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COVID-19

Everything I’ve Heard About: EDUCATION

These are difficult times, and we’re doing our best to keep Manhattan informed – which is why we’ve been putting out our daily COVID-19 newsletter (sign up here!).

One of the most challenging parts of this crisis have come from how it has impacted education – from college to pre-K, students are going home as families learn how to best grapple with e-learning platforms. We’ve been sending out information relating to these changes and the  support available to assist learning through these tough times in our newsletter. We hope it’ll be useful to review all the items relevant to education in this post – to families with school-aged kids, be sure to not miss the opportunities available from Spectrum and Verizon!

Thursday, 7/9/20

  • Today (7/9) I sent a letter to Governor Cuomo insisting he act now to protect CUNY students from the new ICE rule change that would cruelly remove international students from the country if their schools switch to all-online learning this fall.
  • The City’s Dept. of Education has set up a Return to School 2020 page with the latest updates on reopening public schools and specifics on hybrid learning and the first day of school. Chancellor Carranza also released a letter for NYC school families.
  • Tomorrow’s (7/10) book distribution in partnership with the New York Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, scheduled to go to NYCHA’s Vladeck and Riis Houses, has been postponed due to a forecast of rain. See the full schedule here.
  • On Tuesday (7/14) at 6:30 pm, I’ll be hosting a virtual town hall with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health on “The Future of Childcare in NYC.” We’ll look at the new guidelines for opening child care centers, what we have learned these past few months, and what we will need to do moving forward. Register here.

Wednesday, 7/8/20

  • You may have seen the news (it’s the front page of today’s Daily News) that the federal Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) agency has changed visa rules for foreign students studying in the U.S. if their colleges convert to all-online coursework come fall semester.

    This sudden rule change by ICE– spring semester students weren’t forced to leave– sure seems contradictory to the President’s notion of reopening the country, but it’s fully in keeping with the administration’s longstanding cruelty to immigrants and their families. It will likely result in devastating economic losses, forced school reopenings, and huge drops in enrollment.

    Harvard and others are suing to overturn the change. Columbia and NYU have outlined steps to protect international students, including limited seminars for international students to help them stay and other special outreach.

    But CUNY and SUNY policies haven’t been determined yet, and they need to act to reduce the fear and uncertainty among their student bodies. I’ve urged Gov. Cuomo to have them act soon so that these students aren’t in limbo, and aren’t banished from the benefits of studying here in the U.S.

  • Yesterday (7/7) the City’s Board of Health voted to allow 3,000 child care centers to reopen this coming Monday (7/13).

    That’s not a lot of  notice, and I’ve heard complaints from child care center directors that this doesn’t grant enough time for necessary precautions; centers should take any additional time they need to reopen safely. However, there are set limitations on children per room, as well as procedures for the testing, tracing, and monitoring of COVID-19 cases should they arise. Learn more about City and State child care reopening guidelines.

Monday, 7/6/20

  • I’m partnering with the New York Public Library’s Summer Reading Program to offer free books for young people of all ages (from toddlers to high schoolers) starting this Wednesday (7/8) for five days at two different NYCHA sites each day. Books will come in a free tote bag and include a summer reading guide, stickers, and a reading tracker.

    See the full schedule on my website and here below:

    Wednesday, July 8, 2020:

    • Taft Houses, 10:30 am – 11:30 am. 1730 Madison Ave @ 114th St.

    • Washington Houses, 12 noon – 1 pm. 1955 Second Ave. (betw. 100th – 101st Sts.), TA Room

    Thursday, July 9, 2020:

    • Polo Towers/Rangel Houses,  10:30 am – 11:30 am. 159-15 Harlem River Drive

    • Harlem River Houses, 12 noon – 1 pm. 291 West 151 Street (between McCombs and 8th Ave), TA Room

    Friday, July 10, 2020:

    • Vladeck Houses,  10:30 am – 11:30 am. 356 Madison St.

    • Jacob Riis Cornerstone, 12 noon – 1 pm. 80 Avenue D

    Monday, July 13, 2020:

    • Grant Houses, 10:30 am – 11:30 am. 1295 Amsterdam Avenue  (@ 123rd Street), TA Room

    • St. Nicholas Houses, 12 noon – 1 pm. 225 W. 129 St. (between Adam Clayton Powell and Frederick Douglass Blvds)

    Tuesday, July 14, 2020:

    • Dyckman Houses, 10:30 am – 11:30 am. 3782 10th Ave. (Children’s Arts and Science Cornerstone)

    • Frederick Samuel Community Center, 12 noon – 1 pm. 669 Lenox Ave.

Thursday, 7/2/20

  • A group of educators and volunteers have launched Project Inspire, a free online program for kids in grades K-8 to develop their core writing skills and confidence in public speaking. The program runs from July 5 – August 16. Sign up here, and learn more.
  • The “Time in Children’s Arts Initiative” has announced a free online edition of their Summer in the City program for kids in grades 3K – 12. Learn more.

Tuesday, 6/30/20

  • With the official end of the school year last week, the school food grab-and-go meal program will shift to its summer locations citywide. To find a location nearest you, visit www.schools.nyc.gov/school-life/food/free-meals or text “food” to 877-877.
  • A group of education advocates, including two of my appointees to Community Education Council 2, have created sharemypebt.com, a site for those who have received a pandemic EBT benefit and would like to redistribute the amount on the card to food insecure families after they’ve used the card, as well as learn about benefits for using them at GrowNYC Greenmarkets.
  • The Dorill Initiative has opened applications for their Summer Arts Intensive for kids aged 10-18, with classes in dance, drama, vocal performance and story-telling, as well as self-esteem workshops and high school and college prep. Learn more.

Monday, 6/29/20

  • The Online Physical Education Network (OPEN) has prepared OPEN at Home Summer Camp, a free four-week home fitness program for kids, which starts today and ends on 7/24. Learn more.

