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

To help ensure that students across the state receive every aspect of support that they need, NYSED this week released new guidance and resources to help school districts implement policies and programs that promote Social Emotional Learning (SEL). These tools facilitate systemic whole school implementation and include district-developed resources aligning SEL competencies, academic standards, classroom activities, and teaching practices.

We are truly seeing the impact of these Social Emotional Learning initiatives in our schools, where suspensions are down and students are being lifted up by educators who are working together to build positive school climates. NYSED has made SEL a priority, and our ESSA plan commits to fostering competencies for all students and adults in our schools and communities to ensure that all students have access to support for their social emotional well-being.

We made another announcement this week related to the health and well-being of our students: No-cost eye exams and glasses will be provided to students at several New York schools this month through a partnership between NYSED, the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA), VSP Global, and the New York State Society of Opticians (NYSSO). This is part of an effort to raise awareness about providing accessible vision care and resources to those who are in need, as well as the critical role clear vision plays in children's physical, cognitive, and social development.

Vision problems can hinder students' ability to learn. Many classroom tasks, such as reading, writing, and using computers can be difficult for students with undiagnosed vision problems. All students should have access to quality vision care, and we are so pleased to once again support this effort to bring comprehensive eye exams and glasses to children in these school districts.

Research shows that one in four school-age children has a vision disorder which impacts his or her ability to learn. Learn more about our effort to raise awareness about student vision health and see the schedule of no-cost screenings.

As I mentioned in my last letter, 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 guide the work of developing the Parent Dashboard, NYSED is gathering feedback from parents and stakeholders. Please complete this five-minute survey and tell us how we can make the Parent Dashboard as useful as possible. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at
MaryEllen Elia