News Articles

Statement of the New York State Council of School Superintendents on the Election of Dr. Lester Young as Chancellor of the Board of Regents

January 11, 2021

Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
C:  518.435.5996
E:  boblowry@nyscoss.org

ALBANY, NY – The New York State Council of School Superintendents congratulates Dr. Lester Young on his election as Chancellor of the Board of Regents. 

Chancellor Young has already had a profound impact on New York’s educational landscape and has kept a steadfast focus on equity for all children, everywhere in our state. He brings a strong set of diverse experiences to his new position. He was once a superintendent within the New York City school system and was once a Deputy Commissioner within the Department that he will now help to lead.

Chancellor Young has directly contributed to the work of the Council through our Commission on Diversity and Inclusivity. We admire the work he has done in leading the state’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative aimed at improving opportunities and outcomes for boys and young men of color.

We are confident Chancellor Young will be an advocate for all students and a strong leader for our state’s top education policymaking body.

The New York State Council of School Superintendents is a professional and advocacy organization with over a century of service to school superintendents and assistant superintendents in New York State. The Council provides more than 800 members with professional development opportunities, publications and personal support while advocating for public education and the superintendency.

News Release on election of Dr. Lester Young as Chancellor of the Board of Regents.

Our Message About Events in our Nation's Capitol

January 7, 2021 - A Message to our members from President Robert Ike and Executive Director Charles Dedrick

Not since September 11, 2001, have many of us felt the same emotions as we felt during the horrific siege of our nation's capital yesterday. Thankfully at the end of the day our democracy prevailed.
  
Yesterday’s events provide us with teachable moments for our children in the way our electoral college performs. The fact that an African-American minister and a Jewish journalist were elected to the United States Senate from Georgia reinforces democracy in action. 
  
Under normal circumstances, it would have been quite the historic day. The day was history-making, but for other more negative reasons as well. As schools reopened today, whether in person, remote or hybrid, we know that you as educational leaders are doing all you can to guide the school districts of New York to a better and more positive place than the one that was on display yesterday in Washington, D.C. by rioters. 
  
Our democracy not only survived, but we believe came through stronger and more united, as witnessed by the actions of the joint session of Congress at 3:30 this morning. As school district leaders we have the opportunity and obligation to help the children in our care to feel safe and to learn how to engage with others of differing viewpoints in respectful and peaceful ways. 
  
As superintendents, you are stewards of what are among the most democratic of all institutions. Our public schools are truly institutions of, by, and for the people. Our leaders are elected by and from the people they serve. Our employees have chosen careers committed to helping all children learn and thrive -- most have made it their life’s work. We serve all children - whatever their circumstances, wherever they come from, whenever they arrive. Our public schools are exemplars of everything that democracy makes possible. The opportunity to lead in this time should be a source of pride.
  
Our students are our future. Your care for them is ever critical at this time. Your care for each other is important. Your care for yourself is necessary. 
  
According to John Meacham, “In our finest hours...the soul of the country manifests itself in an inclination to open our arms rather than clench our fists.” Let today and the days to come include some of our finest hours. 
 
Robert Ike
Superintendent, Palmyra-Macedon CSD
NYSCOSS President

Charles Dedrick
NYSCOSS Executive Director
 
Read The Council's message to our members regarding events that took place on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

New Guidance on COVID-19 Testing in Schools

December 7, 2020

Access COVID Testing Webinar Recording

View the Let's Talk About COVID Testing in Schools webinar presented on Monday, December 7, 2021.

On Friday (December 4), the New York State Health Department issued guidance on revised COVID-19 testing requirements for schools located in orange or red zones as part of the state’s “micro-cluster” strategy for combatting the virus. The guidance had been expected since Governor Andrew Cuomo first announced the change in a press conference at the beginning of the week.

Previously, schools located in orange or red zones were required to close and switch to remote-only instruction for at least four days, to conduct cleaning and testing. Schools could then reopen for in-person instruction if 100% of all returning on-site students and employees received a negative result from a COVID-19 test.

We and superintendents of affected districts strongly advocated for a change in these requirements. The near universal conclusion was the that 100% participation in testing was unattainable. We also emphasized the very low positivity rates in schools where testing has been done.

“They should be an example to us all. Too many adults have not heeded their education, ignoring the experts and acting without regard for the consequences of their actions by hosting large gatherings or failing to use the most effective tool at our disposal right now: a face covering.”

The new guidance allows schools in orange or red zones to remain open. To do so, schools in orange zones must test 20% of students and employees over a month, with testing spread evenly across the weeks. Schools in red zones must test 30% of students and employees over a month, spread evenly across bi-weekly periods.

