News and Events

Spring 2018 NYSIR News

The spring 2018 issue of NYSIR NEWS has been published and mailed to NYSIR subscribers. It contains articles on:

  • July Sex Abuse Symposium
  • Profiles of NYSIR Friends and Faces
  • It Could Happen to You: Cold facts about an icy sidewalk

For a special flip-page digital format of the latest NYSIR News, click here. For a PDF version, click here.

FREE NYSIR Symposium on the Prevention of Child Sexual Assault Featuring Expert Speakers

The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal Presents an Exclusive No-Cost
Symposium for NYSIR Subscribers

Where and When:
July 19-20, 2018
Saratoga Hilton Conference Center, Saratoga Springs, NY

Program Description:  Experts in the field will discuss the mental health challenges of child sexual abuse based on the latest research; the mindset of sexual predators; new strategies for maximizing the effectiveness of New York’s Dignity for All Students Act; sexual abuse of students by gangs and human traffickers; and the legal implications districts, BOCES and their boards must consider.

Topics to be Discussed:

  • Mental health challenges and the latest research and programs for the prevention of child sexual abuse
  • Monsters lurking within – Inside the minds of child sexual predators
  • Maximizing the effectiveness of the DASA program
  • How gangs and human traffickers are affecting students
  • Legal implications for BOE, districts and BOCES to consider

There is NO COST for attending this special NYSIR symposium. Attendees staying at the Hilton or other Saratoga Springs venues are responsible for their hotel room costs.

Symposium Registration:  
Please click here and provide the information requested to register for the symposium.

Professional Certificate Holders:  Professional Certificate Holders will receive 6.5 Hours of CTLE Credit.


New Frontiers in the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Molestation                                           

 19 July 2018
5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Reception, registration and book-signing. Meet symposium presenters and colleagues while enjoying refreshments. Clint Van Zandt will have copies of his book available for signing.           

20 July 2018
7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
Continental breakfast and late registration

8:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Welcome and introductions

8:15 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
John Richter, Director of Public Policy, Mental Health Association of New York State
Mental Health and Child Sexual Abuse – Linking Help

9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Elizabeth J. Letourneau, Professor, Department of Mental Health, Director, Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, Johns Hopkins University
The Latest Research and Solutions for School Districts

10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Morning break

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Clinton Van Zandt, Retired behaviorist, FBI
Monsters Lurking in Plain Sight – Understanding the Behaviors  and Strategies of Child Molesters

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Luncheon and presentation

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Luncheon presentation, Kevin McGowan, Ed.D., and Jason A. Andrews, Ed.D.
A Superintendent’s Perspective on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Moses Robinson, Rochester Police Department and Roberts Wesleyan College
Gang and Human Trafficking

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Jay Woron, New York State School Boards Association
Board Policies, Legal Implications and Defenses for Schools

3:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Symposium Wrap-up

2018 NYSIR Scholarships Awarded

The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal recently awarded more than $46,000 in Cristin Ann Bambino, Paul Jensen and Joseph Goncalves Student Humanitarian scholarships to 13 college-bound seniors from NYSIR member school districts across New York.

Ranging between $5,000 and $3,000, the awards have been given annually since 2007 under the auspices of the NYSIR Foundation.

THE BAMBINO SCHOLARSHIP, in memory of the daughter of NYSIR Risk Management Executive Vice President Robert Bambino, is awarded to special education students for their outstanding efforts in working through challenges to complete high school and be accepted at a college or university. This year, as it has for the past several years, NYSIR granted seven $3,000 Bambino scholarships on a regional basis, along with a statewide $4,000 runner-up grant and a $5,000 award for first place.

THE JENSEN SCHOLARSHIP, in memory of Paul Jensen, a NYSIR marketing representative known for his craftsmanship, is presented annually to college-bound students from NYSIR member districts who have demonstrated inspired design and building skills during their high school careers and wish to pursue their talents in college. Applicants must describe how they might create a design or adapt an existing design for a specific purpose and why it would be useful. Two Paul Jensen Scholarships, one for $5,000 and one for $3,000, were awarded statewide.

THE GONCALVES SCHOLARSHIP, named after former NYSIR Executive Director Joseph Goncalves, is offered to two New York-college-bound seniors from NYSIR member districts who have demonstrated a record of involvement and work for a cause or organization that actively promotes social justice, equal opportunity, relief of human suffering, or similar humanitarian aspirations. One $5,000 grand prize and one $3,000 runner-up prize were awarded statewide.

