The Talented and Gifted School for Young Scholars (TAG) is one of New York City’s five public citywide gifted and talented (G&T) schools. Founded in 1989, TAG is located in the vibrant neighborhood of East Harlem and serves grades K-8.
TAG has the most diverse student body of the five citywide G&T schools. Our students are exceptional, with incoming kindergartners scoring in the 99th percentile on a national test used to determine admissions to gifted programs in NYC. In general, TAG students work at least one year above their grade level. TAG consistently ranks as one of the top performing schools in NYC and received an overall grade of “A” in its most recent progress report. TAG was also the recipient of the Blackboard Award for Outstanding Elementary and Middle School in 2013. Mayor Bloomberg recognized TAG as one of the top 22 schools in NY State in 2013.
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From the Office of Family and Community Empowerment (FACE):
Thank you for your continued partnership. I hope you find time to rest and relax this summer. This week, DOE issued guidance to schools on blended learning and offered a series of program models that schools will use in the fall. This framework will support the intensive planning efforts underway in our schools across the City, as we continue the challenging work of preparing for next school year. Below are key highlights from this week that we hope you share with your communities.
Successful 2020 Parent Member for PEP Election
We are pleased to announce that Thomas Sheppard will serve as the first CEC-elected member of the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP)!
Tom served as the Title 1 Parent Representative at PS 41 in the Bronx from 2014-2019. He has been on PS 41’s SLT since 2015, and served as PTA President for the 2019-20 term. Tom was on the District’s Equity Team and was the North Bronx Area Representative on the ACS Citywide Head Start team during 2015-16. Most recently, has was a member of Community Education Council 11.
The CEC-elected parent member of the PEP is a new position, created last year in connection with the legislative changes around Mayoral accountability. The change came about as a direct result of the Education Council Consortium lobbying for legislation expanding parent participation on the PEP.
We thank the members of the Nominating Committee for their hard work and partnership in ensuring a fair process for this first-ever election. We also thank every parent who submitted an application; all were exceptional leaders and staunch advocates for students, families and communities. And we congratulate the other finalists, Sanayi Beckles-Canton and Sharmilee Ramudit, for a well-run race.
Family and Student Information Sessions
Throughout the summer we will host a series of Family & Student Information Sessions to answer any questions or concerns that families may have. The first of these will be held on July 16, 2020, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. Spanish and Mandarin interpretation will be available.
You can join this event by registering at the Return to School 2020 Webpage. Translated flyers will also be available for download there.
Fall Re-opening Announcements
This week, the Chancellor and Mayor announced the new split schedule program models that schools will choose from for the fall. The most up-to-date information is available in the School Building Reopening Plan. Below are the most important takeaways at this moment including Overall Guidance, Developing Student Schedules, New Health and Safety Protocols, Equitable Education, and Keeping Parents and Families Informed. This guidance may change as city, state, and federal health guidance continues to evolve.
Developing Student Schedules
It is clear that given the necessary health and safety requirements, it will not be feasible to have 100% of students present in any school building at the same time on any given day.
New Health and Safety Protocols
We are focused on delivering a high-quality, trauma-informed, purposeful education for every student this fall. We know that many of our families experienced trauma and loss related to COVID-19, and that the last few months have been difficult for all. As we return to school buildings, it is important to make space for these experiences, and to recognize that our “new normal” is not what any of us are used to.
As we finalize plans for a school year like no other in our history, we know how important it is that our students, families, and staff have the information they need to prepare. For each piece of information we are providing, more questions can emerge. Please visit the Return to School 2020 webpage on a regular basis for the latest updates at schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020.
Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)
We are so excited to host SYEP at our Watch Party Wednesday. Please join us on Wednesday, July 15th from 1pm – 2pm, to hear the latest information about how students can apply for summer jobs. This is your opportunity to add this workshop to your summer family empowerment recipe.
The Virtual United Activities Unlimited Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) helps youth ages 14-21 and 22-24 by providing programming throughout New York City, offering opportunities to learn new skills, explore potential careers and earn money this summer. United Activities Unlimited are available via phone or web to help young adults find jobs and prepare them for the workforce. Log on this upcoming Wednesday, July 15th at 1pm and learn about the available resources for your families/communities that include:
Thank you all for your unwavering dedication to our families! We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. Have a good weekend.
From the Office of Family and Community Empowerment (FACE):
It’s hard to believe that it is already July. We know that the start of school in 2020-21 will be different, and have been working to plan for a school reopening that will welcome our students and staff in the safest way possible, while also ensuring that learning happens immediately. Today, our Chancellor met with principals across the city to update them on fall re-opening planning, and shared this presentation. Thanks to all of you for giving your feedback and perspective about how we can best approach this challenge together.
Fall 2020 Return to School Survey Results
The results of the Fall 2020 Return to School Survey Results can be found here. We received responses from 301,138 families and 117,700 students from across the city. Thank you to everyone who completed this survey to help inform this important planning process. Among our preliminary findings were:
Health and Safety Results
We are developing a system for staff to apply for medical accommodations that would allow them to work from home due to COVID, and will honor student medical accommodations as well.
More than 90% of respondents identified the importance of having cleaning supplies such as hand sanitizer available
Preferred Schedules Results
For families that want to have an all-remote schedule next fall, we will be sending additional information in the coming weeks on how to register. Students will not need a medical reason to register for this option.
While overall results were similar across districts, results vary for each school community, and we will share school-level data with principals next week.
This feedback, along with information from public health experts, will continue to guide our reopening plans. We will continue to:
We also continue to monitor testing and screening guidance, and will be working with principals to determine best practices for entry and exit protocols. Schools will continue to follow health guidance that states the best thing to do is to stay home when sick, and we will partner with NYC Health + Hospitals on contact tracing and follow-up.
NYC Budget Passed
This week, City Council voted to approve New York City’s $88.1 billion budget. Overall, the DOE's budget has been reduced by a net of $275 million. This includes $400 million in new cuts, and $125 million in restorations of previous cuts. Even with the restorations, going back to last July, the net impact of budget reductions over Fiscal Years 2020 and FY 2021 has been over a billion dollars. The Mayor has stated that if there is no federal or state intervention by October, the City will have to consider layoffs. Full school budgets for next year will be released on Wednesday, July 8th.
New cuts include:
Restorations of previous cuts include:
School Safety will be Moving from NYPD to DOE
School Safety Agents will be moving from the NYPD to the DOE. In the next year, the transition will begin with additional DOE-led training in de-escalation, implicit bias, and restorative justice. When the transition is complete, SSAs will be on the DOE payroll. The agents will remain members of their current union.
DOE will be convening a task force to develop recommendations on how to facilitate the transition of NYPD to DOE.
Special Education and Remote Learning
Information about Special Education and Remote Learning can be found on the DOE’s website here.
Supporting Students with Disabilities who are 21 Years or Older
The DOE is planning to deliver an extension of services for students who would typically be aging out of school but are in need of continued education or support services in order to graduate with a diploma or to transition to adult programs and services.
Which students may receive services after aging out?
If you believe your young adult may be in one of these groups but you have not heard from their school yet, please contact their school as soon as possible to discuss. If you continue to have any questions or concerns please email email@example.com.
What if my child has already been accepted to a college or program?
Many students with IEPs may have already been accepted to college or an adult services program. In this case an extension of education or support services is likely not needed. However, if you have any questions or concerns please contact your school, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In-Person Services to Students with IEPs
DOE will be providing in-person services to students with disabilities over the summer. DOE will be providing speech, occupational therapy and physical therapy, as well as transition services, which are consultations for students with disabilities 21 or over aging out of the school system to provide support and guidance for post-secondary education and career. If you have any questions or concerns please email email@example.com.
As announced in the June 26 and June 29 Principals' Digest, schools should have communicated to summer school students, by June 30, with instructions on how to log in to TeachHub and ILearnNYCSchool using their DOE student accounts. Superintendent teams have been provided lists of the students (over 30,000) who have not yet accessed their DOE accounts and will be following up with schools to make sure outreach has been made to those students.
Parent Coordinators, please make sure that you reach out to your families and students to make sure that students who will be attending summer school are able to access the iLearnNYC platform with their DOE accounts.
Please click here to learn more about accessing Summer School 2020. For more details, please review this Summer School Student Account FAQ page on the InfoHub.
Summer Camps and Summer Youth Jobs
Camps and jobs for more than 100,000 city youth could return this summer through a budget agreement set for a vote Tuesday evening, city officials said. More to come.
The summer is an opportunity for Central offices to reflect on our work over the prior school-year, fine-tune our process, and strategically plan for the next school-year. The Office of Family and Community Empowerment (FACE) is looking forward to a robust planning process over the summer, and will invite our parent leaders and colleagues in at critical points to provide us with feedback on how to improve our support. We take pride in our office and work, and will continue to improve the way that we serve our communities, in partnership with our communities.
This will certainly be one of the strangest July 4th holidays that any of us have ever experienced – no parades, large gatherings or hot dog eating contests on Coney Island. Even so, we hope that you can connect with your loved ones, take care of yourselves and rest and recharge.
