On the last day of school in New York City, a look back at the 15 biggest education stories this year

The 2017-18 school year wraps up today in New York City. But before you head off on vacation, hit the beach, or board the bus to camp, we’ve compiled some of the biggest education stories to recap the year that was.

1. After more than half a century in the New York City education department, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña decided this winter to retire for good, setting off a national search for a replacement.

2. It seemed like that replacement would be Alberto Carvalho, the longtime superintendent of Miami-Dade County schools. But Carvalho stunned New York City this spring by turning down the job — after city officials said he initially accepted it — in an emotional meeting that was broadcast live on television.

3. De Blasio tried again to name a new chancellor. This time, it stuck: In April, Richard Carranza took the helm of the country’s largest school system. It quickly became clear that Carranza — while philosophically aligned with his predecessor in many ways — would chart his own course as schools chief.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza poses for a selfie with the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island Ferry. (Alex Zimmerman)

4. One of the most notable areas of difference has been Carranza’s willingness to push for school integration. Only weeks into his tenure, Carranza made waves when he retweeted a news story that said: “WATCH: Wealthy white Manhattan parents angrily rant against plan to bring more black kids to their schools.”

5. The story contained viral news footage of a parent protesting an integration proposal for middle schools on the Upper West Side and Harlem. That plan was approved this month, and will affect District 3 schools starting next year.

6. But the biggest integration news of the year stemmed from a controversial proposal to overhaul admissions at the city’s elite specialized high schools in a bid to enroll more black and Hispanic students. The proposal has sparked protests from the Asian community, who say their children will be unfairly shut out of the schools.

7. A Bronx student was killed in a school by another student — the first time that’s happened in nearly 25 years. The tragedy has spurred big debates about school safety and discipline.

8. New York City began offering free lunch to all students, regardless of their family income, capping years of lobbying from advocates who said the old policy shamed students who couldn’t afford their meals.

9. More than 100,000 New York City students walked out of class as part of a national movement against gun violence that was spurred by the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Rafael Perez, a student in New York City, walked out during a March protest against gun violence.

10. More Renewal schools were closed, and the controversial school turn-around program was extended beyond its initial three-year deadline. The program’s future remains uncertain and progress has been uneven at best, despite costing more than half a billion dollars.

11. Once a formidable charter school advocacy group, Families for Excellent Schools publicly imploded just days after its leader was accused of inappropriate behavior.

12. Teachers unions notched a big win — and a substantial loss. New York City agreed to offer paid family leave to its 76,000 teachers after an online petition calling for the benefit went viral. But at the state level, teachers unions went home in defeat when the legislature failed to amend a controversial evaluation law that ties state test scores to teachers’ ratings.

13. It wasn’t all gridlock at the state: Education policymakers carved out changes to graduation requirements, breaking open a debate about what it should take to earn a diploma.

14. The state’s Board of Regents also approved new learning standards — dropping the name Common Core — and a new plan to evaluate and intervene in schools.

15.  “Sex in the City” star and longtime education advocate Cynthia Nixon launched a bid for New York governor on a platform that’s heavy on education reform.