For a list of this year’s winners, click here.

To watch a video of the award presentation, click here.

NYSIR’s Operating Performance Declared Strong

The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR) recently conducted its 2018 annual meeting, where attendees heard that industry analyst A.M. Best had reaffirmed the organization’s “A” rating and listed its balance sheet as “very strong.”

Six candidates also were elected to the NYSIR Board of Governors at the meeting, and grand winners of three NYSIR Foundation 2018 scholarships received awards totaling $15,000.

After the May 10 meeting in Tarrytown, NY, was called to order by President Richard Linden, NYSIR Attorney Hermes Fernandez declared a quorum and officiated over the election of four governors for three-year terms on the board. They included Julie Bresett, Madrid-Waddington Central School District (CSD); Kim Brumley, Greater Amsterdam SD; Nancy Henner, Hannibal CSD; and Angelina Maloney, Brunswick CSD. John Abbott, East Irondequoit CSD, was elected to serve a two-year term, and Mary Blaine, Beekmantown CSD, was elected to serve a one-year term.

NYSIR Executive Director Robert Lulley told attending subscribers that A.M. Best “recently reaffirmed our financial security rating at ‘A,’ with a stable outlook. Specifically, they noted that our historical operating performance was strong, and that our balance sheet strength was very strong.” In addition, Lulley said the reciprocal had “strengthened important internal risk management controls through the implementation of two significant initiatives – the licensing of our own IT operating system and the formalization of our new enterprise risk management program.”

He also announced that NYSIR had extended a management contract with Wright Risk Management for an additional five years.

Following a management company report, three graduating seniors at NYSIR-insured school districts from across New York each were awarded $5,000 scholarships. Kolby Foryt from Monroe 1 BOCES was the grand winner of the 2018 Bambino Scholarship; Meaghan Murray from Oswego CSD was the grand winner of the Jensen Scholarship; and Emily Bradshaw was the grand winner of the Goncalves Scholarship.

Each scholarship category also included several runner-up and regional winners, bringing the cumulative total of 2018 NYSIR Foundation scholarships to $46,000.

For more information on all NYSIR Foundation scholarship winners, watch for an upcoming news brief on

NYSIR White Paper: Safer Schools

NYSIR has published a new, in-depth white paper titled Safer Schools: Preparing For and Dealing With Armed Intruders. Coming in the wake of the tragic Parkland, Fla., school shootings, the comprehensive 24-page document includes sections on identifying warning signs of potential student violence; conducting a security checkup; school access control; creating a culture of safety; and more. For a magazine-style flip-page version of the white paper, click here. For a PDF version, click here.

School Security and Armed Individuals

The recent tragedy in Parkland, FL has again placed the spotlight on mental health issues; school security;
assault weapons; and a host of ideas on placing armed personnel in the nation’s schools. The focus of this
letter is on the question of adding armed personnel in schools and also providing you a guidance
document for reviewing your security practices in your District or BOCES.

Read more

Read Our Winter NYSIR News!

The winter NYSIR News and a special edition of the newsletter highlighting the reciprocal’s involvement with education-related associations across New York is now available. Just click here.

Applications Available for 2018 Scholarships

NYSIR is once again making scholarships available to college-bound seniors from NYSIR-member school districts.

Thirteen separate awards totaling $46,000 will be awarded in three scholarship categories: the Cristin Ann Bambino Memorial Scholarship, the Paul Jensen Memorial Scholarship and the Joseph Goncalves Student Humanitarian Scholarship.

Seven $3,000 Bambino scholarships will be awarded on a regional basis, along with a second-place $4,000 grant and a $5,000 statewide award for first place. The scholarships are available to college-bound special-education students.

The Jensen scholarship is available to students who have excelled in design and wish to pursue their talents in college. Two scholarships, one for $5,000 and one for $3,000, will be awarded statewide.

Goncalves scholarships, a first-place $5,000 award and a runner-up $3,000 award, are offered to students planning to go to college in New York who demonstrate a record of involvement and work for a cause or organization that actively promotes social justice, equal opportunity, relief of human suffering or similar humanitarian activity.

Applications and instructions for all scholarships are available here. They should be completed and received in NYSIR’s main office, either by U.S. mail or email, by April 4.

