Entries in district 13 (18)


PS 8's overcrowding

It is not new news that PS 8 is very very crowded and their kindergarten class may be "capped" in fall of 2015. That means that there may not be enough seats available for all in zone families at K. I have found, in other neighborhoods where this has been a problem (look to Park Slope and Kensington for Brooklyn prototypes), that the families who have the best outcomes are the ones who stop shaking their fists in frustration and try to affect change and/or avail themselves of the system which may also provide them with a wide range of school options. The DoE will do what the DoE will do, but they are not against listening and numbers will always get attention. You will feel frustrated through this process and rezoning (which will happen with a new plan or building) is always painful for someone.

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mystery sparkle school planning meeting

I call the beautiful new school building that is going up on E.8th between Kermit and Caton in Kensington "Mystery Sparkle School" because that new construction is always so gorgeous (and they change the numbers). PS 437 is a "working title".

There are some interesting doings down there and a promising proposed plan is surfacing. This may impact (in a good way - relieving overcrowding, providing improved additional facilities and maybe more spots for prek among other interesting benefits...) the PS 130 community among others. 

If you live in Kensington or Windsor Terrace, you definitely have a stake in this decision. There is going to be a meeting with the District 15 Community Education Council this coming Tues. July 15, 2014 at 6:30pm at PS 130, 70 Ocean Parkway. They will be discussing possible zoning changes as well as proposed plans for the Sparkle School.

Here is a flier about the event.


last minute! new kindergarten option for district 13


PS 133, School of Choice

Heather Foster-Mann, PrincipalI am sure you have heard by now that PS 133 (temporarily located in the St. Thomas Aquinas building on 4th Ave. and 8th St. for the last 3 years) has become a "school of choice" for both District 13 and 15. It will return to its old site (4th Ave. and Butler) in fall 2013 and move into a brand new much larger building.

There are a few changes. First, the zone for PS 133 has gone away. The few blocks that made up the zone have been absorbed into the neighboring PS 282 zone. We don't know exactly how registration will be handled but it is likely that if there are more people applying than there are seats available that there will be a lottery for the seats. It is a big school to fill and there will be lots of seats available.

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ch-ch-ch-ch-changes in district 15 for fall of 2013

We have been waiting for word on several changes that are expected to land on the neighborhoods (particularly Park Slope) before the new year. It appears that the DoE is flying some trial balloons. Let me stress that nothing is set in stone yet! This should be decided by Jan. of 2013.

  • Here are the players: District 15 schools that are full to bursting (321, 39, 107)
  • District 13 school, PS 133, that is getting a brand new and lovely, large building on 4th Ave. and Butler on the border of Gowanus and Park Slope - is moving back to that new building in the fall of 2013
  • St. Thomas Aquinas School building on 4th Ave. and 8th St. where the students from PS 133 are being housed until their new building is done, will be vacant for a new program in fall of 2013.

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public middle school seats for district 13 and beyond

You may have heard that a couple strong public elementary schools in District 13 have been granted permission to extend their elementary programs through 8th grade. The hope is that many of their enrolled 5th graders will remain in the schools for the new 6th grades, but some will move on to other district programs as well as the city wides or private programs. That leaves some seats available for District 13 families from outside of the elementary school. Applying to these schools is a win/win and gives you an extra choice.

PS 8 is holding two Open Houses:
Thursday 3/22 @ 6:30pm at the school (37 Hicks St)
Saturday 3/24 @ 2:30pm at the school
Their school will housed in the Westinghouse HS Campus in downtown Brooklyn. Admission priority will be given to families who come to one of the two information sessions. The "New Schools Application" is due back at your guidance counselor on Mon. 3/26/12.

The Urban Assembly Unison School (13K351)
This is a DOE program (not a charter) that will be co-located in PS 56. You need to submit the "New Schools Application by Fri. 3/23. This school is a progressive program with strong features of accountability and structure, utilizing learning formats of independence, autonomy and choice with small group instruction. Social/emotional learning will be addressed directly in the curriculum. For more information, contact Jennifer Ostrow, Director of New School Development at jostrow@urbanassembly.org

Community Roots Charter School
has a sign up online for a Wed. 3/28 info session
their new program will be housed nearby in PS 287. Applications must be recieved by April 1 to be eligible for the lottery. Fill out an online application here.


