News and Notes
January 2021
Dear Colleagues,
Last week, the Board of Regents elected a new Chancellor, Dr. Lester W. Young, Jr., the first African American to serve in this position. Chancellor Young, who assumed his new post on January 12, has more than 50 years of experience in public education and has served on the Board of Regents since 2008. His unmatched expertise, knowledge, and passion will benefit all New Yorkers as he leads the Board of Regents to advance educational equity for all children.

I have worked with Chancellor Young for many years in our various roles in New York City and on the Board of Regents. The Board is fortunate to have him as its leader, and I look forward to our partnership as he begins his new role. Please join me in congratulating Chancellor Young!

At the same time that we celebrate this historic moment in our Board of Regents leadership, the events at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, and the aftermath of those events, have left us all shaken. Our schools can offer support for students as they process the acts of violence that took place at the U.S. Capitol. Through it all, New York State teachers and counselors are there to remind students that they are loved and cared for, to provide resources that are available to help, and to remind students that we will never solve our problems through violence. As educators, we must teach our children that America is a land of hope and opportunity, and that it cannot be taken for granted. We are grateful for you, New York's exceptional educators, for your continued steady and unwavering support for students, especially during the continuous challenges of the past year.

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

  • NYSED Releases 2016 Cohort High School Graduation Rates
  • Board of Regents and NYSED Announce Digital Equity Summits
  • Statement From Vice Chancellor Brown, Interim Commissioner Rosa, and the Board of Regents on the Federal Economic Stimulus Package
  • High School Students Encouraged to Apply for 2021 New York State Summer School of the Arts
  • New York State Museum Offers New Online Resources for Art Educators


Betty A. Rosa
Interim Commissioner
NYSED Releases 2016 Cohort High School Graduation Rates
August graduation rates - 2016 cohort
Last week, NYSED released graduation rates for the 2016 cohort, those students who first entered 9th grade in New York’s public schools in 2016. The overall August graduation rate increased to 84.8 percent, up 1.4 percentage points from 83.4 percent for the 2015 cohort. The 2016 cohort graduation rate is 8 percentage points higher than it was a decade earlier, when the 2007 cohort graduation rate was 76.8 percent.

For more specific data points and for school- and district-level graduation data, visit NYSED's public data website. A PowerPoint presentation with additional data is also available.
Board of Regents and NYSED Announce Digital Equity Summits
student working on laptop at home
The Board of Regents and NYSED will convene a series of Digital Equity Summits to establish a shared understanding of digital inequity in the state and create a joint vision for achieving digital equity. The summits will bring together education, government, community, and business partners from across the state to develop recommended next steps in the short-term and long-term involving business, industry, community organizations, and all levels of government to benefit students and their families.
Statement From Vice Chancellor Brown, Interim Commissioner Rosa and the Board of Regents on the Federal Economic Stimulus Package
On behalf of New York’s students, teachers and school administrators, we thank our Congressional delegation for including much needed resources for education and broadband availability in the federal economic stimulus package. As we look ahead to how these funds will be distributed, we cannot lose sight of the fact that throughout the pandemic our educators redefined what it means to be a hero and the critical role our schools play in their communities. 

As we did in our 2021-22 State Aid Proposal, we are once again calling for state operating aid for schools to remain level with 2019-20 funding levels and that any new federal dollars be used to supplement, not supplant state aid funds. Our schools have undertaken enormous costs to safely educate New York’s children during the pandemic and new federal funding should be used to help offset these additional costs. Further, to ensure equitable access to resources, we also ask that these federal funds have no impact on 2021-22 tax cap calculations and are distributed progressively to assist those districts that rely most on state aid. 

Finally, now that we have a clear picture of what federal funds will be available, we ask that districts be provided with all state aid funding that has been withheld and that no further state aid payments are withheld moving forward.
High School Students Encouraged to Apply for
2021 New York State Summer School of the Arts
NYSSSA: New York State Summer School of the Arts
Applications are being accepted for the 2021 New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA). The summer program will be held fully online to ensure safety during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. Tuition will be free for all students who qualify, fostering equity by allowing students who may not have been able to participate otherwise. Students will be able to experience intensive work and interaction with internationally acclaimed artists and performing arts companies.

NYSSSA auditions begin this month, and students in grades 8-12 throughout New York State are encouraged to apply. Audition information and application materials are available on the NYSSSA website.
New York State Museum Offers New Online Resources for Art Educators
Woodstock Art Colony
Now available for educators and students! Learn more about the history and art of the Woodstock Art Colony through recently added Google Classroom lessons. These three lessons encourage students to respond to artwork and explore different themes, techniques, and mediums. Each lesson can be adjusted to meet the individual needs of students and are easy to assign virtually for remote or hybrid classrooms.

Long before the famous music festival in 1969, Woodstock, New York, was home to what is considered America’s first intentionally created, year-round arts colony—founded in 1902 and still thriving over 100 years later. Collecting the remarkable range of work produced there has been Arthur A. Anderson’s focus for three decades, resulting in the largest comprehensive assemblage of its type. The artists represented in it reflect the diversity of those who came to Woodstock, including Birge Harrison, Konrad Cramer, George Bellows, Eugene Speicher, Peggy Bacon, Rolph Scarlett, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, among many others.