2014-2015 NYC School Calendar

2015-2016 NYC School Calendar

Today, 8/28/2015
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Inside Schools

Harlem parents blast District 5 superintendent - Read Full Article

Harlem parents blast District 5 superintendent

For years, central Harlem's public schools have been among the worst in the city—and parents have felt powerless to do anything about it. Now, activist parents in District 5 are organizing to demand change.

Community Education Council meetings in District 5—once sleepy, sparsely attended events—have become a forum for parents' anger over the state of their schools. "Parents realize that they have a voice," said Rashidah White, a District 5 parent and former president of CEC 5.

A majority of the newly elected District 5 CEC members, who took office in July, are vocal critics of longtime superintendent Gale Reeves. And, while their role is largely advisory, council members hope that casting light on long-standing problems will force school officials to act.

"The lack of transparency and accountability in the district continues to erode our schools and create distrust in our education community," the CEC said in a resolution passed by a vote of 6-2 at the August meeting.

The council invited parents to voice their concerns directly to the superintendent at the Aug. 13 meeting, which was attended by more than 30 parents and community members. Parents responded with a litany of complaints. 

Some lambasted Reeves for making what they considered misleading statements after the apparent suicide this spring of the principal of a popular school, the Teachers College Community School. Others complained that their children do not receive the special education services to which they are entitled to by law. Still others criticized a policy that keeps parents out of another school, PS 175, except by appointment.

A PS 36 mother said Reeves ignored her complaint about a teacher physically abusing her child. A PS 123 father said Reeves failed to address parents' complaints about a staff member who hurled insults at students and held up a middle finger at them.

Several speakers defended Reeves and the school officials under attack. One said parents—not just teachers—must take responsibility for the state of schools. Another said parent volunteers are allowed at PS 175, but must make appointments in advance.

For her part, Reeves said rules about confidentiality precluded her from being more forthcoming with parents about the death of the principal at Teachers College Community School. She didn't respond directly to every complaint, but promised to make herself available at a PS 36 Parents' Association meeting to discuss their concerns.

Under state law, the Community Education Councils must submit an annual evaluation of the superintendent to the schools chancellor. The chancellor must consult with the councils on the selection of district superintendents, who serve at the pleasure of the chancellor. Each CEC has 11 members, including nine parents elected by the Parent Associations in each district and two members appointed by the borough president.

Reeves is one of two superintendents who does not meet new qualifications outlined by Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña last year. (The other is Anita Skop of Park Slope's District 15). In her shake-up of school leadership in October, Farina said superintendents should have at least ten years of experience in schools, including at least three years as a principal. Superintendents were also required to show that they had improved the schools under their watch and listened to input from the community. Farina replaced 15 of the city's 42 superintendents. Reeves and Skop were grandfathered in because the new guidelines only applied to new hires.

Reeves, who began her career teaching at PS 191 in Crown Heights and has been a superintendent since 2005, has long been an administrator but has never served as a principal.

(Additional reporting by Mahalia Watson)


2015 test scores released; parents can find them online - Read Full Article

2015 test scores released; parents can find them online

New York City students performed slightly better on state standardized tests in 2015 than they did in 2014, but about two-thirds of test-takers in grades 3–8 still failed to meet state standards on either the ELA (English language arts) or math tests, according to figures released by the state education department today. The so-called "opt-out" movement gained momentum this year with nearly 2 percent of eligible New York City students refusing to take the tests, the city said; statewide some 20 percent of 3rd–8th-graders sat them out. 

Math scores continue to be somewhat higher than ELA, with 35.2 percent of students meeting the standards—scoring a 3 or 4 on the Common Core–aligned exams, as compared to 34.2 percent last year. Only 30.4 percent of students passed the reading exam, up from 28.4 percent last year.

Parents can find their child's test scores on their NYC Schools parent account. If you don't yet have an account, you can contact your school, or local school district, to help you set it up. Scores for individual schools and districts are now posted on the Department of Education's website.

