2014-2015 NYC School Calendar
Today, 10/25/2014
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Tomorrow, 10/26/2014
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Inside Schools

Missing ticket? You can still take the SHSAT - Read Full Article

Missing ticket? You can still take the SHSAT

If you haven't gotten your ticket for this weekend's specialized high school exam, don't panic. You'll be able to sit for the test without it, according to the Department of Education. The DOE posted a notice on its website saying that all scheduled students will be "welcomed and tested" even without a ticket. It also posted a list of test locations and times (pdf) for every middle school.

This week, some schools reported they had trouble printing tickets and others said they didn't get the tickets at all.

At Mark Twain middle school, it took the staff a day and a half to print out 350 tickets for its 8th graders because of a glitch in the system, said parent coordinator Delgermaa Ganbaatar. "It has been very stressful. The system couldn't handle all the requests at once."  The school finished printing at noon Friday, she said, and got them into the hands of students before they went home. Mark Twain sends more students annually to Stuyvesant High School than any other middle school.

David Weinreb, the 8th grader guidance counselor at The Equity Project, a charter school in Washington Heights, said on Friday afternoon that he didn't get any tickets for students who had registered. 

Each year nearly 30,000 8th and 9th graders sign up to take the annual Specialized High School Admissions Test, or SHSAT, for entrance into one of the city's eight specialized exam high schools. 

In addition to the notice posted on its website, the DOE sent a letter to all middle schools assuring them that "students will be able to test for the SHSAT this weekend at their scheduled time. If a student who is scheduled does not have a ticket, he or she will be welcomed and tested. We have posted test sites for each middle school on the Specialized High Schools website."

This weekend's test is for all 8th grade students, except for students who need special accommodations. If a students misses this weekend's exam, the makeup date is November 16.


Essay question for SHSAT in 2016? Admissions in flux - Read Full Article

Essay question for SHSAT in 2016? Admissions in flux

The Specialized High School Admissions Test that thousands of 8th graders will take this weekend has long been a multiple-choice exam scored by a machine. But there are indications that the new exam students will take starting in in 2016 might have an essay component.

Last month, the city issued a Request for Proposals for a new SHSAT, which is the sole determinant of whether a student gets into one of the eight academically elite high schools. The current contract with Pearson runs out in 2016 so the city must put the test out for bids and sign a new contract with someone to create a test for fall 2016 and beyond.

The new RFP tells prospective bidders that including hand-scored "constructed response and/or essay response" questions would be "desired but not required." If the test does have essays, the RFP goes on to say, the bid must include "information on the items themselves and on how and by whom the items would be scored."

Later on, the document refers again to "shorter written and/or essay responses," saying bidders may "optionally address" them.

In contrast, the old RFP, issued in 2010, makes no mention of an essay or written response. Instead, it calls for a test with 45 verbal questions and 50 mathematical ones, with the verbal section including scrambled paragraphs, logical reasoning and reading comprehension. That RFP foresaw all answers being scored by machine.

The new RFP also calls for translating the test, now given only in English, into 11 languages and aligning it with the Common Core Standards .

Debate has been mounting in recent years between defenders of the status quo—who say the test represents a merit-based system—and opponents—who are concerned by the small number of black and Hispanic children who pass the test.

A final decision on what the new test will look like will not be made until next year. Speaking at a town hall meeting in District 13 on Tuesday, Chancellor Carmen Fariña did not seem familiar with the idea of having an essay on the test and indicated it might be difficult to work one in. As for ways to increase the racial diversity at the schools, Fariña said the department "is looking at how do we better support kids in middle school."

Some alumni adamantly oppose adding an essay, charging that such a change would violate the 1971 state law requiring that Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech admit students solely on the basis of "a competitive, objective and scholastic achievement examination."

