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Click here for the full copy of OBEWL's Winter 2018 Newsletter.

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News from Assistant Commissioner of Bilingual Education and World Languages Lissette Colón-Collins

Winter 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the work that you are doing on behalf of our ELLs/MLLs. So far this year I have had the opportunity to visit many schools across New York State and see the great work you are doing. This is reflected in part on the percentage of ELLs scoring Commanding on the NYSESLAT, which has increased across all grade levels from 9.4% in school year 2015-16 to 12.0% in school year 2016-17. In addition, last year, over 1400 students from 55 districts earned the Seal of Biliteracy, which was awarded in 27 different languages. A full report, along with photos of some of the State's many proud recipients, can be found below. This year 85 NYS school districts are participating in the Seal of Biliteracy program.
As you know, we are very excited that the U.S. Department of Education has approved New York State’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan! I would like to thank all of you who have contributed to this effort by providing us with your input along the way. Please visit NYSED's ESSA page for details on the plan. We are looking forward to working with you as we roll out our State’s ESSA plan.
On February 7, 2018, NYSED released the 2013 Cohort High School Graduation Rates . The graduation rate for “Current ELLs” (students who were identified as ELLs during the school year of their last enrollment) continues to lag far behind the statewide rate, with only 26.6 percent of the 2013 cohort graduating on time--down slightly from the 2012 cohort rate of 26.9%--and 29.7% of the 2013 cohort dropping out. As you review this data, I'm sure you will agree that our work is more important than ever, and I am calling on all of us to take action. As Commissioner Elia indicated, districts will be required to implement measures and apply supports that will increase the number of ELLs/MLLs who graduate and decrease the number of ELLs/MLLs who are dropping out of high schools. NYSED will review and monitor the progress of the plans, provide guidance and support, and conduct district audits that will include financial reviews. All districts will be required to review data and create a plan to ensure that more children graduate. It is critical that your school data system incorporates the necessary information to facilitate early identification and intervention of students who may become at risk of dropping out. As you develop these plans, you must consider:

  • What processes do you currently have in place to monitor student progress?
  • Do you know the ELL/MLL graduation rate for your district and its schools? Do you know the ELL/MLL drop out rate? 
  • Does your district and its schools have a clear understanding of causes for students dropping out? What strategies are in place to support these students?
  • Are you looking at ELL/MLL assessment data and using it to inform intervention and programmatic decisions for all content areas and to plan and deliver instruction that meets student needs?

We will continue working with you to ensure we support your plans and share best practices among districts. We hope that our targeted efforts can make an impact on this most critical issue for ELLs/MLLs. For detailed statistics, be sure to see NYSED's February 7 th PowerPoint.
In addition I would like to provide you with some updates regarding students who have relocated to New York State from areas that have been impacted by natural disasters:

The Puerto Rico Department of Education has developed the Student Records Exchange System (SRX), a platform designed to facilitate the exchange of students’ records to expedite their enrollment process at their schools. Schools can apply for an account to be able to send requests for transcripts and/or IEPs from the Puerto Rico government. An LEA or parent must register with the system, providing key validation information. The Puerto Rico Department of Education prepares the student document, notification is sent to the petitioner, and the document is shared with the receiving LEA registered email address.

OBEWL is pleased to announce the distribution of additional supplemental financial support for those schools with the highest number of newly enrolled students who were displaced due to the 2017 natural disasters. Districts that will be granted the supplemental funds will receive notification from the Deputy Commissioner of P-12 Instructional Support, Angelica Infante-Green.

Please be sure to refer to NYSED-issued guidance regarding the rights of students displaced by natural disasters, as well as the services available to these children.
Looking to the future, beginning on September 3, 2018, New York State (NYS) school districts will be required to use the Multilingual Literacy Screener (MLS) for identification of Students with Interrupted/Inconsistent Formal Education (SIFE). The MLS is a state-wide diagnostic tool schools use to determine students’ literacy levels in their home languages to provide and/or to design appropriate instruction. It is a semi-adaptive online diagnostic tool for students enrolled in grades 3 through 9. The MLS reflects current literature-based curricula and didactic principles from students’ home countries and is currently available in 15 different languages. The entire suite of currently available SIFE resources, along with webinars on administering the MLS, can be found on the SIFE page of the OBEWL website. 

Finally, if you have any questions about the regulations under CR Part 154-3 and the ELL screening and identification process for students with an IEP, please visit our website where you will find comprehensive guidance.

The Board of Regents and NYSED continue to advocate for our children, as demonstrated in our budget request. As you know, we requested $7.75 million in new state funds to support, among other initiatives, the Regional Bilingual Education Resource Centers (RBERNS); the development of Regents Exams in World Languages, a Spanish Language Arts (SLA) test, and 3-8 and Regents exam translations; as well as the expansion of the Clinically Rich Intensive Teacher Institute program. Please join us in this effort by continuing to advocate on behalf of our children.
We support the work that you do and thank you for the services you provide for New York State's ELLs/MLLs. Let's work together to make a difference in the lives of children and their families.
Lissette Colón-Collins
Assistant Commissioner of Bilingual Education and World Languages