  
The new guidance also allows schools to use pool testing but it must be conducted by a laboratory that is approved to conduct diagnostic pooled testing.
  
The guidance does not make changes in testing requirements for schools in yellow zones.

We conducted a webinar on COVID-19 testing today with superintendents who have implemented testing procedures to comply with state requirements. You can review the resources they cited here.
  
The change in guidance reflects growing recognition of the low rate of infections found in schools. Governor Cuomo had a column in Newsday on Sunday. It was titled, “Schools offer smart lessons about COVID-19 spread.” In his briefings, the Governor has used "astonishing" and "amazing" in reference to how low test positivity rates in schools have been. In the column he said,

 “As parents know, schools are usually places where illnesses spread easily. But in the case of COVID-19, the safest place in the community is truly the school. That’s because schools follow basic rules. The students and teachers wear masks. They practice social distancing. They frequently wash their hands. Many of the students are serious about doing their part to keep their friends and families safe.

“They should be an example to us all. Too many adults have not heeded their education, ignoring the experts and acting without regard for the consequences of their actions by hosting large gatherings or failing to use the most effective tool at our disposal right now: a face covering.”

 

The State Health Department issued guidance on revised COVID-19 testing requirements located in orange and red zones.

Up-to-date School Aid Estimates for Any District

December 7, 2020

View School Aid Estimates

Access downloadable Excel spreadsheet here.

Questions?
Contact:
Bob Lowry
Deputy Director
T: 518.694.4879
E: boblowry@nyscoss.org

Here is a link to a downloadable Excel spreadsheet which allows users to view changing estimates of School Aid for any district.

It may take a while for the file to load. Once it does, enter a district’s six digit BEDS Code to create a report. To look up a code for any district, click on the tab named “CODE LIST” at the bottom of the screen.
  
Hit “Ctrl P” to print a report.
  
Scanning the screen, from left to right . . .

. . .the first block of figures (columns A through D) simply shows the estimates of aid by category at the time the current year’s state budget was enacted last April.
  
. . .the second block (columns E through H) compares estimates of current year (2020-21) aid by category for the database used when the current state budget was enacted and in the updated November 15 database released by the State Education Department last week.
 
. . .the third block (columns I through L) shows estimates of aid for 2021-22 assuming continuation of current law formulas, comparing those figures by category to the latest estimates of 2020-21 aid. 
  
The November 15 database is used in preparing the Governor's Executive Budget School Aid proposal. The figures in the Governor's proposal for both the base year and year ahead nearly always match those in the November 15 database, except for formulas which the Governor proposes to amend. A database updated through February 15 is used for the budget that is passed by the Legislature, assuming passage by or close to April 1.
  
Please be sure to read the “KEY POINTS” below the rows of aid amounts for some important context.

 

Review an excel spreadsheet allowing users to view changing estimates of school aid for any district. Instructions how to use included.

Which Legislators Represent Your School District?

December 7, 2020

The final races to determine the 2021 membership of the State Senate and Assembly have been resolved. Here is our updated crosswalk of school districts and the legislators who represent them.
  
It is an Excel spreadsheet with two tabs, one for the Assembly, one for the Senate. School districts are listed in alphabetical order. The information is derived from a state legislative source. 
  
The tables show the percentage of the school district’s 2010 Census population contained within the legislative district. 
  
The State Constitution generally provides that towns may not be divided between Assembly or Senate districts unless the town has a population greater than that required for a single Senate or Assembly district. Following the last reapportionment, the average Assemblymember represented 129,187 people and the average Senator represented 312,550 people. 
  
Consequently, if your school district serves any part of a town with population below those figures--even vacant land--a legislator representing that town will show up as representing part of your school district. But the percentages can be very small—some are below 0.1%. 
  
When we prepare tables for legislators using this data, we usually omit any school district which for which the legislator is shown to represent less than 10% of the school district population.
  
Each page also includes a link to certified 2020 election results for that chamber and a link to find contact information for each legislator.
  
 
An excel spreadsheet listing the 2021 membership of the State Senate and Assembly. Look for your representative.

Dr. Roberto Padilla Named 2021 New York State School Superintendent of the Year

November 10, 2020

Albany, NY – The New York State Council of School Superintendents (The Council) has named Newburgh Enlarged City School District Superintendent Dr. Roberto Padilla the 2021 New York State Superintendent of the Year. 

