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Today, 5/25/2015
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Inside Schools

Metal detectors: To have or not to have? - Read Full Article

Metal detectors: To have or not to have?

For many years metal detectors have been accepted as a fact of life for more than 100,000 New York City public school students. Now, some City Council members are questioning whether they are necessary—and taking first steps to have them removed.

"I don't believe we should have metal detectors in our schools," said Councilman Brad Lander, (D-Brooklyn) who has backed legislation that would require the Department of Education to report on the schools that have permanent metal detectors and those that are subject to random scans. "Telling our young people that we look to them as potential criminals in the schools that have metal detectors does more harm than good."

Lander hopes the bill, introduced by Vanessa Gibson (D-Bronx) and Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), will encourage the Department of Education to clarify why some schools have metal detectors and others don't. He is also pressing the department to outline a clear policy on how schools can have metal detectors removed.

"There is an absence, a really embarrassing absence, of a New York City Department of Education policy around metal detectors," Lander said in an interview.

Some students compare the metal detectors to the police department's unpopular "stop-and-frisk" policies, which they say unfairly target black and Latino youth. A 2012 report by the New York Civil Liberties Union estimated of the 100,000 students enrolled in schools with metal detectors, the vast majority of them are black and Latino.

Dennis Belen, a junior at Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School in the Bronx, feels so strongly about it that he started a Change.org campaign to get metal detectors removed from schools. "Metal detectors in schools contribute to the idea that black and Latino teenagers should be treated like criminals," says his petition to Mayor Bill deBlasio, signed by 50 students.

Others complain that long lines make them late for class. "Especially in the winter with the cold weather there was a huge line because of the metal detectors," said Madelin Alvarez, who attends the International High School at Union Square on the Washington Irving Campus. "I have to take off all my boots, watches, everything that I have on me." She said the process can take up to 30 minutes.

There are signs that the Department of Education is responding to these concerns. "The Mayor's Leadership Team on School Climate is reviewing many aspects of our discipline and school climate reforms, including developing a policy for removing metal detectors from school buildings," Deputy Press Secretary Jason Fink said in an email.

There is no official policy now on how to remove metal detectors. Unofficially, all the principals in a building must agree; they then sit down with police officials who "basically say to them that anything that happens in the building is on your head," according to Lander. Not surprisingly, few principals have taken this risk.

Some parents defend metal detectors—and even want more schools to have them. "You want them 10 minutes late, or [to] not come home again?" said Mariella Rueda, parent coordinator at the Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers, which has random scanning but doesn't have permanent metal detectors. Rueda's son attends The Manhattan Business Academy in the Bayard Rustin Educational Campus, which doesn't have scanners. Late last year, a student pulled out a knife during a fight. All students involved were injured—one seriously—and a school safety agent was hospitalized, according to news reports.

The majority of metal detectors were installed in the late 1980s and 1990s when the number of students found carrying weapons increased and a number of violent incidents occurred. "We were living at a time with double-digit unemployment, double-digit inflation, and the crack epidemic in working class and poor communities," said Hofstra University Professor Alan Singer, who was a teacher in Brooklyn at the time. "What you have is a spillover of the problems in the communities into the schools" he said. "There was this pulsating sense of impending trouble, we were always waiting for it."

In 1999, responsibility for school safety agents was taken out of the hands of principals and given to local police departments. As a result, problems which once were handled by a guidance counselor now are treated as criminal offenses, Singer said. "It's like you have something in place to demean kids and criminalize kids who are on the margins to begin with," he said.

Most of the scanners that were introduced at this time are still there, even though the climate in the buildings has changed. Mayor Mike Bloomberg closed large failing schools and replaced them with smaller schools that share the old buildings. Most of these new schools do not suffer from the same disruptions and incidents as their predecessors. The city as a whole is safer, as well.

It is unlikely that students like Belen and Alvarez will see major changes to the policies surrounding metal detectors before they graduate from high school. However, if the Department of Education develops an official policy on their removal—and if more information about their use is made public—then students, parents, educators and policymakers can have more informed conversations about the impact and value of metal detectors in city public schools. 


Apply for 4th- & 5th-grade G&T by May 22 - Read Full Article

Apply for 4th- & 5th-grade G&T by May 22

With all of the hoopla that accompanies G&T testing for rising kindergartners every spring, it’s easy to forget that there are opportunities for older elementary school students too. If you have a rising 4th- or 5th-grader who is ready for more of an academic challenge, this Friday, May 22 is the last day to apply for a gifted and talented program for fall 2015.

Unlike applications for the younger grades, the RFP (request for placement) for 4th- and 5th-graders must be made in person at a Family Welcome Center. There is no special test; instead a student’s eligibility is based on three main factors, all weighed equally:

1.         The 2015 NYS English language arts and math exam scores
2.         2015 report card grades
3.         A form, "Descriptors of Exceptional Characteristics,” filled out by the child’s teacher

After you submit an RFP for your child, the Department of Education will collect all the information including test scores, grades and teacher recommendations and will notify families of their child’s eligibility in late summer. Student’s who qualify will receive an application to submit, along with a list of all G&T programs with seats available for 4th- and 5th-graders. 

