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May 2013

Vol. 2, Issue 5

forum 2013     


Across the Board

         A Publication of WPSBA

Michael Rebell To Speak at Annual Dinner

     Renowned school law litigator and scholar, Michael Rebell will join us at this year's WPSBA Annual Dinner Meeting & Program on May 30th at tMichael Rebellhe Lake Isle Country Club in Eastchester.   A champion for public education,  Mr. Rebell will speak to  a topic on all of our minds -- "Safeguarding the Right to a Sound Basic Education in Times of Fiscal Constraint."
     Mr. Rebell, who was the litigator for the CFE lawsuit, is the executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity and a Professor of Law and Educational Practice at Teachers College, Columbia University. He serves on the national Equity and Excellence Commission and the NYS Education Reform Commission. To read his bio, visit our website and click on his name. 
Thursday, May 30 from 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
6:30pm  Reception; 7:15pm Dinner Meeting & Program
Lake Isle Country Club
660 White Plains Road, Eastchester, NY 10709
Cost: $52 per person

Registrations must be made through your District Clerk




Friday June 7th from 8:00 am - 9:45 am

2 Westchester Plaza, Elmsford, NY

To register, CLICK HERE


In This Issue
- Michael Rebell Keynote
- High Stakes Testing
- STOP Albany
- Forum Photos
Bylaws, Budgets & Logo
    The new WPBSA bylaws passed with flying colors. 75% of our 54 member districts voted before the deadline. Of those, 95% voted to approve the bylaws. A big thank you for your continued support.
new logo
   After turning 50 last year, WPSBA decided it was time for a little "facelift."  We've updated our logo (above), for a fresher look.
   Lastly, our final weekly school district budget survey has been sent out.  We thank all participating districts and hope you found it helpful.

When the Stakes are High

     When WPSBA co-sponsored the November Joint Dinner with keynote speaker, Monty Neill, Executive Director of FairTest, and drafted a regional resolution against high stakes testing, little did we know that this issue would gather so much momentum within just a few months. Parent and professional groups across our region and the country are rallying against thtestinge onslaught of high stakes assessments--from letters, petitions, and the opt-out  movement to teacher unions filing lawsuits to research studies and legislation.
     We urge every district to have their own public discussion on high stakes assessments in NYS.  To date, 13 WPSBA school districts have passed WPSBA's NYS resolution (or their own customized version). We encourage your district to do the same, so that we can send a collective message to Albany and to Washington DC. The current trajectory is flawed, and there are serious questions regarding the timeline, design, and validity of this one size approach.  Yes, we need accountability and to better prepare all students for their future, but we need not sit quietly on the train just because it has already left the proverbial station. The goal is not to derail the train, but rather to assess and improve the underlying structure of the train track!
To date, the following districts have (to our knowledge) approved resolutions: Bedford, Briarcliff Manor, Chappaqua, Croton-Harmon, Garrison, Haldane, Harrison, Mount Pleasant, Ossining, Pelham, Pleasantville, P/NW BOCES, and Scarsdale. 
You can find Fact Sheet handouts, WPSBA and the National High Stakes Testing Resolution, and other reference materials on our website.

STOP Albany -  Stop Taking Our Power, Albany


     Over the past three years, Westchester Putnam School Boards Association has been building a coalition with the Westchester County Association, Westchester Municipal Officials  Association, Westchester County government, area superintendents, and PTA (and community members), and we are now poised to take action and make a splash under the name S.T.O.P.Albany (Stop Taking Our Power Albany). Our key issues are the importance of local control by locally elected officials who can respond to the needs of our local communities and the impact of state imposed unfunded/underfunded cost drivers (aka mandates) on our local schools and communities.

     Watch for our advocacy efforts which will include a press conference on May 23rd, short video supporting public education, website with links to an electronic letter-writing campaign, and "virtual" call to action.

Learning together through Education Policy Fellows Program (EPFP)
From left:: Walter Moran (Eastchester HS principal), Susan Elion Wollin (Bedford), Wendy Naidich (Hastings), and Steven Jambor (Brewster)
  This year, WPSBA joined Teachers College, Columbia University and Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES as a co-sponsor of the NY EPFP program. WPSBA Directors Stephen Jambor, Wendy Naidich and Susan Elion Wollin were among the NY fellows who explored policy and leadership issues through this year-long program.  EPFP includes monthly sessions with noted speakers and a trip to the Gettysburg battlefield and the Army War College to study leadership issues.  The program culminates with the Washington Policy Conference, a jam-packed agenda of speakers, an interactive, computer-based "Congressional Insight" Simulation, workshop sessions, and a NY-specific "Day on the Hill" which this year included sessions at DC think tanks and meetings with NSBA Executive Director Tom Gentzel and Deb Delisle, Asst. Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Deptartment of Education.
Forum Photos
This year's Legislative Forum was abuzz with engaging and candid conversations.  NYS Legislators George Latimer (top left), Tom Abinanti and Andrea Stewart Cousins (top right), Steve Otis (center left), David Buchwald (center right), Amy Paulin (bottom left) and Sandy Galef (bottom right)  took part in discussions on education issues with school board members and superintendents. Also on hand were Rachel Estroff (center right), Chief of Staff for Shelley Mayer, Nancy Fischer, Chief of Staff for Amy Paulin,  Nancy Tunis, District Director for George Latimer, and Joanne Sold, Chief of Staff for Tom Abinanti. This annual Forum is sponsored by the P/NW Chief School Administrators, the SW Chief School Administrators and WPSBA.
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