For the first time since 2001, the United States has new federal
legislation governing education.
On Dec. 10, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student
Succeeds Act (ESSA), replacing the No Child Left Behind Act
(NCLB). The bipartisan bill passed both houses of Congress by wide
margins earlier this month. This came after three failed attempts
to replace NCLB since it expired in 2007.
According to news reports, the new law serves as a framework –
with provisions addressing school accountability, testing,
learning standards, and interventions for low-performing schools –
and gives states and local school districts greater control and
discretion when it comes to the specifics of how these provisions
will be implemented.
Transitioning to ESSA will not happen overnight.
Starting in the 2017-18 school year, states will be required to
have accountability plans for schools. These plans will need to
include a number of academic factors (e.g., graduation rates, test
scores, English-language proficiency) AND at least one additional
factor such as school climate or access to advanced coursework.
When reporting on these factors, states will have to break down
the results by student subgroups, including different ethnicities,
students with special needs, and students with economic
disadvantages. In addition, while NCLB set national goals for
learning, the new law allows states to set their own goals for
things like proficiency on exams, graduation rates and closing
It is unclear how this new law will impact changes to New York’s
education system that are being considered. This fall, the state
Education Department sought feedback on the state’s learning
standards, and just last week, Governor Cuomo announced the
recommendations of his Common Core Task Force, which include
overhauling the state’s learning standards and assessments.
Key things to know about the new education law
• Students will continue to be tested in grades 3-8 in ELA and
math and once in high school, and states must continue to break
down data based on a set of subgroups.
• States will have more discretion to determine how to weigh
tests, whether and how to evaluate teachers, and how to turn
around low-performing schools. However, the new law lays out
guidelines for state interventions in low-performing
schools/districts or schools with low graduation rates.
• Just as under NCLB, the new law doesn’t require states to adopt
any specific set of academic standards.
• Schools will still be required to have a 95 percent
participation rate for state exams; however, it will be up to the
states to decide how this factors into school accountability. In
addition, rules or regulations relating to test refusal or
“opt-outs” are left to the states.
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On Oct. 7 New York became the 19th state to require that hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) be taught to all senior high school students. The Board of Regents adopted the amendment to the Commissioner of Education’s regulations which go into effect immediately. The move was applauded by the American Heart Association (AHA), the American Red Cross (ARC), members of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) community and citizens who worked for 10 years to implement the instruction. Hands-only CPR instruction must be provided at least once in a student’s high
school career and will be a requirement for graduation. Anyone
providing CPR is protected by the “Good Samaritan” law as are the
instructors and school districts. The law provides immunity from
liability to any “Good Samaritan” who voluntarily, and without
monetary compensation, gives emergency assistance to a person who is
unconscious, ill or injured. (Article 30 Section 3000a of the NYS Public Health Law)
The Liberty Central School District is currently determining how to best implement hands-only CPR and AED instruction in the high school. Considerations include where to put the instruction in the existing curriculum, who will provide the instruction and what equipment is needed to meet this new mandate. Instruction must be based on a nationally recognized program that uses the most current guidelines established by the AHA. The program is expected to take from two to four classroom periods to complete. Since CPR cards will not be issued to students following instruction, any certified teacher or CPR instructor can teach the material. Several low-cost and no-cost options are available for
schools to obtain the necessary equipment to provide CPR instruction. Schools may purchase a complete kit with 10 inflatable manikins and other necessary equipment for $625. The kit can be used to instruct from 10 to 20 students in one session. Cooperating with local emergency medical services and existing CPR instructor networks could significantly reduce the cost to the district.
When a cardiac arrest occurs, the victim’s heart stops pumping blood and their breathing ceases. Performing chest compressions will force blood to circulate through the body. As the chest is compressed, the lungs inflate and deflate ensuring that the blood contains oxygen. A study commissioned by the American Heart Association and released in 2008 showed that hands-only CPR is effective and easy to perform. CPR must be started within 4 to 6 minutes to keep the vital internal organs like the brain alive. Chest compressions alone seldom restart a stop heart. Automated external defibrillators can be used to shock some victims so their heart returns to a normal rhythm. These devices are very safe and will only shock victims who would benefit from the treatment.
The “Chain of Survival” refers to the steps needed to give a cardiac arrest victim the best chance of survival. The steps are shown in the illustration above and include:
- Immediate recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
- Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with an emphasis on chest compressions
- Rapid defibrillation
- Effective advanced life support
- Integrated post-cardiac arrest care
The first three links in this chain can only be provided by people trained in CPR and the use of an AED. If these links are broken, the chance for a
cardiac arrest victim to survive is greatly decreased. Ralph
Bressler, an Emergency Medical Technician and CPR instructor for 30
years stated, “I have performed CPR over a hundred times and have
only two ‘saves’. In both of those cases CPR was started immediately
by a family member who continued this life-saving procedure until
advanced care arrived.In many other cases CPR was not being performed when the ambulance crew arrived making a ‘save’ very unlikely.”
