Insideschools staff

Insideschools staff

Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:09

Turnaround schools: Lose-lose for kids?

No sooner did school let out on June 27 than the uncertainty began for students and staff at the 24 schools slated for "turnaround." An arbitrator ruled on June 29 that the city could not force the removal of teachers from those schools -- even though teachers had already been told they had to re-apply for their jobs or find teaching positions elsewhere. On July 10, the mayor said that the schools should plan for the same teachers to return in the fall. 

Prior to the ruling, the turnaround plan seemed to be a fait accomplis. New principals were installed and even the new high school directory issued last week lists schools under new names. Long Island High School became Global Scholars Academies at Long Island City, for example. The DOE still hasn't decided whether the new names will stick or will revert to the original names.

And what about the students who attend the 24 schools? For some time now it has been a lose-lose situation for them, writes Gail Robinson.

Read her account in Huffington Post: NYC's School Closing Gambit Leaves Students Behind.

Thursday, 28 June 2012 14:45

Insideschools presents Inside Stats

Many New York City schools call themselves "college prep" schools yet a surprising number of high schools don't offer the courses needed to prepare students for college. Unfortunately many students often don't find that out until after they are enrolled. It's not easy for parents and students to find out which schools offer college track courses such as chemistry, physics or pre-calculus. Course offerings are not listed in the high school directory or on a school's Progress Report.

Insideschools and the Center for New York City Affairs are developing a new high school score card (PDF) called Inside Stats. Clara Hemphill presented the proposed scorecard at June 28 forum at the New School. Inside Stats will mine existing Education Department data, from school Progress Reports and Learning Environment Surveys, to offer a more complete picture of high schools.

Philissa Cramer at GothamSchools has a thorough recap of the event. You can watch the panel discussion below and hop over to ustream.tv for Hemphill's presentation. 

We live-tweeted highlights from @insideschools under #NYCschools.

We plan to continue to tweak the score card so please give us your feedback in comments. What other data would you like to see?

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.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012 10:51

Free summer meals beginning on June 28

All children, ages 18 and under, may receive free breakfast and lunch at many schools, parks and pools beginning on June 28, the day after schools close for summer vacation.

Breakfast will be served from 8 to 9:15 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Children participating in the Learn to Swim program at city pools will get breakfast at the pool. Check the city's Department of Parks and Recreation website for a borough by borough list of all available parks and pool sites. You can also call 311 or text “NYCMeals” to 877-877. A list of sites, including public schools, is also on the Department of Education website.

Famiilies do not need to show any documents or identification to receive a free meal. Meals are also offered to any person who participates in a special education program.

The free meals are provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through SchoolFood, a part of the New York City Department of Education, from June 28 through Aug. 31.

What matters most in high school? Graduation rates and Regents test scores? College-oriented academics, supportive teachers - or after school activities?

All of these things matter to students but inside information about high schools is hard to find. There is also intense debate about makes for a "good" high school and how this can be measured.

The Center for New York City Affairs and Insideschools.org will unveil 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.

Admission is free but seating is limited and you must reserve a spot. RSVP by email to: centernyc@newschool.edu.

Thursday, 03 May 2012 10:38

High school round 2 results & appeals

Eighth and ninth graders who applied to high school last fall but were not matched to any school will learn the results of their new applications Friday, May 4, the Education Department said.

In the first round of admissions, about 10 percent of 8th graders applying for 9th grade got no match, forcing them into a second round. Other students chose to re-apply to new or different schools.

Students who are unhappy with their high school assignment, or whose circumstances have changed since they applied, may appeal their matches. Appeal forms will be available from school guidance counselors beginning May 4 and are due back a week later -- Friday, May 11.

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 12:09

New book by Insideschools staffer

Jacqueline Wayans, assignment editor for Insideschools.org and a co-author of New York City's Best Public School Guides, has a new book out -- this one for children.

If you were bright, talented and adored, would you trade it all in for the chance to be greater?

That is the question posed in Ambrose, a fantasy story of the snake in the Garden of Eden The book is designed to help young people understand that they are born with wonderful talents and abilities - but they must value these qualities or risk losing them.

The book that will appeal to many audiences: from parents who can read it to their pre-schoolers  to middle-schoolers who can think – and write about – the questions and quandaries it poses.

Published by Tate Publishing, Ambrose is available on wayanswork.com. You can like it on Facebook, too!

Jacqueline Wayans, assignment editor for Insideschools.org and a co-author of New York City's Best Public School Guides, has a new book out -- this one for children.

If you were bright, talented and adored, would you trade it all in for the chance to be greater? 

That is the question posed in Ambrose, a fantasy story of the snake in the Garden of Eden The book is designed to help young people understand that they are born with wonderful talents and abilities  -  but they must value these attributes or risk losing them.

This is a book that will appeal to parents who can read it to their pre-schoolers, as well as to middle-schoolers who can think – and write about – the questions it poses.

Ambrose is available on  www.wayanswork.com. You can like it on Facebook, too!

The city has released details of its plan to build new juvenile justice facilities, which will allow New York City kids convicted of breaking the law to stay closer to their homes and families, rather than being sent to lockups run by the state.

One of the criticisms of the current system is that city kids don't get credit for the schoolwork they do while serving time in state facilities, since the schools aren't accredited by the Department of Education. Many students find it very hard to re-enter schools upon their return to the city and opening centers locally would offer continuity to their education. The city plans to operate new schools for kids in the city-controlled lockups, starting in September of this year.

Read Abigail Kramer's story about the plan on the new Child Welfare Watch news blog at the Center for New York City Affairs.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012 14:52

Using exams to judge teachers, schools

Sparks flew at the Brooklyn Secondary School for Collaborative Studies on Monday night as the chief academic officer defended the city's heavy reliance on standardized exams to judge schools, principals and teachers.

Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky was under fire all night from the crowd in the packed school auditorium in Carroll Gardens. The two principals on the panel who said they believed the testing regime had damaged education in city schools.

The former head of the Office of Accountability kept his cool and acknowledged that the current state exams did not do a good job at measuring "critical thinking," but he denied that the exams were overly influential and said  that better tests were coming. Why, then, has the Bloomberg administration made such a public spectacle of the A through F grading system, which is mostly based on student progress on the exams, if they aren't very good? Polakow-Suransky never answered that question.

You can read more about the event, which was moderated by Insideschools reporter Meredith Kolodner, on  GothamSchools and SchoolBook. Watch a video clip of the meeting from the Grassroots Education Movement:

Some Manhattan parents are scrambling to stop a plan to move 150 Harlem Success Academy 5th-graders into a building on the Upper West Side. Critics fear the plan could make the Success Academy students, most of whom live in Central and East Harlem, eligible to attend Upper West Side middle schools once they reach 6th grade. Others say the move may jeopardize federal magnet programs at two of the small elementary schools in the building.

E-mail alerts about the proposal went out Thursday to many parents of students in District 3, which spans Manhattan’s west side from 59th to 122nd streets.  The e-mails urged parents to attend a March 15 public hearing and speak out in opposition to the plan.

According to one e-mail, the Harlem Success Academy students are largely from Districts 4 and 5, but the plan would transfer them into District 3 during 5th grade. “Once they are housed in a D3 building, they become eligible for D3 middle schools,” read the e-mail. “Our strong D3 middle schools could become an appealing option for these out-of-district families at a time when we are already facing a serious middle school seat crunch.”