As St. Lawrence County schools struggle, state commission calls for longer school days and years, more accountability
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 9:15 am

As St. Lawrence County Schools cope with dwindling budgets and unfunded mandates, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has released a study suggesting longer school years, more consolidation and increased accountability.

In April 2012 the Governor established the New NY Education Reform Commission, a group of nationally recognized education, community, and business leaders to make recommendations for future reforms in education. Over the last seven months, the Commission held public hearings in each of the 10 regions of New York, received thousands of pages of testimony, and heard from more than 300 students, parents, educators and stakeholders.

The Preliminary Education Action Plan, presented to Cuomo and his cabinet by Commission Chair Richard Parsons, addresses every phase of a student’s education from the earliest days of pre-kindergarten through college and career. The Commission makes eight key recommendations:

Provide high quality full-day pre-kindergarten for our most at-risk students;

• Create statewide models for “Community Schools” that use schools as a community hub to improve access to public, non-profit, and private services/resources, like health and social services, for students and their families;

• Transform and extend the school day and year to expand quality learning time for students, especially in underserved communities;

• Improve the teacher and principal pipeline to recruit and retain the most effective educators;

• Build better bridges from high school to college and careers with early college high schools and career technical education;

• Utilize all available classroom technologies to empower educators to meet the needs of a diverse student population and engage students as active participants in their own learning;

• Pursue efficiencies such as district consolidation, high school regionalization and shared services to increase student access to educational opportunities; and

• Increase transparency and accountability of district leadership by creating a performance management system.

A Final Action Plan will be completed in Fall 2013, as the Commission continues to engage experts and the New York community to develop further recommendations to address the complex issues that impact and drive student success.