Brooklyn! lets start a new neighborhood school search culture

Brooklyn! lets start a new neighborhood school search culture

There are a lot of freaked out 11 year olds out there. This middle school 'choice process' is not kind. The kids that got their heart's desire are relieved, but it is hard to be happy when your friends are not. There are some kids who got great placements but it was not the one they wanted or where their friends are going and there are kids who are headed into the unknown (or even worse - the unpopular known) and that is scarey for everyone. I know that you all feel at the mercy of this process and that your children are being tortured by an unfeeling algorithm. You have a case.

I do think that there is a very significant thing that we, as parents, can do.

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the dinnersteins of park slope

Simone Dinnerstein is a local mom, but she is also a world class classical pianist, the guiding force behind "Neighborhood Classics" coming to a local school near you, and the daughter of two amazing parents. She has just released a new album, "Bach, A Strange Beauty" which I find is a welcome alternative to the Jingle Bell Rock that has invaded my house.

The "Neighborhood Classics" concerts "help build relationships at the local level between neighborhoods and musicians. These one-hour, family friendly performances are hosted by Simone and feature musicians she has admired and collaborated with during her career. The concerts are open to the public and raise funds to benefit the schools' students. Musicians performing donate their performances to the program and the  concerts are organized and administered by PTA volunteers and faculty members."

Simone is currently working with PS 321 in Brooklyn and PS 142 in lower Manhattan, but if you are a school that would like to find out how to participate you should contact her at

Simone's talented parents are Renee Dinnerstein, a gifted educator who is currently blogging on the importance of inquiry and play within the classroom. She is hoping to open a dialog among parents and teachers in her blog "Investigating Choice Time". If you check out the album, you will also see the work of her father, Simon Dinnerstein, the wonderful painter. His painting "The Fulbright Triptych" is represented in Simone's CD and in a new book, called "The Suspension of Time" which is coming out in April.

Why live in Brooklyn? The people make the place.

Newsletter #1, Sept. 2, 2008

To sign up for the newsletter:
This newsletter is meant to be a tool to supplement your school search. All dates, deadlines, times and places need to be confirmed with the sponsoring organization or school. From time to time, human error does occur despite my best efforts. If you are interested in a particular school, contact them. You don’t need to wait for me to announce them. Happy Hunting.

NYC School Help
Register for the Public High School Search Workshop.
$120 for Adults 3-sessions. $60 for Students 3-sessions.
The Park Slope Workshop will be held at Sweet Melissa’s on 7th Ave. between 1st/2nd St.
Can’t make it on my dates? Gather some friends who want to join you- call me and we will set up your own private workshop.

Private or Group Consultations to help with the school search Nursery through High School, Private and Public
Call Joyce Szuflita 718-781-1928

Public School Calendar for Sept:
2-Tues.: school begins; early dismissal for non-district 75 kindergarten only
3-Wed.: early dismissal for non-district 75 kindergarten only
30 and Oct. 1-Tues./Wed.: Rosh Hashanah, no school

Parents - Elementary to HS Students:
Citywide Education Hotline: 212-669-7250 (sponsored by Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum)
Education Expo: Info about after school programs, arts enrichment, charter schools, tutoring and other programs.
FREE, Sat. Sept. 27, noon-4pm; NYU Kimmel Center, Rosenthal Pavilion 60 Washington Sq. South, 10th Floor; or
The 11th Annual Citywide Parent Conference: Strengthening the Home-School Partnership
FREE, Sat. Nov. 8, 2008; 8am -2:30pm; Hilton New York
For more info: 212-598-9205 or

I have heard about a free website (although I haven’t tried it yet) to coordinate volunteers for field trips, book fair etc.

New School Alert:
Green Hill School (Ft. Greene/Clinton Hill) is an independent school accepting applications for kindergarten in the 2008 school year
The Brooklyn Brownstone School (Bed-Stuy) opens in District 16 this fall with 80 kindergarten and first grade students. It is a public school open to all NYC residents. They are looking for low bookshelves, gently used early childhood books and volunteers to help decorate the school for the fall. Contact them 718-573-2307,

Nursery School Information:
Beansprouts tour schedule is online
Berkeley Carroll is taking reservations for morning open houses
718-789-6060 ext. 6608 for Pre-K
718-789-6060 ext. 6527 for middle school
718-789-6060 ext. 6527 for upper school
Call for reservations.
Brooklyn Free Space may have a spot for a Fall 2008 spot for a girl or boy aged 4-4.8 as of Sept. 2008. Contact
Brooklyn Friends is taking reservations for a few morning tour dates in the fall
Pre-K: 718-852-1029 ext. 213
Lower, Middle, and Upper School: 718-852-1029 ext. 232
RSVP necessary, check dates online
Brooklyn Heights Montessori morning tour dates for parents only, are posted
RSVP is required 718-858-5100 ext. 120
International School of Brooklyn evening and Sat. parents only tours are posted
RSVP necessary 718-369-3023 Linden Tree Preschool has spaces available for fall 2008 for the Threes: 2-days/half day,
And Fours: 5day/pm; call 718-624-0083
Packer Collegiate Institute open house dates are posted, check the schedule online
RSVP to Yvonne Menard 718-250-0254
Poly Prep open house dates are available, check dates online
RSVP 718-663-6003

Elementary School:
To find out what school District, and within that, what elementary school you are zoned for:
Call 311 and give them your address.

Tours: Many Elementary Schools hold them throughout the year, starting in the fall. Call your school’s Parent Coordinator for more information. You can find their number on the school’s page on

Public High School Information:
Okay 8th graders, it is time to get out your DOE High School Guide and start figuring out which schools you want to tour.

For those of you interested in the Specialized High School Test (SHSAT) and want to brush up on your test taking ability. Consider Princeton Review's Intensive Fall Prep Course, or tutoring.
718 375-5591 or

You might also want to contact a private tutor. There are many in the neighborhood. One to consider is Sarah Marcus

Citywide High School Fair: 9/20 and 9/21 from 10am-3pm
at Brooklyn Tech HS, 29 Fort Greene Place
You will make the most out of this event if you have visited and know which schools you really want to talk to. This is a great opportunity to talk to principals, administrators and students from the schools. There should also be a Borough-wide HS Fair. The schools traditionally post their tours after the first HS Fair, but if you are interested in a popular school, I recommend that you monitor their website.

Thanks for reading! If you have an event to add or school info for parents (or you see an error, please be kind) and write to me at