Jobs in Canandaigua Schools
The Democrat and Chronicle reports that due to proposed budget cuts in Canandaigua the Canandaigua City School District might
eliminate 40 positions to help close a $7.1 million budget gap.
Click this link to download a pdf file of the article
Greece CSD proposes cutting teachers and programs
The Democrat and Chronicle reports that the Greece CSD proposes to cut a number of teaching positions and special programs as well
as to raise the tax levy to budge the 2011 School budget. Significantly the District appears to be further eroding the recent
special education class action lawsuit in that it is proposing cutting 5 special education teachers and 7 litercy coaches.
Click this link to download a pdf file of the D&C article
State proposing to cut budget for Rochester School for the Deaf and others
The State is looking to cost shift the funding for Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD) and other Schools back to local School Districts.
Currently when a student is placed at RSD or the School for the Blind, the State pays directly or the costs. The State is now
proposing to reimburse Local Education Agencies (School Districts) for the cost of the program using a complicated funding formula.
Click this link to download a pdf file of the D&C article covering this change
Brighton proposes cutting teachers and paraprofessionals and increasing tax levy
The Brighton CSD has proposed "eliminations that include the equivalent of 8.25 teaching positions". The District has also proposed
an increase of 0.9 percent in the tax levy.
Click this link to download a pdf file on the proposed cuts
Bernanke and Bill Gates are both worried about Education
Both Ben Bernanke and Bill Gates both recently gave speeches on how State budget cuts are threatening Education. This should sound familiar.
Click this link to read about the issue on the Planet Money blog
Click this link to read Ben Benanke's speech, which was suitably given in NY STate
Click this link to see Bill Gates' speech
NY State says most NY Students are not College Ready
New York state has reported that over 50% of NY State High School graduates are not ready for college. In this data, only 5% of City of
Rochester graduates are college ready. College readiness was considered to be getting a 75 on the English Regents and a 80 on the
math Regents. Getting grades at this level the State commission indicated would get at least a C in a college-level course in the
Click this link to read a NY Times Article on this subject
Churchville-Chili rejects Urban-Suburban Transfer Program
Staff report from the Democrat and Chronicle • February 2, 2011
"The Churchville-Chili Central School District has decided not to implement an Urban-Suburban Transfer Program, which would
have allowed minority city students to attend school in the district, spokeswoman Amanda Wood said Tuesday.
After 11 presentations and the completion of a district-wide survey on the program, feedback was compiled and shared with
the Board of Education last month. Wood said there were varied opinions on the proposal and responses led the district to
conclude that participation in the program did not match the district's core beliefs.
The board and superintendent have decided to instead increase dialogue on the topic and pursue other opportunities
to expand diversity in the district."
In New York City 1 of 3 Suspended Students are in Special Education
In NYC the rates of Suspensions has increased even as the number of students in NYC has decreased. Among the students suspended
one third of these students is in Special Education.
Click this link to read an article about the report
Click this link to download the pdf file of the report
Minimal requirements for classroom aides, substitutes at BOCES
A story in the Democrat and Chronicle reports on the fact that paraprofessionals working in BOCES's programs do not have to have a Regents's diploma.
To read the story click on this link
The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance to support educators in combating bullying (click on this link to see a fact sheet on bullying from the US Department of Education
in schools by clarifying when student bullying may violate federal education anti-discrimination laws. The guidance, which is in a Dear Colleague letter
to schools, colleges and universities, explains educators' legal obligations to protect students from
student-on-student racial and national origin harassment, sexual and gender-based harassment and disability harassment.
In August of 2010 the Government also launched the Stop Bullying Now Campaign
, a national database of effective anti-bullying programs.
Racial Disparities in Middle School Suspensions
In a story with similar findings to my dissertation, racial disparities were found among suspension patterns. This study specifically focused on
middle school suspensions. One of the findings of the study, quoting from the NY Times was that "Among the students attending one of the 9,220
middle schools in the study sample, 28 percent of black boys and 18 percent of black girls,
compared with 10 percent of white boys and 4 percent of white girls, were suspended in 2006". Disparities were also found among racial/ethnic groups.
