Blog: Archives

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...

Read More 

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,...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

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...

Read More 

HS admissions: Tips for completing your application

Have you finalized your your list for the high school application yet? The Dec. 1 deadline is almost here. If you still are undecided about where to apply, or how to rank your 12 choices, we've got last minute tips for you. First, read our latest high school admissions guide, which includes...

Read More 

How city leaders can back a brave school zoning plan

After two years of contentious public meetings, the Community Education Council, an elected panel of parents, has come up with a courageous and long overdue plan to ease overcrowding and foster racial and economic integration of three elementary schools in District 3 on Manhattan’s Upper West...

Read More 

It's Elementary: DOE admissions events for families

Applying to elementary school in NYC has been compared to having a second job, but things may just have gotten a bit easier for families. For the first time, the Department of Education is staging “It’s Elementary!” admissions events in all 32 city school districts beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 1....

Read More 

Integrating schools in a segregated city: 10 strategies that work

New York City is one of the most segregated school systems in the country, but some schools buck the trend and enroll a mix of children of different races and income levels. How do they do it? And how can their success be replicated? The staff of InsideSchools, a project of the Center for New...

Read More 

HS admissions: Best bets for the "B" student

We all hear about the highly selective schools that only take ace testers and "A" students. But what happens to solid students who don’t make the cut? The InsideSchools staff compiled a list of our picks for the “B” student. These schools offer solid instruction as well as accelerated, college...

Read More 

How "restorative justice" can impact school culture

Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration recently announced that a number of charter and district schools will become partners this school year in exchanging ideas and best practices. The subject of school discipline offers fertile territory—what we do when things go wrong. While suspension numbers...

Read More 

Schools that buck the trend: Integration success stories

New York City has been called one of the most segregated school systems in the country, but some schools buck the trend and enroll a mix of children of different races and income levels. InsideSchools visited more than 80 racially and economically integrated elementary schools in the past year....

Read More 

College Counselor: Explaining "special circumstances"

Q: This is my senior year. I moved to the US from Vietnam in the second semester of my sophomore year. I attend a large, pretty crowded public high school and my parents knew nothing about schooling in the U.S. So my classes are not the strongest in the school and I haven't done ANY activities...

Read More 

Applying to Middle School: "Good school" vs "good school for me"

One thing I noticed during my ten-month long career as a 5th-grader is that parents often get confused with the definition of a “good school.” Parents, there is no such thing as a “good school.” There may be a good school for your child, but there is no all-around exemplary school. Even the most...

Read More 

Can "learning as play" make a kindergarten comeback?

One day last school year, a girl in Fanny Roman's kindergarten class at PS 244 in Flushing, Queens arrived bubbling with excitement about her new shoes. With Roman's encouragement, she began tracing classmates' feet on paper and constructing "shoes," using pipe cleaners for laces. Her enthusiasm...

Read More 

Biggest adjustment in middle school? Lockers!

Our 6th-grade blogger Nathaniel Cain checks in with a report after his first full week of middle school in Brooklyn. On Thursday, the first day of school, I was VERY, VERY nervous. I didn't know anyone—except one friend, who was in a different class. It turned out great—all my teachers are...

Read More 

InsideSchools HS workshop: Best bets for "B" students

Got an 8th-grader at home? You must be in the throes of high school admissions, sorting out your selections and visiting schools. Our advice: Take a deep breath, check out our tips for making the most of your high school search and register for our final fall high school workshop, "Best bets for...

Read More 

HS admissions: Register now for our fall workshops

Got an 8th-grader at home? Then you must be gearing up for high school admissions. Our advice: Check out our tips and handy action plan for making the most of your high school search and register for our fall high school admissions workshops! Insider tips on specialized high schools: September...

Read More 

College counselor: Starting over after two years

Q: In high school, I was sure I wanted to enter the police force, so I attended a police academy for two years. But then I realized this was not the right career for me, and I left the academy. Now I want to apply to a regular college, but am really worried about this. Will my chances of...

Read More 

High School Hustle: Let LaGuardia be LaGuardia

The call to our home came a few months into my older son's freshman year at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the performing arts public high now under fire for prioritizing academics over talent. "This is Dr. Barbara Rowes, and I have something to tell...

Read More 

Applying to middle school? Tips from a 6th-grader

Applying to middle school—a process that begins in the fall of 5th grade—can be stressful if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s very important that you stay on task. My name is Nathaniel Cain and I am a soon-to-be 6th-grader at MS 51, the William Alexander School in Brooklyn’s District 15. I...

Read More 

How to rule your school: Advice for rising 9th-graders

By Katie Radvany and Kaia Tien If you’re a rising freshman, you’re probably already freaking out about your first day of high school. But everyone is just as terrified as you are. You might think everyone is going to be in a competition to rise to the top of the social strata, but being at the...

Read More 

Summer homework: Start your high school search now

The first few months of 8th grade can be a hectic time for kids and parents. It’s easy to lose track of all you have to do for high school admissions. Our advice to rising 8th-graders and families: Don’t wait until September to start your high school search. Summer is a great time to start...