Friday, 6/26/20

  • Advocates for Children of New York have an Education Helpline to assist students, families and teachers on navigating education-related issues and updates: call (866) 427-6033 Monday-Thursday from 10 am – 4 pm.

Thursday, 6/25/20

Wednesday, 6/24/20

  • Many people know that I have long fought for a city budget that funds a social worker in every school.

    Last year, in FY20, working with Council Member Treyger and with the support of many members of the Council, we succeeded in obtaining baselined funding of $29.7 million for 269 social workers, including $10.9 million of re-allocated ThriveNYC funding to support 85 School Response Clinicians.

    And yet the Mayor’s budget plan eliminates funds for the Single Shepherd program, which paired every 6-12 grade student in District 7 (South Bronx) and District 23 (Brownsville) with a dedicated guidance counselor or social worker to provide extra academic, social and emotional support.

    The Dept. of Education says schools losing these 130 guidance counselors and social workers will receive support from Thrive’s citywide School Response Clinician workers. But how is this possible if the Mayor is also planning to cut 25 social workers that were promised in last year’s budget? (17 of whom are these same School Response Clinicians?)

    The budget being negotiated now should include more, not less, funding for social workers.

    It’s not too late to let the Mayor and City Council know that social workers are vital and should be funded—especially now.

  • new position on the City’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) has been created by NYS to serve a term from July 1 2020 – June 30 2022. Nominees will be voted on by the 32 Community Education Council presidents.

    Applications are now open for parents with children currently attending an NYC public school; experience as a parent leader and/or advocate, is a plus.

    To be considered, complete this application (PDF) and email it to the Dept. of Education’s Office of Family and Community Empowerment (ccecinfo@schools.nyc.gov) by THIS FRIDAY June 26. Learn more.

  • As mentioned in yesterday’s newsletter, the State has made $65 million in federal CARES Act funding available for child care providers statewide through the New York Forward Child Care Expansion Incentive program.

    To be eligible for reopening funds, child care programs must have either been closed as of June 15 and have a plan to reopen within two weeks of applying or currently operating below their licensed capacity and would like to expand. Programs must submit a detailed plan for use of funds and remain open at least through the end of the year. Child care programs may apply to the NYS Office of Children and Family Services through July 15.

  • Tonight (6/24) from 6 – 8 pm, the March for Science is hosting the second in a three-part online fireside chat series on racism in STEM, titled “Understanding the Complexity of the Issue.” Click the title to register.
  • Tonight (6/24) at 7:30 pm, a group of independent NYC-based educational consultants present “#CollegesUnbranded: A Virtual College Fair with a Catch.” Students and families watch presentations from four admissions officers, but details about the colleges will be discussed before the schools’ names are revealed. Register here.
  • Tomorrow (6/25) from 6 – 8 pm, the next class in our leadership development training series for Community Board members and the general public will be held online: “NYC Landmarks & the Role of the Community Board.” Click the title link to register on Zoom, and see a list of all announced trainings here.

Tuesday, 6/23/20

  • As the city reopens and many parents return to work, families need places for their children to be safe, and that often means summer camp. Many summer camps rely on City park space for organized activities.I’m pleased to announce that the City has heeded my request to approve summer camp use of parks and our young people can finally have places to recreate in a supervised and supportive environment. While this is a major step in making our public parks accessible to those who need it most, we still need funding for the summer camps and the Summer Youth Employment Program in the budget. The summer season must remain equitable, safe and enriching for all families and their children.
  • Meal Hubs at schools will continue operating on a summer schedule: weekdays from 7:30 am – 1:30 pm starting Monday (6/29).
  • Governor Cuomo announced $65 million in federal CARES Act funding is available for child care providers statewide through the New York Forward Child Care Expansion Incentive program, with $20 million in grants available for expanding capacity for reopening child care centers with proper precautions, and $45 million to cover costs for newly opened classrooms.
  • Tomorrow (6/24) from 8:30 – 11:30 am, the New York State Board of Regents’ and State Education Department’s Regional Reopening Schools Taskforce will meet to discuss reopening schools in New York City, as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties. The meetings are closed to public participation, but recorded meetings and reports will be released afterwards– we’ll share a link!
  • Tomorrow (6/24) from noon – 1 pm, tune into PBS Thirteen for an episode of Let’s Learn NYC! with a special segment on the importance of the census. Children under the age of five are one of the most undercounted populations! Watch past episodes online here.
  • Tomorrow (6/24) from 3 – 4 pm, the nonprofit DREAM is hosting a Zoom town hall titled “All In: Equity and Education in a Transforming World,” which will discuss the future of safety and equity in education. Register here.
  • Tomorrow (6/24) from 6 – 8 pm, the March for Science is hosting the second in a three-part online fireside chat series on racism in STEM, titled “Understanding the Complexity of the Issue.” Click the title to register.
  • Tomorrow (6/24) at 7:30 pm, a group of independent NYC-based educational consultants present “#CollegesUnbranded: A Virtual College Fair with a Catch.” Students and families watch presentations from four admissions officers, but details about the colleges will be discussed before the schools’ names are revealed. Register here.

Monday, 6/22/20

  • Chalkbeat.org, the nonprofit educational news site, is allowing a Student Takeover this week to elevate young people’s voices, featuring commentary, art and essays from students on the current climate and actions against racial injustice.
  • The East Harlem Youth Advisory Board has released a survey (in English and Spanish) to be completed by young people ages 13-24 living in East Harlem. Four of those who fill it out will win a $50 gift card.

Wednesday, 6/17/20

  • My office’s annual professional development classes for Community Board members– and the public– will be held online this year, naturally. The first three have been scheduled; click the hyperlinked titles below to register. As more classes are added, we will announce in this newsletter and post on our website here.

