Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blackboard Awards 2009

Congratulations to:
Outstanding Public High School Eleanor Roosevelt
Rising Star Public High School Manhattan Hunter Science

West Side Spirit Covers the High School Hustle

On the Monday after Thanksgiving, parents and 8th graders in public middle schools around the city put the final touches on their high school applications. With admissions rounds in both fall and winter, a separate specialized high school exam and sometimes-confusing forms to fill out, the application process generally causes stress for all. But adding to the stress for many parents on the West Side is the frustrating fact that no selective District 3 schools give local students admissions preference. Read more at

US News and World Report HS Rankings 2009

Most of our NYC specialized schools make the top 100.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

HS Admissions from a High School Perspective

Must read. Impressive post by iSchool co-principal Mary Moss.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

DOE Response to Concern About D2 Preferences

Thank you for your email to which I have been asked to respond on the Chancellor’s behalf. It is clear from your letter that you are familiar with our choice process and have some concerns about your child’s chances of getting into the schools in which you have interest.

As you correctly pointed out, there are a number of schools that give priority to District 2. In fact, nine high schools give priority to District 2 and four give priority to District 3. You also mentioned some selective screened schools that give priority to District 2, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Millennium, School of the Future, and others. It is true that these are some of the more selective and highly sought-after high schools. Screened schools, as you know, select candidates to rank based on the degree to which those students meet their selection criteria, and only ranked candidates can match to those programs. While District 2 students are given priority at the schools mentioned above, that does not necessarily mean other students will not be ranked and matched to one of those schools. In fact, among the screened schools that give priority to District 2, 30% of their 9th grade matches for 2009-2010 were represented by students outside of District 2.

At the same time, there are a number of highly selective high schools, screened and otherwise, that do not prioritize students from any district — Beacon, Bard, Columbia Secondary, High School for Environmental Studies, ICE, NEST+m, and NYCiSchool, just to name a few — in addition to the Specialized High Schools like Stuyvesant and High School for Math, Science and Engineering at the City College. The approximate number of seats allocated at screened programs that give priority to District 2 is only 5% of the total number of seats in Manhattan alone.

While screened programs and the high schools you mentioned may represent an excellent fit for some students, there are many choices that we encourage you and your family to explore. There are many schools throughout the city that have very strong instructional programs with a rich array of AP and college course offerings. Whatever your final school preferences may be, the choice process provides you with a “safe” way of making choices: You should list your choices of high schools on the high school application in your true order of preference. That is, high schools will not see how you ranked them, and you will not reduce your chances of matching to any given school based on your preferences.

I encourage your child — as well as all 8th graders — to research and consider choosing the schools that will give them the best possible chance to succeed. Your child’s guidance counselor is an excellent resource and he or she can help you identify such schools. Once you consider the wide variety of schools throughout the city and list them on the application in your order of preference, you can make the most of the high school choice process.

If you would like to discuss your options further or review your child’s application, I would be happy to speak with you. Please do not hesitate to contact me at


Leonard Trerotola
Executive Director for High School Enrollment

Monday, November 23, 2009

Public Hearing for McCourt High School

Frank McCourt High School Educational Impact Statement

I. Date, time and place of public hearing for this proposal. December 8, 2009 at 6:00pm
145 W 84th Street, Manhattan
There will be no question and answer period. Speaker sign-up will begin 30 minutes before the hearing and will close 15 minutes after the start.

II. Description of the subject and purpose of the proposed item under consideration Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, Frank McCourt, a new school that will serve grades 9-12 when fully phased-in, will be located in school building M470 (hereinafter referred to as "M470"). M470 is located in Community School District 3 ("District 3") at 145 W 84th Street, Manhattan. The building currently houses four schools: Louis D.
Brandeis High School (03M470, "Brandeis"), The Global Learning Collaborative (03M403, "GLC"), Innovation Diploma Plus (03M404, "IDP"), and The Urban Assembly School For Green Careers (03M402, "Green Careers"). 
Brandeis is in its first year of phasing-out and will continue a gradual phase-out until the 2011-2012 school year when it will officially close.
The other three schools currently in M470 are all in their first year of operation. GLC and Green Careers currently serve grade 9 and will add one grade per year until they reach grades 9-12 configuration. IDP is a transfer school serving grades 9-12; it will continue to serve grades 9-12. 
M470 has a capacity of 2374 and its current utilization rate is 95%.
M470 has sufficient space for Brandeis, GLC, IDP, Green Careers, and Frank McCourt to operate at full organizational capacity. 
In its first year of operation, Frank McCourt will serve grade 9. The school will then add one additional grade each year until 2013-2014 when the addition of grade 12 completes the grade span of the school. This proposal addresses the need to provide access to a high quality, new selective high school, and to increase the number of available high school seats in Manhattan.

III. Information regarding where the full text of the proposed item may be obtained The Educational Impact Statement can be found on the Department of Education website: 

IV. Submission of public comment
Written comments can be sent to 
Oral comments can be left at 718-935-4414. 

V. Date, time and place of the PEP meeting at which the Board will vote on the proposed item. 
December 17, 2009
New World High School
921 East 228th Street, Bronx 

VI. The name, office, address, email and telephone number of the city district representative, knowledgeable on the item under consideration, from whom information may be obtained concerning the item
Name: Kim Wong
Office: Office of Portfolio Planning
Address: 52 Chambers St
52 Chambers Street Room 320 New York, NY 10007 Telephone: 212-374-0209
Fax: 212-374-5588
Phone: 212-374-5049

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Letter Accompanying McCourt Draft Mission Statement

Dear Friends,

In the following post you will find a Proposed Vision Statement for the Frank McCourt High School.

Given that the Frank McCourt High School is being proposed as one of the schools to be housed in the Brandeis Campus, and given that the community must be part of the process to ensure that all voices are heard, a group of university and K-12 educators, parents and education activists, named and identified below, came together to craft an inclusive statement that represents both the spirit and legacy of Frank McCourt. After substantial consultation with varied constituencies, we are now prepared to present this Vision Statement in a number of public venues

We appreciate the input you have provided to us and look forward to an open process for the continuing development of Frank McCourt High School.


Bernadette Anand Instructor Graduate School of Education Bank Street College

Teresa Arboleda, Education Activist, former member District 3 CEC and School Board

Liz Brock, Education Activist, former District 3 School Board Member

Michelle Fine, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Urban Education, Chair of the subprogram of Social/Personality Psychology The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Donna Nevel, community psychologist and educator and Perla Placencia, MSW, Center for Immigrant Families

Elizabeth Shell, former Chair, present Treasurer of CEC District 3

Lizabeth Sostre, retired English teacher and District 3 Middle School Choice Coordinator

Draft McCourt Mission Statement

The Frank McCourt High School

Francis "Frank" McCourt (19 August 1930 – 19 July 2009) was a teacher and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, best known for Angela’s Ashes. He taught English at McKee Career and Technical High School in Staten Island, Stuyvesant High School in New York City and in the English department of the New York City Technical College of the City University of New York. Frank McCourt strongly believed that all students could learn to write and think creatively.