“This is a phenomenal achievement for Newburgh,” said Dr. Roberto Padilla. He added “Over the last seven years, we have had the NYS Teacher of the Year and the National CTE Teacher of the Year. From the moment I stepped foot in the district, it was abundantly clear, we have exceptional talent here! We are honored and humbled by this prestigious award. This recognition is the result of a very dedicated and committed district. It truly takes a team to achieve success and I am excited that this is just the beginning.” 

Council President and Palmyra-Macedon Superintendent Dr. Robert Ike said, “Selection as the New York State Superintendent of the Year is a testament to Dr. Padilla's unwavering commitment to students. As a champion for equity and access, Dr. Padilla's leadership is a model for leaders across the New York State.” 

Board President for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, Ms. Carole Mineo said, "Especially during such a scary and unpredictable time in our lives, this award brings joy and hope to the people of our city and towns. Our district is often overlooked for notable achievements. I am thrilled that Dr. Padilla has been recognized, joining some of our exceptional educators earning a statewide recognition and being nominated on a national level." 

Dr. Roberto Padilla is the proud Superintendent for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, located 60 north miles of New York City. Dr. Padilla is a teacher who just happens to be a superintendent. He is nationally recognized as a champion for all children. In 2019, Dr. Padilla was selected as one of Education Week’s National Leaders to Learn From for his visionary leadership on equity and inclusive excellence. 


There are several key initiatives that continue to propel Newburgh to new heights. They include, but are not limited to, hiring a Chief Equity Officer, ensuring all 12,000 scholars receive breakfast and lunch at no cost regardless of their zip code and socioeconomic status, starting two additional high school campuses: NFA West and NFA Noche (evening high school), where scholars receive more personalized learning and opportunities to take more advanced courses and catch up if they fall behind. 

“We are honored and humbled by this prestigious award. This recognition is the result of a very dedicated and committed district.” 

Additionally, Dr. Padilla is committed to ensuring all scholars enter Pre-K prepared to learn at the same level as their peers by bringing the Boston Basics to Newburgh, which is implemented in the local hospital neonatal department for new mothers, at our local library, and through community partnerships.

In May 2019, voters in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District passed a $257M bond referendum, the largest in New York State, which focuses on improvements to each school building as well as building a state of the art facility for the 23 Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs currently offered in the district. The new facility will give scholars an opportunity to explore career paths as well as earn required hours and experience to be ready for college and career upon graduation. 

Newburgh also has the largest Energy Performance Contract for school districts in New York State. This $29 million project was at no cost to the taxpayers, will provide an annual savings of $1.3M in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gases by 60%.  

Dr. Padilla leads a district of approximately 2,000 employees, 1100 teachers, 12,000 scholars, 14 school buildings spread throughout four municipalities and manages an operating budget of $287 million. Dr. Padilla holds a doctorate in Education with a focus on Urban School Leadership. He was previously a teacher and principal for the NYC Department of Education, a member of Harvard University’s Principal’s Advisory Board, an Education Policy Fellow at Columbia University, a fellow for the Broad Center at the Yale School of Management, and a Deeper Learning Equity Fellow. He is a published author and an adjunct professor at SUNY New Paltz and Fordham University. 

Dr. Padilla is a member of the Board of Trustees for Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital as well as the Newburgh Armory Unity Center. He is the founding President of the New York Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (NYSALAS), and a member of the Greater Newburgh Rotary Club. 

Dr. Padilla is New York’s nominee for consideration as the National Superintendent of the Year to be awarded at the National Conference on Education of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) held February 18-19, 2021. Dr. Padilla will also be recognized at The Council's 2021 Winter Institute and Lobby Day, March 7-9, 2021 in Albany, NY as New York State’s Superintendent of the Year. The Council has not yet determined if the Winter Institute will be in-person, hybrid or virtual and will depend on decisions made at the state level as related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council Executive Director Dr. Charles Dedrick said, “Roberto Padilla is respected statewide as an educational leader and always exemplifies the best of our profession. Dr. Padilla is a thoughtful and informed leader providing keen insight on key issues affecting our state. He understands how important superintendent leadership is to a school district’s success to provide students with a comprehensive educational experience.”

Under Dr. Padilla’s leadership, together with educators and community members, the Newburgh Enlarged City School District has established programs and served scholars through a variety of initiatives that you can read more about here:

2017-2018 Accomplishments Report
2018-2019 Accomplishments Report
2019-2020 Accomplishments Report

PHOTO CREDIT: Photos provided courtesy of Mike Bradley, Education Week

Newburgh Enlarged City School Superintendent Dr. Roberto Padilla named 2021 New York State School Superintendent of the Year.