Resources for Hands-only CPR
Keep the beat, Learn Hands-Only CPR video
A referee at Liberty High School collapsed during the junior varsity soccer game on Friday, Oct. 2. A coach immediately called 911 while a bystander and another official performed CPR and continued chest compressions until paramedics arrived. The referee was then transported by ambulance to Orange Regional Medical Center and has since been transferred to another hospital for further treatment.
“While we applaud the quick responses of bystanders that helped ensure prompt medical attention, we also know that witnessing something like this can be traumatic for students. So we’re making sure they have someone to talk to if they need support. Students or their parents may request a meeting with any of our school guidance counselors who are ready to help if needed,” said Middle/High School Principal Jack Strassman.
For more information, please contact Liberty Middle/High School Guidance Director Molly Messina by e-mail or phone at 845-292-5400 ext. 2006.
Imagine walking into a classroom where a second grade student
is working on third grade reading comprehension while the
classmate next to her brushes up on first grade math skills. Look
further and you see 15 students working independently at their own
pace while five others meet with their teacher for small group
Is this level of classroom differentiation possible? It is for
Liberty Elementary School, who implemented a data-driven blended
learning model using iPads for the 2015-16 school year.
During the school’s Sept. 16 open house event, parents and
guardians learned more about eSpark, an app-based program that
Liberty’s elementary school teachers use to personalize and
“Education isn’t one size fits all,” Assistant Principal
Victoria Curry said. “Not all students learn in the same way or at
the same pace. With eSpark, our teachers use iPad technology to
provide students with engaging, individualized lessons.”
And the teachers couldn’t be more excited to integrate eSpark’s
educational apps into their classrooms.
“What’s special about eSpark is that is it solely made up of
apps that have been thoroughly examined and approved by former
teachers and are individualized for students’ learning based on
NWEA test results,” Mrs. Curry said. “The apps are also selected
to maximize student engagement, and students get to rate the apps
to give feedback to eSpark.”
Teachers will use eSpark educational apps as a way to
supplement their lesson plans. In the classroom, students will log
into their eSpark account for 20 minutes at least two times a week
to supplement a lesson.
When students log into the eSpark app they are guided through a
series of quests – each aligned to a Common Core standard. After
learning the new concept via video, students dive into a series of
activities, games, videos and/or podcasts that help them practice
and reinforce the concept. At the end of the quest students are
asked to create a video to answer a specific question about the
quest. Each quest includes a pre-quiz and post quiz to measure the
students growth and understanding of the material. Teachers can
monitor individual student’s progress and identify areas of
strength and development.
For more information about eSpark, visit
https://www.esparklearning.com/ or contact your child’s teacher.
Beginning on September 8, 2015, Liberty Central School District will serve free meals – both lunch and breakfast – to all students, regardless of their income status.
The district recently joined a national program called the Community Eligibility Option which waives meal fees for all children regardless of income status. The program is funded by the federal government and administered by the state at no cost to the district.
Already, 65 percent students qualify for free- or reduced-price meals due to their income status. Many of those who do not qualify fall just beyond income limits. Previously, families had to fill out and return forms to qualify for the meals program. Now, the district can waive all meal charges for all students. Parents do not need to take any action to participate. Students can continue to purchase extra food items, such as snacks, for a fee.
“The program accomplishes two things,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Silver said in an interview with The Times Herald Record. “First, it will provide free meals to all district students, but it will also remove the stigma for those students who are in need of financial assistance to purchase food.”
If you have any questions please contact our district’s Food Service Director, Dara Smith at 845-292-5400 ext. 2040.
With prom season in full bloom and graduation just around the corner, Liberty High School provided a direct look at the dangers that can come with getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Student volunteers of Liberty High School paired up with local public safety officials to conduct a mock car accident in the school’s parking lot on Tuesday, May 26. The event included a real-life look at the aftermath of a two-car crash after one of the drivers had been drinking.
The mock-accident scene, which was located in the high school parking lot, told the tale of a head-on collision between a packed car of prom-bound teens and another vehicle. The cries and screams of the victims echoing through the parking lots and the convergence of numerous emergency vehicles including fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars drove home the significance of the simulation – drinking and driving kills and speed kills.
The simulation, coordinated by Assistant High School Principal Anthony Sinacore, takes place every other year.
“What was reenacted is too often a reality and we don’t want to lose a single student in such a tragic, senseless way,” Mr. Sinacore said.
The simulation included emergency personnel from J. C. Young Hose Company,
Swan Lake and White Sulphur Springs Fire Departments, Grahamsville and Liberty Ambulance Squads as well as the Liberty Police Department.
Nine students participated in the reenactment with firefighters, police officers, paramedics and a coroner on hand to help create the scene.
Assistant Chief John Nicholas helped lead the reenactment and said the goal was to show all of the students the situation after someone elects to drive while impaired.
These types of reenactments are popular during prom season and near the end of graduation, to reinforce that students understand the consequences that can come with drinking and driving.
In order to stage the crash, Liberty Police and Fire Department strategically smashed two cars to make it look as though they had been damaged in an accident. Firefighters, doctors, nurses and paramedics acted out the crash as if they were being called to an actual crash scene. Officer Devin Brust, the Liberty Central School District’s School Resource Officer, gave the driver a sobriety test.