Mission Statement

The Frank McCourt High School invites applications from a broad range of students with a desire to write – journalism, poetry, creative fiction, non-fiction, drama, science writing, biography, business documents, and/or graphic novels. All courses across the curriculum will be writing intensive and will encourage youth to engage with various modes of written communication. The rich curriculum will include substantial writing in world languages (Spanish and/or French) as well as an exploration of the arts and literature of Spanish and French speaking countries. There will be writers in residence at the school and opportunities for students to be engaged in a variety of writing projects, both in English and in other languages. Community-based organizations, such as Symphony Space, will be partners in furthering the curriculum.


The Frank McCourt High School is committed to total inclusion and to diversity by race/ethnicity, social class, language background, and learning styles. The school is committed to both excellence and equity – which go hand in hand, creating a community of students, educators, and families who reflect the rich diversity of NYC and are eager to join and help create a vibrant, creative school environment. The Frank McCourt High School will offer a range of opportunities in English writing and literature for English Language Learners, as well as for students who have advanced knowledge of Spanish and/or French.

The admissions process will be designed to cultivate a broad range of applicants with a passion for writing. The Frank McCourt High School will be a screened program, which means that students will be assessed based on: an interview, on-site writing sample, middle school transcripts, and test scores. The on-site writing activity will be judged using a culturally sensitive rubric. No single criterion will automatically exclude any student.

The admissions committee will include a wide range of diverse members of the school community, including administrators, teachers, students, and others committed to the mission and vision of the school. The school’s advisory board members may also be part of the admissions committee.

Student Recruitment

There will be outreach to middle schools, after-school programs, houses of worship, and community organizations in order to inform the widest possible group of students about the school and how to apply.

Advisory Board

An advisory board will be established that reflects the diversity of the school community and includes representatives of various media and cultural traditions.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Letter from District 3 Families to Chancellor Klein

Following is a letter written by CS parents Nancy Brandwein and David Felton on behalf of District 3 families. This letter states our position as follows:

District 2 has six screened schools that offer preference for their students. District 3 has none. All screened schools should take students from across the city and not be limited by geography.

If you agree with this, please copy and paste the letter content into a word document, print, and mail and/or paste into the links provided on this blog. Scroll down and look to the right to see contact information for Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein, and our Upper West Side and Manhattan elected officials.


Joel Klein
Department of Education
New York City
Tweed Courthouse
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

Dear Chancellor Klein:

In the New York City high school application process we face a gross inequity as we negotiate the stressful, complicated process of trying to get our kids into screened high schools. There are at least six screened schools in District 2 that offer preference to either District 2 students or students in their geographic area. These high schools are: Eleanor Roosevelt, Millennium, School of the Future, Baruch College Campus High School, NYC Lab School, and NYC Museum School.

It happens that these schools are consistently among the top-rated screened public high schools in New York City, and technically any 8th grade student in the city can apply to them. But because these schools are mandated, sometimes against the school's own wishes, to give preference to District 2 students, it's much harder for students outside the district to get in. Yet very few high schools in other districts offer a similar district preference, so understandably many parents feel that students in District 2 (which happens to be one of the wealthiest districts in Manhattan) enjoy an unfair advantage over students in the rest of the city.

We are in District 3, and there are currently no screened schools that offer preference to District 3 students. These students, applying for high school from such District 3 public middle schools as Mott Hall II, Delta, Computer School, Columbia Secondary School, and The Center School, find that the playing field is not level. Many of these students are interested in rigorous high schools with high graduation rates and offerings of AP classes, such as the six mentioned schools in District 2, and Beacon High School in District 3. But the District 2 schools essentially exclude them, and Beacon is open to students citywide, which would be fair enough if that policy were followed by all high schools in the city.

As parents of these District 3 children, who like all parents in the city pay taxes for all the schools in the city, we feel that the quality of our children's high school education, and potentially college education, is skewed by where they live -- and that the DOE condones this inequity. In fact, according to at least one District 2 high school principal, this unfair and discriminating practice has been enforced most rigorously in the last four years, at the behest of the Chancellor of the DOE.

Please get back to me with your thoughts on how the DOE will level the playing field so that our students, and all New York City students, can have the same opportunities that District 2 students enjoy.


Friday, November 13, 2009

New Schools Application Clarification

Here is the response I received after contacting the chancellor via the link on the DOE website.

Dear Ms. Mears,

Thank you for your e-mail to Chancellor Klein. I am responding on the Chancellor’s behalf.

Please be advised that all students, including those who receive specialized round results in February, will have the opportunity to re-submit an application during the new schools choice process. Be sure to contact your son’s guidance counselor in early February, perhaps when you get the specialized test results, to request a New Schools Choice Form.


Helen Tsang
Chancellor’s Strategic Response Group

Thursday, November 12, 2009

DOE Proposes McCourt

Just came across this press release from a few weeks ago.

McCourt Admissions Mystery

I have asked so many people about how the McCourt application process will work and no one can tell me for sure. I just spoke to someone in enrollment who said, "when it comes to the DOE, we live in the present." Meaning because the school does not yet exist, they can't say anything about it. I'm giving up for now. If anyone hears anything from a credible source, let me know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Frank McCourt Planning Meeting

I attended yesterday’s community planning meeting for the Frank McCourt School hosted by Gale Brewer. It was an energized and positive meeting including members of the original proposing and planning group, the founding principal for McCourt, Danielle Salzberg, the principals from the other schools in the complex, one of the founders of Beacon, a representative of Symphony Space, some familiar faces from District 3 CEC, and various other members of the community and parents.

While I did not walk away with much in terms definititive information, I was impressed with the positive intention to build a school that is exceptional not only its own right but also as part of a collaborative campus with the other schools in the complex. Danielle has a lot of experience at creating new schools and spoke eloquently about her vision for the school that includes literature, journalism, and other types of written communication with a focus on story telling in all its forms from fiction, to drama, to lyrics, to digital media and film, etc. This is in addition to rigorous academics in all of the core college-prep subjects and foreign language. Danielle definitely said it better and in more detail.

Here are some of the other things I learned:

Even though it has been “announced” by the DOE, the school isn’t official until an approving vote sometime in December, after our applications are due.

The group is aware of the timing issues with the specialized round of matches and even the main round depending on how things go. So far there is no workaround for that. It’s just the way DOE does it.

There won’t be any formal promotion until the new school fair in February. However, the planning group is going to start their own “off the record” promotions and Danielle will answer questions at

The group had hoped for a larger school but the DOE set it at 108, the typical size of a small high school, which someone explained is 27 kids per classroom x 4. Larger schools are allowed to go up to 34 per class but small schools are capped at 27. When I was on the Stuyvesant tour, the principal said pretty much every class there is at 34. There is hope that once McCourt gets started it might grow as Beacon did to a mid-sized school. Beacon started out much smaller than it is now.

The school is set right now at citywide and screened. There was discussion about what the screening criteria should be and the planning group is going to develop a recommendations document. The ideas that were discussed are very similar to Beacon: in addition to test scores, grades, and attendance, there might be additional criteria like writing sample, group activity, on-site writing assignment, etc.

There was discussion as to how true diversity can be achieved given the system of computer matching. The intent is for the school to reflect the rich diversity of our city. There will be a big push for outreach citywide to find those students who are particularly talented at or passionate about story telling no matter what middle school they attend.

