Thursday
Feb272014

the NEW!! prek directory 2014-15

Are you as excited as I am?! I am not being sarcastic - this stuff makes me Geek Out! I do love the DoE's publications and they keep giving us more and more useful information each year. Big doings this year!! They have cleaned up the priority catagories and they have given us the lowest priority catagory that was accepted into each school as a listing in the directory. This goes a long way to help moderate expectations. If you have to wait to hear about a placement until after Memorial Day, at least you aren't flying totally blind.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb202014

2014 High School Letter Day

Letter Day is fast approaching ("oh no!" and "thank God!")

High School Letter Day is scheduled for Mon. 3/10 on the DoE's calendar which is a little weird because they don't usually do placement announcements on a Mon. I have heard an unconfirmed rumor that it may actually be moved to Fri. 2/28 (don't tell your kids, just clear your schedule that afternoon, just in case). We probably won't know for sure until very shortly before the date.

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Monday
Feb032014

kindergarten connect: questions answered

#1.  How does the wait list work?

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Saturday
Jan042014

finding your way around insideschools

Updated on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 11:17AM by Registered Commenterjoyce

I posted this last year when Inside Schools did their redesign, but you need to visit early and often. They are an invaluable not for profit and (if you want more updated reviews) you should support them here.

We are all so sorry that Judy Baum, "ask Judy" passed away in Dec. A great loss for us all.

I love Insideschools.org.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan042014

2013 test scores

For the next year, parents are going to be asking me why they should take a chance on schools that have less than 50% of kids performing at grade level.

Consider this: tests that were given before schools had even seen the curriculum (that the tests were based on) and were so poorly designed that many children couldn't possibly finish them are not worth considering.

You can't rely on the scores to determine a quality school. You are going to have to trust your eyes and your gut.

Read these for more reasons to ignore these stats.

What the drop in new standardized test scores really means - Washington Post

Shock Doctrine: five reasons not to trust the results of the new state tests

2013′s test score takeaways, starting with what didn’t change

Saturday
Jan042014

getting a school tour from a student

Updated on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 10:32AM by Registered Commenterjoyce

You must watch this video before you tour. That is your homework.

Once you have an idea about what you might want to be looking for you can contact the school; call the school's parent coordinator or front office, or check their website for a tour date. Take notes in the introductory talk about the school's programs, partnerships, educational focus, afterschool etc. Then you will all probably break up into groups to travel around the building and peek into the classrooms. Usually there will be a school administrator or parent who is leading the tours and sometime if you are lucky there will be a collection of 5th graders who will be there to answer questions as well.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec192013

"kindergarten connect" conspiracy theories

It is beginning.

I am starting to hear the inevitable creative, crazy, uninformed ways to strategise the Kindergarten Connect process to totally mess up the ranking of your potential kindergarten options. Can we all stop and take a breath? If the city wanted to create an elaborate, passive-aggressive algorithm that was designed to screw you, why would they go to all this trouble? Couldn't they just do that on their own? Frankly, if they were that diabolically dedicated to ruining your life, the whole city would run way better. See this for what it is - a very blunt instrument that assigns seats with certain priorities by random. Do you feel lucky? The vast majority of zoned kids will have a seat in their zoned schools if they want them. Most of you looking for out of zone seats will be lucky if you just keep your heads and stay in the game until the last wait list placements are made.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov152013

Kindergarten Connect update. Hot off the presses!

Lots of questions are answered!
Here is the DoE's School Directory information.

First, the DoE has two different application deadlines listed. March 1 and Feb.14 - I guess we will find out which one is correct in due time.

Here are some things we now know:

  • Charter Schools will not be included on the ranked 1-20 Kindergarten Connect list this year. You apply to them separately through their websites or open houses. The deadlines to apply for their lotteries are usually in late March and lotteries are often held right around the April 1. Remember schools like: Brooklyn New School, The Children's School, Arts and Letters, PS 133 and New American Academy are NOT charter schools. They are un zoned DoE programs. They are different.
  • G&T schools will not be listed on the 1-20 list (you need to test in and do the ranked list if your child gets a qualifying score in late spring)
  • You rank up to 20 DoE programs on the online Kindergarten Connect list, in the order that you like them.
  • When you get a placement in early April, you should pre register at the school, but you will automatically be placed on a waitlist for schools that you have ranked above that school. You will not be penalized on the wait list for registering at the school you have been assigned to. You don't need to take any action to get a seat from the wait list, if there is a seat for you, it will be offered by the school at the time that it becomes available.
  • If you are interested in a Dual Language program, you will be able to list that program separately from the the general ed program in that school. They will have separate code numbers and be listed as separate choices on your 1-20 list.
  • There will be priorities given to siblings, zoned students and current prek students according to the DoE's priority rankings.

 

Friday
Oct182013

Basis Independent

There is a new STEM based Independent School opening in Brooklyn in fall of 2014. They are a for-profit K-12th grade program that will be housed in new construction in Red Hook on Sigourney Street.

They have an in interesting pedigree. They began as a charter school network in Arizona, Texas and DC and they have grown to become one of the most highly respected High School programs in the country according to US News and World Report. They have 14 charter programs and they are opening 2 new independent schools in Brooklyn and San Jose, Ca. The school is accepting applications for K-10th grade (there may be some "bridge classes" depending on enrollment). Tuition is $23,500. for all students. There may be merit scholarship (no needs based financial aid) opportunities in the second year and beyond.

The HS program is 3 years with a 4th year "Essentially, 12th grade Capstone courses transition students from student-centered learning to independent learning. Capstone students study subjects like Category Theory, Organic Chemistry, Quantum Mechanics, Differential Equations, and Game Theory. These courses delve deeply into advanced material and are roughly equivalent to upper-level college courses. The result is that BASIS students enter college prepared to excel in at least intermediate-level college work." - Basis Charter website

Specific admissions information is coming shortly, including applications. They don't have age cut off set yet. They are happy to talk to families on an individual basis about this. There isn't any open house information yet, but I will list it here and in the newsletter when they are scheduled. Student:teacher ratio, 15:1 (first to fourth grade); 25:1 in middle school and smaller again in high school.

Read their interesting FAQ page for answers to questions like:
Why move from charter to independent?
What is a for-profit independent school?
Arizona to NYC, really?
Why no standardized testing?
Red Hook? - there will be transportation (for an additional fee)

Information Sessions:
Wed. 11/13 at 6:30pm

Sunday
Sep152013

giant sea change in kindergarten application procedures

The DoE announced late last week that they are changing the kindergarten application process up in a big way.
The old way that families would apply to various kindergarten programs was to physically go individually to each zoned school in and out of their district and apply in person (drag). They could also register for the charter and unzoned school lotteries and go through the city's g&t process all separately (what! something else to do!?). They would hear individually throughout the spring and summer and sometimes into the fall in a slow round robin as choices in individual schools shifted (get an offer here, get an offer there, offers offers everywhere). Families could get multiple offers to several schools (nice). It was a process that was handled on the local level and there was a lot of wiggle room (you don't have to decide which schools you liked best, you just waited for a better offer to trade up).

Click to read more ...