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2013-2014 NYC School Calendar

Inside Schools

Our guide to pre-kindergarten - Read Full Article

Our guide to pre-kindergarten

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this month that the city will add more than 4,200 new full-day pre-k seats at 140 public schools in September. The staff of Insideschools has developed this guide to help you find a high-quality pre-kindergarten program for your child.

We created an interactive map that illustrates where the pre-k programs are located around the city. It shows how many seats are available this year, and how many applicants each school had last year.

We also posted our recommendations for schools in Manhattan and the Bronx, for Brooklyn, and for Queens and Staten Island. (To see the full pre-k directory, including new programs opening in the fall, click here to download the PDF.)

These lists only include pre-kindergarten programs that are housed in ordinary public schools. That's because the deadline for applying for these programs is April 23. The city is also developing thousands of new pre-kindergarten seats in community based organizations, child care centers, libraries and public housing projects--not included here. When the city publishes a list of those programs, we'll let you know.

We recommend that you apply online to the pre-kindergarten programs based in schools. If you miss the April 23rd deadline, there will be other chances to apply, but the most popular programs fill up fast. If you need help on the telephone, we recommend you call the Center for Children's Initiatives, a referral and information service that's a great resource for parents: 212-929-6911. You can also use their website.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the new seats are in schools that have extra room--not in the overcrowded or super-popular schools that can barely fit all the kindergarten students who live in their attendance zones. Parents on the Upper West Side in Manhattan or in much of Brownstone Brooklyn face tough odds if they apply to a lottery for pre-k at their neighborhood schools. Some schools have no pre-kindergarten at all.

However, schools in Harlem and the Lower East Side have lots of pre-kindergarten seats. In Brooklyn, there are new seats in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Crown Heights, East New York, Canarsie and Flatbush. In Queens, there are new seats in Astoria, Long Island City, Flushing and the Rockaways. There is a big expansion of seats in Staten Island. 

We drew up our lists of "best bets" based on visits to schools by the Insideschools staff over the past few years. We also recommended a few schools that we haven't visited recently, based on the results of the city's surveys of teachers and parents. We tried to identify promising schools that may have room, rather than schools that are hopelessly oversubscribed--like PS 9 Sarah Anderson on the Upper West Side, which received over 600 applications for 36 pre-k seats last year. 

On our visits, we found that schools that are solid overall tend to have good pre-kindergarten classes, too. But we also found that some schools have terrific pre-kindergarten classes, even if the rest of the school isn't great. Many pre-k programs have bathrooms right in the classroom, playgrounds just for the little kids, and lunch served in class. 

Included in this list are under-the-radar schools like PS 200 The James McCune Smith School in Harlem, where we saw elements that make for a solid pre-k program, including blocks, a fish tank, a safe outdoor play area, a bathroom inside the classroom, and a thoughtful mix of play and academic learning. Plus, the assistant principal is Montessori trained. The school will expand to five pre-k classrooms in the fall.

If you are uncertain about quality call the school and set up a visit. Seats continue to fill over the summer but those of you who meet the April 23 deadline are more likely to get what you want.

What to look for in a pre-kindergarten

Here's what we look for on our visits:

--A neat and inviting classroom; not cluttered and messy

--Engaged children; every child should be busy with an activity

--Children should not have to sit still listening for more than 15-20 minutes

--Variety in the children’s art (not “cookie cutter” art)

--Plants and animals

--Plenty of books

--Labels and signs paired with pictures

--A play area where kids can pretend (kitchen, shoe store, wood shop)

--Puzzles, LEGOS, counters, art supplies, blocks, water table

--A bathroom in the classroom or no more than three doors away

--A safe, enclosed, outdoor play yard

--Lunch in the classroom

--A teacher who moves around, rather than sitting behind a desk

--A time to rest – but not enforced naptime.

--Patient, caring teachers

--Welcoming to parents

For details on how to apply, see our post.

Our pre-k picks: Queens & Staten Island - Read Full Article

Our pre-k picks: Queens & Staten Island

Queens will have more than 1,500 new pre-k seats this fall. Unfortunately, most are clustered in the southeast and other areas of Queens where there’s little demand-– rather than in the very overcrowded northeast section. 


Corona, Glendale and Elmhurst

There are 90 new full-day pre-k seats opening up in District 24, a densely populated section of Queens that is home to many immigrants, but it won’t be enough to satisfy demand. Overcrowding persists despite the opening of several new schools in recent years. One possibility: The Children’s Lab School, a new school opening in the fall, will offer two full-day pre-k classes.

