News and Notes: Commemorating Black History Month

News and Notes  

February 2024  

Dear Colleagues,  

The New York State Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) are commemorating Black History Month by celebrating Black Americans’ innumerable and enduring contributions throughout our nation’s history. Throughout February, special exhibitions, educational resources, and compelling in-person and online programs will be available, highlighting the significance of Black history in New York State. The monthlong celebration underscores the value of fostering unity and solidarity among diverse cultural identities and highlights the role of education as a unifying force that bridges these varied experiences. A comprehensive list of in-person and virtual Black History Month programs happening across the state is available on the State Museum’s website.  

The State Museum, in partnership with the State Library and State Archives, will feature the centerpiece of this year’s Black History Month observance with a special exhibition, The Moral Arc Toward Freedom: Lincoln, King, and the Emancipation Proclamation. This exhibition will be open through Sunday, March 3, and focuses on the bonds that connect President Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Emancipation Proclamation. The exhibit includes two important historic documents: President Lincoln’s 1862 Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and select pages from a speech Dr. King delivered in New York City in September 1962 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. This draft of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is the only surviving version of the document in Lincoln’s handwriting.  

As we celebrate Black History Month, we take time to reflect on the indelible role that Black Americans have played in shaping our nation’s history. As we pay tribute to their unwavering bravery, resilience, and determination in the face of adversity, let us renew our commitment to work for a future in which everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.

Thank you for all you do for New York’s students.  

Betty A. Rosa

Board of Regents and NYSED Announce the Publication of On a Path to Educational Equity: The Story of MBK in New York State  
The New York State Board of Regents and NYSED are proud to announce the publication of On a Path to Educational Equity: The Story of MBK in New York State. The booklet documents the development of the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative, from its establishment at the national level to its adoption and steady growth in New York State. The book was presented at the February 2024 Board of Regents meeting.  

To view the publication in its entirety, please visit NYSED’s My Brother’s Keeper website.    

NYSED Announces Applications Now Open for the 2024 New York State Summer School of the Arts   Applications are currently being accepted for the 2024 New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA) program. New York State students in grades 8-12 are encouraged to apply on the NYSSSA website, where they can also learn more about the application process and the programs offered this year in visual arts, media arts, and theatre. Applications and related materials are due by Friday, March 8, 2024 (theatre) and Friday, March 15, 2024 (visual arts and media arts).  

In addition to the in-residency programs for young artists, NYSSSA will once again offer the Empire State Arts Scholarship program, providing students with scholarships to attend summer arts programs in their own communities. Administered by NYSED’s Office of Cultural Education, the funding will support the Empire State Summer Arts Scholarship Program’s goal of promoting access and equity to arts education by providing need-based grants to low-income students who want to pursue summer growth opportunities. This year, $180,000 is available for students who meet application requirements. The scholarship application review process will be evaluated based on financial need. Applications are due by Friday, April 19, 2024. More information can be found on the Arts Scholarship Program web page.    

Commissioner Rosa Op-Ed: We Should Be Teaching Financial Literacy in New York’s High Schools   This month, Newsday published an op-ed from New York State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa and New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli regarding the need for financial literacy education.  
Read the full op-ed: We should be teaching financial literacy in NY’s high schools    

NYSED Accepting Applications for the 2024 Summer Food Service Program  
NYSED is accepting applications for the 2024 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). We encourage schools, government agencies, nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations, Indian tribal territories, migrant programs, and summer camps to apply to participate in the 2024 SFSP. Last year, 450 sponsoring organizations served meals to young people in need at more than 2,500 locations across the state.    

Available Now: Literacy Briefs and Webinar Recordings  
NYSED, in collaboration with the Big 5 school districts and BOCES, hosted a statewide literacy conference on January 10, 2024. During the conference, NYSED was pleased to release a new series of literacy briefs that focus on the science of reading. These briefs were produced by Dr. Nonie K. Lesaux, Professor of Education and Human Development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Katie C. Carr, M.Ed.  

In addition to the seven literacy briefs, recorded webinar videos from the conference are now available. Please visit the NYSED Literacy Briefs web page to access the briefs, recorded webinar videos, and information about NYSED’s P-20 Literacy Initiative.    

Recorded Webinar Series: Elevating Student Voice as Leaders to Advance Equity and Inclusion     NYSED, in partnership with the Region 2 Comprehensive Center, hosted a webinar series in Fall 2023 entitled “Elevating Student Voice as Leaders to Advance Equity and Inclusion.” The webinars highlighted a range of ways in which school districts across New York State are elevating students as authentic partners and leaders in creating equitable and inclusive schools.  

The recorded videos and introduction videos from Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. and Executive Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Diane Wynne, are now available on NYSED’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website.  

We appreciate the district leaders, educators, and students from the following school districts who participated in this webinar series:
– Gates Chili Central School District
– Ithaca City School District
– Peekskill City School District
– Salamanca City Central School District
– Shenendehowa Central School District
– Uniondale School District    

PLAN Pilot Live Webinar with Community Professionals  
Registration is open for the next installment of our Performance-Based Learning and Assessment Networks (PLAN) Pilot Webinar Series. The webinar will feature panels of community, industry, and higher education professionals to share their insights and perspectives on performance-based learning and assessment (PBLA) as it relates to college, career, and civic readiness.  

Date: Monday, March 4, 2024
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 PM  

Please register for the PLAN Pilot webinar by Friday, March 1 at 2:00 PM.    

Blog: New York Takes Major Step Toward Modernizing Graduate Skills, Diversifying Rigorous Assessment Pathways  
WestEd recently published a blog post highlighting the recommendations of New York State’s  Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures.  

Read the full blog post: New York Takes Major Step Toward Modernizing Graduate Skills, Diversifying Rigorous Assessment Pathways