Letter from Schools Chancellor Carranza

March 2, 2021

Last Friday, I shared that I will be stepping down later this month, passing the privilege and responsibility of being Chancellor to Meisha Porter, a 20-year veteran of the DOE currently serving as Bronx Executive Superintendent. As Executive Superintendent Porter and I work together on the transition, I want to make sure you are aware of some important opportunities coming up over the next few weeks.

First, I’m beyond thrilled that we have finally reopened our middle schools for in-person learning. This is a milestone I have been looking forward to and I was excited to visit middle schools to see our students and teachers hard at work in healthy, safe, and supportive classrooms. As with our elementary grades, all middle schools have 20 percent of students and staff randomly tested on a weekly basis. Just as in our elementary grades, middle school students must also provide consent for COVID-19 testing by their first scheduled in-person learning day. You can do this through your NYC Schools Account at mystudent.nyc.

We are all-hands-on-deck to reopen our high schools as quickly as possible. Our main focus continues to be making sure we have every safety precaution in place, and we will announce a timeline soon.

As we enter the last few months of the school year, I’m pleased to offer several programs and opportunities to further support you and your children. In this Update for Families, you will find important information and resources on:

  • Preparing for Parent Teacher Conferences
  • Applying for Pre-K and 3-K for Fall 2021
  • Participating in “Weekend Wellness” activities for families and communities 

I realize we’re all experiencing pandemic fatigue, but when I see what our students are accomplishing—both in-person and remotely—I am reminded of why we have all worked so hard these past 11 months. My pledge to you is as true today as it was when I began leading the most innovative school system in the nation: that all of us at the Department of Education will continue to deliver the best possible education to all our students, in the safest possible environments. 


Richard A. Carranza
Chancellor, New York City Department of Education

Preparing for Parent Teacher Conferences

Beginning Wednesday, March 3, public schools across the five boroughs will host this year’s second round of Parent Teacher Conferences remotely. Your child’s teacher will work with you to schedule a conference at a mutually convenient time. Your child will be dismissed three hours early on the date of their school’s afternoon conferences.

Parent Teacher Conferences provide families with great opportunities to talk with teachers about what their children are experiencing and learning in school. These short meetings also give families and teachers the chance to discuss how to support student learning outside of the classroom. 

We encourage you to use this time to focus on any challenges or concerns your child might be facing in school as we approach the final months of the school year.

Here is the schedule for the spring conferences:

  • March 3: Elementary and K–8 schools, Evening conferences 
  • March 4: Elementary and K–8 schools, Afternoon conferences 
  • March 10: Middle schools and D75 schools and programs, Evening conferences 
  • March 11: Middle schools and D75 schools and programs, Afternoon conferences
  • March 18: High schools, K–12, and 6–12 schools, Evening conferences
  • March 19: High schools, K–12, and 6–12 schools, Afternoon conferences

Please note: 

  • These dates and times may vary by school and grade level. We recommend reaching out to your child’s teachers or your school’s administration to confirm your school’s conference dates and times this month.

For tips on how to make the most of these meetings, visit Parent Teacher Conferences, or the DOE’s official blog, The Morning Bell.

If you need help with the technology, Parent University offers free courses on how to use such platforms as Microsoft Teams, Translator, and its accessibility tools to participate in Parent Teacher Conferences. There, you can also find Google videos on such topics as how to access Google Meet from a Calendar invite and how to translate captions and the chat in Google Meet. Visit Parent University at parent.schools.nyc for more.

Applying for Pre-K and 3-K for Fall 2021 

Children who attend 3-K and Pre-K for All get a strong start in school and life. They learn to problem-solve, ask questions, and explore the world around them. Now more than ever, 3-K and Pre-K for All programs are here to provide children across the city with a safe, nurturing learning community. 

The Pre-K for All application for the 2021– 2022 school year is now open, and the deadline to apply is April 7, 2021. All New York City families with children born in 2017 can apply. There is a pre-K seat for every four-year-old; submit an application for your best chance at getting an offer to a program you want. Learn more at Pre-K.

The 3-K application for the 2021– 2022 school year is also open, and the deadline to apply is April 30, 2021. All New York City families with children born in 2018 can apply. Learn more at 3K.

  • In fall 2021, 3-K for All programs will be offered in Districts 1, 4, 5, and 6 (Manhattan); 7, 8, 9, and 12 (Bronx); 14, 16, 19, 23, and 32 (Brooklyn); 27 and 29 (Queens); and 31 (Staten Island). Children who live in 3-K districts have priority to attend, but families in any district are welcome to apply (you can find out your school district by calling 311 or visiting Find-a-School).
  • In every district, there are 3-K programs available to families who qualify based on income and needs. These programs, including Head Start, are free or low cost and offer year-round care for up to 10 hours a day.

 You can apply to 3-K or pre-K one of two ways:

  • Online with MySchools.nyc. This option is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in English, Arabic, Bangla, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu.
  • By phone at 718-935-2009. Call us Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Language supports are available by phone in more than 200 languages.

Participating in Weekend Wellness for Families 

The Office of School Wellness Programs is partnering with Hip Hop Public Health (hhph.org) for a free, three-part, monthly Saturday morning event series, Weekend Wellness: Self-Care for Communities and Families. We encourage everyone to join us for these Saturday-morning events from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.:

  • March 20: Mental health and physical activity 
  • April 24: Racism and the connection to health/stress 

For more information and to register for these events, visit conta.cc/3u8lqOU