The school will share the auditorium, cafeteria, library, courtyard (and I think science labs) as well as complex-wide sports teams. Some clubs are already shared between Green Careers and Global Learning and they see that happening with McCourt as well. Assemblies will be shared when appropriate. For example, if McCourt is hosting a writer or journalist guest lecturer, then GC and GL will be invited and vice versa. The auditorum is huge.

There will apparently be some way by which we can apply to McCourt when it is announced and switch from our initial matches if accepted. However, no one explained how this would work exactly.

There are some DOE meetings and public comment sessions coming up that I will need to confirm as well as a next planning meeting in early December.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Founding Principal of the McCourt School

West Side Spirit article "Founding Principal"—the first Frank McCourt HS leader, Danielle Salzman, preps for a school launch marathon.

E-mail if you are interested in FM:

Provided by Patty Dann

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Additional Information Session at Green Careers

UA High School for Green Careers will be having another information session on Thursday, November 12th from 5-7pm. After attending this session, if you are still interested in our school there will be an opportunity for your child to come for a visit during the school day on Monday, November 16th to see some classes in session. Please let me know if you have any further questions. I look forward to seeing you.

Provided by Amy Greco

Economic Theory of NYC HS Choice

For those of you who are interested in the theory behind the NYC HS choice process, check out this paper by Harvard University economist who was retained as a consultant to help create the system.

Co-author is Alvin Roth, George Gund Professor of Economics (FAS) and George Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration (Business School) Primary Fields of Interest: Game theory as a part of empirical economics, and experimental economic theory. Research Topics: Organization of labor (and other) markets, bargaining, learning in strategic environments.

Global Learning Collaborative School Day Tour

Friday, November 13th. Rachel is offering a tour for CS Families* DURING school hours, so that you can see the students and classes in action. Please send her an email or call her if you would like to attend on Friday afternoon, time TBA. Rachel is a former CS parent and parent leader, and would like to accommodate our community as best as possible!

Rachel Dahill-Fuchel
Academic Dean
The Global Learning Collaborative
145 West 84th street

* I imagine students from other schools would also be welcome. E-mail Rachel if you are interested.

Monday, October 26, 2009

McCourt School Application Timing

After looking into the issue of HS app timing, here is what happens (verified by Erin Hill, our CS counselor) with new schools like Frank McCourt.

The new schools are announced by the DOE in early Feb., too late to include on our HS apps, which are due Dec. 4. The Specialized and Non-Specialized matches come out in the Specialized Round, also in early Feb. If we get a match at that point, we have to accept before McCourt is activated. Thus, unless something changes, kids who get a Spealized match (and therefore also Non-Specialized) in Feb. won’t be able to consider McCourt unless they very riskily turn down both offers which no one in their right mind would do.

Main-round students, however, will be able to include McCourt. They can attend the New School Fair or otherwise research the new schools announced in Feb. and will have the option to revise their application to add one or more new schools into their order. Therefore, those students wil be able to consider McCourt equally with all the other existing schools. According to Erin, NYCiSchool started off the same way (accepting applications in February) and ended up with a great group of kids.

The downside for McCourt is that the school won't get any students like my son who are taking the SHSAT not so much because they really want a Specialized HS but because they want the opportunity for early notification, there is no downside, and it’s good experience. This pool of kids like Ben, it seems to me, are ideal McCourt candidates and the school won’t get any of them (or as many) in Year One because of this timing glitch.

I ran into Gale Brewer at Saturday’s Global Learning Collaborative tour and she said she was aware of the issue and thought that in the case of McCourt, there might be some kind of "waiver.” She was too busy to pin down beyond that so I don’t know what she meant. I e-mailed her and Shula Warren for more info, which I will pass along once I get it.

Global Learning Collaborative and Brandeis Complex

I toured Global Learning Collaborative on Saturday (all 5 rooms of it since it is in it's "pioneer" year) and was was impressed with academic dean, Rachel Dahill-Fuchel, the philosophy of the school, and the overall feeling of what they are working to create. (I also met principal Jennifer Zinn at the HS Fair on Sunday, who confirmed my impression.)

The building itself, The Brandeis Complex, is a "real high school" kind of building with lots of light, wide hallways, a beautiful auditorium (that PS 87 alums will remember from our graduation ceremony), three gyms, a library, science labs and large, well-lit classrooms. There is a large open courtyard in the middle (not visible from the street) with new plantings. The school "owns" or is otherwise connected to the garden at the corner of 84 and Amsterdam and the kids at GLC and Green Careers (another new school in the complex) have the opportunity to work there.

Right now, there is a metal detector at the main entrance, but Gale Brewer, also at the tour, said that it is almost certain that it will be going away soon.

If you want more information about GLC, it's not too late. Rachel is available via telephone at 212 918 1983 or e-mail at She said interested families are welcome to drop by for a visit if you contact her prior. You can also check out GLC's website at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Global Learning Collaborative

Rachel Dahill-Fuchel, Academic Dean at Global Learning Collaborative and a GLC student (CS ’09) will be at CS Cosi's Coffee Talk this Friday, Oct 23, to speak with 8th-grade parents regarding the school. Coffee Talk is a bi-weekly gathering coordinated by Sara Sloves, Computer School parent coordinator.

Where: Cosi's on Broadway (in the back), betw. 77 and 78

When: 8 am to 9:30 am

The second and last Global Learning Collaborative open house will be held at GLC, 145 W 84th, this Saturday Oct. 24, 10am-12pm. For more information:

GLC will also be at the Manhattan HS fair Oct. 24 and 25.

The second and last Global Learning Collaborative open house will be held at GLC, 145 W 84th, this Saturday Oct. 24, 10am-12pm. For more information:

GLC will also be at the Manhattan HS fair Oct. 24 and 25.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Response from BP Stringer's Office re D3 High Schools and Input Link

I wanted to introduce myself as the Borough President’s community liaison to the Upper West Side and Community Board 7 and thank you for writing to Borough President Stringer with your concerns on the availability of quality high schools for District 3 students.

As you know, a proposal has been made for the Frank McCourt High School to be placed at the former Brandeis High School Campus. Input on this high school can be directed to the Panel for Educational policy who will be reviewing this proposal. The best address to send input would be or (718) 935-4415.

Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or concerns.

Corey Peterson

Corey Samantha Peterson
Community Liaison for Community Boards 5 & 7
Office of Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer
Municipal Building, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10007

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ratio of Boys to Girls in NYC High Schools

Very interesting information, analysis, and comment dialogue at Inside Schools about the ratio of girls to boys in NYC high schools.

Provided by Nancy Brandwein

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Borough High School Fairs

For those brave souls who want to go to a HS fair (I heard the citywide was absolutely crazed)—

Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, October 25
11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Manhattan: Martin Luther King, Jr., Educational Campus 
122 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10023

For information about other boroughs, see the Borough Fair Flyer

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sign Up for Beacon Interview Online

You can sign up for a Beacon interview online on their site. It's hard to find The Computer School on the list of Middle Schools. Just type in 245 in the search field and it'll come up. (Sorry, I don't know about other schools.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Even More D2 Context

The news from the Delta HS info session last night is that the potential for D3 students to be accepted by D2 preferred schools is not good, in fact "highly discouraging."