Flushing and Whitestone

District 25 has many well-regarded, neighborhood schools--but the competition for full day pre-k is fierce. Three wildly popular early childhood schools--PS 130, PS 242 and the Active Learning Elementary School--receive several hundred applications each. PS 169 is another good pre-k pick if you can manage to get your child in. It will offer two full-day pre-k classes for a total of 36 seats, although last year the school received almost 300 applications. Your best bet: PS 201 is adding two additional classes for a total of four. Our reviewer called the school “charming” and the Department of Education rated it “well-developed,” the highest rating.


For kindergarten, you can’t go wrong in District 26 in northeast Queens, long the city's highest achieving district. Unfortunately, pre-k is hopelessly oversubscribed and there are no new seats--only a conversion of half-day classes to full-day seats at PS 159.

South Ozone Park and the Rockaways

District 27 is the southernmost district in Queens and reaches to the farthest seashores of Far Rockaway. There’s plenty of room in this district. A new school opening in the fall, PS 316 Queens Explorer’s Elementary, will offer two pre-k classes.

Central Queens: Forest Hills, Jamaica, Rego Park Kew Gardens

Overcrowding is a problem in schools across District 28. The schools in the more prosperous northern communities such as Forest Hills and Kew Gardens perform better than schools located in the poorer, southern section such as South Jamaica. The wildly popular PS 303, also called The Academy for Excellence Through the Arts, received 437 applications for 36 full day pre-k seats last year. You may have better luck at PS 175, a popular, orderly school with solid academics that is adding three full day classes.

Southeast Queens

Parents in District 29 in the southeast corner of Queens have many new options for pre-k in the fall. Our pick: PS 251, which has overwhelming positive responses on parent and teacher surveys.

Astoria, Long Island City

Home to an eclectic mix of longtime Greek-American residents, new immigrants from Latin America, young artists, and middle class families from all backgrounds, District 30 has mostly strong, traditional elementary schools. Unfortunately, the most popular pre-k classes are very hard to get into including PS 222, which drew over 350 applicants last year for its half-day classes, and tiny PS 228 Early Childhood, which received over 400 applicants for its morning program.


On Staten Island most pre-kindergarten programs fill up with families from the neighborhood zone and there is not enough space to meet demand.  One bright spot: the ever-popular Michael J. Petrides School, open to children from all over the island, has 36 new pre-k seats. On our visit, we found two outdoor playgrounds on a 43-acre campus and kindergartens stocked with blocks, LEGO, and play corners.


Our pre-k picks: Manhattan & the Bronx - Read Full Article

 Our pre-k picks: Manhattan & the Bronx

Here are our recommendations for pre-kindergarten in the Bronx and Manhattan public schools, based on our school visits and the results of the city’s parent and teacher surveys. We didn’t include some very popular schools that receive hundreds of applications for a handful of seats. Instead, we tried to find some good schools that aren’t hopelessly oversubscribed.


Lower East Side

If you live on the Lower East Side, you’re in luck. Every school in District 1 has full day pre-kindergarten classes and all offer tours to prospective parents. There are no zoned schools in the district. Some of the schools are known for their progressive philosophy and high levels of parent involvement, including Earth School, Children's Workshop and East Village Community. The Neighborhood School shares a building with PS 63 William McKinley/STAR Academy, which is expanding its pre-k program from one to two classes. Some schools have space for families outside the district.

Upper East Side, Midtown and downtown

District 2, a huge district that stretches from 96th Street on the East Side and 59th Street on the West Side all the way down to the Battery, has some of the best and most popular schools in the city. Unfortunately, there are far more applicants than spots in pre-kindergarten. A brand new school, PS 340 Sixth Avenue Elementary, in Chelsea, will offer two pre-k classes in the morning and two in the afternoon. If you’re looking for full day options popular Midtown West is opening its first pre-k class, PS 116 Mary Lindley Murray is opening two classes and PS 40 Augustus Saint-Gaudens is opening one. PS 126 and PS 1 Alfred Smith are terrific schools that sometimes have room for children outside their attendance zones.