Read More 

A long, hungry summer? Filling the nutrition gap for kids

by Karra Puccia During 10 months of the year, hundreds of thousands of New York City kids eat free school breakfasts and lunches. These meals constitute a vital lifeline for families with already-stretched food budgets. So for many such families, the June 28th last day of public school classes...

Read More 

Diversity in New York’s specialized schools: A deeper data dive

by Nicole Mader, Bruce Cory, and Celeste Royo The most recent Urban Matters ("Tough Test Ahead: Bringing Diversity to New York's Specialized High Schools") reported on patterns of racial and ethnic admission to some of the city's most prestigious secondary schools and how admissions might more...

Read More 

Tough test ahead: Bringing racial diversity to specialized high schools

By Bruce Cory, editorial advisor and Nicole Mader, data analyst at the Center for New York City Affairs. There’s a longstanding debate about why so few Black and Hispanic students are admitted to New York City’s specialized high schools, including Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech....

Read More 

Hard work at PS 191 pays off: Parents open pop-up library

The last time you read about PS 191 in the news it probably wasn't a happy story. Over the past year, the school has been at the center of a neighborhood in turmoil over rezoning and all the community angst that comes with it. But last Friday, as Principal Lauren Keville   and a PS 191...

Read More 

Applying to HS with IEP? What you see may not be what you get!

by Barbara Glassman, Executive Director, INCLUDEnyc The just-released 2017 New York City High School directory has a whole new look. It features more pleasing graphics, and information that is clearer and easier to understand.  While we at INCLUDEnyc support the DOE's efforts to bring more...

Read More 

HS admissions: Improved directory, July workshops & key dates

It's time for 7th-graders to be thinking about applying to high school. The Department of Education announced key dates for rising 8th-graders including its annual series of July high school admissions information sessions. The 2017 high school directory is online, and paper copies are available...

Read More 

53% of G&T applicants get offers; must register by June 10

Fewer students received offers to gifted and talented programs this year than any year in recent memory—and that's a good thing according to the Department of Education. Fifty-three percent of students who qualified for G&T in grades k–3 and applied received offer letters last week, down from...

Read More 

College Counselor: Busboy & baseball ok for rising HS senior?

Q: I hope you can answer this before school closes for the summer. It would help settle a family dispute! Our son is finishing his junior year of high school. He's a good student, B/B+ average—not at the top of his class, but probably in the top quarter. He has to apply to college next fall, and...

Read More 

Pre-k letters out: Register by May 27 (new date)

Pre-kindergarten offer letters went out earlier this month to nearly 68,000 city children born in 2012, and 85 percent got an offer to one of their top three choices; 71 percent to their first choice. Those who didn't get a seat at one of the schools they listed on their application were assigned...

Read More 

College Counselor: No need to submit scores early

Q: Do you recommend that we send colleges our child's first round of ACT scores? Of course, we don't know how he did, but he seemed to feel confident about it. In addition, his practice test scores had him scoring at the 98th percentile. A: You do not say if your child is a high school junior—I...

Read More 

G&T results: Four new programs start in 3rd grade in Bronx, Brooklyn

All 31 city school districts will offer gifted and talented (G&T) elementary school programs next fall—although in districts 7, 12, 16 and 23, G&T will begin in 3rd grade, not kindergarten. In response to the clamor around the city for more programs in poor and primarily Black and Latino...

Read More 

College Counselor: I'm waitlisted! What are my chances?

Q: I was waitlisted at my top school (Cornell), as well as two other schools (UPenn and Dartmouth). Realistically, what are my chances of getting into Cornell from their waitlist? My major is biomedical engineering (with a minor in animal science) and I am female. I got into my "targets" and...

Read More 

Insideschools helped Ruby become the teacher she wanted to be

Eight years ago, as a brand-new bilingual special education teacher, Ruby had some clear ideas about the kind of school that would match her skills—and her passion for her students. "I wanted a small English-and-Spanish dual language school with a positive culture," she said. Using...

Read More 

Can “controlled choice” help integrate NYC schools?

There's been a lot of talk on the Upper West Side about "controlled choice" as a way to ease racial and economic segregation in the elementary schools. The idea, proposed by a group called District 3 Task Force for Education Equity, is to get rid of school attendance zones and assign children to...

Read More 

College Counselor: Should I take the new SAT or ACT?

Q: I am in 10th grade and starting to think about preparing for college admission. This year, some of my friends took the new SAT. But at this point I don’t know if I should prepare for the SAT or take the ACT. Which would look better for college? A: To colleges, the SAT and the ACT “look” the...

Read More 

HS admissions: An action plan workshop for 7th grade families

Got a 7th-grader at home? Relax. High school admissions season doesn't kick in until the fall, so you can spend the next few months preparing for, rather than stressing over, the process. Our advice: Make sure your 7th grader keeps up with her work and gets to school on time every day. Many high...

Read More 

Bed-Stuy parents looking to transform district schools

It seems like every day I read another account of persistent segregation in public schools. They point to one conclusion: No political system or bureaucrat is going to integrate our schools for us. In the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, the Bed-Stuy Parents Committee did not...

Read More 
Load More
×