2014-2015 NYC School Calendar

2015-2016 NYC School Calendar

Today, 4/25/2015
High: 59 Low: 36
Mostly clear
5% chance of precipitation.
Tomorrow, 4/26/2015
High: 62 Low: 41
Partly cloudy
11% chance of precipitation.

Inside Schools

Pre-k applications due April 24! See our tips & clips - Read Full Article

Pre-k applications due April 24! See our tips & clips

Getting your 4-year-old enrolled in pre-kindergarten is more complicated than signing up at your local school! All children who turn 4 in 2015 are eligible for free pre-kindergarten, either in a public school or at a site run by a community organization. You must apply by April 24 and do your homework first. The de Blasio administration gets an A for effort in its rapid expansion of pre-kindergarten, with more than 30,000 new seats last fall and another 20,000 planned for this coming fall. But what is the quality of these new programs?

Even though the city is rapidly expanding free, all-day pre-k programs, demand still outstrips supply in many neighborhoods. Insideschools hosted a panel of experts this spring, including Josh Wallack, chief strategy officer for the Department of Education, Takiema Bunche Smith, director of the Leadership Institute at SCO/FirstStepNYC and Lydie Raschka, Insideschools school reviewer and Montessori teacher. They, along with other experts from Insideschools, talked about how to find a good program for your child and gave tips on how to navigate the application process.

If you missed the workshop, you can watch it on Livestream. Click on the video timeline below for key questions of interest to you.

38:16: What do you look for in a pre-k program?

47:35 Are the early childhood centers teaching the same skills as the public school pre-ks?

54:44: What about neighborhoods that don't have enough seats?

1:00:06: What are the stand-alone pre-k centers?

1:27:38: My zoned school refuses to give tours and will not hold an open house. How can I find out more about the program?

1:33:09: Will the schools see the order of preference on my application?

1:47:23: What challenges, lessons and successes have we learned from the UPK implementation?

If you're still looking for a pre-kindergarten, use our new search engine. Simply type in your address and find all the programs located near your home or work. 

Change, scrap the SHSAT? Solutions hard to come by - Read Full Article

Change, scrap the SHSAT? Solutions hard to come by

Should the city's specialized high schools reserve some spots for top 8th-graders in every city middle school, regardless of the child's score on the specialized high school admissions test (SHSAT)? A recent report cited that as the change most likely to increase the number of black and Hispanic students at the schools but panelists at a forum Friday disagreed over whether the city should take that step.

The panelists also differed over whether an exam should continue to be the sole means of selecting students for the schools, but they concurred that New York needs to provide more outreach and preparation for the exam, particularly in black and Latino communities.

The forum, sponsored by the Korean American League for Civic Action and Asian American Bar Association of New York and moderated by Clara Hemphill, founder and senior editor of Insideschools, came after admissions figures for the schools once again show few spots going to black and Latino students. Of the 5,103 students admitted to one of the eight specialized exam schools for next September, 5 percent are black and 7 percent Hispanic, while Asians account for 52 percent of offers and whites 22 percent. Only about 1 percent of students admitted to Stuyvesant are black.

Solutions to the problem are hard to come by. 

While the panelists agreed the lack of black and Latino students at the schools was disturbing, they disagreed over how to address it. A recent study by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools concluded that considering state tests scores, grades and attendance would probably increase the number of girls, Hispanics and whites admitted to the specialized schools. It would decrease the number of Asians, the report's authors, Sean P. Corcoran and Christine Baker-Smith, wrote. The change would not appreciably increase the proportion of black students admitted, and might actually lower the number.

The only change in admissions policy that would "substantially change the demographic mix," the report said would be granting entry to the top 10 percent of students at every middle school. The authors noted that that would also reduce "the average achievement of incoming students, particularly in math."

Under current policy, many middle schools in the city do not send a single student to a specialized school. Mike Mascetti, executive director of the Science Schools Initiative, which provides free academic support and SHSAT preparation to promising students, said that even top performers from many middle schools could not compete at the academically demanding specialized schools. At one Bronx middle school, he said, "There wasn't a single student in that class who was performing at even the lowest level of kids in our upper Manhattan program .... They couldn't add fractions."

Rachel Kleinman, senior counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, argued that was "the best argument to change the test" because there are kids who are not prepared to take the test .... They have skills that these tests are not measuring. They are doing well despite the odds." The Fund filed a complaint in 2012 challenging the test.

Disparities in admission among racial groups reflect deep problems in New York City schools, panelists said. Edward Q. Seto, a former city school superintendent and principal of Curtis High School, noted that only 1.9 percent of black 7th-graders got a 4—the highest score—on their state reading exam. "I am sure there are top achievers in all of our schools but I believe the great majority are not prepared to master even the core curriculum, " he said. "We must do a better job of preparing all our kids."

Efforts to prepare students can boost their scores, statistics show. Dream—The Specialized High School Institute, a 22-month program aimed at helping low-income students prepare for the test, has had a 46 percent pass rate, compared to a citywide rate of less than 20 percent, according to Stanley Ng, a former member of the Citywide Council on High Schools, who has been active on this issue. The Wall Street Journal reported that about 60 percent of students in Mascetti's prep program got into one of the schools this year.

Jonathan Halabi, a teacher at the High School of American Studies at Lehman College, a specialized school, and co-chair of the United Federation of Teacher's Specialized High School Task Force, urged reinstating the Discovery program, which allowed promising "disadvantaged" students who narrowly missed the cutoff score for admission to enter a specialized high school after taking and passing a summer course. That program has been discontinued at the larger schools.

Jahaira Flores, a 2010 graduate of American Studies, said she took the test without any preparation and narrowly missed admission. The Discovery program allowed her to get in. "As far as I know every college offers remediation so why not high schools?" Flores said.

The UFT would like all 8th-graders to automatically take the SHSAT unless they opt out, Halabi said. (Now students must sign up for the test.)

Mascetti agreed, calling it  "an excellent proposal." All students take the test at some schools, while at others, "parents don't even know about" it, he said, adding, "High performing students at low-performing middle schools, are not being pushed into the best schools."

Bills have been introduced in the state legislature calling for a change in admissions by reversing the 1971 state law that gave the state authority for admissions to the specialized high schools and established the SHSAT as the sole means of admissions at StuyvesantBronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Tech.

The latest version of the bill was introduced in March and would allow the city to set admissions policies and would establish multiple measures for selecting students, such as grade point averages of applicants, student portfolios and teacher recommendations. 

Leaders in the legislature have largely been silent on the issue, as has Gov. Andrew Cuomo. A nonbinding resolution in support of the measure was introduced in City Council last fall but has not advanced.

In March, Chancellor Carmen Farina said the Department of Education was reviewing "a variety of ideas to increase diversity at our specialized high schools" and will "examine changes to admissions policies."

Changes, should they come, would not affect September's incoming class and would probably not affect the class entering in 2016, Hemphill said.

Post updated 4/22 to reflect a 46 percent passing rate on the exam by students in the DREAM program.

College Counselor: Look beyond the "popular" northeast schools - Read Full Article

College Counselor: Look beyond the

Q: I am a junior and all I hear about is how impossible it is to get into popular colleges. A lot of my friends who are seniors did not get accepted to their first-choice colleges and are going to have to attend other schools. This has made me very nervous about what's going to happen to me next year. What do you suggest?

A: As I am sure you have heard, part of the problem is the Common Application, which is both a blessing and a curse. The Common App makes it easy to apply to multiple schools, and the blessing is that it enables students to do this while saving them the bother of writing the same information (except for the essay supplements) over and over again. The curse is, the larger volume of applications sent as a result of the Common Application makes being accepted to any school much more difficult.

Another part of the problem is that students persist in applying to the same colleges as their classmates. They have been advised to diversify the geographical scope of their applications, but they don't listen.

I assume, since you are writing to this particular column, that you live in New York City. It seems that everyone in the Northeast United States wants to go to college in the Northeast. And students in other parts of the U.S. want to come here too. No wonder the application tallies at colleges in that area are soaring, and admission is becoming more competitive—more people are competing for a limited number of admission spots.

And yet really, really good schools in other parts of the country are not being considered. These schools are getting lots of applications, mostly of course, because they are fine institutions. But they are not getting the overwhelming numbers that some Northeast schools are receiving. In the school where I work, which is in Manhattan, NOT ONE STUDENT has applied to the following (and these are just a sampling of many fine options out there):

• The University of Arizona
• Bowling Green State(Ohio)
• Carleton College (Minnesota)
• Colorado College
• University of Dayton (Ohio)
• Earlham College (Indiana)
• Eckerd College (Florida)
• Grinnell College (Iowa).
• The University of Iowa
• Lawrence University (Wisconsin)
• Lewis & Clark College (Oregon)
• Ohio Wesleyan University
• The Ohio State University
• Santa Clara University (California)
• The University of Texas – Austin

I think the point is clear: look seriously at the many fine schools that are outside of your geographical comfort zone. You will expand your horizons while also expanding your chances of admission. Please remember, though, that admission is never guaranteed. You still need appropriate credentials.

When you and your college counselor create your college list for applying next year, be sure to explore schools in diverse locations.Also take a serious look at some of the less-frequently-chosen branches of SUNY: Plattsburgh, Cortland, Fredonia and Oswego. 

School Book

Middle School: A 'Hot Mess' of Distractions - Read Full Article

Seasoned middle school teachers and principals know what they're up against. Their students are bombarded by physical and psychological changes. The same child can show up dedicated and hard-working one day, silly and difficult the next.

But if you grab their attention, educators told WNYC, there's a chance to make a difference with long-term benefits.