    Land use and zoning 101Tuesday, June 23 | 6 – 8 pm
    Landmarks & the role of the Community BoardThursday, June 25 | 6 – 8 pm
    Land use and zoning (Advanced)Monday, June 29 | 6 – 8 pm

  • An op-ed I co-wrote with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, “What we owe NYC’s kids,” in today’s New York Daily News, discusses the need to protect Fair Futures which supports foster kids with mentorship and counseling, in the FY21 City budget.
  • Tonight (6/17) from 6 – 8 pm, the March for Science is hosting the first in a three-part online fireside chat series on racism in STEM, titled “A Space for BIPOC.” This first session is open solely to Brown, Black and Indigenous people of color. Register here.

Tuesday, 6/16/20

  • Summer options for children are a bit of a mess. The NYC Dept of Health is reviewing applications for summer camp programs that are allowed to start June 29, 2020.

    In New York City, we also know that many camps rely on park space for their activities. There is therefore a need for organizations that run camps to obtain permits quickly and I wrote to Parks Commissioner Silver on June 5 asking that a process for applications be developed and rolled out for the public.

    While some camp programs are ready to go, many need the funding that had been cut by the Mayor in his executive budget. I join United Neighborhood Houses and many other community organizations in urging that he restore that funding—and for that of the longtime City Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) which serves 75,000 teens– in time for this summer. No word from the Council on when a final budget will be announced.

    New York State is now allowing localities to open public pools and playgrounds at their discretion. But there are reports from across the city that some playgrounds are open while others remain locked up. If the City’s parks plan isn’t ready, why not? Best practices, cleaning guidelines need to be clearly communicated now (really, yesterday!) so that these important outdoor spaces can operate while keeping our families and neighborhoods healthy.

  • Mayor de Blasio and Dept. of Education (DOE) Chancellor Carranza announced an expansion of the College Bridge high school-to-college mentorship program to reach all 57,000 graduating seniors this summer, with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Milton Petri Foundation. (Job alert: CUNY students who have completed one year of study can apply for a paid position as a College Bridge coach.)

    The DOE has also released a Return to School 2020 Survey for parents and guardians of NYC public school students to determine priorities in planning the fall semester.

  • Tomorrow (6/17) from 6 – 8 pm, the March for Science is hosting the first in a three-part online fireside chat series on racism in STEM, titled “A Space for BIPOC.” This first session is open solely to Brown, Black and Indigenous people of color. Register here.

Thursday, 6/11/20

  • Regular readers know I am fighting the Mayor’s decision to cancel the Summer Youth Employment Program this year. The City’s Independent Budget Office has detailed the financial losses for young people and their families if the program remains cancelled this year– it’s worth a look.
  • The Harlem School of the Arts has opened registration for their Harlem Summer Arts Experience virtual summer camp for kids ages 5-18. The camp’s varied programming will have kids sing, dance, act, and design as they learn about the Harlem Renaissance. Learn more.

Wednesday, 6/10/20

  • It’s budget season at City Hall, and the Council and Mayor are working out the details on the billions of spending for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

    In my efforts to obtain full funding for a social worker in every school, I found disturbing news in the Independent Budget Office’s analysis of the Mayor’s executive budget proposal (issued in April): a $12 million cut to funding for Single Shepherd social workers in middle schools, and a cut of $8 million in spending on new social workers for the 2020-2021 school year that was agreed upon in last year’s budget.

    This is incredible. Just when school kids and their families are facing the ongoing health crisis and its economic aftershocks, the Mayor is advocating cuts to the already-paltry level of mental health support for students!

    I hope the City Council will reject these misguided cuts and add the approximately $95 million needed (according to IBO estimates last year) to staff every school with one social worker.

    (Separate question: why can’t the DOE hire eight million dollars’ worth of social workers in 12 months if given funding to do so?)

    Read my op-ed from last week: “Why Every School Needs a Social Worker.”

  • City Dept. of Education (DOE) Chancellor Richard Carranza has signalled that the plan is to resume in-person learning in the fall through “blended learning,” which will mix remote and physical instruction with social distancing and split schedules.

    And an update on the delivery of DOE tablets for remote learning: a total of 27,694 devices are in distribution in Manhattan, of which 93.4% have been received by families who requested them and another 5.4% are awaiting UPS delivery.

  • Applications are now open for the 2020 Spectrum Digital Education grant program, which will support nonprofit organizations providing broadband training and education in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The application window will close on June 26 at 5 pm, and awardees will be announced in August and funded in September.

Tuesday, 6/9/20

Monday, 6/8/20

  • Last Friday (6/5) I sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson outlining the need to restore funding to the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) as we discuss shifting funds away from the NYPD and await the reopening of summer camps, which usually rely on SYEP for hiring teen staff.

Friday, 6/5/20

  • Tomorrow, Saturday (6/6) at 10 am, Sesame Workshop and CNN are hosting “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism,” a town hall for children and families hosted by Van Jones and Erica Hill, alongside Big Bird, Elmo, and other Sesame Street favorites. The event will stream live, without a log-in, on CNN’s homepage.
  • Tomorrow (6/6) from 10:30 am – noon, the disability advocacy group YAI is taking their yearly Central Park Challenge online for an interactive livestream celebration of the intellectual and developmental disabilities community. The event will feature performances from Broadway greats like Kelli O’Hara, Ali Stroker, Miguel Cervantez, and more. Stream it live at centralparkchallenge.org.
  • Tomorrow (6/6) at 6 pm, I’ll be joining the Bloomingdale School of Music for their 20th Annual Performathon, an online student-driven performance event benefiting the School’s scholarship fund. Register here.
  • Tuesday (6/9) at 1 pm, join the Harlem Covid Working Group for a Virtual Contact Tracing Job Fair to learn more about the City’s plan to hire 5,000 contact tracers by August 1 and get information on how to apply. Register here.

  • The East Harlem Community Partnership will award ten $1,000 grants for students starting the freshman year of college or attending a technical school. Applicants must reside in East Harlem, within zip codes 10029 or 10035. All applications must be submitted by THIS MONDAY, June 8, 2020. Click here to download the application.