The gap in scores among ethnic groups remains large throughout the city and state. "Black and Hispanic students face a discouraging achievement gap," said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia in a conference call with reporters. Similar to last year, more than 50 percent of white and Asian students in the city scored 3 or 4 on the English test, while only about 19 percent of black and Hispanic students did. In math, 67 percent of Asians passed, compared to 57 percent of whites, 24 percent of Hispanics and 19 percent of black students. [See the chart above].

Students with special needs and those learning to speak English fared the worst: Only 4 percent of English language learners passed the English test and 14 percent passed the math. Of the students with disabilities, nearly 7 percent scored a 3 or 4 on English and 11 percent on math, down slightly from last year.

For more coverage of the 2015 exams and the opt-out movement, see Chalkbeat New York. The DOE's press release about city scores is here.



Last-minute pre-k search? See best bets in Brooklyn - Read Full Article

Last-minute pre-k search? See best bets in Brooklyn

As September looms and school waitlists clear (or don't), many Brooklyn families with rising pre-kindergartners approach a time of reckoning. Maybe you’ve been holding out for a popular neighborhood program but the waitlist hasn’t budged, maybe you just moved to a new area, or maybe something about the program your child was assigned to doesn’t feel quite right.

Have hope, Brooklynites: Established programs have expanded in the borough, while many religious schools, child care centers and free-standing pre-k centers are offering pre-k for the first time and still have open seats. Information on some of these programs is scarce, but we’ve done our best to recommend available pre-k's for your 4-year-old based on insights from our school reviews, Department of Education data and interviews.

Below you’ll find our best bets of available programs organized by district to help you get started, but don’t be shy: It’s always a good idea to call a program and visit yourself. When it comes to your child, you’re the expert. Need more information about districts? Click on our district maps on the homepage.

District 13 (Fort Greene, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Vinegar Hill)

In the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant, PS 3, a school noted for its dedication to the arts, has five pre-kindergartens and there are still about 18 seats available, according to the school secretary. It also has a great outdoor play area and a garden. Over in the DUMBO–Vinegar Hill area, PS 307 has some great perks, including a STEM magnet grant and a Mandarin Chinese teacher. It's a good option for families from Brooklyn Heights where the crowded local school no longer offers pre-k.

District 14 (Williamsburg and Bushwick)

Many small neighborhood schools in District 14 have expanded pre-k offerings and are worth a look. PS 16 has stable leadership and about 30 open pre-k seats. Everything is brand new, the principal said, including a spruced-up park outside the classrooms. “Students get music and art. They are included in everything,” she said. PS 120 has a robust arts program—it used to be a magnet school for the arts—and well-established pre-k classrooms. PS 157 strikes a balance between play and reading, writing and math, according to a parent. PS 196 is a friendly school with a whole room dedicated to blocks. “We try to make school fun,” an assistant principal told us. Small, safe PS 319 serves only little ones, pre-k through 1st grade, so teachers have honed their expertise in early childhood education. PS 380 John Wayne is a good choice for families looking for an organized and supportive atmosphere where no children fall through the cracks, including those with special needs. 

District 15 (Park Slope, Boerum Hill and Red Hook)

District 15 covers many neighborhoods but only a few public schools have pre-k slots available. Two are good bets, especially if you live nearby. In Red Hook, PS 15 has a dual language—Spanish-English—class in pre-k, a rarity for this age group. Boerum Hill parents praise the pre-k program at PS 38, a spacious building with large, airy classrooms and entire rooms for block and LEGO play. As for early childhood centers, Hanover Place, in downtown Brooklyn, has an excellent reputation for attracting a wide variety of families, said a parent who spoke highly of its caring staff.

District 16 (Bedford-Stuyvesant)

PS 21, one of the highest performing schools in District 16, has seats available, as does PS 40, another good choice. Teachers recommend the school 100 percent and there are two classes for 4-year-olds. Principal Takeema Allen brings youth and energy to the small Young Scholars’ Academy for Discovery and Exploration PS 636. Children visit the Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, a farm and an organic garden to augment lessons on plants and animals in the plant-filled science room.

