2014-2015 NYC School Calendar
Today, 11/24/2014
High: 70 Low: 49
Rain likely
69% chance of precipitation.
Tomorrow, 11/25/2014
High: 53 Low: 35
Partly sunny
3% chance of precipitation.

Inside Schools

College counselor: No, you don't have to apply to 20 schools! - Read Full Article

College counselor: No, you don't have to apply to 20 schools!

By now many families of high school seniors have probably seen the scary article in last Sunday's New York Times. You know, the one that details the panicked quest for college acceptances causing many students to feel they need to file 20 or 25 applicants just to have a chance.

I have a 3-word response:

Get a grip.

You don't have to file 20 to 30 applications. Usually 8 to 10 will do, and will offer you a choice of acceptances. But you need to be willing to listen to some advice:

Don't apply to the same schools where half the world is applying. Why is the acceptance rate at some schools getting smaller and smaller? Because more and more people are applying there. Colleges recruit heavily; they WANT more applications! Some applicants and their families simply look at the schools at the top of the "rated" list (as decided by a magazine) and apply there. The more people who do that, the smaller the chance of any individual student's admission.

Don't apply only to schools that have a 10 to 20 percent acceptance rate. I have seen wish lists from students that include ALL of the following: Harvard, Yale, Brown, MIT, Princeton and Stanford. Six of the absolutely most selective schools in the nation! Yes, everyone should have one or two "reach" schools. But that's it. Concentrate on the schools that offer you the program and lifestyle you want, with more than a hairbreadth's chance of acceptance.

Look outside your geographical comfort zone. It seems like every high school student in the Northeast wants to go to college in the Northeast. Is this a problem? You bet! Colleges want all kinds of diversity, and that includes geographical diversity. There are very fine schools in Ohio, Illinois, Oregon, Tennessee and Indiana – to name just a few states. And don't forget Canada! There are phenomenal schools in Canada, and the price tag is usually a lot lower than those in the US.

New York has wonderful public colleges and universities. I am constantly amazed by the complaints of those who say they cannot get a sound education without going into deep debt. The CUNY and SUNY systems offer solid educational experiences at a reasonable cost. No, it's not free (as CUNY was when I went to college) but it is economical. And are you thinking, "Oh, but I won't be taught by real professors there, just part-time teachers." This should not be news to you, but you are going to be taught mostly by part-time teachers for the first two years at many private universities charging $60,000 a year. Do not participate in the snobbery that assumes "public" means "inferior"! If you apply to a branch of SUNY you can learn about a different part of the state and increase your own admissibility.

Look at public universities in other states. At these places, which get far fewer New York applicants than SUNY schools, you can offer the perspective of an out-of-stater. Be careful to check their out-of-state tuition, though, to make sure it is affordable (rates vary from state to state). The central branch of any state's university system is its "crown jewel" and, while admission is never a guarantee, the chance of a good student being admitted is better than that same student's being admitted to a "reach." So take a look at UConn in Storrs, the University of Maryland in College Park, the University of Vermont in Burlington, the University of Rhode Island, to name just a few. I am simply trying to give you alternatives.

You may hear: "It's impossible to get into a good school these days!"

But that's not the truth. Everyone who wants to go to college and who has worked for this goal will be admitted. We just don't know exactly where. Do not panic. Take your time, and prepare thoughtfully...just not 20 applications!

As students audition for LaGuardia, how much does art count? - Read Full Article

As students audition for LaGuardia, how much does art count?

This weekend, thousands of 8th and 9th graders will be presenting art portfolios, delivering monologues, dancing and singing in an effort to win admission to the elite “Fame” school, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts. But some parents and faculty say that the performances the students have been preparing for months may have less influence than the state English and math tests they took last spring.

Parents of several students who applied for admission last year said their children did well on their auditions but were rejected on the basis of their academic performance or attendance. Students applying to the school in September 2014 were the first seeking admission since Dr. Lisa Mars, a former assistant principal at Townsend Harris High School,became principal in 2013. The school's admissions director, Mark Neidorff left last spring after four years in the job.

LaGuardia is one of the city's nine specialized high schools, whose admissions process is set by the state. But while the other eight admit students entirely on the basis of an exam, the state law says children applying to LaGuardia "shall be required to pass competitive exams in music and/or the arts in addition to presenting evidence of satisfactory achievement."

LaGuardia promotes itself as a dual mission school with strong arts and academics, but the balance between the two has long been a topic of debate. The dispute drew press attention this fall following complaints that the school had rejected talented students and that there is a lack of transparency in how students are chosen for the highly selective school.

Last year’s admission evaluation form obtained by Amanda Robb, whose daughter Sophia Chesler applied unsuccessfully to the vocal music studio, indicated that students are evaluated on a 36-point scale, with the auditions accounting for a maximum of five points—or 14 percent. Standardized tests scores accounted for 44 percent, academic average for 14 percent, and attendance and punctuality each for 14 percent. Students also reportedly write a brief statement about why they want to attend LaGuardia but that does not appear to figure into the admissions decision.

