2014-2015 NYC School Calendar

2015-2016 NYC School Calendar

Inside Schools

At PS 125, parents of different races work together - Read Full Article

At PS 125, parents of different races work together

A multiracial group of parents in Harlem is working to reinvent their neighborhood school — with none of the rancor that has pitted newcomers and longtime residents against one another in other parts of the city. If you want to see the school for yourself, go to an open house Wednesday, Nov. 25, at 9 am, at 425 W. 123rd Street.

The work by Black, Latino, Asian and White parents at PS 125 shows that integration is possible — and that parents working together can improve a school, even in a district with few good options. Insideschools spoke to three parents about the changes at their school.

“For a long time, it was all Black children here — nothing else,” said Kim Clinton, whose grandson is in the 2nd grade and whose children attended the school. “Then all of a sudden, the whole neighborhood is changing. We have White neighbors, we have Chinese, Japanese. I like it! It’s good to know about other people, other cultures.”

PS 125 has long had a popular pre-kindergarten program, but many parents chose other schools for kindergarten. That’s partly because the upper grades had a traditional approach to education, not the play-based or child-centered approach that many parents said they wanted. “There were so many parents looking for a progressive choice, but one didn’t exist in the district,” said Daiyu Suzuki the father of a 1st- and 3rd-grader.

“I remember parents would get together in the park and talk about ‘Where do we go?’’’ said Tomoi Zeimer, mother of a kindergartner. “Either it’s a super-expensive private school or a really low-rated public school. We thought, ‘Is there a way that we can go into a school and make it better?’”  

Over the past two years, parents lobbied the principal and superintendent to adopt a more progressive approach to teaching. The principal, Reginald Higgins, agreed, and enlisted Julie Zuckerman, the principal of Castle Bridge School in Washington Heights, to serve as a mentor. Higgins worked with Borough of Manhattan Community College to help revise curriculum and coach teachers. The new approaches seem to be working, and this year more pre-k parents opted to stay for kindergarten. Enrollment is inching up, from 193 in 2013–14 to 230 this fall.

The parents have succeeded in getting kids more access to the gym, and have reclaimed a community garden near the school. They are working to raise money to build a new library.  

“We haven’t seen a final product yet,” said Suzuki. “We’re a community in the making.”

“We have so many different people from different backgrounds. It’s nice to hear from the other side and try something different for a change,” said Clinton.

“You know, when we work on something together it becomes a really nice community,” said Zeimer.

Turning 5: Learn about special ed kindergarten admissions - Read Full Article

Turning 5: Learn about special ed kindergarten admissions

Kindergarten application season will soon be in full swing—just around the time you’ve digested the last of your leftover stuffing. All families with a child born in 2011 should apply between Dec. 7-Jan. 15, 2016. For most families, this means scheduling tours, pouring through Insideschools reviews and playing with elementary rankings like a fantasy football fanatic.

For families of kids with special needs, there are often more subtle, challenging considerations: What supports can my zoned school offer my child? Does the school welcome children with learning differences? Is the school accessible? Does my child need an aide, an integrated classroom or something more?

Children already receiving special services will be making the transition from pre-school special education services to the Committee on Special Education, and it’s not always as simple as it sounds. Many of the supports a child might have received in preschool shift as she enters kindergarten, and academic demands are often higher. Others may be entering the world of special education in New York City schools for the very first time.

To help make sense of the transition and answer any questions parents may have, the Department of Education has begun hosting information sessions specifically targeted to families of children with special needs who will be applying to kindergarten this year. Workshops in the Bronx were held earlier this month, but more workshops are coming up in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. The same information will be covered at every one.


Date Time Location Contact
Wednesday, Nov. 18 6–8 pm

PS 264 Bay Ridge Elem. School for the Arts 371 89th Street Brooklyn, NY 11209

CSE #7, Brooklyn (718) 759-4900

Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015

9:30–11:30 am

P.S. 190 Sheffield 590 Sheffield Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11207

CSE #5, (718) 240-3557


Date Time Location Contact

Friday, Nov. 20

9:30– 11:30 am

CUNY Graduate Center 365 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10016

(212) 374-6085


Date Time Location Contact

Monday, Dec. 7

9:30–11:30 am

P.S. 69 Jackson Heights 77-02 37th Avenue Queens, NY 11372

CSE #4 (718) 391-8405

Monday, Dec. 7

6 – 8 pm

Committee on Special Education (CSE) #3, 90-27 Sutphin Blvd. Jamaica, NY 11435

CSE #3 Sutphin Office (718) 557-2553

Staten Island

Date Time Location Contact

Thursday, Dec. 10

9:30–11:30 am

The Michael J. Petrides School 715 Ocean Terrace, Building B Staten Island, NY 10301

CSE #7, Staten Island (718) 420-5790

Thursday, Dec. 10

6–8 pm

The Michael J. Petrides School 715 Ocean Terrace, Building B Staten Island, NY 10301

CSE #7, Staten Island (718) 420-5790

*All sites listed here are wheelchair accessible. Please call using the numbers listed if you are hearing impaired or need language interpretation services.

