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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We were excited to welcome students back into school, whether remotely or in-person, over the last two weeks.
After all we have been through this year, it is wonderful to see students interacting with each other and their teachers, doing science experiments, creating art, discussing literature—in school buildings buzzing with activity.
Safely welcoming our children back to a brick and mortar classroom this fall is a milestone for our school system and our city as a while. We are the only major city in the nation to do this and it couldn’t have happened without our families.
Thank you for your support and faith in our public schools.
Each day we work to earn that faith by protecting the health and safety of all students and staff.
That’s why many things in our school buildings look different this year: from wearing face masks to physical distancing in every classroom to disinfecting every school, every night, and much more.
We are taking all these steps so that our schools remain safe and open and so that families can feel confident sending their children for in-person learning.
Our vision for the fall is safe, strong, and supportive learning for every student. School will be in session 5 days per week – whether our students are in their school buildings or learning remotely at home.
COVID-19 Testing in Schools
Monthly testing of randomly selected staff and students is a vital part of our efforts to prevent COVID-19 transmission in our buildings, because it helps identify positive COVID-19 cases when symptoms are not present. As with other health and safety measures we are requiring to keep our staff and students safe, the success of this testing initiative relies on the partnership and cooperation of staff and students.
DOE has partnered with NYC Health + Hospitals, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the NYC Test & Trace Corps to arrange for testing of NYC DOE students and staff for COVID-19 infection. Testing will be provided by, among others, school nurses, City staff, and our partners: SOMOS, Bio Reference Laboratory, and Fulgent Genetics. Our testing partners will test a randomly selected group of staff and students in schools once per month. The number of children and staff to be tested each month will depend on the size of the school population.
Instead of the “long swab” that goes in the back of the nose, this test is a short, small swab (like a Q-Tip) that goes just in the front of the nose. Later this school year, it is possible that tests will be administered by collecting a small amount of saliva (spit). If a child is selected for testing but is uncomfortable or unable to be tested, the child will not best tested and the school will work with the family to address any concerns so that they can participate in future testing.
How to Complete Daily Health Screenings for Your Child
As always, the health and safety of our students, families, and school staff remain our top priority. We have spent months preparing for the safe reopening of our schools; we know they are like home for so many of us and provide the social-emotional support and learning our children need.
We all have a part to play in keeping our school communities safe. We are asking you to do your part by making sure your children have completed their health screenings (including temperature checks) before they enter school buildings. We encourage you to use our Online Health Screening Tool(Open external link) each day that your child is scheduled to attend in-person learning.
Daily COVID Case Map
On September 14, the Situation Room—a multi-agency partnership between the Department of Education, Department of Health and Mental Health, and the Test & Trace Corps—launched to facilitate a rapid response to positive COVID-19 cases in public schools. Since then, it has operated six days a week from 5:30AM-9:30PM Monday – Friday, and 11:00AM – 9:30PM on Sundays. Staff communicates with school principals, quickly confirming positive cases, taking swift action where necessary, and clearly communicating to the school community.
This week, the Situation Room is launching an online map updating families and the public on which buildings have active confirmed cases of COVID-19 and which require either temporary classroom or full-building closures. This map will be updated once daily with the latest information from the School Reopening Situation Room.
The online map can be accessed here.
In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school community, school leadership works closely with the Situation Room and the Test + Trace Corps to confirm the case, identify close contacts, and provide immediate next steps for the entire school community. Schools will communicate this information and next steps to all families and students when the case is laboratory confirmed.
COVID-19 School-Based Testing Programs
School staff and DOE students in grades 3k through 12 receive priority testing at 22 Health and Hospital (H+H) testing sites. Please see the COVID-19 School-Based Testing Programs page for a list of the 22 priority sites and additional details.
COVID Alert NY Contact Tracing App
New York on Thursday launched a new contact tracing app that alerts users when they’ve come into close contact with someone who tests positive for the coronavirus. The app is called “Covid Alert NY.” It’s free and available through Apple’s App Store and Google Play for both iPhones and Android phones.
State Health Department issues guidance on who is healthy enough to be in school
Today, the State Health Department today issued a nine-page document to help parents, school employees and school officials make decisions regarding who belongs in school when symptoms associated with COVID-19 arise.
The Pre-K to Gr 12 COVID-19 Toolkit includes many decision trees with green and red arrows. One page for employees is labeled: "I have COVID-19 symptoms. When can I go back to work at the school?"