Michelle Mathesius, longtime assistant principal of the dance studio, said not only did LaGuardia reject a number of strong dancers last spring but that for the first time it admitted students who had done poorly on their auditions. She said the dance department gave Mars names of 96 students who had passed audition with scores of 90 or above, which Mars could winnow down based on their other credentials. Previous principals accepted only students who had passed their audition. But Mars, Mathesius said, rejected many students who had danced well and moved to accept some students who had audition scores in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

In an email to Insideschools today, Mars wrote: "The criteria is listed in the HS handbook and on the LaG website." According to the high school directory, in addition to auditioning, students must have academic grades of at least 80 and have scored at least a "2" on standardized exams. In an affidavit submitted earlier this year in response to a court case seeking admission for two children rejected by LaGuardia, Mars said an admissions committee considers the academic records of students who pass their audition and so "move to the next round of consideration." She did not explicitly address whether the committee looks at students who did not pass muster with their particular studio.

Doris Tiedemann said her daughter Lorelei Tiedemann got a 92 in her audition but was rejected partly because she had many absences in 7th grade due to an illness. "She's invested years and years of her life into this. It's really not fair," says the mother. Lorelei now attends the Joffrey Ballet program at Fort Hamilton High School.

Others at the school dispute that much, if anything, has changed in terms of admissions. Nina Lasky, the assistant principal for visual art, said, "The whole admissions process has not changed at all … No one gets looked at unless they pass their audition."

"LaGuardia has always looked at multiple measures when considering candidates," Paula Washington, an orchestral music teacher and leader of the United Federation of Teachers chapter at the school, said in an email. "If standardized tests enter into the equation at all, they are not a major factor."

Teachers who did not want to be identified said they had been asked to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding admissions at the school. "We can't do auditions unless we sign it," one said.

Robb and others have cited the confusion over LaGuardia admissions as evidence the city's high school admissions process needs to be more transparent. The de Blasio administration has said it would make the criteria for admission decisions more public but has not yet released a policy to do this.

As for LaGuardia, Mathesius says she is not sure what will happen to this year's applicants. She says the administration is setting up an admissions committee of 15 academic teachers, but its exact role is not yet clear.

Meanwhile, thousands of hopeful artists auditioning for coveted spots at the school this fall wonder what will count the most—their talent or their test scores.

Math & science 101 for parents: Our guide & videos - Read Full Article

Math & science 101 for parents: Our guide & videos

Are you confused by your child's math homework? Is science an afterthought in your child's school? Take a look at our parents' guide to math and science, including what to look for in the classroom. We give you questions you can ask during parent-teacher conferences as well as suggestions of what to do outside of school!

Insideschools will help you find out if your children are getting the math or science instruction they need in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade—and what to do about it if they aren't.

Our two short videos, one on math, one on science, will give you an idea of what to look for in your child's classroom. 

Our parents' guide explains what the new Common Core State Learning Standards mean for your child. It helps you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your child's school so you can fill in the gaps—even if you don't know much about math and science yourself.

For models of excellence, take a look at our 15 favorite elementary schools for math and science. We scoured the city looking for schools that give ordinary kids an extraordinary education—zoned neighborhood schools, not gifted programs or schools with a special application process. We picked schools that foster a love of math and science while giving children the skills they need to be successful later in life. Learn more about what schools around the city are doing to raise the bar in math and science education.

Did we miss something wonderful? Share ideas in our comments section.

School Book

Change in Admissions Rules Muddles NYC Middle School Search - Read Full Article

New York State passed a law this year prohibiting public schools from using test scores as the main factor in admissions, and in deciding who to promote to the next grade. That change is now being implemented just as the New York City middle school application process gets underway, which means many families are scrambling to make sense of the new rules on top of navigating an already complicated search.

In the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst, most parents who attended a recent meeting were not happy about their district's decision to change the admissions formula for its middle school honors programs. They used to rely solely on test scores but Karina Costantino, the superintendent for District 20, said no longer. After receiving guidance from the city, she came up with a new formula for her district that gives 45 percent to a child's test scores, 45 percent school to the school report cards, 5 percent to attendance and 5 percent to punctuality.

There are 48 competitive middle schools and programs that used test scores as the main criteria in their admissions. But they are among the best neighborhood schools in the city, and competition is fierce.

District 20 in Brooklyn selects about 1,000 sixth graders each year for its local middle school honors programs. Parent Kim Jalet said those seats should still be awarded based solely on test scores because standardized tests are more objective than school report cards.

"Forty-five percent of the grade that will determine whether children are in the superintendent’s program is now up to a teacher who may or may not like your child," she said, referring to the other name of the honors program. "My son’s fourth grade teacher loved him. Other teachers, eh, not so much."

But travel over to Park Slope and you'll hear a completely different reaction. Catherine Schroeder has a daughter who’s applying to middle schools this year, and she’s glad the scores won’t play a role anymore.

"Having a fifth-grader’s future rest on a couple of days of their fourth grade year is too much pressure to put on anybody," she said, after attending a meeting about the middle school application process at her child's elementary school, P.S. 39.

