New York State Education Department I State Office of Religious and Independent Schools I Catapult Learning

No Permission Slips Required!

It’s that time of the year that we plan for exciting end-of-year activities for our students. Whether it is sports days, field trips, graduations, read-a-thons, or connecting with pen pals.

Have you considered engaging/taking your students on a virtual field trip? Or using virtual projects as a form of assessment? Thanks to the many museums, zoos, organizations and more who have created interactive resources, there are so many free educational field trips for your students to enjoy, whether learning from home or the classroom! Permission slips are not required!

Resources to spark your thinking are included below.

Diving Into Strategies for Teaching STEM!

Reserve your spot for our STEM workshops!

May 11: Inspiring Curiosity Pre-K & K
May 18: Discovering Connections K–2
May 25: Creativity With Empathy Grs. 3-5
June 1: Creativity With Application Grs. 6-8

PLC for School Leaders:
Preparing for School Year 2021-22

Reserve your spot for our Leadership PLC!

May 5: What’s Different?
May 12: Reframing Learning Loss 
May 19: Assessment and Acceleration 
May 26: Mapping the Future 

Becoming a Digital Expert

STEM and Literacy

Connecting STEM and literacy topics provides opportunities for students to explore high-interest topics alongside informational text. Here are three ways to bring reading, writing, and speaking and listening skills into your stem classroom. First, locate informational text that connects to your STEM goals on a site like Newsela or Smithsonian Tween Tribune. Second, give students a space to publish science lab reports with multimedia content on MS Sway or Google Sites. Third, encourage students to create their own podcast using a tool like Garageband or Soundtrap to interview STEM experts.

By Monica Burns, ClassTechTips   

Thank You for the Feedback

Here’s what participants of our past Leadership Circle shared:

“The best part of the Leadership Circle is the diversity of the group and the reverence people have for one another. We need more of that. It’s a great place to be refreshed.” –  S. Debbie, Principal, Upstate NY

“The Leadership Circle has inspired me to be a better leader and to learn more about leading others, especially during a crisis.” – Leslie P. Principal, NYC

“I recommend the Leadership Circle to a colleague because hearing strategies and experiences form other leaders is encouraging and inspiring. Although we are working in different educational settings, we are all handling similar challenges. Diverse ideas and approaches benefits us all. It has been very helpful.” – Cathy P, School Director, Rockland County

By Mitch Center

As we push into the final few weeks of this most memorable year, we, as leaders, have the opportunity to help our school communities identify collective learnings, and plan for a brighter future with our kids and staff. One way we could help navigate it all is through the language we use.

Consider the following statements:

Rather than harping on the “Learning Loss” occurred as a result of the pandemic, think about how you could move your staff to reframe that conversation as “Unfinished Teaching and Learning.” The first phrase is deficit oriented and seemingly places the emphasis exclusively on kids, while the second includes teachers and provides a bit more hope. Unfinished teaching and learning means teachers need to collaborate more; they need to better understand each other’s work and curriculum in order to best support kids when they see them.

Rather than thinking about “Getting back to normal,” reframe the conversation as “What can we take with us from this past year as we move into our new normal?” In other words, maybe we don’t simply go back to life before the pandemic, but rather incorporate the learning, the new skills and the resiliency we’ve developed into our new normal. What new teaching tools were gained that we want to bring with us? As leaders, our words carry a lot of weight, and how we discuss issues is how those issues will be discussed by staff, students, and families.  I encourage you to think carefully about the language you use as we move forward towards a brighter future for our schools, students and staff.

Teacher Insights

Congratulations to 2021 National Teacher of the Year!

Read about Ms. Juliana Urtubey, 2021 Teacher of Year and elementary special education educator from Nevada, who uses outdoor garden experiences to engage students with hands-on learning and SEL development.

 Juliana Urtubey, an Elementary Special Educator, Is the 2021 National Teacher of the Year (

Teach the person, not the student.

Every student is a person with a story, with fears, with concerns, with challenges, and with preferences.  Connect with the person and the student within them will thrive.

This teacher tip has been submitted by

 Asia Goubourn, Professional Development Specialists, Catapult Learning

37th Annual Rise Conference

The 37th Annual Religious and Independent Schools Educators Conference will we held virtually November 9-10, 2021. Stay tuned for further details in the coming months.


Would you like to submit an article for inclusion or highlights from your school community? Do you have a comment or suggestion?