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February 24, 2023

Dear Parents and Families,

As February’s Black History Month comes to an end, I wanted to make sure you are aware of the educational resources the New York State Education Department (NYSED) has made available through the New York State Museum and the New York State Library.


To further commemorate Black History Month, NYSED and The Education Trust-New York are highlighting students who participate in the New York State My Brother’s Keeper program on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn). The #MyHistoryMyFuture campaign features inspiring quotes from outstanding students who share how the MBK program has changed their lives and their hopes and dreams for the future. We also continue to feature artwork from the New York State Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Art & Essay Exhibit using the hashtags #NYSMLK and #StudentsExhibitingMLK. Both campaigns will run through the end of February.


In addition, the New York State Library has announced its upcoming programming for March, including various webinars, events, and onsite genealogy walking tours. For example, in observance of Women’s History Month we are offering a series, “How Women Won the Vote,” about the women’s suffrage movement in New York. For a complete list of upcoming programs, including webinars, events, and onsite genealogy walking tours, visit the New York State Library website.

At the February Board of Regents meeting, NYSED proposed the creation of the Indigenous Culture and Language Studies (All Grades) certificate for teachers. If established, the new certification area would increase the capacity and number of teachers who can teach indigenous cultures and languages while increasing the awareness, knowledge, and appreciation for indigenous peoples. Public comments may be submitted via email to through May 1. The Department is also conducting ongoing consultation with Indigenous Nations regarding these proposed regulations.


NYSED’s Office of ESSA-Funded Programs administers the State’s McKinney-Vento funds for schools and districts to assist students experiencing homelessness. In partnership with NYSED, the New York State Technical and Educational Assistance Center for Homeless Students (TEACHS) has published 2021-22 School Year Data on Students Experiencing Homelessness in New York State. The data can be accessed on the NYS TEACHS website.


In addition, NYSED recently released graduation data for 2018 Cohort students, who are those students that graduated high school by August 2022. For specific data points and for school- and district-level graduation data, visit the Department’s public data site. A PowerPoint presentation with a summary of the data is also available.


The Department continues to gather feedback about what it means to obtain a high school diploma in New York State and what that diploma should signify. As part of this process, the New York State Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures invites you to respond to a new ThoughtExchange question:

Foundational skills, like initiative, time management, and collaboration, are shown to prepare students for school, college, career, civic engagement, and life, and are priorities of the business world. How can these skills be fostered and encouraged in K-12 education?

I encourage you to participate in the discussion via ThoughtExchange. The deadline to respond to this question is March 17, 2023.


Finally, the New York State Office of Mental Health has announced Statewide virtual and in-person opportunities for all New Yorkers, including youth and families, to provide input that will contribute to expanding, strengthening, and revitalizing the State’s mental healthcare system. For dates and registration information, please review the announcement of community engagement feedback sessions.


Thank you for all you do to support your children, schools, and communities.




Betty A. Rosa


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