November 8, 2017

Education Innovator Richard Mills Dies at 72

Richard P. "Rick" Mills, the state's education commissioner from 1995 to 2009, died this week at the age of 72.

Mills had one of the most significant impacts on New York schools of any commissioner in recent memory.
Working under the mantra of "standards," Mills led the push to make the state Regents exams the closest thing New York has seen to a universal high school exit exam. He was also commissioner as the charter school movement, which was approved by the Legislature and former Gov. George Pataki, got under way in New York.

Mills, a Clifton Park resident, died Wednesday from a heart attack while hiking the Adirondacks with a friend.
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NYSED Facilities Planning Announces Change in Project Review Process and Pre-screening Project Submissions

The New York State Education has announced changes in its project review process:
Pre-screening Process for NYSED Capital Project Submissions:
  • The Office of Facilities Planning has implemented a pre-screening process for all capital projects received in its office on or after September 28, 2017.
  • Please see the link below to the website home page for a memo explaining the new pre-screening process and to pre-screening checklists.
Third-Party Vendor Review of Project Submissions to NYSED:
  • The Office of Facilities Planning has continued to work hard to reduce the time between submission of school district capital projects to its office and the issuance of building permits.
  • In order to prevent rapid growth in the backlog, the Commissioner has requested that The Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation/Oswego BOCES (CiTi BOCES) serve as a conduit for the code review of some types of construction plans for a short time.
  • CiTi BOCES has requested proposals for capital project review from third-party architectural/engineering vendors. 
  • Please see the see the link below to the website home page for a memo explaining the third-party review process; a Frequently Asked Questions document about the process change; and a link to the CiTi BOCES website where the request for proposals has been posted.
Please visit the website home page for more information about the upcoming changes to the project review process.
Congrats to The Storm King School On 150 Years

The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) recently congratulated The Storm King School on its 150th  anniversary.

The NAIS cited The Storm King School's environment of academic excellence and inspired in students a lifelong passion for learning, personal achievement and contributing to the community. "For 150 years," a letter from  NAIS President Donna Orem read, "the  school has educated students who have had a profound impact on its  community, the country, and the world."

According to NAIS, its member schools have the ability to adapt successfully to the ever-changing world as a result of their independence and guiding principles, which have long been at the root of their schools' excellence. 
Quick Approval Expected for Kingston School Conversion

Kingston school district officials are optimistic that a plan to convert the former Meagher Elementary School to district administrative offices will move quickly through the state approval process.

At a Board of Education meeting last week, consultant Bryan Manning said construction could begin in September 2018 and be completed in the fall of 2019.

The Board of Education earlier this year agreed to sell the Cioni Building at 61 Crown St., which currently houses the district administrative offices, for $4.25 million to 61 Crown Street LLC, which filed its bid as BRE Properties and is run by New York City developer Neil Bender.

District officials plan to move the administrative offices to the former Meagher school at 21 Wynkoop Place. The project, estimated to cost $4.23 million, would also include construction of four pre-kindergarten classrooms in the Meagher building.

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Rochester-Area School Welcomes New STEM Center

McQuaid Jesuit High School in Brighton is celebrating a new addition: 36,000 square feet of state-of-the-art robotics and STEM labs. Donors say this is all about investing in students today, who will be innovators of tomorrow.

Take a look around the new Wegman Family Science and Technology Center, and you might think you're in a university.

With science and computer labs, as well as space for the school’s first robotics and first Lego robotics teams, it's a major investment in the future.

The center will be open for classes in January.
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Utica Board Discusses Lessons From Bullet Incident

After a school bus at Utica’s Thomas R. Proctor High School was hit by a bullet Oct. 25, parents wondered why the district didn’t begin a lockdown at nearby schools or make a robocall to parents.

That’s what school board member Michele Mandia, speaking on a teleconference line, told fellow board members, administrators and members of the Utica City Police Department at a special meeting last week about the incident.

The bullet struck a school bus with students onboard in the high school parking lot around 2:20 p.m. after most students had gone home.

Police believe the bus was an unintended target, but they 
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Districts Still Working Out Lead Fixes

More than a year after school districts tested the lead-concentration levels of school water sources, some districts are still fixing fountains or permanently removing them from use.

After dozens of water sources tested above state standards – a mirror of federal EPA limits – at schools across the region, officials shut off access to contaminated sources and offered students access to bottled water.

In the year since the results came in, districts have replaced faucets, pipes and entire drinking fountains. They have placed “non-drinking” signs above sinks in science labs and bathrooms and have removed entire fountains that were deemed not worth fixing.
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SFMI Board & Conference Planning Meeting
November 13 | Albany 

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December 5-6 | Latham

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SFMI Critical Issues Summit
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NJSBGA/NSPMA Dual Conference
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