What you need to know about UPK in November

What you need to know about UPK in November

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.

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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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new middle school talk!

Due to popular demand, I have developed a new middle school talk to be given on Thurs. June 25 at 7pm at Hootenanny Art House in the south slope. It is not location specific, so whether you are in D15 or any of the surrounding districts you will take away valuable information about how the process works and how to think about the middle years in general. My goal is to untangle the spaghetti of information and see the glass half full (which it is) instead of being fearful and anxiety ridden, which never ever helped anyone get a middle school placement.

Tickets are $30 and available here.

valuable high school choice information

The DOE has announced that they are doing an abbreviated series of high school talks this summer. In the past some of these have been very enlightening. The specialized high school talk has principals from each school representing, which is interesting. Although Stanley Teitel, the principal at Stuy (a physics teacher) does his extraordinary English and Social Studies Depts a disservice by making Stuy sound like only a science and math school (which it definitely is NOT). The talk that I thought had the most real meat for families who really needed details was the Art Audition talk. They had a panel of arts specialists from several schools who talk about what to prepare, how to present, what to think about, what to talk about and what to bring. This year they have condensed it and combined it with the screened high school talk. Pity.

They prepared a wonderful handout which I hope that they will distribute, if not, you can download it here.

The screened school handout.

I blogged my very specific notes from the workshop last year and I have tips above and beyond the handout here.

I am giving a "High School Choice: Calm and Clear" talk on August 15, 7-9pm at Hootenanny Art House, but you must buy a ticket or let me know that you are coming so that I can make sure there are enough seats.

My talks are different than what the DOE does because:

  • the DOE has to give information for everybody - my talks are focused on college bound students living and attending school in Brooklyn and Manhattan. 
  • the DOE is talking about policy and the way things are supposed to be, I am talking about the way things are and how to manage it.
  • the DOE has to be balanced in their presentation of all schools, I can talk about the pros and cons of different environments and options.
  • I talk about how to do this in a practical way, "first, rip these pages out of the book... this is worth doing/this isn't...pay attention to this/this means nothing"

She's talking about High School again

If you are sticking your head in the sand this summer, you better be at the beach, because you can come to my High School Choice: Calm and Clear talk and stop fumbling in the dark and go into the fall with a plan! Let your friends know about this talk; whether you have had the bejezzas scared out of you at your middle school this spring, or you are an independent school lifer who is thinking about dipping your toe into the swirling surf that is the NYC Public School System, you really need to come to this talk.

Even though it is scarey, time consuming and not always easy, I love the high school search.

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Public High School choice Summer workshops

Tonight I am holding the first of my free high school choice talks.
Carroll Gardens public library, Clinton & Union St., 6:30pm sharp

I am giving this talk again on Tuesday, 6/22 at the Cadman Plaza Library at Cadman Plaza West & Tillary, 6:30pm sharp
RSVP to joyce@nycschoolhelp if you will be attending.

This talk is for everybody, but in particular private school parents who have never had to naviagte the public school process can not afford to miss this program.

After you know all about the procedures and the way the schools choose you will need to know about specific programs. I can help you with that at the High School Shortlist Workshops. Information and links for tickets are here. These small workshops for Brooklyn parents fill up fast. If you are a Manhattan parent, contact me to see if we can schedule a group. joyce@nycschoolhelp.com or 718 781-1928

The DOE has set the dates for their summer programs.
I particularly recommend the Wednesday, July 14 "Screened and Audition" program at Brooklyn Tech HS at 6:30. In past years this program has been a "must see" for students who are auditioning for LaGuardia or other arts audition programs. They cover things like how to prepare, what to prepare and how to present yourself. Many of the evenings are worth the trip, but if you can only see one, this one has the most valuable information by far.

Next years high school admissions calendar is out and you can see it here.

Fun fact: Brooklyn Tech's auditorium is the second largest in the city next to Radio City Music Hall.

what to do about no choice

Insideschools.org has a great article on what to do when your 8th grader has not recieved a high school placement. The DOE is holding a Supplementary Round Fair on 4/22 and the new applications are due on 4/29, but you should be contacting programs from the second round list now and trying to visit them.

