2019 Summer Fairs

This year marks the 5thanniversary of our Summer Opportunities, Activities & Resources (SOAR) fairs, featuring summer camps and programs for families with kids in pre-k through 12th grade.

Sure, you can look for summer programs online, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation directly with camp directors who want nothing more than to answer your questions and provide information about their programs. SOAR fairs bring together multiple programs and parents all under one roof in fun, easily accessible environment. We’re your one-stop-shop for summer fun.

 Register now to attend our Upper West Side or Harlem fair. If you're a vendor interested in participating, register here 

Attending camps include:
92Y Camps
ACT Programs at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Bank Street Summer Camp
Breezemont Day Camp
Brooklyn Game Lab
Camp Twelve Trails
The Cathedral School Summer STEAM Camp
Cooper Hewitt Design Camp
Columbia Little Lions
Day Camp in the Park
Deer Mountain Day Camp
The Fresh Air Fund
Gate Hill Day Camp
Harlem YMCA Summer Day Camp
HYPOTHEkids Summer STEAM
Camp Settoga + JCC Manhattan Day Camps
MakerState Summer Camp
Parkour Adventure Camp
Play On! Studios
Pocono Springs Camp
Riverside Park Conservancy Multi-Sport Summer Camp
Robofun
The Nature Place
Writopia Lab

Not all camps will be at every fair.

 

Demystifying the SHSAT

The Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT) has been all over the news of late. What is this magical, mystical SHSAT test that evokes such strong emotions? Bring your questions and queries to PASSNYC's community information event on Monday, September 24 from 6-8 pm where there will be experts who can share information about the SHSAT and Columbia Secondary School testing for parents.

There will also be information on FREE Online Test Prep Services for students. Best of all, light refreshments will be served!

Please register and let us know if you'll be coming. This is an invaluable event that shouldn't be missed.

NYC Public High School Admissions

Can the process be any more complicated than it already is? I don't think so.

At this point in the process, depending on whether you will be entering 7th or 8th grade in the fall, we recommended:

7th Grade

  • During the summer before school starts, it's a good idea to attend the summer high school admission family workshops and start to familiarize yourself with your options. The DOE School Finder and High School Directory are both online.
  • If you're considering attending a Specialized High School, put together a plan and start studying for the Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT)
  • Be sure to get to school every day and don't be late! Attendance is an important part of individual school admission rubrics.
  • Practice and collect your best work from 7th grade. You'll need it to put together an art portfolio or prepare for an audition to a high school arts program.

Summer Before 8th Grade

  • Attend the summer high school admission family workshops and start to create a list of school that you think might be a good fit. The DOE School Finder and High School Directory are both online.
  • Be sure to study for the SHSAT, rehearse for your auditions and work on your art portfolio.
  • Check school websites, our events calendar or contact schools directly for school open house and tour dates. Set up a calendar to keep track of tour dates and application deadlines. You don't want to miss anything.

8th Grade

  • Attend the high school fairs in September and October. Check the DOE website or our events calendar for dates.
  • Find audition dates for specific audition programs and register. Check the school websites or contact the school directly for up-to-date information.
  • For screened programs, find out admission requirements and instructions in the High School Directory.
  • Attend open houses and tours.
  • Register for the SHSAT and/or LaGuardia High School auditions through your school counselor or at a Family Welcome Center by October 11, 2018
  • Get your SHSAT ticket and/or LaGuardia High School audition ticket
  • Take the SHSAT and/or audition for LaGuardia High School as scheduled
  • For audition programs, go to auditions and/or interviews
  • For screened programs, complete assessments and/or submit portfolios.
  • Submit your Round 1 application online, through your counselor, or at a Family Welcome Center by December 3, 2018.

Check our site for continued updates as we advance through the admission process.

 

Uptown’s premier summer camp fair is back!

small-boats-of-colourSummer camp season is here! If you’re anything like me, you are overwhelmed at all of the camp options available and unsure about what program will be a good fit for your child. Camp fairs bring camps straight to parents allowing them to have face-to-face conversations with many camp directors in one place, within a short period of time. It’s like speed dating for summer camps.

