Office of Accountability

OA E-Blast Update

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Archived E-Blast Updates



February 2014

...a monthly update on the New York State Education Department’s Office of Accountability (OA) activities relevant to school districts, schools, the education community and other stakeholders.

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Regents Approve Adjustments to Common Core Implementation and NYSED Application to renew Elementray and Seconday Eduaction Act (ESEA) Waiver

The Board of Regents adopted several measures to adjust the implementation of the new Common Core Standards. Included are changes that clarify the use of Common Core-related state assessments for purposes such as meeting graduation standards and reducing the level of local school district testing associated with the new teacher and principal evaluation law.

Under the changes, the requirement to pass Common Core-based Regents exams at the college and career ready level will be extended so that the class of 2022 (i.e., students who first enter grade nine in 2018) will be the first to face the new higher graduation requirements. To ensure that students are not unfairly penalized by the transition to higher standards, the requirements for Academic Intervention Services (mandatory tutoring for struggling students) will be adjusted and guidance will be issued to districts making clear that the State Education Department (SED) neither requires nor encourages districts to make promotion or placement decisions using student performance on state assessments in grades 3-8, but if districts choose to do so, they should make adjustments to ensure students are not negatively impacted by the Common Core transition and should use multiple measures - not grades 3-8 state assessment results alone.

The approved measures include:

  • Increasing flexibility for districts to reduce local testing used to inform teacher evaluation;
  • Creating an expedited review process for districts that propose to amend their teacher evaluation plans to reduce local testing;
  • Eliminating local traditional standardized tests for K-2 used to inform teacher evaluations; and
  • Capping at 1% the instructional time that can be used for local assessments used to inform teacher evaluations.

The P-12 committee also approved the submission of NYSED’s ESEA Waiver amendment and renewal. As part of the submission, NYSED will ask USDOE to allow students with severe disabilities who are not eligible for alternate assessments to be tested at their instructional level rather than their chronological age level, and allow English language learners to be tested in their native language for their first two years of assessments.

The news release about adjustments to Common Core Implementation can be found at:

The Regents Item regarding adjustment options to Common Core Implementation can be found at:

The Regents Item regarding submission of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Waiver renewal request and related amendments can be found at:

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Impact of ESEA Algebra 1/Geometry Testing Waiver on Currently Approved Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) Plans

On January 2, 2014, Commissioner King announced that the United States Department of Education (USDE) had approved New York State's request for a waiver from Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provisions that currently require students who take Regents exams in mathematics when they are enrolled in seventh or eighth grade to also take the State mathematics assessment for that grade. The approved waiver relieves teachers and schools from having to prepare students in seventh and eighth grade for the State assessment when they are receiving instruction in Algebra I or Geometry. Commissioner King's announcement regarding the waiver and associated materials may be found at:

At the Board of Regents January and February 2014 meetings, the Regents took emergency action to amend paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of section 100.4 and paragraph (14) of subdivision (b) of section 100.18 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to ensure that LEAs are given sufficient notice to implement the USDE waiver regarding the administration of Regents Examinations in Algebra I (Common Core) and Geometry to grade 7 and 8 students for the 2013-14 school year.  See:

After conducting a review of a representative sample of approved APPR plans, the Department has found that only a small percentage of districts and BOCES may require a material change to their currently approved APPR plan for the 2013-14 school year to allow educators of seventh and/or eighth grade students to be evaluated for APPR purposes using the applicable Regents Examination in Algebra I (Common Core) and/or the Regents Examination in Geometry (2005 Standards) for students who take Algebra or Geometry rather than the NYS Common Core Mathematics Assessment.

Guidance regarding the impact of the ESEA waiver on APPR plans can be found at:

If you have any further questions about the impact of the ESEA waiver on APPR plans, please contact and use the subject line "ESEA Waiver APPR" when submitting such questions.

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USDE Letter and Guidance Regarding National School Lunch Community Eligibility Option and Title I

With the passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the National School Lunch Program now includes a new universal meal program, the "Community Eligibility Option," which is being phased in over several years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Community Eligibility Option permits eligible schools to provide meal service to all students at no charge, regardless of economic status. As such, the Community Eligibility Option affects implementation of certain requirements of Title I Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA).

A letter regarding the identification of economically disadvantaged students in Community Eligibility Option schools for implementation of Title I requirements can be found at:

Guidance from USDE regarding the Community Eligibility Option and Title I can be found at:

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USDE Letter and Guidance Regarding Allocations for New or Significantly Expanding Charter School LEAs

The USDE has recently issued guidance in response to questions from the field regarding the determination of 2013- 14 Title I, Part A allocations for newly opening or significantly expanding charter school local educational agencies (LEAs).

