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District 3 is holding an elementary school fair to showcase its 21 public elementary schools. On Saturday, Oct. 15, principals, teachers, students and parents will be on hand to talk up their schools and explain the admissions process. District 3 schools include neighborhood schools, schools that have brand new magnet-themed programs to attract students from outside the zone, French and Spanish dual language programs and gifted and talented programs.
The fair is sponsored by the Community Education Council (CEC) and the district President's Council. It runs from 10 am to 1 pm at PS 165, 234 West 109th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam. It is the first such elementary school fair that we have heard about this year. Any others planned? Post the event on the calendar and share the news through in comments below. Also see the District 3 forum for individual school tours.
Our neighborhood school (in Brooklyn) does not have outdoor recess time. The children never have a chance to play outside. Every day they must sit in the cafeteria for 50 minutes in silence. Absolutely no talking allowed. To me, it seems abusive. There is a huge yard adjacent to the school, but the administration refuses to let the children go outside. I wonder if there are any regulations in regards to recess time, or it is up to the schools. Thank you.
Dear Mrs. K:
You might be surprised to know that the Department of Education does have a policy that calls for recess every day, preferably out of doors. I am surprised, not only that that your school does not allow kids to go outdoors after lunch, but also that sitting silently in a cafeteria passes for recess. Most schools provide indoor games and activities when kids don't go out, because of bad weather or the kids choose to stay in. While there are many parent complaints about kids being made to watch videos of questionable quality at recess, that's another story.
Public libraries are letting children and teens off the hook for fines for overdue books.
In a welcome-back to school outreach to city kids, the New York Public Library System, (NYPL) Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library, decided to overlook outstanding library fines as long as borrowed materials are returned. The offer is good until October 31.
Kids under age 17, in all five boroughs, (NYPL includes the
I have 8th grade twins in middle school. One is in a combined Collaborative Team-Teaching/SP (honors) class and does not seem to have Regents classes in anything. The other is in a regular SP class and has Regents classes in Earth Science and math. How does whether you take the various Regents exams in 8th grade affect high school curriculums, high school choices, and does it eventually effect the college credit situation too? Can you clarify please? Thank you.
- Twins mother
Dear Twins mother,
If the twin in the CTT class has an IEP, it is crucial that you make sure that the high school he chooses will have the resources and modifications he needs to take the Regents exams. As Insideschools expert Clara Hemphill put it: "I think parents should insist that their child get the most demanding curriculum they canhandle. The tendency for the school system is to lower promotional standards for kids with iEPs adn as a result they just fall further and further behind. What parents need to do is demand that kids get the extra help they need to meet the higher standards. If the school cannot provide extra help, they can sometimes get the city to pay for private tutoring.
Imagine! Free books every month for every child under 5!
Thanks to a partnership between the Dollywood Foundation and the Department of Education, The Imagination Library is now available in New York City. Registered pre-school children receive a book in the mail (or by UPS) every month until they turn 5. The first book is The Little Engine that Could by Wally Piper and the last book is Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come, by Nancy L Carson.
Under the rules of the library, “A community [read DOE] must make the program accessible to all preschool children in their area. The community pays for the books and mailing, promotes the program, registers the children, and enters the information into the database.“ That way the library keeps track of the books and children’s ages. The foundation is responsible for the delivery system.
I'm a little lost as to what to pack for the first day of kindergarten (and subsequent ones). It's a half-day so I presume snack but not lunch and do they need pencils and supplies or are they provided?
First time kindergarten parent
There is no standard answer to your question. Each school has a different take on the first day. One principal told us that at his school, kindergartners can stay for lunch, either to eat the school fare or a bag lunch, but parents should let the teacher know who will stay and who will be picked up before lunch. Snacks are usually organized by the class mother, who isn’t yet selected, so if your child needs food mid-morning, mention it to the teacher and give her the cheese sticks or goldfish to dispense. (Take a look at Jane Brody's column in today's Science Times for safe snack and lunch suggestions.)
My son starts his senior year in high school this September. Now that January Regents are re-instated, he will probably have only one or two classes left to acquire enough credits to graduate I have heard that even if he does not need the credits, he must attend full time. Is that true?
Dear Senior Mom:
I would count on your son attending full time, even though his necessary credits are complete.
For one thing, there are state requirements for how many hours of instruction are required daily: 51/2 hours in grades 7-12: Here’s what the state regulations have to say:
"The daily sessions for pupils in grades seven through 12 shall be a minimum of five and one-half hours including time spent by students in actual instructional or supervised study activities, exclusive of time allowed for lunch… [ Double sessions schools may have 41/2 hours of instruction.]"
New York State is changing the way it evaluates teachers and principals. Starting in the 2011-2012 school year, the state will use a new system to evaluate teacher effectiveness based on factors like classroom performance and student achievement on standardized tests. The new system will affect how teachers and principals progress in their careers. Depending on ratings, teachers and principals may be given extra professional development, granted tenure or fired. Principals will also be judged on the school's performance.
This coming school year, teachers of grades 4-8 ELA and math and their principals will be evaluated under the new system. In 2012-13 all teachers and principals are scheduled for evaluation under the system.