There are certain questions you may want to ask camp directors while at the fair in order to help you to determine the proper fit for your family:
• What is your camp’s program?
• What type of child is successful at your camp?
• What are the qualifications of the camp director? Counselors?
• How are campers supervised?
• What are the safety procedures?
• What are your enrollment options?
• How does your camp handle special needs?

You can ask these questions and more at our second annual summer camp fair on Saturday, February 27, 2016 from 11am-4pm.

Participating camps:

Ascension Summer Camp

Bank Street Summer Camp

Breakaway Hoops

Camp Henry

Camp Ma-He-Tu

Camp Twelve Trails

City Sculpting

Day Camp in the Park

Gate Hill Day Camp

Harlem School of the Arts Artscape

Harlem YMCA Summer Day Camp

Hk Summer Steam

Independent Lake Camp

Kids Creative

Kids in the Game

NYC Guitar School

Oddysey Teen Camp

Play On! Studios

Pono

Super Soccer Stars

TADA! Youth Theater

The Experiment in International Living

Urban Stages Summer Theater Camp

World of Money

Pre-register here to secure your spot today.LTS 2016 Camp Flier

Gifted and Talented Admissions for September 2015

We're thrilled to welcome Mrs. A, an elementary school teacher teaching in NYC public schools as a contributor. This week, Mrs. A shares her thoughts on G&T program in schools in low income neighborhoods.

“Matthew, why don’t you come and join us for the nursery rhymes we’re learning.” I beckoned to my kindergartener who was lagging in his seat, rather than joining the crowd of students on the “rug”. “Boring!” whined Matthew, “I already know all those nursery rhymes, I learned them in pre-school.” It was September and I was just getting know my class, “OK” I thought, “I am going to have to challenge this little guy, he obviously knows more than the rest.” Matthew finally joined the group after much cajoling and the lesson proceeded without a hitch.

It turned out that Matthew was obviously gifted, by the end of the year in kindergarten he was reading books from the third, fourth and fifth grade libraries. His writing and math were both way above average and his language skills, that is, his speaking and vocabulary were exemplary, yet, Matthew failed the Gifted and Talented test by 4 points that year. I was sorely disappointed in this, because, Matthew, is a minority, a Latino, whose parents, though well-meaning were not at all test savvy and I feared that he would lose out and never get the education he needed.

The school that I teach in a Title I, New York City Public School in Brooklyn, 95% of the students are on Free Lunch. The school groups all classes homogeneously, there are no top classes. Currently with budget constraints there are no courses added to the curriculum. Like most city schools, the school has become focused on test scores and achievement, differentiated instruction is talked about, but time does not allow for such lofty goals when one is so focused on moving all children, even your slowest on those tests. The cluster teachers ought to be able to provide some kind of diversified relief for the brightest however, this school has the following cluster programs: Reading, Literature, Literacy, Social Studies, Computers, Art & Music. There are three cluster teachers devoted to reading instruction. For the brighter students this is clearly overkill.

So what does Matthew do now, in first grade? He can be found, often in the halls, running errands for the teacher. Last I spoke to him and asked him what he was studying in November he rolled his eyes and said, “Families” , “We are studying families, families, families.” I suppose, he helps others in the classroom who are lagging in their studies. This scenario of our brightest minorities can be seen repeated over and over again, although they don’t get into the Gifted and Talented schools, they are still untapped and unchallenged talent wasting away in a mediocre system which caters to the bottom and middle rather than the top.

These students are at risk, they are bored, tired of the same old studies and we risk losing them to more stimulating endeavors such as drugs and sex as they get older. These talented minorities, like pure gold, can be mined if the city is willing to take a good, hard look at it’s Gifted and Talented search.

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Start requiring that the students who are minorities who fail the test by say, 10 percentage points, be given special instruction in their schools.
  2. Every school should have a Gifted and Talented class for each grade.
  3. Extra-curricular activities MUST be added for the Gift and Talented class, perhaps that class could be taught by two teachers as we do with the Special Ed. Inclusion Classes.
  4. Consider having a few Gifted and Talented schools devoted JUST to minorities.

