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

Meeting Regarding Beacon Admissions

There is a meeting tonight (May 20) regarding Beacon admissions, which is a joint CEC* and Presidents' Council** meeting. The CEC and D3 Presidents' Council have been working on a resolution to ask that Beacon consider reverting back to a D3 priority school. The meeting is open to the public.

Location of Meeting: PS 208, 21 West 111 (betw. 5th and Lenox—uptown on 2 or 3, get off at 110th and walk short distance over)

Time of Meeting: 7 pm

*Community Education Council. See this link for more information:

**Presidents' Council is a body made up of PTA officers from D3 who meet to discuss issues that are of concern to PTAs and get guest speakers to come from the DOE and elsewhere to give presentations.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sign Petition to Increase NYC Public School Seats

Please go to to sign the petition to encourage NYC to build more public schools.

Provided by Nancy Batterman

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Contact Info for DOE Office of Enrollment

Contact provided at DOE Choosing a High School information session.

Telephone  212 374 2363


The presenter said that they will be happy to answer specific questions that families have.

Student Work Portfolios at Computer School

Since there are only a few schools (Beacon and School of the Future) that require a portfolio and not all students apply to those schools, teachers do not return portfolios to all students. It is up to the individual student to request their portfolio should they need it to apply to a high school. Students who have a general idea as to whether or not they will be applying to one of these schools, can and SHOULD request their portfolio at the end of the year, if not at the very beginning of September. This way, they will have enough time to choose pieces they like, are comfortable with, and if necessary, request more comments to be written on the piece of work by a teacher. 

Provided by Erin Hill

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 Post Regarding HS Placement

See excerpt from a comment to that post (copied below) that clearly articulates this District 2 preference issue. I don't know who this mom is. It's not me—SM :-)

Here’s another glaring problem: It is my understanding that this whole citywide high school choice process was implemented in 2005 to make the system more equitable, so that children in districts with no decent high schools would have have access to selective schools in other districts. Right? However, some districts, particularly District 2, have a number of screened schools that give preference to students that reside in the district, effectively shutting out kids from the rest of the city. These kids have no recourse, because their districts have no schools that give them preference. So some kids get preference and others don’t, depending on their address. Something’s got to give or the whole citywide system is pointless, still favoring kids in certain districts.

Comment by seventh grader's mom — May 11, 2009 @ 9:34 am

Friday, May 8, 2009

New Schools in Brandeis Complex

Brandeis (145 West 84 Street) is phasing out over the next 3 years. Their students will still be the majority of students in the school, but there are 2 new schools in the building opening in September. One of the new schools is Global Learning Collaborative where 10 of our students are going. Myself, parents and students met with the principal, Jennifer Zinn, and we were all quite impressed.  Let’s keep an eye on that one! The other school is called The Urban Assembly School for Green Careers.  Also sounds really interesting. It will be difficult to shed the bad rep that Brandeis has had all these years, but people need to understand that it will just be the building called Brandeis NOT THE SCHOOL.

Provided by Erin Hill

Write to the Chancellor Link

This is a link where you can contact Chancellor Klein regarding NYC public schools. As many of us that can (and are concerned with this issue) need to write to him about the fact that District 2 has 5 to 6 good high schools that prefer District 2 applicants and District 3 (that's us) DOESN'T HAVE ANY that prefer our district (District 3). See the sample letter from a Delta parent posted on April 24 on this blog if you need help.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What Schools Have What Sports Teams

For those of you with kids who want be involved in sports and you're wondering if a school fields a team for your sport(s), you can look on the site for PSAS (Public School Athletic League). There is a drop down in the upper left where you can select the school and see all the sports, coaches and season records.

DOE High School Information E-Mail Sign Up

Provided by Erin Hill

Friday, May 1, 2009

MIscellaneous Links

Here is a list of miscellaneous links that don't deserve a unique post.

2001 List by NY Mag. of Best High Schools

If anyone can stand looking at the Post's website here is an interesting article about how many people put each HS as their first choice in 2007. Maybe there is updated data on this somewhere. Let me know if you find it.

Kaplan Practice Test Dates

I just signed Ben up for FREE "Admissions Seminar for Parents and Practice Test for Students" at Kaplan on June 22. There are alternate locations and times on their site. Here is the link.