To read a NY Times article on the study click on this link
To read the study, “Suspended Education: Urban Middle Schools in Crisis,” from the Southern Poverty Law Center, click on this link
NY State Changes Standards and more Students in need of AIS Services
NY State has reconfigured the passing rates for NYS Tests given to students in 3rd through 8th grades. This change has made it harder
for students to achieve proficiency on NY State Tests. It also calls again into question why schools spend hundreds of hours preparing
students to take one test.
Click this link to read a NY Times article on the changes
Secretary of Education promises changes in Special Education
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Candid About Special Education Shortcomings, Promises Change.
Click this link to read the article
School District That Takes the Isolation Out of Autism
NY Times article on how the public schools in Madison, Wis., work to include children with Autism in classes and in the school community. Click this link to read the article
Three States have requested to cut
their special education funding
Iowa, and South Carolina have requested waivers from the Federal Government to
cut the amount of money they give to School Ditricts to pay for special
education services. Kansas and Iowa have already been granted these waivers. To read more about the story click on this
. You may also read the article at
NY State to make it harder for
students to pass NY State Testing
has announced the it will make it harder for Students in grades 3 through 8 to
pass the mandated NY State Testing. All Students in NY State are required to
take sets of testing. The NY State Department of Education recently commissioned
a study to compare the results from this testing with other National tests. The
study found that while the number of students in NY State who achieved a 3 or
higher on the NY State tests was rising that in reality NY State students were
not doing better on the National Tests. As such the standards will be raised to
make it harder for students to achieve a score of 3 or higher. This includes
students who just took the tests this Spring. To read a New York Times article on this
topic click on this link
Class Action Lawsuit in Milwaukee Public Schools
This article reports on the progress in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) after a class action lawsuit was filed
indicating that they were not properly identifying and servicing student with
disabilities. As in Rochester the district has around 18% classification rate,
and is also faced with a large number of students leaving the district to attend
private or charter schools. The lawsuit is seeking improved special education
services and results. The judge in the case has also ordered the Milwaukee
Public Schools MPS "to find and compensate potentially thousands of former
students who should have received special education services." The district is
appealing that part of the ruling stating that the "process would be
Click on this link to read the article and
listen to the story
An International Perspective on Special Education
Not every country views Learning Disabilities and provides services for individuals with Learning Disabilities.
This article from Australia
Special Education practices in England. It also highlights the fact that LD is
not a legally recognized medical condition in Australia, and that children in
Australia have no right to any special education or related services.
NY City asks NY State to decrease special education regulations to save money
About 177,000 students are in the city's special education classes, NY City is asking NY State
to cut regulations effecting the education of these students to save money.
Advocates are worried the cuts will weaken special education programs. To read about the story click on this
Parochial Schools begin to embrace Special Education
Children with educationally handicapping conditions have the right to Special Education Services if they are
in a Public or Charter school. They have the same right if they attend a Private
School, but it becomes much more complicated. Because many private schools do
not have the resources to support children with special needs, they for years
have not accepted these children. It is not uncommon to have a family with one
child in a private school, and another in a Public School so he or she could
receive their special education services.
Some parochial and private schools, however are finding
that offering some level of special education services is an important factors
in retaining families and students in the midst of changing educational systems.
Click on this link to read an article about
how one private school in Norfolk Virginia has found a way to grow their student
body by offering some special education services
NYC Mayor pushes for Schools to take more responsibility for Children with Special Needs
Mayor Bloomberg, who is one of the models for Mayor Duffy's
push for Mayoral control of Schools, is overhauling special education by asking
every principal to take in more of the students and giving them greater
flexibility in deciding how to teach them.
Currently many students with disabilities are not taught in
their home schools, but instead are sent to other district schools that have
specific programs for special education. This has been the case in NYC for
decades.To read more about this topic click on this link
An article in the Democrat and Chronicle by
Bennett J. Loudon on April 15, 2010
reveals that Victor School District
officials will be investigating the handling of an incident last week in which
an autistic student was jailed after allegedly disobeying and hitting an Ontario
County sheriff's deputy. The 19 year old student was charged April 7 with
disorderly conduct after he allegedly became physically aggressive at school.
