I hear parents talk with great certainty about how you need to find a school with a rich PTA to get arts, staff and other untold benefits. Schools, please tell me that I am wrong, but that is not what I see on many tours. What you need is a savvy and thoughtful Principal who will attract a staff that can multi task, including grant writing to bring the programs that they need. Now this is not a blog meant to excuse gross inequities in the system and the fact that public school educators have to be superior grant writers to bring basic arts and enrichments to their schools is appalling. BUT parents who think that you can only get the 'good stuff' at a 'rich school' can be shockingly misinformed. This is a valentine to the schools serving the kids who are not coming from affluent homes, who have done amazing things.Read More
First, watch InsideSchools wonderful 5 min. video a couple of times (and send this amazing 'not for profit' a check for the invaluable work they do before the end of the year - you are going to need them for years to come).
Next, ask yourself this question: If I am attracted to schools that are focused on real learning instead of test prep and opting out of the test is something that I could see myself doing (to protect my child from the stress or as a political act), how much importance do I place on the test scores at any school I am considering? Just asking.Read More
Let the games begin. The application period opened on Dec. 7 and will close on Jan. 15. This is NOT a first come, first served process. You can rank up to 12 programs on your application. You do not need to rank your zoned school, but that DOES NOT improve your chances at one of your other choices AND if you don't rank it and if your zoned school is popular with other people, you run the very slight risk of not being placed there and getting sent somewhere you like less. Don't strategize or monkey around. Be straight with this process and it will work for you.Read More
Dual Language programs provide enriched instruction in two languages (half in English, half in the program’s target language), with the goal of helping students to become bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. Last year, access to these programs was a little random, but the DoE has changed their policy around application to these programs.Read More
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.Read More
Dates are out for kindergarten application and they are EARLY.
Word is that the application period is open on Dec. 7, 2015 and I have heard that the deadline is Jan. 15, 2016. Nothing on the DoE website yet. Spread the word.
Schools have begun listing their tours with the DoE, but many schools were obviously going by last year's Valentines deadline and many tours are being held in Dec. Jan. and even into Feb. - too late to help families make decisions. I am sure that as soon as the schools know the deadline they will adjust their tours accordingly.
I am gathering tour dates from schools in northwest Brooklyn and I will also list as many as I can find in the newsletter.
I say this all day long, "There is a mania for naming schools things that may or may not have anything to do with what is going on in the school." Whether you are looking at elementary, middle school or high school- look past the name. They are trying to differentiate themselves from other schools, but generally, and particularly at elementary and middle school, they often have the exact same curriculum and enrichments. Sometimes the name is wildly out of date. Sometimes it is aspirational.Read More
I don't take guest blogs, but I got this wonderful email from a parent whose child graduated from one of my favorite NYC public schools this spring (not Bard or Beacon or Stuy - keep guessing). She is a kid who squeezed the best out of her good old Brklyn high school experience and her hard work was rewarded by the kind of college placement you all dream of. It is so right on the money that I though I would share it with you. Edited slightly for space. My comments in italics.Read More
I find that parents are confused about what a PA (Parents Association) or a PTA (Parent/Teacher Association) really is. The responsibilities, political or financial alignment, governance, fiscal impact on the school are generally a total mystery. Check out this really awesome website, PTAlink.org that lays it all out for you.Read More
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.Read More
This is classic - she doesn't show up to the Public Forum: “Reimagining the Middle School Admissions Process in District 15”, but she has an opinion about it. I did have a good excuse: the first of two college graduations. I applaud everyone involved! and I will make every effort to attend and support all discussions on this issue. From the reports that I have read, there were many thoughtful and diverse perspectives of the effects of the current process and some options mentioned for possible models. I really like one possible option over the others and I want to tell you why.Read More
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.
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.Read More
The unofficial word is that fewer zoned schools than last year have in-zone wait lists. We are waiting to hear who they are. If you were not placed in your zoned school (and you wanted to be), let me know.Read More
You have until Fri. April 24 to apply for Universal Prek.
You can apply online here or at a Family Welcome Center or by phone 718-935-2067
You can find the Prek Directories here but there are also Updated Directories with many new seats available.
I have listed some notable changes below. This is not a comprehensive guide. You need to scour the lists for yourself.
Thank you to the PTA of PS 124 for this notice!
As many of you know, Governor Cuomo has proposed major changes to teacher evaluations in New York State. We want to make sure to inform you as to the changes this law could bring to your local school – and to your teachers – if it passes.
This blog was specifically written in response to families asking me about prek and k admissions which have a geographic priority that factors into placement.
Your chances of getting into a school are NOT tied to how you rank them. RANK THE SCHOOLS IN THE ORDER THAT YOU LIKE THEM. You will not be disadvantaged by putting a long shot first or by putting your favored zoned school last.Read More