Hey pre-k students (and parents)! The first full week of school is over! How did it go?
Some of these after-school programs look so fun, I wish that I could attend! Check them out at nyc.gov/afterschool
Every September 11th I think back to that unspeakable tragedy and remember how New Yorkers banded together and stood as one.
It’s moving day for FLONYC! Today, this blog is leaving the days of “dot com” behind and moving on to the newest and coolest destination on the web: “dot nyc” — New York City’s very own top level domain name. And I’m thrilled to be a part of its historic launch.
In case you missed the backstory here, the .nyc domain is part of the creation of a new class of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that will greatly expand the web’s domain name system. With the historic launch of .nyc, the City of New York has become one of the first cities in the world with a top-level domain, creating a unique opportunity for local businesses, organizations and residents to brand themselves online and to showcase their affiliation with New York City.
All New Yorkers can apply for their very own .nyc here: ownit.nyc
So what does this mean for FLONYC? The address may have changed but the content and purpose of my home on the web remains the same: to help tell the stories too often untold in our city by documenting and sharing my work as First Lady of New York City.
Update your browser bookmarks and come back to FLO.NYC often!
New York Fashion Week isn’t just about red carpets and runways; it’s about celebrating everyone who makes an adventure out of getting dressed.
To see all these eager children learn and explore makes me so excited for their future! #BacktoSchoolNYC
Tomorrow, Bill and I will send Dante off for the first day of his last year of high school. It’s sure to be a bittersweet moment – this time next year, our not-so-little boy will be starting college. But I won’t be sad for long, because tomorrow also marks a huge victory for 53,000 four-year-olds who are experiencing their first first day of school at a high-quality pre-K program. It’s hard to overstate the importance of New York City’s historic expansion of pre-K. Study after study shows that kids who participate in pre-K do better in school, make smarter social choices, and get better jobs. New York City is now a national leader on early childhood education, and I know we’re going to set a great example. Please join me in wishing the Class of 2028 a fun and productive first day of school.
Tomorrow is a big day for our family. Our son, Dante, is starting his senior year of high school.
We couldn’t be more excited, and we are not the only family celebrating an educational milestone.
Throughout the city, 53,000 4-year-olds are walking into classrooms for the very first time — the culmination of a movement that has engaged New Yorkers from every corner of the city.
What is the final first day of school for Bill, Dante and me is just the beginning of first days for thousands of families across the city.
It has been 13 years since Dante started pre-K, but I still remember how I felt dropping him off: excited, nervous and more than a little reluctant to let go of my little boy.
But I knew pre-K would be a great experience for Dante, and it was. He made friends. He made art and learned new skills. And he started building a foundation of knowledge about letters, numbers and the world around him — a foundation he will build on for the rest of his life. The same was true for Chiara, his older sister.
Dante and Chiara aren’t alone. Study after study shows that kids who participate in pre-K are more likely to excel in school, stay out of trouble and land good jobs. Pre-K is widely recognized as essential to increasing educational achievement.
Unfortunately, far too many children have missed out on pre-K because it was simply too expensive. It was certainly a financial stretch for Bill and me. For families struggling to cover the basics, paying for pre-K simply isn’t an option.
That’s why tomorrow’s launch of universal pre-K in New York City is such a game-changer. By next September, every 4-year-old will have access to free, high-quality, full-day pre-K programs located in their community.
What does “high-quality” mean? It means classes that are taught by qualified instructors — in conjunction with CUNY and Bank Street College, we’ve provided training to more than 4,000 teachers and assistant teachers.
It also means a curriculum focused on teaching the routines, behaviors and basic skills that lead to lifelong academic success. On any given day, students might engage in building, painting, learning to count or planting a seed and learning how it will grow.
Finally, parents who couldn’t previously afford pre-K won’t have to worry about their children falling behind before they’ve reached the starting line.
And finally, our city can take pride in knowing we are a national model when it comes to early childhood education. This is a turning point, one that is drawing nationwide attention. New Yorkers are sending a message that we are serious about education — serious about doing right by our children. And when we succeed, it will inspire more Americans to follow our lead and invest in pre-K for all children.