Thursday, 6/4/20

Wednesday, 6/3/20

Tuesday, 6/02/20

  • Our Town has published my opinion piece on “Why Every School Needs a Social Worker” in the midst of current city budget negotiations at City Hall. The mental health of the city’s children will need even more help than ever after the pandemic subsides. And compared to many larger expenditures, the cost– IBO estimates about $91 million– is a worthwhile investment in our future.
  • Tomorrow (6/3) at 7:30 pm, a group of independent NYC-based educational consultants present #CollegesUnbranded: A Virtual College Fair with a Catch.” Students and families can watch presentations from six admissions officers, but details about the colleges will be discussed before the schools’ names are revealed. Register here.

Friday, 5/29/20

  • Practice Makes Perfect has announced a free online student enrichment program which will serve 5,000 NYC public school students between grades 3 – 8. Learn more, and fill out the interest forms in English or Spanish.
  • AT&T has opened registration for their “Summer Learning Academy,” a free online certificate program for college students with 80 hours of coursework in business subjects. Learn more.

Thursday, 5/28/20

  • The City’s COVID-19 Response Maps, searchable by ZIP code, track their response to the pandemic, on health care, food, education, and targeted outreach and support.

Wednesday, 5/27/20

  • If you have children who attend public school in your household, you will automatically receive the $420 per child from NY State that would have been spent on school lunches during a normal school year. The funds are disbursed as follows:

    • If you are on SNAP and cash assistance: You should have received an additional $193 deposited to your EBT card on May 19. The remainder, $227, will be deposited on June 16.

    • If you are on Medicaid only: You will receive the full $420 amount per child during the last two weeks in June.

    • If you are not on any assistance or benefits program: you will be mailed a $420 EBT card this summer from the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

Tuesday,  5/26/20

  • The City Department of Education has announced the dates for this year’s online summer school programming, which will serve 178,000 students: for elementary and middle schoolers the program will run from July 6 – August 11 (four days a week, Monday – Thursday), and for high schoolers it will run from July 6 – August 14. For students in IEP’s, the summer program will run from July 2 – August 13.
  • Tomorrow (5/27) at 6:30 pm, Goddard Riverside Community Center will host a pair of online events– one for children and one for adults. How to Raise a Reader will be a lively conversation with Maria Russo on how to encourage children to love books. The companion event for kids, Story Exploring, will look at what makes a story a story– and help kids create their own! Sign up for both events here.

Thursday, 5/21/20

  • The PUMP Initiative, an academic mentorship program based in Harlem, has prepared PUMP Virtual, a learning program designed to help NYC middle and high schoolers pass their classes. Admissions are rolling. Apply here.

Wednesday, 5/20/20

  • The West Harlem Development Corporation’s summer youth program ARISE! (All Rise in Strengthening Excellence) is open for registration: 14-year olds who reside in Manhattan’s Community Board 9 and are currently in grades 8-11 are eligible. Participants will meet virtually for six weeks; stipends are available. Learn more.

Tuesday, 5/19/20

  • Today (5/19) Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza announced the City’s summer learning plan, which will provide support to around 177,700 students for remote summer learning. Learn more.

  • The online tutoring service Varsity Tutors is offering free live classes and virtual summer camps to support parents and students during this crisis. Learn more.

Monday, 5/18/20

  • Last Friday (5/17) I hosted a town hall calling for the City to fund at least one social worker in each public school, in partnership with NYU’s McSilver Institute and the Greater New York Chapter of the Links. It was a fantastic discussion, and if you couldn’t join us, the video of the full conversation is available here.
  • The PUMP Initiative, an academic mentorship program based in Harlem, has prepared PUMP Virtual, a learning program designed to help NYC middle and high schoolers pass their classes. The program begins next Monday (5/18), but admissions are rolling. Apply here.

Friday, 5/15/20

  • On Monday (5/18) at 10:30 am, 2 pm, and 8 pm, the ninth annual NY Sun Works Discovering Sustainability Science Youth Conference will stream, with 4-minute research presentations from 5th-12th grade students from The Manhattan School for Children, Edward R. Murrow High School, PS 199 Jessie Isador Straus, West End Secondary School, St. Saviour High School, and PS 377 Alejandrina B. De Gautier, all addressing environmental problems and solutions related to water, energy, waste, food and health. Stream it live here.
  • Thanks to terrific advocacy by two juniors at the Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria, free menstrual products will be distributed at over 200 DOE Grab and Go meal sites. See the full list here.

Thursday, 5/14/20

  • Tomorrow, Friday (5/15) at 3:30 pm, I will be hosting a virtual Town Hall calling for city budgeting at least one social worker in each public school. I’ve been pushing for this for some time, and we’ve never needed to provide mental health care more than in the aftermath of this pandemic. Our schoolchildren deserve it.

    Co-sponsored by NYU’s McSilver Institute and the Greater NY Chapter of the Links, panelists will include Jasmin Berrios, LCSW at the Partnership with Children, David Garza, President of the Henry Street Settlement; Hilary Kopple, LCSW at the  International High School at Union Square; Dr. Michael Lindsey, Executive Director of NYU’s McSilver Institute; and Council Member Mark Treyger who chairs the Council’s Education Committee.

    Please join us at 3:30 pm Friday, May 15, 2020 for a lively discussion. Register for the Zoom session here.

  • The application deadline for Columbia University’s Community Scholars Program, designed to grant independent scholars from Northern Manhattan free access to University services and resources, has been extended to May 15. Visit here to learn more about the program and apply.

Tuesday, 5/12/20

  • On Friday (5/15), at 3:30 pm, I will be hosting a virtual Town Hall calling for a City budget allocation to fund at least one social worker in each public school. I’ve been pushing for this for some time, and we’ve never needed to provide mental health care more than in the aftermath of this pandemic. Our schoolchildren deserve it.

