Blog: Archives

New report: Keeping teens out of foster care

In 2013, New York City launched an array of programs designed to keep teenagers out of the foster care system. Many teens are identified for the program after they have been truant from high school. Known collectively as “teen-specialized preventive services,” the programs represent a pivotal...

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Check out our latest school reviews

This fall InsideSchools has been busy visiting lots of middle and secondary schools. Here are links to some of our latest profiles. The Bronx: Mott Hall V is a noteworthy 6-12 school with a structured environment in a modern building. Science and Technology Academy is a Mott Hall middle...

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Best high school bets for the "B" student

Everybody talks about the highly selective "it" high schools that only take ace testers and "A" students. But what happens to solid students who don’t make the cut? What are their options? The InsideSchools staff just published our 2017 annual list of our picks for the “B” student. These schools...

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High school applications due Dec. 1! Is your list ready?

Have you finalized your your list of schools for your high school application yet? The Dec. 1 deadline is coming up. If you still are undecided about where to apply, or how to rank your 12 choices, we've got tips for you. First, read our InsideTool, Tips for filling out your application. Look...

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Best middle school bets in Harlem and Washington Heights

We’ve been visiting middle schools in Upper Manhattan. Here are some of our favorites. In addition to this list, be sure to see our lists of schools that accept children from anywhere in the city. Applications are due Dec. 1. Central Park East II (grades pre-K-8), East Harlem Why we picked...

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Best middle school bets in Central Brooklyn

A previous version of this story ran in November 2017. It has been updated with new information for October 2018text in italic There are some strong middle school options that admit students from a wider area than their zone or district. Here are some of our favorites. Also take a look at...

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Best middle school bets in Southeast Queens

We’ve been visiting middle schools in southeast Queens. Here are some of our favorites. Be sure to see our lists of schools that accept children from throughout the borough of Queens and those open to to children from anywhere in the city. Applications are due Dec. 1. District 27 (Far...

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Applying to middle school: There’s gotta be a better way

So far this week, I’ve found myself frenetically arguing about middle school admissions with the ref at a 12-and-under soccer game; on the subway with a mom I haven’t seen since my 10-year-old was in preschool (and didn’t much like at the time); and on the sidelines of a 5th birthday party, where...

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Applying to middle school: What to do when

Applying to middle school? Here is a month by month timeline of what to expect and what to do when. November November is the key month for 5th graders applying to middle school because you must get your application in by December 1. Review the application you get from your school's guidance...

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College counselor overwhelmed? Become your best advocate

Q:The college office at my son’s school seems overwhelmed and under-staffed. What can we do? A: This is a common problem for high school students and an issue that was widely discussed at the huge National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC) conference I attended this fall in...

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Why I chose not to have my son take the “gifted” test

I’m as obsessive as any parent faced with the ridiculously complex process of applying for public kindergarten in New York City. I visited more than 100 schools before my son turned five. But I drew the line when it came to having him take a test to see if he would qualify for a “gifted and...

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Should you prep for G&T tests? Answer differs by race, study shows

Originally posted on Chalkbeat by Christina Veiga on October 17, 2017 Is getting your child into a gifted-and-talented program a mark of good parenting? How you answer may depend largely on your race or ethnicity, according to new research. Allison Roda, an assistant professor of education...

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Best middle school bets: Borough-wide options in Queens

Most kids in Queens go to their zoned school for grades six through eight. But if your child has a special interest or talent or you’re not happy with the school around the corner, there are other options. Here are some of our recommendations of schools that accept kids from throughout the...

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5 tips for navigating NYC middle school admissions

The fall of 5th grade is a busy time for families. For many of you, especially those who attend a zoned elementary school, middle school admissions may be your first encounter with school choice. For everyone, researching and applying to schools will take up a lot of your time, but if you’re...

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CIty proposes Lower East Side school integration plan

Some elementary schools in District 1 on the Lower East Side serve mostly low-income families while others, just a few blocks away, serve many more middle class families. Parent leaders in District 1 have long lobbied for an admissions plan to even those numbers out, so that all schools serve a...

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5 tips for navigating high school admissions

The first few months of 8th grade can be a hectic time for kids and parents, but if you’re organized, you don’t need to stress out. Here’s how InsideSchools can help you successfully navigate high school admissions. 1: Read our high school guides to find out how to apply. Review the nuts and...

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Top 5 tips for finding a good NYC middle school…even in August

If you haven’t found a middle school seat for your child at this late date or are unhappy with the one you have, don't despair. Sometimes space opens up the first week of September—as families move or change their plans. Here are some tips for landing a seat: 1: Call the schools directly. ...