Provided by Richard Kaplan

More D2 Context

I asked Erin Hill specifically how many CS kids were accepted to D2 preferred schools in the past. While CS does not release HS acceptance data, she did say the following:

Acceptance has varied from year to year from no more than four CS students accepted to none at all. We have good reason to think that this year will be only more difficult to get into a D2 school.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Millennium and Brooklyn Tech Tours

Millinneum has come and gone since mid-day yesterday to this morning. Next available sign up is "Week of October 12."

Brooklyn Tech tours are listed on their website. You have to call between 10 am and 2 pm for an appointment.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

School of the Future

From School of the Future Open Houses


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12th, 2009 @ 2:00PM

Email to reserve an open house. Please note it may take a few days before you receive a response. Each open house has limited space, it is FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED. Due to personnel constraints we cannot take requests over the phone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Report of a Bard Assessment

Bard asked that you bring your report card to the test scheduled for 4:30 on the day of the assessment. Your child is sent up alone through the cafeteria up to the auditorium where they are given the test which consists of math (algebra--about 32 questions) and a 2-page essay on a general topic like "What did you do yesterday?" (or any day in the past). Parents were told to pick up their children by 6pm. Many got out earlier. Big writers stayed on until the end. Parents could wait in the cafeteria or come back for pick up. It would be worth researching the most efficient way to get there (East Houston and the FDR Drive) and shortening the walk. Best would probably be trains then bus.

Provided by Ina Greenfield

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Baruch College Campus HS Heads Up

Here is Erin Hill's (CS Counselor) response to my query about Baruch. If anyone hears anything different, let me know. Does anyone from Delta or other schools have any info?—SM

As for Baruch. . .well, they are really the only school that has said "if you are not in District 2, then don't bother." Parents have told me that the person who runs the tours has directly said that, and he has said it to me. We have NEVER had a student accepted there. They seem to follow the rules to a T, whereas ELRO may be a tad more flexible (that may change, however).

I honestly believe that it is a wasted spot if someone puts it on their application. Again, this will be your decision in the end. If you still would like to tour, I would suggest throwing the District 2 question out there to see if their tune has changed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

NYC HS Admissions Overview

Clearest Description of Specialized/Non-Specialized Admission Process I've Seen—SM
from Brooklyn Tech Website, Admissions Page

There are nine* Specialized High Schools, eight of which require students applying for admission to take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT). At the time of the test, students list (in priority order) the specialized high schools they are interested in attending. The tests are scored by an independent company. Specialized high school offers are based solely on test results, the student’s ranked order of the schools, and seat availability.

Students taking the SHSAT or auditioning for the programs at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School must also submit a High School Application and may rank up to twelve (12) additional high schools/programs. Do not rank the Specialized High Schools on this application.

The results of the SHSAT are ordered from the highest score to the lowest score. The student with the highest score will be placed in the school/program of his/her first choice. Going down the list from the highest score, each student will be placed in his/her highest prioritized school in which seats are still available. Therefore, if all the seats in the student’s first choice are filled, he/she will be placed in his/her second choice if there are seats still available. If all the seats in his/her second choice are filled, the student will be offered a seat in his/her third choice if there are still seats available and so on until all the seats in the eight schools have been filled.

Each student receives notice of any offer(s) from a specialized high school, as well as any match to a non-specialized high school/program. A student who receives a specialized high school offer must respond to the offer or it will be forfeited. If a student accepts, he/she will attend that school/program. If a student does not receive an offer or chooses to decline the offer, the non-specialized match he/she received is considered final, and he/she will attend that school/program.

*Bronx High School of Science; Brooklyn Latin; Brooklyn Technical High School; High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at the City College; High School of American Studies at Lehman College; Queens High School for the Sciences at York College; Staten Island Technical High School; and Stuyvesant High School require the SHSAT.

* LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, is also a specialized high school. Acceptance to one or more of their 6 programs is by audition, not participation in the SHSAT.

Math, Science, and Engineering at City College

Open House is October 20.

Provided by Laura Sherman

Here is what their website says:

HS MSE @ CCNY will host our Fall Open House on October 20, 2009 form 6:00 PM till 8:00 PM.

Our main building (Baskerville Hall) will be open for a self-guided walkthrough from 4:30 - 5:30 PM

This event is for students and families that are interested in joining our school community.

The event will take place in The Great Hall which is located in Sheppard Hall (140th St. and Convent Ave.) There is no need to reserve space. Please do not call for an appointment as this is unnecessary.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

DOE HS Calendar

Eleanor Roosevelt Tour Reservations

Online reservations are now up on the Eleanor Roosevelt website.

Millinneum Tours

I missed the sign up for these and now know you have to really jump on it or the tours fill up.—SM

From Millinneum's website:

Millennium High School hosts tours for students applying to 9th grade and their families. Registration is required to attend.

Our first two tours are completely booked and registration is currently closed. Registration for the following tours will open the week of September 28th:

Thursday, October 8th at 9:00 AM

Wednesday, October 14th at 5:00 PM

Wednesday, October 14th at 6:30 PM

Thursday, October 15th at 9:00 AM

Please do not call or e-mail the school to register. Check back here the week of September 28th.

NYC iSchool Tours Open

Please note that the NYC iSchool will be hosting a number of daytime tours and evening open houses this fall for prospective Class of 2014 students and their families. Registration for these tours is now open. Interested families should go to the website,

and click on the Tour Registration link.

The NYC iSchool is a small, selective, public high school that opened in September, 2008. They are looking for students with an 85 average or above, good attendance, and 3's and 4's on their state tests.

Provided by Erin Hill

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Brooklyn Latin Info Confirmed

Informative Fridays will be held every Friday in October in The Brooklyn Latin School auditorium at 9:00 a.m.  Please RSVP for a particular date (10/2, 10/9, 10/16, 10/23 or 10/30) by sending an email to

Open House Nov. 5-7. Doesn't seem you need to sign up.

For more information:

Provided by Tracy Buell

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Important Dates from CS Counselors

September 15, 22, 29 and October 17, 18 Bard Assessment. PLEASE REGISTER FOR THE ASSESMENT BY VISITNG THEIR WEBSITE AT  You will need to bring a 7th grade report card and a Bard application to the assessment.  

October 3 Citywide High School Fair

October 24, 25 Borough Fairs   

November 7 OR 8  Specialized HS Admissions Test

November 14  Specialized HS Admissions Test (for students with testing modifications)

November 21, 22 Fiorello H. LaGuardia HS Auditions
December 6 Open House and Tour Information:

Beacon High School—for those students who DID NOT attend the Spring Open House
5:00 - 7:00 PM
Thursday, October 8  Manhattan and Bronx residents
Monday, November 2 Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens residents
You do not need to register for the open house          

Millennium High School—please check their website next week to register for a tour. They were holding them every Thursday morning from September through November last year, but may be different this year. Register at for these open houses.

Please be aware that ALL interviews must be made by contacting the schools directly.  All contact information can be found in the High School Directories along with dates and times of open houses, interviews, tests and auditions.

