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Old School New School, a website about high school choice created by public school students went live this week. With colorful graphics and funny videos, it gives pointers to 8th graders about how to apply to high school, never an easy task in New York City.
City teens are invited to the launch party on Saturday, July 28 at The teens worked with the Resilience Advocacy Project, teaching artist Douglas Paulson and the Center for Urban Pedagogy. They also interviewed Insideschools staff to see what we look for High school students investigated the public high school application process and created a website to help other teens understand the complicated admissions system.
Old School New School went live this week and city teens are invited to the launch party on Saturday, July 28 in Manhattan at the Austrian Cultural Forum at 11 East 52nd Street, from 3-5 p.m. Middle-schoolers especially will have the chance to view the website and some videos and ask questions from students who put it together.
Six teens worked with the Resilience Advocacy Project, teaching artist Douglas Paulson and the Center for Urban Pedagogy. They also interviewed Insideschools staff to see what we look for on our school visits and how we help parents and students navigate the process with our school reviews and slideshows, blogposts and videos.
The launch event is free and open to teens of all ages. Food and beverages provided. Make sure to RSVP by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 27.
Read more about the site and the launch on GothamSchools.
Rising 8th-graders, who may be spending some of the summer prepping for the specialized high school exam, will have a chance to learn more about the nine specialized high schools at workshops on Tuesday and Thursday nights this week in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Department of Education officials, including representatives from the specialized schools, will give tips on how to prepare for the exam, given in October, and talk about their schools.
These two workshops are the last in a series of July workshops about high school admissions and are the only ones specific to specialized high schools. Newcomers to New York City may sign up now for the August exam and auditions for LaGuardia, the performing arts high schools.
Drugstores and variety stores have already started displaying school supplies for September. To help those families that cannot afford to buy supplies, Volunteers of America is launching its annual Operation Backpack, to collect backpacks and stuff them with school supplies for students who are homeless or live in domestic violence shelters.
Last year, 8,000 backpacks were collected and filled with requested school supplies and distributed to children.
Want to participate? The website lists ways that people can help:
In July and August corporations and other organizations are holding drives to collect items. In August, volunteers will be sorting supplies at a huge space in midtown.
You can host a drive at your office, community organization or place of worship, or you can purchase supplies from a wishlist online. Items may be shipped to: Volunteers of America, Attn: Kristin Kelly-Jangraw, 340 West 85th Street | New York, NY 10025.
The State Education Department said today that standardized math and reading test scores for grades 3-8 will be released Tuesday, July 17. That's nearly a month earlier than 2011 when test data was released on Aug. 8, with parents able to access their children's scores online on Aug. 17.
This year, test administration in April was marred by errors on the several of the exams resulting in questions being discarded. An 8th-grade exam had a nonsensical story about a talking pineapple that almost no one understood and, in May, teachers were confused about how to score the exams. This was the first year that the testing company Pearson produced the tests. Because of the many mistakes, the state said that Pearson would have to pay for an expert review of its test development process.
Families of 113 children, angry about the emphasis on high-stakes testing, decided to opt out of taking the exam, the New York Times reported, more than in previous years. Many others decided to boycott the field-tests in May and June.
My son did something last month that is apparently unacceptable among driven and high striving high school juniors these days: He failed.
More specifically, he failed the trigonometry Regents by three points – after taking three Advanced Placement exams, six finals, three SAT sittings (one of them unplanned after a testing debacle) and at least four other Regents.
My reaction has surprised me. I'm relieved.
As the recent cheating scandal involving 71 students at high pressure Stuyvesant High unfolds, I'm a lot less concerned about one isolated failure than I am about a "whatever-it-takes to succeed,'' mentality among teenagers bent on success.
We're moving into NYC from out of state with entering 9th and 10th graders. Can they take exams for specialized high schools or is that gate closed?
Welcome to NYC! Yes – as newcomers to NYC your kids may take the Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT) – or audition for LaGuardia High School, provided they meet the following conditions:
- They were not New York City residents before November 1, 2011,
- They entered 8th or 9th grade for the first time in September, 2011,
- They did not take the test when it was given in 2011,
- You will have a New York City residence by August 22.
This last condition is crucial because you must register in person between July 9 and August 22. When you arrive, go to any borough enrollment office. The test for the specialized high schools is on August 27, the auditions for LaGuardia are on August 30.
The City Council and Department of Education have launched a five-borough book drive for schools to heighten awareness and understanding in students about LGBT (lesbian,gay, bisexual and transgender) issues.
A message from Christine Quinn's office says: "Access to these books can help prevent bullying, depression and other negative outcomes in students, many of whom come from non-traditional families and/or may be confused about their own thoughts and feelings. It can also help children develop empathy by increasing their understanding about how people around the world are both similar to and different from themselves."
