On November 30, 2016, NYSASCD collaborated with ASCD and Capital Region BOCES to hold a professional development event at Union College that focused on mental health issues. Eric Duncan from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) led the training on the Teach to Lead Logic Model. Approximately 15 teams of educators from all across New York State attended the one-day event, which included a root cause analysis approach to mental health challenges. Each group left the symposium with a concrete action plan and list of “next steps.”
One highlight of the event included a visit by New York State Commissioner of Education, MaryEllen Elia. Commissioner Elia emphasized the importance of mental health and the need to serve “the whole child.” In June, Commissioner Elia announced the release of guidance on a $100 million State Foundation Aid set-aside to fund Community Schools. The 2016-17 Enacted State Budget created a $100 million set-aside within Foundation Aid for Community Schools programs in 225 high-need school districts. Districts will use the new funding to provide students and their families with the support students need to ensure readiness to learn a rigorous curriculum; support connections between schools and community organizations that offer enrichment or social/health services; and encourage the use of school sites as community resources. NYSASCD is very appreciative that the Commissioner was able to attend this event and share some special words of wisdom with us.