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August 28, 2023

Dear Parents and Families,

Commissioner Betty A. Rosa

It’s hard to believe, but the first day of school is right around the corner. Here at the New York State Education Department (NYSED), we are focused on a successful start to the school year, ensuring that every student has a welcoming and safe environment to learn and grow. Below are updates on the work we’ve done over the summer that may be helpful as you prepare your children for the new school year.


Guidance on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Earlier this month, NYSED and New York Attorney General Letitia James issued guidance reminding New York public schools and local education agencies of their obligation to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in educational planning and decision-making. Students cannot learn and develop socially and emotionally when they feel disconnected, intimidated, harassed, or discriminated against. Schools and educators have a responsibility to remove the barriers that stand in the way of success for many students and must do all they can to foster a safe, supportive environment where all New York State students feel included.

The joint guidance issued this month offers recommendations for upholding the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in three key areas of the school experience:


  1. learning and teaching;
  2. student discipline; and
  3. addressing bullying and harassment.


The joint guidance also provides resources for schools to help create an environment that protects every student’s right to access equal education. We are urging every school district to reflect on local policies, strategies, and tactics and advance the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure all students have the supports necessary to be fully engaged.

NYSED Hosts Governor Hochul for School Grant Announcement

On August 3, the Board of Regents and NYSED were pleased to host New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, state and local lawmakers, and our partners in education and stakeholder groups, including New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) President Melinda Person, at the historic State Education Building in Albany. The Governor announced $108 million in funding, which will allow for school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to address student well-being and learning loss in response to the trauma brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding includes $50 million per year over two years in competitive funding awarded between the Mental Health RECOVS Grants and Learning Loss RECOVS Grants, as well as $8.3 million in grants to create school-based mental health clinics. Learn more about the 2023-2025 New York State RECOVS: Recover from COVID School Program.


2023 P-3 Summer Institute


This month, in partnership with the New York State Office of Children and Families, NYSED hosted the 2023 P-3 Summer Institute at the Cultural Education Center in Albany. The annual P-3 Summer Institute – which was held in person this year for the first time since before the pandemic – brought together more than 220 teachers, specialists, and administrators from across the state who are responsible for designing early education programs. The event featured keynote addresses from nationally renowned experts in early learning and reading. Chancellor Young and I also had the pleasure of speaking about the importance of early childhood education, including early literacy and math skills that provide a strong foundation for academic success. Breakout sessions focused on research-based practices and the science of reading to effectively support young children’s learning and development.

New York State My Brother’s Keeper Fellows Visit Martha’s Vineyard

Over the summer, five of our exceptional New York State My Brother’s Keeper Fellows had an opportunity to participate in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Camp on Martha’s Vineyard. The students participated in STEM-related activities and received mentorship and counsel from prominent national leaders, including Hon. Marc Morial, former Mayor of New Orleans and President of the National Urban League; Broderick Johnson, former White House Cabinet Secretary; and Eric Holder, former United States Attorney General. While on the island, the students experienced the thrill of a lifetime when they were able to meet and have a Q and A with former President Barack Obama!

Thank you for everything you are doing to help your children gear up for the new school year. I hope you enjoy the remaining days of summer.


Betty A. Rosa


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