NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs... August 2013

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

NYSED Releases Grades 3-8 ELA & Math Assessment Results

The NYS Education Department released the April 2013 grades 3-8 ELA and math assessment results earlier this month. These results are the first to measure New York's students for the Common Core Learning Standards, adopted in 2010.

The new standards are internationally-based and designed to ensure that all students in New York have the skills and knowledge to be successful in college and careers. In a formal statement reacting to a statewide decline in scores on the new assessments, Commissioner King stated in part, “…these proficiency scores do not reflect a drop in performance, but rather a raising of standards to reflect college and career readiness in the 21st century.” On a statewide basis, approximately 31% of students in grades 3-8 met or exceeded the ELA and math proficiency standards.

A summary of the test results, as well as individual school and district results, are available here.

Special Education Updates

Changes in Diploma Options for Students With Special Needs
Transition Action Plan

The Board of Regents has approved the new exiting credential for students with disabilities. This document has replaced the old IEP diploma. It is effective for the 2013-14 school year. The credential is entitled the NYS Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential. However, if the student has a severe disability and has taken the NYS Alternate Assessment (NYSAA), they would not be eligible for this and would then graduate with the Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential in lieu of an IEP diploma. Click here for more information.

NYS CDOS Commencement Credential

Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential

It is very important that PTA members keep aware of the latest legislation that can impact the lives of children: openstates.org.

2013–14 Elementary- and Intermediate-Level Testing Schedule
The schedule for state exams given to students in grades 3-8 can be found here.

Changes to the New York State Procedural Safeguards Notice: Rights for Parents of Children with Disabilities, Ages 3-21

Talking With Family Members About Your Child’s Disability

Learn how to explain your child's learning disability to family members in a helpful and sensitive way. Having a child with special needs can be very stressful and it can be very comforting to have the support and acceptance from those you love. Click here for more information.


Whether you are a parent, an educator or a concerned friend of the family, click here for ten steps you can take to stop and prevent bullying.

Partnership at Drugfree.org News

Teen Victims of Cyberbullying and Substance Abuse
According to an article from the Partnership at Drugfree.org, a research study showed that “teens who are cyberbullied are more likely than their peers who are not harassed online or through cell phone messages to develop symptoms of substance abuse, depression and Internet addiction.” Click here for more information.

“Glee” Star’s Death Highlights Increased Use of Heroin
The Partnership at Drugfree.org discussed statistics regarding heroin overdoses: heroin use is increasing and young people are still being impacted. Click here for more information

More on Prescription and Over the Counter Drug Abuse

As you recall from our Position Paper on “Prescription And Over The Counter Drug Abuse”, we make note of the high incidence of this issue. Deaths from overdoses have tripled since 1990. Work continues with this problem in attempts to resolve it. Examples of what is being done include a focus on medical practitioners, as they have been “under a microscope” when they prescribe any type of narcotic. Some over the counter drugs are being placed behind the pharmacy counter, making it necessary to request them directly from the pharmacist, and therefore restricting our youth from easy access. Narcan, as mentioned in our Position Paper, is a drug used to prevent an overdose from becoming fatal. More and more trainings are provided to non-medical individuals on the use of Narcan. Information on trainings may be obtained from the NYS Department of Health.

Click here for more information as to why and how teens and youth abuse these drugs.

Click here for a slideshow of the commonly used prescription and over the counter drugs.

Click here for a video on how to intervene with your child if you suspect substance abuse.
For your information only, there is proposed legislation for use of Narcan by police and schools. Click here for more information.
For more information on opioid/heroin overdose prevention, or to register as an Opioid Overdose Prevention Program, please contact the NYS Department of Health, or click here for more information.
August 2013
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In the Spotlight

Common Core Learning Standards Parent & Family Resources

Summer is quickly waning and before we know it, school bells will ring once again. In preparation for the new school year, parents and families should familiarize themselves with the New York State Common Core Learning Standards and assessment program. The new curricula and assessments are designed to prepare our students to succeed in college and career with their counterparts throughout the world.

For useful parent and family guides on this topic, please visit: www.pta.org/advocacy/content2.cfm?ItemNumber=3008&navItemNumber=557 or engageny.org/parent-and-family-resources.
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“Advocacy is at the heart of PTA's mission and vision. Taking action provides both parents and PTA leaders with the resources to become more involved with their community at home and their community across the nation.”

Family Friendly Schools

As the ads in the newspaper tell us, back to school is fast approaching. Just as we get our children organized and outfitted for the first day of school, teachers and schools are preparing for the arrival of your students. Is your PTA getting organized and outfitted for the new school year? PTA leadership and members usually have a calendar of events and fundraisers set, committee chairs in place, and membership forms ready to be distributed.

In the hustle and bustle of the new school year, have you stopped to evaluate if your school is family friendly?

The National Standards for Family-School Partnerships provides guidance for developing a strong relationship between the families in your community, the PTA and the school to help students be successful. Standard One: Welcoming All Families is a great place to start when evaluating if your school is welcoming to ALL families. The toolkit provides questions to ask yourself regarding the family friendliness of your school and PTA. Begin by looking at your school. Is it a place that makes you feel welcome? Is the entrance clearly marked? Are the surroundings clean? Can you find your way to the office? Does your PTA have a welcoming committee?

Work with your school to help make it more welcoming and accessible to ALL families in your community. Parents surveyed responded that being greeted warmly and treated with respect is the number one reason behind their school involvement.

Become a National PTA School of Excellence

NPTA School of Excellence

Is your school excellent? Would you like to help your PTA be more active in advocating for the children in your building? Would you like your school, community and PTA to build a strong partnership to support student success?

National PTA is offering a program that can help you recognize the successes of your PTA and help make that partnership between the PTA, school and community stronger.

PTA leaders should register for the Schools of Excellence program. This national recognition program is designed to support the efforts of your PTA. Visit the Schools of Excellence page to get more information and register.

Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed an Indoor Air Quality Tool for Schools. To learn more about this and the National Schools Network, click here. The Tools for Schools Action Kit link can be found here.

In New York, the Healthy Schools Network, a NYS PTA partner, is a member of the network. Click here to learn more about Healthy Schools Network. The Indoor Air Quality New York resources can also be found by clicking here.

Start Region/Council/Unit Wellness Advocacy and Program Planning with the NYS PTA Wellness Toolkit and Calendar

The Wellness Toolkit and 2013 Calendar is up and running and available for use. These tools can be used to plan advocacy efforts regarding wellness issues in your area. The calendar is a useful tool for the development of plans of work for programs and information articles. To access these tools, click here.

If you have any ideas regarding the toolkit, please email Susanne Smoller, NYS PTA Wellness Coordinator.
Did You Know...
The NYS Board of Regents meets monthly, except for August. To access the 2013 meeting schedule, agendas, materials and webcast opportunities, go to: www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings.

Our mailing address is:
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