interesting new programs pop up like flowers in the spring

New magnet programs!
Parents are often confused about what "magnet" means in NYC.

Magnet programs are designed to foster racial integration. They receive federal or state funding for special programs (such as art, drama or law) to make the school attractive to children of different races who might not otherwise attend, and they admit children from outside their immediate neighborhood. - from

PS 46 Magnet Schl of Communications and Media Arts, District 13 (Fort Greene) they also have an existing DL Spanish program
PS 54, District 13
(Bed-Stuy) they also an existing have DL Spanish program
PS 307
Magnet Schl for STEM Studies, D 13 (Vinegar Hill) they also have and existing DL Mandarin program

PS 250 Magnet Schl for Communications and Media Arts, D14 (Williamsburg)
PS 257 D14 (Williamsburg)
PS 380 D14 (Williamsburg)
PS 414 Magnet Schl for Global and Ethical Studies, D14 (Williamsburg) they also have an existing DL Spanish program

PS 15 Magnet Schl for the Arts, D15 (Red Hook) they also have an existing DL Spanish program

New Dual Language programs!

Dual-language immersion programs have classes in which half the students are native speakers of English, and half speak another language (Spanish, Chinese or French, for example). Classes are taught in each language on alternative days or weeks, and the children are expected to become fluent in both. [Non English-speakers may also want to consider bilingual or English as a Second Language classes. These are designed to teach children English but do not attempt to help them perfect their native languages. - from

PS 3 in District 13 (Bed-Stuy) DL French and DL Spanish
PS 20 in D13 (Fort Greene) DL French

PS 147 in D14 (East Williamsburg) may have a DL Japanese program (talk to the school for more info)- also interesting school wide theme in "Environmental Engineering"
PS 196 in D14 (East Williamsburg) may have a DL program in 2014 (keep in contact with the school for late breaking info)

PS 124 in D15 (South Slope) DL Spanish
PS 516 Sunset Park Avenues (Sunset Park) new school, with DL Spanish

If I have missed any (I wasn't listing DL programs that are already established), please let me know!
If you are interested in any of these programs and you didn't list them on your Kindergarten Connect app, it couldn't hurt to contact the school (and stay in touch) throughout the spring. If seats are available into the summer and fall, they may be happy to hear from you.


PS 133, School of Choice

Heather Foster-Mann, PrincipalI am sure you have heard by now that PS 133 (temporarily located in the St. Thomas Aquinas building on 4th Ave. and 8th St. for the last 3 years) has become a "school of choice" for both District 13 and 15. It will return to its old site (4th Ave. and Butler) in fall 2013 and move into a brand new much larger building.

There are a few changes. First, the zone for PS 133 has gone away. The few blocks that made up the zone have been absorbed into the neighboring PS 282 zone. We don't know exactly how registration will be handled but it is likely that if there are more people applying than there are seats available that there will be a lottery for the seats. It is a big school to fill and there will be lots of seats available.

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schoolfest in williamsburg and greenpoint

Town Square's Schoolfest, the wonderful annual school "open house" is being held on Sat. September, 17 from noon to 4pm

in the Harry Van Arsdale Campus, 257 N. 6th St. near Driggs Ave. (home to Brooklyn Prep High School, Williamsburg HS for Architecture and Design and Williamsburg Prep).

There will be a wealth of local programs represented. They invite all schools, day care to high school - private and public, in Williamsburg/Greenpoint, to a single venue to promote their schools and programs. 50 schools and organizations are coming!

I will also be there doing seminars sponsored by Schoolfest.
12:00 Prek and Kindergarten Application Process
1pm Middle School Application Process
2pm High School Application Process

I got a call today from a very happy kindergarten parent, whose child is in the dual language French program at PS 110. This program will be recruiting interested families for next year as will the growing dual language Spanish program at PS 84. Come and check out those as well as all the other wonderful neighborhood options.

PS 110 in Greenpoint

PS 110 in Greenpoint is a great school.

  • an experienced and gifted principal who has been a teacher in the school for decades. She fosters collaboration with her talented staff and is very receptive to parents.
  • a beautiful new yard and computer lab
  • an energetic and creative science teacher who loves her subject and translates it to the kids. The first day they play with the materials to get familiar with them and guess what they may be about. The next day they start to work with the FOSS curriculum.
  • a long standing partnership with Mcgolrick Park where the students do planting and supplement their science curriculum.
  • music teacher who starts teaching with recorders, then the kids move to Music and the Brain on keyboards and then guitars
  • great dance program that includes ballroom dance, African dancing and drumming, Mark Morris and square dance
  • integrated art in the classrooms and a partnership with VTS (Visual Thinking Strategies) which used fine art to teach critical thinking skills
  • a new dual language French program starting in 2011 (4/29/11 - PS 110 has found a French teacher but there were not enough fluent French speakers to create a dual language classroom. They are currently working on making it a French enrichment)

What are you waiting for! There is a school tour scheduled for Mon. May 2 at 9am.

