Tag Archives: graduation

Transitioning to Life After High School

Parents/Caregivers of Middle School and High School students with an IEP or 504 plan: these forums on graduation requirements and transitioning are for you!

The first, Pathways To Graduation, on February 16th is very critical for you to learn the options that lead to a diploma or a certificate.

Kingston Transition Planning Parent Series 2016

Forum details:

Kingston City School District in collaboration with the Kingston Special Education Parent Group cordially invite you to attend a series of free information sessions on important topics affecting students who are planning for their transition to life after high school.

Held in the High School AUDION (Room 517) from 6:30pm-8:30pm

Session 1: Tuesday, February 16th (Snow Date: Wednesday, February 17th)  Pathways to Graduation
This presentation will offer parents an overview on the requirements that need to be met in order to graduate with a diploma as well as a review of the different types of diploma options available for students with disabilities. An introduction to a new exiting credential of work readiness will also be shared.

Session 2: Tuesday, March 15th (Snow Date: Wednesday, March 16th)  Understanding the NYS Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential
This presentation is especially recommended for parents of children with an IEP in 8th grade or higher, to learn about the requirements for an important exiting credential that students can earn upon exit from school which recognizes a student’s preparation skills and demonstration of knowledge and experience needed for entrylevel
employment opportunities. The Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential which is awarded only to students that have taken the NYS Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) will also be reviewed. (*Please note this session is not applicable to students with a 504 Plan.)

Session 3: Tuesday, April 12th (Snow Date: Wednesday, April 13) Preparing for the Transition to College
This presentation is designed to assist parents of young adults with an IEP or 504 Plan in understanding the differences that can be expected as students move from high school to a college setting. Topics include: laws which govern services at the college level; the process to access academic accommodations, disability documentation requirements; the changing role of parents; and tips on what students can do now to gain the
necessary skills needed for a successful college experience.

Session 4: Tuesday, May 17th  Transition Planning for Families – Preparing for Life after High School
This presentation will provide parents with information on the school to post-school transition planning process.  Families are essential partners with the school district and collaboration with the Committee on Special Education (CSE) team is extremely important to fully understand considerations for successful career development and transition to adulthood. The workshop will help parents to think about: your child today, your child in the future and the support required to help your child achieve his/her long-term goals.

Act now regarding Regents low pass waiver

I shared a post yesterday from One Mom’s Journey Through Education Reform regarding a new regulation to allow special education students to apply for a waiver if they have taken a Regents exam twice and failed it with a 52 to 54.

Today Christine has a specific action requesting everyone to help by submitting comments to NYSED regarding an amendment to the regulation.  Please take action as requested.

From One Mom’s Journey Through Education Reform:

Please take the time to cut and paste these comments and send to the email address:


Members of NY STOP GRAD HST respectfully request members of NYS Regents to vote Yes to amendment ID. NO.EDU-40-15-00007-P; Regarding Students With Disabilities Diploma Requirements.

Specifically we request a vote during the upcoming December 2015 meeting in order to allow year 2016 potential graduates additional safety nets to successfully meet their graduation requirements.

Currently there are three safety net options available to students to graduate with a local diploma;

  1. Low Pass Safety Net Option: 5 required Regents exams with a score of 55 or better.
  2. Regents Competency Test (RCT) Safety Net Option: This option, which is available to students who entered grade 9 prior to September 2011, allows a student with a disability to receive a local diploma based on a passing score on the RCT if student does not achieve a score of 55 or higher on the Regents examination.
  3. Compensatory Safety Net Option: For students not relying on RCTs, a student with a disability may receive a local diploma if he/she scores between 45-54 on one or more of the five required Regents exams, other than the English language arts (ELA) or mathematics, but achieves a score of 65 or higher on another required Regents exam which can compensate for the lower score. A score of 65 or higher on a single examination may not be used to compensate for more than one examination for which a score of 45-54 is earned.

We support and are seeking your support as well regarding approval of the below amendment which includes an additional safety net option for a score of less than 55 for a student with a disability to earn a local diploma;

(*Note: While this appeal option may be important for some students, data shows that in the 2010 cohort, there were only 258 students with disabilities who did not graduate who received a test score between 52 and 54 on any Regents exam; this statement requires clarification as students still had the RCT option in that cohort).

