Everyone is asking me this. I can't have an opinion because I am not an expert on the tests neither am I in the back rooms of the schools you want to attend at middle school or high school. For several years, I have contacted many principals from popular, high performing district middle schools in the Districts that I cover.Read More
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.
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
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.
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.Read More
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.
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".
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.Read More
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).Read More
I wrote this to a parent of a prospective elementary school student. She didn't ask for this advice, but it is my prerogative to give advice where it isn't welcome. She loved a school that a few of her neighbors don't always like as well.Read More
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
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
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
Dual Language programs provide enriched instruction in two languages (half in English, half in the program’s target language), with the goal of helping students to become bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. Last year, access to these programs was a little random, but the DoE has changed their policy around application to these programs.Read More
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.Read More
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.
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