Upper West Side and Harlem

District 3 covers the west side of Manhattan. Most of the schools on the Upper West Side have far more applicants than seats, but PS 191 sometimes has seats for children outside its attendance zone. In Harlem, we loved our visits to the Early Childhood Discovery and Design Magnet (with a hands-on engineering program and LEGO Lab) and PS 180 (which boasts a strong arts program).  We haven’t visited PS 76, but parent and teacher surveys say it has a friendly vibe and strong leadership.

East Harlem

East Harlem has long been a pioneer of innovation and school choice and is home to popular progressive schools such as Central Park East I, and Central Park East II, which receive hundreds of applicants for only 18 full day pre-k seats. Try a hidden gem like River East instead, which is opening a new pre-k class. We haven’t visited PS 102, PS 146 or PS 155 recently, but positive surveys of parents and teachers suggest they are worth considering.

Central Harlem

District 5 in Central Harlem has long had some of the lowest-performing schools in the city. However, there are a few bright spots: We loved our visit to Teachers College Community School (although competition for seats there is fierce.) Our recent visit to PS 200 suggests that it’s moving in the right direction. We haven’t visited PS 125 or PS 197 recently, but parent and teacher surveys are positive.

Washington Heights and Inwood

District 6 once had very overcrowded schools, but enrollment has declined in recent years as the neighborhoods of northern Manhattan have gentrified. Some of the most popular schools have far more applicants than seats. You may have a better chance at three schools we visited recently: Washington Heights Academy, Castle Bridge and PS 128.


South Bronx

District 7 in the South Bronx has mostly low-performing schools, but we can recommend the pre-kindergarten at a few schools we that we have visited. PS 5 has strong leadership and a happy cohesive staff. PS 25 has an amazing science exploration center. PS 157 boasts a good arts program.

Soundview and Throgs Neck

In District 8, we enjoyed our visit to PS 152, which often takes kids from outside across its attendance zone. PS 69 and PS 304 are terrific schools but they are flooded with applicants. It doesn’t hurt to apply, but don’t get your hopes up. We haven’t visited PS 182 in quite a while, but parent and teachers surveys say it’s a safe school with strong leadership and solid academics.

Grand Concourse, Morrisania, Crotona Park

District 9 is on the western edge of the south Bronx and is home to Yankee Stadium and much of the revitalization in the south Bronx. Best bet here: PS 63, which our reviewer called “an oasis of calm.”

Riverdale, Wave Hill, Central Bronx

One of the most overcrowded districts in the city, District 10 is also the top-performing district in the Bronx. A few schools are adding new pre-kindergarten seats: Bronx New School and a new school opening on Webster Avenue called Bedford Park Elementary.

Northeast Bronx

District 11, covering the northeast Bronx including Pelham Parkway, Eastchester and Woodlawn, has space opening up at Linden Tree Elementary, a new small school that strives to be attentive to children’s different learning styles. PS 160 Walt Disney is one of the best bets for getting a spot in this area with three full day classes opening in the fall and good leadership, according to teacher surveys.

Crotona Park

District 12 is smack dab in the middle of the Bronx so it’s worth checking all the bordering districts to find borough-wide options. Bronx Little School is a safe, welcoming place with high-expectations, but over 200 families applied for 18 seats in 2013. Samara Community School is a new school opening in the fall hosting one full day pre-k.

School Book

Opinion: Charter School Battles Leave Parents Used and Confused - Read Full Article

As a parent of two young boys, I detest education matters being boiled down to a showdown between the new mayor and one charter school operator.

Is denying the expansion of three charter schools really the equivalent of waging a war on children? (I smiled when Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor made that claim.) Who could be against children?

Or is it about choice? While parents are told why the charter debate matters, behind the curtain there are insiders and lobbyists that spin the political revolving door while politicians beat their chests.

No, the latest fight is not about children or choice. It’s part of a shrewd political battle that had spilled over from the Bloomberg era. Bloomberg closed almost 140 district schools while opening more than 100 charter schools during his tenure. Mayor Bill de Blasio inherited the former mayor’s approval of dozens of schools planning to open or expand this fall. After a review, he chose to put the brakes on six new schools -- three district schools and three charter schools -- at least partly due to concerns about co-locations.

Still, based on the talking points from charter advocates, you'd think de Blasio was closing down existing charter schools. He's not. Or that de Blasio is anti-charter. Not true; he approved the expansion of 14 charter schools.

Moskowitz, his former City Council colleague, is framed as the voice of the charter movement. Not true. There is a growing coalition of independent charter schools that have distanced themselves from her.