    Co-sponsored by NYU’s McSilver Institute and the Greater NY Chapter of the Links, panelists will include Jasmin Berrios, LCSW at the Partnership with Children, David Garza, President of the Henry Street Settlement; Hilary Kopple, LCSW at the  International High School at Union Square; Dr. Michael Lindsey, Executive Director of NYU’s McSilver Institute; and Council Member Mark Treyger who chairs the Council’s Education Committee.

    Please join us at 3:30 pm next Friday, May 15, 2020 for a lively discussion. Register for the Zoom session here.

  • The data geeks (like me) in our audience may find https://rt.live/ a fascinating website.

    Put together by one of the co-founders of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, who got obsessed early on in the pandemic with finding one or two statistics that could be tracked that could show whether a region was getting worse or getting better. He found “Rt,” which epidemiologists use to estimate the virus’s actual transmission rate from one infectious person to others at a given moment. The goal is to have Rt drop below 1.0; New York’s current Rt is .79. (There’s another number called R0 which you may have seen, known as the reproduction number, which indicates how contagious a disease is. Read more in this NYTimes op-ed here or this piece in Quartz.)

    Rt.live has limits and drawbacks– among them that the data is only as good as that generated by each state, and it’s reported on a state-by-state basis and not a metro-by-metro basis. Still, it’s fascinating to see the story told in this way.

  • Tonight (5/12) from 6 – 8 pm, the NY State Senate Committee on NYC Education will host a town hall conversation on COVID-19 and NYC schools. Parents, caregivers, students and teachers are invited to sign up in advance to speak. Watch the town hall live on Senator John Liu’s Facebook page.
  • This Saturday (5/16) beginning at 10 am, watch Indoors for Autism online, an all-day virtual Zoom event sponsored by IncludeNYC. Check the schedule here and notice that they’re bringing Broadway home with a 4 pm concert featuring Hamilton’s Christopher Jackson and actress Veronica Jackson (parents of a son on the autism spectrum). Other family-friendly activities throughout the day include baking, yoga, magic, and a dance party. When you register here, you can join for all or just a few activities from 10 am – 7:25 pm.
  • The 9/11 Memorial & Museum has released online resources for schools, including lesson plans and their “Dear Hero” campaign to thank those on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

Monday,  5/11/20

Friday, 5/8/20

  • Next Friday (5/15), at 3:30 pm, I am hosting a virtual Town Hall calling for a City budget allocation to fund one social worker in each public school. I’ve been pushing for this for some time, and we’ve never needed to provide mental health care more than in the aftermath of this pandemic.

    Co-sponsored by NYU’s McSilver Institute and the Greater NY Chapter of the Links, panelists will include Jasmin Berrios, LCSW at the Partnership with Children, David Garza, President of the Henry Street Settlement; Hilary Kopple, LCSW at the  International High School at Union Square; Dr. Michael Lindsey, Executive Director of NYU’s McSilver Institute; and Council Member Mark Treyger who chairs the Council’s Education Committee.

    Please join us next Friday, May 15, 2020 at 3:30 pm for a lively discussion. Register for the Zoom session here.

  • The application deadline for Columbia University’s Community Scholars Program, designed to grant independent scholars from Northern Manhattan free access to University services and resources to assist in their projects and skill development, has been extended to May 15, 2020. Visit here to learn more about the program and apply.

Thursday, 5/7/20

Wednesday, 5/6/20

  • Governor Cuomo announced $30 million in funding for child care scholarships to income-eligible essential workers, which includes health care providers, pharmaceutical staff, law enforcement, firefighters, food delivery workers, and grocery store employees. They must be using a regulated child care provider (see a list of resource and referral agencies here); apply for one of these scholarships. Learn more.
  • The Frick Collection is now “open” for online visits for schools, colleges, and universities. Sessions are tailored to lesson plans, and led by Frick educators who will guide discussions of selected works of art from the Frick’s collection. Teachers: to learn more and make a reservation, please email schoolvisits@frick.org with your preferred date and time, the grade level of your students, and the subject of your course.

Monday, 5/4/20

  • Spectrum has extended their free 60-day internet connection offer for educator and student households through to June 30. Learn more here.
  • A new joint production between the DOE and Channel 13 began airing today, featuring lessons designed to supplement remote learning for children between 3-K through second grade. Let’s Learn NYC! airs weekdays at 11 am, and episodes are posted to that link.
  • Educational historian and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch recently recorded a conversation with Common Sense Media on the past, present, and future of the U.S. public school system in regard to the pandemic. Watch it on YouTube.

Tuesday, 4/28/20

  • Today Chancellor Carranza and Chief Academic Officer Linda Chen of the Dept. of Education announced the official remote learning grading policy, affecting 1.1 million students. Learn more.
  • Tomorrow (4/29) at 6 pm, the Dept. of Education’s Panel for Educational Policy will hold their monthly meeting via teleconference. Access the meeting online here, or call in at (800) 719-6100 and enter Meeting ID 113-9174 #. Sign-up for public comment will be available once you join the meeting, but only until 6:15 pm.
  • On Thursday (4/30) at noon and 9 pm, the New York City Quiz Game returns with Quizmaster (and former Manhattan Borough Historian) Michael Miscione, who will be assisted by Emma Guest-Consales, PhD, President of the Guides Association of NYC. Watch on Instagram Live @nycquizguy and learn more here. Email nycquizgame@gmail.com with suggestions for questions.

Monday, 4/27/20

Friday, 4/24/20

  • Dr. Rob Snyder, our Manhattan Borough Historian, writes:

    Ellen Noonan (an NYU professor and Director of the Archives and Public History Program at New York University) has created a great new web site that is an outgrowth of our April 2 historians’ Zoom meeting. She’s compiled all the known projects and initiatives documenting the COVID-19 pandemic in one place: https://wp.nyu.edu/covid19histories/
    It’s a tremendous public service for New York and the world.