If you are the parent of an incoming 7th or 8th grader and you want to prepare for the search ahead, I am scheduling free Public High School Choice talks in June. This is particularly important information for private and parochial school parents. You need to email me with your RSVP and tell me which evening you will attend:

June 16, Wednesday 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Carroll Gardens Library Auditorium
396 Clinton St. @ Union

June 22, Tuesday 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Cadman Plaza Library Auditorium (Brooklyn Heights)
280 Cadman Plaza West @ Tillary

I am also scheduling the High School Shortlist Workshops. The workshop is 2 hours. You bring the big DOE Directory and come away with a manageable folder of your "short list" schools to tour. The first one is in late June and they fill up fast. These talks are geared for Brooklyn parents. Manhattan parents should contact me for a possible downtown date in the fall.

I recommend that you attend the library talks as preparation for the Shortlist Workshop.

 

High School Shortlist Workshops

Bring the DOE High School Directory and come away with a folder containing a short list of schools so you can face the fall with confidence. I lead you through the directory with a pair of scissors, information, strategies and tips on keeping your wits about you while finding a good fit school for your child. Reservations Required.

Saturday, Sept. 12, 10am - noon at Brooklyn Creative League 540 President St. 3rd Fl. (between Third and Fourth Ave.) near the M/R Train
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 7 - 9pm at Hootenanny Art House 428 15th St. Brooklyn at 8th Ave. near the Prospect Park stop on the F Train

If you would like to host a HS Short List Workshop in your home, gather at least 5 other families. As a thank you for organizing, your admission to the workshop is free. $40. for parents, $10. for students Bring your Directory and I will supply everything else.
for reservations: joyce@nycschoolhelp.com

Intro to Nursery School Talk

I will be talking about
* nursery school philosophies
* what to look for on a tour
* what you need to know to keep the search under control and in perspective
* Lots of Q&A.

I won't be discussing individual schools at this event
$20. for an individual /$30. for a family
RSVP to joyce@nycschoolhelp.com

Tuesday, August 11 at 7pm - 8:30pm
at NYC Explorers 388 Atlantic Ave. (between Hoyt and Bond)

Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 10am - 11:30am
at Hootenanny Art House 15th St. (@ 8th Ave. Brooklyn)

Thursday, Sept. 24 at 7pm - 8:30pm
at Still Hip 283 Grand (between Lafayette and Clinton Pl.)

High School Short List Workshops

Bring the big DOE High School Directory and come away with a folder containing a short list of schools so you can face the fall with confidence. Joyce Szuflita leads you through the directory with a pair of scissors, information, strategies and tips on keeping it organized, helping your child engage in the process and keeping your wits about you while finding a good fit school for your child. Reservations required.

Saturday, August 1, 10am-noon at Brooklyn Creative League 540 President St. 3rd Floor (between Third and Fourth Ave.) near M,R train

Saturday, Sept. 12, 10am-noon at Brooklyn Creative League 540 President St. 3rd Floor (between Third and Fourth Ave.) near M,R train

Wednesday, Sept. 16, 7-9pm at Hootenanny Art House 428 15th St. Brooklyn at (8th Ave.) near the Prospect Park stop on the F train

$40. for parents, $10. for students
Bring your Directory and I will supply everything else.
for reservations: joyce@nycschoolhelp.com

Intro to Public School: PreK and Kindergarten Talks

I am doing this popular talk again at a couple different venues in July.
I will discuss the big picture with the "big map".

  • what you need to know
  • when you need to know it
  • what to do when things go wrong
  • strategies and common practices, including "the 5 things to do to keep from turning prematurely grey"
    If you are confused about the difference between Charter, Magnet and Dual Language or Unzoned programs and what is up with district-wide vs. citywide Gifted and Talented, this may be the talk for you. I don't discuss individual schools, but you will come away armed with lots of information to begin your school search with confidence. Lots of Q&A.


Thursday, July 9, 7pm-8:30pm
at Hootenanny Art House 428 15th St. at 8th Ave.
(Park Slope stop on the F train)

Wednesday, July 29, 7pm-8:30pm at New York City Explorers 388 Atlantic Ave.