So many people have helped make pre-K for all a reality — clergy members, teachers, business leaders, union members and parents. The start of pre-K in New York City is a vindication of their hard work and the power of grass-roots organizing.
As I contemplate how far we’ve come, both as a family and a city, I am reminded of a poem by the wonderful Shel Silverstein, whose work is beloved by young and old alike:
Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT’S
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me —
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.
Today, with the launch of universal pre-K, we are striking a blow against “the NEVER HAVES” and expanding the realm of possibility for the next generation of New Yorkers.
This op-ed first appeared in the New York Daily News on Tuesday, September 3, 2014.
Bill and I didn’t just raise our children in New York – we raised our children with New York. Chiara and Dante are city kids through and through, and many of the traits that make them wonderful young adults can be traced back to their fellow New Yorkers – their teachers, coaches, neighbors and friends.
Dante and Chiara have both made an effort to give back to the city that has given them so much. They have volunteered at food kitchens, served holiday dinners to hungry New Yorkers, and distributed toys to children. And this week, both of them are beginning month-long, unpaid internships with the City of New York.
Chiara will be working with the Office to Combat Domestic Violence. She is passionate about working directly with people and this is a great chance for her to get involved with an important issue at the grassroots level. Her duties will focus on the Healthy Relationship Training Academy and working with the Outreach Team to reach women in need. Chiara is excited to begin helping others, especially young women, reclaim their lives. And I’m excited that she’ll be working with Commissioner Rose Pierre-Louis, who has been a vocal advocate for survivors of domestic violence for more than 25 years.
Dante will be interning for Dominic Williams in the First Deputy Mayor’s Office, where he will help out with various research projects, compile information, and organize files – typical intern stuff. Dom and Dante share a love for philosophy, politics and debate, and I know Dante will make a great addition to the team.
Both internships are fantastic opportunities for Chiara and Dante to give back and grow through service.
Bill and I are looking forward to a month of spirited conversations about what we can do as a family to help create an even better New York.
Bill, Chiara, Dante and I are about to do something we’ve hoped to do for years: return to Italy.
Bill and I have always wanted Chiara and Dante to know where they come from. By traveling to the homelands of our family, we’ve helped them understand why both their middle names are Quashie (from their ancestors in West Africa), and why both their first names are Italian (from their father’s southern Italian roots). We loved bringing Chiara and Dante to visit these places, where they could personally experience their rich, complex and beautifully diverse heritage.
In 2010, Bill was excited—to say the least—to take us to the small Italian town of Sant’Agata del Goti, where his maternal grandfather grew up. Since then, so much has changed—for our family, for the town of Sant’Agata, and in our relationship with Italy. Now, the time has come to go back and visit once again.
Over the course of the campaign, our family received lots of encouragement from Italy. Without pause, letters and emails of support flowed to us from across the waters. On election night, we watched in awe as the town of Sant’Agata live-streamed Bill’s victory in a small movie theater. We saw Italians—people who had never even met us—erupt in cheers when Bill won the final vote. The day after the election, we received photos of children, celebrating in piazzas in Sant’Agata, as well as in Grassano, where Bill’s maternal grandmother was raised. And on inauguration morning, we celebrated Bill’s swearing in surrounded by our friends and family members—many of whom had travelled all the way from Italy to enjoy that special moment with us.
Returning to Italy this summer will be a homecoming for our family. It will be a moment to humbly express our gratitude for the family members and local residents who supported us and cheered us on over those long months. And, as our first family trip together since we went to Niagara Falls in 2012, it will be a moment to enjoy some much-needed time with Chiara and Dante.
When I pulled out our passports this morning, I couldn’t help but also glance through some old pictures from our 2010 visit—and some of the photos our friends sent us from Bill’s election night in Italy!
The members of our Board of Advisors represent New Yorkers from all five boroughs, a range of neighborhoods, and from a diverse slate of industries. They share an eagerness to help leverage private resources in support of the administration’s work to build one city, where everyone rises together. Read more: on.nyc.gov/1qc4qRP