-score up to three points below a score of 55 on a Regents exam after at least two attempts, and attain at least a 65 course average in the subject area of the Regents examination under appeal;
– provide evidence that they have received academic intervention services by the school in the subject area of the Regents examination under appeal;
– have an attendance rate of at least 95 percent for the school year during which the student last took the required Regents examination under appeal;
– attain a course average in the subject area of the Regents examination under appeal that meets or exceeds the required passing grade by the school and is recorded on the student’s official transcript with grades achieved by the student in each quarter of the school year; and
– the student is recommended for an exemption to the passing score on the required Regents examination under appeal by his or her teacher or department chairperson in the subject area of such examination.  Appeals by students with disabilities of a score of less than 55 under the proposed amendment would be reviewed by the same committee that reviews all other Regents appeals.

The final average for the waived Regents exam may be excluded in the calculation for the final class average, if it will bring that score below a passing grade.

Crocodile Tears

“At 6 p.m. on a Thursday night, I come home from a meeting, my phone rings, and it’s Merryl Tisch,” Ms. De Vito said. “She said, ‘I received your letter,’ and she said, ‘It made me want to cry.’”

This is quoted from this NY Times Article that describes the new regulation to allow SPED students to apply for a waiver if they have taken a Regents exam twice and failed it with a 52 to 54.

Click here to read the rest of the post from One Mom’s Journey Through Education Reform.

The Regents tests and Common Core are failing our kids and actually increasing the number of students who do not graduate.  Crocodile tears and minor changes are not what is needed.

As Christine writes (I actually know the blogger from One Mom’s Journey Through Education Reform – she is an amazing advocate for changes needed regarding high school graduation requirements and the Regents tests and not just for special education students but for all students):

Tisch is throwing away a generation of New York State citizens with the punitive graduation requirements approved under her tenure.  It is time for a reinstatement of multiple pathways to a meaningful local diploma and end to high stakes testing as the sole path to a New York State High School diploma.


Algebra 1 Common Core Regents test – teacher says “Toughest Algebra exam I have ever seen!”

The Algebra 1 Common Core regents test was administered* on Wednesday June 17, 2015 and the report on the test is not good.

An email from a New York State eighth grade teacher states that ‘this was the toughest Algebra exam I have ever seen’ and explains that the test was ‘challenging’ because some of the questions were not part of the curriculum (what was supposed to be taught) or were excessively long or complex.  Read the letter for the details – portions of the letter are in italics below.

Some eighth grade students in the Kingston City School District who took the Algebra 1 regents test reported that the test was ‘difficult’.  My daughter thought it was a little harder than the two practice tests she took to prepare for the regents.  Many felt that it was unfair due to the curve applied to the grade and I agree with the students.  Reports that I heard indicated that students left the test crying and feeling like ‘failures’ and then when they received their grades after the test the crying and feelings of failure repeated even though the curve was explained to them (most of the eighth grade students ended up receiving a score in the 70’s).  Remember that these are ‘honors’ students – eight grade students who are taking the course a year early so these are not ‘average’ or ‘struggling’ students.  If this is what the honors students face, I can’t even imagine what the students who were taking the Algebra 1 course under the normal track (in 9th grade) or those who were retaking the regents test to try and get credit for graduation felt when they received their grade on their report card with no explanation of the difficulty of the test, possible unfairness of some questions or the outrageous curve applied to the grades!

The biggest problem according to the letter and according to what I heard reported locally was the curve.  It brings up lower-performing students, as you would expect, but it also brought DOWN the score for the highest-performing students!

Additionally, students were met with the toughest curve I’ve ever seen on a Regents exam as well. Typically you think of a curve as something that will add a few points onto every student’s exam to account for the difficulty level of that exam. All Regents exams have some version of a curve or another, and while this curve did help the lower-performing students, it also HURT the highest-performing students. For example, a student that knew 94% of the exam received a grade of 93. A student that knew 86% of the exam received an 84. When you look at the class as a whole, only two students met the “85 or above” that they were striving for all year long.

Having their grade pushed DOWN can be very detrimental to an HONORS student!

  • In Kingston if an honors student does not achieve a grade of 85 or above in a course, they can not continue in the honors level course of that subject the next year!
  • If students are working for a ‘Regents with HONORS’ designation on their graduation diploma, they must have a computed average of 90 or better on the 5 required regents tests.

