The online option for Driver Education will soon be coming to an end. As of July 1, 2023, NYS is removing it as an option for our young drivers. The past couple of years with Covid allowances have given many students access to all of the safety information from an online course offered through CABOCES.
The online course was set up to provide all of the course information through instruction and was in combination with the Driving Log sheet and Parental Signature sheet to satisfy NYS requirements to earn the Driver Education Certificate. The online option has allowed many students who would not have been able to attend in person to be exposed to the safety and maneuvering of the roadways by our young drivers.
Due to NYS no longer allowing the online option, CABOCES will no longer have it available to our students. I do plan to reach out and share my concerns for the limited in person availability. I am still looking forward to the in-person Driver Education that will be offered in districts throughout the Summer, I hope that each and every student that has the desire to take the course has the opportunity to do so.
If anybody has any questions as these changes are being made, please feel free to contact any of us at Distance Learning.
Clay Nolan: email@example.com
Justin Shumaker: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Scott: email@example.com
Ed Cruz: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathy Dunkelman: email@example.com
By: Lisa Scott, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Whenever I help a school librarian determine what books should be culled from a collection, the biography selection usually takes a large hit. When a book is written after a person passes away (Daniel Boone, George Washington Carver, Ronald Reagan, etc.), the content is still relevant. Popular books featuring teen idols, celebrities and athletes encourage students to check out a book to learn more but the shelf life for these books is limited because idols and celebrities change in appearance and careers, and athletes get traded and eventually retire. Now that webpages and social media can easily be accessed to find the latest news, biography sections have become reduced in size. When a teacher’s objective is to have students learn about an individual’s achievements and contributions to society, WorldBook offers a great alternative to print books and the Internet.
Free to all CA BOCES component school districts, WorldBook is easily accessed through the school library website or resources.caboces.org. Using the generic username and password for the school (check with your school librarian or Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org if you don’t know it), students can search biographies by Nationality/Ethnicity, Area of Work/Interest, Gender, or Time Period. For students with IEPs, text size may be increased and voice choices for reading the article aloud are options. Build vocabulary skills by double-clicking any word to have it defined. For ELLs, the text may be translated too. Students will find the interface easy to use and images may be printed for projects.
Teachers wishing to introduce students to research will appreciate WorldBooks’s How To Do Research guide which includes an introduction to research skills, planning research, conducting research, evaluating resources, organizing data, and presenting a project. Citations for articles are provided for WorldBook articles but a citation builder is included to help students cite work from other resources. If you are looking for articles that connect to curriculum standards, the tab is easy to locate. With this being the month of March, type in St. Patrick to learn about his writings and popular legends associated with him.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
During the afternoon of Friday, February 3rd the participants of the CABOCES Technology Coordinator and Integrator Forum & Technology Solutions paid a visit down to the Olean JCC campus to view their new eSports spaces. The group was led through JCC’s new program by three of the main people responsible for eSports there at the Olean campus:
After that session, Johnathan and Kassandra led the group over to the ‘old train station’ building that has been wonderfully re-created into the JCC eSports arena. All of the visitors were able to watch some of the students competing and had time to explore this brand new arena. The front main area has three sets of tables with 4-5 gaming laptops each and a big screen TV with a perched viewing area. The middle section has an enclosed area where the students were able to project their game on the front TV and then there’s a back room with ‘plug and play’ space.
Jonathan is openly trying to recruit new eSport athletes for this upcoming 2023-2024 school year. JCC is also open to working with area high schools and their eSports program. Some of the opportunities that they can offer to high school students are games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Valorant, Rocket League, and Super Smash Brother Ultimate.
Chris Swanson is the Head Coach for Esports, JCC’s first season playing Overwatch 2 started Friday February 17th and runs through March 31st. If you have students interested in more information about JCC’s eSports program, feel free to reach out to Johnathan Kowal firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716.376.7535. If you have an eSports team and would like to see about connecting with another CABOCES area team, please reach out to Karen Insley at email@example.com.
By: Mark Carls, CA BOCES Professional Development
The Science of Reading says that reading comprehension (RC) is the product of decoding (D) and language comprehension (LC), or RC = D x LC. Learning to read for understanding requires sounding out and recognizing words—decoding—but it also requires making meaning of the words and sentences we hear—encoding, and language comprehension.
In agreement with Science of Reading research, there are five main components that are fundamental to reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. The Science of Reading research has shown that a child's brain needs to first know the different sounds in spoken language and then be able to connect these sounds to written letters and then blend the sounds to make words (decoding).
The Science of Reading is a vast, interdisciplinary body of scientifically based research about reading and issues related to reading and writing. This research has been conducted over the last five decades across the world, and it is derived from thousands of studies conducted in multiple languages.
By: Tessa Levitt, CA BOCES Professional Development
NYSED recently released Frequently Asked Questions Related to Investigations for the Elementary- and Intermediate-level Science Tests (nysed.gov). Feel free to read through this document at your convenience.
As we learn more from NYSED, experience these Investigations, and encounter new questions, feedback, and ideas from local teachers and administrators, our understanding may shift slightly, causing tweaks* to our recommendations. I assure you that our recommendations come from the most professional judgement and serious considerations - and seem to be very much in congruence with NYSED's objectives.
The remainder of this article will be notes on the NYSED FAQs based on questions I’ve received, conversations I’ve had with both teachers and school leaders, and based on specifics for the C-A region. Links are provided to CA BOCES-made documents*. Upcoming workshops, directly related to the Required Investigations are listed at the end.
