What to look for in a school

News and views on special ed

  • Applying to middle school? Our advice & our picks

    Written by Laura Zingmond
    Busy is the family that has a 5th- and 8th-grader: middle school and high school applications are both due on the same day, Dec. 2! If you are a parent of a 5th-grader, this may be your first experence with school choice.  Options and selection methods vary greatly from district to district. Some districts have mostly zoned schools, others have none and some have a combination. It can be hard for families to figure out.…
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  • High school applications due Dec. 2! Our tips on how to apply

    Written by Pamela Wheaton
    High school applications are due on Tuesday, Dec. 2. Have you made your list yet? If you are still undecided where to apply, or how to rank your 12 choices, we've got last minute tips for you.  We have been visiting high schools all fall, updating our reviews and adding new slideshows. Read our school profiles and check the comments section too. Wondering what other students and parents, and even teachers, think of the school?…
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  • College counselor: No, you don't have to apply to 20 schools!

    Written by Dr. Jane S. Gabin
    By now many families of high school seniors have probably seen the scary article in last Sunday's New York Times. You know, the one that details the panicked quest for college acceptances causing many students to feel they need to file 20 or 25 applications just to have a chance. I have a 3-word response: Get a grip.You don't have to file 20 to 30 applications. Usually 8 to 10 will do, and will offer…
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  • As students audition for LaGuardia, how much does art count?

    Written by Gail Robinson
    This weekend, thousands of 8th and 9th graders will be presenting art portfolios, delivering monologues, dancing and singing in an effort to win admission to the elite “Fame” school, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts. But some parents and faculty say that the performances the students have been preparing for months may have less influence than the state English and math tests they took last spring. Parents of several students…
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  • Math & science 101 for parents: Our guide & videos

    Written by Lydie Raschka
    Are you confused by your child's math homework? Is science an afterthought in your child's school? Take a look at our parents' guide to math and science, including what to look for in the classroom. We give you questions you can ask during parent-teacher conferences as well as suggestions of what to do outside of school! Insideschools will help you find out if your children are getting the math or science instruction they need in…
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  • New School Quality Snapshots are breath of fresh air

    Written by Nicole Mader
    On Monday the Department of Education released new School Quality Reports for every city school, fulfilling its promise to abandon the labeling of each school with a single letter grade. For parents who appreciated this simple shorthand when seeking out the best school for their children, this new system may appear daunting. But for anyone who ever wondered how those grades were calculated or why some fluctuated wildly when all appeared stable on the ground,…
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About Special Education

  • What is special education?

    If your child is having trouble in school, he may need help from a teacher with special training. This extra help is called special education. It’s free, and your child has a right to it under federal law. The public school system has a range… Read more and watch video
  • Noteworthy special education: elementary schools

    These programs were recommended by special education advocates, parents’ groups, university researchers and Insideschools staffers. We looked for schools with high academic standards (reflected by better-than-average test scores); that treat all children kindly; and that serve a substantial number of special needs students. This list… Read more
  • Noteworthy special education: middle schools

    These programs were recommended by special education advocates, parents’ groups, university researchers and Insideschools staffers. We looked for schools that have high academic standards (often reflected by better-than-average test scores); that treat all children kindly; and that serve a substantial number of special needs students.… Read more
  • Noteworthy special education: high schools

    We picked a few schools that have long history of success with special needs students. We also highlight new schools that have a promising approach, even if they are too new to have solid results. Not every school works for every child, and finding a… Read more