Still, strategically placed behind Moskowitz at her staged events, are the faces of Black and Latino parents who seem to genuinely support her school, if not her broader agenda.

I had supported my charter school too. In fact, many of us jumped on buses to Albany for rallies. It was only when the axe came down on our school, Peninsula Prep, that we realized not all charters operated the same way or shared the same political support. I also realized parents’ voices rarely mattered.

Politicians control the message and the media grab the sound bytes they like. But today's conversation begs for nuance. The charter school system is here to stay. Most people flock to charters don't do so for ideological reasons: they do it out of a sense of necessity.

During a public hearing on Peninsula Prep, parent after parent implored the city not to close our school partly because the surrounding district schools were problematic. Although my political leanings lead me to be critical of the charter movement's long-term goals, I can see why parents line up behind their specific charter school.

But I could never line up behind Moskowitz, or rally in Albany today. I am more inclined to support the message coming from the coalition of independent charters. Charters not connected to networks make up 99 of the 183 charter schools in New York City. This group says it will prioritize existing students over expansion, and is working with the de Blasio administration on ways to collaborate.

Many parents believe charters are remedies to a crumbling public education. But is that the whole story? Children who sit in regular district schools today, oblivious to the political hoopla, matter too. After all, charters comprise just 5 percent of all city public schools. Their futures merits a nuanced, comprehensive discussion and not a jumbled, political fight that leaves parents used and confused.


2013–14 School Year
NYS Testing Schedule

(Elementary & Intermediate Schools)

NYCDOE Parent Guide to Student Participation on State Tests.

NY State Dept. of Education Memorandum on Student Participation on State Tests. 
 (This memo is referenced in the DOE’s Parent Guide)



Family and Community Engagement Parent Leader Updates 


March 29—Pre-K Outreach Event (Bronx)

March 29— Parent Academy (Queens)

April 3 — District 29 Town Hall with Chancellor Fariña

April 8— District 11 Town Hall with Chancellor Fariña

April 23—Pre-K Admissions Deadline

April 25—Summer Youth Employment Application Deadline

More Info

School Admissions News

Additional Pre-K Seats Announced for 2014-2015 School Year
Read More....

High School Admissions Update
As Round 1 of High School Admissions comes to a close, we'd like to share some helpful updates to support your next steps: 

Round 1 High School Admissions Results
Round 1 result letters, which include Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) and LaGuardia High School audition results, will be distributed by your current school (both public and private/parochial) during the week of March 10, 2014. If you have any questions about your high school match, please speak with your guidance counselor. 

Round 2 of High School Admissions
All 8th grade and first time 9th grade students can participate in Round 2 of High School Admissions, including students who received an offer in Round 1. For students who are not satisfied with their Round 1 offer and choose to participate in Round 2, please note:

  • If you do not receive an offer in Round 2, you will keep your Round 1 offer.
  • If you receive an offer in Round 2, you will forfeit your Round 1 offer. You will not be able to choose between the two offers. We will not consider an appeal back to your Round 1 offer. 

In Round 2, students can apply to new high schools opening in September 2014 and other programs with available seats. Beginning the week of March 10th, the Round 2 Application will be available through your guidance counselor. The Directory of New Schools and the Round 2 Program List will also be available on the high school website the week of March 10th.

Round 2 high school admissions applications and Round 1 responses are due back to your guidance counselor on Friday, March 21, 2014.

Round 2 High School Fair
Join us for the Round 2 High School Fair to learn about your high school options, including new schools opening in 2014:

Saturday, March 15 and Sunday, March 16, 2014
11:00 am – 2:00 pm each day
Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Campus
122 Amsterdam Avenue (between West 65th and West 66th Streets)
New York, NY 10023

At the fair, you will be able to meet with school representatives and enrollment counselors.  

For more information about Round 2 of High School Admissions or the Round 2 High School Fair, please visit the high school website or email

We look forward to guiding you through Round 2!  

