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Together for Justice: Chancellor Carranza

June 3, 2020 Letter From the Chancellor on Striving for Justice 

View and print this letter (Open external link).

Dear Families,

It is hard to recall another time as gut-wrenching and heartbreaking as these recent days have been. George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police officers last week was horrifying. I am sickened. But, like many of you, I am not surprised. We have seen this abominable disregard for Black lives so many times before, including multiple times in recent weeks. It is truly agonizing to witness; it is nothing short of another pandemic presenting itself on the streets of America.

The New York City Department of Education condemns police brutality and this brutal loss of life. My heart breaks to know that yet another Black family has lost a son, a father, a brother. I stand in solidarity with Black New Yorkers and Americans, and with everyone who is mourning yet another senseless loss. Pain ripples and resonates across communities all over the City. I am with all of you as we individually and collectively reckon with this tragic injustice. The demonstrations happening in the five boroughs and in nearly 140 cities across the country are a reflection of this anguish, and the desire for a better world.

It is incredibly difficult to be a parent or caregiver right now: grappling with emotions, seeking actions that both feel of service and of the magnitude needed in this moment, and thinking through ways to begin or deepen conversations with children and families about recent horrific incidents and the systemic racism from which they spring—all at the same time. The pain and struggle are very real.

For communities of color, nothing about this pain is new. It’s been in the bodies, minds, and hearts of millions of New Yorkers and Americans for generations—because racist violence has been perpetrated for that long.

Racism also causes new harm in other ways, every day, because it is systemic—woven deeply into the fabric of our institutions, our economy, and the systems that make up our shared community. That is true in New York City, as progressive and forward-thinking as we are, including in our public school system.

At the DOE we have said, and we will continue to say: no more.

We must answer the call to be actively anti-racist and work every day to undo these systems of injustice. We will continue in our resolve to advance equity now. We will honor the dignity and humanity of every student, parent, educator, employee and member of our community every day.

No matter the form teaching and learning takes—in brick-and-mortar classrooms or on a digital device—the goal remains the same: providing an excellent education to every single student. In doing so, we must also continually find ways to dismantle institutional racism and reverse its effects.

That work is underway. It includes implementing restorative practices, training all educators and employees on implicit bias, providing mental health supports to school communities, and more. This work creates a lifelong effect in children and has the potential to transform our society in ways that make that the world safer, more just, and better for everyone.

When, for example, children learn from books featuring protagonists and lessons featuring stories from people of different races, abilities, genders, ethnicities, languages, and more, they learn also to value difference and diversity. When students experiencing anger or resentment are taught healthy ways to communicate, it’s more likely they won’t react out of unfounded fear.

We will not relent in the work to intensify equity until, student by student and school by school, change comes. We all need this, because racism doesn’t just harm Black, Brown, or Asian families—it harms us all.

Everyone has a role to play. In addition to continuing our work centrally, we are supporting educators with resources to teach episodes from our history and our present, episodes where these same shudders of injustice and outrage, peaceful protest, and also violence and destruction have ripped through our city and society.

At the same time, many of you have already been doing this work at home or are otherwise putting personal resources into these efforts—your time, your energy, your heart, or your voice. We see you, and we are grateful for your powerful commitment. Children see and feel the world around them, and now is an important time to guide them in understanding and engaging with their experiences and those of their friends, families, and fellow New Yorkers.

Below you will find resources to help start, continue, or deepen conversations with children about racism and injustice. We are also sharing resources to help with stress, exhaustion, and self-care. As parents and caregivers, caring for yourself is essential in order to be able to care for others. We will continue to update resources as we move ahead.

I have been reminded of this quote by the writer James Baldwin that resonates so powerfully in this moment: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” These are difficult days of reckoning, but we have the opportunity—and a calling—to go farther in facing injustice.

You are our most important partners in the education of the children of New York City and the building of a better world. We are grateful for you today and every day. 

Resources for Families

How to Talk to Your Children About Race and Current Events 

Mental Health Resources

These can help address stress and trauma that children and families may be experiencing at this time

Free Mental Health Support 

  • NYC Well For Staff, students and parents 
    • Call: 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355)
    • Text: WELL to 65173
    • Live Chat 

Health and Safety

May 29, 2020 

Dear Families, 

The health and safety of our communities remains our top priority, and we will continue to take all appropriate measures to help keep our students, families, and staff members safe. Two weeks ago, we shared some information with you regarding the Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (PMIS), a rare condition that is potentially life-threatening in children. Last week, we learned from DOHMH that the condition was renamed Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). Guidance issued by DOHMH remains in place, and we urge you to visit nyc.gov/health at any time for this important information related to MIS-C. There, you will also find the MIS-C Fact Sheet, provided last week and newly translated into multiple languages here

As a gentle reminder, families should continue to discuss with their children the importance of the following measures and ensure your children are doing the following: 

● Consistent with Executive Order 202.17: all people over the age of two who can medically tolerate a face covering must wear one when they are outside their home if they cannot maintain physical distance from others. Free face coverings are available at DOE Meal Hubs in all five boroughs—you can find one close to you on the DOE website

● Physical distancing and good hygiene remain critical, even while wearing a face covering. 

