District 15 has gone through a long and public process to work toward a plan to bring more balanced diversity to district middle schools. They have engaged parents in the planning process in many ways over years. You can read the plan here.
Why do I care? First, parents come to me very fearful about what the future holds for their students and I want to explain what they may be able to expect. Second, it is personal.Read More
First, apologies for the ALL CAPS and bold face. I am on my last nerve as I know you are. I love you guys. I want you to all get your heart's desire, but you all won't, and sometimes your heart's desire is not what may actually be best in the end. It is your right to complain about the stress and uncertainty (and everything else about the process), but don't do it to me (I can't do anything about it anyway). I am just the lady with the flash light. I am a pragmatist to my bones. When Armageddon comes, I don't see any point in shaking my fist at a vengeful God. I will not waste any time as I look for fresh water.
Hunker down, keep your heads, be kind to each other (including the unpopular schools and the professionals and children there) look for the goodness in your neighbors (and it is out there in EVERY SCHOOL) when the dark days come. Wow, I think I need a couple days off...
Dec. 1 is the deadline for middle and high school applications. This blog could be written for prek and kindergarten families as well because the ranking "strategy" is always the same.
RANK SCHOOLS IN THE ORDER THAT YOU LIKE THEM. YOU ARE NOT DISADVANTAGED BY RANKING A SCHOOL LOWER IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT AS MUCH.
There are lots of reports about locations for new public or charter school programs. While the news may be exciting, for many families they won't be open in time for your child to access them. Many of them are for 300 seat schools. Just so you know, that is a tiny school. Just because it is a new school site, doesn't mean that it will be a new school, or that it will mean rezoning in the neighborhood. There are several schools looking for new locations to expand; International Charter School of NY (D13, looking for room to grow to 5th grade), Success Charter Cobble Hill (D15, looking for room for their middle school), Arts and Letters (their community and their co-located school, PS 20 have preferred that the schools each have their own space), We just can't predict what the space will be used for ahead of time. Remember PS 133 used to be a zoned school in D13 - it is now an unzoned D13 school that serves both D13 and D15. Lots of things can happen.Read More
I was walking home from a consult the other day and I had a small epiphany. Those of you that go through this process may have a hard time agreeing with me. The process isn't for the faint of heart, but I had a moment of clarity when I just felt wildly excited by the variety of opportunity we have in the high schools in the city. For a moment, it felt like a treasure trove of wonders. I wish that I could hold on to that vision and share it - seeing the opportunity and not the fear and the hassle. The high school process is all of that- complicated, frustrating, scary, difficult - and astonishing.Read More
This is from Judith Kafka, Associate Professor, Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College. This information would be wildly interesting and informative to anyone trying to improve the middle school application process. Would you consider participating?Read More
It has been pretty clearly proven that diversity improves the educational experience and outcome for all kids. How to get it is a tricky and possibly never ending conundrum, but a worthy one.Read More
This is what happens at kindergarten placement time:
Expect to be placed in your zoned school (even if you have not ranked it on your application). That is generally what happens every year. A few people who wanted a school other than their zoned school will be lucky and the DoE's mission is to place you in the school that you have ranked high on your application, but the match also takes into consideration, your geographic and sibling priorities and that is the reason that you may not have gotten your heart's desire if it is out of zone.Read More
We didn't know what the hell we were doing when they told us to leave Methodist Hospital with two babies 23 years ago. Winging it, is what we do as parents. For good or ill, they come fully loaded with their own tendencies and talents. If you get lucky, it can sometimes be very hard to screw up and if you get a challenge, it is not always (mostly not) your fault. If you are reading this, you really care about doing a good job. Trying your damnedest is the best job that you can do. You can't engineer perfection and if you try - get ready for disappointment. The thing is, disappointment is a great place to start.Read More
It is becoming common practice during the NYC High School admissions process (and in District 15, also at the middle school level) for schools to widely and openly advise students to rank their school #1 on the application to gain a placement to that school. This is a blind match. The schools never know how a student has ranked them and it is in the student's best interest to rank schools in order of their true preference without being disadvantaged. When the schools advise families to rank them #1, they are giving misleading and frustrating advice that takes the student's power away and advantages the school.
