Advocacy Newsbriefs – September 2016

Bill Testing Drinking Water for Lead Contamination in NY Schools Signed:

Governor Cuomo signed legislation that mandates all schools to test for lead in their drinking water by October 31, 2016. This law, supported by NYS PTA, will help to “reduce the risk of exposure to this dangerous substance and ensure all New York’s students have access to clean, drinkable water.” Click here for more information.


Keep Up-to-Date on Legislation

NYS Appellate Court Denies State’s motion to dismiss equitable school funding case:

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, has denied New York States’ motion to dismiss the case brought forth by NYS PTA cooperating partner, The New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights (NYSER) that says public schools are underfunded. To view the ruling, click here.


Advocacy Opportunity

NYS PTA Convention Resolutions: The proposed resolutions to be voted on at the 120th NYS PTA Annual Convention have been posted on the convention page. It is important for units and councils to review these at their meetings prior to convention. This will empower delegates to vote on behalf of their unit at this incredible event. To view the resolutions and all of the NYS PTA Convention information, click here.


Education

Commissioner Elia of the NYS Education Department provided an online message, as we are all back to school that outline what has been accomplished in the past year and where she expects progress in the coming school year. Watch her atCommissioner Elia Back to School Message.

NYSED Regents meeting dates posted: To view the dates and access meeting agendas, go to: Regents meeting dates.

New Parent Report should be on its way if your child participated in the NYS 2016 Assessments. The report contains better graphics that highlight how a student performed on the 4 category scale, how the student compared to others in the school, and to those across the state. Please check out the new report format and prepare your questions for teachers and other educators in advance of any meetings. You should expect to schedule a meeting to discuss the 3-8 results with your child’s teacher or principal early in the fall. If you have questions on the report or the assessments, make an appointment to discuss them and ask to look at the specific questions.

ESSA Updates: NYS PTA recently submitted comments on regulations related to assessments and support for English Language Learners and students with disabilities under the Every Student Succeeds Act.  NYS PTA stressed the importance of support for ELLs students and students with disabilities and their families.

The press release and letter to Secretary King can be found by clicking here.

President Russell and Executive Director Belokopitsky were also featured on Capital Tonight discussing the importance of supporting students, educators and families. Click here to view the video.

EngageNY is a wealthy resource of information for educators, and yes parents too. NYS Education Department wants feedback on how to make this website better, please give them some input so your experience using the site will benefit others who may have the same questions or concerns, or confusion in locating information. Keep the dialogue going.  Click here for EngageNY website.

ARTS Education in NY is changing. There are new Arts Standards and NYSED is looking for your comments on the proposed implementation plan through October 1, 2016 at NYS Arts Standards and Survey. The draft strategic plan for implementation and sample High School Assessment pilot is available at this link too.

Winning Beginnings NY is conducting two online letter campaigns to preserve funding for early childcare and pre-school through funding of the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant Act (CCDBG). One is directed at federal legislators to provide the promised funding as the program has been revised. The second letter requests NY Governor Cuomo to address the NYS share of funding and the transition of NY regulations regarding childcare. As a NYS PTA partner, we recommend securing this funding so more of our children enter school ready to learn and have the appropriate support in safe, healthy, caring programs. Click here for Winning Beginnings NY website.


Special Education

Back to school tips: It back to school time and for parents of special education students it can a very stressful time. The following document has tips to help parents cope during the first few days. The tips can be found by clicking here.

News and Notes from NYSED Office of Special Education: New York State Ed publishes a monthly newsletter with information for parents and educators about special education issues. The latest edition is August 2016. Check the link by clicking here.

The New York State Early Intervention Program provides services for infants and toddlers (under three years of age) that may not be making progress because of a developmental delay or disability. Additional information can be found by clicking here.

Concussions and other brain injuries: The Centers for Disease Control has a fact sheet about concussions and other serious brain injuries. Additional information can be found by clicking here.

Bookshare® is an online library that provides electronic materials to schools and students who are blind, have low vision or have learning or physical disabilities that make it difficult to read. The service is free for U.S. schools and students. For additional information and specific criteria click here.

Healthy Development of Children: The American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) has several family guides on their website that promote the healthy development of children, adolescents and families.

Click here for the resource page.

Click here for additional fact sheets.


Wellness

Meningococcal Vaccine School Requirement: “As of September 1, 2016 all public and private school students entering 7th and 12th grades must be vaccinated against meningococcal disease types A, C, W, and Y in order to attend school.” Click here for more information.

EpiPen Costs: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges an action to lower the price of epinephrine auto- injectors, like EpiPen. The AAP President, Bernard Dreyer, MD, has issued a statement regarding the high cost of these life-saving injections that treat anaphylaxis. Costs of these injections have been rising over the past few years with the current price at over $500 for a dual pack in some areas across the country.

According to Dr. Dreyer, there are at least one in 20 children that have a food allergy and that they should be able to have available immediate access to life saving epinephrine. He states that because of the cost, the AAP is gravely concerned that some families will not have access to the life-saving medication.

The AAP recommends that children with serious food allergies have two epinephrine auto injectors with them at all times in the case that a second dose is needed. They also recommend that they have separate injectors for school, childcare and home. Read the entire article from the American Academy of Pediatrics by clicking here.

Zika Update: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a revised guidance recommending universal testing of donated Whole Blood and blood components for Zika virus in the entire United States, including its territories. The FDA’s first issued guidance was only for areas with active Zika virus transmission to screen Whole Blood and blood components for the virus.

Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center of Biologics Evaluation and Research states that there is still much uncertainty as to the nature and extent of the transmission of the Zika virus and that the recommendation for testing the entire blood supply will help ensure that safe blood is available for those that need a transfusion. According to the FDA, expanded testing will continue to reduce the risk for transmission of Zika virus through the U.S. blood supply and will be in effect until the risk of transfusion transmission of Zika virus is reduced. Read the entire article from the FDA by clickinghere.

College Underage Drinking: Governor Cuomo has announced a coordinated effort by several state agencies and institutions to prevent underage drinking on college campuses and in college towns. The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the New York State Liquor Authority, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, and the New York State Police are aligning resources to prevent underage drinking on campuses across New York. According to the Governor, underage drinking can lead to life altering consequences for college students and these coordinated efforts will build on the progress to help avoid needless tragedies and create a safer learning environment on campuses in the state. Read the entire article from the Governor by clicking here.


Family Engagement

New York State Multiple Systems Navigator: New York State has developed a multiple systems navigator website with disability information for youth, parents, and those who care for them. It includes a mapping tool to find services in local communities, acronym dictionary and recordkeeping tools. To access the website click here.

Parent ListServ:  Want to find out what is going on at the State Education Department, sign up for emails directly to you from the Commissioner and her staff. The sign-up is easy; you will receive monthly updates and occasional news in a timely manner. To subscribe follow directions for NYSED Parent ListServ by clicking here.

Early Child Educators and Parents: the NYS Library’s Day by Day NY link provides an online activity calendar and One More Story contains a daily book list. Parents can use the calendars to try learning games and songs at home and support daily read aloud time.


Juvenile Protection and Safety

INSPIRE: Seven Strategies For Ending Violence Against Children: In a collaborative effort between the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other major worldwide groups has developed an evidence based page of interventions to prevent violence against children. INSPIRE: Seven strategies for ending violence against children


September-October Awareness Events

September

National Recovery from Substance Use and Mental Health Month
Childhood Cancer Month
National Preparedness Month
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

October

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
National Bullying Prevention Month
October 2-8 – Mental Illness Awareness Week
October 5 – International Walk to School Day

View the entire 2016 Wellness Calendar