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

I hope you and your families are enjoying the summer and that you consider participating in the Summer Reading and Summer Meals programs as they get underway.

Thursday, July 18 is Mandela Day, a day to take action and make a difference in our communities. It is a good time to reflect with your children on Nelson Mandela's legacy and explore ways to make the world a better place. A good way to get started is to watch this Mandela Day video for information about the goals of the initiative and for ideas about how you can help. Visit the Nelson Mandela Foundation website to learn more about Mandela and his legacy.

Next Saturday, July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, when Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched down and walked on the moon. The New York State Library is commemorating the first moon landing with an exhibit of books, federal documents, and periodicals of the day. Check out the online Apollo 11 exhibit or stop by the State Library if you're in the Albany area!

If you live in the Capital Region or happen to visit the area this summer, you can also enjoy a variety of family programs at the New York State Museum! Check the Museum's schedule for summer programs. Call the Museum's front desk at (518) 474-5877 in advance to see if the Museum is offering a special program the day of your visit.

While in Albany, you can also take a tour of the State Education Building. Tours allow visitors to explore historic Chancellors Hall, the Regents Room, and the Rotunda adorned with murals by Albany native Will H. Low. Tours are available throughout the summer, and reservations are required. If you can, take advantage of this opportunity to take a tour of our workplace - it's an amazing building!

Regardless of your location in New York State, I encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn this summer to get ideas for fun and educational summertime activities for kids in an effort to prevent the "Summer Slide." It is estimated that school summer breaks will cause the average student to lose up to one month of instruction, with disadvantaged students being disproportionately affected. As part of our #StopSummerSlide campaign, we are sharing tips, resources, activities, and events, highlighting daily themes like "Math Monday," "Trivia Tuesday," "Where in the World Wednesday," "Thinker Thursday," and "Fun Fact Friday." If you don't already, be sure to follow us for these tips and ideas and for our latest news.

Finally, NYSED and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) recently issued updated joint guidance and resources for school districts to assist with addressing substance abuse. The resources include information for families looking for help and support related to substance use. Together, we can keep our children here in New York State healthy and safe.

Thanks for reading.
MaryEllen Elia