At a forum about the SHSAT in Flushing last weekend, Dennis Saffran, a lawyer and Republican politician in Queens who has written about the admission process, praised the current system because it "assures that all that is tested is your merit, your integrity and your hard work." So-called "holistic criteria," he said "are not going to help black and Latino kids. They're mainly going to end up helping affluent white kids like those in Mr. de Blasio's Park Slope."

Janella Hinds, vice president for academic high schools for the United Federation of Teachers, which supports changing the admission procedures, said in an interview this summer that the so-called screened high schools in the city--selective high schools that do not use the SHSAT--have more blacks and Latinos than the specialized schools. But she conceded the system for them is not ideal either. "We have a long way to go," she said.

The Coalition Supporting Specialized High Schools, along with several parents and alumni, has filed an official protest with the Department of Education, calling on the department to amend its RFP and "refrain" from having an essay question or translating the test.

Larry Cary, president of the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation, said the state law creates a quandary for an essay. "The only objective way to [score] it is not to review it as an essay" but whether it meets certain criteria on a rubric. "They're proposing something that will either be highly subjective and so illegal under state statute" or something that "is no measure of a person's ability to write," Cary, who is an attorney, said. "It doesn't make any sense unless you're talking about politics."

David Bloomfield, a professor of educational leadership, law, and policy at City University of New York, believes there could be ways to make an essay objective. "Sentence, paragraph, and essay structure; punctuation; and grammar are all able to be objectively evaluated," He added, "It also could depend on how one defines objective, objective might be interpreted as independent, meaning grading would be done by someone without bias."

The City Council has entered the fray. Several councilmembers, including Inez Barron, Brad Lander and Education Committee chair Daniel Dromm, have sponsored a non-binding City Council resolution in support of a state bill that seeks to upend the current system. There is no specific mention of an essay but the bill, introduced last spring, would return control of the admissions process to the city and calls for the schools to admit applicants on the basis of "multiple measures of student merit" including grade point average, attendance, scores on an admissions test and the state standardized tests.

The de Blasio administration has repeatedly expressed concern about the scarcity of black and Latino students at Stuyvesant and the other specialized high schools. Earlier this year, the administration indicated it might try to change the admission policies at five new specialized high schools that are not explicitly covered by the state legislation.

The DOE is continuing to look at the admissions issue, press secretary Devora Kaye said in an email Thursday, writing, "In the coming months we will continue to gather perspectives from educators, experts and advocates to look at ways to address the gap that has left so many of our black and Latino students out of specialized high schools."

When public school falls short for special needs kids - Read Full Article

When public school falls short for special needs kids

I am the proud parent of a bright, creative, and unique daughter with learning disabilities. Like many children with high-incidence disabilities, my daughter outperforms in certain academic areas and underperforms in others. From kindergarten until 3rd grade, she relied on these skills and managed in a general education classroom with some extra services. She had caring, committed teachers, well versed in different learning styles. 

By the second week of 3rd grade, however, it became clear that she would have problems. The rapid implementation of Common Core Standards combined with an unsympathetic classroom teacher made her deteriorate—academically, emotionally and socially. The principal told me that an integrated co-teaching (ICT) class—with two teachers, one a special ed expert—did not exist for her grade. I tried to switch to a nearby public school with more services, but because of 2011’s special ed reform, I was told she now had to be served by her zoned school, and they were giving her all that they could. 

Meanwhile, my sweet, friendly daughter developed tics like humming and rocking. Invitations to play dates and birthday parties stopped. Out of desperation, I searched for alternatives and eventually garnered a placement at a private special education school for bright students with disabilities, paid for by the Department of Education. My daughter has become her ebullient and curious self again. 

If your child with a learning disability is struggling in school, there are other options. Through persistence, research, and exhaustive communication with anyone who could possibly help me, I found my daughter a placement at a state-supported private special education school. It took months of planning and hours of due diligence to navigate the system. Here is a step-by-step guide from a mom who has been there.

