Commissioner of Education, John King Message to Schools as School Year Begins

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WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By Commissioner John King, the New York State Education Department. September 10, 2013:

commissionerMessage from Commissioner King

Colleagues,

Like you, I am always energized by the start of another school year. As a high school history teacher and middle school principal, I looked forward every year with great anticipation to the first day of classes. As the 2013-14 school year begins, we rededicate ourselves to our enduring mission: working together in our schools, districts, communities, and across the state – to make sure every student is on course to be ready for higher education, for a career, and for civic engagement.

Please click the image below to see a short “Back to School” video message. I hope you’ll take the time to watch and share our common message, perhaps on your district’s website and at “Back to School Night.”

Today, we have more information to help us to better reach the goal of college and career readiness for all students. The Common Core State Standards have enabled us to set a new baseline for what our students need to know and be able to do at each grade level in order to be prepared for success after high school. We know more today than we did last year, and so much more than three years ago when the standards were adopted by the Board of Regents. Now we can use that knowledge to reach our goal and strengthen the academic preparation of our students while being ever conscious of the need to continually develop the citizenship skills of our students as well.

Traveling around the state, visiting classrooms, talking with teachers, administrators and, especially, students, I see the excitement the beginning of the school year brings. I have witnessed countless examples of how we are collectively building on the momentum of the last three years to fully bring the Common Core into the lives of all of our students. Thanks to your dedication and hard work, we now share a common language and a common sense of urgency around the implementation of the Common Core in every classroom across our state.

This is the year that we lean in and continue to strengthen and refine our implementation of the new standards. We’ll focus on how our students are negotiating complex texts and drawing evidence from those texts in support of their analysis and arguments. We’ll concentrate on the challenge of encouraging students to articulate their mathematical reasoning so that we can sort out and address their misconceptions. We’ll develop our own expertise at fostering the kinds of learning environments where students are being asked to read closely, to think, to make meaning, to solve problems, and to conduct research and analysis.

We not only have more information, we also have an expanding and diverse set of resources that can be adopted or adapted, as you see fit, to supplement those resources provided by your district and school. EngageNY.org is growing with additional instructional materials and professional development resources almost every day.

All the best for a wonderful school year,

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