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InsideSchools presents: NYC's best pre-k & elementary schools

Want to find a good pre-k or kindergarten program for your child? On October 5, 2017, Clara Hemphill, founder of InsideSchools and author of New York City’s Best Public Pre-K and Elementary Schools will lead a discussion about some of New York City's best public pre-kindergarten programs and...

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A new, hands-on way to prep for the SHSAT

Many middle school students spend tremendous amounts of time on test prep for the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), with “drill and kill,” pencil and paper exercises, lectures and practice tests. A new test prep course run out of Brooklyn Tech High School takes a different...

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College Counselor: How to avoid going into debt

Q: Our son is about to start his senior year in high school, and of course all the kids can talk about is college. He goes to a large public school, and is a good student – not at the top of his class, but solidly good. We think he can get into a number of fine colleges, but the cost makes us...

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2017 test scores now available online

If your child took the English (ELA) and math state exams in 2017, you may now find the scores online on your personal school account at my.student.nyc. If you haven’t set up an account yet, or have forgotten how to log on, ask the parent coordinator at your school for help. Citywide, scores on...

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New York's tale of 2 childcare cities

Parents seeking subsidized child care for babies often hope for a spot at a licensed early education center. But almost inevitably, their babies instead wind up in subsidized home-based programs, known as family child care, where women get paid meager wages to look after neighborhood kids in...

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New special education resource: District 75 school profiles

Finding the right school is hard for every New York City parent, but it’s especially hard for parents of children with significant disabilities. Now, InsideSchools has made it a little easier for parents to evaluate more than 50 special schools that cater to children with autism, emotional...

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High school admissions season kicks off with workshops

Now is the time for rising 8th-graders to start focusing on their high school search. The Department of Education is kicking off high school admissions season with a series of information sessions this month in all boroughs. DOE officials will talk families through the application process and...

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Data dive shows city sets low bar in school diversity plan

Earlier this month, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) released a long-awaited plan designed to increase diversity in the city’s public schools. Noteworthy in the plan are two numeric goals the DOE proposes to use as “yardsticks” to measure their progress. Outside observers have...

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G&T offers go out; 54% snag seat for 2017

The wait is over for students who applied for a gifted and talented (G&T) seat in kindergarten – 3rd grade for 2017. More than half of those who applied—54 percent—got an offer, the city’s Department of Education reported. That’s similar to last year, when 53 percent got offers. Sixty-five...

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Take a look at the all new InsideSchools!

We’re happy to announce the launch of the all new InsideSchools website, chock-full of new features for parents of children in pre-kindergarten through high school. The site, designed and built by the Brooklyn creative agency Radish Lab, packs an astonishing amount of information into an...

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College Counselor: Decision day is nigh. Private or public?

Q: I have been going back and forth on this for weeks and making everyone around me crazy because of my indecision. Decision Day is coming up soon and I have a big choice. I am a strong student and was accepted by four colleges. Three schools rejected me, but they are Ivies, so I'm not that...

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Central Brooklyn & Bronx kids still shut out of kindergarten G&T

Nearly 30 percent of the 35,000 children who took "gifted and talented" assessments in January scored high enough to qualify for one of the city's G&T programs. But, once again, the highest percentage of eligible students come from middle class districts in Queens, brownstone Brooklyn and...

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Harlem diaspora: Few area children attend zoned schools

Stand on the corner of 116th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem early on a school day morning, and you'll see a steady stream of children leaving the neighborhood by bus and subway. Some parents call this daily exodus the "Harlem diaspora." They may live in the neighborhood, but they don't...

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Waitlisted? Join us for kindergarten Facebook Live!

If your child didn't get the kindergarten spot you asked for, tune in to our InsideSchools Facebook Live on Wednesday, March 29 at 12:30 pm. InsideSchools' experts Pamela Wheaton and Lydie Raschka will talk about waitlists, how they work and how to keep in touch with preferred schools. We'll...

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Top 20: Francis Lewis gets most high school applications

For the second year in a row, Francis Lewis High School in Queens, a huge, successful neighborhood high school that offers a plethora of programs for all students, got more applications from 8th-graders than any other school in the city, according to data released by the Department of Education...

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Our picks for Round 2 of high school admissions

March 8 2018 UPDATE: High school letters go out this week. Read and comment about the 2018 high school admissions results here and our best picks for Round 2 2018 here. March 2017: If you’re an 8th-grader who wasn’t matched with a high school, you’re not alone. This year roughly 4,800 (out of...