From time to time, the Chancellor's Regulations are adjusted, and they make for pretty interesting reading (at least to me). I am interested mainly in Volume A which addresses student-related issues, from admissions to promotion. Issues covered range from safety, behavior and discipline, flea markets, transportation and naming public schools.Read More
The biggest change that I have found is that NEST+M is no longer a "School Based Application School". It has a code number which means that you will rank it on your application, just like you do if you are applying for Mark Twain or PPAS, etc.Read More
- Remain calm.
- Get good sleep. Wash your hands. Get some sun and air and run around as much as you can.
- Support good habits. Do your homework sooner rather than later. Read all the time. Ask questions. Screen time in moderation.
- Get to school on time. Don't go to school sick.
The NYC PTA Expo is a MUST DO for all PTA's in NYC! This year it takes place on Sat. October 1 at the Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble St. Greenpoint Brooklyn. It is a one day experience to help NYC PA/PTA's achieve their goals. A fun day to learn about resources, gain insights and network with fantastic parents, educators, elected officials and more.
Early Bird tickets are $5! until August 31, 2016 (after that $15, $20 at the door).
So many schools and businesses can benefit from this opportunity to meet each other.
There is one big admissions change for families applying in the fall of 2016 (5th grade families) for middle school in 2017. Your rankings on the application will be "blind". The schools will NOT know how you have ranked them. While this is not the major overhaul to the system that many feel is needed, it does make the process easier in the short term for families. You no longer have to 'strategize' about your first two choices. Rank all schools in the order that you like them with no fear of being 'out of the running' if you place a school 3rd or 4th or lower.Read More
Everyone is asking me this. I can't have an opinion because I am not an expert on the tests neither am I in the back rooms of the schools you want to attend at middle school or high school. For several years, I have contacted many principals from popular, high performing district middle schools in the Districts that I cover.Read More
I have been getting a lot of emails and two questions have come up continually.
1. I put my zoned school first on my application and my friend who is also zoned put it third. We are in an overcapacity school and she got the placement and I didn't. Why did that happen?
This is a great example of how the algorithm works and more generally, why you should list schools in the order that you like them. Putting a school first doesn't give you special priority to that program. Your priority comes from being zoned, not how you ranked the schools. In this scenario: The school was over capacity. All zoned families are equal. There are more families than seats at the zoned school, so the computer randomly ranks families within the zoned priority (essentially a lottery among them that has nothing to do with their application's ranking). The family that ranked the school first was unlucky in the computer's ranking and didn't get a placement. The family that put the school third, didn't get a place at the two schools that they put first and second, but when the computer went to place them at their third choice (their zoned school) they were high in the lottery and got a seat. This is how the algorithm is meant to run.
RANK SCHOOLS IN THE ORDER THAT YOU LIKE THEM. This will be on my grave.
2. I put 7 other schools on my list besides my zoned school. Why wasn't I placed at any of them?
It is good to put a solid number of choices as an alternative, but if those schools are super popular zoned programs that never take anyone from out of zone, they will be very, very unlikely to be able to offer you a seat from out side of zone/within district priority at least in the initial offer (and probably never). if you just listed 4 super popular zoned schools and three super popular un-zoned schools, you just applied to Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Brown and bought 3 Powerball tickets. Miracles can happen and no one expects to be turned away from their zoned school (which is awful!) but having a minor safety in there somewhere (a school that might take you from out of zone sometimes) is never a bad idea.
These families will still be on the wait lists for any school that they ranked higher than the school that they were placed in. If they were placed in a school that they didn't list- they will be wait listed for ALL the schools. Miracles happen and as the lists move, they may get an offer from one of these, or even better, an offer back at their zoned school. Best of luck to everyone.