November 28, 2023
Dear Parents and Families,
Commissioner Betty A. Rosa
As we enter the holiday season, now is a perfect time to reflect on the importance of family. I know how much love and care you dedicate each day to supporting your children’s learning—from communicating with their teachers to helping with homework to reading together at bedtime. Thank you for your efforts to keep your children engaged in and excited about education while also balancing many other priorities. I hope you were able to spend plenty of quality time with family last week while celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday.

In this edition of the family newsletter, I would like to provide you with updates and information on graduation measures, New York City mayoral control hearings, an important new appointment at the State Education Department, and award recognitions.

New York State Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures 
The New York State Education Department’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures presented its recommendations to the Board of Regents at its November 2023 meeting. The Graduation Measures Initiative is an unprecedented effort bringing together student voices along with a diverse range of stakeholders—including parents, educators, administrators, school support staff, representatives of higher education, and the business community. The Commission created a roadmap for learning-centered education that best meets the needs of every student in New York State and incorporates competency imperatives that provide them with the practical skills needed for the dynamic demands of tomorrow’s workforce.

Guided by research, stakeholder feedback, and their expertise and experiences, the Blue Ribbon Commission identified high-level skills, knowledge areas, and competencies that holistically reflect successful outcomes of P-12 education. The recommendations will help us create a more inclusive learning environment while maintaining rigor and enhancing critical thinking skills, putting all students on a trajectory for success and ensuring they’re prepared for college, career, and civic readiness in the 21st Century and beyond.

Read the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations here

In the coming months, the Department will begin its work to develop proposed guidance and programmatic and regulatory changes to address the goals and priorities of the Regents related to this initiative.   Additional information about the Graduation Measures initiative can be found on the Department’s Graduation Measures website.

Mayoral Control of New York City Schools
The New York State Education Department announced the dates and locations of a series of five public hearings as part of the State’s comprehensive review of the overall effectiveness of mayoral control of New York City schools. In accordance with Chapter 364 of the Laws of 2022, members of the public—including students, parents, teachers, school administrators and staff, and individuals with experience and expertise in education policy and school governance—are welcome to provide feedback on their experiences, assessments, and/or review of the mayoral control system of New York City schools to help inform the State’s review. 

Members of the public may participate by providing oral testimony at one of five public hearings, and/or by submitting written electronic testimony. All hearings will take place in the evening and are accessible by public transportation. Additional information on the hearings and how to submit testimony will be released soon.

Jeffrey Matteson Appointed State Education Department Senior Deputy Commissioner for Education Policy
This month, the Board of Regents and NYSED announced the appointment of Dr. Jeffrey A. Matteson to Senior Deputy Commissioner for Education Policy. In this role, Dr. Matteson will oversee the Office of P-12 Education and the Office of Higher Education. The Senior Deputy Commissioner serves as a member of the Commissioner’s Leadership Team and provides guidance, analysis, and direction in achieving the strategic goals of the State Education Department. Welcome, Dr. Matteson!

2023 New York State Student Research AwardsThis month, the New York State Archives and the Archives Partnership Trust named the winners of the 2023 New York State Student Research Awards program. This annual awards program is a statewide competition open to all New York State students in grades four to twelve. The Awards recognize excellence in student research and encourage students to explore the wealth of historical records held in cultural institutions and records repositories across New York State. This year marks the 33rd year anniversary of the competition for young students in the elementary, middle school, and high school divisions. 

Congratulations to the fourth grade class at Thornell Road Elementary School in Pittsford CSD, the winners in the elementary award category. The fourth graders created a book detailing the lives of Erie Canal workers buried in the local cemetery using historic resources and documents.  

Eight Jericho Union Free School District middle and high school students were the winners of the middle and high school categories. The winning Jericho middle school students submitted documentary projects highlighting a variety of historical topics including the Salem witch trials; the Navajo community members that created communication codes during World War II; and the impact of Jacob Riis’ photojournalism on poverty. The winning high school projects included a website on the role of Jazz Ambassadors during the Cold War and a research paper analyzing Venezuela as an economic pioneer. Congratulations to the winners!

Milken Educator Award
Congratulations to Kimberly Alexander Carlo, a seventh grade science teacher at Lewiston-Porter Middle School at Lewiston-Porter Central Schools in Youngstown, NY, on being honored this month with the 2023 Milken Award

Presented by the Milken Family Foundation, the Educator Awards provide public recognition and financial awards of $25,000 to educators from around the country who are furthering excellence in education. 
Best wishes for a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season. 

Betty A. Rosa