Insideschools staff

Insideschools staff

Thursday, 27 September 2012 14:29

What to expect at the high school fair

This weekend, Sept. 29 and 30, is the Department of Education's gigantic high school fair from 10 am to 3 pm at Brooklyn Technical High School. Prepare for a hectic day, where you will meet teachers, students and administrators and find out about their schools.

You can attend information sessions several times during the day, led by staff from the Education Department's enrollment office. This will be helpful especially if you're a newbie to the process (and it will give you a place to sit down and take a breather.)

Thursday, 23 August 2012 12:34

New student enrollment centers open

High school students who are new to New York City or who are re-entering city schools after a time away, may register at special enrollment centers opened on Aug. 28 in all boroughs. The centers are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Sept. 14, with the exception of Labor Day.

Elementary and middle school students who have zoned neighborhood schools have to wait until the first day of school, Sept. 6, to register at the school.  In areas where there is middle school choice or no zoned schools, families should go to a registration center.

The centers are designed for new students and students who aren't yet assigned to a school but in the past, enrollment staff has  been able to help some students who needed a transfer or different school placement.

All special education students who have a current IEP (Individualized Education Plan) may enroll directly at their zoned schools on Sept. 6.  Those without an IEP need to go to an enrollment center or to a special education site.

Students must be present to register. And, paperwork, including proof of address is required. See the Department of Education's website for all the details.

See GothamSchools rundown on what's happening at the centers this week as parents rush to register their children before opening day.

Here's a list of the centers:


Theodore Roosevelt Campus
500 East Fordham Road

PS/IS 194
1301 Zerega Avenue (enter on Parker Street)


Brooklyn Tech High School 
29 Fort Greene Place (use the South Elliott Place entrance)

Clara Barton High School
901 Classon Avenue

FDR High School
5800 20th Avenue


A.Philip Randolph High School
443 West 135th Street

The High School for Fashion Industries
225 West 24th Street

Thomas Edison Career & Technical Education High School

165-65 84th Avenue

Long Island City High School
14-30 Broadway

Staten Island:
Michael J. Petrides School
715 Ocean Terrace, Building C



Thursday, 23 August 2012 10:58

Free backpack giveaway to kids in need

The Islamic Circle North America will give away 5,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies to needy children tomorrow, August 25, in sites around the city.  The giveaway is part of a national campaign to distribute 30,000 stuffed backpacks to children in need of any religious faith.

City Council Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson will be at the launch event on Friday, August 24 from 5pm-7pm at the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Educational and Memorial Center, 3940 Broadway in Manhattan.
Here's the list of other giveaway dates and places in New York City:
Saturday, August 25
Bronx Muslim Center
702 Rhinelander Ave
Bronx, NY 10462
Saturday, August 25
MAS Sheepshead Bay Community Center
2812 Voorhies Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235
Sunday, August 26
ICNA Headquarters
166-26 89th Ave
Jamaica, NY 11432
Sunday, August 26
Masjid Taqwa
1266 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11216
Friday, August 31
MAS Astoria Community Center
25-15 Steinway Street
Astoria, NY 11103
Click here for more information.
Monday, 20 August 2012 10:30

Poll: Should seniors have a full day?

When school starts on Sept. 6, many 12th-graders will have longer schedules than their predecessors because of a newly-enforced city and state rule. We reported last week that some principals will need to hire new teachers to fill out the schedules of hundreds of seniors who, in the past, would have taken only three or four classes needed to graduate. Others are looking to fill those extra hours with credit-earning activities like community service.

What do you think? Should 12th graders who only need a few more credits to graduate attend a full day of school?

Only 55 percent of eligible teachers received tenure this year, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced on Friday. This is a huge shift from just five years ago when 97 percent of teachers were awarded tenure after three years on the job.

Walcott said that stricter standards for teachers was the reason that fewer teachers were awarded tenure. "Receiving tenure is no longer an automatic right, and our new approach ensures that teachers who are granted tenure have earned it,” said Walcott in a press release.

Teacher who do not get tenure may continue to teach and, for some, the decision to grant tenure can be extended to the next year. That's what happened to 42 percent of eligible teachers this year.

Principals determine which teachers get tenure, rating them on a four-point scale: ineffective, developing, effective or highly effective.

Even as fewer teachers are getting tenure, more teachers are being hired. NY1 reports that the hiring freeze has eased up for 2012-2013, with many of the new hires coming from the ranks of Teach for America (new college graduates) and Teaching Fellows, a program that targets career-changers.

A scarcity of special education teachers persists. To help ease the shortage, eligible general education teachers who have been "excessed" from their jobs may enter the Special Education Re-Certification Program. That would allow them to teach special needs children if they are working toward getting special education certification at Adelphi University.

Old School New School, a website about high school choice created by public school students went live this week. With colorful graphics and funny videos, it gives pointers to 8th graders about how to apply to high school, never an easy task in New York City.

City teens are invited to the launch party on Saturday, July 28 at The teens worked with the Resilience Advocacy Project, teaching artist Douglas Paulson and the Center for Urban Pedagogy. They also interviewed Insideschools staff to see what we look for High school students investigated the public high school application process and created a website to help other teens understand the complicated admissions system.

Old School New School went live this week and city teens are invited to the launch party on Saturday, July 28 in Manhattan at the Austrian Cultural Forum at 11 East 52nd Street, from 3-5 p.m.  Middle-schoolers especially will have the chance to view the website and some videos and ask questions from students who put it together.

Six teens worked with the Resilience Advocacy Project, teaching artist Douglas Paulson and the Center for Urban Pedagogy. They also interviewed Insideschools staff to see what we look for on our school visits and how we help parents and students navigate the process with our school reviews and slideshows, blogposts and videos.

The launch event is free and open to teens of all ages. Food and beverages provided. Make sure to RSVP by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 27.

Read more about the site and the launch on GothamSchools.


Rising 8th-graders, who may be spending some of the summer prepping for the specialized high school exam, will have a chance to learn more about the nine specialized high schools at workshops on Tuesday and Thursday nights this week in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Department of Education officials, including representatives from the specialized schools, will give tips on how to prepare for the exam, given in October, and talk about their schools.

These two workshops are the last in a series of July workshops about high school admissions and are the only ones specific to specialized high schools.  Newcomers to New York City may sign up now for the August exam and auditions for LaGuardia, the performing arts high schools.

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: