High School Choice, Supplemental Round

If your child didn't receive a placement in the first high school choice round or you want to appeal a high school placement you should use the insideschools report as your guide. It is thorough and has some good suggestions for schools in every borough. If you don't like the school to which your child was assigned you may appeal, but it is very rare to have an appeal granted. Sometimes the numbers just don't work out and some very good schools still have spots. Sometimes really promising new schools need some help getting their numbers the first couple of years. Just because schools have spots left over doesn't necessarily make them undesirable programs, the same way that there are terrific students out there that didn't get placements. You just need to find each other.
These are some schools that I think may be attractive to Brooklyn parents:
Bedford Academy: This small selective school has a 4 year graduation rate of almost 95%.
Brooklyn High School for the Arts: This school has a focused student body that produces beautiful work. It is centrally located at the transportation hub by Atlantic Center.
City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, Architecture and Technology (City Poly High): This brand new school has a dynamic principal and a great partnership with Poly Tech. It is located right downtown and is poised to be a very strong program.
Science, Technology and Research (STAR) at the Erasmus Campus: This early college program is rigorous and successful.
Sunset Park High School: This brand new school is in a brand new building. A very experienced and talented principal and tons of community support make this school a good bet.
Global Learning Collaborative: This Manhattan school has a partnership with the Asia Society. The students will participate in project based, experiential learning.
High School for Language and Diplomacy: This new program also has the Asia Society as a partner. The principal is a former diplomat and Chinese will be integrated into the whole curriculum. I was very interested in this program at the New HS Fair.

Brooklyn School of Inquiry

This is information from the Brooklyn School of Inquiry's brochure.
"Within our self-contained classes, you'll find enrichment and a variety of accelerated teaching styles geared toward children with superior intellectual potential."

Their Philosophy: "Brooklyn School of Inquiry believes gifted and talented students require a curriculum of diverse content and great depth to realize their full potential. We are committed to the whole child: our goal is to balance the social, emotional and academic development of our students in an environment that nurtures creativity and fosters divergent thinking. We believe parents play a crucial role in the daily life and long-term growth of their children's school. It is through this vital home/school connection that we will partner with parents to build a sense of responsibility in children about the importance of attendance, punctuality and homework. Together, we will create a community that values sensitivity and respect for others. We support the development of self expression through dance, theatre, music, painting and drawing. Collaboration with many New York City cultural institutions enables us to promote the arts both in and outside of our classrooms."
The Academic Curriculum: "differentiated integrated curriculum, infusing Science, Social Studies and Literacy into thematic studies shaped by the New York State Framework for Grades K-8. The studies will include independent and group hands-on projects to foster questioning and the development of critical thinking skills. Math inquiry will involve interpreting, organizing, and constructing meaning of situations using mathematical models to develop number sense. Homework is a logical extension of the school day and serves to reinforce the skills, techniques, and information learned during school hours."
Language Arts: reading in all genres, and "writing projects including poetry, realistic and historical fiction, feature articles, comic books, interviews, persuasive essays and literary analysis and criticism." Readers and Writers Workshop.
Mathematics: "The curriculum is aligned with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards. The goal is to help students learn to apply mathematics to everyday life and the world around them and to become confident by communicating and reasoning mathematically, both verbally and in writing." City College Math in the City Contextual Investigations.
Social Studies: "Students explore their communities and study world and American history and culture, within thematic interdisciplinary units that integrate language arts, music and the arts."
Science: "Our hands-on discovery approach invites students to theorize, hypothesize, observe and draw conclusions using the F.O.S.S. differentiated kits."
Social and Emotional Curriculum: "our counseling program is designed to be preventative an developmental. Guidance counselors will see students on an individual basis as well as during classroom lessons where they'll teach skills and share information in small-group settings.
The program will also include:
Preventive and Developmental Social and Emotional Counseling Program, SENG Model (Gifted Parent Group), Technology Education, Chess Instruction, Arts Integration, Academic Intervention and Enrichment Program.

The description of the different subject areas is similar to the regular citywide curriculum, and programs that are present in many quality general ed schools in Brooklyn. The difference will probably come in the level of support (including developmental and emotional) and the method and rate of acceleration within these programs. If I get any more specifics I will pass them on.