$25. per person/$40. for families

for reservations: joyce@nycschoolhelp.com
This talk is always available to Preschool Programs or private groups. Contact me for information.

 

DOE Summer HS Info Talks are Here! Hurray!

The DOE has just announced their terrific summer high school informational talks. For those of you that couldn't make my "Navigating Public High School Choice" talks this month the DOE does a great job with this series of Tuesday Night Talks at Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant. Check out the June 30 "First Steps: Understanding my HS Options". They have panelists and the information is snappy and targeted, just the kind I like. I wouldn't miss the July 7 "Eight Specialized Exam High Schools" or the July 14 "Performing Arts HS: Preparing your Audition/Arts Portfolio (this one is a must see for families that are planning on looking at any arts high schools.

Tuesdays at 6:30pm throughout the summer starting on June 30 at Brooklyn Tech and ending on August 11 at Stuyvesant. The complete list is on the DOE website under "choices and enrollment/high schools/calendar and events.

And then you can come to my "Public High School Short List Workshops" on July 13 at 7pm or August 1 at 10am. For more information /HSworkshop.aspx
or write to me at joyce@nycschoolhelp.com

She's talking about High School again

I will be giving a free talk tonight, Wednesday June 3, called "Navigating High School Choice" at the Carroll Gardens Library (Union St./Clinton St. Brooklyn) in the auditorium downstairs at 6:30.
If you can't make it tonight I will be giving it again on Tuesday June 16 in the Park Slope Library branch (6th Ave./9th St.) at 6:30.

Sometimes called, "Public High School for Private School Parents" this talk is great for all incoming 7th and 8th grade parents. Everybody who is mystified by this process will benefit from this clear and calm approach to some crazy information. Students are welcome.
For information contact joyce@nycschoolhelp.com

Public High School Short List Workshops
Bring the big DOE High School Directory and come away with a folder containing a short list of schools so you can face the fall with confidence. Joyce Szuflita leads you through the directory with a pair of scissors, information, strategies and tips on keeping it organized, helping your child engage in the process and keeping your wits about you while finding a good fit school for your child.
Monday, July 13, 7-9pm at Hootenanny Art House 426-428 15th St. Prospect Park stop on the F train
Saturday, August 1, 10am-noon at the Brooklyn Creative League 540 President St. 3rd Floor, between 3rd/4th Ave. M, R train at Union St. stop
Saturday, Sept. 12, 10am-noon at the Brooklyn Creative League 540 President St. 3rd Floor, between 3rd/4th Ave. M, R train at Union St. stop
Tuesday, Sept. 16, 7-9pm at Hootenanny Art House 426-428 15th St. Prospect Park stop on the F train

$40. for parents, $10. for students
Bring your Directory and I will supply everything else.

RSVP to joyce@nycschoolhelp.com

Middle School Talk tonight

I am speaking tonight about navigating middle school choice at the Carroll Gardens local branch of the Public Library (Union/Clinton). I am starting at 6:30 sharp.

This talk is designed for the parents of incoming 4th and 5th graders, but all are welcome and it would be interesting for parents who are taking a long view and interested in understanding what may be coming up in the years ahead. It is about procedure rather than specific schools, and parents have told me that it calmed some anxiety and helped them get a handle on their options. I have also been told that it was even occasionally amusing.
There will be lots of time for Q&A. Parents from all districts are welcome. There is no need to RSVP for this evening's talk.

I will be giving this talk again on June 9th at 6:30 at the Prospect Park local library branch (6th Ave./9th St.) RSVP to joyce@nycschoolhelp.com for that talk so I can have an idea of numbers.

Navigating MS and HS Choice

Joyce Szuflita, NYC School Help, is giving four free talks. Anyone who is mystified by this process will benefit from this clear and calm approach to a complex system. I have given these talks at several schools to packed houses and the parents were very happy to get the information and be able to ask me unlimited questions, so I decided to take the show on the road.