1. Get a diagnosis from an outside evaluator 

The DOE conducts evaluations and will suggest treatment plans to improve a set of symptoms, but they stop short of giving clinical diagnoses. Having a diagnosis can make a big difference so parents need to go to an outside evaluator. Sometimes insurance or Medicaid covers this, but if not, these evaluations can cost thousands of dollars. For those without insurance coverage, St. John's Center for Psychological and Educational Testing offers comprehensive testing on a sliding fee scale, but expect to pay at least $500. In certain cases, the DOE will cover the expense. Results can take months to receive, so plan ahead. Once you get the report, you have priceless information: a diagnosis, detailed data about your child’s strengths and weaknesses, a recommended treatment plan, and evidence-backed leverage in meetings.

2. Contact an education lawyer 

Some attorneys charge for a consultation and some don’t, but their insight has value even if you do not retain one. Nonprofit advocacy groups like Advocates for Children and Resources for Children with Special Needs can also offer free, spot-on advice. A quick internet search of “special education lawyers in New York City” will give you a list of some of the region’s top firms. You can also call some private special education schools and ask for a list of recommended lawyers and advocates.

3. Research and apply to private special education schools 

An acceptance letter from a private special education school greatly increases the chances that the DOE will approve your request. The city directly pays its approved state-supported school tuitions, but many parents have to sue the city annually for independent school reimbursement. Even for approved state-supported schools, however, parents often have to pay one month’s tuition (my daughter’s deposit was $3,300) to hold their child’s spot. If the placement is approved, the money will be reimbursed, but it might take several months. Visit the State education website for a list of private special education schools in the area. 

Placements are competitive, and many schools now actively screen out students with “emotional disturbances.” Include as supplements to your application letters from adults (counselors, teachers, coaches, pediatricians) that testify to your child’s emotional health. Applications are due in the fall for the following year’s admissions.

4. Meet with your individual education plan (IEP) team 

A school-age child’s IEP team usually consists of a district representative, the child’s special education teacher or service provider, the general education teacher and sometimes the school social worker or psychologist. If you want a different school setting for your child, ask the IEP team to “defer to CBST (Central-Based Support Team).” CBST will review your child’s file and decide whether the city will pay for a private school placement. If they deny the request, then you can ask for a hearing. Recently, Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to streamline this process for families. 

Although the process is daunting, finding the right educational fit for your exceptional child makes all the effort worthwhile. We have a dinner time tradition in my family where we each share our favorite part of the day. Last year, my daughter’s favorite part of the day was almost always “coming home from school.” Her refrain this year? “My favorite part of the day was school.” Nothing makes me happier than seeing my daughter finally learning—and loving it.

School Book

Pencils? Check. Paper Towels? Check. Back to School Shopping in Full Swing - Read Full Article

With the school year about to begin, music teacher Rachel Smith went shopping. On her list: a grade book; punch-out letters; boarders; magnets, stickers and letters for her classroom walls.

This year, she's going with a theme of owls, monkeys and little monsters. “I have to keep updated”, she said.

Smith didn't say exactly how much she spent at Carol School Supply Store in Fresh Meadows, Queens, but she considered the outlay part of the job.

“Oh gosh, a couple  of hundred dollars, probably" she said. "But you know, it's a labor of love, so I buy what I need for the kids.”

New York City school teachers are reimbursed $78 for school supplies through a program called "Teacher’s Choice." The allowance used to be substantially higher, said Jason Pick, co-owner of the supply store.

“They’ve actually gone down over the years. They went up a little bit this year but not where they were,” he said.

Pick said teachers should get more money for supplies not just because he wanted to sell the “fluff’n puff”, as he referred to some of the items in his store, but because they can improve teacher instruction.  

“You know, teachers put a lot of time and effort into what they do. A little more money going their way would be very beneficial – not only for them, but for what they can produce in the classroom,“ he said.

The financial pressure of back-to-school shopping weighs heavily on parents, too. Carol Pick, the store's co-owner, said parents had ever-growing lists of items they must bring to school.

