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

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

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

ATTENTION! all 2011 parents and elmentary schools

Dates are out for kindergarten application and they are EARLY.
Word is that the application period is open on Dec. 7, 2015 and I have heard that the deadline is Jan. 15, 2016. Nothing on the DoE website yet. Spread the word.

Schools have begun listing their tours with the DoE, but many schools were obviously going by last year's Valentines deadline and many tours are being held in Dec. Jan. and even into Feb. - too late to help families make decisions. I am sure that as soon as the schools know the deadline they will adjust their tours accordingly.

I am gathering tour dates from schools in northwest Brooklyn and I will also list as many as I can find in the newsletter.

The mania of school branding

The mania of school branding

I say this all day long, "There is a mania for naming schools things that may or may not have anything to do with what is going on in the school." Whether you are looking at elementary, middle school or high school- look past the name. They are trying to differentiate themselves from other schools, but generally, and particularly at elementary and middle school, they often have the exact same curriculum and enrichments. Sometimes the name is wildly out of date. Sometimes it is aspirational.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.
Read More