NYCDOE High School Admissions Team

Community Events

Summer Opportunities

  1. Learning Curve Summer 2014 – Teen S.T.E.A.M.D. Business Accelerator Program (Science Tech Engineering Art Math + Design)—April 7

Are you a teen with a great idea? Do you dream of making the next Snapchat, Facebook, or Grand Theft Auto? Do you build and invent? Do you design your own clothes, or make your own music and beats? Are you working on a film? Are you eager and ready to learn how to turn your ideas, inventions, crafts and art into a business. If this is you, we encourage you to APPLY to Learning Curve, the first and only S.T.E.A.M.D (Science Tech Engineering Art Math + Design) business incubator for teens in New York City. Learning Curve is a summer program that teaches teens how to launch a Start-up in 30 days. Our program is designed to teach 3 major things: 1. Tech Skills -- Coding, Game Development, Engineering 2. Business Skills -- Customer Development, Strategy, Financing Your Business 3. Design Skills -- Product Design & Development . The application deadline is by April 7th . Students may e-mail applications to For more information, print a program overview or visit their website.

  1. Summer Youth Employment Application — April 25 (High School)

The 2014 Summer Youth Employment application is now available. The application deadline is April 25, 2013. SYEP is a six week summer employment program open to youth between the ages of 14 and 24. Participants work up to 25 hours a week from July to August in a variety of entry-level jobs including government agencies, hospitals, summer camps, nonprofits, small businesses, and retailers. For questions regarding the application process, please contact DYCD Youth Connect at 1-800-246-4646 or visit their website.

  1. Fresh Air Fund Summer Opportunities

The Fresh Air Fund provides summer experiences for youth, including its summer camp program or Voluntary Host Family Program. Applications are now being accepted at different locations. To apply, visit Call 1-800-367-0003 for more information.


Upcoming Events

Mon, Apr 14 - Tue, Apr 22
Spring Recess
Schools Closed
Wednesday, April 23
School Resumes



Tuesday, April 29
District 3 Leadership Team
District 3 Leadership Team Meeting
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Joan of Arc Complex

154 W. 93 St.

Room 204
Wed, Apr 30 - Fri, May 2
Standardized Testing
State Math Tests Grades 3-8
Wednesday, May 7
Business Meeting
6:30 PM
Joan of Arc Complex
154 W. 93rd St
Room 204

CEC3 News

To join the CEC3 Email List, 

please send your name and email address to

CEC3 2013-2014 Strategic Plan Document

Adopted at January Joint CSD3 Presidents' Council/CEC3 Calendar Meeting

CEC3 Vacancy! 
Applications are now being accepted to fill the vacant ELL seat on the District 3 Community Education Council

All applicants must be a parent/guardian of  an ELL student currently attending a District 3 elementary and middle school

Contact the CEC3 Office for more information at or (212) 678-2782


Congratulations to the New CEC3 Student Member
 Tyree Etheridge!

2013-2015 District 3 Community Education Council
 President -  Joseph Fiordaliso
1st Vice President - Theresa Hammonds
2nd Vice President - Noah Gotbaum
Secretary - J. Conrad Fagan
Treasurer - Barbara Denham

Olaiya Deen

Parent at PS 191

Barbara Denham

Parent at PS 166 & MS 54

J. Conrad Fagan

Parent at PS 163

Joseph Fiordaliso

Parent at PS 199

Zoe G. Foundotos

Parent at PS 87 & PS 452

Noah Gotbaum

Parent at MS 243 & MS 245

Theresa L.C. Hammonds

Parent at PS 242

Michele Sweeting-Decaro

Parent at PS 165


Elections in the Fall

John Fitzsimons

Borough President Appointee

Donna Veronica Gill

Borough President Appointee

Education Reports

District 3 State Testing Parent Workshop
Given by District 3 Superintendent Ilene Altschul on February 25, 2014
PowerPoint Presentation

Citywide Council on High Schools (CCHS)
Releases Annual Report
Click here for the report

SCA Proposed 2015-2019 Capital Plan
Click Here

District 3 December 11, 2013 Capital Plan Presentation
Click Here

2012-13 PROGRESS REPORT RELEASE FOR ALL GRADES to see your child’s 2012-13 school progress report.


2012-13 State Test Results
City, Borough, District and School

2011-2012 New York State Report Card for District 3
District 3 Report Card

Citywide Council on English Lanuage Learners (CCELL)
2011-1013 Annual Report

New Toolkit
Bringing Attendance Home:
Engaging Parents in Preventing Chronic Absence

Visit Attendance Works for the toolkit Bringing Attendance Home: Engaging Parents in Preventing Chronic Absence with ideas and resources to improve attendance. This toolkit contains activities and materials that can spark conversations with parents about good attendance practices.  

SCA District 3 Capital Plan Hearing Presentation
Presented at the 1/23/13 Joint CSD3 Presidents' Council/CEC3 Meeting