Letter from Chancellor Banks

Dear Families:

Welcome to the 2022–2023 school year!

As the father of four children, I still remember the excitement of September and my kids’ jitters over what the new school year would bring. Would they like their teachers? Would it be easy to make new friends? Would they do well in their classes? I reassured them that the adults in their school would cherish them as much as I did at home.

Now, as I prepare to experience my first “first day of school” as Chancellor, I am grateful for you and for our educators, who are as excited as I am to welcome your children back. I also appreciate that in sending your children into our classrooms, you are placing great trust in us—trust that we will challenge your children intellectually so they can live out their wildest dreams. Trust that we will keep them safe and help them grow as human beings. Trust that they will graduate with a pathway to a rewarding career and enjoy long-term economic security. Trust that we will teach your children how to be a positive force for change in our world.

I am committed to doing all of this—and more.

My team and I have spent the summer reimagining the student experience so that it better serves your children. Literacy, which is the foundational building block of all learning, will be a major focus this school year. We are transforming how we teach reading by implementing a high-quality, phonics-based literacy program in all elementary schools. We are extending learning beyond the four walls of the classroom, offering students regular visits to local museums, parks, and all the incredible resources our great city has to offer. At the same time, we are improving students’ digital learning experiences.

This year, we are also offering more of the learning opportunities you have requested, enhancing the way we serve all children. This includes an increase in Community Schools, Gifted & Talented programs, bilingual education programs, and programs to improve long-term academic outcomes for students with disabilities. Wellness and its role in student success is another priority you’ll be hearing more about.

I can’t write to families without recognizing you as the lifeblood of our school communities and our true partners in your child’s education. Be on the lookout for improved ways to access the information and support you need to help your children succeed. This will include expanded language access supports for families who speak languages other than English and more opportunities for us to work together.

Thank you for choosing NYC Public Schools. I know that there have been challenges, and I hope
you agree that our schools stand ready to put all children on the path to the bright, bold futures
they deserve. I encourage you to visit schools.nyc.gov/bts2022 to find the most up-to-date
information about the new school year.

As always, I am honored to partner with you to better serve our children. I truly believe that the
best is yet to come. So, let’s get the 2022–2023 school year started!

Soaring high,

David C. Banks

New York City Schools Chancellor

You can download translations of the Chancellor’s Letter here at: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/about-us/messages-for-families

Letter from Chancellor Banks

After six months as your New York City Schools Chancellor, I feel enormous gratitude as we approach the end of the school year. In that short period of time, you helped me begin to realize my vision of empowering our families to be genuine partners in the decisions we make together for our students. Your input is shaping everything we are doing in our schools, and we can all see the difference!

Think back to when I first started on January 3, at the height of the Omicron variant surge, when our attendance rate was only 65 percent. We implemented a variety of measures to improve safety called Stay Safe, Stay Open. That included increased testing and offering highly successful vaccinations on-site for our students.

By the end of January and continuing since then, our attendance returned to nearly 90 percent. After more than two years of upheaval and trauma caused by the pandemic, our families, students, and staff deserve so much credit for persevering and enabling us to end this school year on such a high note!

All of the initiatives that we announced in recent months are the result of input from our families and will be developed in partnership with them. Those include our improved literacy instruction and dyslexia interventions, violence interruption programming to improve safety, expanded access to gifted and talented programs, and a variety of new efforts to enable our high school students to gain skills valued in the workforce.

We are relying on our families because I have learned throughout my lifelong career as a New York City educator that the best ideas and most successful initiatives arise from conversations with families. You know the needs of your children and the strengths and weaknesses of your schools better than anyone. I have been preaching to everyone throughout our school system that they need to seriously engage with families and respond effectively to their concerns. No more imposing big changes without first seeking meaningful feedback from our families.

For those reasons, we are streamlining our school system and opening up clearer channels of communication with our leaders. That includes empowering our local district superintendents and school principals so that families can more directly and easily communicate with those in charge. In recent weeks, families across the city have had opportunities to meet at town halls with finalists for the 45 New York City public school superintendent positions to ensure that the most qualified and effective individuals fill those vital roles. Thanks to your feedback, I am confident that you will be excited about the leader of your district starting July 1; you can learn more at District Leadership .

I hope you’ll agree that we’re listening, we hear you, and together we’re building a new future for New York City schools! As you enjoy the summer, I hope that you and your children will take advantage of all the amazing cultural and recreational opportunities the city has to offer.

Have a safe and fun summer. The best is yet to come as we advance toward the 2022-23 school year!