Winter 2021
Dr. Anael Alston
Dear Colleagues, Partners, and Friends,

As the school year moves along, and winter moves closer to spring, I can’t help but remain inspired by the creativity, courage, and commitment that I am witnessing across this great state. I see teaching assistants stretching themselves to meet the needs of students. I see teachers reinventing the way they have been trained to teach. I see parents and community leaders redefining what school partnerships look like, and I see leaders moving from getting back to normal to creating a better normal. I see custodians creating and innovating ways to better meet the needs of the buildings they are entrusted to support. We celebrate, thank, and acknowledge everyone who plays a role in or supports educating our students.
That said, we continue to support families and school communities by providing resources across New York State to help them better navigate the educational process during COVID-19. For this winter edition, I share with you an interview I did with Lynne Holden, M.D. In this interview we discuss How to Pursue Your Passion in the Health and Science Field During a Pandemic. We know that families and communities all have questions, but not everyone has access to such a decorated physician as Dr. Holden. On behalf of the New York State Education Department and My Brother’s Keeper, enjoy. I hope that you gain a lot of value from this segment.
Lastly, spring is around the corner and so are many activities regarding our MBK communities and grant funded programs. They are:
Professional Speaker Training (MBK Fellows)
Tuesday, March 16, 10 AM - 12 NOON
Tuesday, March 23, 1 PM - 3PM
Vice Chancellor Emerita Adelaide L. Sanford Scholarship
DUE DATE: March 19, 2021
Stand and Deliver (MBK Fellows)
Dress Rehearsal Monday, April 26, 5 PM
Dress Rehearsal Tuesday, April 27, 5 PM
LIVE EVENT Wednesday, April 28, 5 PM
#NYSMBK Symposium (MBK Communities and Grant Funded Programs)
Thursday, April 29, Time TBD
Friday, April 30, Time TBD
All our events are virtual and intentionally designed to inspire, teach, and equip our attendees to do better and be better. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Your Partner in Education,

Dr. Anael Alston
Assistant Commissioner
My History My Future: Lifting Student Voices
As in years past, NYSED and The Education Trust-New York teamed up in February to elevate student voices in honor of Black History Month for the fourth year of the #MyHistoryMyFuture social media campaign. Each year, the campaign highlights the New York State MBK initiative and features quotes from students participating in our many wonderful MBK programs. You can find all the student quotes from this year's campaign on our NYSMBK Twitter account.

The #MyHistoryMyFuture campaign featured inspiring quotes from outstanding students who shared how MBK has positively changed their lives and their hopes and dreams for the future. Read Board of Regents Chancellor Young’s reflections on Black History Month and the New York State MBK initiative.
2021 Vice Chancellor Emerita Adelaide L. Sanford Scholarship
The Vice Chancellor Emerita Adelaide L. Sanford Scholarship is named after Dr. Adelaide L. Sanford, a long-time leader, scholar, activist, educator, community advocate and organizer. Dr. Adelaide L. Sanford is the former Vice Chancellor of the Board of Regents and served on the Board for more than 20 years.

Find the scholarship application and the application checklist on our Vice Chancellor Emerita Adelaide L. Sanford Scholarship web page.
My Brother's Keeper Call for 2021 Fellows
As we approach a new normal, it is time to select and induct the class of 2021 MBK Fellows. In selecting your Fellows, look for students who have leadership ability and who would benefit from, and enhance, the rich and ambitious Fellows Program. Additionally, MBK Fellows must be willing to commit to the year of rigorous Fellows programming.

For more information, please refer to the memo from Dr. Alston with details and requirements for selecting 2021 MBK Fellows. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2021.
SUNY Launches ‘Big Dreams, Small Step’ Initiative to Help Those Hardest Hit by Pandemic Apply to College This Year
No one should have to choose between surviving a pandemic and applying to college. SUNY has launched a new initiative to make sure everyone has a fair shot at college this year, particularly students from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds, who have statistically been hardest hit by the worst effects of the pandemic.

SUNY recently launched the 'Big Dreams, Small Step' campaign to provide assistance to high school students who are at risk of being left behind this year, with additional support, resources, and guidance to help navigate the admissions process.

Visit the SUNY website for one-on-one support, learn about financial aid, and more.
Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBERN) OnDemand
Introducing NYS RBERN OnDemand: A tutorial, video-oriented resource to support English Language Learners (ELLs) across New York State.

This repository of knowledge is a collaboration between all NYS RBERNs and includes seven major categories to address
the needs of ELLs:

  • Instructional Design;
  • Social Emotional Learning;
  • Family Engagement;
  • Technology Integration;
  • New York State Regulations;
  • Assessment and Progress Monitoring; and
  • English Language Development.

This resource will foster independent learning, provide foundational understanding for second language acquisition, and ensure equitable access to resources statewide. For more region-specific needs, your regional RBERN is ready and willing to meet your individual needs. We understand that every student, every classroom, every school, and
every district is different. Therefore, this resource includes supports that are applicable to the needs of ELLs across NYS as a whole according to statewide initiatives. Your regional RBERN has the knowledge and resources to address the unique needs of your ELL populations.

