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.
Read More

new charter schools in Cobble Hill, williamsburg and Bed Stuy?

I am getting a lot of questions about Success Charter Schools' plans to open new schools in District 15, 14 and 13. Charter schools like any school should be judged individually on their own merits. Each school is a workplace and like your job they can be collegial and supportive or toxic. Once you have a great boss who supports and trusts her talented and hard working staff, you need the students and parents to "bring it!". Then, what is the educational model that the school will attempt to adopt? What kind of schools will these new schools be? We just don't know.
Read More

letter day 2011

Public school students who have taken the Specialized HS test (SHSAT) or auditioned for LaGuardia will receive announcements about their placements today, Friday 2/11. Occasionally there are short delays of the delivery of letters to the private schools. The students will receive a letter at the end of the day at school in person. If they are offered a seat at one of the Specialized HS or LaGuardia they should also receive an offer from their 1 in 12 application, although on rare occasions they may find the 1 in 12 app school missing.

The Specialized HS will schedule open houses (lickety split next week, because the week after is the President's Week break). You should make a copy of the letter with your decision checked off before you give it back to your guidance counselor to submit on or before Feb. 28.

If your child is not offered a seat at this time, the main round results will be out on March 31.
DOE calendar

This is also the weekend of the New HS Fair. The Fair will be on Sat. 12 and Sun. 13 10am to 1pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Campus 122 Amsterdam Ave. 10023. Students who want to add a school or two, or private school students who have found that they will not be attending their current school next fall should go to the fair, get an application and make sure and submit the application by Feb. 28. The New School Directory is available online:

Good luck to one and all.


Millennium Brooklyn at the John Jay Campus

On Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 6pm at the John Jay Campus on 7th Ave. at 4th St. there will be a public hearing to discuss the co-location of Millennium Brooklyn in the John Jay Campus.

On Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 6pm at Brooklyn Tech High School at South Elliott St. between DeKalb and Fulton there will be a Panel For Education Policy (PEP) vote on the co-location.

If you are interested in this issue you need to attend and speak up on the matter.

The DOE's proposal is outlined here.

And I have included this passage from their statement:

While there is not an immediate need to create additional high school seats in Brooklyn, the community has made the DOE aware of the need to provide more high-quality high school options. Allocating underutilized space to open a new selective high school in Brooklyn would expand the range of options available to students and families, and, in the long-run, would increase the number of students retained in the borough. Over the last few years the number of students enrolled in Brooklyn high schools has steadily declined, suggesting that students and families are seeking options outside of the borough that are better matched to their interests and needs. All students deserve access to an outstanding education regardless of their zip code. The DOE is committed to investing in schools that optimize student performance and ensure that every student graduates from high school equipped with the skills necessary to achieve success in college, careers, and in life.

world class learning

I got the call to come to the east village and check out World Class Learning Academy (WCL). It was an easy trip to the old La Salle High School building on East 2nd St. which has gotten a spiffy renovation to accommodate this for profit nursery through 5th grade program (eventually growing to 12th grade). The WCL Group has been operating schools in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston and Washington on the British model for many years.

They are using the IPC International Curriculum, which is an inquiry and integrated theme based model, and they explain it compellingly with examples of student work from the other WCL schools. Although there are currently no children enrolled in the classrooms, you will get a feel on a tour that it will be a welcoming environment, and they have a strong track record and staff with a lot of experience in their other schools. The facilities have large classrooms, beautiful light, a roof top playground and several indoor play spaces.

They will be opening the school with Nursery through Year 5; ("Nursery" ages 3/4, half or full day), Prek ("Reception" ages 4/5) and Kindergarten ("Year 1" ages 5/6). They will be following the ISAGGNY dates. Click for information or call 212-600-2010.

Millennium 2

New High Schools are always coming online and are usually announced shortly before the New HS Fair in Jan. but news of Millennium II has leaked so Lisa Gioe made an announcement to her parents at MS 447 Math and Science District 15 last night.

Millennium 2 will be opening in the John Jay HS complex on 7th Ave. and 4th St. in Park Slope in Sept. 2011 with Lisa Gioe as principal. It will be a replication of the popular Millennium HS with the addition of an ASD NEST program like the one that has been instituted at 447. I believe that this may be the first program of its kind in a HS. It will also be an "advanced Exploratory Program supporting internships". It will not be a choice on the Main Round application. If you would like to add the school to your list of HS you can do it during the short period after the New HS Fair in Jan. when you are allowed to resubmit the application and add new programs that will be starting in fall. 

Currently MS 447 has two very experienced Assistant Principals, Sharon Mahabir, who has been with the school since its founding and Dawn Faraj who had also been the Math Coach and a long time asset to the school. One of them will likely be tapped for the 447 principal's job.