So much has changed because of this pandemic. So many of our school events had to be canceled, including beloved fundraisers such as our annual Gala and Auction. All indications are that we can expect significant reductions to TAG’s budget. We do not have any clarity on when our Scholars will be able to return to our building or what that will look like. We simply cannot anticipate the upcoming need or the costs. During this time of uncertainty, it is more important than ever for those who can give financially to support our Scholars.
Beginning on June 17 and for one week, your TAG PTA will be hosting our “100 Families, 100 Dollars” Campaign. IPledges made during the campaign will be matched dollar-for-dollar. A generous TAG family has indicated that if parents can raise $10,000 they would be willing to provide a dollar-for dollar match. That means if 100 families donate 100 dollars each, TAG PTA will get not $10,000, but $20,000.
That is our goal: One week. 100 families each donating $100 - - - $20,000.
So many of you have shown your generosity in so many different ways. Contributions come in all forms and we all hope there will once again soon be plenty of opportunities to volunteer your time and talents and show how strong community we continue to be. But, for those families who can donate money, please click here to make your iPledge!
Watch this space for events and resources available to help counter the effects of the novel coronavirus crisis.
Remote Learning & Technology
Applications to Enter NYC Schools
For the Helpers
REC (Regional Enrichment Center i.e. Free Childcare Facilities) courtesy of NYC DOE
In order to successfully fight COVID-19, our first responders, health care providers, transit workers, and other key personnel must be able to come to work. That is why we have created Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs)—places where the children of these front-line workers can be safely cared for while their parents continue to serve the city in this time of need. Staffed by DOE employees and community-based organization partners, the centers will provide children with three hot meals daily, remote learning time with their teachers, activities like art and music, and social and emotional support. Regional Enrichment Centers will be available citywide.
If you are a New York City resident, and you have no other child care option, please complete this survey to begin your enrollment process.
Click for all RECs updated info' from the DOE.
NYC Coalition for Educational Justice Survey
NYC Coalition for Educational Justice (one of NYC largest Parent Led Organization) has created a survey to collect information on what our communities need to survive during this current crisis. If you are a public school parent please take the survey and share it far and wide. The survey is in English & Spanish.
Petition Governor for Groceries
Petition to the Governor asking for low income families to be given money for groceries - Sign the Petition! https://www.change.org/p/andrew-m-cuomo-i-want-low-income-families-to-be-given-money-by-the-government-for-groceries
Launching Parent Volunteers (Parent-To-Parent Support)
Hope all is well with everyone. We recognize our new normal is way more challenging than we'd like and we are all still adjusting. With that being said, there are some parents out there able to offer their personal time to help other parents during this remote learning process. Please start sharing the below with all your parent networks.
A group of public school parent leaders (Shino, NeQuan, Liz, Marco, Jimmie, Sheree, Rasheedah and others) are launching a volunteer networking project.
We are recruiting parents/guardians who are interested in volunteering to help families in need. In particular we are looking for parents/guardians who are multi-lingual and can translate or interpret and/or have technology skills (connecting to internet, online learning platform how-to's, etc.).
If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out this form.
Volunteers will be matched to families requesting assistance based on the skills. How and when the volunteers connect with families requesting help will be decided between the volunteers and the families.
We are in phase 1 of the project. Once we have enough volunteers, we will begin accepting requests from families via a website (in the process of being set up).
This is an entirely grassroots effort. We wanted to set up a system quickly to help one another. That means this is a work in progress!
We need your help in recruiting volunteers. Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please take some time to complete the parent and student survey about returning to school in the fall. It is very important that the DOE hears from our parents on this topic. The deadline to respond is Monday, June 22nd.
Click here for more information and for link to the survey.
Hi Parents, Educators, Caregivers and Community Members,
I wanted to share these resources about Juneteenth to help support you all to introduce and discuss with your children and community members.
This Friday June 19th is a very important day in American History and it's not known to many and is not taught in schools to our children.
I've included a couple of links to provide some support and resources, in hopes of you being able to pull something together for your students, if you’re an educator, and/or for our own children and family at home to learn about and prepare to celebrate this Friday June 19th.
What is Juneteenth:
Books to read about Juneteenth:
New Victory Theatre Videos to celebrate Juneteenth
Here's an article I found on the Zinn Ed Project website:
There's also this from Lee and Low:
TAG PTA Secretary
Letter from Chancellor Carranza On Recent Events and Anti-Racism
Dear DOE Family,
The past few days have been gut-wrenching and heartbreaking as another pandemic, beyond COVID-19, presents itself again on the streets of America. The murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers last week was horrifying to me, as I am sure it was to so many of you. I feel sickened, but not surprised. We have seen this abominable disregard for Black lives so many times before, including multiple times in recent weeks. It is truly agonizing to witness.
