What are the 'Regents' and why should I care?

“Regents exams measure student achievement in high school-level courses. In order to graduate from high school, students must pass five Regents exams in the following subject areas: English Language Arts, a math, a science, social studies, and any additional Regents exam or another option approved by the State. Student may also earn an Advanced Regents diploma if they pass certain additional Regents exams in math and science, as well as any NYC Language Other Than English exam.” - from the DoE website

Read More

Why the D15 Diversity Plan should work

You guys know that I am generally very positive about this plan. I feel that it will accelerate the small momentum that has already started in a majority of the up and coming middle schools in the district and I don’t think that it will hurt the academic rigor at the popular programs. For the most part, it will improve their school cultures and your children’s middle school experience. I think that it will likely work because of the sheer volume of quality middle school programs in D15. I have been saying this in every forum I can find, but you don’t have to trust me…

Read More

My view of the District 15 Diversity Plan for Middle School

My view of the District 15 Diversity Plan for Middle School

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

In the 11th hour: How do I rank my list?

In the 11th hour: How do I rank my list?

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.

Read More

My head is spinning with all the possible new school locations

My head is spinning with all the possible new school locations

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

a couple things that i like about the high school choice process

a couple things that i like about the high school choice process

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

tale of two wait lists 2017

tale of two wait lists 2017

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

My new year's wish for you

My new year's wish for you

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

fall is the season of misinformation and conspiracies

fall is the season of misinformation and conspiracies

Misinformation:
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.

Read More

NYC PTA Expo

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.

Changes for D15 Middle School Applications

Changes for D15 Middle School Applications

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