The district is required by to adopt policies related to many aspects of school operations and state and federal law. It is also required to provide notifications related to a variety of topics and policies. Please use this page as a resource for the areas listed below.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Parents’ Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security
Code of Conduct
Lunch at School
Body Mass Index
Homelessness Liaison/McKinney Vento Grant
Child Abuse Hotline
Title I Parents’ Right to Know
Annual Professional Performance Review
Grade Promotion and Placement
District-wide Safety Plan
School officials may release to the media, for public relations purposes, a variety of student information, including: a student’s name, address, telephone number, academic interest, participation in sports or other activities, awards received, future educational plans, names of parent(s) and student photo. By law, officials must also release secondary school students’ names, addresses and telephone numbers to military recruiters or institutions of higher education.
Parents must notify their child’s school principal annually in writing if they do not want such information released to the entities noted above. Unless notification is put in writing by a parent, the same information may also be used in district publications, including the district newsletter and on the district website.
Under the Protection of the Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), parents have the right to inspect and opt their child out of any student survey that reveals information about personal attitudes, behaviors or beliefs. Parents also have the right to receive notice of and opt their child out of any activities that involve the collection, disclosure or use of a student’s personal information for marketing purposes and out of any non-emergency, physical exam or screening, except for hearing, vision and scoliosis screenings or as permitted or required by state law.
Parents’ Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security
The Cohoes City School District is committed to ensuring student privacy in accordance with local, state and federal regulations and district policies. To this end and pursuant to U.S. Department of Education regulations, the district is providing the following Parents’ Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security:
- A student’s personally identifiable information cannot be sold or released for any commercial or marketing purposes.
- Parents have the right to inspect and review the complete contents of their child’s education record, including any student data maintained by the Cohoes City School District. This right of inspection of records is consistent with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Under the more recently adopted regulations (Education Law §2-d), the rights of inspection are extended to include data, meaning parents have the right to inspect or receive copies of any data in their child’s educational record. The New York State Education Department (SED) will develop further policies and procedures related to these rights in the future.
- State and federal laws protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information and safeguards associated with industry standards and best practices, including but not limited to, encryption, firewalls and password protection, must be in place when data is stored or transferred.
- A complete list of all student data elements collected by the state is available for public review. Parents may also obtain a copy of the list by writing to the Office of Information & Reporting Services, New York State Education Department, Room 863 EBA, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234.
- Parents have the right to have complaints about possible breaches of student data addressed. Complaints should be directed to: Peggy O’Shea, Assistant Superintendent, firstname.lastname@example.org, 518-237-0100.
- Complaints to SED should be directed to: Chief Privacy Officer, New York State Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234; the e-mail address is email@example.com.
Based on the concerns conveyed to the commissioner surrounding the use of assessments, and in accordance with Section 1 of Subpart F of Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2014, the commissioner directed the Office of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness to review each district’s and BOCES’ APPR plan to identify opportunities for local action to ensure the minimum assessments necessary are used to inform effective decision making. The department encourages leaders to use the Testing Transparency Report to help review their currently approved APPR plan to identify modifications that would be approvable by the department and result in less testing for students. The department has consistently communicated that the amount of testing should be the minimum necessary to inform effective decision-making at the classroom, school, district and BOCES level. Guidance from the NY State Education Dept. on the approved regulatory amendments to APPR to help reduce local testing.
The Cohoes City School District’s Board of Education is committed to providing a safe and orderly school environment where students may receive and district personnel may deliver quality educational services without disruption or interference. Responsible behavior by students, teachers, other district personnel, parents and other visitors is essential to achieving this goal.
The district has a long-standing set of expectations for conduct on school property and at school functions as well as conduct off school premises, which relates to the Cohoes City School District, its students and staff. These expectations are based on the principles of civility, mutual respect, citizenship, character, tolerance, honesty and integrity.
The Board recognizes the need to clearly define these expectations for acceptable conduct on school property, identify the possible consequences of unacceptable conduct, and to ensure that discipline, when necessary, is administered fairly and promptly.
