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More than 8,200 8th graders are still sweating out this year's high school admissions process, waiting to hear where they have been accepted for September, and it's now time for current 6th and 7th-graders to start thinking about high school admissions.
Some questions for families to consider:
Should I prep for the SHSAT (for neophytes, that stands for Specialized High School Admissions Test) for possible entrance to one of eight highly competitive exam schools? Will it be enough to just do a practice test from the booklet? Or should I sign up for an outside prep course?
Answers to these and other questions can be found in our guide to enrolling in high school in the Basics section and in our high school admissions posts on the InsideSCOOP. There is lots of good advice from parents such as Liz Willen who have been through the process (twice!), in the blog comments, and on our high school forum.
Note that a few high schools host tours and information sessions in the spring for parents who want to get a headstart on visiting schools. Your best bet is to check school websites or call the parent coordinators to find out.
High School Info Sessions
For an official introduction to the high school admissions season, the Department of Education is hosting May high school information sessions in all five boroughs for 6th and 7th grade students and their families. All meetings run from 6-8 p.m. and begin May 10. The last sessions are on May 26.
In July, the DOE typically offers evening workshops on different types of high schools. Here's are links to our recaps of a few of last summer's sessions on specialized high schools,and selective and audition schools, and to the DOE's handouts from all eight sessions. (We'll post this summer's dates once we get them).
Parents of 8th and 9th-graders: Got any tips about the high school admissions process? Were the info sessions helpful last year? Please comment below.
See the list of info session dates and locations after the jump:The Bronx
Wednesday, May 11:
Theodore Roosevelt Campus
500 East Fordham Road
Thursday, May 19:
PS/MS 194 at 2365 Waterbury Avenue
Tuesday, May 10:
Boys & Girls High School
1700 Fulton Street
Thursday, May 26:
Brooklyn High School of the Arts
345 Dean Street
Tuesday, May 10:
High School for Health Professions
345 East 15th Street
Tuesday, May 17:
132 West 89th Street
Thursday, May 12:
Francis Lewis High School
58?20 Utopia Parkway
Thursday, May 26:
Long Island City High School
Wednesday, May 18:
New Dorp High School
465 New Dorp Lane
Students in grades 3-8 will take the state reading (English Language Arts) exam for three days next week: May 4, 5, and 6. The following week they face three days of math tests: May 11, 12, and 13.
For years, the tests were given in January and March, but last year the state decided to give the exams in May so they could cover more material. That resulted in widespread confusion in June about which students needed to attend summer school--because the results weren't available yet. In late July, the state announced it had set higher scores needed to pass the tests, resulting in more than half of the 23,000 students attending summer school finding out they wouldn't be promoted to the next grade.
Given last year's experience, and the high stakes associated with the standardized tests in general, we're wondering whether parents are helping with "test prep" their kids at home, or even signing them up for tutoring or prep courses. Or, have teachers have done enough in the previous eight months to prepare them?
Take our poll (in the righthand column) and comment below.
Want to learn more about the system of high school choice in New York City? Want to sound off on how the process has worked for your family or offer suggestions on how to improve it? The Center for New York City Affairs and Insideschools.org present a forum "High Stakes Decisions: How NYC's Students Have Fared Under High School Choice" Wednesday, April 20 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at the Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor.
New York City's system of high school choice is the largest in the nation, with students bidding for placement among hundreds of schools. The goal is to let students escape low-performing neighborhood schools, allowing them to compete for a spot in up to 12 schools anywhere in the city. Today, 80% of students applying get one of their top five picks. But placement of the city's most vulnerable students remains controversial. And the act of choosing schools is often overwhelming for families.
New York University Associate Professor Sean Corcoran conducted a thorough analysis of the 2008 high school admissions season, investigating the choices 8th and 9th graders make when applying to high school and where they are ultimately placed. He will report on the trends, offer observations from other scholars, and present findings from his paper: "School Choice and Competition in the New York City Schools."
Clara Hemphill, of Insideschools, will moderate a panel including: Robert Sanft, recently-appointed chief executive officer of the Office of Student Enrollment at the Department of Education, Arlen Benjamin-Gomez, staff attorney from Advocates for Children and expert on English Language Learners and special ed students, Carol Boyd, a Bronx parent advocate with New Settlement Apartments, and Carolyn Sattin Bajaj, a doctoral candidate at NYU who has researched immigrant families experiences with school choice.
Can't make it to the forum? We'll be live-streaming it on the homepage of Insideschools.org.
TIME & PLACE:
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor.
Cathie Black is out as chancellor of NYC public schools and Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott will be her replacement. Grace Rauh at NY1 was the first reporter to tweet the news this morning. There will be a press conference at City Hall at 11:30 this morning where Mayor Bloomberg will announce the change. You can watch the breaking news on Channel 7.
Walcott was a former president of the Urban League, a non-profit social service advocacy organization. He is a graduate of city public schools, attending PS 36 and JHS 192 in Queens and graduating from Francis Lewis High School. Here's his bio.
