Education Updates from WJPS


Translate * Traducción * 翻译

Read this newsletter in your browser for translation options.
Lea este boletín en su navegador para conocer las opciones de traducción.
Zài nín de liúlǎn qì zhōng yuèdú cǐ xīnwén tōngxùn yǐ huòqǔ fānyì xuǎnxiàng.

A Message from Chancellor Meisha Porter and Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, Commissioner DOHMH

As the holidays approach, we wish all our families a safe and healthy holiday season. We know that COVID-19 delta and omicron variants may be on your mind and we want to make it clear that the health and safety of our children, families, and school staff is our highest priority. Vaccination is our best tool in maintaining safer schools and defending against COVID-19. If you have a child who is at least 5 years old and not yet vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to get them vaccinated as soon as possible with the Pfizer vaccine (the only vaccine authorized for children age 5-17).

As a reminder, if your child is fully vaccinated, they do not need to quarantine and miss school if exposed to a person with COVID-19. As long as your child is fully vaccinated (meaning that it has been at least 2 weeks since the second COVID-19 vaccine dose) and does not have COVID-19 symptoms, they can attend in-person school after being exposed. Also, students ages 5 and older participating in high-risk extracurricular sports and other high-risk extracurricular activities (such as singing and band) must be vaccinated to participate in those activities during the 2021-22 school year.

In addition, we strongly recommend that all children receive the annual flu vaccine. The flu and COVID-19 are expected to circulate at the same time this season. Getting a flu vaccine reduces the chance of serious illness and hospitalization due to the flu and has been shown to save children’s lives. Getting both vaccines is important, because the flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine does not protect against flu. Your child can receive the flu vaccine at the same time as all other vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Check with your child’s health care provider to schedule a vaccination appointment or you can find vaccine sites for both flu and COVID-19 vaccines at

Once your child is vaccinated against COVID-19, you can upload an image of your child’s vaccination card or NYC Excelsior Pass to the Department of Education’s vaccine portal at using your child’s Department of Education account information. Submitting that information will let us know that your child does not have to quarantine if they become a close contact to a person with COVID-19.

You can find more information about the vaccine and other health and safety practices in our schools at

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines, including vaccine sites, visit

We wish you and your family a very happy and safe holiday season.

Vaccine Boosters for Ages 18 and Up

COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are now available for people 18 and older who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago. Book yours here:

These shots boost your immunity from an initial vaccination series. Your booster shot does not need to be the same vaccine brand as your first two doses; you can choose to receive any of the three authorized or approved vaccines. For more information on COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots, visit

If you have not already been vaccinated against COVID-19, we urge you to do so as soon as possible. It is the best thing you can do to keep yourself, your loved ones and your community safe. In addition, COVID-19 vaccines are available for children ages 5 to 17. If you have additional questions about youth vaccinations, please review the following FAQ.

The safe and life saving vaccines are free and accessible. You may visit any of the available walk-up sites, book an appointment at, or call 877-VAX4NYC (877-829-4692). To sign-up for the in-home vaccination services, please complete this form.


Dr. Easterling, First Deputy Commissioner and Chief Equity Officer at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene joined NYCDOE Senior Deputy Chancellor Marisol Rosales for a discussion on COVID-19 vaccination. Frequently asked questions from parents provide the basis for this discussion.

Click to view on Parent University or on the DOE’s website under “Health and Wellness” (scroll down to view)

Vaccine Details for Children Ages 5 -11

People of all ages can get COVID-19. While COVID-19 is more dangerous for adults, children are still vulnerable. With more contagious variants of the virus, more young people are getting COVID-19 and being hospitalized. Some people also have long-lasting health problems after having COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing, muscle and joint pain, headaches and tiredness.

Getting children vaccinated also helps protect others, such as grandparents and relatives who have a medical condition that increases their risk for severe COVID-19. It even helps people in your community, since being vaccinated helps stop the spread of the virus.

The Pfizer vaccine is now approved and available for children 5-11 years old in NYC

  • Children aged 5-17 must get Pfizer. It is the only FDA/CDC vaccine approved for children.

  • The Pfizer vaccine is 2 doses, given 21 days apart, to be fully vaccinated

  • The vaccine went through rigorous research, trials, and evaluation and is safe, free, and easily accessible in NYC.