Obviously there are many more high schools conducting tours and open houses so please make sure to check this information by contacting the schools directly or by going on to

Please tour as many schools as possible. The more schools you rank on your application the better chances you have to be matched to a school. 

Provided by The Computer School counselors

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bard HIgh School Assessment Registration

Registration for the Bard Early  College High School assessments have started. Go directly to their website and click on the link  for How To Apply To Bard. You will then be asked if want to register for either the assessment or open house (you can do both). The  assessment dates are: September 15, 22, and 29. October 17 and 18.  

Our experience is that the sooner your child takes the test, the better. Doing so gives them more time to correct the test and make the necessary calls for interviews. All students are eligible to take the assessment but may not be called back for an interview based on the results.

Provided by CS counselor Erin Hill

Brooklyn Latin Open House

Brooklyn Latin has an Open House on November 5, 5 pm. They also offer Informative Fridays at 9am, starting in October, which you can sign up for. The daytime gathering sounds smaller and offers a chance to see the school in action.

Provided by Kavery Kaul

Ed. Note: I tried to verify this on their website (no info) and by phone (phone tree that kept glitching). Kavery confirmed that it took many calls to get this information but that she did hear it in person. If anyone is able to verify, let me know. Brooklyn Latin 718 366 0154

Friday, September 4, 2009

Beacon Open Houses

The Beacon School will hold two Open Houses for 8th grade students.  Both students and parents are encouraged to attend. The dates are:

Thursday October 8, 2009 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. (for students who reside in Manhattan and the Bronx)

Monday November 2, 2009 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. (for students who reside in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island)

Please note that for those families who attended our previous Open House events, the same information will be distributed and we strongly encourage you not to attend a second time.

Registration is NOT necessary for Open House Events.

Support Frank McCourt HS with Gale Brewer

 Community School District 3 parents are organizing to open a CSD 3 high school on the Brandeis Campus, West 84 Street, in 2010 to serve 800-1000 students. The Frank McCourt High School of Journalism, Writing & Literature is a new, college preparatory high school with a focus on creative and expository writing, journalism, digital communication, and literature.  The school will also provide opportunities in creative and expository writing, journalism and literature in the Spanish language (and eventually French) for students who are English Language Learners or who are bilingual and biliterate. PLEASE support the creation of this school, and let us know if you want to participate in the planning.  Go to the following for information: For Facebook participants; Petitions Online:; Or send a question to or contact us at

Excerpted from Gale Brewer's September 1, 2009 Newsletter

Lehman Open House

Fall Open House for Prospective Students

In order to learn more about our school, prospective students and their parents are invited to our fall open house on Tuesday, October 13, at 5:30 PM, in the Performing Arts Center on the Lehman College Campus. It is not necessary to RSVP.

High School of American Studies at Lehman College
2925 Goulden Avenue
Bronx, NY 10468
Phone: (718) 329-2144

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New York Post Article: Best High Schools

See the 16-page pull-out section in today's NY Post. I didn't find the content online but there is contact information to request the section: Get The Post's complete guide to the city's high schools. 
Call 1-800-552-7678 or email

Thanks to Tracy Buell for the heads up.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Urban Assembly

For those of you who are wondering, like I was, what "The Urban Assembly" part of  The Urban Assembly School of Green Careers (and other schools) means. 

For underserved middle and high school children in New York City, The Urban Assembly operates an efficient, cohesive and scalable network of 20 public schools. The UA develops and applies best practices in urban education to provide students with the academic and life skills necessary not just for college readiness, but also for college completion. The UA's theme-based curriculum, enriched by an extensive mentoring program and professional partnerships, inspires students to enjoy learning, while teaching them to be intellectually curious, self-sufficient and focused on real-world goals.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NYT Tribute to Frank McCourt

One of the proposed new high schools in the Brandeis complex is the Frank McCourt School of Journalism, Writing, and Literature.

The Storyteller Begat the Teacher Who Begat the Writer

Monday, July 20, 2009

Services Offered by The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review offers free practice exams to help students figure out where they’re scoring and how much time they’ll need to dedicate to preparing for the exam.  Some students may need to go on to privately tutor or take a classroom course, while others may just need to purchase a book and brush up on a few skills and learn test-taking and time management skills, in order to achieve their goal.  Taking an exam with us is a great way for students to experience what it’s going to be like on the actual test day.   

I noticed someone wrote on the blog back in April about a free test offered at Mott Hall II.  We actually ran that exam, since we partner with the school to run an on-site course.  All the students were invited to participate in the course at a reduced fee since we partner with the school.  The school was also allotted some scholarships to give away.   Some parents seemed wary of our free exams on the blog, but there’s nothing to be leery about.  We provide marketing materials to students who come in to take a free exam, but there’s no commitment to working with us in the future.   All students receive a detailed score report after the exam to help them pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses. 

Provided by Emily Leidner

High School Programs
The Princeton Review of Manhattan & The Bronx   

Free Practice SHSAT

Emily e-mailed me and asked to post this information with I have done. I asked her to send more information about TPR which I will then post. —Sara


My name is Emily Leidner and I am the Director of Outreach of High School programs at The Princeton Review. I’ve recently begun reading your blog, and was hoping you might be able to post information about The Princeton Review’s free practice SHSAT exams. We offer students the opportunity to take a free SHSAT in a proctored environment. About a week after the exam students and parents receive a detailed score report, so they can have an idea where the student is scoring and where exactly his/her strengths and weaknesses lie.

Our next free exams will be held on:
Tuesday, July 28 at 10am
Saturday, August 15 at 10am

Both exams will take place at 594 Broadway, Suite 502.  Students can register at or by calling 212- 925 6447.

Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Provided by Emily Leidner

High School Programs
The Princeton Review of Manhattan & The Bronx

SHSAT Prep and Stuyvesant Work Load

This was provided as a comment, but it is so comprehensive I am uploading as a post as well. —Sara


I have two thoughts about SHSAT tutoring: Although we found tutoring to be extremely helpful (Next Level Learning in Manhattan) and my daughter probably wouldn’t have gotten into Stuyvesant without it, her first year was EXTREMELY tough and she definitely wasn't prepared for five hours of homework a night. Now it's all I can do to convince her to stick with it. Her social life has evaporated and she's still trying to get us to transfer her out. If the beginning of this year doesn’t go significantly better we’ll probably withdraw her and see about getting into Beacon (which is supposed to be awesome!). The stress is very high at Stuyvesant and a lot of kids and parents I talk to weren’t totally aware of what they were in for, even after attending the fair.

So my advice is, before you make a serious attempt at the SHSAT, make sure your son fully understands the demands and is willing to invest himself in a very serious and challenging program. Once you have that out of the way then check with friends and get referrals to tutors. At this late stage I would say you probably have to go with a tutor, unless your son is the kind of kid who’s self-motivated and willing to cram for the next several months. Our tutor gave our daughter some kind of assessment test and then focused their work on her greatest weakness (math). She also struggled with the paragraphs that you have to sort and rearrange so the repetition for that was useful.