As if that isn’t alarming enough, let’s look at the difference between a grade of a 70 and a grade of a 75. You may look at those two and think that they are just five points apart, right? Well the way the scale works, a student who knew just 47% of the material got a grade of a 70, while a student who knew 71% of the material got a 75. Therefore, a student who got the 75 may have actually gotten almost 25% more of the exam correct than the student who got the 70! This creates one of the worst bell curves I have ever seen.

Kingston parents, does this curve seem fair to you?  What will make a student want to go the extra mile and work harder if they get barely 5 percentage points more on the grade for getting 25% more of the answers correct?  Also note that in order for a student to ‘pass’ a regents test they have to achieve a scale score of 65 or proficiency level 3.  For this particular Algebra 1 test, a student only has to earn 30 out of 86 points to achieve the magic ‘proficiency’ level.  That is actually a raw percentage score of 35% but it is considered ‘passing’ and the student receives a grade of 65% on the test.  Does that sound like we are getting our students college-and-career-ready?  What is going on here?  On one hand we are penalizing our honors students and taking away points they have earned and on the other we are passing students who earned a raw percentage of 35% on the test.  Take a look for yourself at the Algebra 1 score conversion chart here.

The teacher who wrote the letter summarizes as follows:

Let me sum up what the last three paragraphs really say: the exam did a serious disservice to your child and will be reflected in their grade. It’s not a fair representation of what students knew, what they did all year, or what they were capable of. There is nothing that your son or daughter could have done to have been better prepared for this exam. Words cannot describe what an injustice this truly is to your child.

The regents tests are NOT secret like the New York State standardized tests for grades 3-8 so the tests are available to the public once the administration is completed.  The questions from the two parts of the Algebra 1 Common Core regents test are included below**.  Click on the links, part 1 and part 2, to see blog posts with the questions, answers and some explanations of the answers.

Please check out the test questions and answers.  Talk to some students who took the Algebra 1 Common Core regents test.  Talk to some math teachers – the regents tests are public and have no gag order.  If you agree that something is wrong with the Algebra 1 test, please join with other parents in talking to the Board of Regents and New York State legislators as something has to change!  The facebook group NY STOP GRAD HST is dedicated to dealing with issues that stop students from graduating such as failing the regents tests.  CLASS, Coalition for Legislative Action Supporting Students, is mobilizing parents to advocate with legislators for changes needed out of Albany.



*Prior to the 2014-2015 school year, the first high school regents math course was called Integrated Algebra.  With the introduction of common Core, the regents course became Algebra 1 and the first Algebra 1 Common Core regents test was administered last June 2014.  The test was given for the second time in January 2015 and the test on June 17, 2015 was the third time the Common Core version has been administered.  On the first two administrations of the algebra common core regents, students could take both tests and keep their higher grade with the Integrated Algebra grade being higher for most students.  Students who took Algebra 1 this year did not have the option of taking the Integrated Algebra regents test as well so the grade that they receive on the Algebra regents is the one they are stuck with unless they decide to take the regents test again.

**Algebra 1 Common Core regents test questions

Part 1 (multiple choice)