Thank You for Attending First Virtual Fall Summit

October 6, 2020

Thank you for gathering online October 5-6, 2020 at The Council’s first Virtual Fall Leadership Summit to connect with colleagues, listen to leading voices in education, and share experiences and solutions.

We provided access to recordings of sessions to attendees via listserv and we appreciated your patience as we worked through initial technical difficulties on opening day. If you have questions regarding the recordings, please contact our Associate Director of Membership Melanie Seiden at  melanie@nyscoss.org.

Virtual Swag Bag

All registered participants received and have enjoyed the 2020 Snapshot of the Superintendency: The Building Blocks of the Superintendency. A unique view of the insight into the nature of the superintendency. It was included in your first Summit Daily sent on Sunday, October 4th. Contact melanie@nyscoss.org if you could not access your copy in that listserv.

Special thanks to our Fall Title Sponsor and Signature Partner Forecast5 Analytics for providing a customized data packet to each attendee that registers for the event. For those educators who were attendees, you will automatically receive your data packet directly from Forecast5 now that the event has concluded. 

Social Media 
Thanks for joining us on social media to foster action! Our hashtag was #NYSuptsFall.

Future Fall Leadership Summit Dates

The Council through our foundation (LEAF, Inc.) supports members by providing exceptional opportunities to expand and enrich their expertise and knowledge in the area of educational administration through statewide annual events. The Fall Leadership Summit offers keynote addresses by national experts in the fields of leadership, education and related areas; opportunities for members to share best practices with colleagues through smaller sessions; an interactive discussion with the Commissioner of Education about New York State issues and initiatives; and networking for support and collegiality among members through social interaction, group discussions, meetings and workshops. If you are planning your calendars, make sure to add these important dates:

2021 Fall Leadership Summit 
September 26 - 28, 2021 
Saratoga Hilton & Saratoga Springs City Center
Saratoga Springs, NY

2022 Fall Leadership Summit
September 18 - 20, 2022
Saratoga Hilton & Saratoga Springs City Center
Saratoga Springs, NY

2023 Fall Leadership Summit

October 1 - 3, 2023 
Saratoga Hilton & Saratoga Springs City Center
Saratoga Springs, NY 

The Council is committed to providing experiences and environments that are welcoming, inviting and user-friendly for all attendees. We recognize that some individuals may required specific accommodations to ensure their full and equal participation in our Fall Leadership Summits. Please call us at (518) 449-1063 should you need assistance. 

Watch for registration details for the 2021 Winter Institute coming soon.

Applications Closed for 2021 New York State Superintendent of Year

October 1, 2020

Nominations and applications for the 2021 New York State Superintendent of Year are now closed for the 2021 application process.

  • August 15, 2020 – Nominations were due using AASA’s online portal. The deadline was extended due to the current demands of educational leaders under the pandemic.

  • October 1, 2020 – Final applications were due using AASA’s online portal.

  • October 2020 – Distinguished Service Committee met and selected New York State’s candidate.

  • November 1, 2020 – Final New York State representative submitted to AASA’s National Superintendent of the Year process.

  • November 10, 2020 – New York State Superintendent of the Year announced.

  • January 8, 2021 – AASA announces final four candidates and they participate in virtual interviews and a moderated press briefing.

  • February 18-19, 2021 – National Superintendent of the Year is announced at AASA’s Virtual National Conference of Education.

  • March 8, 2021 – New York State Superintendent of the Year honored at the 2021 Winter Institute & Lobby Day, March 7-9, 2021.

Learn about final four national candidates on January 8, 2021!

COVID-19 Coronavirus Resources

April 15, 2020

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

New York State Education Department 

Capital Region BOCES

New York State Department of Health

New York State Office of Children and Family Services

New York State Empire Development

United States Centers for Disease Control 

Hunger Solutions New York

Harvard University Graduate School of Education 

  1. Enjoy a free, Open Access book, just published, explaining how to reform education systems so they educate all students as global citizens, with the necessary competencies to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This free resources is presented by Fernando M. Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice in International Education at the Harvard School of Education and a former Council presenter.

  2. Feranando Reimers also shared a recently published report, that he wrote with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), that shows a framework to support the development of an education response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Coronavirus resources for school administrators from national, state, and regional sources.

Superintendents’ survey finds school district finances mostly stable—for now—but concerns about student needs are widespread

November 20, 2019

ALBANY – New York’s school districts appear to be “treading water” financially, with most superintendents reporting little or no change in their district’s financial condition compared to a year ago. But urgent concerns about the ability of schools to meet student needs remain. These are key themes in a survey report released today by the New York State Council of School Superintendents. 