The Cohoes City School District hereby advises students, parents, employees and the general public that it offers equal employment and educational opportunities, without regard to sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability or other minority groups. Equality of opportunity in employment includes hiring, firing, wages and salaries, promotion or any terms, conditions or privileges of employment.
Questions about this nondiscrimination policy may be directed to Title IX Compliance Officer Jacqueline DeChiaro at the Cohoes City School District Administrative Offices, 21 Page Ave., Cohoes, NY 12047, 237-0100. The appropriate compliance officer has information related to grievance procedures.
The Cohoes City School District believes that regular school attendance and student success have a direct correlation. It is the intent of the district to strongly encourage students to be in attendance every day. Therefore, our goal is to have students participate in their education for the mandated 180 days a year. All children of compulsory age must attend school on a regular basis.
In the case of a student’s absence from school, parents are required to call the main attendance office at their school by the start of the school day to inform them of the reason for the student’s absence. Otherwise, the school will make every reasonable attempt to contact the parents regarding the student’s absence.
Please note that a written excuse must be provided and brought to the attendance office by the student upon his/her return to school. Without a note, the student’s absence from school is deemed unexcused. The following are some reasons considered to be excused absences from school: illness – self/family; a death in the family; religious observance; court or legal appointment or a doctor/dentist appointment.
Read the full Board of Education attendance policy and learn more about the district’s Every Minute Matters campaign to reduce chronic absenteeism.
Lunch at School
All students in grades PreK-5 receive free breakfast and lunch at school. All students in 6-8 receive free breakfast at school. The free and reduced-price lunch application is available to all students in grades 6-12 during the school year on the food services page of the website.
CHARGING SCHOOL MEALS
The board of education recognizes that on occasion students may not have enough funds for a meal. To ensure that students do not go hungry, but also to promote responsible student behavior and minimize the fiscal burden the district, the board will allow students who do not have enough funds to “charge” the cost of meals to be paid back at a later date subject to the terms of the policy.
To comply with state guidelines and maintain a system for accounting for charged meals, regarding both full and reduced price meals, the board shall:
- Allow only regular reimbursable meals to be charged, excluding extras, a la carte items and snacks;
- Limit the number of charges to five (5) per student per year in the secondary level; and
Use a computer-generated point of sale system which identifies and records all meals as well as collects repayments.
Charged meals must be counted and claimed for reimbursement on the day that the student received the meal, not the day the charge is paid back. When charges are paid, these monies are not to be considered a la carte transactions, as a section on the daily cash report or deposit summary reads “charges paid.”
Students who have reached the limit of “charged” meals may be offered an “alternate” meal determined by the district. The district shall take into consideration extenuating circumstances. The cost of the alternate meal, though less than the regular meal, shall be added to the student’s account. Alternate meals shall be provided as discretely as possible, before a student obtains a regular meal.
Parents shall be discretely notified of student account balances regularly. When a student’s account balance falls to five dollars ($5) and whenever a meal is charged, the district will discretely notify the student and the parent/guardian of the balance, the process to refill the account and the district’s policy on charging school meals and alternate meals. This notification will continue regularly until the account is replenished. Parents must repay all unpaid charges remaining at the end of the school year or before their child leaves the district, whichever occurs first.
The school district shall notify all parents/guardians in writing on an annual basis at the start of the school year and to families transferring during the year, outlining the requirements of this policy. The policy shall also be published in appropriate school and district publications. All staff involved in implementing and enforcing this policy shall also be notified of these requirements and their responsibilities.
Unpaid meal charges are a financial burden to the district and taxpayers and can negatively effect the school program. Unpaid meal charges shall be considered “delinquent” as per the district’s accounting practices. The district shall attempt to recover unpaid meal charges before the end of the school year, but may continue efforts into the next school year. Students with unpaid meal charges at the start of the year will not be able to charge meals. The district shall notify parents/guardians of unpaid meal charges at regular intervals. The district shall offer repayment plans and may take other actions that do not result in harm or shame to the student until unpaid charges are paid.
