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Reminder: NYS PTA Advocacy Training and Lobby Day

February 12 – 13, 2017 in Albany NY. Registration deadline is January 20, 2017. Click here for more info.

Current Legislative Issues

Governor Cuomo College Tuition Announcement

NYS PTA released a statement in response to Governor Cuomo’s proposal for making college tuition free for middle class families. Read more here.

Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Addresses Heroin Epidemic

In his January 10, 2017 State of the State Address, Governor Cuomo made proposals to include streamlining access to substance abuse treatment, increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, establishing 24/7 crisis centers, addressing doctor shopping, creating recovery high schools and building on the 2016 recommendations from the Governor’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force. Find out more here.

Region Advocacy

Westchester-East Putnam Region (WEPR) Advocacy Report

Yonkers Council of PTAs officers travelled to Albany with AQE on January 10, 2017 for the Education Advocacy Rally. This council is also planning parent, student and community advocacy trip to Albany at the end of January 2017 (30 or 31). They are also working on a Public Service Announcement on school budget.

New Rochelle Council has a very active My Brother’s Keeper campaign and will be doing more advocacy on the Raise the Age Campaign. Yonkers Council to join.

WEP is planning an Advocacy Breakfast to be held Saturday, March 4, 2017 in White Plains.

For more information about WEP advocacy activities, contact Region Director Karen Beltran at


The US Department of Education (DOE) Call for Peer Reviewers

The DOE is seeking peer reviewers of state plans under ESSA. Peer review teams can include educators, state and local educational personnel, and researchers. Applications due by January 27, 2017. You can find out more and apply here.

Board of Regents Activity

NYS Board of Regents addressing Opioid and Heroin Use and Abuse: Addressing the opioid and heroin use/abuse at the January Board of Regents meeting included increasing access to the lifesaving medication Naloxone and increasing Prevention Partnerships. Read the summary here. View the Powerpoint from panel here.

The NYS Board of Regents meeting held on January 9-10 video recording and documents are available here. Topics included: ESSA Think Tank and presentation by Linda Darling-Hammond on ESSA, combatting and preventing heroin and opiate abuse, amendments to Section 136 Commissioners Regulations on School Health Services, career and technical education update, Proposed Amendment of Sections 80-1.8 and 80-5.18 of the Commissioner’s Regulations Related to the Requirements for the Reissuance of an Expired Initial Certificate and Requirements for a Supplementary Certificate, Update on the Work of the edTPA Task Force and Changes to Teacher Certification Requirements, and Early Childhood work group updates.

Special Education

The US Department of Educations’ Office for Civil Rights has issued documents to inform parents, schools etc. about the educational rights of students with disabilities.

Find the resource guide here.

A document informing school districts how using restraint and seclusion may result in discrimination against students with disabilities can be found here.

Students with disabilities who are enrolled in either public charter schools or traditional public schools have important rights guaranteed by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). A document explaining this can be found here.

A large percentage of the more than 60,000 youth currently in juvenile correctional facilities are identified as having a disability, yet less than half report that they are receiving special education services. The US Department of Education (DOE) has created a new website to provide information and resources for educators and families to improve outcomes for these students. To view the toolkit and resource guides, click here.

CURES Act: On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act. Part of the bill will allow individuals with disabilities who are competent the ability to create their own special needs trust (SNT), without having to go to court or rely on family members to do so. More information can be found here.

Board of Regents: At their December 2016 meeting, the NYS Board of Regents approved changes to regulations relating to topics that impact students with disabilities.

Two areas of importance included establishing criteria for the work readiness assessments for earning the NYS Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential. The other will require superintendents to make a local determination as to academic proficiency for certain students with disabilities to graduate with a local diploma.

Further information with the specific language can be found here.


New Resource for Parents Regarding E-Cigarettes

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse has developed online resources for parents regarding electronic cigarettes. Check it out here.

Parents of Teens with Substance Use Disorders

Research was presented at an American Association of Addiction Psychiatry meeting about how parents of substance use disordered teens in treatment can set new household rules. Find out more here.

Turn Your Resolutions into Real Solutions

The USDA has announced a new program aimed at helping Americans make resolutions to get healthy in 2017.MyPlates/MyWins has ideas for diet and fitness applicable to everyone.

Juvenile Protection

National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is holding a poster contest for fifth graders. Deadline is February 1, 2017. Find out more here.

Justice Involved Youth Transitioning Back to School

The DOE released resources to help youth involved in the juvenile justice system back to school. Click here for more info.

Report on School Bullying

The DOE released the “Student Reports of Bullying: Results from the 2015 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey”. Find it here.

Upcoming Awareness Events


January 16-20: No Name Calling Week
January 26: 10th Annual Drug and Alcohol Chat Day
January 23-29: National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week


Heart Month – and
National Children’s Dental Health Month
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month – or
National Cancer Prevention Month
February 1: National Girls and Women in Sports Day
February 3: National Wear Red Day (women’s heart disease)
February 6-10: National School Counseling Week
February 7: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day – and
February 12-18: Random Acts of Kindness Week

To view the entire Wellness Calendar, click here. An updated calendar will be posted soon.