WXXI AM News

State Education Commissioner addresses local school administrators and teachers

Jul 13, 2017

New York's Education Commissioner told a gathering of school, district, and BOCES administrators that while the state has made progress in areas like curriculum and assessments, much more work remains to be done.

MaryEllen Elia recapped some of the accomplishments of the state education department during her two-year tenure.

That includes a plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.

"We've been working for over a year and a half, over 140 meetings across the state, met with many, many groups of people, got a lot of feedback and input.  It's been out for comment, and we're just about getting ready to close it up," she said.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia speaking at the Greece Marriot before Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Regional Leadership Academy
Credit Alex Crichton

Elia says changes implemented from the education department have been occurring in a slow, methodical manner the past two years.

"Standardized tests, we're changing the standards themselves.  We'll be developing over the next two, three years new assessments to match the new standards, with our teachers.  We done a lot of shifts," she said.

As for Rochester City Schools, Elia says she's anxious to see what progress can be made in the Rochester City School District during the second year of superintendent Barbara Deane Williams' tenure.

The scores last year needed a lot of work.

"Barbara Deane Williams, the superintendent here, has been very focused with her staff and what she can do particularly for those lower performing schools to support them.  And I think they've done some very good work, and let's hope we see that when we look at the assessments across the board," she said.

Elia says there are some very successful schools in this area that have done some great work, and it's important to identify the models that have been successful and duplicate them.

During her address to various school administrators and teachers, Elia told them they should be doing the things they need to do to get their students to meet the standards.