Council Executive Director Charles Dedrick said, “In the aftermath of the Great Recession, we saw steady improvement in the financial condition of many school districts, although not all. But our surveys indicate those gains have faltered since 2016.”  

Dedrick added, “At the same time, the mission of schools has expanded over the past decade or so. More and more school districts are taking exceptional steps that weren’t widespread 10 years ago, both to help students and families with non-school problems, and to make sure nothing is overlooked that could make their schools as safe and secure as possible.” 

Sixty-five percent of superintendents this year said that the financial condition of their district is unchanged from a year ago. But for the third straight year, the share of superintendents seeing improved financial condition dropped—from 31% in 2016 to just 14% this year.  
Improving mental health services was again the most widely cited priority among superintendents for new funding, should their districts receive more revenue than what would be needed to maintain current services and satisfy mandates. It was the most widely cited priority for all groupings of districts, whether grouped as city, suburb, or rural, or by region, or by student poverty level. 

Council Deputy Director Robert Lowry said, “Our survey shows all types of districts, everywhere, are straining to address student mental health needs. Sixty-seven percent of superintendents identified improving student mental health services as a top funding priority, up from 56% last year and from 35% three years ago.”  

He added, “Also, 53% of superintendents said their district budgets for this year will improve student mental health services—only the second time in the nine years of our survey that a majority of superintendents anticipated improvement in any area of student services.” 

The Council’s report found that: 

• 14% of superintendents statewide see the financial condition of their district as improved from a year ago, 65% see it as unchanged, and 20% see it as worse. The share of superintendents seeing improvement peaked at 31% in 2015 and 2016. 
Council News Release – Finance Survey Results November 20, 2019 

• Asked to look ahead three years or so, only 25% of superintendents said that they are somewhat or very optimistic about their district’s ability to funding adequate services. Sixty-seven percent answered that they are somewhat or very pessimistic and 8% said that their districts are unable to offer adequate services now. These numbers show little change from past years.

• City, Mohawk Valley, and North Country superintendents were most likely to say their district’s financial condition is significantly worse than one year ago. City, Southern Tier, North Country, and Western New York superintendents were most pessimistic about the three-year financial outlook for their districts.

• Sixty-five percent of superintendents said that they are concerned by their district’s reliance upon reserves or fund balance to pay recurring costs, a jump from 33% a year ago.  − This increase may be due to concerns about the new $10,000 federal cap on state and local tax deductions:  91% of superintendents who said that the SALT cap had had a significant impact on the budget their district proposed to voters were somewhat or very concerned about their district’s reliance on reserves.

• Asked about how their district budget for 2019-20 would affect various student services, 53% anticipate a positive impact on mental health-related services, 49% anticipate a positive impact on school safety/security. − Over one-third of superintendents said that their schools will improve mental health services this year and that improving those services further would be a top priority for new funding.

• Generally, findings on current year budget impact on specific student services are more positive than for overall financial impact. But these too mostly peaked in 2016.

• The prospect of inadequate state aid was most widely cited as a concern in thinking about their schools’ financial outlook (cited by 48% of superintendents), followed by the property tax cap (11%), and by increases in fixed or hard to control costs such as pensions and health insurance (9%).

• Increasing special education costs were named by 56% of superintendents as a significant problem among programmatic cost items, more than any other concern. Council analysis of State Education Department enrollment data shows an especially steep increase in students in special education in early grades (K-2)—up 16.1% outside New York City since 2011-12, compared to 3.1% in grades three through 12. This increase may be partly a response to growing student mental health needs.

• The report also includes sections on superintendent perspectives on aspects of child well-being, opportunities for students, and financially struggling districts. 

The survey was conducted online, from August 12th through the 25th, 2019. A total of 364 superintendents submitted completed surveys, a response rate of 53.7%. 

The entire survey report is available here. 
 
# # # 
The New York State Council of School Superintendents is a professional and advocacy organization with over a century of service to school superintendents and assistant superintendents in New York State. The Council provides more than 850 members with professional development opportunities, publications and personal support while advocating for public education and the superintendency. 

Concerns about student needs are widespread.

People to Follow

Chuck Dedrick
Executive Director, NYSCOSS
Robert Lowry
Deputy Director, NYSCOSS
Jacinda Conboy, Esq.
General Counsel, NYSCOSS
Greg Berck, Esq.
Assistant Director, NYSCOSS