The DOE is also offering kindergarten info sessions for families in December. See the dates here.

And watch our video "Touring Schools for your Special Needs Child" below.

Tips for how to rank your high school application - Read Full Article

Tips for how to rank your high school application

High school applications are due on Tuesday, Dec. 1. 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. 

Read our school profiles for every high school in the city, including the InsideStats section that gives you answers to such questions as: Are graduates successful in college? Does the school have metal detectors? Click the Comments link to see what current and former students have to say about the school.

If you're looking for a school with a specific theme, or one that's on a certain subway line, check out our high school search on your desktop or mobile device. You can search by borough, subway line, middle school grades or keyword, sifting through hundreds of high schools to find the best matches.

Here are our suggestions of what to consider as you apply. Attend our Nov. 23 workshop for more targeted advice!

Filling out the application:

  • Be careful when drawing up your list of (up to) 12 high school choices. You don't have to fill in all the slots. Don't list a school you are not willing to attend. If you are assigned to a school you hate, but listed it on your application, it will be very hard to get placed elsewhere.

  • But....make sure you apply to enough schools—with a variety of admissions methods—to increase your chances of getting a match. How many? Fewer than six might not be enough.

  • Rank your favorite school first. There's no need to play guessing games or set up an elaborate strategy. Schools will not see which students rank them first, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by ranking your top choice number one.

  • Don't apply to a school for which you absolutely do not qualify. If a school looks for students with a minimum 85 average or above and your GPA is 70, your chances of getting accepted are slim to none. Likewise, if you live in Queens and you're applying to a popular District 2 school that gives preference to Manhattan, you're not likely to be accepted.

  • If you have a zoned school printed on your application you must list it as one of your choices to be given priority in admissions.

  • Many large schools offer several programs. If you really want to attend a certain school, apply to more than one program.

  • Make sure your parent signs off on your final application. Nobody, including your guidance counselor, should persuade you to add choices without consulting your parent or guardian.

  • Keep a copy of your completed application and get a receipt from your guidance counselor when you hand it in.

  • Poor attendance or lateness record? Ask the guidance counselor to attach a note to your application indicating any extenuating circumstances such as an illness, which affected your being in school regularly.

  • Bad grades or scores in 7th grade? If you are doing much better in 8th grade, see if the guidance counselor will attach a copy of your first quarter report card to the application to show the progress you have made.

What to consider when choosing a school

  • Admissions criteria: Some schools require an interview, an essay, or the submission of school work. Make sure you've done what you needed to do.

  • Small school or large? Small schools often offer more personal attention and a sense of community. Large schools tend to have more sports teams, clubs and choice in courses. Need help deciding? Watch our video: Weighing your options: Large school vs small school.

  • Fast-track or laid-back? Some schools pile on the homework. Other schools have a slower pace and encourage kids to relax a bit. Think about what's best for you. Will you thrive in a rigorous and competitive environment? Or, are you more likely to learn and excel when the pressure's off?

  • "Chalk & talk" or "hands-on" learning? Many large schools stick to conventional ways of teaching: Teacher lectures and standard textbook homework. Other schools offer group projects and even lots of field trips. Consider which approach best meets your learning style.

  • New school or well-established? It's nice to go to a school with a proven track record. Most new schools take a few years to develop high level coursework and relationships with college admissions officers, so it can be a gamble to be in the first few graduating classes. However, if you're faced with the choice between an overcrowded, failing neighborhood school or a new untested small school, you might be better off going with the small one, if you feel comfortable with the theme and the leadership.

  • Theme school or general curriculum? Be aware that some of the school "themes" exist in name only, especially with schools that now have a different principal than the founder. Ask to see a list of courses currently offered, and whether there are connections with outside organizations that support the school's theme. The academics should be solid, no matter what.

