Middle-Level Education
February 06, 2004

Strategy for Implementing the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education

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TO: The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents
FROM: James A. Kadamus
COMMITTEE: EMSC-VESID
TITLE OF ITEM: Strategy for Implementing the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education
DATE OF SUBMISSION: February 6, 2004
PROPOSED HANDLING: Discussion
RATIONALE FOR ITEM: Implementation of Regents Policy
STRATEGIC GOAL: Goals 1 and 2

SUMMARY:

In January, the Committee directed staff to develop possible approaches for

implementing the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education. During the

January meeting, the Regents discussed the following points that have shaped the strategy

outlined in the attached paper:

· We have learned a lot about what works from the research, speakers and public

engagement process on middle-level education. Any approaches to

implementing Regents policy must reflect the best practices of effective schools

with middle-level grades.

· We have heard that, while students in the middle-level grades must receive a

solid foundation in reading, writing and mathematics, it is also important for

students in these grades to receive quality instruction from certified teachers in

all 28 of the State learning standards.

· We have heard that the program of study in the middle grades must ensure that

students with disabilities receive appropriate instruction and that students who

are English language learners must receive intensive English instruction.

· We have heard that creating a supportive learning environment for students in

middle-level grades is critical to their academic and personal success.

· We have heard concerns that greater flexibility is needed for schools to put best

practices of middle-level education in place. We have also heard that there is

considerable flexibility in current regulations that many districts are not using.

 

THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE

OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

 

TO: The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents

 

FROM: James A. Kadamus

 

COMMITTEE: EMSC-VESID

 

TITLE OF ITEM: Strategy for Implementing the Regents Policy Statement

on Middle-Level Education

 

DATE OF SUBMISSION: February 6, 2004

 

PROPOSED HANDLING: Discussion

 

RATIONALE FOR ITEM: Implementation of Regents Policy

 

STRATEGIC GOAL: Goals 1 and 2

 

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

Page 2 of 8

 

· We have heard that any approaches to implementing Regents policy on middlelevel

education must result in improved academic performance and positive

youth development. Special consideration must be given to low performing

schools with middle-level grades in order to make sure they are put on a path to

improve.

·

We have heard that some high performing schools with middle-level grades want

to design new approaches to middle-level education that are consistent with the

Regents policy, but that these approaches require greater flexibility than is in

place under current regulations.

·

We have concluded that no single approach is the solution to the problems

confronting middle-level education; therefore, a State strategy for middle-level

education must consider the variation in structure and performance of schools.

Given the conclusions reached in January, a State Strategy for Middle-Level

Education could include the following components:

1. A statement of the Essential Elements of Standards-Focused Middle-Level

Schools and Programs and a clear set of educational conditions that must be in

place for these Essential Elements to work in New York State schools. This

statement would serve as the standard that programs in the middle-level grades

must meet and would stimulate implementation of best practices statewide.

2. A statement of the flexibility that already exists in regulations and of the

additional flexibility that should be put in place in order for the Essential Elements

to work in New York State schools. This statement would grant levels of flexibility

needed by schools to implement the Essential Elements, while ensuring that

students receive instruction from qualified teachers in all 28 State learning

standards.

3. A description of a self-study and external peer review process that would be put

in place statewide in order for schools with middle-level grades to assess the

existence of the Essential Elements and to put in place a plan for addressing

areas of weakness or for implementing those elements not in place. This

process would create a means to improve middle schools and ensure that

flexibility granted would result in school improvement.

4. A description of special considerations that would need to be in place for the

self-study and external peer review to work for low performing and for high

performing schools with middle-level grades. These considerations will ensure

that the improvement process will work in schools that vary in structure and

performance.

In order to implement this State Strategy for Middle-Level Education, the Regents

would need to amend the Commissioner’s Regulations to include the following:

 

·

a statement of the Essential Elements of Standards-Focused Middle-Level

Schools and Programs;

·

general requirements and conditions for the self-study and external peer review

process;

·

specific requirements and conditions for low performing schools with middle-level

grades to implement the self-study and external peer review process and

implement school improvement programs;

·

specific requirements and conditions for high performing schools with middlelevel

grades to implement the self-study and external peer review process and

design new programs; and

·

a description of the levels of flexibility given to schools with middle-level grades

implementing the self-study and external peer review process with variations

depending on level of school performance.

 

(continued in PDF)


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