New York Gifted and Talented admissions for September 2015 begin this week on Wednesday, October 8th. Complete details and handbooks are available  online at the DOE website. In addition, G&T info session will be held in each borough. See below and our events calendar for schedule

 

BOROUGH LOCATION DATE TIME
Manhattan High School of Fashion Industries
225 West 24th Street
Tuesday, October 14 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Brooklyn Clara Barton High School
901 Classon Avenue
Wednesday, October 15 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Staten Island P.S. 69 Daniel D. Tompkins
144 Keating Place
Thursday, October 16 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Bronx Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus
500 East Fordham Road
Tuesday, October 21 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Queens Forest Hills High School
67-01 110th Street
Wednesday, October 22 6:00 - 8:00 PM

 

 

2013 NYS ELA and Math Test Results Released

bigstock-Classroom-of-diverse-students--38542057

 

The results for the 2013 New York State tests for ELA and math in grades 3 through 8 are out and the sky is falling.  This year's test is brand new so comparisons to last year's results can't be done.   New York is the only state in the country to use new common core tests, tests aligned to the common core standards.  This is significant because curriculum based on the standards have not been developed yet.  See where this is going?

Let's review - We have results from brand new tests based on brand new standards without complete curriculum.  What could go wrong?

Before the tests were even administered the DOE started a big PR campaign to set expectations of much lower scores than past  years.  In fact, Commissioner John King predicted that the number of students deemed proficient would likely fall by 30 points.

He did not disappoint.  Headlines from across the country chronicle the dismal results.  Samples of test items were released along with the scores for all to see.

As parents, what do we tell our kids?  Carol Burris, New York's 2013 High School Principal of the year writes:

...my advice to parents is this. Remember that these tests are hardly a measure of your child’s value or promise as a student. Be outraged if she is now labeled “below proficient” based on tests that were designed to have scores drop like a stone.  Your conversations with your child’s teacher or principal can give you far better insights into her academic and (just as importantly) social and emotional growth.

Full article here.

We're about to start another school year with these test results used as a benchmark.  Parents, we need to speak out and not settle for this corporate led, fast food, test driven version of education that we are being fed.  We have the power to make change.  What will you do?

Here's a round-up of other articles commenting on the test results.

Walcott: Common Core test results are about the future of our children, not adults (NY Daily News Opinion)

Chapman: Timeline for recovery of New York's reading, math scores uncertain as Common Core tests roll out (NY Daily News)

Mulgrew: Poor test results show Common Core curriculum was rushed (NY Daily News Opinion)

Failing kids – and voters (NY Daily News Editorial)

A test of honesty (NY Post Editorial)

Painful but necessary process (NY Post Opinion)

Punishing kids for adult failures (NY Daily News Opinion)

Musiowsky-Borneman: Teachers will have their work cut out for them as they prepare students for Common Core tests (NY Daily News Opinion)

Parent: Bloomberg's obsession with state tests should not replace real teaching, next mayor must make change (NY Daily News Opinion)

Goldstein: Common Core tests are not the answer in child-centered education (NY Daily News Opinion)

Less than one-third of city elementary-school students pass statewide tests (NY Post)

Charter schools and public schools equally showed poor testing performance (NY Daily News)

New York’s Common Core Test Scores (NY Times Editorial)

Test Scores Sink as New York Adopts Tougher Benchmarks (NY Times)

State Officials Release New Test Score Data, Proficiency Drops (WSJ)

At test score presentations, NYC celebrates, state stays sober (GothamSchools)

Test scores fall sharply statewide, but NYC fares relatively well (GothamSchools)

Educators Debate Stark Decline in Test Scores (WNYC/SchoolBook)

Fewer than One Third of New York City Students Pass State Tests (WNYC/SchoolBook)

City Students' Math And English Scores Dip (NY1)

Standardized Test Scores In New York Drop As Expected (CBS New York)

New York Standardized Test Scores Plunge Under New Learning Standards (NBC New York)

Student test scores plummet (Fox New York)

City kids not making the grade: Test scores plunge amid toughened standards (NY Post)

City students' scores take dramatic plunge after new standardized tests (NY Daily News)

Shock, suggestions, and silver linings in test score reactions (GothamSchools)

Facing Lower Test Scores Bloomberg Administration Takes Long View (WNYC/SchoolBook)

