News and Notes

September 2022

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you’re as excited for the start of school as I am. The Board of Regents and the entire Education Department share this enthusiasm and optimism. We are committed to supporting New York’s teachers and school leaders as they work to help our students learn and grow every day. Please take a moment to watch Chancellor Lester Young’s and my Back to School video message and read our letter to educators – it’s our way of welcoming you back to a new school year and letting you know that we believe all of New York’s students can succeed.

In this edition of News and Notes, I am thrilled to introduce the 2023 New York State Teacher of the Year, William "Billy" Green. Mr. Green, a high school chemistry teacher at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School in Manhattan, has found his calling in the classroom. He imparts an impassioned love for life-long learning and inspires his students to take charge of their personal and academic responsibilities. Mr. Green embodies the positive impact educators can have on students through innovative practices and authentic engagement. I am proud to honor Mr. Green as our Teacher of the Year. Congratulations!

Thank you for all you do for your students every day. I wish you the very best for a healthy and happy school year.


Betty A. Rosa

Manhattan High School Chemistry Teacher Named

2023 New York State Teacher of the Year

Billy Green

Congratulations to William "Billy" Green, a high school chemistry teacher at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School in Manhattan, the 2023 New York State Teacher of the Year.

At the September 2022 Board of Regents meeting, Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr., the Board of Regents, and State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa presented Mr. Green with the Thomas Sobol Award and the Tony Lofrumento Award, both created as annual gifts for recipients of the Teacher of the Year award.

Mr. Green takes pride in making students feel respected and involved, allowing them to “co-create” lessons, and giving them the encouragement they need to feel motivated. By connecting academic content to hands-on activities, he helps students understand the real-world applications of the chemistry being taught in the classroom.

Before teaching at A. Philip Randolph High School, Mr. Green taught at the East River Academy and Frederick Douglass Academy III. Mr. Green has also done extensive work in LGBTQ+ advocacy, serving as a Program Director for “SCAN-NY,” working toward creating and implementing support programs for LGBTQ+ youth and continuing this advocacy through a gay-straight alliance club at his current school.

In the coming year, Mr. Green will serve as an ambassador for teachers throughout the state and will be the New York State nominee for the National Teacher of the Year.

Congratulations to the finalists for the 2023 New York State Teacher of the Year who were also honored. They are as follows:

  • Zachary Arenz, a Music teacher at Flower City School #54, Rochester City School District;
  • Lori Atkinson, a 9-12th grade English teacher at Copenhagen Central School, Copenhagen Central School District;
  • Andi Cammer, a K-6 reading teacher focusing on Life Skills and Workforce Development at Jefferson Central School, Jefferson Central School District; and
  • Vanessa Jackson, a Health teacher at Plainview Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, Plainview Old Bethpage Central School District.

Graduation Measures Blue Ribbon Commission Announced

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) announced the members of the New York State Graduation Measures Blue Ribbon Commission. The Commission will be co-chaired by Vice Chancellor Josephine V. Finn and Regent Judith Chin. In addition to the co-chairs, Regent Aramina Vega Ferrer will serve as a member of the Subcommittee on Program Requirements and Learning Experiences and Regent Frances G. Wills will serve on the Subcommittee on Measurements and Assessment.

Under the direction of the co-chairs, the 64 members of the Blue Ribbon Commission will undertake a thoughtful and inclusive process to explore what a state diploma should signify to ensure educational excellence and equity for every student in New York State. Commission members represent a diverse cross-section of stakeholders, including educators, administrators, researchers, school counselors, professionals from business and higher education, parents, and students.

The full list of Blue Ribbon Commission members is available on the Department’s website.

Two Educators, Museum Curator Receive 

2022 Yavner Teaching Awards for Holocaust, Human Rights Education

The Board of Regents presented Louis E. Yavner Teaching Awards commemorating outstanding contributions in teaching about the Holocaust and other human rights violations to Salamanca City Central School District teachers Brooke Canale and Brandy Kinney, co-winners of the award for teachers, and to Holocaust teacher and museum curator Julie Golding for the citizen’s award.

Brandy Kinney

Brandy Kinney has spearheaded several enrichment programs that support student learning and civic development. She has taught literature studies on the History of Antisemitism and a special topics class on Human Rights Violations. For six years, she has served as Student Council Co-Advisor and helped create a teacher mentoring program in the district.

Brooke Canale

Brooke Canale served as the international advisor for International Travel and Student Government clubs. In 2019, she co-outlined the Human Rights Violations Elective, which encourages students to explore human rights issues in the modern world, such as the Holocaust, Sudan, Rwanda, and Cambodia genocides.

Julie Golding

Julie Golding organized the public burial of ashes of Holocaust victims who were murdered at the Chelmno Death Camp that were given to the Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education in Suffern by a local Holocaust survivor. In response to the brutal attack at a local Monsey synagogue on Hanukkah 2019, the Museum is introducing a new program designed to combat antisemitism through education. The program is geared toward middle and high school-aged public school students. Julie produced a classroom lesson and accompanying video for this program.

CUNY Hunter College Student Receives

2022 Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship

Taishon Graham

The Board of Regents awarded the 2022 Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship to Taishon Graham, a graduate student from New York, NY, in the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program at Hunter College, The City University of New York.

