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Friday, September 17, 2021

NYC Moves All 5,500 School Safety Agents From the NYPD to the Education Department, Leaving Many Unhappy

 

School safety officers at the New Bridges Elementary School in Brooklyn. ‘I’m excited that their role is changing,
’ restorative justice experts Kellsie Sayers said. 
Photograph: John Minchillo/AP

New York City already tried putting safety officers under the NYC Department of Education, and it did not work. 

NYC Education Dept. officials, City Council members rip plan to hire nearly 500 new school safety agents




We agree with Mr. Floyd. Hopefully, when Eric Adams becomes Mayor he will reverse this policy and move the school safety officers back to the NYPD, with a budget to train the SOs in "restorative justice", whatever that is.

Betsy Combier

betsy.combier@gmail.com
Editor, Advocatz.com
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, Parentadvocates.org
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

New York will reassign 5,000 school police officers

by Erum Salam, The Guardian, September 17, 2021

School safety officers will be transferred out of the police department and trained in restorative justice practices. But for some, ‘retrofitting’ the job isn’t enough

New York City’s school system is beginning to remove the police from its corridors and classrooms in a move welcomed by advocates as a de-escalation of a system that is often seen as imposing harsh punishments that disproportionately target students of color.

In all, about 5,000 New York City school safety agents (SSAs) will be transferred from the supervision of the New York police department to the Department of Education (DoE) in June 2022. The city’s school system is the biggest in the US.

The change follows similar programs from other major US cities. According to Education Week, 33 school districts in places like Oakland, California and Madison, Wisconsin, defunded their school police force or changed their relationships with school safety officers in the wake of racial justice protests after the murder of George Floyd.

An ACLU report using data collected by the Department of Education found that referrals, suspensions, detentions, and arrests disproportionately affect students of color and disabled students. It found that in some states disabled students were 10 times more likely to be arrested, while Latino students were arrested at a rate 1.3 times that of white students. Meanwhile, Black students were arrested at a rate 3 times that of white students, rising as high as 8 times in some states.

In a statement, the New York City Department of Education’s deputy press secretary Nathaniel Styer said: “This transition ensures that SSAs are fully aligned with DOE training and values when it comes to caring for students in crisis, deescalating situations, and ensuring that students get the mental health support that they need when they need them.”

For some advocates advocating the removal of policing from schools, there is a hope that this transfer of power will encourage the use of restorative justice – the practice of resolving conflict through communication and collaboration rather than by punishments such as suspensions and detentions.

For example, instead of suspending a disruptive or bullying student, they would be encouraged to enter into a circle with their teacher, counselor, or peers and engage in a dialogue to address the problem they are facing.

Styer said SSAs began training in conflict resolution, mediation, restorative justice, and implicit bias with the DoE this past spring and any new agents will undergo similar training.

“The goal of transitioning SSAs back to the DoE is specifically focused on ensuring that SSAs are deeply integrated into the school community, are aligned with the school’s social-emotional work, and are true partners of educators, parents, and students in ensuring the wellness of the entire community.”

Kellsie Sayers is the director of restorative practices at the Center for Court Innovation. In the 2018-2019 school year, she and her team launched a restorative justice pilot program in five Brooklyn public schools in partnership with the Department of Education, with funding from an arm of the Department of Justice. She said she learned school safety officers were integral to executing restorative justice.

“School safety officers were actually a big part of what we did. They are adults who aren’t limited in their time because they don’t have classes to run,” Sayer said. “We leaned on them heavily when we did harm circles. They often had the strongest relationships with the students in our school, different from the teaching staff or administration. They knew when a fight was going to happen because they could see in the kid’s face.”

Sayers said she is interested to see the effect of moving SSAs away from the NYPD.

“Some of the ways their job is described under the direction of the NYPD is that they’re not supposed to fraternize with the students, but a lot of their strength was that they were building those relationships,” Sayers said. “I’m excited that maybe their role is changing.”

But the transfer of power is not enough for some. Tiffany Cabán, a democratic socialist projected to win a seat on the city council, said the role of school safety agents or any kind of police in schools, should be dissolved altogether.

“The presence of school safety officers leads to the increased likelihood of arrest or charging children for minor problems into really serious legal issues. I can say this from the perspective of being a public defender in the past,” Cabán said. “We see it all the time. We say, ‘We just need to get police officers more training in mental health response.’ No, we need to make sure we have dedicated, skilled workers and not retrofit that job. There’s no place for that in a school.”

A long-term advocate for restorative justice practices, Cabán said there are other ways to achieve restorative justice than by transferring school safety agents away from the NYPD – ways that don’t leave current agents “out to dry”.

“I know the majority of SSAs are Black and brown women. These women live in the same community. How can we create a transition into work that these women are best suited to do, to support young people in their communities?” Cabán said. “We need to be funding and transitioning folks into those jobs and restorative justice programs.”


Two-Year Plan for School Safety Transition Leaves Few Happy

Two-Year Plan For School Safety Transition Leaves Few Happy
BY JILLIAN JORGENSEN, NY 1, July 7, 2020

One of the most contentious aspects of the new city budget, moving all 5,500 school safety agents from the NYPD to the Education Department, will take two years and the creation of a task force to complete.

"The fact is the transition of something as large as school safety is not going to happen overnight,” Mayor de Blasio told NY1 this week.

The city said the task force will help determine the new roles of the school safety agents, who are unarmed. But advocates are frustrated. Some of them already served on a task force that renegotiated the contract between the DOE and NYPD just a year ago.

"I think the mayor’s budget deal is really more about checking a box than about really doing something that’s going to improve lives for kids,” said Johanna Miller, director of the Education Policy Center and the New York Civil Liberties Union. “As far as I know, he hasn’t reached out to any of us to see what our ideas are.”