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Hang in there: High school letters arrive by March 10

*UPDATE 3/10/17: High school decisions are out! We're impressed by all the supportive words and advice our readers are sharing with each other. Join the discussion in the comments section below and also check out and comment on our annual post of Round 2 picks. The wait is almost over. High...

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How Over-incarceration of Parents Can Harm Children

By Leila Morsy and Richard Rothstein As many as one in 10 African American students has an incarcerated parent. One in four has a parent who is or has been incarcerated. The discriminatory incarceration of African American parents is an important cause of their children’s lowered performance,...

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Suit up for summer programs this winter

Winter is the perfect time to think about summer activities for children. In fact, deadlines are coming quickly for many of the city's free programs. Summer is a great time for children to explore a new challenge or continue to sharpen their areas of strength. Not sure how to find the right...

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Explore your public school options: 2 events with Clara Hemphill

Learn about your public school options from Clara Hemphill, InsideSchools founder. She is offering two free workshops in Manhattan next week and presenting her new book, NYC's Best Public Pre-K and Elementary Schools. Come to the Upper West Side on Monday, Feb. 6, at 6 pm for the workshop at...

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College Counselor: Failing grades, do I have a shot at college?

*Q: I am a high school junior, and recently failed 4 out of 7 classes I am taking. Last year, as a sophomore, I also failed English. But I got a 1270 on the PSAT, so I'm in the 90th percentile there. I wonder, conceivably, if I turn my act around, will I have a chance to get into a state school...

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Child turning 4? Apply to pre-k now!

Stay focused, parents of kids born in 2013—the pre-kindergarten application season is in full swing. You may apply between now and February 24. All applications are considered equally no matter when they are submitted, so there's no benefit in rushing it. For in-person help, join us at our free...

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Curious about pre-k? Come to our InsideSchools event Feb. 6!

Pre-Kindergarten applications for children turning 4-years-old this year are due on Friday, Feb. 24. Let us help you get informed and ready. Sign up for our free workshop at Rutgers Community Programs at 236 W. 73rd Street on Feb. 6 at 6 pm. Join Clara Hemphill and the staff of InsideSchools as...

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College Counselor: Choosing between public and private

Q: I have gotten accepted into two universities that I like: one is a prestigious private university, the other a prestigious state university. Both are highly ranked but the private university has the advantage in rankings. On the flip side, it is much more expensive and I can't gauge which one...

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Child born in 2012? Apply to kindergarten now!

If you have a child who will turn five in 2017, now is the time to apply to kindergarten for the school year starting in September. Your child is guaranteed a seat regardless of when you enroll, but you'll have the best chance of getting into a school of your choice if you apply by Jan. 13. If...

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Top ten reasons to love InsideSchools

Here’s why you should support InsideSchools with an online gift today: We visit schools in the snow and rain.
 We’re independent.
 We’re parents (we get it).
 We don’t sugarcoat.
 We know test scores don’t tell the whole story. 
 We avoid jargon.
 We call 'em like we see 'em.
 We do our best to...

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New book on NYC's best elementary schools out Dec. 13

For nearly two decades, parents have looked to Clara Hemphill to help them find a good public school for their child. This Fourth Edition of "New York City's Best Public Pre-K and Elementary Schools A Parents' Guide" features all-new reviews of more than 150 of the city's best public elementary...

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New report: Five steps to integrate schools

The City can do much more to foster economic integration of elementary schools than the small scale efforts it has made to date. That's the conclusion of our new report, Five Steps to Integrated Schools, based on our visits to 150 schools across the city over the past two years. Mayor Bill de...

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To give you help we need help ourselves!

Middle school and high school applications are due on Dec. 1! Have we helped you in your search? It's a tough task – and a rewarding one. You trust us; you turn to us for help. This #GivingTuesday we're turning to you! InsideSchools is a tiny non-profit group. We can't provide the free...

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College Counselor: What if a student has dropped out?

Q: This is a pretty sticky situation. I dropped out of high school to homeschool myself without credit some time ago, using online high school and college-level courses and books, and I've had nobody to help me with college applications or getting into programs. I'm very interested in physics and...

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Event: How to make our schools more integrated

The Center for New York City Affairs and InsideSchools present a Nov. 30 panel discussion based on an upcoming report: "How to Make Our Schools More Integrated." We will present our findings and recommendations for better socio-economic integration of the city's public elementary schools, with a...

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College Counselor: Missed early deadline? Don't worry

Q: I didn’t apply to any school by the November 1, early action deadline. Guess I’ve blown it, right? A: No. True, many students apply to college under Early Action or Early Decision. But MOST students apply to MOST schools later. On the one hand, you have missed the advantages of Early...

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