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June 28, 2023

Dear Parents and Families,

Commissioner Betty A. Rosa

Thank you for your support in making this a successful school year. As we kick off summer vacation, statewide summer programs are getting underway, including the Summer Food Service Program and Summer Reading at New York Libraries!


The 2023 Summer Food Service Program, providing free meals to approximately 400,000 young people at parks, pools, libraries, camps, and schools, kicks off in July at 2,500 sites statewide.


There are several tools available to help you find the nearest food service site:


  • Use the interactive USDA online map
  • Text “Food or “Comida” to 304-304 
  • Call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-3-HAMBRE 
  • 211 in New York State 
  • 311 in New York City


In addition, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and the New York State Library are partnering with 1,100 public libraries and neighborhood branches statewide to launch the 2023 Summer Reading at New York Libraries program.


The slogan for this year, "All Together Now," serves as a unifying force that brings together students of varying ages, emphasizing the importance of friendship, kindness, inclusion, and diversity. Throughout the summer, New York's public libraries will be the hub of exciting activities and events, all aimed at fostering a sense of community and promoting reading and enrichment programs for children and families alike.


The Summer Reading program harnesses the distinct influence of libraries to unite youngsters, adolescents, and families with a range of literature and activities that mirror their lives, passions, and experiences. Bring your loved ones to the nearby library and enjoy free books and informative programs!


If you will be in the Capital Region over the summer, be sure to visit the New York State Museum! The Museum’s beloved antique carousel reopened to the public earlier this month after extensive repairs and upgrades. The entire carousel was disassembled, new parts fabricated, and meticulous repairs made by some of the few remaining specialized craftsmen in the country, and then reassembled over the past three years. The carousel is open Tuesday through Sunday, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.


NYSED is committed to creating and fostering safe, supportive learning environments for the state’s students and school communities. In accordance with this commitment, we recently hosted a School Safety Summit in collaboration with the Center for School Safety. Over 900 school administrators and staff, school resource officers, and safety team members attended the two-day, in-person summit at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. For information about NYSED’s school safety initiatives, please visit NYSED’s Student Support Services website or the New York State Center for School Safety’s website.


Safe and supportive schools also play a vital role in creating an inclusive and nurturing environment where transgender and gender expansive students can thrive academically, emotionally, and socially. To promote the well-being and social emotional health of transgender and gender expansive students, NYSED recently released a framework to provide legal updates and best practices to facilitate compliance with state and federal laws concerning bullying, harassment, discrimination, and student privacy. The update also reflects outreach to include the voices and experiences of transgender and gender expansive students in New York schools.


Finally, congratulations to the Class of 2023! I wish you all the best as you embark on your next adventures.


Have a fun and restful summer!




Betty A. Rosa


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