The student is described as having been disruptive throughout the day and is
charged with endangering himself and those around him. The student was sent to
jail in lieu of $500 bail, but was released on April 8 by order of the Victor
The D&C reports that "In a letter to
parents dated April 14, Victor schools Superintendent Dawn A. Santiago-Marullo
said she has 'launched a full investigation of our disciplinary process to
ensure that a situation such as the one we just experienced never happens
again.'" This is unfortunately not a totally uncommon incident. With the
increased presence of police officers in school there have been a number of
cases of the crimilization of students. As
noted further down this page
this is a common practice in some schools. What
is different in this case is the fact that the incident actually made the press.
Greece School District Audit Details WasteAudit of the Greece Central School District
The audit found a number of areas of improprieties.
Parents in the Greece Central School District should read through the following
articles as well. The first is the Review of Payroll and Personnel Records from the
. The second document is the Eldredge, Fox & Porretti
audit of the Greece Central School District
. While many parents were
fighting to have their children receive appropriate special education services
the district was as the audits so grossly mismanaging district resources.
More on the State Comptroller audit of BOCES 1
For additional information on the State Audit of BOCES 1 read the story on 1/21/10 in the Democrat and
State Comptroller blasts BOCES 1The State Comptroller has found serious problems in an
audit of BOCES 1 (based in Perinton)
. Among the findings were that:
The district rented a bus garage facility owned by the
district's head mechanic where district employees also worked for the head
mechanic's used car dealership.
Board members did not
disclose their connection to a private foundation when they acted to lease
buildings from the nonprofit organization.
Former Superintendent Gregory J. Vogt ignored complaints about wrongdoing and
suppressed the findings of an investigation.
The probe also found "the misappropriation of funds" and "improper interaction with
students by various personnel," according to the state.
The State Comptroller's report can be read by
clicking on this link
State Comptroller audit faults Fairport CSD
The State Comptroller in an audit faults the Fairport Central School District for
increasing the tax levy by 17 percent while accumulating $16.6 million in excess
funds over five years. (The Comptroller's report is available as a
In a story in the Democrat and Chronicle on
the paper found that "According to the audit, Fairport schools
circumvented state law that limits how much money districts may hold as
unreserved fund balance by pouring surplus money into reserve funds (akin to
targeted savings accounts) and by making it appear the district would spend some
of the unreserved funds in the following year, even though the money didn't end
up being spent." The Fairport School District response to the
audit is available by following this link
. To read more about the audit click this link
. Additionally to
read more about reserve fund issues read the story below.
Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress
The NAEP is the Nation's Report Card
. It is given every
other year to samples of students across the country. Just as in NY the Regents
exam is a measure that allows comparisons of student achievement across the
State. The NAEP does the same thing across the country. As such it exists as
more of a gold standard to view how State's are doing in educating the State's
Do Police in schools criminalize students?A recent New York Times editorial questions whether having
police provide security in school criminalize students
. This issue strikes
home for parents of children in many districts but specifically in the Rochester
City School District. As documented by City Council Member Adam McFadden
by the City Newspaper
, last school year
the number of arrests of students in the RCSD sky rocketed after the RCSD
changes it's long term suspension policies.