District 17 (Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and East Flatbush)

In Prospect Heights, the pre-k classrooms at PS 138, a relatively high-performing school in District 17, have dramatic play corners and experienced teachers. At PS 241, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students are housed in an early childhood mini-building, behind a renovated playground. Some of their 72 seats are still open. PS 221 in Crown Heights has three pre-k classrooms and an edible garden program indoors and out. PS 375, in Crown Heights, has a new principal (as of 2014), who has already made improvements. This could be a good choice for local parents.

District 18 (Canarsie and Flatbush)

District 18 includes the largely Caribbean neighborhoods of Canarsie and Flatbush. Only a handful of public schools still have openings for pre-k. PS 233 might be a good bet, with some of the highest teacher satisfaction ratings in the district. Our advice for District 18: Tour the schools and early education centers to see programs firsthand.

District 19 (East New York and Cypress Hills)

In District 19, under the longtime leadership of Constance Hahn, PS 108 in Cypress Hills is a large, safe school offering 108 pre-k seats. The Department of Education has picked PS 158 Warwick to partner with respected Grand Street Settlement to raise attendance and academics. The atmosphere is positive, safe and orderly according to school surveys. Teachers give the principal high marks.

District 20 (Bay Ridge, Borough Park and Dyker Heights)

Southern Brooklyn's District 20 boasts many great neighborhood schools, but there is severe overcrowding. To help alleviate overcrowding, the DOE has opened pre-k centers, which are untested but worth a look. Two still have space: Pre-K center @ 7301 15th Avenue and Pre-K Center @ 7415 Fort Hamilton Parkway. Another option is Redeemer St. John’s Nursery School, which has been operating for more than 30 years.

District 21 (Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island and Flatlands)

Our pick in southern Brooklyn’s District 21 is PS 212. Pre-kindergartners act out stories with the “literacy-through-dance” teacher. They make playdough, cranberry sauce and mix colors in science, according to the school’s informative website.

District 22 (Flatbush, Ditmas Park and Mill Basin)

Schools vary greatly from one end of the district to another in District 22. The northernmost schools tend to fill with zoned students. Several schools have expanded in the southern areas and you can try getting on a waitlist. For low-income families, Friends of Crown Heights is an established program with several sites and they’re answering their phones if you want to learn more.

District 23 (Ocean Hill and Brownsville)

We like Riverdale Avenue Community School in tiny, unzoned District 23. The principal was educated at well-respected Bank Street College. Our reviewer found lively pre-kindergartens with art, hatching chicks, writing, block building and fun-to-read books. Brooklyn Landmark Elementary School offers a bright, welcoming environment for children in the Ocean Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. Academic activities, such as learning about countries and states, seemed like lofty—if somewhat inappropriate—curriculum for children so young, but there was also a block corner for experimentation with weight, shapes and gravity.

District 32 (Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant)

Bushwick United Head Start has a website filled with photos of children pouring over subway maps, out on field trips, singing to guitar music, and building with blocks and Lincoln Logs among other hands-on activities. This program has accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a worldwide organization that works toward ensuring high standards in early childhood education programs.

Looking for more information? The DOE has a phone number that parents can call for more info: Pre-K for All Outreach Team at 212-637-8000.

 (Additional reporting by Pamela Wheaton and Aimee Sabo)

School Book

Hip Hop Therapy Boosts Attendance at Bronx High School - Read Full Article

J.C. Hall, a social worker at Mott Haven Community High School, was busy after school this year with a group of students who wrote rap music. He coached them through writing rhymes, voicing them, recording and mixing music and then sharing their stories with their peers. 

At first, two years ago, the meetings were impromptu. Students who would normally be out the door at 2:30 p.m. would stay until 5:00, writing rhymes and talking about them. Hall had studied hip hop therapy, a movement in social work, to give students a chance to express themselves and get emotions under control.

"When that aptitude is built up, it actually helps with academics," he said.

Mott Haven is a transfer high school, run in partnership with the organization East Side Settlement House, for students who are overage and far behind in earning course credits. Some students enter Mott Haven with no credits at all, after two years at a traditional high school.

