Letter From the Chancellor - End-of-Year Updates for Families

As I reflect on the past year, I am grateful for the feedback you have shared with me to help make our schools the best they can be, and I’m energized by all that we’ve accomplished together since last September.


We are committed to reimagining the school experience and giving our students Bright Starts and Bold Futures.


That starts with ensuring that our students have the strong foundations they need to be able to thrive. That is why this year, we launched NYC Reads. It will transform the way that we teach kids to read in our schools, and we’ve already begun the Professional Learning sessions for tens of thousands of our teachers. For far too long, we have been operating from the wrong playbook when it comes to literacy. This was not the fault of our students or educators; it was the result of not providing strong enough guidance and support. NYC Reads is rooted in the “science of reading” and a phonics-based curriculum—the proven methods for teaching children to be confident readers.


In order to connect our students to Bold Futures, we’ve created Pathways programs like FutureReadyNYC. These programs open up a world of possibilities for our students and help make school more relevant. Throughout the year, we have been building powerful partnerships with major local employers like Northwell Health and JPMorgan Chase and connecting thousands of high school students with paid internships.


Across all of our schools, we have been working hard to create welcoming and inclusive learning environments for all our students. We are building on what works and leaning into the innovative, homegrown approaches that families believe in by expanding programs that support kids with dyslexia, emotional and sensory needs, and autism. To our students with disabilities and their families: we see you, and we are moving to make our schools places where you can be served. This includes our early childhood education programs. When 3-K and Pre- K launched, there were not enough seats for students with disabilities. We have finally righted this wrong, adding 700 seats to meet the needs of our families, and of our youngest learners.


When we meet our students’ needs, school becomes a place that they are excited to go to every day. For this reason, we have transformed 80 cafeterias in our schools into new, modern places that emphasize choice. These cafeteria enhancements will increase student participation in school meals and encourage healthier eating, so that our students have a place to nourish not just their minds, but their bodies, too.


In addition to our students’ health, their safety has been top of mind for me this year. Project Pivot brought together 144 partner organizations and schools in support of our most at-risk students. I am happy to report that since the program launched last fall, we have received positive feedback from our schools and have seen improvements in a number of safety measures.


Our city has also led the way as our schools have opened their doors to 18,000 students in temporary housing since last July. Through Project Open Arms, we provided over $110 million dollars to schools to ensure that they had the support they needed to welcome our newest New Yorkers. When faced with difficult challenges, our school communities stepped up and were exemplars to other districts across the country as they quickly made critical adjustments to support and welcome new students. I’m tremendously grateful to all the staff and families who showed such inspiring generosity in opening their arms wide for these families. You showed just what makes New York City such a special place.


As we look towards the 2023-24 school year, I know that the best is yet to come. I hope that you and your children have a great summer and are able to take advantage of the many amazing things that our city has to offer. Thank you for choosing New York City Public Schools, and for being true partners in your child’s education. I look forward to seeing you all in September.


Soaring high,

David C. Banks

New York City Schools Chancellor


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