I hope you and your families are keeping safe and healthy. I’m writing today with some important news.
After three years leading the DOE, I will be stepping down as Chancellor in March.
I am full of mixed emotions to leave the DOE family. It has been the honor of my career to serve you, and help your child’s school and our whole system get closer to reaching its full potential. The strength and resilience of your children—our 1 million students—is awe-inspiring. It is what drove me through this unprecedented crisis, and it is what I take with me as I leave this post. The commitment and support you have shown to your children, and to your school communities, is incredible.
Throughout my career, my guiding light has been the belief that public education is the most powerful equalizer for children. Public education anchors communities. Public education makes it possible for a child who is poor, or who lives in temporary housing, or—in my own case—who doesn’t speak English when they enter the public school system to develop their dreams, and then to chase them. Truly, it is public education that expresses the highest ideals of our democracy. My time in New York City has only strengthened this belief, as I have seen it play out time and again, in schools all across the boroughs.
And together, we have seen proof. Our seniors kept breaking their own records as graduation rates and college enrollment kept rising higher, and the dropout rate kept getting lower.
We also made true progress in dismantling the structures and policies that are the products of decades of entrenched racism in the city and country. We have worked to undo segregation and turn “equity” from an esoteric concept to a reality. Every school that no longer screens children for admission, and every district that uses DOE resources to create more space for low-income students, or English language learners, is making this mission real.
We finally brought the mental health of our children into the spotlight and made it a major priority so that every child can feel welcomed, comfortable, and safe in their classroom and school community—especially now, when so many of our students are dealing with unforeseeable trauma.
And, of course, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we transformed the nation’s largest school system overnight in order to protect the health of our students, staff, families, and communities. We have reinvented what it means to teach and learn in New York City public schools.
All throughout, I have been proud to prioritize what’s best for kids over what’s politically popular. I have never been afraid of hard conversations. I have always believed that we need to set a high bar for every student—and then do what it takes to help them meet it.
You, your children, and the dedicated staff who serve you deserve both continuity and courageous leadership from your next Chancellor. You need someone who knows firsthand the reality on the ground at our schools, and has the talent and leadership to finish the school year out strong and drive towards bringing every child back to buildings in September.
That is why I am so proud that one of the most important leaders in this work will take on the privilege and responsibility of being your next Chancellor: Meisha Porter.
Meisha is a 20-year veteran of New York City public schools, and currently serves as Bronx Executive Superintendent. In this role, she leads community school districts 7-12, covering the entire borough and its 361 schools and 235,000 students. She is a lifelong New Yorker and product of our public schools who first joined the Department of Education as a teacher at the Bronx School for Law, Government, and Justice—a school she helped conceive. After 18 years at the school, where she became Principal, Meisha spent three years as Superintendent of District 11, serving the Pelham Parkway, Eastchester, and Woodlawn neighborhoods of the Bronx. She has been Executive Superintendent since 2018, and in that time, the students of the Bronx have achieved significant academic gains, and schools have gotten stronger and stronger.
Meisha is an unparalleled warrior for our students and our schools. She attended them, she taught in them, she led them, and now she will be Chancellor for ALL of them. None of the last several Chancellors—myself included—have been actively working with our schools, day in and day out, at the time they were appointed. Meisha will break the mold, bringing all her experience, past and present, to support you and your children. You will be hearing much more from Meisha soon, and I will be working with her over the next several weeks to ensure a smooth and productive transition.
More than anything, I am proud to have served you, and so proud of the strides we have made. I don’t know what’s next for me, but I know I will take the spirit and richness of New York City with me anywhere and everywhere I go.
It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as your Chancellor. I am grateful to each and every one of you.
Richard A. Carranza
New York City Department of Education
Only 1 week left to apply for an Education Council Seat! Deadline to apply is 2/28. Apply now for a seat on a Community or Citywide Education Council! Applying is fast and easy. Simply log into your NYC Schools Account at www.mystudent.nyc to get started. Don’t have a NYC Schools Account? Sign up for one now at mystudent.nyc. Then contact your Parent Coordinator for your personal code to add your students.