JASON Learning: NYSIR Sponsors Student and Teacher in the Amazon

For the fourth year in a row, NYSIR sponsored a student and teacher to participate in the JASON Learning National Argonaut Program. Last year’s winners, student Argonaut Princess-Rebecca Brutus and teacher Argonaut Jason Helsdon, found themselves in the middle of the Amazon rainforest for the learning experience of a lifetime.

JASON Learning is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 that seeks to provide extraordinary learning experiences for both students and teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). JASON’s unique approach is aimed at improving outcomes and academic achievements by opening students to a new, more exciting perspective on careers in STEM.

A unique opportunity

“This is one of the many ways that NYSIR supports education in New York,” said Tom Austin, assistant executive director at NYSIR. “JASON Learning’s program helps elevate STEM learning by offering an immersive, out-of-classroom experience to students and educators.”

NYSIR began its sponsorship of the JASON Learning National Argonaut Program after the New York State Council of School Superintendents and JASON formed a partnership aimed at making STEM curriculum available across state at a significant discount.

The Argonaut Program is a vital part of JASON Learning’s goal to help transform both teaching and learning within K-12 STEM studies. The program allows student and teacher “Argonauts,” named after the explorers from Greek mythology, to travel to research locations around the world to work alongside STEM professionals.

A life-changing experience

Each program applicant must pass a rigorous selection process meant to reveal character, dedication, academic abilities and, most important, enthusiasm for science. Helsdon is a seventh-grade math teacher, and Brutus was an eighth-grade student at the time of her odyssey. Both are from KIPP AMP Middle School in Brooklyn.

“This program was life-changing,” said Brutus. “It’s the type of experience that will shape your mind forever.”

“This was my first time out of the country,” said Helsdon. “I’ve seen so many different species of plants, animals, insects and birds that I can’t even count them. There were moments on the trip when I felt overwhelmed by all the emotions and things that went through my mind as I was thinking about my life back home and how it connects to (the forest).”

The Amazon

Argonaut Princess-Rebecca Brutus

Argonaut Princess-Rebecca Brutus

The 2017 Argonaut odyssey took Brutus and Helsdon on a Peruvian Amazon expedition, which ran from July 24-Aug. 3. They began their adventure in Iquitos, Peru, where they set off by boat down the Amazon River. During a stop at the Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies, the duo assisted biologist Dr. Meg Lowman in her research on one of the longest tree-canopy walkway systems in the world. They studied insect and plant relationships in the treetops, which are relatively unexplored ecosystems.

Brutus said she now finds bugs and leaves fascinating, and some of her favorite memories included meeting native villagers, fishing for piranhas and seeing an extremely rare pink dolphin. She also had some advice for future JASON Argonauts: “When you first come here you might be scared to talk to people you don’t know, but you just have to find a common interest. Just talk and communicate, and things get easier. You don’t end up missing your family or being lonely.”

Back to the classroom

Helsdon examining leaves

Helsdon examining leaves

Brutus and Helsdon both say the trip changed them forever. “I’ve been thinking about how I can bring pieces of this experience back to my classroom,” said Helsdon. “What we will be able to share could inspire a future generation of scientists, botanists or etymologists. With all of the different sciences that we’ve experienced here, who knows which kids will be impacted by it all?”

New circuit breakdown coverage at no additional cost

As of Jan. 1, NYSIR subscribers are receiving improved equipment breakdown coverage that offsets the cost of electronic circuitry impairment. The policy endorsement applies to a service called TechAdvantage™, provided at no additional premium charge through the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, one of NYSIR’s reinsurance partners.

“Almost all modern equipment relies on some type of microelectronics,” according to NYSIR Underwriting Director Fred Black, who cited as an example safeguard control units used in school boilers. Because many of them are so small, he explains, damage to electronic components can be nearly impossible to detect, either visually or through diagnostic procedures.

“NYSIR’s new TechAdvantage endorsement includes coverage for electronic circuitry impairment when direct damage to the covered equipment is not readily apparent,” Black noted. “Coverage can be triggered when your equipment suddenly stops working, and functionality is restored when a part containing electronic circuitry is replaced.”

For more information about the expanded coverage, NYSIR subscribers can contact Black at NYSIR headquarters or their designated NYSIR insurance representatives.