The New York City Department of Education condemns police brutality and this brutal loss of life. My heart breaks to know that yet another Black family has lost a son, a father, a sibling. I stand in solidarity with DOE’s Black employees, and with all Black New Yorkers and Americans, who are mourning yet another senseless loss. Pain of course also resonates in the broader DOE community, and I am with all of you as we individually and collectively reckon with this tragic injustice.
The demonstrations happening in our city and in nearly 140 cities across the country are a reflection of this anguish, and the desire for a better world. We are distraught. We are seeking actions that feel of service and rise to this moment. Many of us are also parents talking with our children and families about recent horrific incidents and the systemic racism from which they spring. The pain and struggle of this moment is very real.
For generations of Black Americans, nothing about this pain is new. It’s been in the bodies, minds, and hearts of millions of New Yorkers and Americans for generations—because racist violence has been occurring for that long.
But racism also causes new harm in other ways, every day, because it is systemic—woven deeply into the fabric of our institutions, our economy, and the systems that make up our shared community. That is true in New York City, as progressive and forward-thinking as we are, including in our public school system.
But together we have said, and we will continue to say: no more. We must answer the call to be anti-racist, and work every day to undo these systems. We will continue in our resolve to advance equity now. We will honor the dignity and humanity of every student, family, and educator every day.
The reality is that as proud public servants in service of New York City public school students, we are by definition part of the effort to fight injustice. It is our duty to serve everyone. And it is up to us to act.
We must act in a conscious and culturally responsive way that recognizes that bias of all kinds has left some students and schools with greater need than their peers—and farther away from the level of opportunity they deserve.
And that’s where you come in.
You are the ones making opportunity real for our children.
You are creating the instruction, the tools, the experiences, and the supports that turn equity from a concept into a practice for 1.1 million young people.
You are working to address and reverse the effects of systemic racism and bias by providing an excellent education.
You are advancing tools to implement restorative practices, trainings educators on implicit bias, providing mental health supports to school communities, and more.
And I am here to work shoulder to shoulder with you, championing and charting the path for this work every step of the way. As Chancellor, it is my responsibility to invest in, lead, and support you, and I commit to striving for equity alongside you.
Fewer things could be more important. This work has a lifelong effect on children, and the potential to transform our society in ways that make that society safer, more just, and better for everyone. When, for example, children learn from books featuring protagonists and lessons featuring stories from people of different races, abilities, genders, ethnicities, languages, and more, they learn also to value difference and diversity. When students experiencing anger or resentment are taught healthy ways to communicate, it’s more likely they won’t react out of unfounded fear.
These are real life lessons for our kids and work that benefits all of us. To be clear, systemic racism doesn’t just harm Black, Brown, or Asian families. It harms us all. That is why we must double down on our work for equity and evolution so that student by student and school by school, change comes.
This is what being a public servant means. It means designing instruction so that all students can access and engage in work that challenges and excites them. It means valuing social emotional learning and seeking out resources for the support kids need—knowing that it is different for each child. It means honoring parent voices in every community, and really taking the time to listen. We can forge a path forward together through these difficult times, in a way that continues to dismantle institutional racism and advance equity now.
I went into education because I wanted to be part of this work, and I know many of you did too. Now is the time when we must take care of ourselves, our families, our communities, and renew our commitment to our children. They need us now more than ever.
I am asking you to continue to urge students and colleagues to safely express their experiences and opinions, and share their vision for a better world. We will make sure educators have access to resources to teach episodes from our history and our present, episodes where these same shudders of injustice and outrage, peaceful protest, and also violence and destruction have ripped through our city and society. We are sharing some of these resources below, and we will continue to update and post more in the coming days.
Please take the time you need to care for yourself. Know we are here for you in this moment. It is imperative to commit to this work through self-care and learning. We all have a part to play in building an anti-racist society. I know many of you are also putting personal resources into these efforts—your time, your energy, your heart. I see you and applaud your powerful commitment to this work.
One of your colleagues shared a quote with me from the writer James Baldwin that resonates so powerfully in this moment: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
These are difficult days of reckoning, but we have the opportunity—and a calling—to go farther in facing injustice. We must answer this calling together. It is our shared duty to reimagine an intersectional world and make a conscious, sustained commitment to build an anti-racist education system that serves all children. I commit to working with each of you in this.
I am so proud to be of service alongside you. Thank you for your resilience and leadership, today and always.
The DOE is engaging with parents, school leaders, students, and other stakeholders to collect ideas and perspectives on admissions for fall 2021. All parents and students are invited to join virtual borough-based town hall meetings with Executive Superintendents. Information for each Family Empowerment Listening Series event is listed below: