Archive for the 'Education' Category

scarf-flier

Brrr! It sure is getting cold out there!

While the rest of us bundle up, not all of the neediest in the city’s school system have the means to get a helpful hat or a solid pair of gloves. To help them out, Councilman Chaim Deutsch has launched a hat, scarf and glove drive to bring some warmth this winter.

Hoping it will become an annual effort, the local pol is collecting winter gear specifically for students with disabilities at a local District 75 school. District 75 students are those with severe disabilities, ranging from autism to significantly cognitive delays and physical impairments.

“As the weather gets colder, it is essential that every child has the appropriate protection against the wind and chill,” said Deutsch in a press release. “Please donate new hats, scarves, and gloves to benefit special needs children in our community.”

All donations can be dropped off at Deutsch’s district office at 2401 Avenue U, prior to December 17. For more information, please call 718-368-9176.

electeds and principals ps11 national blue ribbon school awards
Sheepshead Bay’s PS 254 (Dag Hammarskjold) and Clinton Hill’s PS 11 (Purvis J. Behan) schools’ 2014 National Blue Ribbon School Award wins were honored on November 20 with a ceremony at Brooklyn Borough Hall. School principals Alonta Wrighton (bottom left) and Linda Alhonote (bottom right), as well as Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Assemblyman Walter Mosley, and Council members Laurie Cumbo, Chaim Deutsch, and Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm were all in attendance at the event to celebrate two outstanding Brooklyn learning institutions.

“[I]t is my privilege to celebrate this success,” Councilmember Deutsch, whose district covers PS 254, told the crowd. “Together they are an example of excellence and I commend Principal Alhonote and Principal Wrighton, as well as the staff and students for exemplifying a quality that can be upheld as a model for others.”

“The academic excellence of [these schools] is a direct reflection of our community’s unwavering commitment to… the success of our administrators, faculty, parents, but most importantly our students,” Councilmember Cumbo said at the ceremony, during which students from the chosen schools performed. “The designation of these two institutions as the 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools… recognizes the hard work of the staff, the dedication of the parents, and the strong leadership of [these ] Principals… it is important that we continue to support our schools and inspire the future leaders of our city, state, and nation.”

Principals Wrighton and Alhonote each received special citations at the event, and PS 11 and 254 were presented with New York City Council Proclamations.

Congratulations again to all the students, faculty, and other supporters of this year’s Blue Ribbon schools, and keep up the good work!

Photo courtesy Councilmember Laurie Cumbo

Source: Flickr/44551921@N04

Source: Flickr/44551921@N04

Middle school applications for the 2015-2016 school year are now available at elementary schools across the city.

How to apply

Students in 5th grade and 6th grade (for K-6 elementary schools) can apply to middle schools in their district, as well as certain boroughwide and citywide schools. Each student will receive a customized application that includes all of the middle schools he or she is eligible for. To complete the application, students should rank schools in order of preference and return the application to their guidance counselor. Private school students in 5th grade can fill out an application at a local enrollment office.

Before deciding on a school, it’s always a good idea for families to check out these middle school directories, contact schools of interest, and attend any open houses and information sessions that are offered. This middle school admissions checklist might be helpful.

Also check out the 2015-2016 Charter School Directory for information on the city’s 197 public charter schools.

Deadline

  • Applications must be submitted no later than Tuesday, December 2.

For more information see the Department of Education website.

doe-logoI don’t know why anybody would want to send their kid to Stuyvesant when Sheepshead Bay High School is in their own backyard, but, hey, if you’re one of those parents then the deadline for that opportunity is coming up.

Students applying to high school for the 2015-2016 school year can register for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) through Wednesday, October 22, at noon. Eighth graders or first-time 9th graders who are residents of New York City can register for the SHSAT through their guidance counselor. Students with disabilities and English Language Learners (ELLs) may be eligible to receive testing accommodations on the SHSAT.

There are nine Specialized High Schools in New York City:

  • The Bronx High School of Science
  • Brooklyn Latin School
  • Brooklyn Technical High School
  • Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
  • High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College
  • High School of American Studies at Lehman College
  • Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
  • Staten Island Technical High School
  • Stuyvesant High School

For eight of these schools, admission is based solely on the score attained on the SHSAT. For LaGuardia High School, admission is based upon auditions and a review of student academic performance.

You must register by October 22, and most of the testing will be done the weekend of October 25 and October 26.

You can find more information on Specialized High Schools here.

A classroom at PS 254 (Source: Schools.nyc.gov)

A classroom at PS 254 (Source: Schools.nyc.gov)

Congratulations are in order! Sheepshead Bay’s PS 254 Dag Hammarskjold Elementary School is one of only 337 schools in the country and two schools in Brooklyn to have received a 2014 Blue Ribbon School award.

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors outstanding public and private elementary, middle, and high schools each year based on their general academic achievement as well as their success in closing achievement gaps among subgroups of students. This year, PS 254 at 1801 Avenue Y received an award in the “Exemplary High Performing Schools” category–an honor in which Clinton Hill’s PS 11 can also revel.

All of 2014’s winning schools will be presented with a National Blue Ribbon School plaque and flag, and will be honored at ceremonies–where educators are invited to discuss their methods and ideas for continued academic excellence–on November 10 and 11 in Washington, DC.

“You, the 2014 National Blue Ribbon award winners, are absolutely a national treasure,” said US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a congratulatory message. “[I]t’s a great, great privilege to celebrate your success. Thank you for what you do every single day to foster the curiosity, and persistence, and the joy of learning for our nation’s children.”

Borough President Adams was joined by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and other legislative colleagues in making the announcement.

Borough President Adams was joined by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and other legislative colleagues in making the announcement. (Source: Adams’ office)

Several local schools are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars each for repairs, upgrades and improvements as part of a $3.1 million allocation by Borough President Eric Adams to education institutions across the borough.

The beep today unveiled 16 school-related capital projects that will benefit from the allocation, which was packed into the city’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

“If you look around Downtown Brooklyn, something new is rising up every day and this is an exciting time for the borough and this area, as education and schools represent the vibrant energies of what’s coming up at this time,” said Borough President Adams. “This budget spans the far reaches of the borough; from Metrotech to Midwood and from Bed-Stuy to Bath Beach, we are leaving no school behind. Our goal is education, education, and education.”

The allocations are largely for technology upgrades, although some schools are receiving it for more general improvements.

Schools in our area are slated to receive the following:

  • $350,000 to James Madison High School for upgrades to the school’s library and media centers;
  • $225,000 for improvements to the library at Sheepshead Bay High School;
  • $200,000 for classroom technology purchases at Joseph B. Cavallaro I.S. 281;
  • $100,000 for classroom technology purchases at P.S. 169;

Local elected officials joined Adams during the announcement this morning to celebrate the funding.

“School libraries and media centers are essential to the success of today’s high school students,” said Assemblymember Helene Weinstein. “I thank Brooklyn Borough President Adams for this funding, which will enhance these services at Sheepshead and James Madison High Schools, and allow students to reach even greater heights.”

“Investing in education is the best investment we can make for the future of our state and country,” said Assemblymember William Colton. “These capital improvements will help bring much-needed technological advancements to our local Brooklyn schools that will better our children. This $200,000 capital grant for I.S. 281 will allow for the school to make technology improvements, including by purchasing smartboards and computer laptops, that will benefit our students by enhancing their learning experience, and provide valuable resources for our educators.”

school classroom by Dan Nguyen

Source: Dan Nguyen/Flickr

Sure, public schools open tomorrow. But maybe you’re a last minute kind of person – or one of any number of things got in the way – and you still need to get your kid registered for school, pre-k or free lunch.

Fortunately, the Department of Education is making things a little easier with new temporary registration centers spread across the five boroughs to make it easier to enroll students or get questions answered. And they’ve launched online tools to apply for free lunch (deadline tomorrow) and pre-k.

As for the temporary registration centers, not everybody needs to head to one. New elementary and middle school students who have zoned schools, including those with an Individualized Education Program, should register at their zoned school beginning tomorrow, September 4. You can find your zoned school here or by calling 311.

Registration centers are for those who live in a neighborhood without a zoned school, as well as all new high school students (including those with an IEP).

There are three Brooklyn registration centers:

  • Edward R. Murrow High School, 1600 Avenue L
  • Clara Barton High School, 901 Classon Avenue
  • Brooklyn Technical High School, 29 Fort Green Place

The centers are open from now through Friday, September 12, 2014 from 8:00am to 3:00pm.

Here’s the information from the DOE on what to bring:

Parents must bring their child(ren) with them to register. The following documents are required:

  • Child’s birth certificate or passport
  • Child’s immunization records
  • Child’s latest report card/transcript (if available)
  • Child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) and/or 504 Accommodation Plan (if applicable)

In addition, parents must demonstrate proof of residency by bringing any of the following two documents*:

  • Utility bill in the resident’s name (National Grid, Con Edison, or the Long Island Power Authority); must be dated within the past 60 days
  • Water bill for the residence; must be dated within the past 90 days
  • Original lease agreement, deed, or mortgage statement for the residence
  • Current property tax bill for the residence
  • Official payroll document from an employer [example: payroll receipt]; must be dated within the past 60 days
  • Document or letter from a federal, state, or local government agency indicating the resident’s name and address [example: document from Internal Revenue Service (IRS), City Housing Authority, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)]; must be dated within the past 60 days

* If the parent is not the leaseholder of residence, he/she must submit a Residency Affidavit.

Families can still register for universal pre-k and can find more information at nyc.gov/prek or by texting “prek” to 877877.

Aside from getting registered, the Department of Education is also making it easier to get enrolled in the free meals program.

Breakfast is at no charge to all students, while lunch normally costs $1.75. Some students qualify for free meals - but the application must be in before tomorrow, September 4, the start of school. You can apply online here. If you have any questions, please contact The Office of SchoolFood at (877) 363-6325.

Sunny Skies

Source: Sunny Skies

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the preliminary recipients of $340 million in pre-kindergarten funding yesterday, including a couple in our area - Brighton Beach’s Sarah Winner Group Family Day Care and Sunny Skies Preschool.

Provided state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli approves the awards, Sarah Winner Group Family Day Care (2997 Ocean Parkway) will land $120,000 from the state and Sunny Skies Coney Island (2585 Coney Island Avenue) will receive $300,000 as part of a program that is awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for 81 school districts and community-based organizations across the state.

The funding, which is included in the 2014-15 state budget, is the first installment in the governor’s commitment to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years to build a statewide universal full-day pre-kindergarten program.

The city Department of Education is slated to land nearly $300 million to build its universal pre-kindergarten program for all 4-year-olds in the city – which stems from Cuomo’s promise to pay for such a program in lieu of Mayor Bill de Blasio raising taxes to pay for it, as the mayor had originally aimed to do upon taking office.

The funds slated for private daycare operators are to fill the gap in the number of seats required to meet the need, which the Department of Education alone does not have the space for.

“Training and educating young minds is one of the smartest investments we can make as a state, as studies demonstrate that pre-kindergarten has a long lasting, positive influence on our children’s education and future success,” Cuomo said in his press release. “The state budget this year included a major investment in early education, putting New York state on the path to become just the fourth state in the nation to establish universal full day pre-K. The awards we are announcing today will enable tens of thousands of children to attend pre-K classes, and represent another step in the State’s work to prepare our students to compete in the 21st century economy.”

As part of state and city officials push for a full-day pre-kindergarten program, numerous lawmakers and educators, including Cuomo and de Blasio, stressed that studies have shown that children who participate in early education programs are more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school than those who do not.

“We are proud to have Governor Cuomo as a strong partner in making pre-K for All a reality for the children of New York City,” de Blasio said in the same release. “This funding represents a powerful commitment by the State to build a new, stronger education foundation that will transform our schools. We are working tirelessly to make good on this opportunity to deliver new pre-K options, improve existing ones and build a high-quality system that lifts up every child.”

The full list of recipients of the $340 million is available here.

school classroom by Dan Nguyen

A new, more inclusionary approach to educate NYC students with special needs is proving easier said than done, says a new report by Chalkbeat. The organization spoke to students, parents, and school officials and found that schools are struggling to implement mandatory reforms to special education, while its effect on students is still unproven.

Integrating special needs students by enrolling them in general education classes, mixed classes (including typical and special needs students), or a combination of the two, was an idea first publicly introduced in 2003 by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The proposal was launched as a pilot at a limited number of city schools in 2010, and launched citywide in 2012. Chalkbeat, though, found that some schools lacked the resources and the scramble to implementation is leaving some of the neediest students behind.

Students affected by this Special Education Reform and interviewed by Chalkbeat each had unique experiences, some positive, some not. They include Joseph, a middle schooler with ADHD who was placed in mixed classes as per the city’s new policies, and for whom no purely special education classes were available when attempts to mainstream proved unsuccessful; Noah, whose mother Britt Sady pushed for his inclusion in a general education class so as to set higher standards for his learning and increase his chances of graduation; Christon Solomon, a middle schooler who says small learning sessions in special education classes work better for him than general education; and Thomas, who was suspended often in special education classes, but is doing better since being introduced to mainstream and mixed classes.

The experiences of parents and kids profiled are diverse, as are the abilities of the schools discussed to see that students’ needs are met–often, says Chalkbeat, schools simply aren’t provided with adequate staffing or financial resources to abide by the 2012 reforms. This is the case with Joseph–whose transfer to another school was finally approved only near the end of the school year, and presumably because his mother Clara, who works for the Department of Education, came armed with a certain amount of knowledge regarding red tape.

“Sometimes, if the parent doesn’t question [a school's inadequate handling of a special needs child's education], it just goes under the radar,” family advocate Olga Vazquez, of mental illness and developmental disability service support agency ICL, told the publication.

Certain schools are benefitting from reforms more than others. The article says funding is disproportionately doled out to schools with integrated classrooms instead of simply general and special education ones, and parents of both typical and special needs students at Harlem’s P.S. 112, for example, have requested mixed classes to enhance their kids’ educational experiences.

However the jury is still out, quantitatively speaking, on the effectiveness of integrating kids of different abilities into the same classrooms. Chalkbeat says some test scores have increased marginally, but others have not. What does appear to be clear is a widening discrepancy in disciplinary action being handed down to special needs students in mainstream classrooms, but DOE Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi says Chancellor Carmen Fariña has no plans to overhaul the 2012 reforms.

If you’re an New York City educator or parent, what’s your take on the matter? Have you run into any of the problems stated in Chalkbeat’s article, or seen students improve under new policies? Should properly run mixed classrooms benefit all students–and what would running them properly entail of schools, teachers, and the DOE? How would funding and resources be distributed if you had it your way?

Photo by Dan Nguyen

President Farley Herzek

Herzek (Source: CUNY Newswire)

Kingsborough Community College has appointed Farley Herzek, a New York City native who has most recently been leading the largest community college district in the nation out in California.

The local school has been without a president since the retirement of Dr. Regina Peruggi last summer after nine years serving the school. Peruggi was the first woman at the helm, and oversaw a period of tremendous growth at Kingsborough.

Herzek has been serving as interim president of Los Angeles Harbor College – Los Angeles Community College, and has previously served as interim president of East Los Angeles College.

“It is a privilege to come back to Brooklyn, to serve the communities and the CUNY system that gave me my start in life. I was launched into the middle class because of open access, quality educational programs and the affordability of the CUNY system,” said Herzek in a press release. “I have had an opportunity to meet Kingsborough Community College faculty, staff, alumni and administrators during the interview process and I was very impressed with their passion for doing what is best for students. My beliefs, values and leadership qualities embrace collaboration, full participation, trust, and transparency, while valuing the greatness of our diversity. With all of us of working together, I am certain we can move Kingsborough Community College to the No. 1 position in the nation.”

From CUNY’s press release:

President Herzek’s appointment to Kingsborough is a homecoming for him as a first-generation American who grew up in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn and who was the first in his family to graduate from college. A product of New York City public schools including P.S. 115 and Isaac Bildersee I.S. 68, as well as a graduate of Canarsie High School, President Herzek began his college career at Brooklyn College and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from The City College of New York. He completed his Master of Arts degree and Teaching Credential in Technology Education at California State University, Long Beach, and his Professional Clear Administrative Services Credential from the University of La Verne. President Herzek is also the past Chair of the National Legislative Committee for the Association of Career and Technical Education.

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