  • A correction to yesterday’s (4/23) newsletter: we were mistaken to say that it was the last day to request an internet-enabled iPad from the Dept. of Education for home learning. It was actually only the last day to request to receive one in April; parents can continue to complete the form and will receive their iPad delivery in May.
  • On Monday (4/27) from 3 – 4 pm, join the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health for their HarlemCounts! Census 2020 Virtual Town Hall to discuss strategies to combat a census undercount. Register here.

Thursday, 4/23/20

  • This is the last day to access the Dept. of Education (DOE) form to request the borrowing of internet-enabled iPads. You can also reach DOE to request one over the phone; call (718) 935-5100. Everyone who fills out a request form online, with a staff member, or over the phone, will be sent follow up emails and texts.
  • If you missed my virtual Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) Town Hall, you can watch the hour-long panel on my YouTube channel. We discussed the importance of SYEP and efforts to save it, featuring panelists from many of the city’s leading non-profits.
  • The education consultancy Teq has made their OTIS series of classes and resources, which help guide teachers and schools in distance learning as well as online professional development, free to use; it’s equipped with a chat box to directly connect with Teq staff for advice. Learn more here.

Wednesday, 4/22/20

  • Tomorrow (4/23) from 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm, the Citywide Council on Special Education is hosting an online Parent Forum: “Special Education during COVID-19: Understanding the current educational environment for children with disabilities during these uncertain times.” Join the meeting via Google Hangout, or call in at +1 (929) 324-1317 with PIN: 326 073 316#.

Tuesday, 4/21/20

  • Tomorrow, Wednesday (4/22), I’m hosting a virtual Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) Town Hall at 3:00 pm. I’ll be moderating an hour-long panel on the importance of SYEP and efforts to save it, featuring the Children’s Aid Society’s Sandino Sanchez, Catholic Charities’ Alianza Dominicana Division’s Eddie Silverio, the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem’s Dominique Jones, the Chinese-American Planning Council’s Wayne Ho, and the United Neighborhood Houses’ J.T. Falcone. Register here to get a Zoom login link.

Monday, 4/20/20

  • The Dept. of Education has issued a Remote Learning Survey to find out from caregivers and students how remote learning has been working. The survey is anonymous, as well as available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu. Please complete the survey here before May 1.
  • “TIME for Kids” and “TIME Edge” platforms are now available for free for the rest of the 2020 school year, ensuring age-appropriate, trusted content is easily accessible for Grades K – 8. They’ve also launched Draw with Drew (And Rosie!) to provide art education to kids at home.
  • DOROT’s University Without Walls offers hundreds of classes appealing to a wide range of interests, all available over the phone. New programs are added weekly to accommodate increased numbers of seniors who cannot attend programs in their community. To register, call (877) 819-9147 or email UWW@dorotusa.org.

    DOROT has also launched their new Caring Calls program, which matches seniors with volunteers for social connections by phone once or twice a week. Interested older adults should call (212) 769-2850 or email info@dorotusa.org.

  • You can become a true census geek by visiting www.censushardtocountmaps2020.us/
    and seeing the map of census self-response completion rate at all levels of detail– state, county, city, legislative district, and even census tract! Just zoom into NYC, then use the “Show info for” drop-down at the top left of the sidebar.
  • Tomorrow (4/21) at 7:30 pm, Columbia University will launch their Columbia at Home series with “The Story Behind Self Made”, a conversation with A’Lelia Bundles, biographer and great-great-granddaughter of C.J. Walker, the focus of Netflix’s new miniseries Self Made. Register here.
  • Tomorrow (4/21) at 7:30 pm, Hunter College’s Hunter@Home series is back with a reading by Téa Obreht from her prize-winning novel Inland, listed by President Obama as one of his favorite books of 2019.

Friday, 4/17/20

  • Tomorrow (4/18) at 4:00 pm, the environmental education organization Cafeteria Culture is offering a free virtual screening of the documentary Microplastic Madness, the story of 56 fifth graders from P.S. 15 in Red Hook, Brooklyn whose actions on plastic pollution morph into extraordinary leadership and scalable victories. Register here to join the screening, which will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s directors.
  • Also tomorrow (4/18) at 4:00 pm, the financial education nonprofit World of Money will present an interactive virtual Town Hall for children ages 9-12 titled “COVID-19 Global Pandemic and the Road Ahead: Our Concerns, The Challenges, The Opportunities.” RSVP here.
  • On Monday (4/20) at 3:00 pm, Hunter College will host “Lessons on Pandemic and Age,” a webinar and live virtual Q&A on how disasters affect different age groups and the challenges of COVID-19 for seniors. Register here to join.
  • On Monday (4/20) at 4:00 pm, join New York Counts 2020 and Generation Citizen New York for their Census Lessons interactive webinar, which will help educators implement a “Talking About Cens-US” lesson plan for students to understand the purpose and impact of the census. Interested teachers can stream and participate in the webinar on New York Counts 2020’s Facebook page.
  • Sanctuary for Families, the domestic violence survivors’ group, has released Safety Planning Guides, drawing from the expertise of both survivors and clinicians, in EnglishSpanishChineseArabicFrench, and German. Also, their helpline at (212) 349-6009 has expanded hours to 9 am – 5 pm, Monday-Friday. Finally, they’ve launched a Virtual Courtroom Advocates Project to guide survivors through COVID-19-related changes in the court system and ensure they’re still able to seek life-saving orders of protection.
  • Happy 55th to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). In honor of that anniversary, LPC has created a new interactive story map to honor their vital work with highlights from decades of helping to make our city’s history tangible for every generation.