Federal Report Faults N.Y. State Over Monitoring of Stimulus Funds
An Audit by the U.S. Department of Education's office of the
inspector general found that New York state needs to improve the way it monitors
how districts and others spend their American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
dollars. The report found that the state did not verify school districts'
reporting of how they spent their Title I aid or money for students in special
education before it made reimbursements. The Inspector General's report
recommended that New York revamp its monitoring to make sure that funds for
districts are administered properly, among other steps. To read the Inspector General's report and to
see the NYS Department of Education response attached to the report click on
Special Education in the Rochester City School District
There is a tremendous amount of concern among parents, community residents, and community advocates about the
quality of special education services in the City of Rochester. Many individuals
and even school district employees are often unaware that for many years special
education in the City was provided under court ordered supervision through a
Consent Decree monitored by the Federal Court. That case ended in 2002. Since
that time a number of concerns have arisen that the school district is failing
to provide its students with educational handicapping conditions with a Free and
Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). For more on this click this link
an article by attorney Jonathan Feldman
, of the Empire
The Greece Central School District agrees to a one year extension of its special education consent decree
A class action law suit was filed against the Greece Central School District in 2005 by attorney Jonathan Feldman
, of the Empire
. The plaintiffs in the case were eight families who alleged
that the district was failing to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education
(FAPE) to their children with special needs. The School District settled the
case in 2007 indicating a recognition of its obligation to provide FAPE. The
settlement was originally a two year agreement. The district agreed as part of
this settlement to the following:
To not have any Caps
or Quotas regarding the number of students being classified or declassified
To not have any Caps or Quotas regarding placement or
programs, including placement of student with handicapping conditions in out of
district placements or programs
That the District would
provide resource room services to any student who required this level of support
That the District would adopt and implement PBIS
(Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports)
the District would contract with an outside behavioral specialist to provide
staff training and consultation services
District would hire additional behavioral specialists, autism specialists, and a
That the District would agree to
adopt a Person-Centered Planning Process in its Transition Model
That the District would remove all 8:1:1 classes from the
BRIDGES Program located in the Greece Ridge Mall
The district agreed as part of the case to have an
independent expert help monitor the compliance of the district. The district has
recently agreed to a one year continuation of the consent decree. As part of
this the District has agreed to focus on three particular areas. A summary of
this agreement is posted on the district website. Click this link to see that summary
. For background on this case, click this
. For additional information click this link to
read the Wall Street Journal Article on the case form 12/14/07
Washington DC Schools Back Off Plan to pull 170
Students with IEP's from a Private School
The Washington DC School
District had been threatening to suddenly pull 170 Students with IEP's from a
private school. The district has worked with the school for the last 15 years.
This would have been a gross violation of each of these students IEP rights, if
the district did not have individual IEP meetings for each of these students. It
now appears that the district has backed off their immediate plan to make these
changes. For more information see the Washington Post story
David Milton Steiner sworn in as State Education
Cara Matthews • Gannett Albany Bureau • October 2, 2009 Democrat and
David Milton Steiner, former dean of the Hunter
College School of Education, was sworn in Thursday as state education
Steiner, who took an oath before about 85
fifth- and sixth-graders at a city school, said he feels an "awesome sense of
responsibility" toward New York's three million schoolchildren, "each one of
which deserves our deepest, most enthusiastic, most passionate support."
"I promise to do everything I can to make that adventure a
wonderful one for each of you," he told the city students.
Steiner, 51, will earn $250,000 a year in the position. He
said his goals are to continue raising standards of achievement and boosting
student achievement, improve accountability, and transform New York's
educational system into a "hub of innovation."
Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch described Steiner as a "thought leader" whom she
hopes will help change the state education system from a "regulatory
bureaucracy" into a "repository for best practices."
Rochester, a group of parents and public education advocates held a press
conference to welcome Steiner — and to urge him to visit the city soon as part
of listening tour of the state.
"We'd like to see him
in Rochester, meeting the parent community," said Glenny Williams of the
Alliance for Quality Education (AQE). Williams said Steiner's leadership at the
top of the state's education department should focus in part on including
parents in decision-making and educating children.
organizer Demond Meeks said better accountability and transparency are needed
here and statewide. The first new commissioner in nearly 15 years, Meeks said,
represents "major opportunity for change."
CEO of the Education Department and president of the University of the State of
New York (USNY), which comprises more than 7,000 public and independent
elementary and secondary schools; 270 public and private colleges and
universities; 7,000 libraries; 900 museums; and 48 professions, among other
Steiner succeeds Richard Mills, who retired June
30 after 14 years as commissioner. Carole Huxley was interim commissioner for
the past several months.
Steiner has a Ph.D. in
political science from Harvard University and bachelor's and master's degrees in
philosophy, politics and economics from Balliol College at Oxford University.
