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