Under the new system, each teacher and principal will receive an annual professional performance review (APPR) resulting in a single effectiveness score on a four-point rating system of "highly effective," "effective," "developing," or "ineffective." Under the current, less nuanced system, teachers either received satisfactory or unsatisfactory scores.
This year, still being rated with the old ratings system, about 97% of all New York City teachers received "satisfactory" ratings. These numbers correlate with the amount of NYC teachers denied tenure this year, which was also around 3%, and are likely a result of "the city's sustained push to usher more weak teachers out of the system," according to Gothamschools.org. In 2010, the city introduced a four-point rating system for awarding tenure similar to the system the state will put into effect next year, and the number of teachers who recently received tenure dropped dramatically compared to past years.
According to the state Board of Regents, the following factors will determine "teacher effectiveness" ratings:
- Student growth on state assessments or a comparable measure of student achievement growth (20%)
- Locally-selected measures of student achievement that are determined to be rigorous and comparable across classrooms (20%)
- other measures of teacher/principal effectiveness (60%) including multiple classroom observations for teachers and broad assessment of leadership and management actions for principals.
You can read more details on the New York State Education Department website. Advocates for Children posted fact sheets in English and Spanish to help parents understand the system and to monitor it for fairness.
My son's middle school handed out report cards with errors. When the errors were pointed out they fixed them promptly. However, the incorrect info apparently had already gone into ARIS. The middle school also already sent over the incorrect report card to my son's new high school. I have a report card that shows a performance level for one class of 4, but ARIS shows a performance level of 2 for that class.
I sent an email to the person at the school who handled the report card corrections, but I am unsure how relentlessly to pursue this. Will anyone care about what ARIS Parent Link says? Is it possible that it appears elsewhere "in the system" correctly? How can I even find out?
Should I worry?
Dear Should I worry?
If the correct information does not appear in the ARIS record, you should be concerned. For those who don’t know, ARIS is the database that includes your child’s cumulative academic records, attendance, immunization status, and personal details such as date of birth, address and contact information. Parents get an ID number and log-in instructions from school. By accessing ARIS, parents can find out how kids are doing in periodic assessments as well as state standardized tests and Regents exams. ARIS began in the 2005-06 school year, and for most kids, it will eventually include their entire school career.
If you find errors in ARIS you should call the Service Desk at the Department of Academic Support and Performance: 212-374-6646 They will help straighten it out. But on your own, contact the high school as well, especially if it is a large school. High schools use middle school grades to place kids in appropriate classes.
According to an experienced high school parent who chimed in on our forum, errors in ARIS are not uncommon. “Many times the information in ARIS is not correct (data entry errors, problems with high school courses taught in middle school that are not generally offered, problems with specialized courses not generally offered by other middle schools, such as Chess, or Photography, or Studio Art, etc.). I have generally found that emailing a scanned copy of the correct report card, along with a note from the middle school principal verifying that the report card is correct, helps immensely with class scheduling for entering high school students. Make sure that the principal provides an email address and phone where the high school can reach him/her over the summer. And be sure to follow up to make sure that the principal did as above. You can ask to be "cc"ed on the email to your child's high school.”
The DOE now has several “help lines” for parents. If the operators don't know the answer, they can direct you to the appropriate person or department.
Check out: Parent Support Line, 718-935-2009. Answers general questions about your school zone, enrollment, pre-kindergarten registration, and gifted and talented programs.
Department of Academic Support and Performance Service Desk, 212-374-6646. Answers questions about ARIS and ARIS parent link, periodic assessments, New York State Standardized Tests.
General information for the public, 212-374-2363. Includes graduates trying to find their student records for schools that have closed.
Parents and guardians of students who live in District 3 on Manhattan's Upper West Side may apply to seven new elementary school magnet programs—if they submit applications by Friday, July 15, 2011.
Magnet schools receive federal funding for three years to attract and engage students by creating specialized programs. They also offer students an opportunity to attend a school other than their zoned school. Each school modifies its name to reflect the theme of the new program.
Not all schools have openings in all grades. For example, PS 87, now named "A School Without Walls," had a waiting list for incoming kindergartners this year, and has only a handful of seats in the upper grades for the magnet program.
Families who wish to apply to a magnet school must obtain a variance, called a Placement Exception Request. They can pick up and submit the form at either the District 3 office, 154 West 93rd Street, or the Borough Enrollment Office, 388 West 125th Street.
See the new magnet programs after the jump.
The Museum Magnet School for Inquiry, Innovation and Imagination (PS 191), 210 West 61st Street. NOTE: Grades 6–8 were formerly known as Hudson Honors Middle School.
Young Diplomats Magnet Academy (PS 242), 134 West 122nd Street. Grades K–5
The Magnet School for Environmental Stewardship (PS 208), 21 West 111 Street. Grades 3–5
Magnet School for Technology and Multimedia Communication (PS 145), 150 West 105th Street. Grades K–5
The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Institute of Manhattan (P.S. 241), 240 West 113th Street. Grades K–5
Early Childhood School of Discovery and Design (P.S. 185) 20 West 112th Street. Grades K–2
A School Without Walls (PS 87) 160 West 78th Street. Grades K–5
Are there new magnet programs in your district? Let us know in comments below.