For additional information see the NYS Department of
Education Press Release
Rochester-area schools put U.S. stimulus funds to good use
Whether it is helping save teacher positions in districts
like Rush-Henrietta, increasing support programs for academically struggling
students in Webster, purchasing new technology at Gates Chili, or lowering
Pittsford, the money has given school districts the power to address some of
their greatest needs. However, local districts are still waiting to receive
their share of the more than $80 million allotted to Monroe County schools, and
the money will only last through Sept. 20, 2011, leaving them to worry about
what will happen after that.
Schools must spend the
stimulus funds on
retaining existing teachers, administrators and support staff; expanding current
programs; and improving student results, said Johanna Duncan-Poitier, senior
deputy commissioner of education for the state. Schools can also put the funds
toward construction, alteration, maintenance or repair of a public building,
something Brighton schools will do. Funds are not available for padding rainy
day funds, purchasing or upgrading vehicles, or improving standalone facilities,
including central office administration or operations.
Local school districts
will receive three types of aid from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The largest proportion for each district is the stabilization fund, which is
intended to restore proposed state aid cuts in the 2009-10 budget to last year's
level. The other two categories involve money for special education initiatives
and Title I programs, which are grants providing financial assistance to schools
with high percentages of underprivileged children who need additional academic
support and extra instruction in reading and mathematics and after-school
Two months ago,
districts were told by the state they could expect to receive the money by early
September; however the funds have not been distributed yet. The deadline for
districts to submit an application explaining their plans for the stabilization
fund money to the state Department
of Education was
pushed back from Sept. 1 to Sept. 15. Some officials have complained about
confusion throughout the process, but Jonathan Burman, state department of
education spokesman, said the delay was more based on the department taking a
little longer than expected to develop a Web-based tool for the application
School districts should
expect to receive the stimulus money a couple of weeks after their application
is approved, and districts must spend the 2009-10 allotted funds by June 30,
2010. This year, districts will have access to 70 percent of the stabilization
funds granted to them; the remaining 30 percent cannot be used until April. The
government requires school districts to track quarterly the amount they spend on
projects, project descriptions, when the projects will be completed and the
number of jobs created or retained.
Gates Chili Central School District officials came into
this year's budget process with one thought about the stimulus money, said
Michael Mamo, assistant superintendent for business for the district: It's not
going to last so we shouldn't pretend like it will.
Even with a promised
$1.3 million to recoup state aid losses, the district still decided to cut 33
teachers and 23 elective classes during the budget process. It instead plans to
use the federal
funds to sustain three K-5 math specialists for two-year
positions which will be evaluated after the stimulus money runs out. The
stimulus will also be used to support special education consultant teaching,
staff development and technology initiatives, such as software.
Schools such as
Brockport, Fairport and Churchville-Chili also are using the funds for one-time
instructional and technology improvements.
districts were able to stave off deep teaching cuts with the stimulus.
Rush-Henrietta, which received more than $4.5 million in federal funds, avoided
cutting 30 teaching positions that accounted for $1.96 million in salary and
benefits. The district also allocated the funds to avert the 2 percent tax
increase it had been considering.
"We were ready to go to
the public with a tax increase, so we are thankful for the stimulus. It is no
secret that we have a really difficult economy and residents who live in our
school district have lost their jobs like people all over the country," said
Debbie Rogowicz, assistant superintendent for business and school
The district also
budgeted funds for four teaching coaches for a total of $308,055 in salary and
know the money is not here forever and will run out in two years, so it is like
a dark cloud that still lurks over our head," said Rogowicz. "We don't know if
the economy is going to rebound and become robust. In the short term, we are
good. In the long term, nobody knows."
settles federal suit over false Medicaid claims for special education
In a July 21st, 2009 press release
by Governor David Patterson indicated that
New York state school districts will not be able to submit claims for Medicaid
services for a period of time in the wake of a record-setting settlement between
the state and the U.S. Department of Justice. The U.S. Department of Justice
claimed that school district in NY'S and NYC had claimed more than $1 billion
worth of false claims for Medicaid reimbursement for services provided to
students with disabilities. As part of the settlement, the state and New York
City will repay $540 million to the federal government, partly in cash and
partly by releasing their claim to payments that the Medicaid program had
IDEA Money Watch is a web site
designed to keep track of the use of $11.3 billion in federal funds being
provided to local school districts as part of the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act. Special education advocates across the nation are
keeping watch on the use of these funds and how the academic achievement of
students with disabilities is improving as a result. The site provides links to
data on NY State.