Tuesday, 4/14/20

  • There’s a new option for child care for families of first responders on the Lower East Side, thanks to the Chinese-American Planning Council’s new Regional Enrichment Center: MBKU-Little Star of Broome Street. Interested families can register at the Dept. of Education’s website.
  • On Thursday (4/16) at 6:00 pm, Roosevelt House and the Hunter College Department of Public Health will present a webinar on “The Reality of the Coronavirus Pandemic for the American Medical System”. Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler will analyze the factors contributing to our medical system’s unreadiness, the burden on hospitals, and possible treatment breakthroughs.
  • On Friday, April 17 at 12:30 pm, BetaNYC is hosting a virtual NYC #OpenData class! They’ve revised their “Introduction to Open Data” and have a few new things to teach you… virtually of course. Come learn about key data terms, BoardStat, and NYC311 data.
  • iMentor, a nonprofit matching high school students to college-educated mentors, is seeking new mentors to work with students starting this fall (many of whom will need all the help they can get to recover academically from this pause). Interested applicants can learn more and apply here, or email sjoseph@imentor.org with questions.
  • Landmark West has adapted their Shape Detectives classroom program to teach pre-K and first grade students in isolation about landmark architecture on the Upper West Side with Shape Detectives @Home, a series of lessons and videos for home learning.

Monday, 4/13/20

  • This week, the NYC Dept. of Education will be mailing activity packets with 10 days’ worth of lessons in different subjects to families with children in grades Pre-K through 5. Parents can access material for all grades, for students who need Specialized Instruction, and for multilingual learning students on the Activities for Students section of the DOE website.

Wednesday, 4/08/20

  • Goya is launching the Goya Culinary Competition for Scholarships for NYC high schoolers. Submit a recipe using Goya products for a chance to win $10,000 in scholarships. Interested? Visit Food and Finance High School’s website.

Tuesday, 4/07/20

Monday, 4/06/20

  • The City Dept. of Education has several updates starting April 6.
    • Instead of having students pick up devices, DOE will prepare and DELIVER them to high school students, multilingual learners, students with disabilities, those who live in public housing. Others who have requested a device will be eligible to receive them after those deliveries have been made.
    • If you received an iPad from DOE, setup instructions are available here. If you need help, contact Apple Support at support.apple.com or call 1-800-800-2775. If you have issues connecting the device to T-Mobile internet, visit www.t-mobile.com/support or call 1-800-375-1126.
    • If you already HAVE a device and need technical support, call 718-935-5100.
    • The New York State Board of Regents is cancelling the High School Regents exams in June.
    • Students can receive one-on-one free online homework help through the New York Public Library, daily from 2 – 11 pm, in English or Spanish, K-12. Families will need a New York Library card to access this service, and can apply for a free card here.
    • Families of students with IEPs will now have IEP meetings conducted over the phone. Email your principal or specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov, or call 311.

Thursday, 4/02/20

  • The City launched the Help Now Portal this week to connect New Yorkers who need help to resources on employment, benefits, seniors, food security, NYCHA residents, mental health, and education– and to also give those who want to GIVE help a way to do so.

Wednesday, 4/01/20

  • Here’s the link to view the archive of Monday’s “virtual” Education Town Hall that was missing yesterday.
  • Tomorrow at 12:15 pm, Rob Snyder, our official Manhattan Historian (and professor at Rutgers), is convening a Zoom meeting for a wide-ranging conversation about how historians can study, document and analyze the pandemic. “Our discussion will be grounded in New York City, but of course we will explore how the city fits into our state, region, nation and world,” Snyder tells me.  The Zoom meeting will be at
    https://columbiauniversity.zoom.us/j/281509628 and the meeting ID is: 281 509 628 (use that for the participant ID as well).  Or you can dial in for audio only at (646) 876 9923 using those same IDs.
  • (Rob also sent me this link to a NY Academy of Medicine piece on the “Germ City” exhibit that was at the Museum of the City of NY: nyamcenterforhistory.org/2018/09/14/germ-city-microbes-and-the-metropolis-opens/)
  • You know the projection that President Trump is using that calculates between 100,000 to 240,000 deaths by the time the pandemic is over?  The predictive model was developed by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Their website, covid19.healthdata.org, shows the curves we are all trying to flatten, and their New York page will be fascinating to any data geeks you know.

Tuesday, 3/31/20

  • Last night’s “virtual” Town Hall at Columbia University’s Teachers College, cosponsored by the NYC Dept. of Education and Community Board 9, was a huge success– special thanks to the office of the Manhattan Executive Superintendent for their participation.  Over 300 parents, teachers and administrators logged onto the youtube broadcast and sent questions in. We’re planning another one for small businesses in cooperation with Columbia’s business school, and will keep you posted.
  • The East Harlem Community Partnership Higher Education Grants will award ten $1,000 grants to cover tuition, housing, books, or any education related expense for students starting the freshman year of college or attending a technical school. For an application, contact Angela Donadelle at adonadelle@unionsettlement.org and return it completed with attachments by June 8, 2012.

Monday, 3/30/20

  • TONIGHT AT 6:30 PM,  I will moderate a “virtual” Town Hall at Columbia University’s Teachers College (and cosponsored by the NYC Dept of Education) on “Meeting Student Needs during COVID-19” for Manhattan parents, students and teachers. Panelists Dr. Detra Price-Dennis and Dr. Roberta Lenger Kang from Teachers College, Marisol Rosales from the NYC Department of Education will discuss best practices for K-12 remote learning during the pandemic. Visit here to watch at 6:30 pm (or go to the youtube channel directly at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VR_r6CRINNs&feature=youtu.be ).

Friday, 3/27/20

  • On Monday, March 30, I will moderate a “virtual” Town Hall at Columbia University (and cosponsored by the NYC Dept of Education) on “Meeting Student Needs during COVID-19” for Manhattan parents, students and teachers. We’ll discuss resources and best practices for K-12 remote learning during the pandemic. Panelists include Dr. Detra Price-Dennis and Dr. Roberta Lenger Kang from Teachers College, Marisol Rosales from the NYC Department of Education. Visit https://neighbors.columbia.edu/K12StudentNeeds to watch on youtube a little before 6:30 pm this coming Monday, March 30.
  • Starting Monday, March 30, the DOE is consolidating Regional Enrichment Center (REC) sites in order to ensure high-quality programming and closing the following sites in Manhattan (among others in other parts of the city): J.H.S. 56 (220 Henry St.), P.S./I.S. 89 (201 Warren St.), P.S. 125 (425 W. 123 St.), and P.S./I.S. 210 (501-503 W. 152 St.). If you are a first responder or medical worker and want to have your child attend a REC center, sign up here.
  • Verizon is matching Spectrum and other cable providers’ offer for free internet for households with school-age children (which was, ahem, strongly suggested by the FCC). They are also going one better, with other learning tools and some premium TV channels offered to customers at no additional cost. Read the release: verizon.com/about/news/verizon-customers-learning-tools-premium-tv.

