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.

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misunderstanding how the K application works

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.

 

tale of two waitlists: there are too many people at your beloved zoned school

tale of two waitlists: there are too many people at your beloved zoned school

If you wanted your zoned school and there were too many other zoned families for the school to take everyone, and you received a placement at a school other than a school on your app or your zoned school, you may be on the Capped Zoned School wait list. It is a totally different animal from the wait lists that I described previously. Here is how it works.

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kindergarten placement 2016

kindergarten placement 2016

It looks like kindergarten placements may come in next week. Good luck to all.
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.

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the clone wars

the clone wars

What's in a name? Granted NYC School Help is lame. If I had thought another minute, I probably could have come up with something better, but when you search "joyce" or "help! schools" I figured it would be likely to come up in the search. Lately there has been a rash of similarly named schools that have occasionally been scrambling my brain.

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a couple things that are still relevant

I just scrolled down to the bottom of this page and found my own blog archive!!
I started blogging around this time, 8 years ago and boy did (do) I need an editor! The nice thing about blogging is that you can write whatever the hell you damn well please. I was tickled by a couple of pieces (cause I think that I am kinda funny, much to my family's chagrin) and I was interested in my own perspective as a parent of 14 year olds, all those many years ago. Here are three of my favorites, that are still relevant and mildly amusing (even my husband said so!). Don't read the other first blogs. They are awful.
A wistful ode to 'rubber pellet season'
a sweet reminiscence (and creepy reference to cancerous recycled tires)

New Urban Team Sport (NUTS)
how I did the parent teacher conference

Sing is sung
a New York high school institution and my review of the 2008 season. If you want to understand the difference between Murrow and Stuy as institutions - it is all here.

rankings

rankings

I hate numbers.
I just read a article in Patch about Niche's ranking of NYC Private HS. They did very well nationally and you will all be curious to read how each school did on this very narrow and subjective list. First, congratulations to them! (my tone is sincere). My quibble is not public vs. private or even which schools are the best- it is Patch's quote, "NY City is a dry, dry desert for prestigious public schools".

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Brooklyn Prospect Charter expands to Middle School in District 13

Brooklyn Prospect Charter expands to Middle School in District 13

We have been waiting for this for a little while now, but it is official. Brooklyn Prospect Charter School, the IB program that has been a staple in District 15 for years and has recently opened a K-5 program downtown in District 13, has announced that they are going forward with their 6th grade in fall of 2016. This new middle school will be called Brooklyn Prospect Charter School- Clinton Hill Middle. It is modeled after their Windsor Terrace Middle School and will be led by 3 Brooklyn Prospect veterans. As kids from the downtown elementary age up, they will have preference to a seat in the new middle school but since BPCS Downtown Elementary only goes up to 3rd grade in fall of 2016, for a couple years, BPCS Clinton Hill Middle will have seats open with priority to all District 13 families. Attending BPCS Clinton Hill Middle and BPCS Windsor Terrace Middle students will have priority to their IB High School program which has their inaugural 12th grade class this year.

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Update on Prek for fall 2016

Update on Prek for fall 2016

Public prek application season has started. Applications can be submitted online from 1/25 through 3/4 as well as in person or by phone. This is NOT a first come, first served process (it is crazy how that rumor persists). You are placed in early to mid May and then you are automatically placed on a wait list for any school that you ranked higher than the school you are placed in. There may be some new programs added during the late spring and you can apply to them in Round 2 (May2-20).

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Applying for Elementary School: Chapter 3, Rich Man - Poor Man

Applying for Elementary School: Chapter 3, Rich Man - Poor Man

I hear parents talk with great certainty about how you need to find a school with a rich PTA to get arts, staff and other untold benefits. Schools, please tell me that I am wrong, but that is not what I see on many tours. What you need is a savvy and thoughtful Principal who will attract a staff that can multi task, including grant writing to bring the programs that they need. Now this is not a blog meant to excuse gross inequities in the system and the fact that public school educators have to be superior grant writers to bring basic arts and enrichments to their schools is appalling. BUT parents who think that you can only get the 'good stuff' at a 'rich school' can be shockingly misinformed. This is a valentine to the schools serving the kids who are not coming from affluent homes, who have done amazing things.

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Applying for Elementary School: Chapter 2, How Can We Rank If We Don't Know What to Look for?

Applying for Elementary School: Chapter 2, How Can We Rank If We Don't Know What to Look for?

First, watch InsideSchools wonderful 5 min. video a couple of times (and send this amazing 'not for profit' a check for the invaluable work they do before the end of the year - you are going to need them for years to come).

Next, ask yourself this question: If I am attracted to schools that are focused on real learning instead of test prep and opting out of the test is something that I could see myself doing (to protect my child from the stress or as a political act), how much importance do I place on the test scores at any school I am considering? Just asking.

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Applying for Elementary School: Chapter 1, Ranking

Applying for Elementary School: Chapter 1, Ranking

Let the games begin. The application period opened on Dec. 7 and will close on Jan. 15. This is NOT a first come, first served process. You can rank up to 12 programs on your application. You do not need to rank your zoned school, but that DOES NOT improve your chances at one of your other choices AND if you don't rank it and if your zoned school is popular with other people, you run the very slight risk of not being placed there and getting sent somewhere you like less. Don't strategize or monkey around. Be straight with this process and it will work for you.

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What you need to know about UPK in November

What you need to know about UPK in November

Both of my Intro to Public School talks have sold out at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. I have scheduled a new talk there on Feb. 11 (the earliest we could get a date). Many people inquiring about tickets are families curious about prek, so I thought that I would give you the low down so that you could move ahead with confidence and still come to the talk in Feb. to learn (mostly) about what you have ahead of you for kindergarten.

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