  • Everyone aged 5+ should get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible

  • Even if a child (or their parent) had COVID-19, they should still get the vaccine because it helps protect them against infection, severe illness, or death from COVID-19.

  • For more information about vaccines and children, families can go to and see this FAQ.

  • Parents or guardians can call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319) with questions about the vaccine

  • People should also talk to their health care provider with concerns or questions specific to their own medical situation.

Vaccine Access:

  • Find a vaccine site near you at or by calling 877-VAX4-NYC

    • You can search “Pfizer 5-11” under vaccine type for a site that administers to this age group

  • City-run vaccine sites will offer vaccines for children aged 5+ starting November 3, and there will be temporary sites in over 1,000 schools starting on Monday, November 8, 2021. Sites at schools can be found on the DOE website.

    • For City-run sites, including H+H hospitals, appointments and walk-ins will be honored.

  • The City is working to ensure that health care providers, including pediatricians and pharmacies, across the City have access to vaccine supply for children. These providers will likely start coming online over the course of this week, check with your doctor, local pharmacy or


  • Children must have a parent or guardian's consent to get the vaccine. Children 5-15 y/o must be accompanied by an adult when they receive the vaccine, and if the child is accompanied by an adult who is not the parent or guardian, written consent or verbal consent by phone from the parent or guardian must be obtained at the time of vaccination.

    • For specific questions about school vaccinations, please discuss with your child's school


  • The $100 individual incentive is available to children who get vaccinated. Children may use a parent's email address to redeem their visa gift card.

  • Organizations participating in the $100 Vaccine Referral Bonus program (including PAs/PTAs) are also able to get the $100 incentive per child they refer to get vaccinated. See more information at


  • YouTube: Videos from NYC Health in ten languages

  • Parent University: Live and pre-recorded classes on Covid-19 Vaccines. The courses are taught by experts from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and include updates about COVID-19 vaccines, as well as live question-and-answer sessions.

NYCDOE website: Health and Safety in Our Schools

Middle and High School Admissions Updates


  • The middle school application will open the week of January 10, 2022, and the deadline to apply will be the week of February 28.

  • This week, middle school welcome letters were released! This personalized letter includes information on how to access your account. When you're logged in to your account, you can use MySchools to explore your child's middle school program options and save favorite programs. When the application opens, you will also use MySchools to apply.

    • All current fifth grade public school families will receive their child’s welcome letter in the mail. You can also get a copy from your current school counselor.

    • Private and parochial school families can request your child’s welcome letter from a Family Welcome Center (

  • The DOE will continue to pause screening (using students’ academic records in admissions) for students entering middle school in fall 2022. For middle school programs with more applicants than seats, offers will be made using admissions priorities and random selection.

  • This year, arts-based programs will resume holding auditions.

  • Learn more at


  • The high school application will open the week of January 24, 2022, and close during the week of February 28.

  • In response to feedback from community leaders, families, and schools, borough- and zone-based admissions priorities will remain in place this year. This means that some high school programs will continue to prioritize zoned applicants and/or applicants who live or currently attend middle school in a specific borough. District-based admissions priorities were eliminated last year and will continue to not be used in high school admissions.

  • For high school programs that screen applicants, multiple measures will be used to evaluate students this year. These measures will include submissions of work samples from last year, such as essays or reports, and first-semester grades from this school year.

  • Right now, families of current eighth grade students (and interested ninth grade students) can get ready by creating a account, exploring program options, and saving favorite programs.

Learn more at

By Dec 24: The Future of School Meals Survey

For the last few months, the New York City Department of Education Office of Food and Nutrition Services (OFNS) has been going through a strategic planning process to determine what it should focus on for the next 3-5 years. To get it right, OFNS wants your input about what the future of school meals should look like for NYC schools. Complete this short, anonymous survey by December 24th! Survey Link

During the COVID-19 public health crisis, New York City is taking steps to make sure every New Yorker has access to the food they need. Visit NYC Human Resources Administration website food assistance webpage for assistance.

New York State Regional Meeting on Graduation Measures for NYC School and Community Stakeholders

Early next year, the New York State Board of Regents and State Education Department (NYSED) will create a Blue Ribbon Commission to review the State’s high school graduation measures and reaffirm what it means to obtain a diploma in New York State. The Commission will examine what a State diploma should signify to ensure educational excellence and equity for every student in New York State. The Commission will consider whether adding other measures of learning and achievement could better serve New York’s diverse student population as indicators of what they know and if they are career and college ready.

