New York State Education Department_ Knowledge_ Skill_ Opportunity
News and Notes
Dear Colleagues,

It's an exciting time of year - it's almost time for students and educators to go back to school! I like to kick off each school year by meeting students, teachers, and administrators on their first day back in the fall. I look forward to greeting students and educators when they return to school in early September. Thank you to all of the educators across the state who have been hard at work preparing for the school year!

In this edition of News and Notes, I provide information about the following:
6Social Emotional Learning Guidance and Resources

young students working together in classroom
With back-to-school season approaching, new guidance and resources to implement Social Emotional Learning (SEL) benchmarks, policies, and programs are now available for school districts.

Research shows that students who receive social emotional instruction have higher achievement scores, improved attitudes and behaviors, and reduced emotional stress. 

The resources outline benchmarks and frameworks for educators to implement Social Emotional Learning practices in their schools and classrooms. The following resources are now available on NYSED's website:
  1. New York State Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks for voluntary implementation
  2. Social Emotional Learning: Essential for Learning, Essential for Life, a framework explaining SEL concepts, and the need for and benefit of SEL in NY
More information is available in our press release about Social Emotional Learning.
4My Brother's Keeper Exemplary School Models and Practices Grants

school building
NYSED recently awarded more than $1.15 million in grants to five schools for the My Brother's Keeper Exemplary School Models and Practices program. Each of the five grant recipients will partner with a demographically similar Struggling or Persistently Struggling school in another district within its region to replicate exemplary practices that demonstrate cultural and linguistic responsiveness to emphasize the needs of boys and young men of color.

The purpose of the Exemplary School Models and Practices grant is to close the achievement gap and increase both the academic achievement and college and career readiness of students with an emphasis on boys and young men of color.
3Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

teacher helping young student with math at chalkboard
Five New York State mathematics and science teachers are state-level finalists for the 2017-18 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) at the elementary school level, grades K-6. In addition, the White House announced the 2016 PAEMST awardees from each state, including two awardees from New York, on June 25, 2018. The PAEMST is one of the highest honors in the nation for teachers of mathematics and science. The award recognizes outstanding teaching and leadership in science and mathematics education.
6aState Aid for Public Library Construction Projects

NYSED recently announced that $24 million in state aid has been awarded to 230 public libraries statewide for construction and renovation projects. These funds help libraries construct new buildings, create additions, update electrical wiring and computer technology, improve broadband infrastructure, meet energy efficiency standards, renovate facilities to provide full accessibility to library users with disabilities, and provide meeting spaces to accommodate community needs.
5Award-Winning Stage and Film Actor Stephen Lang to Receive Empire State Archives and History Award

Stephen Lang
The New York State Archives Partnership Trust will award Stephen Lang, an award-winning stage and film actor and history enthusiast, the 2018 Empire State Archives and History Award on Thursday, October 25 at 7:00 p.m. at the State Education Building in Albany. Tickets for the event are available.

Lang is known for iconic roles in Gettysburg, Gods and Generals, Tombstone, and Avatar. He has earned critical acclaim for his Medal of Honor themed solo play and film, Beyond Glory, as well as his chamber play on the Lost Battalion of World War I, His Dark Land.

The Empire State Archives and History Award acknowledges the outstanding contributions by a national figure to advance the understanding and uses of history in society. Previous honorees include Ken Burns, Ron Chernow, and Harold Holzer.
Libraries Rock_ with myOn
The 2018 Summer Reading at New York Libraries program is winding down at public libraries all across the state, but there is still plenty of time to get the most out of summer reading and learning. Many public libraries are still hosting Summer Reading events and activities through the end of August as kids and families get ready to go back to school.

The myON/Summer Reading partnership initiative will continue through the end of September, so be sure to take advantage of the digital books offered for free by myON and NYSED. 

Access to myON is available to all New York State children from Pre-K to 12th grade, including those who are homeschooled or in a non-traditional school environment. Login information is available for students at each school district and public library; there is also a generic log-in available through the New York State Library.

Students can access myON's digital library of over 6,000 titles and download books via the myON mobile app until September 30, 2018. Families enjoying end-of-summer trips before school starts can use myON on the go by downloading up to 20 books to read offline on the myON app!

Students who have already been using the myON app should be sure to log in using WiFi at least once by September 30 so that their reading activity is included in the overall book count. And there is still time to delete old books and download new ones to read and enjoy on mobile devices until September 30! Questions about myON may be directed to
1aMy Brother's Keeper Online Town Hall

In July, more than 600 My Brother's Keeper community leaders and participants joined the National MBK Alliance's Online Town Hall meeting, which featured a conversation with award-winning American hip-hop recording artist, actor, film producer, and poet, Common. At the Town Hall, Common talked about the importance of MBK and discussed his recent work on issues affecting boys and young men of color. 

Regent Lester Young and Dr. Anael Alston, Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Access, Equity, and Community Engagement Services, also joined the Town Hall to discuss the positive impacts of the My Brother's Keeper initiative in New York State. To date, New York has invested nearly $60 million in support of the initiative to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.

The Town Hall was emceed by Senegal Mabry, a student at Binghamton University and a member of the National MBK Advisory Council. Watch a recording of the MBK Town Hall here.
Recognizing the Mental Well-Being of Children

As the 2018-19 school year begins, a new law requires that mental health education be provided to students across every classroom in New York. A WBFO Facebook Live conversation - Teaching Mental Health: Recognizing the Mental Well-Being of Children - will examine the issue. Panelists will discuss how schools have developed a new mental health curriculum for school health classes and what it means for teachers and students. The curriculum aims to teach children about their mental well-being.

As part of WBFO's Mental Health Initiative, senior reporter Eileen Buckley will lead a conversation with New York State Regent Catherine Fisher Collins, who represents Western New York; Michael Cornell, Superintendent of the Hamburg Central School District; and Mark Laurrie, Superintendent of the Niagara Falls School District. The Facebook audience can send comments and questions for the guests.

The Facebook Live event will take place on Wednesday, September 12 at 1:00 p.m. Submit questions ahead of time by email at and look for the event on the WBFO Facebook page!