New Brooklyn Citywide G and T schools

According to insideschools blog the new citywide gifted and talented schools that we have been waiting for since last fall have been announced. Two of them will be located in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn School of Inquiry in Bay Ridge (correction: Bensonhurst) will be able to accommodate two kindergartens and two 1st grades next year. The TIER program at PS 20 will have space for one kindergarten and one 1st grade next year. If the citywide G&T policy remains the same the number of students attending likely depends on the number of children who score at the 97th percentile and above whose parents decide to send them to this program.

The Brooklyn School of Inquiry will be housed in a brand new building at 50 Ave. P in Bay Ridge (correction: Bensonhurst). It will open with kindergarten and 1st grade students in the fall and eventually go through 8th grade. The school will incorporate "looping" where a teacher follows a class for two years. According to Pamela Wheaton from insideschools.org Donna Taylor will be the principal. "She is an experienced teacher of gifted classes (she taught in the G&T class at PS 230 in Brooklyn) and is now doing a residency at the Anderson School." It sounds very promising.


The Technology, Inquiry, Enrichment and Research (TIER) program will be housed in PS 20 in the same building as Arts and Letters Middle School in Ft. Greene. It will also enroll kindergarten and 1st grade next fall and is planned to grow to 5th grade. A site is being sought for eventual middle school expansion (correction: "The Department of Education is working to identify nearby middle schools where students in these programs can continue after fifth grade.") The TIER program will be a part of PS 20 with Mr. Keaton as its Principal.

It looks like there will be another school located in the Ave. P building. Rather than being a G&T program, it is a CTT model school. The Academy of Talented Scholars will accept children into kindergarten and 1st grade next year and grow to 5th grade. They will develop skills through inquiry and project based learning, schoolwide enrichment for all students and differentiated instruction through Technology and Arts. Families interested in applying to the school should contact the Brooklyn Borough Enrollment Office



Williamsburg Northside Grows Up

Williamsburg Northside's Director, Amy Warden, just wrote to tell me that the school is going to open a K through 5th grade school called Williamsburg Northside School. in the fall of 09. They will start with a Kindergarten of 20 students. It will be located at 70 Havermeyer St. They are anticipating one class on a grade of 20 students each.

I am touring the raw space with Amy next week and I will blog about all the details then.

Ethical Community Charter School

Hurray! another new school for Brooklyn! I just spoke to Dr. Susan Stengel the Director of the Ethical Community Charter School. Their location should be announced shortly, but since their lottery is coming up soon (the first week in April) you should put in your application now. Registering for their lottery doesn't keep you from any of your other choice schools, it just gives you one more choice, and who knows it may be right around the corner.

They are ultimately going to be K to 12, but next year they will be accepting 60 Kindergarteners and 60 first graders for 3 classes on a grade. Ethics, service and social justice are the principles that will inform the school life. Their educational model is progressive, inquiry and active learning, with an interdisciplinary subject matter. They are dedicated to creating a vital home and school connection with an "open door" policy for parents. Integrated arts and differentiated instruction are part of the school's vision.
Use this link for more admissions information.
Their website is www.teccs-ny.org

More about the Park Slope Schoolhouse from Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Prospect Charter School

Okay 5th graders, check this out. It is another public middle school option for students who live in District 15.
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School will be choosing students from District 15 in a true lottery (no special provisions made for gender balance or diversity, although they are hoping for it-it should happen organically) They will pick students who live in District 15 (it seems that those of you who live outside the district and go to elementary within the district will probably be out of luck because of priorities set by state regulations for Charter schools) They will start with a 6th grade of 88 students (4 classes of 22) and add a grade each year through 12th grade. There will be a waiting list and that list will probably have some movement. The lottery will take place on April 7 and you will hear about placements in mid April. Signing up for the lottery doesn't impact your choice list for the rest of the district middle schools. This is a separate process. You can sign up for the lottery right now online under the student section.

What this means is that there is another option, outside of the regular middle school process. You can essentially get two local placements in the spring and be able to choose between them, as well as any placements outside the district that you are pursuing.

