Happy New Year, 2014

All dates, deadlines, times and places need to be confirmed with the sponsoring organization or school. This newsletter is a listing of interesting sounding programs that come across my desk, it is not necessarily an endorsement of the programs. All listings are unpaid.

what's up with me

I am so grateful that you read this newsletter as well as the other school rantings that I put out there. I really appreciate your kind words and the valuable insights and information that you share with me all year. Tell me your news!

My New Year's wish is that you all remain calm, centered and optimistic. A parent's most valuable tool is a sense of humor.

I have been blogging

"kindergarten connect" conspiracy theories

Private Preschool (and Elementary) Seats and Open Houses

Because I wasn't able to get the Dec. newsletter out, some of these seats my not be available any more, but it doesn't hurt to contact the schools.

I am giving my Intro to Nursery School talk on 1/28 @7pm at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in Park Slope on 7th Ave. Tickets here

Brooklyn Apple Academy for students 5-8 yrs, invites you to visit their school. Email them in advance and join them for tea and work time any Wed. @ 9:45
Please RSVP to brooklynappleacademy@gmail.com

Beyond Basic Learning soon to be in Cobble Hill is opening in Jan. as a daycare but expanding to preschool next fall.

Brooklyn Free Space in Park Slope, open house 1/16 @7pm (childcare not available)
for more information: email newmembers@brooklynfreespace.org, or call (718) 965-3135

Brooklyn Learning Garden has a program called Preschool 101 that provides children ages 22 months to 4 years old with an opportunity to experience a classroom setting and social learning environment. Families may register for one 2-day session per week. 10% off for siblings enrolled on the same schedule. For tour dates and more information go to

Butler Street Coop in Cobble Hill, is looking for families who are interested in a coop model

Chickpeas in the south slope is holding open houses on 1/4 @ 10am & 2pm and 1/6 @ 6:30pm, no RSVP necessary. Their program is for kids 2yr9m to 5yr in one mulit age group.

Explorers Academy Preschool in downtown Brooklyn has 2 spots in the 2/3s classroom for part-time Tuesday/Thursday enrollment starting in December. In January, 2014 they will be opening a New 2's class for 8 children. Students must be 2 by the 1st day of class to enroll. Contact the director Kisha Edwards-Gandsy at kgandsy@nycityexplorers.com for more information.
They hold tour every 2nd and 4th Thurs. at 10:30. sign up on website

Giocare Playschool in Greenwood Heights may have two open 3/4's spots in their 23rd St. location. Contact Ellen at info@giocareplayschool.com or call 347.827.137 to inquire.

Hanson Place Child Development Center in Ft. Greene, might have a prek spot available. Call 718-237-4303 to inquire.

Hudson's Off Henry may have spots available for 4 yr olds. This location is new to Carroll Gardens but they are an established preschool group in several Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Lefferts Gardens Montessori is growing to Elementary School in fall of 2014. For more information email lgmelementary@gmail.com

The Park Slope Child Collective will have two 3-day/week, full-day openings, as of January 2, 2014, in their 3-and-4-year-old program. Please email Education Director Martha Foote at martha@psccc.org if you are interested in applying.

Melissa's Playschool in the south slope may have an opening for a 2.5-4 yr old. Contact Melissa conhollow@msn.com 718-788-1499

One World Project has a tour on 1/25 @ 3:30. They also have a Tuesday, Thursday and Friday spot available in their 3.6 to 5.11 year old Spanish-immersion preschool classroom. Contact Joanne at joanne@oneworldproject.org for information.

The School House in Ft. Greene may have full-time spots available for 9AM to 3PM, 5 days, for kids aged 20 months to 3 years. Contact Audrey at theschoolhousebklyn@gmail.com or call (917)579-3327 for more information.

Trilok School is now accepting new students for 2014 for kindergarten through the fourth grade. Tours are conducted on Tuesday and Thursdays @ 10:00am. Contact Kwok at kwok@trilokschool.org or 718-797-1700 to schedule a tour.

Science, Language & Arts French and Mandarin Immersion International School, in Ft. Greene, may have seats available: one prek spot, two Kindergarten spots, and rolling admission for 2nd-4th grades. For more information, contact Director, Jennifer Wilkin jwilkin@slaschool.org

Williamsburg Montessori looks like it is finally opening in Jan.

