Ten educators from the Lower Hudson Valley will serve on a "blue ribbon commission" that will consider new ways for future students to earn a high school diploma in New York state other than by passing Regents exams.
The state Education Department released the names Tuesday of 64 people, mostly educators, who will serve on the commission, which is due to begin meeting next month.
The commission's charge is to consider what a New York high school graduate should know and be able to do − and then to develop ways to measure students' abilities that go beyond standardized tests. The project has been a priority of the state Board of Regents, which makes education policy, but was put on the backburner during the pandemic.
At a regional meeting in Harrison in early 2020, many educators said it was past time to consider new ways to measure student achievement. Right now, most students need to pass five Regents exams and a set of course requirements to graduate.
“Our review of the state’s graduation measures is about ensuring all students are provided with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in the way that best suits them," said Regents Chancellor Lester Young. "To create equity, we must be able to take all young people from where they are and bring them to where they want to be so their dreams can be fulfilled. This work is not about lowering standards, it’s about making sure the standards work for all our state’s students."
State officials have said they are looking to supplement Regents exams with new ways to assess students and not to replace them.
The commission is scheduled to make recommendations to the Board of Regents in 2024.
Commission members from the region include:
Stephen Beovich, superintendent of Mount Pleasant-Cottage School District in Pleasantville, which serves students with emotional disabilities, autism and cognitive disabilities.
Alexandria Connally, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the Nyack School District.
Kim Fontana, superintendent of the Pawling Central School District.
Alprentice McCutchen, a social studies teacher at New Rochelle High School, who also consults with schools around the country about project-based learning.
David Mumper, resource specialist for Southern Westchester BOCES/Hudson Valley Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network.
Edward Placke, executive director of Green Chimneys, a nonprofit in Brewster that provides educational, residential and clinical services to children with special needs.
Edwin Quezada, superintendent of the Yonkers Public Schools.
Linda Romano, career and technical education/health teacher for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District.
Sagario Rudecindo-O'Neill, assistant superintendent of instruction and student support for the Beacon City School District.
The state Education Department received more than 400 applications to serve on the commission, officials said.
The commission's overall membership includes 11 superintendents, 10 principals, eight teachers, seven people from higher education, four people from business, four students and three parents.
The commission will be chaired by Regents Vice Chancellor Josephine Finn of Monticello and Regent Judith Chin of Queens. Regent Frances Wills − who represents Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess and Orange counties on the board − and Regent Aramina Ferrer of the Bronx will also serve on the commission.
Officials said that separate parent and student advisory committees will be formed that will meet with the commission on a regular basis.
The state Education Department began holding regional meetings around the state in early 2020 to collect feedback on the need for new graduation measures. Virtual meetings were later held. The information gathered will be used by the commission, along with national research about the most effective ways to measure student achievement.
Gary Stern is a veteran editor/writer covering K-12 education in the Hudson Valley. Reach him at email@example.com. Twitter: @garysternNY.
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This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: NY graduation requirements to be reimagined by commission