Provided by Lisa deMauro, Counselor, The Computer School

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Test Prep Course Recommendation

SHSAT prep course recommended by friends of Ben with older siblings who did get into good schools:

Geller/Rosenstein/Feldman (GRF Test Preparation Classes)

Several locations around the city, 10 3-hour sessions twice weekly start in August or September and go right up to test time. Fee: $845

Call Richard Geller at 212 864 1100. He usually doesn't answer but if you ask if there are still openings and for him to send out a brochure, he will do it promptly (at least he did for us a month or so ago). Other numbers are: 

Ken Rosenstein 914 772 0011

Barry Feldman 201 461 3591

I don’t know if there are still openings or not.

DOE Summer Info Sessions and SHSAT Prep Question

After taking a couple weeks off from the end of school, I'm starting to think about HS again. There was a very informative session at Brooklyn Tech about Specialized schools — from the "Making Choices" flyer you posted on June 22. I recommend these sessions, as they're a great way to familiarize yourself with school options in advance of the school fairs (which are sure to be chaotic). Schools now on our radar (that weren't before) include: Brooklyn Tech, Brooklyn Latin, HS of Math and Science at CUNY.

My question, and I'd love to post it to get feedback from all the parents, is: What kind of SHSAT tutoring are people doing? We did the Computer School course in the spring but I was not satisfied with it. We bought a Kaplan book for the summer, but I don't know (a) if that's enough or (b) if I can convince Willie to go through it methodically. I just spoke with an individual tutor who scared the heck out of me ("If your kid hasn't been working with me since last March; it's too late..." Oy). As grating and self-serving as this tutor was, she did wonders for a friend's son who transformed from a test-worrier to supremely confident and aced it.

 I'm opposed to testing and to competitive tutoring — but given the situation, I also don't want to leave my son at a disadvantage.

Provided by Tom Thompson

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Finding a HS" Workshops

Link to information about the DOE summer workshop series entitled "finding a high school that is right for you."

Provided by Denise Blackwell

Monday, June 15, 2009

Link for General NYC Public School Parents Blog

(Just read a scathing post on the sorry state of NYS Math and the Algebra 1 Regents Exam. Not good given we need to compete in a global economy. It is good that Computer School and other schools offer Math at 2 years above grade level.—SM)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Link for the Facebook Cause to Help Create the Frank McCourt School

DOE Community Forum Regarding New HS in Brandeis Complex

Very interesting DOE meeting about what a 4th (and maybe 5th) new school in the Brandeis Complex could be. There is a compelling proposal on the table for a school named after Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes) that will focus on journalism, creative and expository writing, digital communication and literature while also offering a well-rounded curriculum in math, science, social studies, and foreign language. The school would accept approximately 200 students in 1010, which is our year.

Our NYC elected officials (Scott Stringer, Gail Brewer, and Helen Rosenthal) all spoke personally and eloquently in support of the new school as did potential partners including Symphony Space. Others, including UWS writers and journalists, spoke to the relevance of the subject matter in today’s information world. Check out the yesterday’s post for more information.

There was a lot of discussion around topics outside the scope of this blog including: What should the DOE process be to create, open, and phase out schools? What is the impact on the students, teachers, and staff of a school that is being phased out? Should this or other new schools give preference to D3? How do we maintain diversity? How can we build an inclusive community? All very interesting and complex questions. 

I highly recommend getting involved. Join the Facebook cause and the D3 parents Yahoo group (see yesterday's posts) and attend a future community forum.  The DOE promised more meetings in the fall.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

D3 Parents Yahoo Group

If you are interested in joining the Yahoo Group District 3 Parents—Informing and Empowering Parents of the Harlem Valley and the Upper West Side, you can e-mail the chair of the D3 Presidents' Council, Bijou Miller, at Be sure to put Yahoo Group or District 3 Parents in the subject so she won't think it's spam. She will then e-mail you an invitation. I just joined. It doesn't take long.

New D3 HS School Proposed for 2010

The founders of the Frank McCourt High School of Journalism, Writing and
Literature have created a Facebook page to champion their cause. I cut and
pasted the meat of the page below but you can also go to facebook and join the
cause. This is the school that will be discussed at the June 11th meeting at
Brandeis at 6 p.m.

To create a college preparatory public high school on West 84th Street, with a
focus on creative and expository writing, journalism, digital communication and


1. Creating a selective, college preparatory high school to serve Community
School District 3 in Manhattan.

2. Creating a public high school with a focus on journalism, creative and
expository writing, digital communication and literature.

3. Including opportunities in the Spanish language (and eventually French) for
students who are English Language Learners or who are bilingual/biliterate

Description: The Frank Mc Court High School of Journalism, Writing & Literature
is a new, college preparatory high school with a focus on creative and
expository writing, journalism, digital communication, and literature.

The school will also provide opportunities in creative and expository writing,
journalism and literature in the Spanish language (and eventually French) for
students who are English Language Learners or who are bilingual and biliterate.

The school will reflect our neighborhood, diverse in all ways, home to so many
great writers and thinkers. The school's rigorous, project-based curriculum will
be strengthened through partnerships with neighborhood institutions including
the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Symphony Space, and Fordham
University. Teachers drawn from New York's literary, journalism, and digital
media community will guide and inspire students to become great storytellers and
literary critics.

The school will open with a 9th grade of about 200 students and will add one
additional grade per year for a target enrollment of 800-1,000 students. A full
complement of math, science, and social studies curriculum, as well as
extracurricular clubs and sports, will round out this exciting learning
community. Admission will give priority to students from Manhattan's Community
School District 3 (from 122nd street to 59th street), and will be based both on
grades and a portfolio application, with the goal of enrolling a spectrum of
engaged students.

Provided by Bijou Miller

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DOE Meetings About Beacon and New High Schools on the Brandeis Campus

There are two important DOE meetings on June 11 regarding high schools.

1. 4:30 pm—DLT (District Leadership Team) meeting regarding Beacon High School's status as D3 preferred or city wide. Open for public listening but only DLT members speak. 

2. 6:00 pm—General meeting regarding the new school(s) forming on the Brandeis campus. See attached flyer.

Brandeis High School
145 West 84th

For more information, call the District 3 office at 212-678-5857.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

CS Support for HS Application Process

In addition to one-on-one counseling regarding the HS application process, there is year-round support for essay writing at The Computer School. CS has a writing center staffed by ELA teachers and student volunteers. CS also conduct interviewing workshops in the fall for those students applying to schools requesting an interview.

Provided by Erin Hill

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Letter to Chancellor Klein

If you haven't written to the chancellor about the D3 high school issues, here is a copy of my letter, which you can use as a template. You can take off the last paragraph about Beacon if you don't agree or change anything to reflect your views. I put links to Contact the Chancellor and Contact the Mayor on this blog and provided the e-mails of Scott Stringer, Gail Brewer, and Helen Rosenthal (Chair, Community Board 7) so it will be EASY FOR EVERYONE TO TAKE ACTION!!! See right side, scroll down.

The more we can make our opinions known, the more chance there is for change. 

As Malcom Gladwell said in The Tipping Point, “Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push—
in just the right place—it can be tipped.”


Dear Chancellor Klein:

I am the parent of a 7th grade student at a middle school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and we have just begun our NYC Public High School search process.

I am writing to express my concern that while five high schools in District 2 (D2) give preference to residents of that district, NO high schools in District 3 (D3) give preference to residents of D3.

Adding to this inequity, there are more good high schools in D2 than in D3. According to my preliminary research, there are at least 5 good high schools in D2 (which give preference to D2 students) and only Beacon in D3 (which I understand used to give preference to D3 students but currently does not).

I do realize that there is the new NYC iSchool (opened 2008) and schools forming in the Brandeis Complex (opening 2009 and 2010). I applaud your achievement in creating these new small schools and look forward to tracking their evolution. However, these schools have a very limited number of seats and are as yet unproven.

I think that every NYC district should provide multiple good schools and that the policy of giving preference to a district’s own students should be equal across all districts and all schools. Either give preference or don’t, but do it equally, and thus fairly.

As an advocate of community schools, my personal preference is that Beacon, our neighborhood Upper West Side public high school (approximately 275 seats per class) give preference to students graduating from our Upper West Side public middle schools: The Computer School, Delta, Mott Hall 2, Center School, Manhattan School for Children, etc. and that more good high schools are developed on the Upper West Side to take the pressure off of Beacon.

If this is not possible, then all D2 schools should be opened up to accept D3 students as well as D2.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.


District 3 Parent

Cases of Acceptance into Specialized HS ONLY

I wrote this to Erin Hill:

Ben's dad ran into an 8th grade parent that said some kids at CS got accepted to one Specialized HS and NO other school match. My understanding from you and DOE meeting is that those who apply to Specialized's get two acceptances. One to a Specialized and one to a Non-Specialized match. You can even have three if you add LaGuardia in to the equation. Can you clarify?

Her answer:

That is correct. As a matter of fact, I did mention this at meeting that this was the first year that this happened. Quite honestly what happened, was that no other Non-Specialized HS ranked the student, resulting in no match for the student.  In 2 of the cases, the student put down unrealistic schools and were therefore not a good match for those schools, resulting in no match. It is now my understanding that regardless of whether or not the student does well enough to get accepted into a Specialized HS, they still have to be realistic when choosing the other schools. The Specialized HS's do not look at grades, attendance, test scores etc., so it doesn't matter how good or poor of a student you are. You can be a good test taker and get into a Specialized HS.

On the other hand, yes, it is possible to be accepted into 3 schools: a testing Specialized HS, LaGuardia, and a Non-Specialized HS.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beacon Open House Comments

I just wanted to share some information. I went to Beacon tonight and the tour was from 5-7pm. Well we got there early...hmmm 4:45 to a line that was up the block. Anyway we went in and were in a tour group led by a student and saw 4 classes, Math, History and Science (twice). Was told to got to the cafeteria to get information about after school programs and good bye. Well, I was really unimpressed and started thinking...what is all the hype about?  I pressed my way around to find an adult who may know something more. I felt very confused and as if I had very little information...what about English, Foreign Language and The Arts? What time does school start? Students go out to lunch? Help! 

So, we made our way around and joined some other confused parents and found an English/Music teacher. He was helpful and cleared up some of my questions. We basically joined other parent groups and made our way to Art and Foreign Language. They take a lot of trips and they are having an Art show June 19th. After an additional hour there, I felt much better. I just knew it had to be more to Beacon. 

They are having 2 more tours in the fall. So if others went on the tour and felt like myself I would suggest going on one of the tours in the fall. This one was just not that well organized...or maybe it was. But I felt better after seeing two other classes.

Provided by Sonya Houston

Meeting Regarding New Brandeis Campus School

The Department of Education invites parents and community members to attend an open meeting to discuss the creation of new high schools to open in future years on the Brandeis High School campus.

Thursday, June 11th 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Brandeis Campus
145 West 84 Street

Brandeis High School will begin phasing out Fall 2009, not accepting a new incoming 9th grade class. Three new schools will open on the campus this fall, but as Brandeis phases out and the new schools phase in, there will be additional space. This meeting is to gather community input as to what additional school models should be developed for the Brandeis building.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

High Schools Accepting CS Students

At the CS High School Night meeting, families asked the counselors to recommend high schools to research. Here is their response also provided in hard copy via CS kids

While it is not our policy to list our preferences, as each individual student has their own needs and requirements from a school, we have put a list of those high schools to which this past two 8th grades have been accepted. Again, please understand that these are not high schools that we are recommending, but simply a list that may give you a starting point when you begin your own research this summer.

The list is as follows:

Arts, Imagination and Inquiry (HS of)                        

Bard I and II                                          


Bronx Science (SHS)

Brooklyn Latin (SHS)

Brooklyn Technical (SHS)

Economics & Finance (HS of)           

Eleanor Roosevelt                                                                     


Essex Street Academy                                                             

Facing  History

Frederick Douglass Academy                                                                                

Global Learning Collaborative                                                 

Health Professions (HS for)

Humanities Prep                                                             

LaGuardia (SHS)                                                          

Language and Diplomacy (HS of)

Lehman – American Studies (SHS)

Manhattan Center for Science & Math

Manhattan/Hunter College for the Sciences                       

Manhattan Village Academy

Math, Science & Engineering at City College (SHS)


Murry Bergtram (several programs within the school)

Museum School


NYC iSchool

Pace HS                                                                        

Philip Randolph HS                             

School of the Future                                                    

Stuyvesant (SHS)                                                        

Talent Unlimited

Urban Assembly for Design and Construction

Urban Assembly for Media Studies

Of course there are other schools to look at which are not listed. Understand that District 2 schools such as Baruch, NYC Lab, Eleanor Roosevelt, NYC Museum School, School of the Future, etc. are very difficult to get into as they give priority to District 2 students. However, other than Baruch and NYC Lab, they have accepted a few of our students this year. 

We hope this gives you some idea as to where to begin your search. Also, please reference the high school handbook that you received at the meeting on April 6 (which is also posted on our website On there you will find much information on the high school process, and support, as you make your way through the next several months. There are many new schools out there that are 2 and 3 years old and just need to be given a chance.  There are a lot of good programs being created every year and some very dedicated and hard working teachers and staff behind these programs. Please be sure to visit and ask lots of questions of the teachers and staff when you get the chance. 

It is imperative that you do your own research on each and every school that you list on your application. Good luck and have a great summer!

Provided by Erin Hill

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SHSAT is November 7 and 8—Keep Both Days Free

Bronx Science reminded visitors at last night’s open house that the Specialized HS test is November 7 and 8. Take note that you do not find out which day you are assigned to until very close to the test date. So keep the whole weekend free if your student is going to take the test.

Provided by Nancy Batterman

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bard (Queens Campus) Open House

Thursday, June 4th 2009, 6:00-7:00pm
30-20 Thomson Ave. Long Island City Queens, NY 11101
(just a few stops from Manhattan on the 7-train. For exact directions, please visit

Telephone: (718) 271-4171 ext. 4750
E-mail: or  

The e-mail announcement included a very long list of FAQs which I forwarded to everyone on the e-mail list. If you are not on that list and would like to see the FAQs, e-mail me and I will send them to you. —SM

How Computer School Submits Grades on Student's HS Application

After reading Nancy Brandwein’s notes from the May 20 meeting, Erin Hill wrote this:

Everything that Bonnie has been saying at these meetings is everything that I said at my meeting, so I am glad that at least what I've been saying has been right!!  