  • How is the commute? It's not too late to take a subway or bus ride to the school to see if the commute is doable. Think about what it will be like in the rain and snow, or coming home late in the evening after a sports event or a school performance. No time to test it out? Check the MTA's Trip Planner. Watch our video: Weighing your options: Long trip vs short trip.

  • Does your child have special needs? Check out our list of noteworthy special education programs, and watch our video on what to look for when you tour a program. Take a look at the Department of Education's online guide for high school students receiving special education services; unfortunately the high school directory offers very little help.

More advice for students

  • Auditioning? Practice first! Many performing arts and visual arts high school hold competitive auditions and expect applicants to be well-prepared. If you haven't had your audition yet, watch this video: How to apply to an audition school.

  • Don't let your friends choose for you. No school can accept every qualified student, so it's likely that friends will attend different high schools. Trust that you will make new friends.

  • Explore all the tabs on Insideschools profile pages. There's a lot of back and forth conversation going on in the comments section right now. You'll see a list of AP courses, sports, extra-curricular activities and admission priorities on other tabs.

  • After your fill out your application,  relax until early March when results are in.

  • Interested in a charter school? Applications are due on April 1, but be aware that many charter high schools only accept students who are already enrolled in the school, or network's lower grades.

School Book

To Retain Community College Students, CUNY Postpones Enrollment - Read Full Article

Remedial classes, while routine at U.S. community colleges, often undermine students' ability or desire to stay in school, defeating their purpose of guiding students towards a college degree. In response to this dilemma, the City University of New York community college system, has developed a program that is showing some promise.

First, the problem: nearly 80 percent of CUNY students needed at least one catch-up course because they failed a placement test in math or English. Those courses were expensive and often dull.

"They would be using their financial aid or paying out of pocket for those classes," said Donna Linderman, a CUNY dean. "They may fail a class and have to take it a second time. So this could become a very expensive endeavor for a student."

But what if incoming students could get those classes out of the way, before paying full tuition? That’s the premise behind CUNY Start which Linderman oversees. For $75, students take only remedial classes, instead of spending 24-hundred dollars for a semester (or $4800 per year) to take regular courses along with remedial ones.

The program started in 2009 with just a few hundred students who needed at least two remedial classes. Linderman said they did so well, it's now being offered at all nine CUNY campuses that grant associate degrees, and was on track to serve about 4,000 students.

As of 2014, 51 percent of the students who went through CUNY Start didn’t need any more remedial classes after one semester. CUNY said that’s a greater success rate than four-year college students who also needed to pass at least two remedial classes. And it is a percentage rate that captured the attention of community colleges around the country.

"These are students that if they were put right into college-level classes would most likely fail and not come back to college," said Karen Stout, a former Pennsylvania community college president who now runs Achieving the Dream, which works to help the community colleges raise their completion rates. "So this is very impressive work."

What those involved in CUNY Start said set it apart from other support programs were the schedule and cost, condensing the remedial work into one $75 semester. Also, the faculty and staff. The program has about 200 of its own teachers, administrators and advisors who also developed a specialized curriculum.

Twenty year-old Gimy Arzu is now enrolled full-time at Hostos after completing CUNY Start. He said the extra support made all the difference.

"They had my back 24/7," he said. "No matter how stressed I am, no matter how tired I am, no matter how hungry I am. They just help me a whole lot. And that’s why I’m able to pass my writing and my math and I thank God for that."

Despite the program's strong track record, Stout said it would be difficult for other colleges to replicate.

"What they wouldn’t be able to do is figure out a way to charge $75 and make it sustainable," she said.

She said New York State was unusual because it had a continuing education fund, separate from regular college aid, which enabled CUNY to recover most of the costs. The actual cost per student was about $2100, nowhere near $75.

Still, CUNY Start is undergoing a rigorous study by outside experts looking for ways to emulate its success.

HS Senior Community Service Opportunity
 2015-16 Member of CEC3


Community Events

CSD3  2015-16 Events


Zoning Update

The Department of Education (DOE) did NOT present a final re-zoning map and implementation plan for PS191/PS199 and PS452 this evening, Thursday Nov 19th. 

Zoning Meeting
Monday, Nov 30 (6:30 pm)
Joan of Arc
154 West 93rd Street

Upcoming Events

Monday, November 30
Zoning Committee
Joan of Arc 
154 West 93 St
Room 204
6:30-8:30 pm
Thursday, December 3
Pre-K Non-Attendance Day
Wednesday, December 9
Business & Calendar Meeting
6:30 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

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