June 26, 2020
Today is the last day of the most challenging, most intense school year many of us have ever experienced. I am humbled by your efforts and so proud of your children—our brilliant students.
I know that last September feels like it was years ago, and that time in general seems to exist as “before COVID” and “after COVID.” It might be hard to remember, but before the pandemic upended our lives, we opened more pre-K Dual Language programs across the city, saw a record number of our students enrolling in college, and learned just how much our Community Schools have been changing students’ lives for the better—to name just a few of our accomplishments. All that still matters because it has real-life, positive impacts for our children.
And then, all of a sudden, it was Monday, March 16, and the corona-virus forced us to reinvent the nation’s largest school system, closing all school buildings and transitioning our 1.1 million students to remote learning. To me, the “after COVID” time is as stunningly impressive as what came before. I know this because over the past three months I have seen your children complete science experiments in your kitchens, debate the United States Constitution in Spanish from your living rooms, and join band practice and master Shakespeare on Zoom.
Your children accomplished these amazing feats all while the corona-virus was affecting you, your families, and your communities. Sadly, we lost immediate family members, and 79 Department of Education employees, to COVID-19. We will never be the same without the loved ones, friends, and colleagues who gave our lives and work meaning. We will never, ever forget a single one of them. They live on in our hearts, in our memories, and in our children.
I’ve always said that parents and families are our most important partners, but this year that was truer than ever, as you became your child’s teacher, coach, and constant presence in an uncertain world. Your lives were upended in support of a totally unconventional schedule for your children. I know how much you sacrificed for them, how concerned you are about their futures, and how deep your love for them runs. I can’t thank you enough for the effort you have made to support your child’s learning at home. Continue reading End of Year Letter From The Chancellor