D15 rezoning and diversity- listen up

D15 rezoning and diversity- listen up

Those of you who live in the part of Brooklyn Heights located in D15, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook, you need to be aware of this now (zones 261, 29, 38, 58, 32 15 and 676). I don’t want to hear -and I will- about how you were surprised by the rezoning plan in the fall and how fast this went down. It is way more transparent than I have seen with previous rezoning, with much more attempt at public engagement. Engage now! When you drag your feet, it is not their fault. There have been three public meetings so far (since April) and there will be several more, gathering parent feedback as well as informing the neighborhood. If you aren’t participating or staying aware, I don’t want to hear complaining.

Whether you are there or not, one of these things is going to go down. It would be better if you had a say. You may not get what you want, but you may get what you need - Mick Jagger

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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

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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.

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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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rising 8th graders: what about high school?

rising 8th graders: what about high school?

You know that the high school search is going to be taking up most of your fall. What should you do right now to prepare?

Come to my High School Choice: Calm and Clear talk on July 9 at 7pm at Hootenanny Art House. There are tickets still available and if you wait until the fall when I hold the last one (I will be scheduling shortly) you may be a little behind the 8 ball.

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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.
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high school fair report

It was business as usual at Brooklyn Tech today; crowded, noisy and hot hot hot! It was also awesome. Thanks SO much to the wonderful educators, students, school security officers and DoE Enrollment officials (and my husband who is a school search widower)! I know a lot of you are now freaked out and just plain tired, but I feel very optimistic and energized!

Here are some take-aways:

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NEW District 15 prek seats for fall 2014

This from Brad Lander's Office:

My office has just learned that the New York City Department of Education will be offering a new pre-k opportunity for families residing within District 15. Beginning this September, seven additional classes will be offered within leased space at the former Bishop Ford High School located at 500 Nineteenth Street, BK, NY 11215. The program will be supervised by senior Principal Laura Scott from PS 10 whose school was recently named a “Reward” school by the New York State Department of Education.

Space is limited and will be reserved for District 15 families on a first-come, first-served basis lottery basis. Registration will begin at 9 a.m.  on Tuesday, August 26th at PS 10 located at 511 7th Avenue, BK, NY 11215. Admission to this district 15 program does not provide admission priority to PS 10. Families must bring their child with them and two proofs of District 15 residence, 2010 birth certificate, and vaccination card.

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ch-ch-ch-changes for public high school admissions

The one big thing that is changing in the HS admissions procedure for the fall 2014 admissions season is that 2%ers (students who score in the top 2% state wide on the 7th grade ELA test) will no longer be given a guaranteed entry to an Ed Opt program. In the past if you were a 2%er and you listed an Ed Opt program as your number one choice, it was a GUARANTEED entry. Sorry, no longer.

Now there are NO guarantees of any placement in the entire Doe admissions process from prek to high school. Oh well, that's life in the big city.

See page 5 of the current DoE HS Directory

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.

kindergarten connect numbers

We may have lots of numbers later (we hope), but this is what is out there so far from the DoE:

  • 47,725 students (71 percent) received an offer to their first choice
  • 8,601 students (12.8 percent) received an offer to one of their second or third choices
  • 3,670 students (5.5 percent) received an offer to a school not listed among their top three
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