Wednesday, 3/25/20

  • Lincoln Center Pop-up Classroom: a daily dose of creativity designed and led by some of world’s best artists and educators. Each daily digital live class will utilize simple materials found at home to help families with children explore a variety of art forms (Tune in weekdays at 10AM / watch anytime at Facebook.com/LincolnCenterNYC).

Tuesday, 3/24/20

  • Tonight at 8 pm on WLIW (PBS) is a wonderful documentary on public housing in America– produced by Ken Burns– using East Lake Meadows in the Atlanta area as the basis for its narrative. I was delighted to host 50 NYCHA leaders at a screening at CUNY in February, and everyone heartily recommends it!

Monday, 3/23/20

  • Today the Dept. of Education opened Regional Enrichment Centers (REC) for children of health care workers, police, fire, emergency management, and some transit workers. DOE has created this enrollment form for those first responders to complete this form.  RECs will be open Monday-Friday from 7:30am – 6:00pm. Students will be provided three hot meals a day and technology for remote learning, as well as art and PE classes. Each location will include a nurse and isolation rooms, in case anyone displays symptoms. There are 15 centers in Manhattan as of Friday.
  • DOE is committed to making three free meals available daily for all NYC children.  Families can learn the location of the nearest meal hub by texting FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877. The “find a free meal location near you” feature on the DOE website is now available, so families can search for the meal hub nearest to them.
  • The DOE has set up https://parentcoordinatornyc.connectwithkids.com/ as a resource for Parent Coordinators. They will be continuing to build out the site this week, so please send them your feedback on any additional information/resources that should be added.
  • Girls Who Code has launched #CodeFromHome, a series of free resources, available at girlswhocode.com/code-at-home/ and updated weekly. These activities are designed to inspire girls to create solutions around the issues they care about, and enable them to continue working their bravery muscles through this tough time. All are invited to access.
  • The NYPL has expanded its online offerings to those with library cards (which can also be obtained online). Parents of pre-K to 3rd graders who miss story time at their local branch will be interested in Bookflix, which offers read-alouds to learn about science, music, history, and more (and is also available in Spanish) Adults might be interested in online access to Ancestry.com, JSTOR’s academic research database, and the New York Times archives. Learn more from their latest online newsletter.
  • Audible, the audiobook company, has also opened its children’s book library, in six languages, to the non-subscriber public:  https://stories.audible.com/discovery .
  • TIME for Kids will be launching a free digital library for students, families and teachers around the world, including a complete collection of all 2020 editions of TIME for Kids and Your $, our financial literacy magazine for children. The featured issue at launch provides a special report on COVID-19, including interviews with health experts and a look at how this pandemic is affecting schools, the economy and more. Each week, this digital library will update with four grade-specific editions, including K-1, 2, 3-4, and 5-6. Visit: time.com/tfk-free 

Friday, 3/20/20

  • The first wave of tablets have arrived at the DOE and will be shipped with a tracking number early next week (so that no one has to travel to pick up a device for their child). Again, if your NYC public school student needs a device for remote learning, visit this link.
  • If you have kids trapped at home, you might be interested in the online “History at Home” online classes that the N.Y. Historical Society is offering.
  • ALSO beginning Monday, the DOE’s Office of Food and Nutrition Service will continue to provide free breakfast and lunch for everyone 18 years and younger, BUT the pickup locations will shift from every public school to a slightly more limited “hub” system. A child can pick up meals for themselves as well as other children in the household; an adult can pick up meals for children in their household without the children needing to be present. Distribution of one breakfast and up to two lunches are available Monday-Friday from 7:30 am – 1:30 pm. There will be alternative items for children with nut and milk allergies; vegetarian and halal options will also be available. Families with disabled students with mobility limitations will have meals delivered through a special arrangement made between DOE and Door Dash.

Thursday, 3/19/20

Wednesday, 3/18/20

Tuesday, 3/17/20

  • Yesterday I mentioned that school age children can pick up a free breakfast or lunch between 7:30 am and 1:30 pm this week. To be clear, that means ANY child 18 and under can go to the nearest public school and pick up a meal, not just public school students.
  • The Pre-K application deadline has been extended to Sunday, March 29th. Families can apply online through www.myschools.nyc/en/ or over the phone by calling 718-935-2009 (M – F, 8 am to 6 pm). School staff will now have until Friday, April 3 to verify applicants’ sibling status on the MySchools School Portal. Questions can be directed to ESEnrollment@schools.nyc.gov. Pre-K offers will still be released in May.

Monday, 3/16/20

  • As you must know by now, public schools are closed until April 20. As of today, students may go to the NEAREST school — which is not necessarily their own school —  to pick up a grab-n-go breakfast and/or lunch between 7:30 am and 1:00 pm for at least this week.The Food Education Fund has established a website to gather all food-related information in one place, which will be continuously updated: Food Hub NYC.
  • Beginning today, Monday, March 16, Charter cable will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription, and installation fees will be waived for new student households.
  • We’re told that Apple has also made contributions of devices to the 1 Million Foundation, and that the DOE is working on a plan to distribute these devices to as many students  as possible. More information will follow.
  • We here at the MBPO have postponed our planned evening with Rachael Cerrotti on her grandmother’s journey through the Holocaust (and its accompanying professional development program for educators) in late March.

Categories: COVID-19