Here's a list of requested books that may help spread the word:
The Center for New York City Affairs and Insideschools.org today will present Inside Stats, a new high school scorecard designed to provide a well-rounded picture of NYC's high schools using available data. But, are there better ways to measure our schools?
Clara Hemphill, senior editor at Insideschools will moderate a June 28 morning panel discussion by experts on high schools: Beyond Test Scores: Imagining New Ways to Measure NYC's High Schools. The panel will include: Robert Hughes, president, New Visions for Public Schools; Martin Kurzwell, senior executive, director for research, accountability and data, NYC Department of Education and Jacqueline Wayans, Bronx parent and parent information specialist at Insideschools.org and Charissa Fernandez, chief operating officer of The After School Corporation.
Can't make the event? We'll host a live-stream here and on our homepage beginning at 8:30 a.m. Watch it and share your ideas of how best to evaluate and measure New York City high schools.
If your 12-year-old is completing 7th grade this week, it's time for you to start thinking about high school. Here's what you and your rising 8th-grader can do this summer.
Schools are handing out the 2012-2013 directory of high schools (now online) before summer vacation. If your child doesn't bring one home. you can pick one up at the nearest enrollment office. You'll will find information about every high school in the city including: what it takes to get in, what time school starts for freshman, whether there is a dress code, and the number of students who applied and were accepted last year. You can also see the school's graduation rate.
To introduce middle school families to the complex admissions process, the Department of Education enrollment office is offering evening workshops, two in every borough betwen July 12 and 19. Rather than a series of workshops offering different admissions topics, all 10 sessions will present the same information so there's no need to attend more than one. There are two additional two workshops, about the specialized high schools only, on July 24 at Prospect Heights High School in Brooklyn and July 26 at LaGuardia High School in Manhattan.
For parents who have not gone through the high school admissions process, the workshops can be very informative. For most city residents the days of sending your 13-year-old to the neighborhood high school are long gone. Even if you think you know how it works, listening to other parents' questions and answers can be constructive. And, you'll be more prepared when admissions season ratchets up in September for the round of school visits, auditions, and tests.
And for more help, make sure to watch our Insideschools videos: Specialized high schools, How to apply to high school, How to apply to an audition school, Weighing your options: long trip vs short trip, and videos spotlighting individual high schools.
The gigantic high school fair, introducing you to representatives from all schools in the city, will be held on Sept. 29-30; fairs for schools in each borough on Oct. 13-14. Before you go, be sure to watch our video, Making the most of the high school fairs
What else should you be doing this summer to help prepare your 8th-grader? Check out Liz Willen's posts on High School Hustle about how to study for the specialized high school exam, the perils of choice, the ins and outs of visiting schools, and more. They which include many thoughtful comments and suggestions about schools by parents.
More students than ever are graduating high school in New York City. And many more are applying to—and attending—college. Yet very few of these young people ever complete a college degree. The number of graduates enrolling in CUNY surged to 25,600 in 2009 from 16,200 in 2002, a jump of 57 percent. But as enrollment has spiked, graduation raties at CUNY's community colleges has declined.
An upcoming report from our parent organization, the Center for New York City Affairs, presented at a forum today at the New School, shows how the city's public schools are preparing more and more teens for high school graduation—but not for success in college and the living-wage workplace.
Keynote speaker David Conley, director of the Center for Educational Policy Research and University of Oregon professor, said that test scores and knowledge of subject matter are not the only indicators for success in college. The ability to show up on time, follow directions, organize your time and know how to ask for help and be persistent are just as important. (Download Conley's presentation here.)
Conley joined Sheena Wright, president of Abyssian Development Corporation; DOE deputy chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky; CUNY's director of admissions, Richard Alvarez; and Fernando Carlo director of Urban Youth Collaborative's Sistas & Brothas United for the forum, Creating College Ready Communities: Preparing NYC's Precarious New Generation of College Students, moderated by Meredith Kolodner of Insideschools.
There is a chasm between what students want to achieve and what they are prepared for. For every 100 middle school students, 93 say they want a college degree, according to Conley. Of these, 70 will graduate high school, 44 will enroll in college and only 26 will get a degree of any kind within six years of enrolling. The numbers for city students are even more discouraging.
Most city high school students have high aspirations, and want to become professionals, yet too many don't realize that their grades in 9th and 10th grade count for college admissions, said Andrew White, director of the Center in his introduction (download the presentation he gave here).
We also live-tweeted highlights from @insideschools under #collegeready.
Watch our livestream of the discussion. And, to keep the conversation going, please share your thoughts about what our high schools, community groups and parent organizations can do to help make sure the city's graduates are prepared for college.