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A challenge for New York teachers

A new school year has officially begun!

Today is one to celebrate, from the pre-K programs where our youngest learners are making new friends to the high school classrooms where our teenage scholars will learn important, rigorous lessons—and every student in between.

This year and every year, our kids deserve a great education. And the hallmark of a great education is a great team of educators providing the guidance, support and instruction that students need to fulfill their potential.

That's why today, I'm announcing NYCAN's Back-to-School Essay Contest, asking teachers to share their plans for achieving classroom success in 2012-13.

Click here for more information on our Back-to-School Essay Contest, and please help us spread the word by sharing the information with your family, friends, colleagues and local schoolteachers. The application deadline is Oct. 15, 2012.

The winning teacher or instructional team will receive $500 toward their classroom's Amazon wish list. The runner-up will receive $250 toward their classroom wish list, and our honorable mention will receive a day of service from NYCAN.

We look forward to hearing what New York teachers have to say. After all, these are the best practices that will ultimately close our achievement gap.

As we fight for policy change, teachers are working on the front lines of public schools to improve one life at a time. Let's celebrate their ideas and accomplishments.

[Photo by Nalini Prasanna via Flickr