In moving the school officers to the DOE, the city is joining a growing list of communities reducing the presence of police in schools after the death of George Floyd.

The officers were put under the NYPD in 1998 in response to violence in the schools and corruption in the School Safety Division, then under the Board of Education.

Proponents of returning them to the DOE point to statistics showing Black and Hispanic students are disproportionately arrested, handcuffed or given summonses at school.

Some advocates wanted the positions removed altogether, with funding instead going to social workers. Councilman Mark Treyger, who chairs the education committee, wants the agents to keep their jobs, but undergo what he called a “just transition” to become DOE employees better integrated into their schools. He said getting there will take time and input. And he blamed the mayor for the conversation not being further along.

“No one should be declaring victory here,” Treyger said. “This is a process. I do note for the record that the mayor was opposed to it up until the very end, and when people ask why wasn't there more discussion, well the mayor was against it up until the very end of the process.”

Treyger said while he supports the task force, the two-year timeline seems too long and he said he hasn’t gotten answers on what, if anything, will change in the meantime.

"One of the things I think they could immediately do is they could work on removing their handcuffs and removing their arrest power,” Treyger said. “I am told that that’s a conversation, but that also might impact their labor agreement.”

Mayor de Blasio told NY1 the agents will get DOE training in areas like restorative justice.

"We want school safety to more and more focus on developing real relationships with young people, nurturing relationships, supportive relationships,” de Blasio said.

But more major changes — like the ones Treyger mentioned — would likely require negotiations with the union representing school safety agents, Teamsters Local 237.

Those negotiations may not be easy. Union president, Gregory Floyd, has opposed the plan to move his members to the Education Department and says it’s up to elected officials to figure out a way forward.

“I don’t have to figure out anything, because this is not my problem. This is their problem. I’m going to wait and listen to see how they're going to navigate these choppy waters that they find themselves in. And do I offer any assistance to them? No, absolutely not. They created this problem, they’re going to have to fix it,” Floyd said.

In the days since the budget has been passed, Floyd has ripped City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, saying the speaker cut him and his members out of the talks about their future. Floyd noted his members were 90 percent non-white and 70 percent women.

“If I was a white labor leader with a white membership would he have spoken to us? And the answer is yes,” Floyd said.

Floyd went on to accuse Johnson of “governing by social media,” and said he’d given him a nickname: “Tweetie Bird Johnson.”

Asked to respond to Floyd’s comments, a spokesman for Johnson, who is white, did not address Floyd’s concerns about being shut out of talks but sent a statement from City Councilman Donovan Richards who, like Floyd, is black.

“This is a terrible attack on Corey. We want to listen to communities most affected by over-policing,” Richards said. “That means communities like mine and other ones that have been hurt for decades. We want to eliminate the school to prison pipeline, and that is what we are fighting for.”

Floyd argued the Education Department is not equipped to effectively manage school safety.

"Can the Department of Education supervise, screen process, hire and do all the things necessary for our schools as far as security? And the answer is no,” Floyd said.

If the city simply wanted officers to get more training, that could have been handled without moving the officers, he said.

"At this point, they created a big mess, they’re not going to make anybody happy."

It’s a mess that the city is giving itself two years to sort out.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The NYC Department of Education Refuses to Investigate Claims of Corruption and Fraud Against Former Chancellor Richard Carranza

Richard Carranza

 The corruption just keeps getting worse. We know that Richard Carranza resigned after a sob story about family COVID hardships which I doubt ever occurred. Then he moved to Texas to work for an organization he was prohibited from working for due to rules of engagement with a company that does business with the NYC DOE. Then, we find out his wife was ditched for a woman who Carranza hired for a lot of money to work for the NYC DOE in a title that is an unofficial writeoff, and Carranza never was approved by the Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) to hire this woman, Rachel Sosa-Gonzalez, and others, in the first place. Finally, our wonderful Mayor Bill de Blasio has blocked any investigations into any of this.

Raquel Sosa-Gonzalez and Former Chancellor Richard Carranza

 But SCI's job is to do just that, and there are many stories of corrupt people being investigated while at the NYC DOE (see the case of Peter Quinn, February 22, 2021). Add this substantiated report to the others, cited in this blog - David Hay, SCI report on David HayMiosotis Ramos, Maspeth High School, etc. But Richard Buery was not given any fine. SCI Reports

DOI (Department of Investigation), what have you to say about this? Taxpayers and parents want to know....need to know...have a right to be told what happened, and whose pockets were lined other than Mr. Carranza and Rosa Sosa-Gonzalez.

Such a disgrace for the Mayor and all of us for electing him (I did not vote for him).

Betsy Combier

betsy.combier@gmail.com
Editor, Advocatz.com
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, Parentadvocates.org
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

City mum on Carranza corruption complaints, no probe for affair with underling
NY POST, Conor Skelding, September 11, 2021

City investigators are not probing whether ex-Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza had an affair with a subordinate he hired — and won’t say if they are still looking into multiple corruption complaints filed previously against the former Department of Education boss.

Carranza was accused of hiring several pals from around the country for six-figure DOE jobs that were never posted publicly in 2018, the year he arrived in NYC.

Carranza is now shacked up in San Antonio, Texas, with one of those pals, Raquel Sosa. The pair met years ago in Houston, when Carranza was superintendent there and she was an elementary-school principal.

It isn’t clear just when their relationship became more than professional, but Sosa moved into Carranza’s Texas home months before she quit her DOE job in late August. She registered to vote from the Lone Star love nest on March 20, just five days after Carranza stepped down in NYC.

The city charter prohibits financial relationships, such as cohabitation, between superiors and subordinates.

Carranza, 54, is still technically married. His wife, Monique, filed for divorce in August 2020. Sosa, 47, formerly Sosa-Gonzalez, was divorced by the time she moved to New York in 2018.

When Carranza quit the top DOE job, he said he needed time to mourn relatives who died with COVID-19. Less than a month later, he took a job at an educational technology company with millions in city business, IXL Learning.

The city charter prohibits government employees from soliciting, negotiating or accepting a job at a city vendor while in city service. It also limits how former public employees working for city vendors can interact with the city.

Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) called for an investigation into Carranza’s job negotiations by the Conflicts of Interest Board and the Department of Investigation in April. DOI said at the time it referred the matter to the Special Commissioner of Investigation for schools, or SCI.

Holden said he also lodged a formal complaint against Carranza’s hiring of cronies — and SCI confirmed to The Post Friday that this case was closed and no action taken.

Regina Gluzmanova, an SCI rep, told The Post that “during the course of his tenure, and in the immediate aftermath, SCI received numerous complaints regarding former-Chancellor Carranza and his administration.”

She said that “certain matters” have been closed, while others may be pending. She refused to say which other matters were open.

Gluzamanova said SCI never received a complaint regarding Carranza and Sosa’s relationship, and would not be investigating it.

“SCI never received a complaint regarding Chancellor Carranza’s romantic involvement with Ms. Sosa, or anyone else for that matter, nor did any allegation of such involvement surface during the course of a previous investigation,” she added. “As Sosa and Carranza are no longer employed by the City, nor do either reside within the jurisdiction, we feel that the best use of our limited resources is to continue with the important investigations that benefit the students, families, and taxpayers of New York.”

SCI has in the past investigated ex-Department of Education employees.

“It stinks to high heaven,” Holden said, demanding that the Carranza/Sosa affair be probed. “The fact that the mayor’s not interested speaks volumes about his administration.”

A DOI rep, Diane Struzzi, refused to comment on the Carranza probes, or lack thereof, referring The Post to SCI.

A COIB rep, Chad Gholizadeh, said that confidentiality rules prohibited him from discussing complaints or investigations.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has blocked SCI investigations into Carranza, whistleblowers alleged in 2019. The mayor’s office didn’t return a request for comment.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Message From Chancellor Meisha Porter For All Who Will Attend School on September 13, 2021

NYC Chancellor Meisha Porter

From the desk of Chancellor Meisha Porter:


Twenty years ago on September 11, 2001, our world and New York City changed forever. -As a lifelong New Yorker, I personally know the fear and confusion that so many of us experienced that day. I was in my classroom teaching at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice that morning as my family frantically tried to contact my father who worked at the World Trade Center and my three-year-old daughter was in pre-k in Harlem. It was a scary day but together we found strength in community during that difficult time. Because of all the first responders I was one of the lucky ones, my dad made it home.

Recently, many students, educators, and family members from PS 89 and the Greenwich Village Middle School shared their September 11 experiences. Those stories, like countless others, remind us all of the profound humanity New Yorkers showed one another that day and the tremendous resilience of our school communities.

We will never forget those who were lost on September 11. This city, its neighborhoods, and school communities serve as their legacy as we continue to overcome challenges with grace and strength.

UPDATE: September 13th is the First Day of School for New York City Public Schools!

Fall 2021 marks an important homecoming for our schools. On September 13, we begin the journey to recovery by welcoming New York City students back to school communities and classrooms where they can feel safe and well-cared for, and where they can learn and grow socially, emotionally, and academically.

NYC DOE sat down with students, families, and educators to talk about what it means to be back in school buildings this fall. In this video, they share their expectations and why they are excited for in-person learning to start again.

We are excited about getting everyone back into their classrooms for face-to-face learning with dedicated and caring educators! Given that we are all still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know many of you have questions about the health and safety precautions being used at City schools this year. Read more about what to expect below, and in The Morning Bell, an online publication designed for NYC students, parents, and educators.
UPDATE: Health Screening Tool

Before entering school buildings each day, every student and staff member must complete the Health Screening Form to confirm that they are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, have not recently tested positive, and are not currently required to quarantine based on close contact with an infected person.

We recommend bookmarking healthscreening.schools.nyc on your device so you can quickly and easily complete the form before sending your child to school each day.

Remember, if your child feels ill, do not send them to school! We want to keep your child and our school communities healthy and safe, and we must all do our part.

UPDATE: School Building Visitors

Effective Monday, September 13, all visitors to DOE school buildings are required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination (1 dose), in order to enter the building, except in the case of an emergency. This proof may be provided in several ways, please see schools.nyc.gov/2021health for more information.

Pending an Order by the Health Commissioner​

On the first day of school, 3K/Pre-K parents, in small groups, are able to walk their children into the classroom and stay with them briefly on the first day of school without showing proof of vaccination. All other requirements apply. ​

In order to enter the building, a visitor must:​

show identification,​
have proof of vaccination, ​
complete the daily health screening form, and​
wear a face covering. ​

Staff, contractors, and volunteers remain required to provide proof of vaccination (1 dose) by September 27, 2021. Staff must upload proof to the DOE Vaccination Portal.

UPDATE: Department of Education (DOE) Vaccination Portal

Please upload an image of your child’s vaccination card or NYC Excelsior Pass to the DOE’s vaccine portal at vaccine.schools.nyc.

Submitting this information will support New York City’s pandemic response and recovery efforts, helping to ensure that our school communities remain safe and healthy.

UPDATE: Consent Forms for Covid-19 Testing

It is important that you provide consent for your child to participate in the in-school testing program. Submit your updated testing consent form for your child using your NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) at schoolsaccount.nyc or by downloading the form online at schools.nyc.gov/covidtesting and providing the completed printed form to your child’s school.

You can fill out the form using your NYC Schools Account (NYCSA): schoolsaccount.nyc

Download the form online at schools.nyc.gov/covidtesting

Don’t have an NYC Schools Account? Learn more at schools.nyc.gov/NYCSA

Testing consent forms submitted in the previous school year expire on September 30, 2021. If you previously provided consent, your child may be tested this month as part of the in-school testing program—however, for your child to participate in the testing program for the remainder of this school year, you must submit a new consent form.

UPDATE: Vaccine Requirements for Eligible Students Participating in High Risk Extracurricular Activities
Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) Vaccination Policy

As a reminder, COVID-19 vaccination will be required this year for DOE students and staff participating in Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) sports considered high-risk for potential COVID-19 transmission. High-risk sports include football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, lacrosse, stunt, and rugby. Vaccination will also be required for participation in bowling because while the sport is not high risk, the locations where it occurs require vaccination.

Participants in fall high-risk sports must get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the first day of competitive play, which varies by sport. Winter and spring PSAL participants have until the beginning of their season to be fully vaccinated. For additional information about health and safety protocols for PSAL in the 2021-22 school year, please visit schools.nyc.gov/PSAL.

Extracurricular Activities Vaccination Policy

Consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State guidance, COVID-19 vaccination will be required this year for students who are at least 12 years old and are participating in afterschool extracurricular activities considered high-risk for potential COVID-19 transmission.

High risk afterschool activities include:

Chorus
Musical Theater
Dance / Dance Team
Band / Orchestra / Marching Band
Cheerleading / Step Teams / Flag Team

Please reach out to your school for additional information regarding participation in these activities.

UPDATE: Pop Up Vaccination Sites

Thanks to a partnership between the DOE and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), all New Yorkers aged 12 and up can get free COVID-19 vaccines at select schools across the City. You can simply walk in by yourself or with any student, friend, or family member who needs a vaccine (minors will need parental consent) and get your “jab” for free—no health insurance or proof of citizenship will be required.

To help keep schools safe, the DOE and DOHMH strongly encourage all New Yorkers aged 12 and up to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. Many sites now have walk-in appointments, making it easier for any New Yorker to obtain the ultimate protection currently available for COVID-19.

For a limited time, New Yorkers can get giveaways for getting vaccinated against COVID-19, including free tickets, complimentary memberships, or even $100 pre-paid debit cards.

To find a vaccine site near you, visit vaccinefinder.nyc.gov, or call 877-VAX-4-NYC (877-829-4692) for help making an appointment at a City-run vaccination site.

UPDATE: Celebrate Homecoming on Parent University

Celebrate Homecoming on Parent University!

Learn and become an advocate! Parent University offers training, coaching, and other resources for families to help you advocate for the educational success of your children. Take courses and modules and even gain certificates of completion.

Did you know? There is a new way for you to stay connected to your student’s education and more in the new NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) Portal. One sign-in will allow you to:

See your student’s grades, test scores and more in My Student

Report bullying
Access forms for your child
And take classes in Parent University!

Need help? Visit YouTube for user tutorials. Download this flyer for instructions on how to enable captions in multiple languages.

Course Title
Category

Homecoming NYC 2021

Back to School Family Forum (Bronx)

Back to School Family Forum (Brooklyn)

Back to School Family Forum (Queens)

Back to School Family Forum (Staten Island)

School Buildings & Operations

WEBINAR (10/6) - NYC Civil Service 101 Infosession: 10 AM Session

WEBINAR (10/6) - NYC Civil Service 101 Infosession: 6 PM Session

Adult & Continuing Education

We want your input! Are you a Minority and/or Woman-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) and want to work with NYCDOE? Help us plan an informative training session by responding to this short survey.

See you on Parent University!

UPDATE: New NYC Schools Account (NYSCA)

Families can now access the new NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) portal, which consolidates several important parent-facing applications in one place. In addition to seeing information for MyStudent, such as grades, attendance, and transportation, families will also be able to access Parent University and the Bullying Reporting online form.

Parents can reset the passwords to their student’s DOE email accounts through the Manage Account page; please note the change in URL from http://mystudent.nyc to http://schoolsaccount.nyc. Families who currently have a NYCSA account will automatically have access to new features in the portal.

To support families in accessing the new NYCSA portal, you should ensure that your family access managers (i.e., school principals, parent coordinators, or other designees) create accounts for all students and backpack letters home using the FAM tool. Family access managers can use the Reports section in FAM to generate a list of student families without NYCSA accounts. Family access managers should print pre-populated Account Creation Code letters at the beginning of the school year and backpack them home with students. These letters can be batch-printed by official class or by class meeting time (for classes with more than one section). By default, the letters will batch print in the parent’s home language, if it is one of the DOE-supported languages. Generic translated letters will be available at the bottom of the NYC Schools Account website by September 13. Note that if you would like to provide FAM access to other designees, you may do so by assigning them the role of family access manager in myGalaxy.

For more information about creating NYCSA accounts, see the NYCSA wiki page on the Family Access Management (FAM) tool. For questions, suggestions, or support with the MyStudent application within NYCSA, email nycschoolsaccount@schools.nyc.gov or call the Help Desk (212-374-6646). Please note that you may not direct parents to contact the Help Desk number or inbox, as the Help Desk only supports DOE staff. Parents should be directed to the resources on the family-facing NYCSA page.

For questions about helping families reset passwords of student email addresses, refer to the Reset Student Password page on the Infohub.

UPDATE: Back2School CommUNITY Pledge

As schools resume in person, the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, in partnership with the DOE, City Commission on Human Rights and DYCD, is launching a campaign to promote respect, kindness and civility with a Back2School CommUNITY Pledge, a movement for NYC’s students, teachers, friends and families to send a clear message: hate has no home in NYC and our kids are going to lead a future of love, friendship and respect.

For the Back 2 School CommUnity Pledge Week, September 20-24, and the remaining part of the year, we ask you to join us in taking the Pledge to Celebrate Community.

I pledge to:

Stand up against hate and bullying
Speak out when I hear mean or hurtful “jokes”
Learn about and get to know diverse people
Respect and be kind to others
Do my part to support and celebrate our CommUNITY

For more information, including activities, professional development opportunities, and resources visit Back 2 School CommUNITY Pledge Week.

Take the pledge and spread the word!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
UPDATE: Changes to Public Meeting Law

On September 2, 2021, Governor Hochul signed legislation extending virtual public meetings. Please see attached Memorandum.

The language of the Law substantially mirrors former Executive Order 202.1 issued in March 2020, which, in part, authorizes most public bodies “to meet and take such action authorized by law without permitting in public in-person access to meetings and authorize such meetings to be held remotely by conference call or similar service, provided that the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed.

Governor Hochul Signed Legislation Extends Virtual Public Meetings until January 15, 2022. The legislation does not mandate virtual meetings; it grants public bodies to hold virtual meetings. The new law applies to any meetings of the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), Citywide and Community Education Councils (CECs), School Leadership Teams (SLTs), and Joint Public Hearings. It does not apply to PA/PTA, DLT, Presidents’ Council or CPAC meetings.

You can find this information and more on the Governor's website.

UPDATE: New Agreements for 2020-2021 School Year

The DOE and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) have reached an agreement regarding pivoting to remote instruction in the event of an emergency closure. We are working on creating a corresponding easy-to-read document, but in the meanwhile, here is a quick summary:

In the event of an emergency school or classroom closure, whether due to positive COVID-19 tests or snowstorms, classes will shift to remote learning for a period of time. In most such cases, teachers and other school personnel will conduct on-line lessons in real time (synchronous instruction).

If only a subset of students in a classroom is quarantined, those students will receive access to remote lessons that teachers and other school personnel have videotaped in advance (asynchronous instruction). However, those students will also be able to interact live with teachers during specified office hours.

In addition, on Election Day — Tuesday, November 2 — school buildings will be closed but students will receive remote asynchronous assignments.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be conducted remotely; teachers will still have dedicated parent engagement time weekly.

UPDATE: Enhancing Communication Among Parents

In the most recent update to NYCSA, parents will be able to opt-in to sharing their contact information with their local parent leaders. Please see below for the new “Stay Connected” feature of NYCSA.

UPDATE: Storm Recovery Updates and Post-Storm Resources
NYC Emergency Management

The City of New York has developed a list of resources for those who were affected by this historic storm. Please visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/em/resources/ida.page.

New Yorkers are encouraged to report damage to their property by calling 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115) or by accessing the Damage Assessment Tool online. The Damage Assessment Tool allows the City to immediately collect damage information from New Yorkers to assess the impact upon affected areas. (Note: Reporting damage with this form is for tracking purposes only. You will not be provided a confirmation number.)

Service Centers Open Citywide

The City is opening service centers to provide resources to New Yorkers affected by this emergency. The following locations will be open Friday, September 3, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.:

Bronx – 890 Garrison Avenue, 1st floor (Job Center Queuing or CSIC Waiting Area)

Brooklyn – 95 Evergreen Avenue, 2nd floor (Job Center CMU Waiting Area)

Queens – 32-20 Northern Boulevard, 2nd floor (SNAP Waiting Area)

Manhattan – 109 East 16th Street, 1st floor (former CBIC Waiting Area)

Staten Island – 201 Bay Street, 2nd floor (SNAP Waiting Area)

Department of Environmental Protection

File a report with ponding/flooding report with DEP https://on.nyc.gov/2WFjW2J

Red Cross

Anyone who experienced flooding in their homes can call (877) 733-2767 which is the Red Cross hotline to register and request assistance; which would be in the form of a flood kit (if totally displaced, residents should indicate that to the operator).

DOE Health and Safety Measures

The DOE Homecoming Health and Safety Guide for families includes the latest health and safety precautions that will be in place when schools open for school year 2021-22 to provide a safe and healthy in-person learning experience for all students. Please share the Homecoming Guide with families in your school community as soon as possible - translations are available on the website.

All the latest updates and information on School Year 2021-22 can be found at schools.nyc.gov/homecoming, and health & safety information is available at schools.nyc.gov/2021health. Here’s a summary of some of the pertinent information from the guide:

Effective, Safe Vaccinations for All Eligible Community Members

Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic and has proven to significantly reduce the health effects of COVID-19 and reduce the transmissibility of the disease. Due to the incredible safety vaccination provides, all DOE staff and contractors in DOE buildings are required to have their first dose by September 27th and upload proof of vaccination to the DOE Vaccination portal. Every parent can be assured that the educators and school staff who work with their child every day will be vaccinated, providing yet another layer of protection and safety. During the first week of school, there will be an open vaccination site at every middle and high school.

At this time, students 12 years of age and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and approximately 60 percent of young people ages 12 – 17 have already done so. All eligible young people are encouraged to get this life saving vaccine as soon as possible.

Health & Temperature Screenings

Daily health screenings are required for admittance to DOE buildings and must be completed at home prior to the school day. Additionally, as part of the screening, student temperatures must be taken at home. Any family that needs a thermometer can request one from their school.

If a student or staff member is feeling ill, they must stay home and get tested. Staying home and getting tested is an effective way of protecting the whole school community. Every school will have a nurse on staff who students can report to when they are feeling ill.

Universal Face Covering Usage

As announced in May, protective face coverings will be required for all people inside and outside of DOE buildings, including all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are a simple, effective way to keep everyone in the school community safe. Masks can be removed during meals and for designated breaks throughout the day, during which physical distancing will be maximized. Students who are not medically able to tolerate masks will be provided with alternative accommodations and staff will receive additional protective equipment.
Physical Distancing in Schools

Following CDC and NYSED guidance, schools will provide three feet of physical distancing, where possible. Physical distancing is one part of a multi-layered strategy, and additional safety is provided by vaccinations, mask usage, improved ventilation, a focus on hygiene, testing, and surveillance by the Situation Room. Elementary schools will utilize cohorts of students wherever possible, or have teachers move between classes to minimize the movements of students.

During meal service, schools are highly encouraged to utilize outdoor spaces and additional space inside the school to provide three feet of physical distancing. The Office of Food & Nutrition Services is supporting principals in serving meals at multiple locations in school buildings and serving multiple meal periods.

The vast majority of classrooms are able to implement three feet of physical distancing. In both meal spaces and instructional spaces, if physical distancing is not possible, then additional mitigation strategies will be put into place such as the addition of more HEPA purifiers or outfitting windows with exhaust fans.

Both the CDC and NYSED emphasize that physical distancing recommendations should not prevent students from fully returning to school this year.

Improved Ventilation

The ability to bring fresh air into a room, circulate, and exhaust it is a critical part of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Every DOE room in use by students and staff for extended periods of time will have fully operational ventilation through either natural, mechanical, or a combination of means. Additionally, as an added precaution, every room has two air purifiers that meet and exceed HEPA standards and cafeterias in over-utilized schools will be provided with large units for added protection and window-based exhaust fans to provide additional air circulation.

The ventilation status of every room in a DOE building can be found by searching for the school at https://www.nycenet.edu/schoolsearch and going to the “Building Ventilation Information” section of the page.

Enhanced Cleaning, Facilities Maintenance, & PPE Availability

DOE custodial engineers and facilities staff have over a year and a half of experience keeping our buildings safe and clean during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will continue using enhanced cleaning techniques, including the use of electrostatic sprayers, and all buildings will continue to have a full 30 days of PPE available at all times.

Ongoing Surveillance and Diagnostic Testing with Oversight by the Situation Room

Regular COVID-19 testing provides school communities and public health experts with valuable information. This year, every school, first through twelfth grade, will have ten percent of their unvaccinated school population tested twice a month for ongoing random surveillance. Surveillance testing is aimed at determining the prevalence of COVID-19 in our schools and provides ongoing information to public health experts.

The Situation Room will continue to be the central resource for principals to report positive cases in their school communities, performing contact tracing, and providing health and safety guidance to school communities in an efficient and timely manner.

Closure & Quarantine Policies in the Event of a Positive COVID-19 Case

New York City public schools successfully opened schools during the 2020-21 school year, while keeping COVID-19 rates in schools far lower than the citywide average. This was achieved through a multi-layered prevention strategy.

The closure and quarantine policies that kept schools safe during Summer Rising will continue in the 2021-22 school year. When a positive COVID-19 case is confirmed in a classroom, unvaccinated close contacts will quarantine for ten calendar days. Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine even if they are a close contact unless they are symptomatic, per CDC guidance. Out of an abundance of caution vaccinated close contacts are encouraged to take a COVID-19 test three to five days after potential exposure.

High school and middle school students who are unvaccinated may test back into their classrooms out of quarantine. They will test on the fifth day of quarantine to re-enter class after the seventh day, with proof of a negative test, submitted to the DOE vaccination portal.

The Situation Room works closely with a team of experts from DOHMH to investigate every case that is reported. After a thorough investigation, if there is evidence of widespread transmission within the school, the Situation Room and the New York City Department of Health will make a determination to close the school for ten days. This is a continuation of a policy that kept over 800 school buildings safe during Summer Rising.

When in-person learning is disrupted, it will continue remotely for students who are quarantining. Elementary school students will continue to receive live remote instruction while they quarantine. Middle and high school students will have access to remote learning while quarantining.

Medically Necessary Instruction

Providing a high-quality learning environment for medically fragile students has always been a focus of the DOE. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pre-existing home instruction program is being expanded and will be available to more students that meet the criteria.

The Medically Necessary Instruction program provides interim educational services for school-aged children (from 3K to grade 12) in all five boroughs who are unable to attend school due to medical or psychiatric reasons. It can include individual in-person instruction by a certified teacher, or individual and small group instruction by certified teachers through digital platforms.

Taking COVID-19 into consideration, DOHMH has determined that students who actively have one of the conditions below would be approved for medically necessary instruction. Students with medical or psychiatric conditions that are not listed below may still apply; all applications will be reviewed by a medical expert.

Active Cancer
Chronic Renal Diseases
Sickle Cell
Gastro/Crohn’s Disease
Thalassemia
Leukemia
Metabolic Disorders
Heart Conditions
Muscular Dystrophy
Adrenal Disorder
Cystic Fibrosis
Liver Disease
Tumor
Congenital Lung Disease
Congenital Heart Condition
Lymphoma
Cerebral Ataxia
Seizures
Stroke
Multiple Sclerosis

Any family with a student who is immunocompromised due to a medical condition or treatment for a medical condition may apply. Applications from families with any condition not listed will undergo review to determine eligibility.

Outdoor Learning Continues

Using the City’s outdoor spaces in new and innovative ways to provide additional instructional, extracurricular, and dining space was an unexpected silver lining of the pandemic. Last year, 840 schools took advantage of the Outdoor Learning Initiative. Schools will continue utilizing school yards, street space, and parks to provide additional space for learning. The Outdoor Learning initiative centers equity and schools in areas hardest-hit by COVID-19 receive priority for the program.

REMINDER: Attendance

With all of New York City’s students returning for in-person learning this fall, we want to welcome every student in school every day. Attendance matters. Research shows that students who attend regularly achieve greater success in school and in life. Please make every effort to have your student attend school, so long as they are feeling well.