To help inform the work of the Blue Ribbon Commission, the Board of Regents and NYSED are gathering input from many partners, including parents, students, educators, administrators, school support staff, representatives of higher education, the business community, and the general public. To gather this feedback, virtual regional meetings are being held across the state where attendees will have the opportunity to break into smaller groups to discuss and provide feedback to the Department on five guiding questions:

  1. What do we want students to know and to be able to do before they graduate?

  2. How do we want students to demonstrate such knowledge and skills?

  3. How do you measure learning and achievement (as it pertains to the answers to #2 above) to ensure they are indicators of high school completion?

  4. How can measures of achievement accurately reflect the skills and knowledge of our special populations, such as students with disabilities and English language learners?

  1. What course requirements or examinations will ensure that students are prepared for college and careers or civic engagement?

The Regional Meetings on NYS Graduation Measures were hosted in New York City for Brooklyn and Queens in February and March 2020, but the meetings scheduled for the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island were canceled due to COVID-19. These meetings have now been rescheduled and will be held virtually in December 2021 and January 2022. Provided below is the schedule for the virtual regional meetings, which target stakeholders in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island but are open to all NYC stakeholders. Pre-registration for the virtual regional meetings is required; the flyers (linked below) include instructions and links for participant registration. Translated versions of the flyers, in all DOE-supported languages, are available here. Translation and interpretation services will be available at each meeting.



Meeting Flyer


Wed., January 12, 2022

6:00-8:30 p.m.

Bronx Flyer for NYSED Regional Meeting on NYS Graduation Measures


Wed., January 19, 2022

4:00-6:30 p.m.

Manhattan Flyer for NYSED Regional Meeting on NYS Graduation Measures

Dec 21: ASD Navigating Challenging Behavior at Home

Don’t miss next week’s Beyond Access Series Session!

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Navigating Challenging Behavior at Home

Tuesday, December 21, 2021 from 7:30pm to 8:30pm.

This webinar will be led by Jon Aker, a lead educator with Re-Think. In this session, you will learn the importance of identifying why a challenging behavior might be occurring at home. Also learn about common intervention strategies to promote positive behavior at home.

Use this link to join the event:

This event will be in English with Spanish and Mandarin interpretations available. We look forward to seeing you there!

Dec 21: Job Retention and Self-Advocacy in the Workplace

The Manhattan Transition and College Access Center (TCAC) welcomes families of students with disabilities to a workshop on job retention and self-advocacy in the workplace. This workshop allows families to develop a robust understanding of the importance of job retention and how self-advocacy plays a crucial role in retaining jobs.

Date: Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Time: 5:30pm - 7pm

Click to register on Parent University (or search under “Special Education” category)

Mindfulness Classes on Parent University!

Mindfulness is emerging in public education based on 60 years of teachers, parents, and families discovering and utilizing these strategies of stress management, attentional focus, awareness, acceptance, and self-regulation to:

  • Stay with & realize solutions to personal and public challenges and changes

  • Increase one's capacity to notice and appreciate life in ways that support resilience

  • Support joyful learning and growth

  • Develop critical thinking skills

Join us each Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30pm as we build community and harness the power of self-care and self-healing through the discovery of the conscious breath, meditation, and movement.

View this flyer and click to register on Parent University.(or search under “Health & Wellness” category

The Searchable Museum of African-American History and Culture

The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture has launched a digital platform giving free access to interactive stories, images, and videos from the museum.

Get FAFSA and Financial Aid Help from The New School

It’s college application season and (gulp) time to think about paying for school. Most families seeking money for college need to fill out the government's Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The form can be intimidating or confusing to students and families. We are here to help.

Check out It's a new website developed by the Center for New York City Affairs, and home to our popular book FAFSA: The How-To Guide for High School Students (And the Adults Who Help Them). Our latest edition is free and available online in ten languages with updates & resources in response to Covid-19.

We hope our new website will be particularly useful for first-generation college students who are filling out the FAFSA for the first time. We seek to answer the most common questions of NYC students and families. And we offer additional info for students who may need additional help, including those who are undocumented or homeless.

Written in partnership with NYC college professionals, our website and how-to guide walk families through the entire financial aid process, including:

  • Filling out the FAFSA,

  • Communicating with colleges,

  • Choosing among college financial aid offers.