Remaining funds will be carried over to the next school year. When students leave the district or graduate, the district will attempt to contact the parent/guardian to return remaining funds. Parents/guardians may request that funds be transferred to other students (i.e., siblings, unpaid accounts). All transfer requests must be in writing. Unclaimed funds remaining at the end of school year shall be absorbed by the school meal account.
Staff members are allowed to purchase food from the district’s food services. However, all purchases must be paid for at the point of sale. Staff members are not allowed to charge meals to be repaid later.
Body Mass Index
Because New York State is interested in data about children’s health, schools are now required to keep height and weight data and to calculate students’ Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a way of checking for underweight or overweight children based on their height and weight. Some schools will be surveyed by the state Department of Health each year and asked to share the number of pupils they have in each of six possible BMI categories based on students’ age and sex. If our district is surveyed by the state, we will only share group data (for instance, the number of second-grade boys whose BMI is below the fifth percentile), not individual data.
Homeless Liaison/McKinney-Vento Grant
The District’s Homeless Liaison is:
Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services
7 Bevan Street
Cohoes, New York 12047
(518) 237-0100, Ext. 5
Child Abuse Hotline
If you suspect a child is being abused or maltreated (neglected), report it by calling 1-800-342-3720, a toll-free 24-hour hotline operated by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police department. Information about reporting child abuse and maltreatment (neglect) is available online on the state’s website.
As a parent of a student in the Cohoes City School District, you have the right to know the professional qualifications of the classroom teacher(s) who instructs your child. Federal law allows you to ask for certain information about your child’s classroom teacher(s). Specifically, you have the right to ask for the following information about each of your child’s classroom teacher(s):
- Whether the teacher has met State qualification and licensing criteria for the grade levels and subject areas in which the teacher provides the instruction;
- Whether the teacher is teaching under emergency or other provisional status through which State qualification or licensing criteria have been waived;
- The teacher’s college major and whether the teacher has any advanced degrees and, if so, the subject of the degree.
- Whether your child is provided services by paraprofessionals and, if so, their qualifications.
To obtain the above information please call (518) 237-0100, Ext. 2350 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Title I Parental Involvement
The board of education endorses the parent involvement goals of Title I of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Therefore, it encourages the participation of parents of students eligible for Title I services in all aspects of their child’s education, including the development and implementation of district programs, activities, and procedures designed to carry out NCLB parent involvement goals.
In accordance with NCLB requirements, the district will:
- Involve parents in the joint development of its Title 1 plan. If the plan is not satisfactory to the parents of children participating in Title I programs, the district will submit any parent comments to the State Education Department along with its plan;
- Involve parents in the process of school review and improvement. This includes:
- Explaining to parents how they can become involved in addressing the academic issues that caused their child’s school to be identified as a school in need of improvement; consulting with parents in the development of a school improvement plan, and including in such plan strategies to promote effective parental involvement.
- Providing parents with adequate opportunity to participate in the development of a restructuring plan whenever their child’s school is identified for restructuring, and to comment before the district implements an alternative governance arrangement;
- Provide coordination, technical assistance, and other support necessary to assist participating schools in their own planning and implementation of effective parent involvement activities to improve student academic achievement and school performance;
- Build the capacity of its schools and parents for parental involvement;
- Coordinate and integrate parental involvement strategies under Title I with parental involvement strategies under other programs such as Head Start, Reading First, Early Reading First, Even Start, Parents as Teachers, Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters, and state-run preschool programs;
- Conduct, with the involvement of parents, an annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of the parental involvement policy in improving the academic quality of Title I schools, including the identification of barriers to greater participation by parents in activities under the policy, and revision of parent involvement policies necessary for more effective parental involvement; and
- Involve parents in the activities of schools served under Title I.
Title I Complaint Procedures
In the Cohoes City School District every effort is made to answer inquiries and resolve issues at the most direct and immediate level. If an issue cannot be satisfactorily resolved through communication at the building level, a formal complaint procedure may be implemented. The first point of contact for all complaints is the Title I Coordinator at 518-237- 0100 ext. 2350.