For more information, please visit the NYS RBERN OnDemand website.
Family and Community Engagement Program (FCEP)
The purpose of the FCEP is to increase the academic achievement and college and career readiness of boys and young men of color by developing and sustaining effective relationships with families in order to achieve student success.
FCEP Spotlight: Poughkeepsie Parent Empowerment Center
Poughkeepsie City School District Parent Empowerment Center (PEC) ribbon cutting
Poughkeepsie City School District's new Parent Empowerment Center (PEC) provides resources for parents, including workshops, educational resources for children, and access to computers with internet access. New York State Senator Sue Serino, Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson, and City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison joined Interim Executive Director of Community Schools Natasha Cherry and Superintendent Dr. Eric Jay Rosser to open the PEC in January.

FCEP Spotlight: Fallsburg MBK Student Nominee for 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program
Cody Harvey, a student at Fallsburg Jr./Sr. High School in the Fallsburg Central School District, is being recognized among the Nation’s Highest Honors for High School Students. NYSED nominated 25 New York State high school seniors for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced. The Presidential Scholar recognition is one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.

Dr. Aleta Lymon, Family and Community Liaison for Fallsburg MBK, said, "Faculty and staff are all very proud of Cody for his academic achievements. We are confident that he will be successful in contributing to the field of science. We wish him well in all his future endeavors."
Cody Harvey
Cody Harvey
My Brother's Keeper Fellows Program
The purpose of the MBK Fellows Grant is to provide 11th grade high school students, with an emphasis on boys and young men of color, with opportunities to gain authentic leadership experience(s) and develop service projects beneficial to the schools they attend and the communities they live in.
Fellows Spotlight: Peekskill High School MBK Seniors Recognized at 21st Annual MLK Youth Legacy Awards
Congratulations to Peekskill High School seniors Kendall Cousins and Steven Ayala. These students, who are both involved in the PHS My Brother’s Keeper program, were recognized by the African American Men of Westchester at the organization’s 21st Annual Youth Legacy Awards Ceremony. The awards ceremony was held virtually on Monday, January 18, 2021.

Steven Ayala is a current MBK Fellow and Kendall Cousins is a member of the Peekskill High School MBK Mentoring Program and the Black Diamonds program. Due to their scholarship, leadership and community service, these young men were recommended by their MBK mentor/PHS teacher, Mr. Mark Andujar. As members of the class of 2021, both young men were awarded the Albertina Bloom Scholarship in the amount of $2,500.

This award is presented annually in memory of Ms. Bloom, who was a dedicated, passionate and compassionate teacher in New York City. She resided in Westchester County and was a volunteer for many years. Her goal was to support young people with, “promising educational potentiality and good character.” 

The young men thanked the My Brother’s Keeper program for helping them to develop and grow into leaders in their community. Kendall and Steven have applied to numerous colleges and they are considering their options for the fall. Dr. David Mauricio, Superintendent of Schools paid special tribute to Kendall and Steven recently at a Board of Education meeting, complimenting these young men for their achievement and representing, “Peekskill Pride.”
Steven Ayala
Kendall Cousins
My Brother's Keeper Community Network
The New York State My Brother's Keeper Community Network includes more than 25 member communities that have joined the growing initiative to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color. To join the NYS MBK Community Network, the school superintendent and local government official must sign a joint letter to the Commissioner of Education indicating their support of and commitment to meeting the six MBK National Milestones and the six New York State MBK Goals. Detailed instructions for becoming a New York State MBK Community can be found here. Upon becoming a member of the statewide network, a community gains the support of NYSED's Office of Access, Equity, and Community Engagement Services to help build a community initiative and develop a local MBK action plan.
Community Spotlight: Mount Pleasant Cottage School UFSD joins MBK Community
New York State My Brother's Keeper is pleased to welcome our newest community, Mount Pleasant Cottage School UFSD. The district is made up of two schools. Mount Pleasant Cottage School primarily which serves K-12 students who have emotional disabilities and the Edenwald School which serves K-12 students with autism as well as emotional and cognitive disabilities.

The district is committed to the success of every student, and ensures that students are being delivered a highly rigorous curriculum while providing, through our highly trained staff, and the accommodations and support they need to succeed. That dedication to students has resulted in a consistent increase district-wide in state test scores each of the past five years.

The district’s alternative and vocational programs provide expanded opportunities and multiple pathways to achieve success. Mount Pleasant Cottage School UFSD recently begun their first New York State-approved CTE program, in Culinary Arts. This program provides the students an opportunity to graduate with an industry credential as well as college credit. Building off this success, they are looking to expand their certified CTE programs and currently offer vocational classes in Cosmetology, Graphic Design and Technology in addition to Culinary Arts. To help all students reach their full potential, they also have a TASC program for students who enter the district with little or no credits past the time their cohort has graduated. The TASC program allows these students to receive an equivalency diploma and still receive the full supports of the school district.
Learn More
Find out more about New York State's My Brother's Keeper initiative by visiting our MBK website. The website also includes sharable videos about MBK, featuring young men of color from New York State.
Join the Conversation
If your school or community would like to share a story to include in a future edition of this newsletter, please email photos and news items to

Don't forget to follow us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn and tag us in your posts so we can follow you and share your success stories. Be sure to use the #NYSMBK hashtag!
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