Justices Rule for Parents of Special Ed
The Supreme Court made it easier for parents of
special education students to get reimbursement for private school
tuition. In this case the Forest Grove School District,
outside of Portland, Ore., noticed that the student,
known as T.A, was having problems in high school but suspected marijuana use was
the cause and refused to give him special education services. Toward the end of
his junior year, T.A.'s parents pulled him out of public school and sent him to
a private residential academy.
The parents then sued the school district to
recover the $65,000 they spent on private tuition. The school district argued
that the parents stepped over the line and lost the ability to seek
reimbursement when they transferred him without first giving public special
education a try.
Attorney David Salmons, who represented T.A.'s
family, says the history of the litigation shows that the district had not done
its job. T.A.'s parents had raised concerns about their son before they pulled
him out of school, and a school psychologist questioned whether he might have
attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.
"The hearing officer concluded that any further
notice to the school district would have served no purpose," Salmons says,
"because the school district was applying the wrong legal standard and would
have denied the child services in all circumstances.
Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens
noted that schools have an affirmative obligation to "identify, locate and
evaluate all children with disabilities." He said it would be wrong to reward
the school district for refusing to find a child eligible for special
Scalia and Clarence Thomas joined the dissent, written by Justice David Souter,
which said Congress envisioned private tuition payments only for students who
already had been receiving special education services in public schools. For a
more complete analysis of the case go to wrightslaw
Justices Rule Strip Search of Students
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Arizona
middle school officials acted illegally when they searched a 13-year-old
student's underwear while she was wearing them for prescription and
The justices voted 8-1 that Safford Middle School
officials violated the girl's Fourth Amendment rights when they forced her to
shake out her underwear. The school had the school nurse and school secretary
have the student strip to her underwear and then pull her underwear away from
her body and shake it. However, they said the officials couldn't be held
Savana Redding, now in college, was an eighth-grader
at Safford, in eastern Arizona, when a classmate accused her of providing some
prescription ibuprofen. The school, which bans prescription and over-the-counter
drugs without advance permission, called Redding in for questioning. She denied
the accusation and allowed her backpack to be searched. Officials found nothing,
but they ordered Redding to take off her clothes and then went a step further,
ordering her to shake out her underwear.
No pills were found.
The court found that a "reasonable" search of the
body of an adolescent would require some reason to believe the search would be
fruitful or that the contraband was dangerous.
"In sum, what was missing from the suspected facts
that pointed to Savana was any indication of danger to the students from the
power of the drugs or their quantity, and any reason to suppose that Savana was
carrying pills in her underwear," Justice David Souter wrote in the majority
opinion. "We think that the combination of these deficiencies was fatal to
finding the search reasonable."
Souter wrote that the court did not intend to cast
doubts on the motives of the school officials, believing that their aim was to
protect the students. Therefore, the justices ruled that school officials cannot
be held liable in a lawsuit over the search. They said a lower court would have
to decide on the liability of Stafford United School District No. 1.
Suburban Monroe schools' reserve funds under
from theDemocrat and Chronicle
McDermott ? Staff writer ? May 16, 2009
Outside of their regular operating budgets, Monroe
County's suburban school districts have more than $200 million in savings
accounts they've socked away for a rainy day.
In the Fairport school district, these "reserve
funds" top $34 million equivalent to 34 percent of the proposed operating budget
for 2009-10. Rush-Henrietta has reserves equivalent to one-quarter of next
year's proposed $100 million budget. And in Webster, schools have set aside more
than $22 million in their rainy-day funds, equivalent to 17 percent of next
year's budget proposal.
The county average for reserve funds is around 17
percent as numerous schools have cut staff and programs in order to balance next
year's budgets. Having too much money isn't an issue for the City School
District, which is trying to deal with a $50 million budget
Some voters, who will head to the polls Tuesday to
weigh in on more than $1.3 billion in school spending countywide, are calling
for schools to be more upfront about why they need so much banked money, what
they use it for and why it can't just be rolled into the operating budget to
keep taxes down.