*CA BOCES Grade Level Alignment
The Elementary Investigation, "Cloud in a Bottle", is aligned with Grade 3 standards. However, it may be found that this Investigation will be too complex, and the reading level too high, for Grade 3 students. Within the Grade 5 Advancing STEM kit, "Models of the Earth", students do an activity exploring cloud formation, as they model how Earth's spheres interact (hydrosphere, geosphere, and atmosphere). Following this unit would be a great opportunity to administer the "Cloud in a Bottle" Investigation to Grade 5 students, instead of in Grade 3.
In addition to the CA BOCES Record-Keeping document, it is important to keep the Student Answer Packets and Rubric for each Investigation for each student. Although none of these items will be sent to NYSED (they will all be kept within the school building), these documents would be a good formative assessment artifact for any teacher that will be working with that student as they progress towards their summative NYS Science Assessment. These documents should all be sent with a student that may transfer out of the school district as evidence of completion, but also to assist any future teachers and districts in identifying student proficiency and/or remediation needs. These documents may be kept electronically.
Districts may put all of the Student Answer Packets into one booklet to follow the student for 3 years. It would be wise to also add the Record sheet at the front or back of this booklet. By next fall, CA BOCES print shop should have a form that streamlines the ordering process for these booklets.
Purpose of the Investigations
The purpose of the NYS Required Science Investigations is to provide another mode of formative assessment in science. In the past teachers have not had a built-in opportunity to identify areas of weakness in science until the NYS summative assessments (such as the Grade 4 or Grade 8 Science Assessments). The Required Investigations now give teachers an opportunity to determine if their students are meeting some of the NYS Science Learning Standards that are not as easy to assess on a written exam. Differently than the old standards, the new science standards ask students to use the skills that scientists use. A skills-based activity is the best way to assess this, as opposed to a written exam. Even so, the logistics of standardizing such a task are complicated across a very diverse state, and so the culminating, summative assessment for science is still a written exam, that will include questions that lean into assessing the students' understanding of such science skills. In addition to providing teachers with vital information to student growth in science, the Required Investigations also provide us with an opportunity to better prepare our students for the summative assessment: We know that 15% of the NYS Grade 5 and Grade 8 Science Exams will be related to these Investigations. Within our locus of control is the knowledge to prepare our students for a portion of that exam.
NYSED continues to recommend that these Investigations are administered as a classroom activity by their teacher as the students are learning the related content. The Required Investigations are not a test, but a set of activities to assure student hands-on experience in science and allow formative assessment of science skills at multiple grade levels. Please make sure that students (and teachers and you!) do not take on undue angst over these activities! They should be fun as students get to be active in their learning and figuring out their own understanding of our natural world.
Modifying NYSED Investigations Documents
A common question from local teachers has been about modifying student documents: Modifications can definitely be made to benefit the student as long as the integrity of the question is not lost. If modifications are to be made to the Student Directions or Student Answer Packets, teachers may do this prior to printing these materials for students. Some examples of modifying the documents:
Scaffolding and Accommodations for Students
Another common question is how much scaffolding, assistance, and support can be provided during these Investigations: Teacher assistance is encouraged, welcomed, and totally allowed. If it is something that a teacher would normally do as they taught a typical science lesson, they are welcome to do so during the Investigations. Teachers must keep in mind that although it may appear the vocabulary used in these Investigations is above their students, the wording comes from the NYS Science Learning Standards and could appear on the Grade 5 Science Assessment. Teachers can define or replace words in the student documents but will want to make sure their students are learning those words for the long-term. Other assistance that has been mentioned and is allowed, as long as the students are still authentically doing the science themselves, and fulfilling the objectives of the Investigation (teachers should regularly refer to the Rubric to decide this):
Accelerated Middle School Students
NYSED notes that all middle school students, including accelerated science students, are expected to complete all four Intermediate Required Investigations. This note reinforces the importance that Intermediate students should be exposed to all of the Grades 6-8 NYS Science Learning Standards at some point during their middle school years. Districts have often struggled with how to provide the opportunity for students to accelerate in science.
Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-376-8285) if you would like to discuss the best way for your district to do this. As food for thought, my professional opinion would be to wait until the students are in 9th or 10th grade to double-up on their Regents science courses. If these are students that plan to take AP science courses in the future, two Regents courses will be good training to prepare them for that workload, and they will still have the full foundation of the middle school science program to support them.
Resources and Time for Science
Finally, NYSED fully supports more resources being put towards science instruction. These Investigations must be allotted appropriate time for the students to fully engage in the science skills being assessed, in addition to science instruction beyond these Investigations to support good science learning. Supplies and equipment, including some consumable materials, are also necessary to complete these Investigations. Thank you for investing in the initial construction of CA BOCES kits for this purpose. A notification will be sent as soon as the kits are complete. If teachers want to administer an Investigation before this time, please use the attached "Teachers Materials Lists" to identify items you may need to borrow before our kits are released.
News about HS Science Assessments from NYSED
Free Summer STEM Opportunities for Students
Appalachian STEM Academy at Oak Ridge is a residential, hands-on learning experience for 7th-9th grade students, as well as high school teachers in STEM-related fields. In an indoor/outdoor research environment, students will engage in creative problem solving as they design models and conduct short-term research projects alongside internationally recognized scientists. The application deadline is February 10th.
National Youth Science Camp is a residential science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) program designed to honor and challenge 11th-12th grade students by providing them with opportunities to engage with STEAM professionals and participate in exciting outdoor activities. The application deadline is February 28th.
On our CA BOCES workshop calendar are Required Science Investigations sessions over the next few months (March 16, April 12, and July 12). Principals are encouraged to attend with their teacher teams. For the weekend warrior, there is also a workshop at Buffalo State on March 4.
To learn more about the new NYS P-12 Science Learning Standards, please join the session on March 1.
Please contact me (email@example.com or 716-376-8285) for work with Teacher-Administrator teams to come up with the best solution for Required Investigations implementation at your district.
By: Kelli Grabowski, CA BOCES Learning Resources
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