Learn more about Education Councils at our upcoming information sessions this week. Flyer is attached. Flyers in translated languages are located here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1I81eeuyNgXQtu7TvkIhtbwQur0GHwOPg
Questions? Please contact your school’s parent coordinator https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jJHuDroy8w5wMNtHiiDzZCUlIMXZ4eqA/view?usp=sharing
Throughout the week we asked our students to share what respect means to them through writing, art, and dance. We were very moved and impressed by the outpouring of love from our John Dewey Students. This website was created to showcase all their work.
February 11 2021
It is hard to believe we are already in the second half of this unusual school year. I am so grateful for your continued perseverance and flexibility during these difficult times, including the added challenges of our recent snowstorms.
Your voice and leadership are important, and I want to briefly share how you can use them to help our schools and students in a very important way. You can now apply to run for a seat in the coming election for Community and Citywide Education Councils. As a member of a Council, you are a voice for your community—and you can help make a direct impact on education policy. This includes through hosting Town Halls with me, collaborating with superintendents to improve student achievement, and advising on school building changes.
Each of the 32 geographic school districts has a Community Education Council, and there are four Citywide Councils: High Schools, English Language Learners, Special Education, and District 75. To apply to be a candidate for a council, simply log into your NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) to get started. If you don’t have a NYCSA account, you can sign up for one at mystudent.nyc and then contact your parent coordinator to add your students. You can submit your application through February 28.
Later in the year, for the first time ever, parents and guardians with a child in a New York City public school will have the chance to vote for their preferred Community Education Council candidates and have a direct hand in shaping important decisions in our city. You need a NYCSA account to vote, so if you don’t have one, again, please sign up at mystudent.nyc. Whether as a candidate or a voter, I very much hope you will take advantage of these opportunities to impact our schools.
In other news, I am excited to share that we will be reopening our middle schools for in-person learning on Thursday, February 25. We have developed strong practices to help keep school communities healthy and safe. If you have a student in grades 6-8 and selected blended learning, your child’s principal will reach out with their new schedule. All schools will have 20 percent of students and staff randomly tested on a weekly basis. Students who have not already done so are required to provide consent for testing by their first scheduled in-person learning day in order to learn in person. I encourage families to submit consent through your NYC Schools Account prior to your child’s first day of in-person learning.
And here’s some good news for families currently applying to middle or high school: We’re giving you more time to submit your applications. The new deadline to apply to middle school is February 23 and the new deadline for eighth- and ninth-grade families to submit their high school application is March 1. As a reminder, you can apply one of three ways: online at MySchools.nyc, through your child’s current school counselor, or through a Family Welcome Center (schools.nyc.gov/WelcomeCenters).
This is an exciting and important time in our schools, as together we celebrate both Black History Month and Respect for All Week. Our educators and students across the city are engaged in thoughtful exploration of these issues as they connect to our lives and our national experience. Having this conversation deepens our understanding of how we can make progress toward justice and fairness. You can find some great resources to help with these discussions on the DOE’s official blog The Morning Bell at morningbellnyc.com/2021/commemorate-bhm and at morningbellnyc.com/2021/celebrate-rfa-week. You can also enroll in courses related to Black History Month on Parent University at parentu.schools.nyc
Thank you again for working alongside us as we educate your children. We know how important school is for your student, whether they are learning remotely or in person—and our dedication to them remains unwavering during this challenging time.
I hope you and your families enjoy the upcoming midwinter recess, February 15–19. And Happy Lunar New Year to those who celebrate on February 12!
Richard A. Carranza
New York City Department of Education
You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Feb 5, 2021 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: No One Eats Alone Day: Lunch and Digital Dance Party
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +13126266799,,89748847169#,,,,*462567# or +16465588656,,89748847169#,,,,*462567#
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 9128 or +1 253 215 8782
Webinar ID: 897 4884 7169
International numbers available: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/keBBxTXz7p