"I think districts could do a better job of
involving the community in making some decisions in terms of what's the right
balance for reserve funds," said Robert Herloski of Webster. Reserve funds are
used to save money for expected upcoming repairs and equipment replacements, pay
settlements in lawsuits, pay out accident claims and cover other liabilities
like unemployment payments or retiree benefits.
Attention has heightened on these savings accounts
since late last year, when the state Comptroller's Office reported hundreds of
schools across the state had a total of more than $400 million unnecessarily
locked in reserves set up to pay retirees for unused sick, vacation and other
leave time. The comptroller said those funds could be better used for property
tax relief .
"We're in a fiscal crisis," said Comptroller Thomas
DiNapoli. "Every dime counts and $407 million counts an awful lot, especially
when all levels of government are trying to bring property taxes under control."
Churchville-Chili and Spencerport schools were
faulted last month for holding more money in those retiree accrued leave
reserves than the Comptroller's Office would like.
But keeping property taxes down is exactly why
school systems keep money in all their reserves, school officials say. For
example, saving for upcoming building repairs means less borrowing and fewer
interest costs, and paying out unemployment and workers' compensation claims
from reserve funds allows schools to self-insure and avoid costly
"Reserve funds help us with our financial planning
for the future," said Michael Crumb, deputy superintendent of the Spencerport
district. Reserve funds allowed his district to pursue a $3.8 million building
project at no extra cost to taxpayers.
The money schools put in reserve funds is usually
money left over at the end of the year that was budgeted but not spent. Lou
Alaimo, school business official in Greece, said schools have money left over
because good financial planning includes accounting for fluctuations in costs
over the upcoming year and making conservative estimates. Some of the excess
funds are generated by higher-than-anticipated revenues, others by
Boards of education get to decide how to use the
Not all states allow reserve funds, and those that
do like New York tightly restrict what the money can be used
for, said John Musso, executive director of the Association of School Business
Here, schools can save for long-term capital
repairs and bus purchases, and can set aside reserve money to self-insure for
workers' compensation, unemployment insurance and for other long-term potential
Reserves "help protect us against unexpected
expenditures," said Alaimo. "Our goal with reserve funds is to stabilize
property taxes and avoid having to go out to taxpayers with a 12 percent
increase if there's an unforeseen expense."
Money can also be held back to help cover
reimbursements districts might have to make if property owners prevail in
lawsuits over tax assessments. In the early 2000s, the Webster schools repaid
more than $6 million to Xerox Corp. following a tax assessment
If not for a dedicated reserve fund, the district
would have had to borrow that money and pay interest on the loans or ask
taxpayers to approve a substantial tax increase, said Jim Fischera, the
district's chief financial officer.
About $50 million of this year's unspent funds will
be held back as "undesignated fund balance," money districts can keep by state
law for use in unforeseen events. Districts may keep up to 4 percent of their
total budget as undesignated fund balance.
"If you have a major equipment failure such as a
boiler or an emergency roof repair, that can be very costly," said Steve Ayers,
assistant superintendent for business in the Hilton Central School
Countywide, schools are asking for an average tax
levy increase of one-tenth of one percent. Statewide, the proposed tax levy
increase is about 2 percent, the lowest in six years. School officials said they
know financial times are tough.
"We made a commitment early on not to pass the pain
of the state's budget problems on to our taxpayers," said Julia VanOrman, Greece
Board of Education president.
Districts locally used a cumulative $21 million in
money they didn't spend last year to help keep next year's tax levy
Schools could have used more, but Alaimo said that
would be risky.
The danger in spending reserve funds and fund
balances to balance your overall budget is that such money is a one-shot deal,
"What happens in years two and three if you do
that?" he said. "If you were to liquidate your reserves, you'd be at risk in
future years" when you still have liabilities but no money in
Although a critic of the way school districts
inform the public about reserve funds and fund balances, Herloski said he
strongly believes keeping such funds is a prudent fiscal move.
"Reserves are a good and necessary long-term
planning tool," he said. "I just think districts could do a better job of
involving community in making some decisions in terms of what's the right
balance and how should they be funded."