Insideschools staff

Insideschools staff

Wednesday, 18 July 2012 12:07

Collect backpacks for homeless kids

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:

For the month of July, you may drop off backpacks and school supplies at any Duane Reade store as well as other locations, including the offices of several City Council members.

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.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012 13:05

State wants input on teaching ELLs

Do you have any ideas about the most effective ways to identify and teach children who speak limited or no English? If so, the New York State Education Department would like to hear from you as it revises state regulations which define how schools offer services and English language instruction to children. The goal is to improve instruction and educational outcomes for new immigrants and other children with limited English proficiency.

From now until July 30, parents, teachers and school administrators are invited to take an online survey. Topics include: how English Language Learners (known as ELLs) are identified, or misidentified; how students exit the ELL program; parent involvement and choice in the type of program their child attends,  high school graduation requirements and others.

Click here to take the survey. It will take about a half-hour to complete.

Monday, 09 July 2012 16:00

Council launches LGBT book drive

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."

A Chancellor's Regulation, updated in 2011, addresses the issue of bullying but some groups are concerned that the regulation doesn't go far enough as incidents of bullying continue.

Here's a list of requested books that may help spread the word:

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!