images of parents with their children
November 22, 2019
Dear Parents,

I'm Shannon Tahoe, Acting Commissioner of Education. As Beth Berlin mentioned in her previous update, her last day at the New York State Education Department (NYSED) was Friday, November 15.

Since 2006, I have served in various capacities at NYSED, including Deputy Counsel and Assistant Counsel for Legislation. I was also recently appointed Acting Counsel and Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs, and I will continue to serve in that role as well. I will serve as Acting Commissioner while the Board of Regents identifies a new Interim Commissioner. Thank you for your continued support as we work through this transition.

This week, NYSED issued guidance to assist school districts in ensuring all students, including those that are historically underserved, have equitable access to rigorous coursework. The guidance, rooted in five core principles, builds on the State's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan, which uses multiple measures of success to advance equity. This includes a "College, Career and Civic Readiness Index" that measures, among other indicators, advanced course enrollment.

Access to rigorous coursework is essential for all of New York's students. If we want to put students on the path to success, we must be certain that they are able to engage in the coursework that will get them there. The State's ESSA plan has made fostering equity a priority and this guidance moves us even closer to ensuring that every student, in every school across the State, has access to a quality education. We thank the members of the New York Equity Coalition for their partnership in developing this guidance.

I'm also pleased to share that six New York State mathematics and science teachers are state-level finalists for the 2019 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) at the secondary level, grades 7-12. In addition, the White House announced the 2017 and 2018 PAEMST awardees from each state, including four from New York, on October 15, 2019. The PAEMST is one of the highest honors in the nation for teachers of mathematics and science.

The holiday season is upon us, and I encourage you to consider visiting the New York State Museum's Taste NY Holiday Market. Admission is free, and visitors can shop at more than two dozen made-in-New York food and beverage vendors, participate in educational activities, and see a cooking demonstration. See a list of vendors and a schedule of activities on the Museum's website.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and are able to spend quality time with your family and friends. Families are important, and as parents, you provide a nurturing foundation for your children to learn. I am thankful for your support as we continue our work to ensure that each child in New York State receives a high-quality education. 


Shannon Tahoe
Acting Commissioner of Education