“A lot of parents complain about how expensive it is to get a child ready for back to school”, she said. “They have to buy notebooks, crayons, markers, whiteboard, tissue, storage bags, paper towels, copy paper, glue.”

It’s an endless list and for some families it causes real financial strain, yet another reason why Smith said she filled her basket to the brim. 

P.S. 242 in Harlem

 Gains Exclusive International Baccalaureate Status

Click here for the full story


Amendments to Chancellor’s Regulation – October 29, 2014 PEP Vote

1.      Amendment to Chancellor’s Regulation A-420 – Corporal Punishment

2.      Amendment to Chancellor’s Regulation A-421 – Verbal Abuse

3.      Amendment to Chancellor’s Regulation D-140 – Process for the Nomination and Selection of Members of the Community Education Councils Including Filling Vacancies


 October 29, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.

Murry Bergtraum High School

411 Pearl Street

New York, NY 10038



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

Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing Arts
Open House and Auditions

 Open House is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Auditions for the following Arts (Band, Ceramics /Photograph, Dance, Drama, Drawing/Painting) will be:

Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 4 pm to 7 pm

Friday, November 7, 2014 - 4 pm to 7 pm

Saturday, November 8, 2014 - 11:30 am to 2:30 pm

Thursday, November 13, 2014 – 4 pm to 7 pm

 Please have your students sign up to audition by calling Ms. Paul at 212-749-5800 ext. 2073 or email at epaul7@schools.nyc.gov

Location: Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing Arts
215 West 114 Street,  NYC  10026

RSVP now for an Nov. 3 Open House

If you are interested in learning more about our rich program, and unique offerings please be sure to attend our next open house.  Please follow the link below to RSVP

RSVP for a West Prep Academy Open House

Check back on our website often for important news and announcements.  

G&T Request for Testing Period:
This year, families can submit a Request For Testing (RFT)
 for G&T admissions beginning Wednesday, October 8.   

Families of students in pre-K through second grade who are interested in taking the G&T assessment should fill out a RFT form online, at a public school, or at CSD3 Enrollment Office -  388 West 125 Street, 7th Floor by Friday, November 7.  

For updated information and resources, including FAQs, timelines, guidebooks and announcements - visit the NYCDOE G&T website at http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/GiftedandTalented/default.htm For questions, email es_enrollment@schools.nyc.gov.

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

Community Events

The fall NLI series is now accepting registrations. From pointers on neighborhood organizing to suggestions on how to navigate city government or attract local press, their workshops are designed with resident-led groups in mind; each session draws from the ideas and experiences that you bring. Complete four workshops (including 'Basics of Community Organizing') and receive a Neighborhood Leadership Institute certificate of achievement.

Workshops take place in downtown Manhattan. For more info and to RSVP, contact Arif at aullah@citizensnyc.org or 212-822-9580.   

Saturday, September 20
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Bring your neighbors together on issues that matter to you.
Saturday, September 27
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Build and maintain an effective neighborhood association or community group. 
Saturday, October 18
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Increase public support for your group by framing your message and alerting local media. 
Saturday, October 25
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Learn how city government functions and how to have your community issues addressed.
Saturday, November 15
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Support your group's work with community fundraising efforts.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, October 29
Common Core Standards Implementation & Testing Committee Meeting
9:00 AM
Joan of Arc Bldg.
54 W. 93rd St.
Room 204
SLT Chairperson Professional Development Session
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Joan of Arc Complex
154 W. 93 St.
Room 216
Monday, November 3
Middle School
West Prep Academy Open House
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
150 W. 105 St
Btwn Amsterdam & Columbus

RSVP @ www.bit.ly/RSVPwestprep
Tuesday, November 4
Student Non-Attendance Day
Election Day

Chancellor's Conference Day

Students not in attendance

Wednesday, November 5
High School
High School Parent Teacher Conferences
Business Meeting
6:30 PM
Joan of Arc Complex
154 W. 93rd St.
Room 204

CEC3 News

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