images of parents with their children
June 28, 2019
Dear Parents,

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) recently identified 562 high achieving and high progress schools as Recognition Schools. Under New York's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan, Recognition Schools have high academic achievement, student growth and graduation rate, and have made progress during the 2017-18 school year.

We are taking a more holistic approach to school and student achievement under ESSA and I am excited to recognize these schools for their accomplishments and progress. I commend the teachers, administrators, staff, parents and students for the hard work and dedication they bring each day-it is truly paying off. Each Recognition School will receive a certificate of recognition; congratulations!

We have reached the end of the school year, and as summer begins, several programs are getting underway. Some of our statewide summer programs include the Summer Food Service Program, Summer Reading at New York Libraries, and the Summer School of the Arts.

The 2019 Summer Food Service Program, which provides free meals to approximately 400,000 students, kicks off in July at nearly 3,000 sites statewide. You can use the interactive USDA online map to find a service site that will provide free meals for your child during the summer.

We work hard with our partners across the state to ensure that all students have access to a healthy meal throughout the school year. Thanks to our work with the USDA, we are able to fill the gap in the summer months and provide kids with much-needed, nutritious meals to keep children healthy and eager to learn when they return to school in the fall.

In addition, NYSED and the State Library are partnering with 1,100 public libraries and neighborhood branches statewide to launch the 2019 Summer Reading at New York Libraries program. The free, annual program gives children the opportunity to access the vast resources of New York's public libraries to support their summer reading.

Students can download free e-books too this summer thanks to NYSED's partnership with myON by Renaissance. Now through September 30, New York State children and their families can access a digital library of more than 6,000 e-books. Learn more about summer reading and find out how to access free e-books.

Another great program, the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA), begins this weekend. Over 400 students in grades 8-12 are enrolled in this year's program where they will study with some of the world's foremost artists in the visual and performing arts. NYSSSA is composed of seven component schools that will be held throughout the summer: Theatre, Ballet, Modern Dance, Orchestral Studies, Choral Studies, Visual Arts, and Media Arts. Each program culminates in a final public performance or exhibition that is free and open to the public.

This program demonstrates the importance of the arts in students' educational experience. The experience helps students develop their artistic skill and discipline not just for the summer but for years to come as they pursue careers or further study in the arts. The students' concerts and exhibitions are inspiring, and I encourage New Yorkers of all ages to attend a public performance.

Thank you for everything you have done to make this a successful school year. Best wishes to all the 2019 graduates, including those who finished high school and those who completed college. I will continue to stay in touch throughout the summer.
MaryEllen Elia