Archive for the tag 'nyc department of education'

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Source: Stephen Nessen / Flickr

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Source: Stephen Nessen / Flickr

BETWEEN THE LINES: With possibly the worst storm of the season, packed with heavy snow, sleet and rain racing up the East Coast, flights were grounded and government offices to the south of the city closed, but late last Wednesday Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Education (DOE) decided that public schools would open the following day. Hours earlier, severe winter storm warnings and advisories had been issued from Georgia to Maine, with thousands of school districts closed ahead of the storm’s leading edge. But New York City parents went to bed dazed and confused, because public school students were expected to be in school Thursday morning.

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Sheepshead Bay High School students protesting the city’s closure attempts in the last school year. (Photo: Robert Fernandez)

We reported in November that the New York Department of Education was once again looking to close Sheepshead Bay High School, including it on an “early engagement” list. This week, the school popped up on yet another list of low performing schools targeted for closure, according to an article in School Book.

The planned closing of Sheepshead Bay High has been fought for some time, and teachers and administrators have thus far been successful at keeping the school open despite mounting pressure from city officials. This time around, though, the DOE doesn’t appear to be pushing an immediate closure at the end of this school year, but “phasing out,” meaning no new students can enroll at the school.

According to School Book, the High School’s closing hasn’t shocked its staff:

Robin Kovat, a social studies and law teacher at Sheepshead Bay High School, said the announcement Monday did not surprise her.

“The D.O.E. has been trying to close us for nine years. They are finally succeeding. Even though we knew it was coming, it is still so sad,” Kovat said.

Sheepshead Bay was one of the high schools the city wanted to “turn around” this year. Despite a new principal and additional support systems, Kovat said one year was not enough time to demonstrate results.

“A lot of us put our hearts and souls into the school and into the kids and really know that we made a difference in their lives. You know, maybe the numbers aren’t reflecting that,” she said. “At the same time as our statistics are going down, we have rising stars. Seriously.”

Despite the disappointment from teachers and administrators, Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg and the DOE are taking a hard stance against struggling schools.

“We expect success,” he said in a statement. “After a rigorous review of academic performance, we’re proposing to phase out a select number of low-performing schools. We’ve listened to the community and provided comprehensive support services to these schools based on their needs. Ultimately, we know we can better serve our students and families with new options and a new start.”

UFT President Michael Mulgrew, though, called shenanigans on the idea that DOE provided comprehensive report, noting to School Book, “Large comprehensive schools like Lehman and Sheepshead Bay have been further undermined by DOE policies that led to increased concentrations of high-needs students, but with no increase in the services such students need.”

Photo by Erica Sherman

We wanted to pass on the following email we received from the NYC Department of Education’s High School Enrollment Team:

October is a busy time for high school admissions!

Important Deadlines

Grade 8 or first-time grade 9 students who are residents of New York City can register for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) through their guidance counselor until October 12, 2011. If you’re interested in taking the exam, be sure to meet with your counselor before the deadline.

Guidance counselors will distribute high school applications to students in mid-October. The deadline to submit completed applications to counselors is December 2, 2011.

Fairs and Workshops

The five Borough High School Fairs will take place on Saturday, October 22, and Sunday, October 23, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Visit the DOE website for more information and fair locations.

Check out the schedule for fall high school admissions workshops on our website. These workshops will be held during the month of October throughout the City. We encourage all families to attend a workshop – each session covers the same content, so you only need to attend one.

High School Admissions Videos

Check out our new Videos page on the High School Admissions website to view the High School Admissions Summer Workshop Video Series. These three videos, filmed at our summer workshops, provide an overview of the process, details about the Specialized High Schools, and strategies for making informed decisions.

If you have any questions about the events, and / or the high school admissions process, check out the DOE’s website, email, or call (718) 935-2399.


School’s Chancellor Dennis Walcott is reaching out to NYC school families. The newly-appointed head of the Department of Education is collecting parent feedback in his Chancellor’s Family Feedback Form, asking what information is important to parents and how they’d prefer to hear from the DOE. Here is the letter, in full:

NYC Public School Parent/Guardian,

Families are valued partners, and we know that your feedback and suggestions are key to improving your child’s education.

Chancellor Walcott wants to know what information about your child’s education is most important to you and how you’d prefer to hear from us. Tell him by completing the Chancellor’s Family Feedback Form.

Our goal is to do a better job of providing tools to help you support your child and this is just another way to help make that happen. The deadline to complete the form is Monday, July 25th. So what are you waiting for? Get started!

If you’ve already completed the form, we ask that you forward this email to a friend, post it on facebook or Twitter or share the flyer with your community (available in 10 languages).

Enjoy your summer and thanks in advance for your feedback!

Don’t forget — the deadline is this Monday, July 25th.


The NYC Department of Education is hosting a three-part workshop series designed to assist middle school students and their families learn about high school options and the admissions process. Students entering the eighth grade in September 2011 are encouraged to attend with their families.

All sessions will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Sunset Park High School, 153 35th Street. The sessions are as follows:

  • Session 1, July 21: High School Admissions: Where Do I Start? An introduction to the process and the many types of schools available
  • Session 2, July 26: Specialized High Schools: Learn about the nine Specialized High Schools and the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test.
  • Session 3, August 4: Make Informed Decisions: An overview of admissions methods with an emphasis on screened and audition programs

Additionally, save the date: A Citywide High School Fair will be held at Brooklyn Technical High School, 29 Fort Greene Place in Fort Greene, September 24 & 25, 2011. We will post more information on this, as it becomes available.

For information on any of these events, call (718) 935‐2399 or visit the DOE website.