September 13, 2013
With this first edition of I Teach NYC, our newsletter for teachers, I am pleased to welcome you back to school, and to once again affirm our shared belief in what matters most in our work as educators: the success of the students entrusted to our care. I encourage you to use this monthly newsletter as a resource to ensure that you have consistent access to relevant news and opportunities across the DOE.
Over the last two years, I have had the privilege of meeting many teachers who demonstrate that if we challenge our students to succeed, they will rise to the occasion. With our transition to the Common Core standards, we are more uniformly challenging our students to think critically, read deeply, write analytically, and understand more complex mathematical concepts.
As you work to raise the bar for your students, I urge you to see the results of last spring’s State Common Core exams as a new baseline. These tests were more difficult and give us a clearer picture of where our students are on the path to college and career readiness, helping us to plot our course forward and provide students with more targeted support.
As I shared with principals, this continued focus on raising the bar for our students is also evidenced by teacher growth scores for the 2012-2013 school year, released last week, which indicate that New York City’s teachers not only received higher growth scores this year than last, but also demonstrate stronger growth scores than those in the rest of the state. New York City has twice as many highly effective teachers and almost half the number of ineffective teachers as the rest of New York State. Our progress in shifting to the Common Core standards is truly a testament to the skill and dedication you bring to the classroom. As students, teachers, and administrators become more experienced with the Common Core standards, I expect this commitment to be reflected in the discussions we hear in classrooms around the City, and ultimately, in higher scores on the assessments.
I am committed to ensuring that you continue to receive the support you need to help your students achieve at a new level. This year, the DOE is doubling its investment in teacher development, delivering more than 1.5 million books and classroom resources supporting the Common Core for elementary and middle schools, and providing training for thousands of teachers on Common Core-aligned curricula and Advance, our new system of teacher evaluation and development.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment and dedication to our students’ success. I wish you the very best this school year.
Dennis M. Walcott