rising 8th graders: what about high school?

rising 8th graders: what about high school?

You know that the high school search is going to be taking up most of your fall. What should you do right now to prepare?

Come to my High School Choice: Calm and Clear talk on July 9 at 7pm at Hootenanny Art House. There are tickets still available and if you wait until the fall when I hold the last one (I will be scheduling shortly) you may be a little behind the 8 ball.

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I wasn't there, but I have an opinion

I wasn't there, but I have an opinion

This is classic - she doesn't show up to the Public Forum: “Reimagining the Middle School Admissions Process in District 15”, but she has an opinion about it. I did have a good excuse: the first of two college graduations. I applaud everyone involved! and I will make every effort to attend and support all discussions on this issue. From the reports that I have read, there were many thoughtful and diverse perspectives of the effects of the current process and some options mentioned for possible models. I really like one possible option over the others and I want to tell you why.

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new middle school talk!

Due to popular demand, I have developed a new middle school talk to be given on Thurs. June 25 at 7pm at Hootenanny Art House in the south slope. It is not location specific, so whether you are in D15 or any of the surrounding districts you will take away valuable information about how the process works and how to think about the middle years in general. My goal is to untangle the spaghetti of information and see the glass half full (which it is) instead of being fearful and anxiety ridden, which never ever helped anyone get a middle school placement.

Tickets are $30 and available here.

Brooklyn! lets start a new neighborhood school search culture

Brooklyn! lets start a new neighborhood school search culture

There are a lot of freaked out 11 year olds out there. This middle school 'choice process' is not kind. The kids that got their heart's desire are relieved, but it is hard to be happy when your friends are not. There are some kids who got great placements but it was not the one they wanted or where their friends are going and there are kids who are headed into the unknown (or even worse - the unpopular known) and that is scarey for everyone. I know that you all feel at the mercy of this process and that your children are being tortured by an unfeeling algorithm. You have a case.

I do think that there is a very significant thing that we, as parents, can do.

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2015 prek round up

2015 prek round up

You have until Fri. April 24 to apply for Universal Prek.
You can apply online here or at a Family Welcome Center or by phone 718-935-2067
You can find the Prek Directories here but there are also Updated Directories with many new seats available.
I have listed some notable changes below. This is not a comprehensive guide. You need to scour the lists for yourself.

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ranking - I am only going to say this one more time!!!

ranking - I am only going to say this one more time!!!

This blog was specifically written in response to families asking me about prek and k admissions which have a geographic priority that factors into placement.

Your chances of getting into a school are NOT tied to how you rank them. RANK THE SCHOOLS IN THE ORDER THAT YOU LIKE THEM. You will not be disadvantaged by putting a long shot first or by putting your favored zoned school last.

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huzzah! new ms 839 in district 15

huzzah! new ms 839 in district 15

New school alert. We knew it was coming- the beautiful new building on E. 8th St. between Kermit and Caton is almost done. PS 130 has been rezoned and "split-sited" and will be occupying part of the building. MS 839, a small school (300 students when they are at capacity in 3 years) will be opening in the fall. If you are interested, sign up for email alerts on their website. All District 15 5th graders can apply by asking for a "New School Application form" from your school. That application is separate from your main application. If you receive an offer to MS 839, you will still have your main round middle school offer and you choose between the two. A little more school information here. Can't wait to learn more!

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PS 8's overcrowding

It is not new news that PS 8 is very very crowded and their kindergarten class may be "capped" in fall of 2015. That means that there may not be enough seats available for all in zone families at K. I have found, in other neighborhoods where this has been a problem (look to Park Slope and Kensington for Brooklyn prototypes), that the families who have the best outcomes are the ones who stop shaking their fists in frustration and try to affect change and/or avail themselves of the system which may also provide them with a wide range of school options. The DoE will do what the DoE will do, but they are not against listening and numbers will always get attention. You will feel frustrated through this process and rezoning (which will happen with a new plan or building) is always painful for someone.
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did you ever have a crazy 21 year old dream?

My daughter, Libby, is graduating from Bowdoin College with a coordinate major in Environmental Studies and Sociology. She has a passion for maps, geography and urban planning and she likes a challenge. It is her dream to bike across the US this summer. As her parents, we are so proud of her and scared out of our gourds (trucks, cliffs, bad brakes). But as a former hobos and enthusiastic world travelers we have to put all that aside and support her fantastic adventure.

She has found a wonderful group, Bike the US for MS. She is taking the North tier from Bar Harbor, across New England through the Midwest to Montana and Seattle. She is an experienced treker and has done the NYC to Montreal, Albany to Cape Cod and Pittsburgh to DC trails. Bike the US for MS organizes cross country bike trips that raise awareness for multiple sclerosis, research & volunteer for patients. Many cyclists come to this program for the ride but become passionately involved with the cause. To participate she needs to raise $1 per mile - that is $4295 before the early spring25% of this amount goes to the cost of the trip (support van and trailer, gas for these vehicles, campsite fees, minor bike repairs, team gear, etc.) and public awareness of the program, 50% goes directly to MS research, 15% goes to service projects for MS patients that they will be involved in on the trip, and the final 10% goes for administrative costs.

Since we are in the midst of final (double) college payments and the fundraising is as much of a challenge as the continental divide, we are hoping to assist in her crowd sourcing.

If you can support this amazing cause and dream
Donations (which can be anonymous) can be made online here (please make sure to donate in Libby Szuflita's name)

Libby's Page

Old blogs about the other trips:
Our trip on the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O

Teen Treks


venting about middle school

I have heard too much distress from parents in the wind and now I just have to weigh in. It seems like so many people are unhappy about the fact that there are too few "good middle school options".

I have to ask. Do you mean schools with high test scores?
If you are clinging to the safety of high test scores, then you are empowering the tests and you will be supporting that culture; the stress, the prep, the high stakes and anxiety. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

If it is not high test scores, what makes a good school?

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