Please take a look today! And consider spreading the word among friends and colleagues who work with college-going families.

Proposed Chancellor’s Regulation D-210 for Vote by Panel for Educational Policy in December 2021

Chancellor’s Regulation D-210 is a new proposed regulation. It sets forth the New York City Department of Education’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy governing the conduct of the elected and appointed members of the Community and Citywide Education Councils and establishes a procedure for the filing and resolution of complaints of violation of this regulation.

The full text of this regulation can be found on the main page of the website of the Panel for Educational Policy. You can read the Public Notice and D-210 here.

Written comments may be submitted via email to Oral comments may be submitted via phone call to 929-552-7386.

The Panel for Education Policy will meet on December 21, 2021. This meeting will be held via teleconference, and will begin promptly at 6:00 PM. Additional guidance on how to access the meeting will be published prior to the meeting.

Jan 11: YAI Workshop: Self-Direction 101

Tue, January 11, 2022

10am - 12pm EST

Presenters: Caroline Dunn, LMSW, Director and Nicole Riccio, Senior Supervisor, YAI

This workshop will go over the basics of Self Direction in NYS. Information offered in this workshop is relevant only to New York State services. To respect the privacy of our attendees, this workshop will not be recorded.

Learn more and register here!

One hour before the event begins, you will receive an email with instructions on how to register via Zoom. Once you complete the Zoom registration, you will receive the link to join the presentation. We have been informed that some emails coming from Eventbrite are being blocked by security features put in place by IT Departments. If you do not receive the email, please email for assistance.

Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Survey

On the night of Tuesday, January 25th, 2022, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) will conduct its annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Survey, a point-in-time survey undertaken each winter that helps the City estimate the number of unsheltered New Yorkers living on the street on one of the coldest nights of the year. The results gathered through this survey provide the City with valuable information that helps determine how best to allocate resources in support of New Yorkers in need.

Every January, thousands of volunteers across the five boroughs participate in NYC’s annual HOPE survey. Volunteers canvass streets, subway stations, parks, and other public spaces across the city to identify individuals living unsheltered. Volunteers are needed from approximately 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. on the night of January 25th.

Thanks to the efforts of past volunteers along with the ongoing 24/7/365 efforts of DHS outreach workers via our HOME-STAT outreach program, we have helped more than 4,200 New Yorkers come off the streets and into transitional and/or permanent housing since 2016.

Of course, the safety of everyone involved in HOPE is our highest priority and a range of COVID safety policies and procedures will be in place, including:

  • Proof of vaccination is required for all volunteers, and masks will be required at all times.

  • Facilities will be set up to promote social distancing, and masks and other PPE will be provided.

  • Training for HOPE volunteers will also be conducted remotely and volunteers will be dismissed remotely and will not be required to return to their designated HOPE site after canvassing.

Please visit to learn more and to register. Volunteer participation is essential to helping us address the challenge of homelessness and support some of our City’s most vulnerable residents as they get back on their feet.

Children’s Books About Mental Health

From The Child Mind Institute: We’ve contacted publishers all over to call in books that address mental health and learning disorders and other common challenges, like dealing with painful experiences and coping with strong emotions. See the complete list of 44 books here.

We included books for kids up to 12, from picture books to be read with preschoolers to chapter books for independent reading by older children. Our clinicians read them all and picked the best in each category, based on how helpful they found them.

Direct links to books about: Abuse | ADHD | Anxiety | Autism | Bullying | Depression | Dyslexia | Feelings | Grief and Loss | Identity | Neglect | OCD | Self-Esteem | Selective Mutism | Sensory Processing | Tourette’s Syndrome | Trauma

The NY Public Library Best Books of 2021

The New York Public Library is proud to present our Best Books of 2021. Our annual recommendations for kids, teens, and adults, curated by our expert librarians, encompass fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, poetry, kids’ books in Spanish, and much more.

All of these books are in the Library’s catalog and many are available in multiple formats, including e-books, audiobooks, and accessible editions. Happy reading!

Check the website for lists or download them here:

How to Create Your NYCSA Account

It’s important that WJPS can reach you to share crucial information quickly, including alerts about confirmed COVID-19 cases in the school. Please sign up for a NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) so we can contact you via phone, email, or text message. With NYCSA, you can access your child’s grades, test scores, schedules, transportation information, and more—from anywhere, and in all nine standard DOE language translations. In order to see your child’s records, request an Account Creation Code from our Parent Coordinator, Mrs. Reed at

Parents are able to to view and update their emergency contact information and their child’s health information directly in NYCSA. This information will automatically update in the DOE system.