The news will not come as a surprise to many observers as just this week a NY1 Marist Poll showed that only 17% of New Yorkers approved of the job Black is doing as chancellor. The announcement comes only three months into her tenure, making her the shortest-serving appointed chancellor of the city's schools.
More news - and what it might mean for the city schools - as we get it.
Parents now have until April 22 to nominate themselves to serve on one of the 36 Community and Citywide Education Councils -- and they can even text to get application information, in addition to applying online or by mail.
The original deadline to submit applications was April 9.
Schools Chancellor Cathy Black and Ojeda Hall, director of the Office for Family Information and Action, today issued a call for more applicants and parent participation.
"We want our CEC membership to reflect a cross-section of our school communities and the diversity of our student population so we have
extended our application deadline to April 22," said Ojeda Hall. "This is a great opportunity for parents who have not been engaged before in the
education process to become informed and active."
In past years it has been hard to fill the seats on some councils and this year appears to be no exception. The councils serve largely as advisory boards which can advocate on zoning, how school buildings are used, and how DOE policies affect schools in each district, but they have little decision-making power.
Parents interested in serving on one of the Community District Education Councils, Citywide Council on High Schools, Citywide
Council on English Language Learners, Citywide Council on Special Education or District 75 Council can text "APPLY" to 877877 to receive application information. Or they can fill out and submit applications online or via mail.
See the DOE's press release for more details.
Nearly 8,000 high school applicants were rejected at all the high schools they chose in the main round of acceptances this week. If you are one of them, don’t despair. Some good schools still have seats available in the supplementary round. And if you eventually are assigned to a school you didn’t choose, you can appeal later in the spring.
First, you should attend the supplementary round high school fair on Tuesday, April 5 from 6-9 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. high school complex located at 122 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. Talk to principals and students. Check out the schools’ profiles on Insideschools.org and take another look at their listing in the high school directory. Call schools that interest you to see if it is possible to tour. Remember, supplementary round applications are due back to guidance counselors by Friday, April 15. You'll learn where you were matched by May 27th. If you are unhappy with your match, you may appeal by June 3. You'll hear whether your appeal is granted June 24. The good news: in recent years, a large proportion of appeals have been successful.
Here are some schools we like that still have seats. (after the jump
Schools for high-achieving students
In the Bronx, consider the selective program at Marble Hill High School for International Studies. The Cinema School, which opened in 2009 with great fanfare and lots of press attention, is another good bet for incoming 9th and 10th-graders. The Macy Honors Gifted Program at DeWitt Clinton has a good record of getting kids into top colleges. There are openings for 10th-graders at Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science where students have the opportunity to earn college credit in a school with a graduation rate far above the city average.
In Brooklyn, consider Millennium Brooklyn, modeled after the successful Manhattan school of the same name, which is opening in Park Slope. Also look at Abraham Lincoln High School’s Honors Institute for American Studies and Institute for Professions in Science. Clara Barton’s selective Gateway health program, a well-respected program for students interested in medical careers, also has openings.
In Manhattan, the Frank McCourt High School, opened on the Upper West Side in 2010, is particularly strong in the humanities. Thurgood Marshall Academy, a small, traditional school in Harlem with an excellent graduation rate, has openings.
In Queens, Queens Collegiate is a promising school in a wing of Jamaica High School. Also consider the new Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences, previously the most successful program at Jamaica High School and the long-successful George Washington Carver High School for the Sciences. A few of the large high schools have openings in their honors programs, including the Humanities Academy at Hillcrest High School and the selective programs at Long Island City High School and Martin Van Buren.
Other options: Specialized High School Discovery Program
Did your child take the specialized high school exam and just miss the cut-off for acceptance? You may be eligible to apply for the summer Discovery Program. Talk to your middle school guidance counselor about which specialized high schools are offering a Discovery Program and how to apply. Also, check out page 17 of the 2010 – 2011 Specialized High Schools Student Handbook for details about the program and eligibility requirements.
Schools for middle-of-the-road students.
In the Bronx, check out the Holcombe Rucker School of Community Research, a small school with a strong administration. FLAGS (Foreign Language Academy of Global Studies), has a good staff that works hard to get kids into good colleges.
In Brooklyn, The School for International Studies in Cobble Hill caters to a range of students in a welcoming and supportive environment. Gotham Professional Arts Academy, modeled after the popular Urban Academy alternative school in Manhattan, might be a good fit for students who do well in a less-traditional setting with less emphasis on test prep. Brooklyn College Academy, which has openings for 9th and 10th-graders, offers the opportunity to learn on a college campus
In Manhattan, consider Language and Diplomacy, a new school in the Washington Irving building near Union Square. It formed as a partnership with the Asia Society and students learn to speak Chinese. The High School for Economics and Finance, has a highly diverse population and gets high marks for its friendly atmosphere and business internships.