It will be interesting to see if the Millennium brand will draw more local families to the John Jay building. I am also concerned for the lovely and focused students from Research that I heard speak recently in support of their school. A co-location is always a rocky process, but it doesn't necessarily have to be one that harms the existing schools. I hope that all the programs will grow in strength with the attention that will be directed to the building.

interested in a new district 13 school?

There is going to be a meeting with the principal of Arts and Letters Middle School about their proposal to extend the school to a K to 8th grade program. Allison Gaines-Pell will be meeting with interested parents and neighbors at the Coop School on Monday, May 24 at 9am. The Coop School is located at 87 Irving Place (between Fulton and Putnam, one block west of Classon)

PS 133

I went on a tour the other day (this blog is starting quietly enough). I saw a lovely school that is being temporarily housed for 3 years in a former parochial school on 8th St. and 4th Ave. in Park Slope. PS 133 has a relatively new principal (former teacher at 29, former VP at 11) who is full of energy and ideas, particularly to develop their science program with an urban ecology focus. The school is small and comfy (two classes on a grade one of which is CTT). It has wonderful expressive artwork, a full piano lab, a class full of new guitars. I watched a Studio in the Schools dance class and a school wide reading celebration. They will move in 2012 to a brand new 935 seat school that is being built on Butler and 4th Ave. at the edge of District 13.

I also went to a meeting this morning about the future of PS 133. It was sponsored by the 5th Ave. Committee. The Office of Portfolio Planning, SCA, Community Board 6, the Butler/Baltic Block Assoc., the 78th Precinct, the PS Civic Council, Councilman Steve Levin and other local government reps including D13 CEC members and representatives from PS 133 were in attendance. They discussed construction issues that will impact local residents and then the DOE rep announced that PS 133 would remain a single school community in the building. The school population would be made up of students from the current 133 zone and 2/3 of the population would be from a rezoned section of District 15. The school will be administered by District 15. This did not go over well with the representatives from District 13 and Mr. Levin who felt that this was new information that had not been previously discussed. Mr. Levin asked that the Office of Portfolio Planning revisit this decision. I just condensed a two hour discussion to a paragraph.

There will be another meeting to follow up on these issues on Mon. June 21 from 6:30 to 8:30pm. Contact the 5th Ave. Committee for confirmation and location.

So, this is an issue in flux, but a very important one for local parents. Watch this space for more information. I am curious what the District 15 CEC thinks of this? I imagine this issue will shortly be at the forefront of many D13 and D15 parents' minds. However this turns out, I recommend that any interested parents tour 133. Call their Parent Coordinator, Ahmed Dickerson 347-563-5321 to find out the date of their next open house. You may really like what you see.

Frank McCourt HS open house

Frank McCourt High School will be holding an open house next Monday, April 19 at 6:30 at the Brandeis building, 145 West 84th Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus. This will be a good opportunity for supplementary round applicants who are still “on the fence” to find out more and ask questions. According to a note from the principal, the school is 1/3 full after the main application round — which means they still have some 75 seats or so to fill. All applicants will beinterviewed.If you hear of other upcoming high school open houses please post.
- from

new schools, new locations

Private School:

The Greene Hill School has been incubating at Irving and Putnam in Clinton Hill with the Coop School, but they have found a new long term space in the neighborhood at 39 Adelphi. They are a progressive Independent program - growing to 8th grade - that is priced for middle class families. They will be having a 3/4's program in September. (If you have been shut out of a threes program you might give them a call!) They will be offering classes for children aged 3 through 8 in Sept. If you are interested in visiting the school contact them to set up an appointment: 718 230-3608 or

They will be holding a fundraiser, The Greene Affair, on Apri 26 at Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo. Contact them for information.

Public School:

There is a new "Common Application" for all charter schools in the city. You need to deliver or mail an application to the charter schools of your choice by April 1. Insideschools has an updated list of new charter programs opening in the fall.

Insideschools also reports about new programs, "some schools are opening to ease overcrowding in existing neighborhood schools while others are targeting families looking for choices beyond their zoned schools, sitll others are replacing schools that are closing. Several schools will occupy newly constructed buildings."
District 17: The New American Academy an "open classroom" trilingual (English, Spanish and French) program will open with a K and first grade in Crown Heights.
District 20: four new schools in new facilities in new zones. PS 310, PS 971, PS 264, PS 748 will accept students from across the district.
District 13: a new middle school, Ft. Greene Prep opening in the PS 46 building, has already been proven to be very interesting to 5th grade parents across the district.

new school option proposed for district 13

I heard a rumor and it has been confirmed by Allison Gaines Pell, Principal at the wonderful Urban Assembly Academy of Arts and Letters Middle School in Ft. Greene that they have applied to the DOE for a grade extension to become a K to 8 program. It is just an intital application. The DOE has to analyze space and feasibility, but they are hopeful to create a new and vibrant educational institution for the whole community. If approved to move forward, the expansion would begin in the fall of 2011, and there will be a lot of ways for the community and families to be involved in the process. There is no "official" information yet, and there probably won't be until early summer, but questions can be sent to Principal Alison Gaines Pell at  I am in contact with her and I will also post updates here.
Read More

more on lefferts gardens

The blog Hawthorne St. did some more great reporting on the ongoing plans for the Lefferts Gardens Charter School. They covered the meeting concerning housing the Charter in PS 92 and the subsequent loss of three of their Board members.