“In the spectrum of adolescent development, 12 is really when you start to have the changeover,” said Derick Spaulding, the principal of Emolior Academy in the South Bronx. “They come in with a set of ideas, but a set of ideas that are amendable and moldable to a degree.”

The key is to cut through all the distractions. On a recent morning in a social studies class, 12-year-old Elijah Harper couldn't focus. Why?

“She’s just on my mind, the girl right here,” he said, sharing a photo on his phone. 

"Seventh grade is a hot mess,” said Jason Borsella, Elijah’s social studies teacher. “You’ve got kids that are six-feet-tall and squeaking and then you’ve got boys and girls that are barely 4 ½ feet. You’ve got hormones galore with the girls and the boys. It’s like potpourri on 'Jeopardy' night. You never know what you’re going to get with a seventh grade.”

The key to teaching middle school, he said, is learning to “be like water.” Let things flow. Be flexible.

Researchers have found attendance, grades and behavior in middle school are key indicators when it comes to predicting who will drop out of high school. This is why educators say there’s a big opportunity in the middle grades. It’s a moment to reach kids before they harden their assumptions about who is and who isn’t a good student.

Emolior has earned a good reputation as a small middle school that’s on the right track, despite having a difficult population and low test scores. Its 250 students are mostly poor and include many pupils with special needs and immigrants who don’t speak English. But their attendance rate is over 92 percent, and suspensions are low. One reason: attention. 

Staff members often stop to talk with students in the lunchroom and hallways. And, as part of the city’s Middle School Quality Initiative, the school offers extra support. For example, all sixth and seventh graders have four extra periods a week to work on their reading skills. Coaches from Generation Ready pinpoint where students are weak and coach them directly, using tablets loaded with texts catered to their individual reading levels.

Seventh grader Sheiquel Kabba said the close attention of English teacher Peter Scaramuzzo helped her improve: “He tells us to keep on working, like he makes it encouraging. He don’t put us down.”

Various foundations, including Carnegie, have poured a lot of money into studying what’s wrong with middle schools. New York City has gone through two iterations of middle school reform in the past decade alone. The current thinking is middle schools need to hone in on the academic deficits many students bring with them from elementary school.

“We call them pushables,” Spaulding said. “Those are the kids that with very strategic intervention can get to that proficient level.”

With a little push and a lot of hand holding, he said, even the most distracted or struggling students can make it through middle school.

CEC3 Common Core Parent Survey Reissued Online
 Friday April 17 - Friday May 15


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


M.S 131

100 Hester Street
New York, NY 10002
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
6:00 PM


NYC Schools Chancellor Announces
New School Support Structure

Click here for full report


  • April 19 - May 8 – Presidents, Treasurers, and Recording Secretaries of Parent Associations and Parent-Teacher Associations vote online for the new Community and Citywide Education Council Members for the 2015-2017 term.
  • May 12 – Election results are published on NYCParentLeaders.org.
  • July 1 – Elected and appointed Community and Citywide Education Council Members for the 2015-2017 term take office.


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

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.

G&T Score Reports and Applications

Score reports will be sent to families in early April. Families of students who are eligible will also receive an application along with their score report. The application deadline is April 23.

    G & T Overview

    Gifted & Talented (G&T) programs are one way the NYC Department of Education supports the needs of exceptional students. G&T programs aim to deliver accelerated, rigorous, and specialized instruction, aligned to Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS). New York City students who are entering kindergarten through 3rd grade are eligible to participate in G&T Admissions. Children must pass an assessment to be eligible to apply to G&T programs.

    Please use the steps below to guide you through the process:
    1. Apply for testing by completing a Request For Testing (RFT) form.
    2. Take the test on the test date that you are given.
    3. Receive notice of eligibility in April
    4. Apply to G&T programs, if eligible

    High School News

    Schools received High School Admissions Round 1 results on March 5. Round 2 applications were due to guidance counselors on March 20. Find more information on Round 2. Please contact your guidance counselor for specific questions. 

    High School Directories Notice

    Students applying to a NYC public high school for the 2015-2016 school year can 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

                      “Kiss Me Kate”

                        Booker T. Washington MS 54

                  April 29 – Dress Rehearsal 4:00 p.m.

                                (Donation at the door!)

              April 30 and May 1 – Performances 6:30 p.m.

                   $5 students, $15 adults, $25 reserved

                              Email amcintosh6@schools.nyc.gov to reserve!

                     108th Street Between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues

    Upcoming Events

    Saturday, April 25
    P.S. 208 Earth Week Eco-ganza
    11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    P.S. 208
    21 W. 111 St.
    (btwn 5th Ave and Malcom X Blvd.)
    Wednesday, April 29
    PEP Meeting
    6:00 PM
    M.S 131
    100 Hester Street
    New York, NY 10002

    Jt CSD3 Presidents' Council/CEC3 Mtg.
    6:30 PM
    PS 241
    240 W. 113th St.
    (between Adam Clayton Powell & Frederick Douglass Jr. Blvds.)

    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 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


    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