The toolkit states that school officials should call 911 if a student or staff has:
Download the document here
The Fund for Public Schools
The Fund for Public Schools has consistently and rigorously dedicated itself to supporting New York City’s public schools since 1982. The Fund has secured unprecedented investment from foundations, businesses, and individuals, raising more than $532 million for the city’s 1,800 public schools and 1.1 million students.
Julie L. Shapiro, the Chief Executive Offer of the Fund was in her role for just 4 months when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Read about the Fund’s support of New York City’s schools in Julie’s blog here.
RESOURCES AND OPPORTUNITIES
PA/PTA Virtual Election Guidance
Please be reminded that PA/PTA Virtual Election Guidance has been issued. You may find this and other helpful documents in the PA/PTA Resource folder on the DOE website.
Also, don't fret if you missed this week's trainings! The next training will be held on Friday Oct. 9th at 5PM.
Please click this link to join the webinar. The passcode is: 285745
You may also join via telephone (dial either number listed below, based on your current location):
Webinar ID: 868 6762 4172
Take-Out Meals for Remote Learning
Remote Learning Students may pick up a free breakfast and lunch at select locations. The parents/guardians of those students may also pick up the take-out meals. Take-out meals for students and other NYC children will be available on school days from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. No registration, ID, or documentation required.
Find a Take-Out Meal Location Near You
Please visit the community meals page for more information on meals for all New Yorkers.
The NYCDOE is hiring substitute teachers! We are looking for committed, compassionate, positive educators who are ready to make a difference for NYC students.
You will find information about the position and how to apply on the DOE’s website here.
If you have issues with technology for learning at home, visit our support pages: http://on.nyc.gov/3kImrrp. If you still have issues, we are here for you. Fill out the Technical Support for Families form: http://schools.nyc.gov/techsupport and we will get in touch.
We hope that these first few days of school went well for your children, colleagues and loved ones. Please enjoy the weekend!
--The FACE Team
Whether or not you are struggling from the effects of the pandemic, look into P-EBT:
What are P-EBT (Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer) food benefits?
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 authorized the payment of P-EBT food benefits to households with children who would have received free school lunches under the National School Lunch Act, if not for a school closure. These temporary food benefits are to help cover the cost of meals children would otherwise would have received at school.
Can my child get P-EBT?
Every single NYC public school student, ages 2-21, regardless of income or immigration status will receive P-EBT. Benefits will be issued automatically. There is no application or documentation required and it does not affect eligibility for other benefits or public charge status.
Click for answers to many commonly asked questions about the P-EBT food benefits for New York State residents.
Click if you are looking for information on how and when you will receive your benefits or call the P-EBT hotline at 833-452-0096.
Visit the P-EBT Redistribution Network site for information for financially secure families who want to donate their P-EBT.
The Office of Family and Community Empowerment (FACE) has organized a series of free, live-virtual summer field trips. Below are upcoming field trips for this week. Click here to see all August field trips.
This fall, your child’s school will offer a combination of in-person and remote learning. You can choose from two options:
1. 100% Remote Learning: Opt in to have your child learn 100% remotely (all online, from home). To choose this option for your child, fill out and submit the form at the link below. If you are having technical difficulties completing the form, call 311.
2. Combination of In-Person and Remote Learning: Your child can follow their school’s schedule, a mix of in-person days at school and remote learning days from home. Your school will be in touch about its schedule and programming plans in the coming weeks. Please visit the Return to School 2020 pages on the website for more information.
If you chose 100% Remote Learning but want to change your child’s preference back to Blended Learning, complete this form again by August 7.
After August 7, any family who chose 100% Remote Learning will have the option to change back to Blended Learning at a few specific times during the school year.
If no form is submitted for a child, the default for that student will be Blended Learning.
Note that families can choose full-time remote learning at any time.
This form does not apply to charter schools. If your child attends a charter school, please reach out to the school directly to discuss remote learning options.
GET TO STARTED, CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT SURVEY (DUE BY AUG 7th)
From Nicholas Cruz, UFT Director of Community and Parent Engagement (firstname.lastname@example.org):
The UFT Manhattan parents summer workshop series will be online this year. Workshops will explain how to use Zoom to run online meetings, and you'll get a chance to practice using the software. After you register, you'll receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the meeting.
Here are the dates and registration forms in case you'd like to mark your calendar and register now:
At last week's parent webinar, we heard about free summer programs from the Fresh Air Fund and shared with participants some other camps, internships and summer programs that are still accepting applications. Here is that list.
Please take note of the application deadlines, as some of them are coming up quickly!
Jobs and internships
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!