● When outside the home, adults and children must maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others whenever possible. 

● Parents should remind children of the importance of good hand hygiene and should help ensure that children frequently wash their hands. 

We will continue to communicate with you on a weekly basis regarding MIS-C. Please visit nyc.gov/health at any time for the latest information on MIS-C, and do not hesitate to contact 311 with any questions. 

Sincerely, 

Richard A. Carranza 
Chancellor 
New York City Department of Education 

Global Running Day!

Join P.S. 135 for Global Running Day Wednesday June 3, 2020
Global Running Day is a worldwide celebration of running that encourages everyone to get moving. The day plays an important role to remind us of the positives that running, staying healthy, and active can offer. Many people are turning to running as a solution to help release anxiety, gain perspective, cope with cabin fever, and keep healthy.  On Wednesday June 3, 2020  join Ms Greenfield  &  Mr Nelmes wearing your favorite running Rising New York Road Runners shirt and take a photograph of yourself running (running in place always works). Place these photos on your class stream!  Keep moving 135!

May 29, 2020: Update on Staff Conference Days

Update for June 4 and June 9: Chancellor Days

Dear Families,

Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility in response to this ever-evolving crisis. We are writing today to share some important updates and reminders about the end of year school calendar.

We have two days coming up in June that were originally scheduled as times when students would not be in attendance. However, with the ongoing pandemic, students will be expected to participate in remote learning on both of these days:

  • Thursday, June 4 was originally scheduled as a non-attendance day for all students in observance of Brooklyn / Queens Day (also known as Anniversary Day).
  • Tuesday, June 9 was originally scheduled as a non-attendance day for students in schools serving grades K-8, as well as District 75 schools and programs.

On June 4, all students are expected to complete work independently as staff will be engaged in professional development. Teachers are not expected to engage students on June 4; instead, schools will set students up in advance with independent work for the day.

On June 9, students who attend a school serving grades K-8, or who attend any District 75 school, are expected to complete work independently as staff will be engaged in reorganization work. Teachers in these schools are not expected to engage students on June 9; instead, schools will set students up in advance with independent work for the day.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the school schedule for your student, please contact your school for additional information.

As a reminder, June 26 is the last day of school and a half day for all students. We will issue additional guidance to families about the end of the 2019-20 school year in the coming weeks.

Thank you again for your partnership as we continually navigate unfamiliar terrain. I often say that we have the best students, staff, and families in the world. You and your children continue to prove that, every day. Together, we will continue to weather this storm.

Sincerely,
Richard A. Carranza
Chancellor
New York City Department of Education

District 29Q Multi-Language: Advisory Team

  • Support for our Parents & Families
  • Wellness Check-In/Remote Learning Check-In
  • Questions & Answers on MS TEAMS

The following attachments have a specified language, date and time where families can click on the link to join the meeting. District 29 volunteer translators will be on to assist in the following languages:

Chancellor Carranza: Update for Families Summer SITC

May 20, 2020 

Dear Families, 

Earlier this week, we announced our plans for summer learning, to ensure that our students can continue to engage and receive the academic supports they need to be ready for returning to school in the fall. We are writing to you today with an update on the summer calendar, informed by feedback from DOE communities. 

For elementary and middle school students who are required or recommended to attend summer school, the program will start one week earlier and will run from Monday, July 6 – Tuesday, August 11. There is no change to the duration or structure of the program. 

For high school students who are attending summer school, courses will also start one week earlier and will run from Monday, July 6 – Friday, August 14. There is no change to the duration or structure of this program either. 

For students with 12-month Individualized Education Plan (IEPs) services, there will be no change to the calendar. Our teachers start on Wednesday, July 1 and students are expected to participate from Thursday, July 2–Thursday, August 13. 

These changes will help accelerate learning for all students. Beginning summer school earlier—closer to the end of the regular school year—allows for continuous learning for students. Concluding programs earlier also allows more time for continuous rest for your family in the month of August. 

We appreciate your ongoing patience and flexibility as we adapt to this crisis in real time. Nothing is more important than the health, safety, and continued academic success of your child: we thank you for your partnership in this important endeavor now more than ever. 

Sincerely, 

Richard A. Carranza 
Chancellor 
New York City Department of Education