They are also students with significant needs socially and emotionally. Some have been incarcerated, live in a homeless shelter or have children of their own. Many work to support themselves or their families. 

Hall's after-school "program" had such a positive effect on student behavior, attendance and academics, that the school's principal, Helene Spadaccini, found money in her school budget this year to create a recording studio.

"This is basically my little counseling," said Vianna Morrison, 18. "It helps me get rid of my anger, but in a good way."

The studio has a sound-proof booth, iMac's for editing and mixing, turntables, headphones and album posters. It's a space that students take pride in.

"I just wanted to belong in here," said Amber Mckenzie, 20. She said the space, and the sessions with Hall and about a dozen of her classmates, offered a place to calm down or be angry, all without judgment.

"Say what you got to say. Go write it down and go in there and get it out," she said, pointing to the recording booth. "That's the best part — hearing yourself back." 

Ephraim Weir, 18, has worked with Hall almost every day. He wrote and recorded a rap about getting stabbed last school year. His recovery was long, he said, and required surgery.

"At one point when I was down, and I listened to this song, I started crying," he said. "It was emotional for me. I don't care if nobody likes that song. I know that's for me."

The year before he came to Mott Haven, Weir's attendance rate was just 29 percent. This year, his attendance rate was 92 percent.

In order to use the recording studio after school, students must have attended school that day and be passing their classes or showing improvement.  

Dear Parent Leaders, 

We look forward to working with you throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

Please note our new address below. 


52 Chambers St, Rm 219
New York, NY 10007

(212) 374-4118 | face@schools.nyc.gov

HS Senior Community Service Opportunity
 2015-16 Member of CEC3


Northern Manhattan Fellowship Grant Application Available Now!

The Northern Manhattan Fellowship Is Looking To Give Grants Ranging From $1,000-$1,500 To Organizations Serving Youth Ages 6 To 21 In Northern Manhattan.


Innovative And Sustainable Youth-Centered Programming


Operational Needs For Youth Focused Organizations Or Programs

The website to download the application and to view the RFP is: www.northernmanhattanfellowship.org/grant 

School Admissions News

The Welcome/Enrollment Centers will be closed
Friday, August 28 and Monday, August 31.

Beginning Tuesday, September 1 through Friday, September 18 Manhattan Enrollment will be located at:

Fashion Industries HS
225 WEST 24 STREET   NYC 10011
(corner of 7th Avenue) 

Hours:  8:00A – 5:00P.

Closed Labor Day.

Community Events

CSD3  2015-16 Events


Upcoming Events

Monday, September 7
Labor Day
Wednesday, September 9
First Day of School

Early dismissal for non-District 75 Kindergarten students.

Partial school time for Pre-K.

Thursday, September 10
Business Meeting
6:30 PM
Joan of Arc Building
154 W. 93rd St.
Calendar Meeting
7:00 PM
Joan of Arc Building
154 W. 93rd St.

District 3 Common Core Parent Survey

Encuesta para padres del CEC3 del Distrito 3, sobre estándares básicos comunes

CEC3 News

 2015-2017 CEC3 Officers

Joseph Fiordaliso

Nan Eileen Mead
1st Vice President

Zoe G. Foundotos
2nd Vice President

Kristen Berger

Kimberly Watkins

Attention Rising High School Seniors!
Applications are now available to apply to serve as the
 High School Student Council Member on the CEC3
 for the 2015- 2016 School Year!

Connect with CEC3 on Facebook 

ELL Seat Open on the CEC3 Council - Apply Today!
For more information, contact the CEC3 Office.

ELL Open Seat en el Consejo CEC3 - Aplique hoy!
 Para obtener más información, póngase en contacto con la Oficina CEC3.

ELL Seat Ouvert le Conseil CEC3 - Appliquer Aujourd'hui!
Pour plus d'informations, communiquez avec le Bureau CEC3.

CEC Vacancy Application

To join the CEC3 Email List, 

please send your name and email address to