If your child is not currently a public school student, the DOE will still collect report cards and teacher recommendations, but may request that your child take other math and ELA assessments. (You will also have to submit two forms of proof of NYC residency when you submit your RFP.)

It's helpful to understand that there are two types of gifted and talented programs in New York City: district programs, located within district elementary schools; and citywide programs that enroll students from all five boroughs. Priority for district programs will go to siblings first and then to district students by lottery. For citywide programs, siblings will be placed first, followed by a lottery of eligible students citywide. Remember that seats for all these programs are very limited and the DOE will not place a student in the terminal grade of a program. Even if your child does well on all three factors, there is no guarantee that a seat will be available, and, unfortunately, there is no appeals process.

G&T placement for older students is certainly a waiting game, but at the end the process moves fast. The DOE will notify families by mail of placements the first week of September, just before school starts. 

And, for all those parents of rising kindergartners (and 1st–3rd-graders for that matter) who are on the edge of their seats, the DOE will notify families of G&T placements starting next week on May 25, and you’ll have until June to pre-register.

If you still have questions about the G&T process, call the Department of Education’s enrollment office at 718-935-2009 or e-mail ES_Enrollment@schools.nyc.gov.

College counselor: From home-school to college - Read Full Article

College counselor: From home-school to college

Q: Our daughter is being home-schooled, so we have a couple of questions about getting her ready for college. Are there AP programs available for home-schooled children or would college classes be an acceptable alternative? Is there a list of scholarships and grants that we can go through to help her financially? Last, are there specific curricula or electives that would aid her in her acceptance or transition into college?

A: Admissions officers ask the same questions about home-schooled students that they ask about students in traditional schools, that is:

1) Can this student handle the academic work at our college or university?
2) What might this student contribute to the life of our college or university?

There are all different kinds of home-schools, just as there are traditional schools. While you do not state what curriculum you are using, you will need to make this clear when your daughter applies to college. AP examinations are administered through schools, so contact the College Board about whether—and where—she can take them. Certainly, presenting very good scores on several AP exams would demonstrate her mastery of each subject, but you would have to follow the AP curriculum to help prepare her. Taking a couple of college-level courses would be good for two reasons: This would show your daughter's academic mastery, and also expose her to the atmosphere of give-and-take discussion that takes place in the classroom. This would be a definite plus in preparing for the transition to college. If there is a small college or community college in your locale, see whether your daughter might enroll for one class each semester of her junior and senior years.

Another thing your daughter might do is take more than the required number of SAT Subject Tests to demonstrate her proficiency in specific areas. Colleges cannot require her to take more than the SAT or ACT if that is what they ask of all applicants. But being proactive with several scores—say, in a second language, a science, a history and mathematics—would show her capability in these subjects. These tests are objective and impartial. Frankly, if the home-school transcript is created by the people who are doing the home-schooling, college admissions readers tend to be a bit skeptical. You daughter can reassure them that she does know her material by volunteering these scores.

In terms of extra-curricular involvement, is your daughter a member of any community organizations, such as an orchestra or band, the Girl Scouts or a volunteer group? Anything she can show that will demonstrate her skills and contributions to the community will strengthen her application.

In terms of scholarships, grants, and affordability: I don't know whether there are specific scholarships for home-schooled students, but you should definitely consult the College Board's directory of scholarships and financial aid. They publish a new, updated version each year. Scholarships are listed by category, region, and subject interest, so there might be some very helpful information available. And if affordability is an issue, please consider several branches of your state university, where excellent education is offered at a cost far lower than that of private colleges.

Following these suggestions, plus arranging for campus interviews later, ought to be helpful in preparing your daughter for college entry!

School Book

Opinion: I Teach Music. Why am I Judged on English Test Scores? - Read Full Article

Over the past year, I've worked hard to improve my ability to help students think critically about the works we study in class. My students are making connections across cultures, and using evidence to support their arguments. We model good work for each other and give feedback.

As a teacher, I expect the same in return. I want to receive feedback on how I can improve my craft. Our classes are adapting to Common Core-aligned material, filled with more rigor than ever before, but currently our work is not fairly or effectively evaluated.

Based on my principal’s observations, I was rated as a “highly effective” teacher last year. But after the growth scores on English Language Arts exams were calculated, I was knocked down to “effective.” The outcome sounds fair, and maybe it would be if I were an English teacher. But I’m not. I teach music and my students are studying music scores, not textbooks or works of fiction.

Arts teachers, physical education teachers, and others whose classes don’t culminate in standardized tests crave authentic assessment of our students’ growth. Like all teachers, we are following the debate over evaluations with interest. We want a system that helps us grow and improve as professionals.

Evaluating teachers like me based on subjects and grades we do not teach robs us of the opportunity to reflect and improve.