Schools must take attendance to show whether a student is in school or not; it’s the law. If your child is absent, the school will follow up with you that day by making a positive phone call, text or email home. This call home helps the school support you and your child with removing the barriers to regular attendance. Please make sure that your school has the right information to contact you.

Your school will publish an Every Student Every Day attendance policy on their website or will share it through other communication pathways. The policy will explain what qualifies as an excused or unexcused absence, and will describe lateness, leaving early and make up policies. It will also explain how the school will take attendance on days a student must quarantine and learn from home or on snow days.

For help or questions, contact your school’s principal or Parent Coordinator.

COVID-19 Vaccination Reminders
UPDATE: #Vax to School - Vaccinations Required for Students and Staff Participating in Public School Athletic League (PSAL) Sports

The COVID-19 vaccination will be required for the ~20,000 students and staff participating in high-risk Public School Athletic League (PSAL) sports this year. This is in alignment with recent New York State and CDC guidance, which stated that high-risk sports and extracurricular activities should be virtual or canceled in areas of high community transmission unless all participants are fully vaccinated.

High-risk sports include the fall sports of football and volleyball, winter sports of basketball and wrestling, and spring sports of lacrosse, stunt, and rugby. In addition, vaccination will be required for bowling, because while not high-risk, it takes place in spaces that require vaccination. Fully vaccinated participants can remove their masks while engaging in high-risk PSAL activities held outdoors.

Participants in fall high-risk sports are required to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the first day of competitive play, which varies by sport. The first day of competitive play for football is September 3rd. The first day of competitive play for volleyball is September 27th. Winter and spring PSAL participants have until the beginning of their seasons to be fully vaccinated.

Getting the vaccine is safe, effective, and free. Currently, approximately 57% of New York City 12-17-year-olds have at least one dose, and families can go to vaccinefinder.nyc.gov to find a convenient vaccination site. Additionally, mobile vaccination sites are visiting schools and PSAL conditioning sites across the city this fall.

DOE recently created a COVID-19 vaccination portal for all staff to log their vaccination status. We are now making that website available to families at https://vaccine.schools.nyc. The Vaccination Portal allows employees and families to upload proof of vaccination, which can be an image of a vaccination card, NYS Excelsior Pass, or other government records. Submitting this information will support New York City’s pandemic response and recovery efforts, and help ensure that the DOE schools and buildings remain safe places for all students and staff.

Check the DOE’s website here for Chancellor Meisha Porter’s letter to families.

UPDATE: Vaccination Proof for Indoor Activities - Key to NYC

Starting August 17, people 12 and older will be required to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use by the FDA or WHO for:

Indoor dining
Includes restaurants, catering halls, event spaces, hotel banquet rooms, bars, nightclubs, cafeterias, grocery stores with indoor dining, coffee shops and fast food or quick service with indoor dining
Indoor fitness
Includes gyms, fitness centers, fitness classes, pools, indoor studios and dance studios
Indoor entertainment
Includes movie theaters, music and concert venues, museums and galleries, aquariums and zoos, professional sports arenas, indoor stadiums, convention centers, exhibition halls, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, pool and billiard halls, recreational game centers, adult entertainment and indoor play areas

This new requirement — called the Key to NYC — includes bars, fitness gyms, movie and stage theatres, museums and other indoor venues. Staff at these locations are also required to be vaccinated.

The highly contagious delta variant is spreading quickly in NYC, and unvaccinated people are at the most risk for infection, hospitalization and death. Learn how you can get vaccinated for free today.

Proof of Vaccination

Proof of vaccination may include:

NYC COVID Safe App: Android | iOS

Excelsior Pass

CDC Vaccination Card (or photo)

NYC Vaccination Record

An official immunization record from outside NYC or the U.S

If you received the vaccine outside the U.S., you must have an official immunization record that includes:

First name and last name
Date of birth
Vaccine product name (only vaccines authorized by the WHO are acceptable)
Date(s) administered
Site where the vaccine was administered, or name of the person who administered it

Check New York City’s website for more information about Vaccinations for Indoor Activities, Vaccination Facts or COVID-19

UPDATE: Get Vaccinated Today!

Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are now available in New York City to help us end the COVID-19 pandemic. They are easily available to most New Yorkers and all vaccinations are free.

It has never been easier to get a COVID-19 vaccination in NYC. Children 12-17 years old are eligible for the vaccine. Those who are fully vaccinated can more safely gather with friends and enjoy other benefits of vaccination, so get your shot today.

Some schools have walk-in vaccination sites - dates and locations can be found on the DOE’s website.

Check out COVID-19 Vaccine Facts for more information.

Also, share the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Back to School Youth Vaccination Information videos in multiple languages here: https://www.youtube.com/c/NYCHealth/videos

To find a vaccination site near you, including those that take appointments, use the City's Vaccine Finder (not accessible with Internet Explorer). Note, people who are 12 to 17 years old can only receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Learn more about which groups are eligible for vaccination covered by the State's latest guidance.

Individuals 12+ are able to book vaccine appointments at many locations throughout the city using the NYC Vaccine Finder or by calling 1-877-VAX-4NYC. Check back here for additional updates or text COVID to 692-692 to receive real-time updates on vaccine distribution.

Vaccinations at home

Walk-up vaccination sites

NYC mobile vaccine vans and buses

Need another reason to get a vaccine? New Yorkers can get $100, free tickets, memberships, or gifts for getting vaccinated against COVID-19. These giveaways will be available for a limited time. Check here for more information.

DOE UPDATE: Vaccine Fundraiser for PAs and PTAs

New York City wants to partner with Parent Associations and Parent Teacher Associations (PAs/PTAs) to encourage families to get vaccinated!

