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Q: I am a senior in high school and I feel like I am way behind when it comes to applying to college. What should I do?
A: If you are just beginning your senior year, you have already been told how busy you are going to be. Do not get stressed! As far as the college planning part of your schedule goes, you have plenty of time -- you just need to prioritize your tasks and get going.
Here is my suggested “to-do” list for the next few weeks:
The beginning of a new school year can be exciting -- and confusing. Some very helpful information is now available for families of students with disabilities. A new fact sheet from Advocates for Children is online in both English and Spanish.
It covers a range of issues that often crop up at the beginning of school, including:
For many children with special needs, the start of school will be a smooth process, but if it's not, you can get in touch with Advocates for Children for advice and assistance. Their help line at (866) 427-6033 is staffed Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
I know you’re busy. I know you work three jobs, are taking care of an aging parent, are getting a divorce, have health issues, have kids in two different schools and you breathe a sigh of relief when your kid goes to school in the morning and you know someone else is in charge, if only for a little while. I get it. But I do need one thing from you. I need to know you’re there.
It doesn’t need to be much. A signed permission slip, submitted on time. A response to a question or a question sent to me about an assignment, or even a critique. Just something to let me know that there is a living, breathing parent out there that is keeping an eye on their child and their classroom life.
High school students who are new to New York City or who are re-entering city schools after a time away, may register at special enrollment centers opened on Aug. 28 in all boroughs. The centers are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Sept. 14, with the exception of Labor Day.
Elementary and middle school students who have zoned neighborhood schools have to wait until the first day of school, Sept. 6, to register at the school. In areas where there is middle school choice or no zoned schools, families should go to a registration center.
The centers are designed for new students and students who aren't yet assigned to a school but in the past, enrollment staff has been able to help some students who needed a transfer or different school placement.
All special education students who have a current IEP (Individualized Education Plan) may enroll directly at their zoned schools on Sept. 6. Those without an IEP need to go to an enrollment center or to a special education site.
Students must be present to register. And, paperwork, including proof of address is required. See the Department of Education's website for all the details.
See GothamSchools rundown on what's happening at the centers this week as parents rush to register their children before opening day.
Here's a list of the centers:
Theodore Roosevelt Campus
500 East Fordham Road
1301 Zerega Avenue (enter on Parker Street)
Brooklyn Tech High School
29 Fort Greene Place (use the South Elliott Place entrance)
Clara Barton High School
901 Classon Avenue
FDR High School
5800 20th Avenue
A.Philip Randolph High School
443 West 135th Street
The High School for Fashion Industries
225 West 24th Street
Thomas Edison Career & Technical Education High School
165-65 84th Avenue
Long Island City High School
Michael J. Petrides School
715 Ocean Terrace, Building C
When school starts on Sept. 6, many 12th-graders will have longer schedules than their predecessors because of a newly-enforced city and state rule. We reported last week that some principals will need to hire new teachers to fill out the schedules of hundreds of seniors who, in the past, would have taken only three or four classes needed to graduate. Others are looking to fill those extra hours with credit-earning activities like community service.
What do you think? Should 12th graders who only need a few more credits to graduate attend a full day of school?
Gone are the days of morning class and afternoon jobs for 12th graders in New York City.
Principals say this fall, a policy requiring high school seniors to attend a full day of school will be newly-enforced. Even seniors on track to graduate, who only need to fill a few more requirements, must attend at least 5.5 hours of class and have lunch as part of their school schedule.
The policy, outlined in the DOE’s February 2012 High School Academic Policy Reference Guide (PDF), means that thousands of students are scheduled for more instruction time than is customary, stretching already tight school budgets and perhaps pushing some students to graduate early.
In April, Midwood High School announced this "dramatic change" on its website: "As of September 2012 all seniors will be scheduled for a minimum of six classes and lunch. This change to the programming of seniors is a city and state mandate and therefore there can be no exceptions."
According to the DOE, the policy is nothing new. "There are no new requirements," DOE spokesperson Marge Feinberg said in an email. The 2012 High School Policy Handbook "consolidated the existing city and state policies. The DOE regularly monitors implementation of the requirements."
I'm in 10th grade going into 11th and i would REALLY like to transfer out my school. The school isn't challenging enough, there are a lot of gangs involved, and the curriculum is horrible. There have been MANY deaths in my school. So I would like to know if it's possible i can transfer out before school starts and if so, what do I need to make it happen.
First, I have to tell you, it is not easy to get a transfer. You will need to be very persistent. Keep in mind the saying: "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again." You must apply for a transfer at the nearest enrollment office.
According to an email from the central enrollment office at Tweed: "Families can visit an enrollment office over the summer to speak with a counselor about a high school transfer (through August 23). They do not have to wait to visit a temporary registration center at the end of August."
You need a very good reason for the change-- usually health, safety or travel hardships. You said there is violence and there were deaths at your school, so that would seem to be a safety concern, but usually they want a person to be the victim of crime in order to grant a safety transfer. However, you should try. Also explain your need for a better more challenging curriculum -- that might get their attention. Chancellors Regulation A-101 covers transfers on pages 7-9.
The fate of 24 "turnaround schools” keeps turning around. Now the Department of Education says they will keep their original names. This is probably good news for neighborhoods used to Herbert H. Lehman High School (did anyone ever say the H part?) or John Dewey High School. They are now spared mouthfuls like Throggs Neck High School at the Lehman Campus or Shorefront High School of Arts and Science at John Dewey Campus. Remember what Skip Card had to say back in May?
But it is confusing news for those using the current Directory of NYC High Schools for their high school search and applications. It’s the new names that appear there. Insideschools has a solution: if you type in the new name on our school search feature, the old one will show up! (And here's an idea: what about limiting school monikers to three words or less the next time around? What's wrong with naming a school after a respected public leader?)
More guidance for the affected schools will be forthcoming. According to a letter to principals from Elaine Gorman, the DOE official in charge of the initiative: "In regard to the High School Directory, please know that you will receive further direction on next steps. We will work closely with you and the Office of Student Enrollment to ensure that information about your school is accurate and distributed appropriately."
We're not convinced that students won't be confused!
Read all about the current status of the 24 schools in GothamSchools.
My son's transition from The Urban Assembly Academy of Arts and Letters to Bard High School Early College was rough on us both. The homework grew exponentially from an hour a night to four-plus hours a night. Subject materials moved so fast it made him dizzy – and me desperate to help him.
Math was the subject he struggled with most, as his stellar A+ grades dipped to a solid C. The math learning gap was huge between 8th and 9th grade, with terms like the Latus Rectum likely to befuddle many parents. We knew he needed outside help by the third week of 9th grade.
Learning how to help was a process. We went to our neighborhood math guru, a friend and professor of math sciences at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, to break down mathematical terms into simple speech. We set up a schedule for my son to go to his school's math lab for help. We procured a tutor. But knowing how to utilize a tutor was also a learning experience.
Q: Are college admissions people really going to judge me on the type of e-mail address I have?
A: Yes! Often little things in a college application can create an impression, and it might not be the kind of impression you ought to give. Your e-mail address is one of these. An address you set up for yourself when you were 10 or 12 might be perceived as childish, such as: carebear26@gmail.
Likewise, e-mail addresses that reflect a devotion to any one band or TV show will also create an impression that could color a reader's impression of you. Avoid such monikers as "9inchnails@yahoo" or "jerseyshoregirl@hotmail." Clearly you shouldn't have any address that refers to sex, violence, politics or religion.
And no, you will not win points if your address reflects a devotion to a college's team, e.g. "DukeBlueDevilsRule@yahoo" -- this falls into the category of "trying too hard."