Families can now access the new NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) portal, which consolidates several important parent-facing applications in one place. In addition to seeing information for MyStudent, such as grades, attendance, and transportation, families will also be able to access Parent University and the Bullying Reporting online form.

Parents can reset the passwords to their student’s DOE email accounts through the Manage Account page; please note the change in URL from to Families who currently have a NYCSA account will automatically have access to new features in the portal.

Parent University!

Parent University seeks to educate and empower families as partners, advocates, and lifelong educators in their student's education through free courses, resources, events, and activities.

Parent University serves all families, from early childhood through adulthood. Even if you are not a parent, we encourage you to become involved with Parent University. With an expanding course list Parent University is ready to support you. Register and enroll for a course today!

To register for a course:

  • Visit

  • Sign in with your NYC Schools Account or create a new account

  • Choose a course from the Course Catalog tab

  • Click Enroll

  • Check your email for confirmation!

For more information about Parent University, including flyers in different languages, please visit the Office of Family and Community Empowerment page on the DOE website. To get started, watch this short video tutorial and learn how to create an account. Then, go to .

We hope to see you on Parent University!

Here are some courses:

Mindfulness is emerging in public education based on 60 years of teachers, parents, and families discovering and utilizing these strategies of stress management, attentional focus, awareness, acceptance, and self-regulation to:

  • Stay with & realize solutions to personal and public challenges and changes

  • Increase one's capacity to notice and appreciate life in ways that support resilience

  • Support joyful learning and growth

  • Develop critical thinking skills

Join us each Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30pm as we build community and harness the power of self-care and self-healing through the discovery of the conscious breath, meditation, and movement.

Mindfulness for Parents (Every Tuesday & Thursday at 7:30pm)

New York City’s Public Libraries Announce No More Late Fines, Ever

As of October 5, 2021, everyone is getting a fresh start at the Library: All existing fines and replacement fees in all patron accounts have been cleared and erased. This is the case for all three of New York City’s public libraries: New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library.

Check out your local library for all the great free resources and services it offers!

NYC Students Can Access FREE Digital Books

The Sora app is the quickest and easiest way to read digital books. NYC students grades K-12 can log in using school credentials and instantly access hundreds of ebooks and audiobooks on virtually any device, for FREE.

New York City Department of Education’s ebook and audiobook collection is available 24/7.

Download the FREE Sora app - use set up code NYCSCHOOLS

Students log in with their DOE email account

Download Digital Books or Audio Books

Wide Open Schools Website for Families

Wide Open School, powered by Common Sense, is a NYC DOE-approved website with learning activities for students. Activities are free and available for all subjects for preschool - grade 12.

Families can find support for learning at home, like tips for keeping kids focused and helpful information about using online learning tools. Families can also find an overview of the units their children are studying throughout the year in grades K-8 with high school coming soon.

When to use Wide Open School:

  • To engage with your child about what your child is learning at school.

  • To help parents with conversations at teacher conferences.

  • As a backup plan when the school is having closures or technical difficulties.

  • When looking for free after-school or summer activities.

  • When looking for family tips for learning at home.

To learn more about Wide Open School's tools and resources, visit

RESOURCE: How to help someone who needs mental healthcare

Get started with a new guide from the Mayor's Office of Community Mental Health, produced with NYC Health + Hospitals and the NYC Health Department. The guide walks you through how to get mental health support for anyone, at any level of need - including what to know, where to look, and who to call.

Explore the guide online here.

Mental Health Resources for All New Yorkers

NYC has greatly expanded mental health and substance misuse services, and increased services as the COVID-19 pandemic created additional challenges.

The 24/7 helpline 1-888-NYC-WELL is FREE and provides many different kinds of support and interventions. The website Mental Health for All helps with finding support for recovery from depression; grief support; support through any kind of crisis; and substance use disorder services.

New York City has universal health care (NYC Care) that includes counseling services. No New Yorker, documented or undocumented, needs to go without coverage. Mental health is as important as ever during tough times. NYC will continue to promote universal access to mental healthcare during the COVID-19 recovery and beyond.