If you are a preschool or elementary school director, and want me to list open seats in your program for fall 2013. Please send a note to joyce@nycschoolhelp.com

Public Elementary Schools

I am giving my Intro to Public School Talk on Jan.30 at 7pm at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music on 7th Ave. in Park Slope. Tickets here

The Kindergarten Calendar is up:

Application Period begins 1/13/14 (not first come, first served)
Application Deadline is 2/14/14 for Kindergarten Connect (online application)
Placement Offers from Kindergarten Connect will distributed in early April
Pre-Registration will be mid to late April

Not included in Kindergarten Connect:
Charter Schools do their lotteries in early April
G&T placement process will be later in the spring, after test scores come in.

If you want email updates from the DoE about Kindergarten admissions, PreK admissions, G&T, Charter Schools, late breaking news, subscribe to the DoE's email alerts here.

Watch this video from Inside Schools about what to look for on a kindergarten tour.

The DoE has changed their website a bit. When you click on "Choices and Enrollment" it will take you to a page with tabs for Prek, K, G&T etc. across the top. Search around. The calendars and directories are all in there somewhere.

You can find 2014-15 Elementary School Directories here. Be skeptical of the status bar at the top of each school's page ("last year this school only admitted zoned students"). If you want to know the whether the school you are interested in takes out of zone students in your grade, talk to their parent coordinator. Principals: if you would like me to tell parents that you are happy to have them from outside of zone - Let me know.

There are info sessions in Jan. to explain Kindergarten Connect
In Brooklyn:
1/7 @5:30pm Prospect Heights Educational Campus
883 Classon Avenue, 11225
1/14 @9am (see you there!)
Brooklyn High School of the Arts
345 Dean Street, 11217

Inside Schools update on Kindergarten Connect

PS 18 in Williamsburg currently has kindergarten seats available. Contact Tanya Benjamin for more information at 718 387-3241
They are also starting a new Dual Language Spanish program there in the fall of 2014!

Public Prek

Application Period begins 3/1/14
Deadline to submit application 4/1/14
Decision Letters sent early June (on Memorial Day weekend, they can't hear you scream)
Pre-registration June 9-20

The 2014-15 Directories will be available in March

Gifted and Talented for Kindergarten (to 3rd Grade) Admissions

Access the current handbooks (and practice tests) here.

The G&T calendar is online here.
Jan-Feb 2014 testing takes place
Early April score reports and applications sent to eligible students
April 18 application deadline
Week of May 26 decision letters (where you were placed) mailed to families
Week of June 9 deadline for families to pre-register for placement

Some G&T seats remain unfilled from SchoolBook

Public Elementary Tours

You must confirm these dates before you go: I am typing very fast, dates change and sometimes the schools want an RSVP. If you don't see your school here and you want to list your dates- please email me, I would love to include them!

Check the school's calendars if they don't have a "visit the school" tab.
Sometimes schools don't set up regular tours and they are happy to show you around as an individual (don't expect this from one of the highly sought after programs). If you want to visit one of these "under the radar schools", call the parent coordinator or the secretary and ask if they are setting any up.

Watch this video from the awesome Inside School before you tour.

The DoE is also listing open houses on their website (scroll down the page)

District 13

PS 8 Tours lower school 1/15, 3/5 @ 9:00 am no RSVP required
PS 8 discontinues their Pre-K program.

PS 9 Tours 1/17, 2/14, 3/14, 4/11 @ 9am register online

PS 11 Tours 1/14, 1/31, 2/12, 3/13 @ 9:00am Register online (scroll down their home page and click on a date)

PS 20 1/16, 2/13@ 9am
They have a new Dual Language French Program

PS 46 in Ft. Greene, has a NEW MAGNET GRANT (Communications and Media Arts through Applied Training)!
Check out their open houses on 1/17 and 2/12 @9am

PS 133 Tours 1/16, 1/23, 2/6, 2/13, 3/6, 3/13, 4/3, 4/9 @ 9am. Dual Language Program Information Session only 1/9 @ 9am. Registration is required. Register here.