There may still be spots open for kindergarten. Head on over for pre-register before April 15, but if are interested after that, just call the school 718-383-7600 


update on PS 133

I have been anxiously following the progress of PS 133. A new building is going up to accommodate the 300 seat K-5 school as well as 600 additional seats on 4th Ave. and Butler St. It is very unusual for the School Construction Authority to be late with a project, but the bad winter weather as well as drastic capital funding cuts have conspired to delay the opening until fall of 2013. This is a grave disappointment for the neighborhood which desperately needs more seats in both District 13 and 15 (the School Districts which provided the capital funds to build the school).

PS 133 is currently being housed in the St. Thomas Aquinas School building on 4th Ave. and 8th St. The good news is that the Archdiocese which had not been willing to discuss extending the lease on the St. Thomas Aquinas School building has agreed to extend the lease for an additional year. They have also said that they will negotiate for an ongoing lease to the building. Parents - now is the time to lobby for this building to become the Prek/Kindergarten Early Childhood Center that the district so desperately needs!

How do you do that? There is going to be a meeting with the DOE on Thurs. April 7, 6pm in the auditorium of John Jay HS to discuss local kindergarten overcrowding issues.

You should also contact the District 15 and District 13 CEC (Community Education Council). These are the community organizations that control zoning and are the parents' official voice to the DOE.
District 13
Kerry Ann Greene 718-636-3212
District 15 Romaine Smith 718-935-4267

PS 133 gets a French dual language program

I just got word through a parent that PS 133 (which is getting a new school building in 2012 on 4th Ave. and Butler) is getting a dual langage French/English program in one kindergarten class starting in 2011. There is going to be an open house at the school on Nov. 19 at 9am at their 211 8th St. (at 4th Ave.) location.

They will very likely have a language assessment, similar to the one at PS 58, to determine if a child can be considered a native speaker.

They are looking for a certified bilingual teacher - if you know of one, contact the Principal, Heather Foster-Mann 718-857-4810.

Dual Language Programs

Thanks to Karen at for helping me to come up with interesting topics to co-post about.

Parents often want to know if an elementary school has foreign language instruction. Unfortunately, it is rare for a public elementary to have a designated foreign language teacher. Occasionally there may be songs in other languages taught through the music or social studies class, or there may be some language classes through an after-school program. A teacher who is fluent may work a little foreign language awareness into her classroom, but it is not an ongoing program. In middle school the children will be offered language classes usually beginning in the 7th grade, and some may take the proficiency test at the end of 8th grade so that they can enter a slightly more advanced HS class in 9th grade. Often in the smaller middle school programs, Spanish is the language that is offered. A few of the larger schools are able to support a French class as well as a Spanish class. When your child gets to high school depending on the size of the school, the offerings can become very diverse, including Arabic, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Mandarin, Russian and Sign Language.

The exception in elementary school is a dual language program. This is a language immersion program in which half of the class is made up of native speakers in one language and half is native speakers in another language. The day is split with language instruction in both languages for the full class (morning in one language, afternoon in the other) with the goal of creating students who are fluent in both languages. There is a great effort made to be consistent and separate the two languages (each consistently written in its own color ink or on different colored paper). In some schools the same teacher teaches the full day in both languages, in some, two teachers switch off teaching in their own language. The regular on grade curriculum content is covered using both languages. The full immersion may start in kindergarten or 1st grade depending on the school.

District 15 has several dual language programs; the Spanish/English program at PS 24; Spanish/English and Chinese/English at PS 94, and the new French/English program at PS 58. PS 1 has had a program in the past but they were not able to get back to me with current information before I filed this story. Children are assessed for their fluency to be considered for the program. Sometimes a few children from outside of the zone may be allowed to participate to fill out the class. These programs are very popular and there can be waiting lists or lotteries to gain a seat.
For more information:
PS 24
427 38 Street Brooklyn, NY 11232
Parent Coordinator: Tamara Estrella
Phone: (718) 832-9366
PS 94
5010 6 Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220
Parent Coordinator: Diana Leon-Gonzalez
Phone: (718) 435-6034
PS 58
330 Smith Street Brooklyn, NY 11231
Parent Coordinator: Joan Bredthauer ex: 3
Phone: (718) 330-9322
There is also a lot of information on their website:

The interest in and richness of these programs is getting attention in other districts as well. PS 307 in district 13 has been studying the Spanish/English and Mandarin/English programs and has been doing community outreach all year in the hopes of opening their classes in the fall of 2009. Call them and speak to Ms. Davenport, the Principal. She is a great spokesperson for the program. PS 46 is also looking into dual language and having a meeting for interested parents on Monday, June 8 at 5:30pm. A group of parents in district 14 is working with the French Embassy to find a partner school for a French/English program there.
P.S. 307 Daniel Hale Williams School
209 York Street Brooklyn, NY 11201
Principal: Ms. Roberta Davenport
Phone: (718) 834-4748
P.S. 46 Edward C. Blum School
100 Clermont Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11205
Phone: (718) 834-7694
Interest meeting, June 8, 5:30-7pm

District 14 parents (or any parents) interested in a French dual language program in Williamsburg should email
and if you feel comfortable include this information:
parents’ name, child’s name, year entering K, email address, phone, zone, district, exposure to French (Anglophone, half-francophone or Francophone)