IEP Development – Demystifying the process

An informative presentation on Individualized Education Program (IEP) development will be held for all parents/caregivers/staff in the Kingston City School District on Wednesday February 11, 2015 6:00 – 7:30pm at the Cioni Building on Crown Street.

The presentation is being hosted by the Kingston Special Education Parent Group in partnership with the Kingston City School District and Resource Center for Accessible Living, Inc. (RCAL).

Please RSVP YES to if you are planning to attend.

Contact Kingston Special Education Parent Group with any questions about the presentation on facebook or

Photo: Please RSVP YES to!


Bennett School PTA calls for state test boycott

The Bennett School PTA in the Onteora School District is joining parents around the state in refusing the state tests this coming April.

PTA plans to boycott state education tests – Daily Freeman January 28, 2015

Dear Editor:

There is growing frustration with the amount of testing our young children are subjected to. I have noticed a significant loss of instruction time, an increased level of stress in the classroom and a poor message to our children about the importance of tests.

The average fourth-grade student is 9 years old and is required by the state Department of Education to prepare for three state exams in the spring: English Language Arts, math and science. These tests total eight days of administration, as well as three to six weeks of test preparation. In total, our children are losing four to six weeks of in-class instruction time per test.

Our children also take ELA and math tests three times a year to monitor their progress. They also take pre- and post-assessment tests in art, music, library, physical education and social studies, totaling 21 standardized tests annually. The numbers are the same for grades three to six, with the exception of the state science test.

It is no wonder we are seeing a loss of hands-on, inquiry-based learning in our classrooms. With the emphasis on math and ELA testing, we are witnessing the erosion of science and social studies from the curriculum.

Excessive testing teaches our children that there is only one right answer in academics and in life. It takes the joy out of learning and minimizes the value and importance of taking a test when it really counts. And it is ruining public education.

As an immediate solution, members of the Bennett School PTA are encouraging our parent body in grades three to six to refuse the state tests in ELA, math and science this spring. These tests are inappropriate for our children, are unfair to our teachers, take away valuable classroom time and are not part of our child’s overall grade or individual assessment.

We intend to send a message to the state.

Heather Roberts, Vice President

Bennett School PTA

Shandaken, N.Y.

Last year over 60,000 parents across New York State refused the state tests. The number is expected to be much higher this year as more and more parents come to understand the issues associated with testing that are so clearly articulated in the Bennett School PTA letter.

Kingston Action for Education is encouraging Kingston parents to refuse the state tests as well (read details here).

Statewide information may be found at NYS Allies for Public Education.

NYSAPE RefuseTheTests

TA Center will be a new ally for college students

This article is for students with disabilities entering college. There is a new TA center that colleges will offer to help these students.

A little background is helpful to understand why the TA Center is needed. There are no IEPs in college, says James H. Wendorf, executive director of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). “The system of supports and rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act doesn’t extend past high school.” However, every college and university must provide accommodations to students with disabilities. They must also provide information to ensure “fair recruitment and admission” of students, says Wendorf.

But it’s often hard for students to find out what’s available and ask for support. Many colleges are also at a loss for how to best serve these students’ needs. Some administrators don’t know “how to comply with the law,” says Lindsay Jones, director of public policy and advocacy for NCLD. “It’s a confusing process for both students and universities.”

Please read the article and pass along. People need to know that there is help for people with disabilities in the college setting.

Extended school day at East Ramapo leaves students exhausted

This article reports on implementation of an extended school day in the East Ramapo school district. According to the article, the extended day is too long for the seventh and eight grade students leaving them literally exhausted so the district will be scaling the day back by 38 minutes.

If you recall, Kingston applied for the extended learning time grant but withdrew our application last spring based on parent feedback. East Ramapo was one of the nine school districts who won money for the extended learning time grant from New York State.


KAFE supports the “I Refuse” Movement to oppose High Stakes Testing

Kingston Action For Education is joining NYSAPE and other parent and teacher organizations from around New York State in support of the “I Refuse” Movement to oppose high stakes testing.

Across NYS, Parents and Educators are combining forces to push back against harmful “reform” policies and to preserve equitable and child centered public education in New York State. Parents and Educators will continue to insist to Governor Cuomo and Chancellor Tisch that our children and their teachers are more than a score and that we reject their attacks on public education. – Read more here 

If you are a parent in the Kingston City School District, please join us in refusing the New York State standardized ELA and math tests this April for your grade 3-8 students.  If you are a part of a parent or teacher group in another school district in Ulster County, please consider supporting a similar resolution within your group and encourage your members to refuse the state tests in April as well.

KAFE I Refuse resolution January 2015

Kingston Action For Education (KAFE) Resolution to Support “The I Refuse Movement” to Oppose High Stakes Testing

WHEREAS, the purpose of education is to educate a populace of critical thinkers who are capable of shaping a just and equitable society in order to lead good and purpose-filled lives, not solely prepare that populace for college and career; and

WHEREAS, instructional and curricular decisions should be in the hands of classroom professionals who understand the context and interests of their students; and

WHEREAS, the education of children should be grounded in developmentally appropriate practice; and

WHEREAS, high quality education requires adequate resources to provide a rich and varied course of instruction, individual and small group attention, and wrap-around services for students; and

WHEREAS, the state assessments are not transparent in that–teachers and parents are not allowed to view the tests and item analysis will likely not be made available; and

WHEREAS, the assessment practices that accompany Common Core State Standards – including the political manipulation of test scores – are used as justification to label and close schools, fail students, and evaluate educators; therefore be it

RESOLVED that KAFE opposes standardized high stakes testing that is currently pushed by the Federal and State governments, because this testing is not being used to further instruction for children, to help children, or to support the educational needs of children; and be it further

RESOLVED, that KAFE advocates for an engaged and socially relevant curriculum that is student-based and supported by research; and be it further

RESOLVED, that KAFE joins NYSAPE in lobbying the NYS Board of Education to eliminate the use of high stakes testing; and be it further

RESOLVED, that KAFE will encourage all of Kingston City School District’s parents to have their own children refuse to take the Grade 3-8 assessments: and be it further

RESOLVED, that KAFE will encourage other parent groups in Ulster County to increase opposition to high stakes testing; and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution will be sent to the NY State Board of Education, the Governor of NYS, and all members of the NYS legislative branch.

Signed by Kingston Action For Education (KAFE) Co-founders Jolyn Safron, Maria Maritsas, Tory Lowe

January 21, 2015

See more at:

NYSAPE RefuseTheTests