If the issue is not satisfactorily resolved, the complainant will be asked to submit a formal complaint in writing to the Superintendent. This complaint must be signed by the person or agency representative filing the complaint; specify the requirement of law or regulation being violated and the related issue, problem, and/or concern; concern information/evidence supporting the complaint; and state the nature of the corrective action desired.
The complainant will be informed that if the issue is not satisfactorily resolved at the district level within 30 business days, he/she may contact:
New York State Education Department (NYSED)
Title I Office
89 Washington Street
Albany, NY 12234
The complainant will be asked to notify the Superintendent’s office in the event that he/she chooses to contact NYSED.
APPR stands for Annual Professional Performance Review, and it is the process by which teachers and principals are evaluated in New York state. The purpose of APPR is to empower educators to improve the quality of instruction in schools and, in turn, to improve students’ performance and readiness for colleges and careers. APPR plans must meet strict state guidelines and are negotiated with local unions. Under state guidelines, APPR takes into account classroom observations, student test scores, and a variety of achievement and assessment measures – many of which are decided at the local level. Teachers and principals across New York ultimately receive a number grade every year, which equates to an effectiveness rating.
All parents/guardians have the right to obtain the APPR quality ratings and composite effectiveness scores for their child’s current teacher(s) and principal(s) by making a request through the building principal and/or superintendent’s office.
Decisions about student promotion and placement are at the discretion of the building principal. These decisions are guided by recommendations of teachers and staff members, past academic performance, and parent/guardian input. Past academic performance refers to a variety of indicators of student achievement and growth. Promotion and placement decisions are not based solely on student performance on New York state assessments in grades 3-8 English language arts or mathematics. The district’s promotion and placement policy was adopted by the board of education following a review by the district administration.
Pesticide products may be applied periodically throughout the school year at schools in the Cohoes City School District. Under State Education Department law, the district must maintain a list of parents/guardians and school staff who wish to receive 48-hour advance written notice of a pesticide application in the facilities or on school grounds. For more information or to request 48-hour notification, contact Director of Facilities, Jim Stapleton, or call 518-237-0100, Ext. 2361. Applications to receive pesticide notifications are also available in the main offices of our schools.
An annual inspection of fire and safety hazards will be conducted in accordance with a schedule established by the Commissioner of Education. The inspection will be conducted by a qualified fire inspector and the report will be kept in the district office. Any violation of the State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code shall be corrected immediately or within a time frame approved by the Commissioner.
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) requires all schools, K-12, to be inspected to identify any asbestos-containing building materials. The law further requires the development of a Management Plan based upon the results of the inspection, which outlines our intent in controlling the potential for exposure to asbestos fibers in our facilities.
In the past, asbestos was used extensively in building materials because of its insulating and fire retarding capabilities. Virtually any building built before the late 1970s contains some form of asbestos insulation or structural materials. We, too, have buildings within the Cohoes City School District that contain some asbestos-containing materials.
An initial Asbestos Management Plan was submitted to the governor’s office in 1989. The plan outlines in detail the methods that our trained maintenance and custodial staff will use to maintain the asbestos-containing materials in a safe and proper manner.
In addition, the required re-inspection has been completed and the Management Plan updated accordingly. A copy of the Management Plan for individual buildings is on file in each building administrator’s office.
Storm Water Management
The Cohoes City School District has a Storm Water Management Plan in order to protect New York State’s lakes, rivers, and tributaries from pollutants carried by rain, snow melt run-off, or storm water run-off.
As part of the school’s program, the school has construction standards to prevent run-off, engages in public education and outreach, identifies and eliminates unnecessary sources of storm water run-off and reviews pollution prevention and good housekeeping practices in the district.
More information can be obtained from the New York State Department of Conservation website on Storm Water. The district’s Storm Water Coordinator is Director of Facilities, Jim Stapleton, or call 518-237-0100, Ext. 2361.