State Education Commissioner Rings In a New School Year | News
BUFFALO, N.Y.- New York's Education Commissioner curiously toured classrooms in Buffalo's P.S. 197 Math Science & Technology Preparatory School (formerly Seneca Vocational).
He talked with students and asked questions of teachers, and also answered several regarding a number of new policies sent down from Albany this year.
Among the most controversial, is the teacher and principal evaluation policies.
Dr. John King said that his office is doing all the can to educate school districts across the state about what he is looking for. "A few weeks ago we put out 10 model plans for other districts to look at and see examples. We've approved now over 70 plans and we've got well over one hundred districts that we've given specific, actionable feedback to on their plans."
Also new this year is the Federal Common Core Curriculum. It's a nationally developed standard that spells out for teachers what skills students need to know in each grade. Schools have been retraining teachers on how to create and share lesson plans around Common Core, around which state tests ultimately will be designed.
One other new policy hits close to home for Western New Yorkers. On September 18th, the Rodemeyer family of Amherst will mark a grim anniversary. It was on that date in 2011 when their only son, Jamey took his own life. It started a global discussion revolving around bullying. On July 1st the State's new Dignity For All Students Act took effect. It is designed to promote a more tolerant environment and head off bullying before it begins.
Some of the main points of the new policy; it prohibits the harassment and discrimination of students by students and by school personnel.
Each school's Code of Conduct must be amended to reflect the prohibition of discrimination and harassment of students by students or staff in age-appropriate language.
Districts must appoint at least one staff member in each school to handle all bullying incidents on school property, in school buildings, on a school vehicles, as well as at school-sponsored events or activities. Administrators must also report incidents of bullying to the NYS Department of Education.
The Commissioner also visited Sweet Home High School and Emerson Culinary School.
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