News and Notes
December 2020
Dear Colleagues,

As we reach the end of a year that has been like no other, I want to wish you the best for a safe and healthy holiday season. This year, the holidays will undoubtedly be different. Many traditions that we have held sacred may be altered or go uncelebrated as we continue to adjust to living during a pandemic. Despite everything we have confronted, there is still much to celebrate, including the educators, parents, and school communities across New York State that have come together to support our children. Thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to your students in the face of innumerable challenges. Please continue to spread kindness, give with a generous and compassionate heart, and take care of yourselves and your families. Be well and stay healthy.

Below, you can find details on other announcements and resources from the New York State Education Department (NYSED):

  • Board of Regents Advances Budget and Legislative Priorities and State Aid Request for the 2021-22 School Year
  • Board of Regents Adopts First-Ever Learning Standards for Computer Science and Digital Fluency
  • State Education Department Announces Nominees for 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program
  • $6 Million in My Brother's Keeper Grant Funding Available for Family and Community Engagement Programs
  • Write On, NY!
  • Content Area Notification Service
  • NY Project Hope Offers Free, Confidential Support to Help Navigate the Challenges of COVID
  • National Cyber Scholarship Competition
  • Content Area Notification Service


Betty A. Rosa
Interim Commissioner
Board of Regents Advances Budget and Legislative Priorities and
State Aid Request for the 2021-22 School Year
State Aid Proposal Budget Legislative Priorities
This week, the New York State Board of Regents advanced its budget and legislative priorities and state aid request for the 2021-2022 school year. The Board outlined its State Aid Proposal that calls for ensuring level state funding over a two-year period to continue to address the needs of school districts amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the Board advanced a comprehensive set of proposals to continue to allow districts to operate efficiently to focus resources on priorities that are vital to best meet the needs of all students.
Board of Regents Adopts First-Ever Learning Standards for
Computer Science and Digital Fluency
computer science and digital learning standards
This week, the Board of Regents adopted New York State’s first-ever K-12 Learning Standards for Computer Science and Digital Fluency. These standards will ensure that every student knows how to live productively and safely in a technology-dominated world, including understanding the essential features of digital technologies, why and how they work, and how to communicate and create using those technologies. The new standards are the culmination of a two-year, collaborative process that included New York State teachers and statewide experts on computer science and educational technology.
State Education Department Announces Nominees for 
2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program
This week, NYSED nominated 25 New York State high school seniors for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The Presidential Scholar recognition is one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Application is by invitation only. The U.S. Department of Education will issue invitations in January from among those students nominated by Chief State School Officers and from a pool based on scores on the SAT or ACT. Semifinalists will be notified in mid-April and Scholars will be notified in May. Students chosen as U.S. Presidential Scholars receive a U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion.
$6 Million in My Brother's Keeper Grant Funding Available for
Family and Community Engagement Programs
New York State My Brother's Keeper
School districts may now apply for $6 million in grants for the My Brother’s Keeper Family and Community Engagement Program. The Family and Community Engagement Program grants aim to increase the academic achievement and college and career readiness of boys and young men of color while fostering the development of effective relationships with families to promote the success of all students. The allocation for 2021-22 as well as subsequent yearly funding is subject to the continuation of the State appropriation.
Write On, NY!
Write on, NY! is a NYSED website and initiative that promotes and supports student writing in New York State. The initiative utilizes the Lifelong Practices for Readers and Writers to encourage students’ engagement in writing. The Write on, NY! webpage highlights each practice, then links to key elements for writing, as well as classroom resources. NYSED thanks the many teachers and educators who are part of this partnership and continue to assist with the work.

In an effort to promote this initiative, we invite students statewide to enter the Write on, NY! Logo Design Contest. The contest is open to all New York State students in prekindergarten through grade 12. The deadline for entries is February 28, 2021. Winning logo designs will be announced in March 2021. The student’s name, school, and district (if applicable) will be published with the design. 

More resources will be developed and added in 2021!

Questions pertaining to the Write on, NY! initiative or the logo design contest can be directed to the Office of Curriculum and Instruction at or (518) 474-5922.
NY Project Hope Offers Free, Confidential Support to Help
Navigate the Challenges of COVID
NY Project Hope - Coping with COVID
COVID-19 has changed a lot about how we live our lives, from daily routines at home to how we do our jobs. For many, work can feel uncertain and overwhelming.

The trained crisis counselors at NY Project Hope understand the changes COVID-19 has made in your life and they know the emotions these challenges create may be strong, and sometimes unfamiliar. From uncertainty to sadness, NY Project Hope helps you cope with your reactions to the changes and provides support so you can work to manage the stress and fatigue.

Maybe you want to learn about reliable community resources that can help you or you just want to talk...maybe it's both. Whatever it is that you need as you work to navigate your way through these very unusual times, NY Project Hope is here for you during COVID-19. If you decide to call our Emotional Support Helpline, you will reach someone who has been trained to hear what you are saying and give you the kind of support that works best for you during the pandemic...whether it's coping strategies, resources, or a chance to talk. The call is always confidential, anonymous, and without charge. NY Project Hope’s Emotional Support Helpline number is 1-844-863-9314. Trained crisis counselors are available every day from 8am to 10pm. For coping tips, relaxation exercises, and much more, log on to the NY Project Hope website.

NY Project Hope also provides resources to help children and adolescents cope with COVID-19. Learn more about how to recognize warning signs of a child or teenager experiencing trauma and how to intervene.
If you need support as you help children cope with COVID-19, call the NY Project Hope Emotional Support Helpline at 1-844-863-9314, 7 Days/Week from 8am-10pm.
National Cyber Scholarship Competition
The National Cyber Scholarship program gives students the opportunity to compete for millions of dollars in college scholarships to support cybersecurity training. Every high school student in America can register for free access to CyberStart America. The 2021 Competition will take place fully online April 5-6, 2021.

Content Area Notification Service
NYSED's Office of Curriculum and Instruction offers an email notification service to directly provide educators important information relevant to their area of certification and assignment. These areas include:
  • Arts
  • Career and Technical Education
  • Computer Science
  • Counselors
  • English Language Arts (ELA)
  • Health
  • Languages Other Than English (LOTE)
  • Mathematics
  • N-6 (Elementary)
  • Physical education (PE)
  • Science
  • Social studies

Information shared through this service will include content area standards updates, resources, professional development opportunities, regulatory or requirement changes, etc. The service will only be used as needed and only information that is relevant to your content area and has been previously released to school and district leaders will be shared. We do not anticipate issuing more than a few emails per month and these would only be directed to the relevant professionals who subscribe to the related area of the news.

Subscribe to the service by providing your email and choosing from the content areas you would like to join. Multiple subscriptions are welcome.