In Queens, consider the new Maspeth High School, opening next fall. Unlike many of the new small themed schools, it bills itself as a "comprehensive" high school and will get a new building in 2012. Queens Metropolitan, which opened in 2010, is another option in Forest Hills. Robert F. Wagner Jr/Secondary School for Arts & Technology, in Long Island City, has a friendly atmosphere and attracts students with a wide range of abilities. Robert F. Kennedy Community High School, is another good midsized option. Recent immigrants might consider Newcomers High School, which ranked 6th in the nation in the 2010 US News and World Report’s annual survey of America’s Best High Schools.
On Staten Island, the Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School is a great option for students interested in hands-on learning who want to avoid the huge zoned schools.
Popular neighborhood schools
Seats are still available in a few of the popular zoned high schools: In the Bronx, consider Truman High School.
For creative students looking for an arts program, there are options throughout the city.
On Staten Island, there are openings in both the Visual Arts and Performing Arts programs at Curtis High School, the Performing & Visual Arts program at Port Richmond, and the Theater program at Wagner.
Career and Technical Schools
For students who like to tinker or want to get hands-on experience and professional certification in technology or the trades, take a look at George Westinghouse in Brooklyn, Queens Vocational High School in Queens and the pre-engineering program at Gompers in the Bronx. As an alternative to the large, traditional vocational schools, consider a new small school such as the Urban Assembly School of Green Careers.
What did we miss? Share your advice and school picks in the comments below.
Parents and community members concerned about Governor Cuomo's budget, which slashes aid to city schools, can get on a bus to Albany tomorrow, March 30, at 10 a.m. to protest the cuts. The trip is organized by advocacy groups including the Alliance for Quality Education., with the main buses leaving from the Bronx and Brooklyn. Or you may join a press conference and rally on the steps of City Hall at 9:30 a.m., organized by Class Size Matters, to mobilize against the anticipated impact of budget cuts to class size and other programs. The City Council Education Committee will hold a budget hearing on April 7 at 10 a.m. on Mayor Bloomberg's preliminary budget projections for the Department of Education.
Here are the details from the press release about Wednesday's bus trip:
WHAT: Hundreds of New York City residents, outraged by the budget agreement, will leave the city at 10 AM on Wednesday for Albany to descend on the Capitol that afternoon, and be present for the State budget voting process. The budget agreement, without an extension of the Millionaire’s Tax, robs already burdened and struggling New Yorkers in order to provide a multi-billion-dollar tax break for the wealthy. The budget also fails to proactively renew and strengthen the rent laws, a sign that the State Legislature is more concerned with pandering to real estate interests than protecting the millions of New Yorkers who depend on these laws to stay in their homes.
WHEN: Wednesday, March 30th – 10 AM
WHERE: Two main locations in Brooklyn and the Bronx
Brooklyn: 2-4 Nevins St. – Jonathan Westin, 917 637 9501
Bronx: Yankee Stadium (161st St and River) – Chauncy Young, 212 203 1171
WHO: Furious citizens and members of the Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action of New York, New York City Coalition for Educational Justice, Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, VOCAL, Real Rent Reform New York, Community Voices Heard and others."
Parents for Inclusive Education and the NYC Division of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners are inviting students to enter a 2011 - Inclusion Contest answering this question: "How does Inclusive Education make my school great?"
Students from kindergarten to 12th grade may submit poems, essays, stories, audio clips and video clips up until April 8. Contest participants will be celebrated in the spring, and will present their work.
Last year's celebration was lauded as an event that was "a very public statement of the DOE’s growing commitment to inclusion," according to Maggie Moroff of the ARISE Coalition, and was "really about the children." Performers included the Peace on Earth Singers, a chorus from a District 75 high school.
New York City Department of Education
52 Chambers Street, Room 220
New York, NY 10007
See more information on the DOE's website.
UPDATE 3 p.m.: See a press release issued after the rally here. Note there is a citywide schools meeting at 6 pm this evening (March 10) at The High School of Fashion Industries (225 West 24th Street) to continue the discussion about education budget cuts and determine next action steps for parents.
10 a.m.: Parents are holding a rally today at City Hall to protest education budget cuts.
Here are the details, for those who are able to brave the rain and take a break from work.
SPEAK OUT AGAINST BUDGET CUTS
Press conference to be held at City Hall
On Thursday, March 10, 2011, NYC public school parents from
all boroughs will come together to speak out against the
devastating proposed education budget cuts. They will stand
side by side and express their concerns about rising class size,
program cuts, and teacher layoffs.
Members of the parent community, parent associations,
Presidents’ Councils, Community Education Councils and the
Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council will be there.
Date: Thursday, March 10, 2011
Where: The Steps of City Hall*
*City Hall is located in City Hall Park.
#4, #5, #6 trains to City Hall/Brooklyn Bridge
#2, #3 trains to Park Place
W, R trains to City Hall
C, A trains to Chambers Street
Schools that join the challenge spend four weeks working to reduce electricity consumption in their buildings, tracking and comparing energy savings.
Last year the winner was PS 166 on the Upper West Side. The school saved $1,845 in electricity costs during the month from mid-January to mid-February. This year's challenge goes from March 4 to April 1.
Find out more about the initiative on the Department of Education's sustainability website.