  1. The cost of airing a commercial on television is modeled by the function C(n) = 110n + 900, where n is the number of times the commercial is aired. Based on this model, which statement is true?
  2. The graph below represents a jogger’s speed during her 20-minute jog around her neighborhood.  Which statement best describes what the jogger was doing during the 9-12 minute interval of her jog?
  3. If the area of a rectangle is expressed as xˆ4 – 9yˆ2, then the product of the legnth and the width of the rectange could be expressed as
  4. Which table represents a function?
  5. Which inequality is represented in the graph below?
  6. Mo’s farm stand sold a total of 165 pounds of apples and peaches. She sold apples for $1.75 per pound and peaches for $2.50 per pound. If she made $33750, how many pounds of peaches did she sell?
  7. Morgan can start wrestling at age 5 in Division 1. He remains in that division until he next odd birthday when he is required to move up to the next division level. Which graph correctly represents this information.
  8. Which statement is not always true?
  9. The graph of the function f(x) = (x + 4)ˆ(1/2) is shown below:  The domain of the function is
  10. What are the zeroes of the function f(x) = xˆ2 – 13x – 30?
  11. Joey enlarged a 3-inch by 5-inch photograph on a copy machine. he enlarged it four times. The table below shows the area of the photograph after each enlargement.  What is the average rate of change of the area from the original photograph to the fourth enlargement, to the nearest tenth?
  12. Which equation(s) represent the graph below?                                            I. y = (x + 2)(x2 – 4x – 12)                                                                                              II. y = (x – 3)(x2 + x – 2)                                                                                            III. y = (x – 1)(x2 – 5x – 6)
  13. A laboratory technician studied the population growth of a colony of bacteria. He recorded the number of bacteria every other day, as shown in the partial table below.  Which function would accurately model the technician’s data?
  14. Which quadratic function has the largest maximum?
  15. If f(x) = 3ˆx and g(x) = 2x + 5, at which value of x is f(x) < g(x)?
  16. Beverly did a study this past spring using data she collected from a cafeteria. She recorded data weekly for ice cream sales and soda sales. Beverly found the line of best fit and the correlation coefficient as shown in the diagram below.
  17. The function V(t) = 1350(1.017)t represents the value V(t), in dollars, of a comic book t years after its purchase. The yearly rate of appreciation of the comic book is
  18. When directed to solve a quadratic equation by completing the square, Sam arrived at the equation (x – 5/2)ˆ2 = 13/4. Which equation could have been the original equation given to Sam?
  19. The distance a free falling object has traveled can be modeled by the equation d = 1/2 atˆ2, where a is acceleration due to gravity and t is the amount of time the object has fallen. What is t in terms of a and d?
  20. The table below shows the annual salaries for the 24 member of a professional sports team in terms of millions of dollars. [table omitted] The team signs an additional player to a contract worth 10 million dollars per year. Which statement about the median and the mean is true?
  21. A student is asked to solve the equation 4(3x – 1)2 – 17 = 83  The student’s solution to the problem starts as                                                          4(3x – 1)2 = 100                                                                                                                   (3x – 1)2 = 25                                                                                                           A correct next step in the solution of the problem is
  22. A pattern of blocks is shown below.  If the pattern continues, which formula(s) could be used to determine the number of blocks in the nth term?
  23. What are the solutions to the equation x2 – 8x = 24?
  24. Natasha is planning a school celebration and wants to have live music and food for everyone who attends. She has found a band that will charge her $750 and a caterer who will provide snacks and drinks for $2.25 per person. If her goal is to keep the average cost per person between $2.75 and $3.25, how many people, p, must attend?

Part 2 (open response)

25.  Graph the function y = |x – 3| on the set of axes below.  Explain how the graph of y = |x – 3| has changed from the related graph y = |x|.

26.  Alex is selling tickets to a school play. an adult ticket costs $6.50 and a student ticket costs $4.00. Alex sells x adult tickets and 12 student tickets. Write a function f(x), to represent how much money Alex collected from selling tickets.

27.  John and Sarah are each saving money for a car. The total amount of money John will save is given by the function F(x) = 60 + 5x. The total amount of money Sarah will save is given by the function g(x) = x2 + 46. After how many weeks, x, will they have the same amount of money? Explain how you arrived at your answer.

28.  If the difference (3x2 – 2x + 5) – (x2 +3x – 2) is multiplied by 1/2X2, what is the result, written in standard form.

29.  Dylan invested $600 in a savings account at 1.6% annual interest rate. He made no deposits or withdrawals on the account for 2 years. The interest was compounded annually. Find, to the nearest cent, the balance in the account after 2 years.

30.  Determine the smallest integer that makes -3x + 7 – 5x < 15 true.

31.  The residual plots from two different sets of bivariate data afe graphed below.  Explain, using evidence from graph A and graph B, which graph indicates that the model for the data is a good fit.

32.  A landscaper is creating a rectangular flower bed such that the width is half of the length. The area of the flower bed is 34 square feet. Write and solve an equation to determine the width of the flower bed, to the nearest tenth of a foot.


New York State Common Core Regents Exams Failing Students

New York State high school students sat for the Common Core ELA and Common Core Geometry Regents tests yesterday and reports are not sounding good.

I posted last week about the upcoming Common Core regents and that students needed to take the ELA and Algebra 1 Common Core regents because they are mandatory for earning a high school diploma.  This information is listed in the KHS student handbook and it is why I have been careful to talk about test REFUSAL specifically for grades 3-8.  The New York State Regents tests are most definitely high-stakes because graduation depends on them or at least on passing 1 math regent, 1 science regent, ELA regent, US History regent and Global History & Geography regent.  Click here to see the available diploma types and the credits/assessments required.  Note that the local diploma option is no longer available to general education students.