PS 282 contact Ms. Collins to find additional dates and RSVP jcollins12@schools.nyc.gov

Achievement First Endeavor Charter Tours 1/14, 3/4 @ 8:00am

Brooklyn Prospect Charter info sessions will held for the elementary school on 1/14 @ 6:00pm and 2/11 @ 6:00pm @ the Dwntwn Brklyn Campus Sign up here. Lottery applications will be available here

Community Roots Charter School Tours 1/9, 1/23, 2/6, 2/11, 2/27, 3/13, 3/18, 3/27 @ 8:45am register online

Compass Charter School
Applications will be available in January. There will undoubtedly be open houses announced later this winter

Urban Assembly Academy of Arts and Letters Tours 1/7 9:15am, 1/9 6:00pm, 1/21 9:15am, 1/23 6pm Register online

District 14

PS 34 Tours 1/8, 2/5, 3/12, 4/9, 5/17 contact the school for times

PS 84 Tours 1/22 @ 9:00am. Focus is on K-5th grades.

PS 110 Tours 1/6, 2/3, 3/3, 4/7 @ 9:15am

Beginning With Children Charter School Open Houses 1/15, 1/17 @9am, 1/24 @5:30pm, 1/26 @10am, 2/5, 2/7 @9:30am, 2/23 @10am, 3/5 @9:30am, 3/7 @5:30pm, 3/16 @10am. For a tour or application visit, www.bwccwschool.org or call 718 388-8847 Ext. 260.

Brooklyn Arbor, PS 414 1/3, 2/7, 2/28 @9am, no RSVP necessary

The Ethical Community Charter School Tours 1/15@ 4:30pm, 2/12 @ 9am, 3/12 @ 9am & 4:30pm, 4/9 @ 4:30pm

District 15

PS 10 Tours 1/3, 2/14, 3/14, 4/10, 5/6 @ 9am. Sign up

PS 39 Tours 2/12 @ 9:00am No registration required

PS 58 Tours 1/16, 1/27 @ 9:00am No registration required.

PS 107 Tours 1/14, 2/13@ 9:00am. No appointment necessary

PS 118 Tours 1/8, 2/10 @ 9am. No registration needed.

PS 124 Open House Dates 1/22 @ 9:30. Registration is requested. Fill out the form here.
If you can't make this date, give their Parent Coordinator, Donna Maxil a call and she can arrange something for you 347-563-5375

PS 130 Pre-K Tours 2/12, 2/13. Register here.

PS 146, Brooklyn New School Open House 1/13, 1/31, 2/6, 3/18 (prek) @ 9am, 1/29 (k), 2/27 @ 6:00pm. No registration required.

PS 154 Tours 1/14, 2/6 @ 9:30am. RSVP to dwattenbarger@schools.nyc.gov.

PS 230 1/22, 1/31 @9am

PS 261 Open House 1/9, 2/26, 3/25, 5/7, 5/20 @ 9am. No need to register

PS 295 Tours 1/14, 2/4, 3/4 @ 9:00 am. No need to register

PS 321 Tours 1/9, 2/14 @ 8:45am. No registration required

PS 372 The Children’s School Open House 1/9, 2/11 @ 6:00pm. No registration required. Open House located at Recreation Center on 1st street between 3rd and 4th Avenue.

Hellenic Classical Charter School Open House 2/1 @ 10:00am, 3/8 @ 10:00am

District 17

PS 705 Tours 1/10, 2/7, 3/7, 4/11 @ 9am. RSVP to brooklynartselementary@gmail.com

Independent Middle School Info

Brooklyn Heights Montessori School is growing The Middle School program (4th-8th grade). may have some seats in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade for 2014-2015. Families can contact admissions@bhmsny.org if you have questions.

Greene Hill School in Ft. Greene, is expanding to middle school. This small progressive and popular program is growing into their middle school grades. Tours: 11/5, 11/12, 11/19 Check their website for times and more information.

