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City funding for hundreds of free after school progams that serve 53,000 students may be slashed by the Bloomberg administration in an upcoming round of budget cuts, the Center for New York City Affairs reports.
Two years ago the Out of School Time programs got $117 million from city, allowing 87,000 kids to attend free after school and vacation programs. City support was reduced to $90 million this year and now, a proposed contract for 2013 anticipates that the city would provide less than $70 million for the OST programs. The cuts mean that fewer than half the current number of students would be served, advocates predict.
A representative for the Department of Youth and Community Development which distributes the funding says the cost of providing services is rising because in the future all programs will be required to provide both after school and summer programs.
Advocates voice concern about the impact of such cuts on families with the loss of affordable child care for working parents.
Read the full story here: Mayor's Axe to After School?
The non-partisan institution, which promotes school choice in education reform, gave New York City a grade of "B" on an A-F scale, and rated it top among the 25 largest school districts in the country for its school choice policies. Brookings looked at such factors as access to charter schools and magnet programs, online learning, and the closing or restructuring of unpopular schools, when they evaluated the districts' choice policies.School districts were invited to highlight what they considered to be their best practicies and New York City singled out its high school application process. All students must apply to up to 12 high schools and most students do not attend a zoned school. Those applications were due on Dec. 2.
This week thousands of 8th and 9th graders are finishing up a season of high school fairs, info sessions, and school tours, designed to help them decide where to apply to high school. After a last thumb-through of the humongous high school directory and a check of school profiles and comments on Insideschools.org, applications must be turned in to guidance counselors by Friday, Dec. 2.
The task of selecting up to 12 high schools to list on an application can be daunting -- for native New Yorkers as well as the many new residents and immigrants. In addition to a list of 12, thousands of students also apply to one of nine specialized high schools, or to a charter school, which requires a different application. Even parents and children who attend all the workshops can get confused when faced with a choice of more than 400 high schools.
For those of you in the throes of high school admissions (or who have recent memories of being there), we'd like to know: Do you feel prepared? Did you get enough guidance about how to apply to high school? Take our poll!
For 8th graders and their families who are logging hours pouring over the high school directory, reading Insideschools profiles and comments, watching our videos on how to apply to high school, and trekking all over the city for open houses and tours, decision time is here. High school applications are due on Dec. 2.
Here’s our advice about how to fill out the application.
School bus drivers may go on strike as early as Monday morning, leaving yellow bus riders to find an alternate way to get to school, the city warned parents today.
The threatened system-wide strike by Local 1181 bus drivers stems from the Education Department's bid for a new contract for buses which transport special needs pre-school students to school. The current contract expires in June 2012 and the union is asking for job protection for its workers in the event that their current employers don't get the bid.
The city considers the strike illegal and is seeking a federal court injunction against it.
Budgets are tight and schools need all the help they can get to bring in outside resources. Applying for grants is one way to help ensure that extra funds become available to your school community.
Here's one source of small grants that Insideschools just learned about. (We'll share others as we hear of them.) Citizens Committee for New York City awards grants of $500 to $3,000 to volunteer-led groups to work on projects that "bring people together and that have a positive impact on the community." The group also offers project planning assistance and skills-building workshops.
Recent awards have enabled students, parents and teachers to come together to make healthy food available in their communities, transform school lawns into community gardens, and start school recycling programs. Citizens Committee is especially looking to reach out to schools in high-poverty neighborhoods .
At PS 24 in Sunset Park, 90 percent of the students are Latino and many are still learning to speak English. But, instead of giving them English-only instruction PS 24 offers a dual language program, with kindergartners getting 90% of their instruction in Spanish.
In 1st to 5th grade, students study half a day in English and half a day in Spanish but the early immersion in Spanish helps solidify reading and writing in two languages, offering longterm benefits for bilingual children, according to Principal Christina Fuentes.
Ramaa Reddy Raghavan, a reporting fellow at Feet in Two Worlds, writes that the"city’s dual language schools have a tough time competing with other schools in terms of academic performance." Because of that, some schools may be reluctant to start a program, despite the benefits for children becoming profiicent in two languages. PS 24 got a "B" on last year's Progress Report -- an "A" for environment but a "D" for student performance on state tests.
Read A Dual Language School in Brooklyn Struggles to Meet DOE expectations But Succeeds in Child Development Areas on Feet in Two Worlds, a project of the Center for New York City Affairs.
Parent-teacher conferences, being held at most high schools tonight and tomorrow, offer families the opportunity to meet teachers and learn how their children are doing in class. But it's hard for harried high school parents, who must rush around large buildings in an attempt to meet every teacher, to do that in the three minutes allotted for each meeting.
Our High School Hustle blogger Liz Willen thinks there must be a better way. Apparently, Chancellor Walcott agrees. He acknowledged as much in his Oct. 27 speech about parent engagement, likening the school conferences to "speed dating." The department is working on strengthening the conferences, he said, and has developed a tool-kit with sample questions to ask teachers as well as tips for how to prepare. Check out 10 questions on the DOE's website and let us know what you think.
Parents who don't speak English can get free over-the-phone interpretation services at evening parent-teacher conferences. Normally translation is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling the Department of Education at 718-752-7373, ext. 4.
While some families are occupying Wall Street Friday night (Oct. 21) with a sleepover, other public school parents are looking ahead to a Nov. 8 election day occupation of Governor Cuomo's office where they will rally in favor of the millionaire's tax and against school cutbacks. Parents from a half dozen public schools in brownstone Brooklyn and Manhattan are planning the event and are inviting others to sign on.
The initiative is not sponsored by schools or PTAs but is being organized by one or more parent at the participating schools
If your four-year-old didn't get a seat in a pre-kindergarten program in Round 1 or Round 2 of admissions this year -- and thousands did not -- there are many seats still available, especially at daycare and child care centers. A district by district listing of schools and CBOs (community based organizations) that still have slots is on the Department of Education's website
A handful of popular schools are on the list -- including PS 3 in Greenwich Village and the Spruce Street School in Tribeca -- but you'll need to contact the schools directly to see what's available. The deadline to apply is Oct. 28. According to the DOE, openings will be filled on a "first come first serve basis." Register directly at the school or CBO. You'll need to bring along your child, two documents showing proof of address, your child's passport or birth certificate and immunization records.