They will follow the International Baccalaureate program and hope to be certified within 5 years. There is a big emphasis placed on a holistic approach to learning and integrating disiplines. A 30 minute a day Advisory with a faculty mentor will be an important component to help students work on their literacy and study skills. They aspire to provide PE daily. Visual Art will be part of the core curriculum with other artistic disiplines introduced through a partnership with BAM. The Board is recruiting experienced teachers with at least three years experience and Masters Degrees. There is an Executive Director (who lives in the neighborhood) who comes to the job with an impressive track record of teaching as well as working in school administration. He will act as a general manager. The Principal of the Middle School has longtime experience teaching and leading programs as well as being trained in the IB program. The Board of the school is made up of educators and business leaders and will have a parent member.

There will be no uniforms. The calendar will follow the regular DOE schedule with additional afterschool tutoring and a Summer Academy. The language taught will be Spanish. The jury is still out on whether they will have captive lunch or not. Because the program will be academically rigorous, homework will be a factor, but because teachers will work closely together, it shouldn' t be overwhelming. The location is not finalized yet. The location will be made public before students chosen in the lottery will have to accept their seats. The Board is hoping for a location close to BAM to make it easy to participate in their arts programs.

New 6-12 Grade Schools for District 15

New 6-12 school for District 15: Brooklyn Prospect Charter School

A new public charter school is opening to 6th grade students in September 2009 to Community School District 15 students. For fifth grade families, they will be hosting several Student/Family information sessions throughout the district over the next several months. Students will be admitted through lottery. The school will follow an International Baccalaureate Program.

Info Sessions for parents and students:

October 6th and October 27th, 2008
6:00 to 8:00PM,
New York Methodist Hospital's East Pavilion Auditorium in Park Slope
Come and meet the team and learn about this new school. RSVP is required; www.brooklynprospect.org


Additionally the Brooklyn Prospect Team is happy to visit your elementary school. Speak with your parent coordinator or guidance counselor and contact Brooklyn Prospect Charter School for a visit.

But it doesn't stop there!

The "SPEAC School" Sunset Park Education in Action Community School's proposal to open has been favorably reviewed by the DOE but they won't be given full approval until they locate a space. They will be a very intimate 6-12 school that focuses on personal and community wellness, community based projects and interest driven learning.

This school is the little engine that could. Help make this dream a reality and help them find a location or partner. 718-851-3936, info@speaschool.org

All Hail Sunset Park Parents!

The parents in Sunset Park are awesome. I attended a town hall meeting last night in celebration of their 40 year effort (supported by hundreds of parent activists and community organizers, yes!) The auditorium was packed to capacity with standing room spilling out into the halls.

Sunset Park has schools! A brand spanking new state of the art, 1650 seat HS building is going up on 34th St. and 4th Ave. to open Sept. 09. The construction authority was there to give progress reports (not grades.) It is on schedule.
This school that has already chosen it’s Principal, Corrine Vinal (a longtime educator and experienced administrator). It will have three learning communities within the school: Performing and Visual Arts, Health and Human Services, Business and Entrepreneurship. The themes were chosen by the community, as was the currently unprecedented model of having one principal to oversee the school. It is not a screened program. They are focused on college prep and there is priority for Brooklyn students.

8th graders, if you want to place this school on your list of 12, this is how you do it. It sounds weird, but it IS the procedure straight from the DOE. This school will not be listed in the directory. Don’t panic. Fill out your application. Don’t list Sunset Park HS yet. Hand in your registration on or before the appointed day in the fall. File a NEW FORM during the February 2009 application period for new schools. This form overrides the previous form. Rank Sunset Park High School along with your other schools in the order you want them. If you have questions about admission call OSEPO (212) 374-2363. If you have questions about the high school call the Sunset Park Task Force (718) 788-3500.

But wait there is more…for you preschoolers. There is a brand new public Early Childhood Center being built on 4th Ave. and 64th St. (on the 4th Ave. subway line) The first green designed school in Brooklyn. It will house 18 classrooms PreK through 2nd grade. It opens in 2010. This is a trend that local principals endorse. As the Elementary Schools become more crowded and PreK programs lose their spots, it makes more sense to group the PreKs into a centralized site. More on that later.

...heh Park Slope Parents, that sounds like a good idea! What is the Diocese doing with the St. Thomas Aquinas school building on 4th Ave. and 9th St? Would it be enough PreK seats for everybody who wants one, and relieve the overcrowding in all of our Kindergarten classes? You guys need to start making some calls.