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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brooklyn arbor, ps 414 in Williamsburg

I had a great interview yesterday with Eva Irizarry, the new Principal of Brooklyn Arbor, a public school program. The school, which will be also be known as PS 414, will be opening a kindergarten, first and second grade in the PS 19 building in the fall of 2012. PS 19's upper grades will be phasing out in the next couple years and new children entering the building will be attending Brooklyn Arbor. Zoned families can all be served at the school, but the zone also contains PS 319 and some zoned families choose to begin there at K. PS 19 was in its first year of a Magnet Grant. It looks as though the Grant, whose theme is "Global and Ethical Studies" may be split between PS 19 and Brooklyn Arbor. That is being confirmed shortly. The application period for in zone families will be extended to 3/16 for kindergarten, but there are many, many seats available for families from outside of zone and when approved shortly, magnet applications will be available for those families. Those applications can be made throughout the spring. They are having their first meet and greet at the Williamsburg Library 240 Division Ave. at Marcy Ave. on Friday 3/9 at 4:30. To confirm: or 718-935-3597 They will be scheduling more info sessions and are looking for interested parents and venues to spread the word.
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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.

Spanish dual language at PS 46

If you live in Ft. Greene/Clinton Hill (and even if you don't) you should check out the new Spanish dual language program at PS 46, Edward Blum School, in district 13. Karyn Nicholson, their energetic new principal, is reaching out to the community. The staff which has long experience with bilingual education is well suited to put a dual language program into place. They started this fall with preK, k and first grade dual language classrooms. If the program proves popular there would be room for a second class on a grade. They are assessing students who are interested in the program for language proficiency (they are looking for both English and Spanish speakers) as well as looking for strong learners who will be able to handle the challenge of the dual language program. The k class I saw was focused and engaged and reading the Spanish lesson easily. The hallways are lined with excellent and varied writer's workshop published pieces.

Ms. Nicholson has a strong vision for the school and there are good facilities and lots of enrichment in place for her to build on. The school has a beautiful Robin Hood library. There is an art classroom and teacher with a science focus and a second art room/teacher with a math focus. There is also an extensive music program. I was very impressed with the science teacher, who is clearly transferring his enthusiasm for his subject to his students.

The parent coordinator, Cecilia Lopez (347) 563-5323 has a open door policy and her parent's room is open from 8 to 4. Contact her to find out about the next open house which will be scheduled shortly. I will also list it in the newsletter.

They have also have a new review on insideschools as of May 09.

International School of Brooklyn and Dual Language at PS 84

It is a big news day for you language immersion and dual language fans!
The International School of Brooklyn which is an independent school , (currently nursery through 3rd grade) has a language immersion program in Spanish and French is moving to a big new location. They will be moving their whole school to a former Catholic School building in Carroll Gardens next year. The new location will triple their current space and allow them to launch their middle school in 2012. They anticipate almost doubling their enrollment for the 2010 school year.

Are you interested in Dual Language Spanish or Dual Language French in a public school?
Check out PS 84 in Williamsburg. Not only do they have a new principal, Jake Hobson, they have just announced that next year they will be rolling out a new dual language French program to join their Spanish program. A large number of local families have been working to organize this program over the last year.

They will have a meeting for parents on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 6pm at the school (wine and cheese courtesy of the French Embassy).

They will also be screening a French cartoon + snacks on Sat. Oct. 24 at 11am. Bring the kids and tell your friends to show local support for this great new neighborhood program. Everyone is welcome.

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)