May 28, 2021
Dear Parents,
Interim Commissioner Betty A. Rosa
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is developing New York’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund plan that will detail NYSED’s intentions for the use of federal ARP ESSER funds, as required by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). This week, the platform to seek public input in developing the ARP ESSER Fund plan closed. The nearly $9 billion in federal funding has been made available to New York State to support schools in safely reopening and sustaining safe operations while meeting the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of students resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the timeline for submitting responses has passed, additional information on ARP ESSER may be found on the NYSED website.

NYSED is currently accepting public comment on several other important initiatives. We value your input, and I hope you will take some time to participate in these public comment periods.

Finally, May is Mental Health Month. NYSED and the New York State Office of Mental Health recently issued guidance for supporting student mental health, including a list of mental health and suicide prevention resources for schools, families, and students. In addition, the School Mental Health Resource Training Center was established by the Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc. to provide free mental health resources for parents, students, educators, caregivers, and community partners. I encourage you to visit the web page for families and caregivers, which includes resources for talking to youth about mental health, coping tools for youth and families, and a family education webinar series. Now more than ever, we need to do everything we can to ensure our children feel supported and know where to turn if they need help.

Thank you for all you do to support strong family and community involvement in our schools.


Betty A. Rosa