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.

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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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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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what happened at the meeting about K437 (mystery sparkle school)

Last night the D15 CEC (Community Education Council) held a meeting at PS 130 in Kensington to begin the process of community education and review. The topic was possible rezoning to relieve overcrowding in the surrounding school zones (154, 130, 131 essentially) and to determine what the heck is going to happen with mystery sparkle school on E.8th between Kermit and Caton.

It was a very crowded with neighbors and parents from Windsor Terrace and Kensington. The CEC invited Carrie Marlin, Director of Planning for Brooklyn Schools, and City Council-person Brad Lander, to speak along with Anita Skop District 15 Superintendent and members of the community. Here's the deal:

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mystery sparkle school planning meeting

I call the beautiful new school building that is going up on E.8th between Kermit and Caton in Kensington "Mystery Sparkle School" because that new construction is always so gorgeous (and they change the numbers). PS 437 is a "working title".

There are some interesting doings down there and a promising proposed plan is surfacing. This may impact (in a good way - relieving overcrowding, providing improved additional facilities and maybe more spots for prek among other interesting benefits...) the PS 130 community among others. 

If you live in Kensington or Windsor Terrace, you definitely have a stake in this decision. There is going to be a meeting with the District 15 Community Education Council this coming Tues. July 15, 2014 at 6:30pm at PS 130, 70 Ocean Parkway. They will be discussing possible zoning changes as well as proposed plans for the Sparkle School.

Here is a flier about the event.

Basis Independent

There is a new STEM based Independent School opening in Brooklyn in fall of 2014. They are a for-profit K-12th grade program that will be housed in new construction in Red Hook on Sigourney Street.

They have an in interesting pedigree. They began as a charter school network in Arizona, Texas and DC and they have grown to become one of the most highly respected High School programs in the country according to US News and World Report. They have 14 charter programs and they are opening 2 new independent schools in Brooklyn and San Jose, Ca. The school is accepting applications for K-10th grade (there may be some "bridge classes" depending on enrollment). Tuition is $23,500. for all students. There may be merit scholarship (no needs based financial aid) opportunities in the second year and beyond.

The HS program is 3 years with a 4th year "Essentially, 12th grade Capstone courses transition students from student-centered learning to independent learning. Capstone students study subjects like Category Theory, Organic Chemistry, Quantum Mechanics, Differential Equations, and Game Theory. These courses delve deeply into advanced material and are roughly equivalent to upper-level college courses. The result is that BASIS students enter college prepared to excel in at least intermediate-level college work." - Basis Charter website

Specific admissions information is coming shortly, including applications. They don't have age cut off set yet. They are happy to talk to families on an individual basis about this. There isn't any open house information yet, but I will list it here and in the newsletter when they are scheduled. Student:teacher ratio, 15:1 (first to fourth grade); 25:1 in middle school and smaller again in high school.

Read their interesting FAQ page for answers to questions like:
Why move from charter to independent?
What is a for-profit independent school?
Arizona to NYC, really?
Why no standardized testing?
Red Hook? - there will be transportation (for an additional fee)

Information Sessions:
Wed. 11/13 at 6:30pm

BUGS: Brooklyn Urban Garden Charter School

Big news for 5th graders! BUGS is opening in District 15 in fall of 2013.

Why are they opening this school?
"BUGS initially grew out of street corner and on-going kitchen table conversations between local parents and educators concerned about the number of middle school options in District 15. Once we began taking seriously the possibility of creating a new school, we assembled our academic team and realized the potential we have to not just add needed middle school seats, but to create a cutting edge, developmentally appropriate educational model for the middle years. The selection of an environmental sustainability focused curriculum allows us to offer educational programming that will not only engage the hearts and minds of students, but is a perfect vehicle for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). We feel strongly that our model will offer this community not just much needed additional middle school seats, but a rich, engaging, rigoruous and meaningful educational experience for our students that can launch them not just to excel in high school, but to seize opportunities for all of their lives.

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PS 118 (formly referred to as 763), the new program at St. Thomas Aquinas

Liz Phillips, PS 321 Principal, Elizabeth Garraway, Proposed 763 PrincipalThank goodness, we can call it something other than "the mystery school" or "formerly know as"! It seems that it is PS 763 for now. Elizabeth Garraway, current AP at PS 321 and proposed principal for the new school attended an Open House at the St. Thomas Aquinas building so that neighborhood families could get a peak at her and at the new building the week before Thanksgiving. It was a tough crowd, but everyone attending was more interested in information than aggravation.