The purpose of this guidance is to address questions concerning the base amount from the 2012-13 school year that a State educational agency (SEA) should use to calculate Basic, Concentration, Targeted, and Education Finance Incentive Grant (EFIG) allocations under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

For more information regarding charter school allocations and guidance for new or significantly expanding LEA’s please see:

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Announcement of DTSDE and PLC Training

Trainings for the Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness (DTSDE) and the Professional Learning Community (PLC) will convene concurrently at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, New York on February 27-28, 2014. The DTSDE Institute will focus on highly effective and effective practices as presented in the revised DTSDE rubric.

The training is targeted to the following individuals:

  • Principals of Priority of Focus Schools;
  • District representatives who lead district reviews;
  • District-selected Outside Educational Experts (OEE);
  • Designated staff of the Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBE-RN); and
  • Designated Special Education School Improvement Specialists (SESIS).

To register for the February 27-28, 2014 training, please complete the online survey at:

At the same time as the DTSDE Institute, the Office of Accountability will host the second session of the PLC Training, which will focus on continuity of learning from the initial session held on January 27-28, as well as on Systems Training. Participants designated for PLC training have already been identified by Focus District Superintendents and were invited to attend the initial session.

RFP Released: 1003(g) School Improvement Grant (SIG) Round Five

NYSED has announced the release of Round Five of the 1003(g) SIG grant opportunity for eligible Local Education Agencies (LEAs) with one or more eligible Priority Schools.  An eligible Priority School is a Priority School that the LEA has designated as implementing a whole-school change model beginning in 2014-15, and that is not receiving a 1003(g) SIG or a School Innovation Fund (SIF) grant at the time of application. For each eligible Priority School proposing to implement a Turnaround, Restart, Closure or Transformation model, LEAs are eligible for up to $1.0 million, commensurate to school size and need, for the full grant term of three years.

The primary purpose of the 1003(g) SIG is to provide Local Education Agencies (LEAs) with an opportunity to support the implementation of a whole-school change model in its Priority Schools. Using SIG, LEAs can implement one of three federal whole school change models: Turnaround, Restart or Transformation. A secondary purpose of the 1003(g) SIG is to support the school closure process. In certain cases the LEA, in collaboration with the local community, may conclude the best option for its students is to close the existing school and transfer students to existing higher achieving options within the district.

For more information about 1003(g) SIG Round Five, please visit:

Complete applications must be submitted electronically through the Review Room portal ( no later than 3:00 pm, on February 28, 2014.

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RFP Released: School Innovation Fund (SIF) Grant Round Three  NYSED has announced a new SIF grant opportunity that is open to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) with one or more eligible Priority Schools.  An eligible Priority School is a Priority School that the LEA has designated as implementing a whole-school change model beginning in 2014-15, that is not receiving a 1003(g) School Improvement Grant (SIG) or a School Innovation Fund (SIF) grant at the time of application. Schools currently receiving, or those that have received a SIF Round One or SIF Round Two grant are not eligible to receive a SIF Round Three Grant.

The purposes of the School Innovation Fund are to increase high school graduation, college and career readiness of high school graduates, college persistence, and college graduation rates by increasing the availability of new high quality seats for students at most risk for dropout, disengagement, and poor academic performance.

For more information about SIF Round Three please visit:
Complete applications must be submitted electronically through the Review Room portal ( no later than 3:00 pm, on February 28, 2014.

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Reminder: DTSDE School Review Surveys

As a reminder, all schools undergoing Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness (DTSDE) school reviews by the NYSED Integrated Intervention Team (IIT) must submit teacher and student survey results as part of the IIT review.

For reviews taking place in the 2013-14 school year, the survey along with other documents should be submitted no later than four weeks prior to the visit.  Failure to conduct a DTSDE survey may result in a suspension or reduction of a district’s 1003(a) School Improvement Grant funding.

The surveys are a part of the pre-documentation review conducted by the Integrated Intervention Team (IIT) in order to gain a better understanding of the perceptions and support that are provided by the school to teachers, students, and parents. The surveys should uncover trends and practices at the school that will lead to the development of an inquiry trail for specific events by the IIT.

More information regarding the submission of surveys as part of the DTSDE School and District Review process can be found at:

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Reminder: Deadline for the Registration of Public Schools

The Department requires a school district intending to open a new public school, close an existing public school, modify the grade organization of an existing public school, or change the location of a school for the 2014-2015 school year to submit the appropriate forms no later than March 3, 2014. The documents can be found at:

In addition to the submission of forms, regulations also require districts to submit a copy of the Board of Education resolution stating all changes that have been requested for each school in the district.

After the district submission is received, the Commissioner will review the submissions before recommending approval to the Board of Regents.  The district must satisfactorily demonstrate that the school will be operated in an educationally sound manner; is in compliance with applicable statutes, rules and regulations relating to public schools; and will operate in accordance with applicable building codes and pursuant to a certificate of occupancy. Action on petitions submitted by March 3, 2014 will be reviewed by the Board of Regents at its July 2014 meeting.

School Registration submissions and inquiries regarding the process can be sent to:

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March 2014

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Last Updated: December 30, 2014