New York State Education Department Assistant Commissioner for Instructional Services Correspondence and Administrative Files of Project Redesign

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

This series contains correspondence, memoranda, reports, grant applications, and other files related to Project Redesign, a New York State Education Department effort to foster wide-reaching change and innovation in New York education. Files include correspondence and memoranda, progress reports, grant proposals, budgets, meeting minutes and agenda of the Executive Redesign Council, and copies of contracts with consultants. Also included is a group of files of the Prototype Coordinator for Greece Central School District #1.
21 cubic feet of textual records
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This series’ description was enhanced as part of the States’ Impact on Federal Education Policy Project (SIFEPP), in June 2010. The New York Community Trust - Wallace Special Projects Fund provided funding for this project.


Roughly arranged by subject or type of record, then either chronological or alphabetical by name of correspondent or school district.

Administrative History

Project Redesign was a comprehensive effort in the Education Department, begun in 1969 at the behest of new Commissioner of Education Ewald B. Nyquist, to redesign the State's educational system. Two task forces, the Mission Task Force and the Program Task Force, began to reconceive the purpose and activities of the State Education Department. They concluded that the department could not develop an effective educational system that would meet the needs of all students, and instead suggested Project Redesign, a program that would initiate and coordinate systemic educational reform at the district level. Overall policy for Redesign was set by the Executive Redesign Council, composed of Education Department staff and chaired by the Assistant Commissioner for Instructional Services. Four prototype school districts were selected in 1969 for Redesign activities and a prototype board of cooperative educational services (BOCES) was added in 1972. Beginning in 1970 a Regional Redesign Network (RRN) was established utilizing 16 BOCES Regional Education Centers to distribute Redesign information and assistance to other school districts in the State, as well as to facilitate communication between prototype districts. Within the Department were coordinators for each of the five prototype districts and the RRN. Between 1971 and 1973 several task forces were set up in the Department to provide advice and services to prototype districts in the areas of Assessment and Readiness Identification, Communications, Evaluation, Management Services, Training and Education, and Program Development. The Redesign program was administered by a Statewide Coordinator, detailed from among existing Department staff until 1971, when a full time position was created at the division director level. Project Redesign ended in 1975 and its records transferred to the Office of Optional Educational Programs.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains correspondence, memoranda, reports, grant applications, notes from planning sessions, budgets, workplans, newsletters, circulars, and contracts. Most of the files in the series were maintained by the statewide coordinator of Project Redesign. These include correspondence and memoranda with the Executive Council, task forces, prototype districts, RRN centers, individual school districts served by RRN, and consultants and advisors within and without the Education Department. There are progress reports by Project staff, RRN centers, and prototype districts; and grant proposals and budgets from prototype and other participating districts for Redesign projects. Also included among the statewide coordinator’s files are copies of meeting minutes and agenda of the Executive Redesign Council and copies of contracts between the Education Department and consultants hired to provide services to Project Redesign. The statewide coordinator’s files focus on the development of the redesign concept; organization of redesign work within the Department; publicizing Redesign in communities and promoting community involvement in the Redesign process; the selection of Redesign districts; proposed changes to the Education Law to aid in the realization of Redesign goals; and specific programs and programs towards redesign in the prototype districts and RRN. Also contained in the series are numerous files containing memoranda, correspondence, reports and minutes of meetings related to the Training and Education Task Force.

Included in the series is a group of files of the Prototype Coordinator for Greece Central School District #1. The files contain correspondence, memoranda, reports, weekly logs of Redesign activities in Greece school district, and copies of grant awards notifications and budgets. These files provide detailed information concerning Redesign programs and workshops carried out by the Greece Central School District, and document the Department's role in supervising this activity. It is unclear why other Redesign prototype districts are not similarly documented in the district.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this material.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series 15080-80, Commissioner Ewald B. Nyquist's subject files, includes records from the Office of the Commissioner related to Project Redesign.

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