PS 20 and Sean Keaton

 Inside schools just reported,

"Sean Keaton, former principal of PS 20 in Fort Greene, was acquitted in a Brooklyn court last week of "menacing in the third degree," a charge stemming from an altercation with a teacher in the principal's office in 2009, Department of Education officials confirmed. But the DOE would not say whether Keaton would return to his post or whether the interim acting principal, Lena Barbera, would stay.

 Go to insideschools.org for the rest of the story.


ps 9 fights city hall and wins

PS 9, located at 80 Underhill Ave. has spent the past several years rallying the community and becoming the "go to" program in Prospect Heights for new families. All of this momentum seemed to be doomed when the city announced that they were phasing out MS 571, colocated in the building (not bringing in a new 6th grade in 2011), and adding Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School from outside of the district to the building. Since schools need to share facilities but don't use them at the same time, it would mean that strained facilities would now need to be shared between 3 programs, instead of 2. The DOE's plan was a very strangely inequitable allocation of space. From what I saw, the time allocated to the common spaces didn't correspond in any way to the numbers being served. What followed was months of contentious meetings.

A few days ago a group of parent advocates from PS 9 won an appeal to the New York State Commissioner of Education, David M. Steiner, requesting an annulment of the vote by the Panel on Education Policy (PEP). "The Commissioner found that the DOE did not comply with NY Education Law, and ordered that 'the resolution of the PEP approving the co-location of the Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School in the K009 building is annulled.' The Commissioner further ordered the 'DOE to be prohibited from moving forward with any aspect of the proposal regarding the co-location until the DOE complies with the requirements of the NY Education Law. Specifically, the Commissioner found that the DOE's Building Utilization Plan for the co-location failed to address 'how the proposed allocation of shared spaces ensures equitable and comparable use of impacted students.'"

Essentially, the DOE is back to square one. It would have to substantially revise its Building Utilization Plan and hold a new vote for proposal, which could still happen. What PS 9 now needs to do is to complete their plan for a k-8 expansion. For more information.


update on PS 133

I have been anxiously following the progress of PS 133. A new building is going up to accommodate the 300 seat K-5 school as well as 600 additional seats on 4th Ave. and Butler St. It is very unusual for the School Construction Authority to be late with a project, but the bad winter weather as well as drastic capital funding cuts have conspired to delay the opening until fall of 2013. This is a grave disappointment for the neighborhood which desperately needs more seats in both District 13 and 15 (the School Districts which provided the capital funds to build the school).

PS 133 is currently being housed in the St. Thomas Aquinas School building on 4th Ave. and 8th St. The good news is that the Archdiocese which had not been willing to discuss extending the lease on the St. Thomas Aquinas School building has agreed to extend the lease for an additional year. They have also said that they will negotiate for an ongoing lease to the building. Parents - now is the time to lobby for this building to become the Prek/Kindergarten Early Childhood Center that the district so desperately needs!

How do you do that? There is going to be a meeting with the DOE on Thurs. April 7, 6pm in the auditorium of John Jay HS to discuss local kindergarten overcrowding issues.

You should also contact the District 15 and District 13 CEC (Community Education Council). These are the community organizations that control zoning and are the parents' official voice to the DOE.
District 13
Kerry Ann Greene cec13@schools.nyc.gov 718-636-3212
District 15 Romaine Smith cec15@schools.nyc.gov 718-935-4267


Arts and Letters Expansion Information

There will be a Joint Public Hearing about the Arts and Letters expansion in PS 20 on Dec. 8 at 6pm.

There will be a Panel for Educational Policy Vote on Dec. 14th at 6pm at Brooklyn Tech (between DeKalb and Fulton on South Elliott). Information about the school Here.