New York State Education Department_ Knowledge_ Skill_ Opportunity
News and Notes
August 2020
Dear Colleagues,

Interim Commissioner Betty A. Rosa
Interim Commissioner
Betty A. Rosa

I'm Dr. Betty A. Rosa, Interim Commissioner of Education and former Chancellor of the Board of Regents. Shannon Tahoe's last day at the New York State Education Department (NYSED) was Thursday, August 13. When Ms. Tahoe took over the position, no one could have imagined that a global pandemic was on the horizon, and she capably led the Department through one of its most challenging times. She proved herself as a dedicated, personable leader who put her entire heart into serving the children and adults of New York State. I want to thank Ms. Tahoe for her leadership and steady hand, and I wish her well.

Earlier this month, the Board of Regents appointed me the next Interim Commissioner. This is a temporary appointment while the search for the next permanent Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York has been extended. To assume this position, I left my post as Chancellor of the Board in the extraordinarily capable hands of Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown. I'm looking forward to working with the Board in this new capacity and to working with educators, school communities, parents, and other stakeholders as we face the challenges of this school year together.

My decision to take the position of Interim Commissioner was an incredibly difficult one, as I have loved my work on the Board of Regents, but I'm confident that it was the right decision to ensure the stability that we need for our students during this unprecedented time. It is imperative that NYSED continues its important work without interruption, and I am dedicated to providing that constancy as Interim Commissioner. NYSED is well positioned to move forward with the Board's priorities and to ensure that our students and educators can resume teaching and learning safely and effectively.

Districts and schools are about to begin an instructional year like no other in our history. NYSED has provided reopening guidance to P-12 schools and will continue to provide technical assistance on that guidance to our districts and schools. Districts and schools are now putting reopening procedures into action, planning for teaching and learning whether that will be in-person instruction, remote instruction, or a combination of both.

NYSED also released guidance to assist institutions of higher education in planning for a safe and orderly return to educational operations-whether remote, in person, or a combination of the two. This guidance, which the Board of Regents and NYSED developed in consultation with the higher education community, will help ensure institutions have the information and regulatory flexibilities necessary to develop and implement creative solutions to their unique campus circumstances.

Schools at every level across our state face tremendous challenges as they address the crisis created by COVID-19. Since the very beginning, New York's educators have demonstrated extraordinary dedication to their students and our children that is nothing short of heroic. As we embark on this unprecedented school year, I know that educators will do all they can to meet the safety, educational, and emotional needs of our students. The Board of Regents and NYSED recognize that funding is necessary to help meet these needs, and we continue to advocate for the federal assistance that New York State needs to recover, rebuild, and renew the spirit of our schools.

Below, you can find details on other announcements and resources that we have released over the last month:
portalState Museum Launches Portal to Online Educational Resources and Activities

NYS Museum Portal to Online Educational Resources _ Activities
The New York State Museum has launched the Portal to Online Educational Resources & Activities that brings together many of the State Museum's resources, including links to the popular virtual "field trips," digital collections, online resources, and many fun activities for kids derived from the Museum's research and collections.

The Portal provides opportunities for educators, caregivers, and students looking for engaging and educational activities that can be done from home. The Portal resources and activities are updated often to provide new resources and direct access to online content. Throughout the school year, educational resources will be added, including online lessons, content-created publications, and virtual activities. These resources will support the work of educators, engage students in the research and collections of the Museum, and connect the real-world work of scientists and historians with the NYS Learning Standards.
grantNew York Awarded Nearly $20M for the K-12 Rethink Grant

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded New York nearly $20 million for the K-12 Rethink Grant to assist and support New York's schools. This funding will help our schools as they continue to deliver the education our students need and deserve while also making safety a top priority this fall.

The K-12 Rethink Grant will provide more than 190,000 teachers and educational leaders across New York State with a combined 450,000 hours of professional support to implement effective practices in remote/hybrid teaching and learning which, in turn, will reach an estimated two million students. Thirty-nine states applied for this funding and New York was one of eleven states to be awarded funds under this grant competition.

NYSED applied for the Rethink Education Models grant to support blended and remote learning. Our approach to continuity of learning is founded on two major pillars: a partnership with communities, schools, and educational leaders to close the digital divide, and steadfast support for New York's educators. We commend our dedicated educators who have adapted quickly to ensure continuity of learning so our students don't fall behind.
nysmState Museum Presents "Women of Science" Virtual Programming

Women of Science - New York State Museum
The New York State Museum has presented "Women of Science" programming on Facebook Live and YouTube through the month of August. Viewers were able to meet virtually with Museum scientists, ask questions, and and learn about their research through filmed presentations. 

More than a dozen scientists treated viewers to hands-on educational activities and delivered short talks.

All programs are recorded and are available on the Museum's YouTube channel.
mbkNYSED Announces Third Class of My Brother's Keeper Fellows

MBK logo
Last month, NYSED named the third class of My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Fellows who have been identified as leaders in their MBK Communities and who will be provided with mentor relationship opportunities in government, education and business. The 71 Fellows, all high school juniors, represent 24 New York State school districts.

Each Fellow will be partnered with a mentor from a NYSMBK Community Network partner and be given the opportunity of a fellowship with one of our partners. They will also be required to develop and execute a service project related to a NYSMBK initiative. In addition, Fellows will serve on a statewide MBK Fellows Workgroup to provide valuable input on the development and implementation of a statewide MBK Mentoring Network.
commentTitle IV, Part A Waiver: Request for Public Comment

NYSED is requesting comments on a proposed Title IV, Part A of the ESEA (Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants) waiver per Section 8401 of the ESEA.

Comments can be sent via email to [email protected]. Please enter Title IV Waiver in the email's subject line. Comments must be submitted by close of business on Friday, September 4, 2020.
guidanceCOVID-19 Guidance and Resources

Coronavirus _COVID-19_ Guidance and Resources
NYSED has developed many comprehensive guidance documents and resources in response to COVID-19. All of the guidance, resources, and announcements are available on our dedicated COVID-19 web page. In addition to providing guidance for P-12 schools, the web page provides links to guidance for colleges and universities, adult education programs, and licensed professionals.