The big take away is that she is ready and enthusiastic to partner with families to make the program the good fit for the neighborhood. Since the school has not been voted on by the PEP and she is not officially principal there is only so much she can propose. Also because she wants this to really be a collaboration between parents and the administration, she needs to have those one on one discussions with families who want to be part of the process. She encouraged families to write her with questions, concerns or ideas

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i was a new school parent

I mentioned that I had some experience in a new school in the last blog and I thought it might be interesting for you to know a little more about that experience, lest you think I am just making all this "positive change" stuff up. I am sending this out as a love letter to the families considering the "new program" in Park Slope, PS 705 and New American Academy in District 17, PS 414 in Williamsburg and the myriad of new charter programs that are popping up in many districts, including BUGS Middle School that I hope will find a home in fall of 2013. My kids attended a local, diverse, strong and established elementary - our new school experience came at middle school. If you think that this doesn't apply to your situation - let me say that it I think it is a lot easier to "pioneer" at elementary when the kids are little and mostly under the influence of their parents.
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Park Slope rezoning update, and more cents from me

I attended the meeting at John Jay last night where the new version of zone lines where announced. As DNA info leaked, the 39 zone changes have been taken off the table. The 107/10 zone lines remained the same. The 321 zone has been cropped at 5th Ave.

The PS 39 parents pledged to remain active to help the new St. Thomas building program ramp up their new PTA. There will be meetings, yet to be scheduled, so that rezoned families can meet Elizabeth Garraway, the proposed new principal, see the building, and get more details about the new program. This will probably be after the vote has occurred.

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Rezoning District 15, CEC meeting report

Close to 200 parents and neighbors crowded the PS 38 auditorium last night to hear proposed zoning changes to schools in Park Slope/District 15. Carrie Marlin, Director of Planning for the DoE, gave the presentation to present the proposed changes. The DoE is putting the presentation on their website later today for review for parents who were not able to attend.

Jim Devor, CEC (Community Education Council) President, explained that these discussions began almost 2 years ago around the collaboration between District 13 and District 15 to build a new and larger building in Gowanus to house PS 133. That building will be habitable in fall of 2013 and will become a “school of choice” for both districts. When the students assigned to the new construction vacate the small St. Thomas Aquinas building at 8th St. and 4th Ave. it will be available to District 15. Over time the conversation shifted to rezoning talks for the center and south slope for District 15 as it became clear that capacity issues at PS 107 and PS 321, two strong an popular programs in Park Slope, had reached a critical point.

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ch-ch-ch-ch-changes in district 15 for fall of 2013

We have been waiting for word on several changes that are expected to land on the neighborhoods (particularly Park Slope) before the new year. It appears that the DoE is flying some trial balloons. Let me stress that nothing is set in stone yet! This should be decided by Jan. of 2013.

  • Here are the players: District 15 schools that are full to bursting (321, 39, 107)
  • District 13 school, PS 133, that is getting a brand new and lovely, large building on 4th Ave. and Butler on the border of Gowanus and Park Slope - is moving back to that new building in the fall of 2013
  • St. Thomas Aquinas School building on 4th Ave. and 8th St. where the students from PS 133 are being housed until their new building is done, will be vacant for a new program in fall of 2013.
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public middle school seats for district 13 and beyond

You may have heard that a couple strong public elementary schools in District 13 have been granted permission to extend their elementary programs through 8th grade. The hope is that many of their enrolled 5th graders will remain in the schools for the new 6th grades, but some will move on to other district programs as well as the city wides or private programs. That leaves some seats available for District 13 families from outside of the elementary school. Applying to these schools is a win/win and gives you an extra choice.

PS 8 is holding two Open Houses:
Thursday 3/22 @ 6:30pm at the school (37 Hicks St)
Saturday 3/24 @ 2:30pm at the school
Their school will housed in the Westinghouse HS Campus in downtown Brooklyn. Admission priority will be given to families who come to one of the two information sessions. The "New Schools Application" is due back at your guidance counselor on Mon. 3/26/12.

The Urban Assembly Unison School (13K351)
This is a DOE program (not a charter) that will be co-located in PS 56. You need to submit the "New Schools Application by Fri. 3/23. This school is a progressive program with strong features of accountability and structure, utilizing learning formats of independence, autonomy and choice with small group instruction. Social/emotional learning will be addressed directly in the curriculum. For more information, contact Jennifer Ostrow, Director of New School Development at

Community Roots Charter School
has a sign up online for a Wed. 3/28 info session
their new program will be housed nearby in PS 287. Applications must be recieved by April 1 to be eligible for the lottery. Fill out an online application here.