International School of Brooklyn in Carroll Gardens expands their program at 6th grade. You don't need to be fluent in Spanish or French to take advantage of this IB language focused program. email is the best way to communicate admissions@isbrooklyn.org

Middle & High School

Brooklyn Prospect Charter School:
HS info Night 1/27 @ 6pm RSVP required
these sessions will be held at the Windsor Terrace Campus
Applications for Middle and High School here

Tutoring for PS, MS, HS Choice (or college)

to find the tutor you want, Teachigo

Advantage Essay Coach works with both private-school and public school students, 11th-graders and 12th-graders to write college admission essays. Contact Nikki Weinstein at nikki.weinstein@gmail.com.

Arc Learning Group They offer personalized tutoring and test prep to help K-12 students. Contact Sam Aurora at ask@arctolearn.com or 347.610.4184 for information.

Brooklyn Essay Coach works with students to write college admissions essays. For information contact Shea Dean at 718.812.8940 shea@brooklynessaycoach.com.

Club Z! In home tutoring of Brooklyn works with students in all subjects, pre-k through adults, SAT & ACT. They use screened and background checked tutors. Contact Denise Harding, the director at 917-873-1461 and find more information at http://clubztutoring.com/brooklyn

Praxis Tutors, helping high achieving students reach their goals

Themba Tutors are traveling NYC learning specialists working with students of all ages. Offering one-on-one strategy based learning support, test prep., e.g. SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, etc., and offering college coaching by a guidance counselor. For more information contact them at (917) 382-8641 or info@thembatutors.com

For Parents and Students of All Ages

Awesome Girl Scouts fight to save the Pacific Branch Library - you can help them.

Middle School Misery

Support the Mayor's The campaign for universal prek and afterschool- it is in everyone's best interest

Writing Intensive Workshop in Williamsburg for students in grades 3,4 and 5. Writing Intensive Workshop in Williamsburg for students in grades 3,4 and 5.

Beautiful Snow Art

Websites and articles

We mourn the passing of Judy Baum

Subscribe to Wonderopolis, you won't regret it

Read The Electic Dad:
Enders Game review
The Bechdel Test or Who is Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
Top Ten Hayao Miyazaki Films
The Mystery of Wonder Woman
Top 10 Non-Miyazaki Anime
The Phantom Tollbooth I thought it was the most outrageously clever thing I had ever read in fourth grade.
Its a Game of Thrones Christmas

The Key to Success? Grit. watch this terrific Ted talk

Great blog post about pedestrian safety from PSP

Information from Patch about the Common Core

Judy Baum at Inside Schools weighs in on Red Shirting and Kindergarten Connect

For Families with special needs preschoolers: The DOE is hosting is hosting kindergarten orientation meetings for families of students with disabilities entering kindergarten in September 2014. Meetings will take place throughout the city during the first three weeks of December. You can find the schedule of meetings here.

Renee Dinnerstein: Inquiry Study in First Grade

Renee Dinnerstein Reflects on a Career in Teaching

Interested in a German School? Join a facebook group, here.

15 Most Ridiculous College Application Questions

Board of Education inspects Hogwarts


Brooklyn Preschool Map

This two sided, folded map lists over 200 preschools in northwest Brooklyn; twos, threes and fours/Prek programs in private and independent schools and community based organizations. You can also find this map for sale on my website and I will be offering it for sale at the Intro to Nursery School talks and as part of the package that I offer to private clients who meet with me for an hour or more.

Get the Preschool Map here for $10, plus shipping and handling

Brooklyn Elementary Zone Map

This two sided, folded map covers full districts 13, 14, 15 (new zone lines), 17 and the northern part of district 22. It shows locations, phone numbers, zone and district boundaries for local zoned elementaries, charter and unzoned programs.

I am only offering this map for sale through this newsletter, at the Intro to Public School talks and as part of the package I provide to private clients who meet me for an hour or more.

Get the Elementary Zone Map here for $10, plus shipping and handling

Get Both Maps

Buy both maps here for $15, plus shipping and handling.
I will only be offering both maps for sale through this newsletter, my talks and as part of the package that I provide to private clients who meet with me for an hour or more.

Do you need a little school help or a lot?

If you want to meet fill out my contact form. Then send me an email to give me a little more info and set up an appointment.

I am happy to talk about anything that is giving you a headache.