April 15, 2016 
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Pinterest Bookmark and Share

Inside this issue
  In the Spotlight  

At the National PTA Legislation Conference, participants were asked to contact your Senators and Representative today and ask them to support Statewide Family Engagement Centers, the FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (L-HHS-ED) appropriations bill.

Funding for this program would recognize the important role of parents and families in a child's education. All members are encouraged to advocate.

Click here to learn more.



  NYS Education ELA and Math Learning Standards Review Committees  

The call for parents to participate in the NYS Education Department (NYSED) ELA and Math Learning Standards Review Committees closed on April 14, 2016. NYS PTA would like to thank all parents who applied to be part of these committees. The committees will meet through August. There will be a public comment period in the Fall of 2016, and then final revisions and considerations by the board in the Spring of 2017. Professional development and initial implementation of new standards will launch in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. The first year of the revised assessments will launch during school year 2019-2020. Any questions can be directed to NYSED at emscurric@nysed.gov.



  Legislation and Advocacy  

Keep Up to Date with Legislation

LegiScan is a website with free and paid options to track legislation. The OneVote option provides the ability to track both state and national legislation.

Current Advocacy Efforts

Raise The Age: The current NYS budget for 2016-17 did not include the Raise the Age legislation. Advocates, such as NYS PTA Cooperating Partner Families Together in NYS, support raising the age from 16 to 18. Click here for more.

The current bills A2774 and S1019 are both still stuck in committee. You can also click here to get the facts about the current law.

Youth Advocacy Opportunity

The School Based Health Alliance is offering scholarships for students to attend the "Be The Change" Youth Training Program. Applicants must be between ages 14-18 years of age and submit their application by May 27, 2016. The convention is June 26-29, 2016. Click here for more information.

To learn more about the "Be the Change" Youth Training Program, click here.



  Special Education  

"Light It Up Blue." April is Autism Awareness Month. It is the perfect time to spread autism awareness/acceptance in schools and communities. Resources can be found at the following websites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism Speaks

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Autism Spectrum Disorder

The NYS Education Department (NYSED) released two documents for parents and educators. The first reiterates the policy on the appropriate implementation of testing accommodations for students with disabilities, specifically for the upcoming Spring 2016 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics State Assessments. The second seeks public comment regarding one-to-one aides for preschool and school age students with disabilities, and preschool special education programs and services.

Testing accommodations

One-to-one aides

At the March Board of Regents meeting, the Board approved a new graduation pathway for all students.

Beginning in June 2016, a student may graduate with a regular high school diploma if they complete various credit requirements. In addition, the regulations were revised to expand the opportunity to earn the CDOS Commencement Credential to all students, not just students with disabilities. The document can be found here.

The President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities will host a webinar/conference call on May 2, 2016 from 3-4:30 p.m. The webinar will focus on topics including encouraging family engagement, ending segregation of students with disabilities, promoting self-determination and moving from school-to-work. Additional information can be found here.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is one of the National Institutes of Health. On their website, they provide many publications on a variety of topics that are FREE. These resources can be ordered here.




"The Voice of NYS PTA" response to the NYS Adopted Budget is posted here. Please review and use it as a tool when you attend School Board budget hearings and meet with legislators.

The New York State Association of School Business Officials released a report on March 18, 2016 identifying how many school districts will be looking to pierce the tax cap. It is important that PTA members attend school board meetings to learn about how the current approved NYS Budget will affect your district on May 17, 2016. Districts that do not pass their budget will have an opportunity to re-vote on June 21, 2016.

The NYS School Boards Association also has webinars regarding their analysis of the budget here.

The Board of Regents elected Dr. Betty Rosa from Judicial District 12: Bronx as the new Chancellor. To learn more about the new Chancellor and who your Regent representative is, click here.




The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently released guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain in the United States. The new guidelines provide recommendations to doctors about prescribing opioids outside of cancer care, palliative care and end of life treatments. This guideline is intended to increase doctor-patient communication on the risks and benefits of opioid therapy, improve the safety and effectiveness of pain treatment, and reduce the risks of long-term opioid therapy. Read more here.

In line with these new CDC guidelines, NYS PTA advocates are asking the NYS Assembly to pass A-355 authorizing the Commissioner of Health to implement physician continuing education requirements for pain management, palliative care and addiction. The governor must then sign the bill into law. For more info, click here.

The US Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has recently published new safety performance measures to help reduce death and injuries among people walking and bicycling. The new regulations are calling for a uniform national performance measure to help reduce the growing number of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities. The DOT wants a uniform national performance measure to have everyone work together to help save lives. Find out more here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a Zika Action Plan Summit on April 1, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Some goals for this summit included: providing state and local officials information and needed tools for Zika preparedness within their jurisdiction, increasing knowledge regarding implications for pregnant women, and accelerating readiness for local Zika transmission through training and technical assistance to states. Read about all the goals of this conference and related news stories on the summit here.

The US Department of Agriculture has posted a report co-authored by the Food Research and Action Center and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which reflects how schools offering school meals at no charge to students helps keep children nourished and prepared to learn. This is especially true for youth that rely on school meals for the only nutritious meals they get in their day. Read more here.



  April/May Awareness Events  


Alcohol Awareness Month
Child Abuse Prevention Month
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
National Minority Health Month
National Youth Sports Safety Month
Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month
April 21: MADD PowerTalk21 Day
April 22: Earth Day


Mental Health Month
National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
National Youth Traffic Safety Month
National Bicycle Safety Month
National Celiac Disease Month
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month
May 1-7: National Physical Education and Sports Week
May 1-7: National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week
May 4 at sundown through sundown May 5: Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah)
May 4: Project ACES Day (All Children Exercise Simultaneously)
May 2-6: National PTA Teacher Appreciation Day
May 2-8: Screen Free Week (TV Turnoff Week)
May 4: Bike to School Day
May 5: National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
May 8: World Red Cross Day
May 8-14: Food Allergy and Awareness Week
May 8-14 National Women's Health Week
May 9-13: National Stuttering Awareness Week
May 11: School Nurses Day