With respect to grades being on the HS application, our students' applications will NOT have their grades on theirs as we do not use the same report card system that all the other schools use. Therefore their 7th grade grades are not transferred into the system automatically. That, unfortunately, is the tedious job of the counselors.  So, if you feel it would be necessary to check the grades, you will need to request one of us to print out what we entered into the system.  

The Computer School classes are ALL considered accelerated, so that is how I mark it in the system.

If your child is sick the day of the Specialized HS Test and is unable to take the test, YOU WILL NEED TO OBTAIN A DOCTOR'S NOTE CONFIRMING THE SICKNESS!  I hope Bonnie mentioned that, as they do not make it easy to take make-ups.  

RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH over the summer!  Make sure the school is the RIGHT fit for YOUR child!!

Then I wrote back: I don't understand. Are these "automatic" grades that we won't have that have to be manually input and will be in the computer but not on the hard copy application? When you have a minute, please clarify.

Erin replied: I know, it's a bit confusing. Most schools use the DOE system with respect to printing out report cards and inputng their grades. That is not our case. We use teacherease for our report cards which means that it is a TOTALLY different system and is not linked to the DOE's system. Therefore, when they say that students' 7th grade grades should be on the application, it is because those applications ARE linked to the DOE grading system which automatically puts them on the application.  I have to manually input them into the High School Application System seperately which takes a while and the HS applications are printed out WAY before I am able to get them into the system. It really is not a big problem NOT having them on the application, because the applications don't go anywhere except for a file in my drawer. I do not mail them off to anywhere, they are simply applications used to write down your HS choices, which are signed by both student and parent, and then given to me. High Schools DO see the grades that I input.  

I hope this was more clear.  I, myself, get confused too so I totally understand your confusion.  I just don't want parents to get worried that their child's grades are not on the application, and they don't have to fill them in!

Provided by Erin Hill

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How High Schools See 7th Grade Test Scores

I asked Erin Hill, Counselor at CS, how the schools see the scores and she said they see the raw number and the rounded 1, 2, 3, or 4. 

Include Our Kids in the Process

Regarding the May 20 information meeting:

I can't remember if this was covered before but in the HS application process you must research requisites for eligibility and school preference. 

 I would like my son to attend one of these sessions. The DOE has created a maze of hurdles for our students. Many parents will have trouble digesting the details even if they even find the time in their overstacked schedules. We should include the students wherever possible; they can help themselves by participating since their futures depend on the outcome and often they have better memory for details! 

Meanwhile, we can continue to write about the intricacies of restrictions, preferences, eligibility requirements for various schools as these are revealed, along with schedules for open houses, information sessions etc. 

Courage and strength!

Provided by Ina Greenfield

Beacon and Brandeis Update

A couple of things coming out of the May 20 CEC D3 President's Council meeting which I attended last night.

1. The CEC and President's Council are definitely "on" the D2 vs D3 preference and Beacon issues.

2. There is a fourth new HS opening in the Brandeis Complex. 2010 (our kids) will be the entering class.

The next meeting, June 11, will continue the conversation. Apparently the Beacon principal and a superintendent (High School? Manhattan? I will clarify) will be in attendance.

DOE High School Info Meeting Notes

 I think the HS admissions meeting at the auditorium at Joan of Arc school last night was definitely worth it. Bonnie Gross, Director of High School Admissions was speaking when I arrived. Here are the main points I came away with. 

Do not put ANY school on your list of twelve schools that your child would not want to attend or which you would not want your child to attend. She could not say this enough, saying we would be shocked at the amount of people who put schools on the list that they would not want to attend simply thinking that it's "better" to have more schools on the list than less.

Do not underestimate the importance of your child's commute time to school. Fully 85% of appeals are transportation issues, Bonnie said, and remarkably most are from parents who put the school they know they do not want to send their child to at the top of the list. Bonnie says:

Use to check out the commute time door to door from your apartment to the school, but don't stop there. Take your child to the school at the exact time during the week      when he/she would be travelling. Overcrowded trains and morning rush hour should be taken into account. AND, if you choose a school that has more than a 40 minute commute, consider that your child might not get home until 6PM if they participate in afterschool sports and/or clubs.

If your child's pre-printed HS application does not have his/her grades on it, ask your guidance counselor when the grades will be put on, and request to see the grades that are on the application. Compare the grades to the 7th grade report card your child got (keep this; it's important). Guidance counselors are busy. Computers can spit out the wrong number. It's up to you to make sure what's on it is accurate.

If your child has been absent/late for 8 or more times, talk to your guidance counselor if these have been due to extenuating circumstances: illness, family issues, etc. There is a space on the application to notify the DOE of absences/lateness due to extenuating circumstances.

If your child is in an honors program or an accelerated/honors class, make sure this is noted on the application.

If your child is taking the specialized HS exam decide upon the Specialized HSs he/she wants to attend BEFORE the exam is taken. Preferences should be noted on the ticket your child will get for the specialized test.

The Specialized exam for Manhattan students will take place on November 7 and 8, Sat and Sunday, at Stuyvesant. If your child has a conflict or cannot take the exam on either day due to religious observance then notify your guidance counselor.

If your child is sick the day of the Specialized exam then your child SHOULD NOT take the exam. Once the seal is broken on the exam the exam cannot be taken on a makeup day.

The best information for HS open houses is on that particular HSs web site. Do research over the summer, using the directory and HS web sites, and set up tours if possible before September.

While Bonnie does not want to be inundated with calls about issues about which you can talk to our schools' guidance counselors, she did provide the email for her office and a phone number: and 212-374-2363

 Provided by Nancy Brandwein 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Resolution Asking Beacon to Revert Back to a D3 Priority School

The CEC and D3 Presidents' Council have been working on a resolution to ask that Beacon consider reverting back to a D3 priority school. I am PA Co-Pres. of MS 54 and my parents are very upset about the number of our eighth graders who did not get a spot at Beacon. My principal and the director of Delta, which is one of our programs, urged parents to write to our elected officials, etc. and so Gale Brewer and the District Office have been inundated with letters from us.

The point is that if the situation is not resolved, Beacon will still be a citywide program come this fall. We were told that the decision rests with the principal of Beacon, who changed the status of the school from that of an Ed. Opt. D3 priority school to a screened citywide program several years ago. Not only has this resulted in fewer D3 kids getting accepted but it has also affected the racial diversity of the school.

I personally would like to see the principal revert the status of Beacon back to a Ed. Opt. D3 priority school. D3 priority is key but I think we also have to fight for the Ed. Opt. as well given many of our MS 54 students from CORE also have not gone to Beacon in recent years because it now screens its kids so it has become more selective and thus exclusive.

If we can get a meeting with the principal of Beacon to explain our rationale, she may be more receptive to change. As it stands now, she is saying that she will "accommodate" D3 kids next year (but not make it a citywide program). I not sure what that means.

Provided by Bijou Miller, Co-Chair D3 President's Council