This is important reading if you are considering this school or you are interested in the process of starting a new Charter program. It is not always a straight path.

Frank McCourt HS, Murray Hill Academy and others at the New School Fair

There were some brand new and nearly new programs at the New HS Fair this weekend. Many of these schools are having open houses or informational meetings. Contact the schools for more information.

The Frank McCourt High School is a screened program that will be open to all NYC students. They will be located on the Brandeis HS Campus, W. 84th St. in Manhattan. They will review students' transcripts, test scores and attendance, but they will rely heavily on the interview. They are focusing on communication, collaboration and community service. email: 718-935-4095.

The Global Learning Collabortive is also in the Brandeis Campus on W.84th St. It was a new school fall of 2009. They have a partnership with the Asia Society. For a small school they are offering a wide variety of languages; Chinese, French, Italian, German, Japanese and Spanish. There are also opportunities for overseas travel.

The transfer schools are primarily for older students but there is  a new option for 9th graders who are not finding their way in their current school. Murray Hill Academy (111 E. 33rd St. in Manhattan) is accepting 8th graders and 9th graders who have less than 7 credits and are less than 16 years old. Contact: Anita Manninen-Felix 718-935-4089.

Frances Perkins Academy in Brooklyn is an interesting option. The students work several days a week in professional internships. They are focused on college prep and real world personalized experiences. 718-388-7721. They are moving this year and will be located at the Bushwick High School Campus.

Sunset Park High School opened fall of 2009 in their beautiful 4th Ave. facility. They are having an open house on Monday, Feb. 8, 6-8pm. 718 840-1900.

The Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice is a very interesting all girls 6-12 program that is accepting their first class of 9th graders. This schools is aiming high for their girls. Check out their open house: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 5-7pm room 427. Contact: Ms. Cazeau 718 438-3895 x463

It is a bit of a haul from Brooklyn, but if you are close to the 6 train, The Cinema School in the Bronx is a compelling program. For more information: Dr. Maryann Dickar 718-620-2560.

Letter Day 2010

This Thursday, Feb. 4 is letter day. The day that 8th grade students who took the SHSAT will receive word on their placement. If they did get a seat in one of the specialized high schools they will also get word about their placement in their "1 in 12" school. Envelopes will be distributed in the public schools. Families will have about two weeks to make their decisions. There are usually specialized high school tours set up early the following week to enable students to take a look and help them decide.  Private school families may have to wait a day or two depending on the efficiency of the distribution.
Read More

Important Meeting for Lefferts Gardens Charter

The  Lefferts Gardens Charter School has asked me to announce that the date has been set for their public hearing for a location. It will be held on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 6 pm at PS 92, which is located at 601 Parkside Avenue between Bedford and Rogers Avenues. If  you can only attend one function this year to support LGCS, this is it!
Read More

more information on lefferts gardens charter school

I attended the information meeting about the Lefferts Gardens Charter School and it looks very promising. I was going to write a long blog to report on it, but the wonderful Hawthorne St. beat me to it. Check out their very thorough report. The only thing that I would add is that the school anticipates having two teachers per class in k, first grade and second grade and will have a single teacher and a floating teacher and para from third grade on.

New Charter School in Prospect Lefferts Gardens

I just got the exciting news from Hawthorne Street that the proposed District 17 Lefferts Gardens Charter School that will be partnering with the Botanic Garden has the go ahead for fall of 2010. They are waiting on a location but the school hopes to be housed close to the park. Whether you are pro charter or not, this is another option for local families and it answers a need in the community.

"the school will feature an environmental-science program that spans across disciplines. The over-arching idea is that the learning will be "experiential"—meaning that teachers will try to connect what goes on inside the classroom (and out) to children's daily lives. The school plans on working with the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and the Prospect Park Audubon Center as part of its curriculum." - Hawthorne Street

Sunset Park HS campus

I just got back from touring the Sunset Park HS building.
It is everything that you would hope it would be, spacious, light, and beautiful. Three schools are housed there right now, Sunset Park HS which will grow at capacity to 1600 students (currently with a 9th grade), Brooklyn Prospect Charter (currently with a 6th grade) which will be housed there for two years before they find their permanent home and The Lillian Rashkis School, a district 75 program. I would recommend that all parents of 5th and 8th graders make time to tour the appropriate program housed in this building. They are worth a look.

There is a community barbecue celebrating the opening of Sunset Park HS tonight, Wed. between 5-8pm
The school is located at 35th St. between 3rd and 4th Ave.
Meet the administrators, teachers and students and tour the building.