Chart How Your School Performed on State Tests (WNYC/SchoolBook)

Four big questions to ask about New York City’s new test scores (GothamSchools)

What N.Y. students actually had to do to pass the math tests (GothamSchools)

More than Half of City Kids Failed State's Harder Math and Reading Tests (DNAinfo)

 

 

NYC Students Must Attend Kindergarten The Year They Turn Five

The NYC DOE has a new regulation that states students must attend kindergarten in the year they turn five by December 31st, according to NY1.  This seems to contradict a new law enacted in 2012 that set the cut-off date for kindergarten in New York City at December 1st.  According to this law it would seem that kids who are five years old by December 1st attend kindergarten in the year they turn five.  Others would wait until the following year.  But a key word in the law is "authorize".  The law states:

The board of education of the Syracuse city school district AND THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK [is] ARE hereby authorized to require minors who are five years of age on or before December first to attend kindergarten instruction.

Authorizing the DOE to make a change to a rule is not the same as requiring it to do so and it seems that the DOE has chosen not to change the cut off date from December 31st to December 1st.

What this means is, of course, that there will be some kids who start kindergarten in September who are just 4 years old but will turn 5 by the end of the year as is currently the case.  Currently, parents could opt to not send their children to school that early and have them start kindergarten the following year when they were 5 in September.  It's not easy to find a public school in New York City that does this, but they do exist.  Starting this year that will no longer be an option.  If parents want their child to attend Kindergarten they must do so in the year they turn 5.  No exceptions.  If they opt not to send them to kindergarten then then must start in 1st grade the following year.

Starting school at such an early age is not appropriate for every child, especially those that have not yet developed the impulse control to be a part of academic learning environment.

What are your thoughts?  Do you agree with the DOE?  Should kids start kindergarten at age 5?


	

Public Pre-K Spots Still Available For September 2013

LeeCMOM2There is still time to apply to free community-based organizations (CBOs) pre-k programs for September but spots are limited.  CBO programs are publicly funded (free) but are not in schools.  All info and application are available online at the DOE Website.

Hunter College Elementary School Application Available

The Application for 2013 kindergarten admission to Hunter College Elementary School (HCES) is available today.  For the first time HCES is using an online only application.

A lot of people are curious about this school so we got a Hunter parent to weigh in.

Facts

Hunter College Elementary School is a public elementary school

Despite being a publicly funded, tuition free school HCES is NOT part of the NYC Department of Education and is therefore not subject to DOE rules. Like all public schools, HCES does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, or disability.  Admission is for students who reside in Manhattan only.

HCES is for gifted students

HCES is a coed laboratory school that serves children in grades K through 6 who have been identified as intellectually gifted by Hunter's admission process.

Admission is based on a test

There are actually 2 rounds of assessment for admission to Hunter.  In the first round students are administered a modified version of the Stanford-Binet exam by one of Hunter's approved testers.  Round 1 starts after parents submit an online application, available today.  Test scores are sent to parents and to the school.  In December the eligibility score for Round 2 is determined.  Children who score at or above this score will be invited to the Round 2 on-site assessment.  Please see the HCES admissions website for detailed information about the process.

Fiction

HCES is basically a free private school

No, it's not.  HCES is publicly funded, chartered by the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York and administered by Hunter College.  Some of the extra trappings parents might expect at private schools are not at Hunter.  What the school offers is a challenging, innovative curriculum that emphasizes critical and creative thinking for students who are self-motivated, independent and inventive learners.

Students are subjected to standardized tests like all other public schools

Standardized tests are a fact of life at Hunter just like other public schools.  However, the test students take, the CTP, is used to guide instruction and not to rate teachers and/or the school itself.  Hunter is not a part of the DOE so it does not administer NY State standardized tests and is not subject to ‘No Child Left Behind’ or any other NY state education mandates.

 

Many people enter the Hunter application process thinking they don’t stand a chance and are pleasantly surprised when their child is offered a spot.  If you are a Manhattan resident and think this school might be a good fit for your child I urge you to go through the application process but be prepared for any outcome.

Applications for 2013 are available today.   Hey, you never know.