This is a difficult time in our country. The recent confluence of events has brought to the forefront, more than ever before, the inequities that we face in our society. Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa, the Board of Regents and I join our voices with those mourning the indefensible and tragic death of George Floyd. We must all do everything we can to make the world a more just and equitable place for our children. We must also empower our students to make informed decisions and to become active participants in civic life who make their voices heard and bring about real change.
This moment is an opportunity for us to get better. The unrest and division, the COVID-19 pandemic, and months of school closures have shed light on the inequities in educational opportunities and resources available to our students. The Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) are committed to ensuring that all students succeed and thrive in school no matter who they are, where they live, where they go to school, or where they come from.
That is why we continue to make educational equity the cornerstone of our work. It is why we continue to invest in the New York State My Brother's Keeper (MBK) initiative, which is focused on closing and eliminating the opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color so that all young people have the chance to reach their full potential. Members of the Board of Regents and education leaders from across the state have joined us over the last few months to offer
words of encouragement and direction
to our MBK students, and many of our MBK Fellows have
offered their own reflections
on their trials and triumphs during the COVID-19 crisis. These young men are committed to strengthening themselves and their communities, and they are our future.
I truly believe that we will collectively lift ourselves up to create a brighter future, but I know many of our hearts are heavy as we approach the end of the most unusual school year in our memory, bypassing many cherished annual traditions. At the same time, we are looking to the future and preparing to confront the uncertainties that lie ahead of us. This week, the New York State Board of Regents and NYSED announced
four Regional School Reopening Task Force meetings
that will take place this month. The
will be held virtually and will gather input needed to develop guidance and regulatory changes that will enable New York's schools to continue safely educating their students this fall.
The monumental impact of COVID-19 and the diverse landscape of New York State makes the task of developing a framework to reopen our schools a significant undertaking. The input we receive from task force members at the regional meetings will inform our work as we develop the guidance and regulatory changes that schools need to best support their students.
Finally, I know that this has been a challenging time for college and high school seniors, their families, and their school communities that care about them. I would like to congratulate each graduating college and high school senior who will now begin the next phase of their lives. These seniors have not had the year they planned, but with their hard work and commitment, they remained steadfast in achieving this honor in spite of the hardships of the last few months.
I would also like to recognize the teachers, administrators, professors, and parents who helped these students succeed during this difficult time. I have been inspired by the way that you - our heroic educators - have worked tirelessly to create new ways to help students stay engaged outside the classroom, to recognize their achievements, and to celebrate their important milestones. Your dedication, positivity, and kindness have made a world of difference.
To the Class of 2020 - and to your teachers, administrators, professors, and parents - I will remember your bravery and resourcefulness in this time, and your dedication throughout your school years. Take all of the adversity and uncertainty of these last months, and use it as you move forward. Congratulations on your well-deserved accomplishments!
Below, you can find details on the major announcements and resources that we have released over the last month:
|Emergency Regulations to Ease the Burdens on Educators, Students, and Professionals
|Student and Educator Scholarship and Award Winners
At its meeting this week, the Board of Regents recognized outstanding New York State students receiving Vice Chancellor Emerita Adelaide L. Sanford, Chancellor Joseph McGovern, Regent Emeritus Emlyn Griffith and Regent Margaret Snow Vander Veer Scholarships as well as New York's 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program finalists. The Regents also honored two educators, the Regent Emeritus Louis E. Yavner Awardee, a teacher honored for contributions to teaching about the Holocaust and human rights, and the 2020 Superintendent of the Year.
In addition, the New York State Museum is creating a digital montage to honor the Class of 2020. NYSED recently asked school districts and charter and nonpublic school leaders to send us photos of the Class of 2020. We will continue to accept photos from schools throughout the month of June. Museum staff will create a digital montage of these photos that will be projected publicly in the State Museum later this summer.
|Chancellor Rosa, Interim Commissioner Tahoe Advocate for Critical Federal Funding
Last month, Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa and Interim State Education Commissioner Shannon Tahoe sent
letters to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos advocating for federal funding
for elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher learning. The letters detail numerous critical areas in which federal funding is needed for school and district recovery, as well as the needs of New York's colleges and universities.
|NYSED Appoints Dr. William Johnson as Monitor for the Hempstead Union Free School District
NYSED recently announced the appointment of Dr. William Johnson as the State Monitor for the Hempstead Union Free School District. Recently enacted legislation requires the Commissioner to appoint one monitor for both academic and fiscal issues in the district. Dr. Johnson has decades of experience in both academic leadership and financial management roles in school districts on Long Island. As the State Monitor, Dr. Johnson will provide oversight, guidance, and technical assistance related to the educational and fiscal policies, practices, programs, and decisions of the school district, the Board of Education, and the superintendent.
|NYSED Appoints Dr. Shelley Jallow as Monitor for the Rochester City School District
NYSED recently announced the appointment of Dr. Shelley Jallow as the State Monitor for the Rochester City School District. Recently enacted legislation requires the Commissioner to appoint one monitor for both academic and fiscal issues. Dr. Jallow has decades of experience in school district turnaround and leadership operations. As Monitor, Dr. Jallow will provide oversight, guidance, and technical assistance related to the educational and fiscal policies, practices, programs, and decisions of the school district, the Board of Education, and the superintendent.
|COVID-19 Guidance and Resources
NYSED is highlighting the exceptional dedication of New York's educators with inspiring examples of emotional support, equitable solutions, and instructional practices that are being used to stay connected with students while schools are closed. Visit NYSED's
Staying Connected web page
to see some of the stories. In addition to posting the stories on our website, we are spotlighting the stories with the hashtags #StayingConnected and #EducatorsAreHeroes on social media (
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|Resources from the New York State Museum
Join the New York State Museum for
Virtual Field Trips
every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). Visit with Museum educators, scientists, and historians as they take you behind the scenes of some of the Museum's exhibits and collections to highlight cool finds and facts from New York State!
The New York State Museum is temporarily closed to the public, but the Museum has created an
Online Resources and Activities Portal
. The web page includes the Museum's virtual field trips in addition to digital collections, online resources, and fun activities for kids based on the Museum's research and collections.