Some parents in other districts were shocked though when they received a letter informing them this weekend that the Common Core regents test was required for graduation since some parents had planned to refuse the Common Core regents tests.

According to letters from the New York State Education Department during transition periods to the new Common Core regents, the ‘old’ regents test and the new Common Core regents test will both be administered.  Students, depending upon when they began their high school course of study, may have the option to take both regents tests and take the higher grade but the clear expectation in the letters is that students will take both tests (pre-Common Core and Common Core version).

The Common Core regents tests have been problematic since they were introduced in June 2014 but haven’t gotten as much attention as the grade 3-8 state tests.  This year’s tests are seeming to continue the trend of problems and students/parents are wondering what to do?

This letter to the editor published on May 5, 2015 from Jose Rodriquez in Wappingers Falls reports his experience with the Algebra 1 Common Core regents introduced last June 2014.

When New York state first gave the Common Core math Regents, I was one of the students who had to take the exam. It was very difficult; even teachers were unhappy with it. Since it was the first time the state was administering the new test, the state made us take the regular algebra Regents exam. The state used us as test subjects to see how students would fare on the Common Core Regents. They used the old Regents exam as a fail-safe just in case a lot of students failed the Common Core, and whichever you scored highest on was the grade that counted.

I was one of many students who failed the Common Core Regents, but thankfully I passed the regular algebra Regents. Students have enough stress on them and this new curriculum is not helping. I know firsthand that students were dropping out because the Common Core Regents is really hard or they lacked confidence in their abilities. Dropout rates could continue to rise all across the state because of the governor’s education reform plan.

Comments after the second administration of the ELA Common Core regents in January 2015 were still generally negative about the test.

Comments I have seen posted on facebook about the Geometry Common Core regents (administered for the first time yesterday June 2) are resoundingly negative.  They report that students who were getting 90s in their Common Core Geometry class were devastated by the test.  It was really hard and included material that they had not learned in class.

Student Devin Vandermark gave permission to share his post:

Took the Common Core Geometry exam. I have a 98% in that class. In fact I help the other students in my class. This exam was a piece of work. I know I failed. I was not able to answer a lot of questions with 100% confidence or even sometimes answer anything at all. This exam made me upset, frustrated and really lowered how I feel going forward with these regents/state exams. I feel put down as a student in my geometry class.

A number of adults/parents attempted to reassure Devin with encouragement that he can take the upcoming ‘regular’ regents geometry test and take the higher of the two grades or that colleges will not look at the regents score.  However the general consensus seems to be that the Common Core regents tests are poorly worded and purposely confusing (sounds pretty much like the grade 3-8 tests) and designed to fail the majority of students.

If students, such as Devin, who would generally be considered to be ‘excelling’ in their classes can not pass the regents exams, how are our struggling students or the special education students going to pass?

I don’t know what ‘story’ NYSED is planning to tell as a result of this round of regents testing but the story emerging from a student/parent perspective is that the students are not failing the Common Core regents but the Common Core is failing the students.

Understanding CDOS and Ending the Silence – May 14, 2015

Kingston City School District and the Kingston Special Education Parent Group will be hosting two presentations on Thursday evening May 14, 2015.

Understanding the NYS Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential

Thursday May 14, 2015  6-7:30pm

M. Clifford Miller Middle School room #130

NAMI Ending the Silence

A presentation by Tina Lee of NAMI, for parents of Middle School and High school students

M. Clifford Miller Middle School room #132

RSVP for either presentation to Kingstonsepg@gmail.com

Click sped flyer May 14 2015 for details.


Many parents and teachers have concerns regarding the CDOS.

  • Open letter to the Members of the Board of Regents on CDOS – June 2014
  • High school diploma options too narrow – lohud May 11, 2015
  • KCSD board members Robin Jacobowitz and Danielle Guido both spoke at Meet the Candidates Night tonight of the fact that the CDOS, as it currently exists, is NOT an adequate replacement for a diploma for special education students who are not able to earn the score they need to ‘pass’ the Regents tests (which has been made even harder to achieve now by Common Core).