I will also be holding "High School Choice: Short List Workshops" in July and September. We take the HS Directory and a pair of scissors and create a short list folder so that you can plan your tours and keep it all straight. There will be lots of discussion of specific programs, what to look for, strategies and how to be prepared for the search season. These workshops will be about 1.5 hours, $40. parent/ $10. student. I am still setting the dates and venues, but if you are interested email me and I will send you a class notice. joyce@nycschoolhelp.com

Middle School Choice
Wednesday, May 27
Carroll Gardens Public Library (Union St. and Clinton St. Brooklyn)
near the Carroll St. F stop

Tuesday, June 9
Park Slope Public Library (6th Ave. and 9th St. Brooklyn)
near the 7th Ave. F stop

High School Choice
Wednesday, June 3
Carroll Gardens Public Library (Union St. and Clinton St. Brooklyn)
near the Carroll St. F stop

Tuesday, June 16
Park Slope Public Library (6th Ave. and 9th St. Brooklyn)
near the 7th Ave. F stop

All talks are held in the downstairs meeting room at 6:30 sharp.
RSVP to joyce@nycschoolhelp.com with the date you will be attending.
For information: 718 781-1928

Live and In Person!

I am giving some talks at the end of the month.

"Public Schools 101: Intro to the NYC School System, Registering for PreK and Kindergarten"
I will be giving lots of practical information about what to know and how to proceed and I will bring my "big map" but I won't be discussing individual schools. It is a lot of information in a small amount of time, so I am afraid, no children please. There will be a Q & A.
$25. per person or $40. per couple
You must RSVP to me (not the venue) for a specific date and location, space is limited and just in case of changes, I would like to be able to contact you.
Williamsburg/Greenpoint
Monday, Jan. 26, 7-8:30 pm
Mamalu 232 North 12th St. (718) 486-6312
Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill
Tuesday, Jan. 27, 7-8:30 pm
NY City Explorers 388 Atlantic Ave. between Hoyt and Bond (718) 625-6923
Clinton Hill
Thursday, Jan. 29, 7-8:30 pm
Still Hip 283 Grand Ave. between Lafayette and Clifton Pl. (718) 398-0008
Dumbo
Saturday, Jan, 31, 1:30-3 pm
Pomme 81 Washington St. at York St. (718) 855-0623
Prospect Heights
Tuesday, Feb. 3, 7-8:30 pm
NY City Explorers 186 Underhill Ave. between St. John's/Sterling Pl. (718) 399-6923 

South Slope
Wednesday, Feb. 4, 7-8:30 pm
Hootenanny Art House 426 15th St. at 8th Ave. (718) 369-0528

 

Specialized HS Testing

8th Grade Parents - are you feeling that nagging sense of impending doom?
Ready to run the gauntlet of high school choice? What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I am holding High School Search Workshops in Park Slope and Carroll Gardens this fall. They are three fall evenings each to help guide you through the process. Or you can put together your own group of friends and set your own days and I would be happy to meet with you. If you are interested in reserving a spot e-mail me at joyce@nycschoolhelp.com

Whether you really want to send your child to a Specialized HS or not, the test is free. If your child gets a placement to any of the 8 schools including La Guardia she will hear about it a month before the other 85,000 students in the city, and not only that, but she will also hear which of her "1-12" schools have offered her a seat. It is worth the hassle and cost of some test prep and the test, to possibly hear early and have two or three (if she is offered a seat to La Guardia) options. Believe me, when you actually have a Stuyvesant acceptance letter in hand you think twice about all the times you said, "it is not for us".

I have heard many parents feel that the fall only prep is effective. And the best preparation, aside from really understanding the specific test taking strategies of this odd-ball exam is taking practice tests. There are many good private tutors in the neighborhood and Kaplan is everywhere. I just thought I'd let you know about some SHSAT (Specialized High School Aptitude Test) classes through Princeton Review (800-2Review) that I just heard of. They are holding the fall sessions on weekend mornings at Berkeley Carroll from Aug. 8 through Oct. 19, and in at their Brooklyn Center in Midwood on weekend afternoons. They also do small group tutoring. (which was a route that we took and found very effective)

I am mentioning Princeton Review in particular because I recently attended a free college information class they held that was extremely helpful and turned our whole college search strategy around for the better. I like their approach very much. Check them out.