The possibility that, in New York state, tests results would increase to 50 percent of an overall evaluation rating, as proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would only exacerbate the problem.

At my school, every member of the staff is constantly striving to improve. My administrators visit my classroom, help me set goals and examine student performance regularly. I mentor younger colleagues, and my peers come to my class and give me feedback on my lessons. I learn so much more from collaboration with my colleagues than I ever will from a test tied to another teacher’s subject.

At the same time, we don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. There are many teachers who value the significant improvements recently made to evaluations, and who want to share teacher-led ideas for making them even more effective in supporting our growth and development.      

In that spirit, I offer this: look at  school systems in Tennessee and Washington, D.C. where teachers of non-tested subjects and grades are evaluated based on student portfolios that demonstrate student performance over time. Every effort should be made to create assessments for our students across subjects. They must prioritize student growth and can't be done solely for the purpose of evaluating teachers. 

Our students are thriving artists, actors and musicians. It is my privilege and my vocation to shape the learning of children in my classroom. Let me improve my craft each year based on what I achieve and what I need, not the needs of the English teacher down the hall.

The Department of English Language Learners and Student Support (DELLSS)
 is excited to announce the Spring 2015 ELL Borough Parent Conferences

Thursday, May 28 
8:30 am - 1:00 pm 
Teachers College, Columbia University 
525 West 120th Street 
New York, NY 100027 
Click here to register 

2015-2017 CEC & Citywide Council Election results
 are now published online at  
 Elected and appointed Community and Citywide Education Council Members for the 2015-2017 term will take office on July 1, 2015.

School Budgets & Weighted Student Funding
May 07. 2015 CEC3  Presentation 




     Date, time and place of the PEP meeting(s)
at which the Panel will vote on the proposed item.

June 23, 2015
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Long Island City High School
14-30 Broadway
Queens, New York 11106



The proposed Spring 2015 Plan Amendment is available at:


Comments can be delivered by email to capitalplan@schools.nyc.gov, by telephone to
(212) 374-6853, or by mail to the address set forth below.

 Date, time and place of the Panel for Educational Policy meeting
 at which the Panel will vote on the proposed item.

June 23, 2015 at 6:00 p.m.
Long Island City High School
14-30 Broadway
Queens, NY 11106



Pilot Program Will Provide Hands-On STEM Opportunities for 1,200 Students

Microsoft Leading Supporter of Design and Implementation of Program


Complete the D3 Presidents' Council Library Survey!

Your feedback is important.
Please take a moment to let us know
 what you think of library resources at your child's school.

You may fill out more than one survey
 to account for multiple children in different schools.

NYCDOE 2015 Discipline Code
click here

NYC Schools Chancellor Announces
New School Support Structure

Click here for full report


School Admissions News

Kindergarten Admissions

The application period ended on February 18, 2015. However, you can still submit a late application in one of three ways:

Interpretation services will be provided in over 200 languages for the over-the-phone and in-person options.

Review our Kindergarten Directories to make your list of choices. The Directories are available online, and at local elementary schools and at Family Welcome Centers. Translated versions are available online, in nine languages. 

For a list of new schools opening in the 2015-16 school year, click here.

Community Events

 Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance

Announces 2015 Uptown Arts Stroll Kick-Off

Honoring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ty Jones,

Andrea Arroyo & Eduardo Gomez 

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tony Award winner and the star of Hamilton, which hits the Broadway stage in July; Ty Jones, Broadway actor and Producing Artistic Director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem; Andrea Arroyo, Global Citizen Award Artist with artwork in permanent collections at the Smithsonian Institute and Library of Congress; and Eduardo Gomez, Website Specialist at UN Women and founder of the ground-breaking Washington Heights & Inwood (WaHI) online community website, will be honored at the kick-off for the 12th annual Uptown Arts Stroll, a month-long festival, celebrating arts and culture in Washington Heights-Inwood  and West Harlem.

 The kick-off is co-hosted by the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, Broadway Housing Communities and the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance. See www.artstroll.com for more information.
Friday, May 29, 2015


Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling

   898 St. Nicholas Avenue (West 154th & 155th St.) 

Upcoming Events

Monday, May 25
Memorial Day
Schools Closed
Tuesday, May 26
Standardized Testing
4th & 8th Grade State Science PerformanceTests
One day test given within this time period.
Wednesday, May 27
Standardized Testing
4th & 8th Grade State Science PerformanceTests
One day test given within this time period.
Middle School
Middle Choice Process for Parents of 4th Graders
6:00 PM
PS 75
95th St. & WEA.

District 3 Common Core Parent Survey

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

CEC3 News

To join the CEC3 Email List, 

please send your name and email address to


CEC3 2013-2014 Strategic Plan Document

Adopted January 2014 at the
Joint CSD3 Presidents' Council/CEC3 Calendar Meeting

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

Education Reports

District 3 SCA Proposed Amendment
to the 2015-2019 Capital Plan Presentation

Presentation Given at the January 7th CEC3 Special Meeting

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

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