NYC DOE Updates & Resources

September 2023 - Letter to Families

Dear New Yorkers,

I have always said that nothing compares to September and the first exhilarating week of classes—when I get to visit schools throughout the five boroughs, meet parents, and welcome students and teachers back.

This year was no exception as I toured the city and felt the buzz of electricity in the air as students met their new classmates, tapped into their curiosity and creativity, and displayed their brilliance and unique abilities.

At P.S. 121 The Throop School in the Bronx, we celebrated the first day of NYC Reads, our groundbreaking initiative to ensure that all students are proficient readers. P.S. 121 is among the schools participating in phase one of this initiative, which features new, evidence-based curricula rooted in the “science of reading.” Instruction is supplemented with phonics—the proven method for teaching children to be confident readers.

My next stop was I.S. 192 The Linden in Queens, where I toured the newly enhanced cafeteria(Open external link). Instead of waiting on long lines, students could quickly grab their meal, leaving more time to spend recharging with friends. I also stopped into the kitchen to greet food service workers, who had prepared a delicious lunch menu, including roasted chicken drumsticks, confetti corn, buttermilk biscuits, and lemon arugula salad.

Another highlight was my visit to P.S. 125 Ralph Bunche in Harlem, where I led a story time for a group of spirited kindergarteners. Literacy truly is the foundation for all learning and is essential to clearing a path to our students’ bold futures. To ensure we set up our students for success, this year we are doubling down on our mission: to offer every child a bright start...and a clear pathway to a bold future. This means a year full of strong academics, enriching sports and arts programs, healthy and delicious school meals, safe, inclusive classrooms, and so much more.

Whether their future includes college, technical training, or an apprenticeship, we will make sure that all students graduate with a plan to achieve long-term economic security—and equipped with the tools, resources, and support they need to unlock their full potential and open every door of opportunity.

You can find important information and updates about academic policies, health and safety protocols, and more at To download a printable Back to School checklist, please visit

September is just the beginning of what I know will be a truly exceptional school year. Thank you for choosing New York City Public Schools. Thank you for your partnership. I’m so excited about all the great things we’ll accomplish together this year!

Soaring high,

David C. Banks