Mr. Graham is a graduate student in rehabilitation counseling with a 3.9 GPA. He has worked as an associate teacher managing behaviors of students on the autism spectrum, helping develop behavioral plans and progress reports, and teaching independent living skills to students with disabilities. Mr. Graham is committed to sharing his knowledge about disability services and empowering others to take charge of their lives and function as full partners in the rehabilitation process.

U.S. Department of Education Honors 20 New York Schools as

2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools

The U.S. Department of Education announced the 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools. Nineteen New York public and charter schools and one nonpublic school have achieved this honor and recognition.

A full list of the 2022 New York State National Blue Ribbon Schools is available on NYSED’s website.

Congratulations to the honorees! 

Final Substantial Equivalence Regulation

At its September 2022 meeting, the Board of Regents adopted amendments to the Commissioner’s regulations to establish requirements pertaining to the determination that substantially equivalent instruction is provided in nonpublic schools. New York’s compulsory education law requires that all school-age students, ages 6 to 16, receive instruction that is at least substantially equivalent to that given to public school students. NYSED conducted 6 virtual stakeholder meetings and numerous in-person meetings with a diverse group of stakeholders and consulted regularly with the Commissioner’s Advisory Council on Nonpublic Schools representing a broad spectrum of the nonpublic schools in New York State. The final regulation provides a set of pathways that a nonpublic school may use to demonstrate that its instruction is substantially equivalent, rather than having a review by a local education authority.

View the meeting presentation and the Regents item for more information.

Statement From Chancellor Young, the Board of Regents, and Commissioner Rosa on the Anniversary of the September 11 Attacks

Today, we take time to commemorate the lives lost and the damage done to our nation 21 years ago, on September 11, 2001. We can never allow ourselves to forget that day or the days and weeks that followed. There was unbearable uncertainty and grief, but also a spirit of unification, drawing together as a global community, across America in support of New York that we continue to embrace to this very day.

The Board of Regents and the State Education Department have a critical role to play in preserving these memories for history. The State Museum is the nation’s largest repository of objects recovered from the attacks on September 11th and its aftermath. These artifacts continue to speak to the Museum’s visitors, including students and children who were not yet alive on 9/11. To them, the tragic events of September 11 are a part of history. To so many of us, though, the events are as fresh and raw in our minds as though they happened only yesterday.

The Museum’s exhibition, The World Trade Center: Rescue, Recovery, Response, opened in 2002, just one year after the attacks. Millions of visitors have viewed the exhibition since its opening twenty years ago – many finding peace and healing among the sacred artifacts. But our task is not yet complete. Even today, we continue to work with survivors, families, and first responders to document their histories, experiences, and stories.

It is our mission to keep this history alive and educate people of all ages about the continuing impact of 9/11. It is only through education that we will advance as a civilization – and we are honored to play a role in that process.

New York State Education Department Awards $7.1 Million in Federal Grants to Programs Supporting Homeless Students

NYSED awarded more than $7 million in grants authorized by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act. NYSED awarded grants to 27 school districts, five Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES)-led consortiums, three district-led consortiums, and one charter school consortium. Funds will promote school success for more than 116,500 students in temporary housing in more than 70 Local Education Agencies (LEAs) across the state.

Help Families Maintain Their Health Insurance With NY State of Health


Having health insurance is critical for children to thrive at school and in life. Children with health insurance are more likely to complete high school and graduate college compared with their peers who don’t have access to care. Health coverage for kids benefits everyone.

Studies have shown that children with health coverage are less likely to miss school due to illness and are better prepared to learn, meaning fewer missed days of work for parents. Fewer missed school days may also allow kids and teens to stay involved with after-school activities like clubs and sports.

If a child doesn’t have health insurance, families can apply for coverage through NY State of Health today! Nearly 99 percent of NY State of Health enrollees qualify for free or low-cost insurance that covers important benefits, including doctor visits, immunizations, mental health services, prescriptions, and hospital care. Child Health Plus provides additional dental and vision coverage.

Consumers can enroll in a health plan by:

If a child is already insured through NY State of Health, families should make sure all contact information is up to date so NY State of Health can reach them regarding any renewal action they may need to take.

Families should:

  • Sign up for text alerts. To subscribe, text START to 1-866-988-0327.
  • Make sure their contact information is correct. Make sure NY State of Health or the local Medicaid office has a current mailing address, phone number, and email address so families can be contacted about their health insurance.
  • If a family has insurance through with NY State of Health, they should call 1-855-355-5777 (TTY: 1-800-662- 1220), log into their account on the NY State of Health website, or contact an enrollment assistor
  • If a family has Medicaid through the county’s Medicaid office or through New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA), they should contact the local office to update their address and contact information.
  • Visit the NY State of Health website for regular updates to ensure they have access to the information they need. 

2022 Kids Safe Online Poster Contest

The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (NYS ITS) is hosting the NYS K-12 Kids Safe Online Poster Contest. The contest provides the opportunity to encourage children to be safe on the internet and while using computers and mobile devices.

This contest is open to all New York State students and the entry deadline is December 16, 2022. The 5 entry categories are as follows:

  • Kindergarten-Grade 2
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 6-8
  • Grades 9-12
  • Special Education


Winners will be included in the 2024 NYS Kids Safe Online Calendar and entered into the MS-ISAC National Computer Security Poster Contest. They will also be displayed during the Annual New York State Cyber Security Conference in June of 2023.


More information on the contest, including entry guidelines and submission instructions, may be accessed on the contest website.


Questions regarding the contest may be submitted to

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