ACROSS THE BOARD - June 2016

      Enjoy Your Summer!

      
Reading the Tea Leaves...
Will this year mark a turning point?
At first glance, 2015-16 was just another challenging year for school districts:
  • Minimal adjustments to a frozen, inadequate foundation aid formula
  • The need to craft a 2016-17 budget based on a 0.12% CPI increase
  • A patchwork approach to APPR (3012-c, 3012-d, state test moratorium)
  • And the list goes on...
Over the past few years, the pendulum has swung so far towards a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach, that it seemed it might never right itself. Yet a closer look at recent state and federal decisions reveals positive momentum towards more flexibility and local control.

The changes at the Board of Regents are particularly significant in this regard. Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has brought an understanding of public school culture and operations that was sorely lacking over the past few years. The selection of Chancellor Betty Rosa and the appointment of three new Regents from the public education arena, coupled with last year's Board of Regents appointees (including Regent Judith Johnson), bode well for our school districts and the children we serve.

Recent Board of Regents emergency decisions regarding the APPR and alternative graduation requirements are key indicators that things are being viewed through a different lens in Albany.  There is a general acknowledgement of the failed implementation of the Common Core, state assessment and APPR trifecta, and a commitment to a new timeline and a more individualized approach.  At the same time, concerted advocacy efforts and an unprecedented parental outcry over state testing have caught the attention of Albany leaders. The Governor has softened his rhetoric, and the state legislature no longer seems so inclined to legislate overly prescriptive education policy. Our own state legislators have been working with us and have shown that they clearly understand the needs of our districts.  Flexibility and local control are returning to the vocabulary.

The changes at the federal level are also noteworthy.  After years of failed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) reauthorization attempts, this fall Congress approved the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which delegates key areas of education policy back to the states and requires input from local stakeholders. This marks a radical shift from NCLB and federal initiatives such as Race to the Top (RTTT).

The pendulum is swinging in the right direction. The re-authorization of NCLB took way too long, but it is a testament to the persistence and cooperation of constituent groups who found areas of consensus in order to bring about significant change.  That model should inspire us as we move forward in New York State. We need to de-politicize education, and collaborate to find areas of common ground. And most importantly, we need to re-dedicate ourselves to building a "Quality-Assurance System" that serves the educational needs of ALL students. ESSA and the Regents are giving us more local authority to design our own pathway.  The onus is on us to be constructive and purposeful in our public education mission.
Save the Date!
Our 2016-17 calendar is being finalized, but here's a preview of a couple of Fall programs.  So  grab your calendars and mark the following dates.

Regional Discussion of Proposed NYSSBA Resolutions
Sept 8th, evening
Please join us for what is always a lively discussion of the issues.  More details to follow.
 
NYS Newly Elected Mandated Governance Seminar
Saturday, Sept 17th: 8:00 am - 4 pm
P/NW BOCES, 200 BOCES Drive, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Cost: $175 (includes breakfast, lunch, training materials, & Becoming a Better Board Member)
Register thru District Clerk
Newly elected board members are required by NYS law to take both a six hour governance training and a five hour fiscal training in their first year of service. WPSBA is a NY State Education Department approved provider of the governance training. WPSBA strongly believes that the governance and school leadership topics covered are best learned face-to-face (vs. online), in dialogue with peers from across our own region. 

Annual Superintendent - BOE Joint Dinner
Monday, Nov 14th: 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
DoubleTree Hilton Tarrytown
Program details to follow.
Alumni Trustees Weigh in on Public Ed. Issues
WPSBA is about to launch "Trustees for NY Public Education" (TNYPE). This ad hoc group of former board of education members will research and advocate for public education issues in conjunction with WPSBA. Alumni trustees have a deep understanding of school issues, but are free of the legal constraints of district affiliation. All alumni trustees can participate by publishing articles, posts or commentaries through the TNYPE site. For more information, contact Lisa Davis.
Meet Our New Board

WPSBA is pleased to introduce our 2016-17 WPSBA Board of Directors.  Officers are: Stephen Jambor (Brewster), President; Victoria Tipp (Chappaqua), Vice President;  Jennifer Rosen (Briarcliff), Treasurer; and Lisa Tane (Greenburgh Eleven), Secretary.  Other directors are: Maddali Atallah (New Rochelle), Lisa Aspinall Kellawon (Peekskill), Karen Belanger (Rye), Louis Conte (Pleasantville), Anita Feldman (P/NW BOCES), Marianne Gilland (Pelham), Rita Golden (Mt. Pleasant Cottage), Michael Hanna (Irvington), Frank Hariton (Ardsley), Robert Johnson (Port Chester), and Frank Schnecker (Ossining). 

 

We'd also like to acknowledge our outgoing Directors for their service to our board.  A big thank you to: Matthew Evans, Judah Holstein, Richard Kreps, Abby Mendelsohn, and Wendy Naidich.

Annual Dinner In Pics
Over 120 board members and superintendents gathered at Crabtree's Kittle House on May 26th for our Annual Dinner Meeting & Program.  Chancellor Betty Rosa was the keynote speaker, and Putnam N. Westchester BOCES Superintendent Jim Langlois was honored.
 
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Westchester Putnam School Boards Association | 450 Mamaroneck Avenue | Harrison | NY | 10528