NOTICE: Message from Office of Family and Community Empowerment
13 Apr 2020
Dear Parent Leaders and Colleagues,
Thank you for your continuing partnership over these last weeks. We know that we are all struggling to stay positive during this crisis, and we so appreciate all that you have done, and continue to do, to support your communities.
Below is our end-of-the-week wrap up, and you can expect this type of information to be shared via the PC Website:
During this unprecedented crisis, the City is facing incredible fiscal hardship, and must make difficult choices. As you may have heard, this week Mayor De Blasio announced a $221 million budget cut to the DOE, effective in fiscal year 2021. We will send more information to you on how these reductions will be implemented in the coming weeks as we prepare for the FY21 fiscal year.
Reductions identified this week –
· Professional Development Reduction – Mandated programs protected, eliminate redundancy, more efficient training sessions (DOE) – $67M baseline
· Reduction in funding for Equity and Excellence programs – Summer in the City, Single Shepherd, College Access for All (DOE) – $49M baseline
· Delay in 3K Expansion to districts in 1, 12, 14, and 29 (DOE) $43M in FY21
· Fair Student Funding reduction (DOE) – $100M in FY21
In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order, we will continue remote learning throughout the time originally scheduled for Spring Recess, Thursday, April 9 through Friday, April 17.
This Spring Recess is an opportunity to continue remote learning, enjoy learning experiences outside of school, while we are home doing our part to keep everyone healthy and safe. We plan to spend spring recess learning with a theme of the day. These will be fun activities for students to do with family at home, as well as virtual field trips.
The DOE has provided teachers and staff some preliminary examples of activities, and will add them to TeachHub. Schools are free to use these resources, or they may choose to leverage their own plans.
We hope that during the course of spring break, students will also find ways to reflect and show gratitude for all those around us- whether it’s family and teachers helping them each day, to grocery store workers and supers, to health care workers. It is a time for us to be grateful for big and small things.
Thursday, April 9th – College and Career Readiness
Fridays, April 10th and April 17th – Arts
Monday, April 13th – Science
Tuesday, April 14th – Computer Science
Wednesday, April 15th – Health and Wellness
Thursday, April 16th – World Languages
The majority of the REC sites will remain open from April 9-17, and we will communicate with families who may need to be temporarily reassigned to a REC during that time.
Chancellor Betty Rosa indicated this week that the Regents exams scheduled for June are cancelled. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) shared more detailed information and guidance on Tuesday, April 7 which can be found here.
The DOE has issued more detailed guidance on implications for our schools and students, particularly for those approaching graduation which schools should have sent to their students this week.
Our Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs) provide care for the children of our first responders, transit workers, healthcare workers, and other essential employees (i.e. DOHMH, DEP, NYCHA, Parks, Probation, Grocery, Pharmacies). We encourage families to apply to enroll their child in a REC by going to our website. We will be keeping a majority of these site open during Spring Remote Learning.
As of Monday, April 6th, free meals have been available for students and adults. Any New Yorker who wants one can get three free meals a day at more than 400 Meal Hubs throughout the city. Meals can be picked up between 7:30 –11:30 am (for children and caregivers) and 11:30 – 1:30 pm (for adults). No registration or documentation necessary. For more information, check the DOE’s website here.
Families of students with IEPs were presented with a Special Education Remote Learning Plan, developed by the student’s special education teacher and other school-based staff with knowledge of the student. Schools are working with families to ensure that devices are provided to families of students recommended for Assistive Technology, and will contact families to make those arrangements.
IEP meetings will be conducted over the phone, and parents can make a referral by emailing the principal or specialeducation, or by calling 311. Assessments may be conducted remotely.
Related services will be provided via teletherapy, or video-conferencing where clinically appropriate. Providers and schools will contact families to discuss the service plan for each student. Providers will also give families information about activities that can be done at home to reinforce the related services work.
The Division of Multilingual Learners is developing guidance for schools on how to enhance instruction of our ELLs and MLLs in different settings, including bilingual classrooms, integrated ENL, and standalone ENL, to a remote learning environment.
Every school is creating and submitting a remote learning plan as an addendum to their Language Allocation Policy to ensure that English language learners and former English language learners receive targeted instruction in English with the appropriate amount of supports in their home language. These services will be provided by and in collaboration with an appropriately certified teacher.
Planning is underway to ensure that MLLs/ELLs without devices receive translated print resources and home language libraries/texts to support their learning at Regional Enrichment Centers (REC) and at home .
Last year, DOE announced our partnership with National University System’s Sanford Harmony program to provide all elementary schools with access to a social-emotional curriculum. During remote learning, Sanford Harmony is offering families access to Harmony at Home, an online toolkit that provides a variety of lessons, activities, and resources to help caregivers navigate the social and emotional needs of children during this difficult time.
Families also have access to confidential mental health information through NYC Well’s wellness hotline. NYC Well is staffed by trained social workers 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year, and interpretation services are offered for 200+ languages. To access the services, families, can text "WELL" to 65173, call 1-888-NYC-WELL (692-9355).
Family Welcome Centers and P311
DOE is committed to keeping regular communication channels in place for families to the fullest extent possible, while ensuring we are keeping our staff safe. To that end, Family Welcome Center (FWC) buildings have been temporarily closed and staff members are working remotely to support families. FWC staff are available by email, contact information by borough below, and are prepared to assist with enrollment and placement of new admissions, questions around admissions, information about offers, and waitlists. There may be higher than usual volume but we are aiming to respond to all requests within 48 hours.
Our employees at P311, the DOE’s Parent Support Line, are beginning to prepare for remote work beginning next week and will use a remote call management/routing software to avoid disruption in services for P311 callers. Parents can call 311 and say “Schools” to be routed to someone who can assist you.
Families can receive direct support from a FWC staff member by e-mailing your questions to:
· Bronx: bronxfwc
· Brooklyn: brooklynfwc
· Manhattan: manhattanfwc
· Queens: queensfwc
· Staten Island: statenislandfwc
Students will not be penalized for absences, and we have removed attendance as a factor for admissions. Schools will be recording attendance (as required by law), and principals are working with teachers to determine the best way to capture attendance in a fair and meaningful way.
Governor Cuomo signed an executive order this week that has postponed Public Hearings until June. As you know, FACE is working with our colleagues in legal and information technology to identify the best online platforms to support council and parent meetings, since security issues were identified with ZOOM by the NYS Attorney General as well as the FBI. As we work through these solutions, we will keep you updated.
Extension of Remote Learning to April 29th and more
Currently, New York City’s schools are closed until April 29th, 2020.
We hope that you all have as restful a weekend as possible. Whatever holidays you celebrate (or don’t) we hope that you are able to find comfort and love during these days.
Adrienne Austin, Esq.
Acting Deputy Chancellor
Division of Community Empowerment, Partnerships, and Communications