NYSED – Welcome Back to School

    Dear Parents,  

With the new school year upon us, this is a time of hope, excitement, and possibility. Starting in a new grade or school for the first time is a memorable experience for any child and can evoke a range of feelings from joy in seeing old friends to anxiety about a new environment. This is a busy time of the year for families, too; there are end-of-summer plans, organizing back-to-school supplies, and for some parents, seeing their children off to school for the first time. Rest assured, teachers from across the state have been preparing all summer to welcome your children back to the classroom and build a strong foundation for the entire school year.  

The promise and potential of this school year are palpable. We must be very intentional in our approach, and our focus is for students to realize their full potential. To help districts and schools across our state achieve this aim and best support the academic, social, and emotional needs of your students, the Board of Regents and Department have been meeting with educators across New York, including parents, to develop buy-in and share our guiding principles:  

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: We expect that every student across our state will be valued and welcomed with open arms into their school community regardless of their background. Working closely with a wide variety of stakeholders, we jointly believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion mean that all students and their families have a voice and seat at the table, are provided with the tools and resources to succeed, and that their differences are seen as an integral part of the fabric of their school community.
A service-oriented approach through technical assistance and guidance: Just like we expect districts and schools to support the communities they serve, the Department has made a commitment to educators across New York that we will champion the work they are undertaking. This means more conversations with educators to hear what their needs are, updating policies and practices to ensure educational decisions are left in the hands of educators and make sense in the context of our diverse state, and that we harness our collective expertise to solve any problems that come our way. We are here to work with schools and districts to make sure New York’s students have the tools and resources they need to succeed.
A P-20 Continuum of services and supports: Starting from kindergarten and earlier, we are asking educators to think deeply about the skills and tools students need to prepare for college or career. We are working with our colleges and universities to collaborate with K-12 schools to provide cutting-edge training for new teachers, world-class professional learning opportunities for current teachers, and advanced course access for all of our students regardless of where they live in our state. Career and technical education is also a critically important area of growth here in New York. We are actively working to provide students with a wider menu of options and opportunities to grow, learn, and thrive in practical settings both in the classroom and beyond.  

To build upon this message, and personally welcome you back to the 2022-2023 school year, we wanted to share this video message with you:   Welcome Back to School 2022 on Vimeo

Lastly, achieving these aims takes a community approach where we all play a pivotal role. We are on this journey together, and so the Department is leading a statewide campaign to promote back-to-school ready-to-learn resources, compiling tools and supports from across New York to assist students and families with supplies as well as academic, social, and emotional resources (#NYSEDReadytoLEARN). For more information, please visit our new back-to-school website. We plan to update the page throughout the school year with opportunities for volunteerism and information on how to find the tools and resources our students need to thrive.   

Have a wonderful school year filled with learning and growth for your children.  

Dr. Lester W. Young, Jr. Chancellor, NYS Board of Regents
Dr. Betty A. Rosa Commissioner, NYSED