There is only one gifted and talented middle school in Park Slope: M.S. 51. It used to rely on test scores alone in order to whittle down the number of applicants to 1,000 students, who would then be interviewed for 350 seats. Now, principal Lenore Dileo Berner is going beyond the state's new law by refusing to even look at test scores during the screening process. She noted that many local families protested the tests by opting out of them.

"By not having the test as a factor we are able to look at all of the students equally," she said.

With the middle school admissions process fully under way, parents should ask each school about its admissions policy (changes were made too late to make it into middle school directory.) They should also sign up for the Parents' Guide to Middle School Admissions from WNYC's SchoolBook. 

Coalition Calls for Co-Location Moratorium
Letter to Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña


The High School of Fashion Industries

225 West 24th Street

Manhattan, NY 10011

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

6:00 PM


School Quality Reports

As a part of her vision for New York City’s schools, Chancellor Fariña has introduced two new ways for the public to evaluate New York City public schools:

  • The School Quality Snapshot is designed specifically for families and provides a concise picture of the quality of each school.
  • The School Quality Guide provides a more robust set of information about each school, including multiple years of data so that schools’ progress over time can be more easily tracked.

You can find a school’s 2013-14 School Quality Snapshot, School Quality Guide, and NYC School Survey Report by going to NYCDOE  School Quality Report search at http://schools.nyc.gov/Accountability/tools/report/FindASchoolQualityReport/default.htm  

For more information go to: http://schools.nyc.gov/Accountability/tools/report/default.htm

For a Safer NYC - Speed Limit 25 - VisionZero

Ideas Wanted on School Capacity and Utilization Report

Dear Parents, Educators, Advocates and Students, 

The Blue Book Working Group is soliciting ideas and suggestions to improve 
the NYC Department of Education’s (DOE) Enrollment, Capacity and 
Utilization Report, also known as the “Blue Book.” The Working Group 
has been meeting monthly since March 2014, and at this time is seeking 
input from members of the public on specific ways they think the Blue 
Book can be revised to provide a more accurate reflection of space in 
NYC DOE school buildings, and the learning environment in which City 
public school students are educated every day. Please send your ideas 
to BlueBookWG@gmail.com by November 26th, 2014
so that we can consider your input prior to presenting
 draft preliminary BBWG recommendations at a Town Hall in December. 

Blue Book Working Group

Proposals for Significant Changes in School Utilization
November 25, 2014
Panel for Educational Policy Meeting

High School of Fashion Industries
225 West 24 Street, New  York, NY 10011


Parents Rip Success Academy
for Not Sharing Locations of Proposed Charters



Parents, administrators weigh in
on potential Manhattan charter openings



Individual School’s Score
 for 2014 ELA and Math State Test Results

 Click here

District 3 schools: Pages 321-329

New York State Department of Education
 Releases 2014 State Test Scores

Click here for more information


New Blue Book Reflects Improvements Recommended by City Agencies, Public and Charter Schools, Advocacy Organizations, and Community Councils

Families, educators and interested community members can access the new Blue Book here.


Parent-Teacher Conferences  
Below please find the dates for 4 parent teacher conferences.   













Elementary School

Sep 16

Nov 12

Nov 13

Mar 18

Mar 19

May 13

Middle School

Sep 18

Nov 19

Nov 20

Mar 11

Mar 12

May 6

High School

Sep 17

Nov 5

Nov 7

Mar 26

Mar 27

May 7

D75 School Programs


Nov 17

Nov 18

Mar 2

Mar 3


*Multi-session schools and District 75 School Programs are exempt from these additional conferences. Schools will notify families accordingly if they are holding these events at their site.

June Clerical Shortened Days
citywide June Clerical Shortened Days for elementary and intermediate/junior high schools as well as D75 schools.

  • Tuesday, June 9, 2015
  • Monday, June 15, 2015

School Admissions News

High School Directories Notice

Students applying to a NYC public high school for the 2015-2016 school year can now access the 2014-2015 High School Directory online in nine languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu.

All non-native English speakers who will participate in the admissions process are encouraged to review the directories.  Visit http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/High/Resources/default.htm for complete information and the English directory. Questions regarding the 2014-2015 High School Directory may be directed to the High School Admissions Team at HS_Enrollment@schools.nyc.gov

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, November 25
Panel for Educational Policy Meeting
6:00 PM
The High School of Fashion Industries
 225 West 24th Street
Thursday, November 27
Thanksgiving Recess
Schools Closed
Friday, November 28
Thanksgiving Recess
Schools Closed
Wednesday, December 3
Business Meeting
6:30 PM
Joan of Arc Complex
154 W. 93rd St.
Room 204
Wednesday, December 17
Calendar Meeting
6:30 PM
Location TBD

CEC3 News

October 27, 2014 
Anti-Bully Forum Hosted
Assembly Member O'Donnell
District 3 Community Education Council
District 3 President's Council

June 11, 2014
District 3 Town Hall with Chancellor Carmen Fariña 
& Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm

CEC3 Calendar of Meetings for the 2014-2015 School Year
2014-2015 CEC3 Meeting Calendar

A New District 3 6-12 School Opening in Fall of 2015
Presentation from 9/10/14 CEC3 Calendar Meeting

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 cec3@schools.nyc.gov or (212) 678-2782