images of parents with their children
April 12, 2019
Dear Parents,

Teachers make a difference in the lives of their students every day. It's critical that we ensure teachers enter the classroom with the necessary training and knowledge to support our students that are still learning the English language. This week, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) proposed regulatory changes to enhance teacher preparation programs in certain subject areas, requiring them to dedicate at least three of the currently required six semester hours to language acquisition and literacy development of English language learners (ELLs). Future teachers need to be equipped with the skills to help achieve educational equity and ensure all our students realize their full potential. That work begins with our teacher preparation programs.

We are also increasing educational equity for all students, including those in temporary housing, through the implementation of our ESSA plan. NYSED recently awarded more than $5 million in grants authorized by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act, a component of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). NYSED awarded grants to 48 districts across the state to promote school success for students in temporary housing with 12 of those districts to also receive an additional grant with an emphasis on trauma sensitivity.

Times of transition can be extremely challenging for students. The programs and services these grants will provide can help ease the burden of a tumultuous time and help students succeed in school. See our press release for more information and a full list of grant awards.

NYSED also recently recognized five new schools as 2019 Essential Elements: Schools to Watch, in partnership with the New York State Middle School Association and the Statewide Network of Middle Level Liaisons. The designation is awarded to exceptional middle level schools that meet rigorous criteria and are on a path of continuous improvement.

New York is proud to announce the five newly designated 2019 Essential Elements: Schools to Watch:

Corning Painted Post Middle School (Painted Post, NY)
Millbrook Middle School (Millbrook, NY)
Mineola Middle School (Mineola, NY)
Plainedge Middle School (Bethpage, NY)
Rocky Point Middle School (Rocky Point, NY)

These exemplary schools are working hard to achieve positive outcomes for their students. The middle school years represent a period of personal growth and development for young adolescents, preparing them for success in high school and thereafter.

Finally, I'd like to remind you to take our five-minute parent survey, if you haven't already. NYSED is developing a Parent Dashboard to increase transparency and make information about school performance and other school-level data easier for parents and the public to access. To that end, we are gathering feedback from parents and stakeholders to help us identify the school-level data that you find most helpful. By completing the survey, you can tell us how we can make the Parent Dashboard as useful as possible. If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected].

As always, thank you for reading and for your continued involvement in your children's education.
MaryEllen Elia