Participating PAs/PTAs can receive a $100 bonus for each vaccine eligible community member who receives the safe COVID vaccine at a City-run site or in-home.

Sign up!

Interested PAs/PTAs should sign up now, using this form.

Each PAs/PTAs can earn up to $20,000

Payments will be made after the conclusion of the program

Get the Referral Benefit

To receive the vaccine referral benefit, community members must request an appointment slot on the NYC Appointment Scheduler

When you register for an appointment on the Personal Information section, you will be asked "Were you referred for your vaccination by an organization as part of the NYC Vaccine Referral Bonus Program?" Indicate your PA/PTA in the box so that your PA/PTA will receive the $100 bonus.


Community members will not receive any direct payment under this program. The PA/PTA who referred them will receive $100 for every referral, up to $20,000.

The individual’s personal information is not shared with the organization.

This information is also on the DOE’s website here.

RESOURCE: Supports for Students and Families
Providing Social and Emotional Learning Support for Students

Students are much more likely to learn, feel safe, and rebound from tough situations when they feel connected to their teachers and their peers. This year, all schools will focus on strengthening connections and community. Building off what we all accomplished last year, the DOE will continue to ensure that all students, their families, and staff feel welcomed and supported.

Supporting students socially and emotionally improves not only their academic progress but prepares them to succeed in life. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our students faced stressful situations and some of them experienced trauma as well. For example, circumstances like poverty, homelessness, or fear of deportation can be traumatic if students do not have adequate resources and supports. Yet schools are and can continue to do so much to help students learn how to manage their stress and find refuge from their pain and anxiety.

This year, we are expanding our social emotional learning (SEL) practices citywide. We’ve hired over 500 social workers and 36 borough office-based social workers so that every student has access to more targeted supports when they need it, like group and individual counseling. As a result of these investments, every school will have a trained mental health care specialist. This person could be a school social worker, guidance counselor, or a school-based mental health specialist.

We have also updated our Bridge to School plan. Designed to be implemented during the first few weeks of this school year, the plan provides all schools with social-emotional learning lessons and activities that will help students build coping skills, process grief, and reorient themselves to daily instruction. The Bridge to School plan complements established initiatives that will be continuing this school year that are aimed at building students’ self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
Supports for Students in Temporary Housing

If your student is affected by homelessness (living in a shelter, or doubled up or in some other temporary housing situation due to economic hardship), the DOE is committed to providing additional supports and resources.

If you or your family are affected by homelessness, we want you to know that every school district has a dedicated Students in Temporary Housing (STH) Regional Manager who can respond to questions and concerns, and connect you to DOE and other city agency resources designed to provide no-cost benefits (including transportation to and from school, help with enrollment and school moves, even access to programs and special opportunities). STH Regional Managers work directly with over 300 school- and shelter-based staff, including social workers, who are specially trained to understand the unique needs and strengths of families affected by homelessness.

Finally, every school also has a dedicated School Based STH Liaison, who can ensure students and families affected by homelessness are connected to appropriate information, resources and benefits.

To get help at school, please reach out to your school’s guidance counselor, social worker, or principal for assistance.
P-EBT Resources

Every single NYC public school student is automatically eligible—regardless of income or immigration status—. No application or registration is required. P-EBT does not affect any other benefits or public charge status. Students in parochial or charter schools may be eligible if their school participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). For more information, please check out the links below.

P-EBT Guidance 21-22

P-EBT Guidance 21-22 (Spanish)

GetFoodNYC: Free Food Locations

Get a map of food resources across the city: Free food pantries, Grocery stores and farmer's markets locations grab & go meals at NYC Schools, available for all children or adults in need.

Learning Heroes

In partnership with the National PTA and Univision, Learning Heroes is excited to showcase the next round of Team Up for Success, which provides ongoing parent communications with free research-based tools and resources throughout the year.

Today we present an updated Parent-Teacher Planning Tool that helps parents form a two-way relationship with their child’s teacher and share progress! We've also created this video to assist parents and guardians with using the tool.

As a part of this series we previously debuted our “Dear Teacher” letter meant to introduce families to their child’s new teacher, and a new Parenting Minutes video from WNET, focused on building parent-teacher relationships.

Please consider helping amplify Team Up for Success by:

Sharing our Team Up for Success Toolkit with your networks

Adding a campaign blurb to your organization's newsletter and/or other email communications

#TeamUpForSuccess with Learning Heroes!

Free Family Engagement Curriculum – Ready4K – Fall Webinars

Ready4K is an evidence-based family engagement curriculum shown to increase student growth by two months. The curriculum empowers families by texting them simple, achievable ways to incorporate learning into everyday moments. Families can get messages in Arabic, Chinese, English, Spanish, or Vietnamese. We have also incorporated messages linking families to NYC resources like food and health services. Ready4K comes at no cost to your families or your program.

Register here for a Fall 2021 Ready4K Onboarding Session!

Sessions take place between Sep 1 – Oct 12, 2021

Parents & Students Needed for InsideSchools Focus Groups

The Education Trust–New York is partnering with InsideSchools to incorporate important data on three critical equity issues into InsideSchools’ NYC public school evaluation platform:

Access to advanced courses

FAFSA completion rates

Data that shows college enrollment and college completion rates.

It is important that parents and students have an opportunity to weigh in on the design of the tool. See more info on the flyer and below!

We are hoping that you can help recruit parents and students who represent the broad diversity of New York City for upcoming focus groups. Our goal is to engage approximately 70 parents and 20 students to participate in one of several 90-minute, Zoom-based focus groups during the weeks of September 20th and October 4th. Each participant will receive a $50 gift card for their time. If you work with parents or students that may be interested in participating, please share the attached flyer and focus group.

Warm Regards,

The FACE Team