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A Message from Carmen Fariña

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Carmen Farina
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Carmen Farina

Dear Teachers,

Welcome to the start of the 2017-2018 school year and the next step on our dynamic journeys as educators and lifelong learners. Together we deliver Equity and Excellenceto students and families in all corners of the City.

VIDEO: What it takes: Getting ready to open NYC schools

I know summer was a busy time for all of us. Professional learning workshops and sessions, career development opportunities, and personal commitments with family and friends filled our calendars. I hope you took time, as I do every summer, to rest, relax, and reconnect with what makes you a passionate and dedicated educator.

This summer, I was inspired by your commitment to professional learning and demonstration of your willingness to enhance your skills:

  • When I visited Summer in The City summer school classrooms, Summer Literacy Camp, STEM programs, middle school science camp, and high school courses, I observed the exciting experiences you created for our students and their enthusiastic energy and participation.
  • I also attended many of your professional development sessions. Over 5,500 teachers attended sessions this summer, including 1,200 educators at the Tech Summit. I was particularly impressed by the professional development for our 240 Literacy Coaches who are going to be our “teacher whisperers” and support literacy instruction in 14 districts across the City. And I am confident we will make great strides next school year through our College Access for All initiative after observing the sessions our new Advanced Placement (AP) course teachers participated in.
  • Please email me to share an experience you found particularly engaging this summer. New York City was named a Great District for Great Teachers in 2017 and I want to ensure we continue to live up to that designation every year.
VIDEO: NYC kids on what their new teachers should know about them

As you plan your year, it is important to prioritize your role in expanding parent and family engagement. Ask your school leaders and parent coordinators about resources for our September Parent-Teacher Conferences and learn more about your school community’s participation in The Family English Institute. (The Institute brought together over 100 parents of English language learners, caregivers and students to learn side-by-side this summer, and is growing this school year.)

I have always loved September because this month brings us a new beginning. September provides us with the opportunity to reinvent ourselves through commitment, reflection, and planning. Take a moment this month to pause and reflect on your best experience with your students last year. Next, pause and reflect on what you would change. Then, write yourself a note making a commitment to a) recreate that successful experience for your students this year not once, but again and again, and b) find strategies to handle situations like the one you would have changed. This practice reminds us that in teaching – like in learning – every year should lead to a better one. This ensures we are the best we can be for our students.

Finally, identify a time each week, an evening or over the weekend, where you can give your entire attention to your family and friends. It is amazing how much more energy we have when we bring balance into our lives.

As you prepare for the new school year, we’d love to see pictures of you, your staff, and your students and families as excitement builds! Join the online conversation using #BackToSchoolNYC. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and share and RT our posts. Don’t forget to tag @NYCschools on your own posts!

And as we start the 2017-2018 school year I want to thank you in advance for the dedication and guidance you will give our 1.1 million students throughout the year. As teachers, you shape our students’ futures and the future of New York City for generations to come.

Warmly,

Carmen

Join the Conversation: #BackToSchoolNYC

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