Posts from September 9th, 2013
September 9, 2013
- Tweets from Philadelphia’s first day of school highlight unbelievable budget-cut devastation. (Philly Post)
- Tuesday is primary day in New York City. Take our voters guides to the polls with you. (GothamSchools)
- A mother has found a lot to like so far with her kids’ “2 out of 10″ school in Oakland, Calif. (Design Mom)
- An upstate principal who mathematically can’t be “highly effective” reacts to his scores. (DR’s Blog)
- From Long Island principal Carol Burris, the tale of a teacher demoralized by her score. (Answer Sheet)
- A retired California teacher criticizes his state’s teachers union for blocking charter schools. (City Journal)
- Here’s P.S. 22′s chorus with Muppets and George Stephanopoulos. Happy new year! (P.S. 22 Chorus)
- The instructors of a summer skateboarding class for Bed-Stuy kids say skating changed their lives. (Vice)
- SchoolBook and the Daily News teamed up to collect first-day photos from across the city. (RebelMouse)
September 9, 2013
Most folks have a first-day-of-school ritual, from sharpening pencils for teachers to taking pictures for parents to donning a fresh outfit for students. For us at GothamSchools, it’s racing across the city to visit as many school communities as we can.
This year, we have four reporters who will be traversing the five boroughs today to meet teachers, families, and politicians who are heading back to school today. With the city’s primary elections set for Tuesday, many candidates plan to use the first day of school to stump for votes. Mayor Bloomberg will also make a last first-day appearance at a Washington Heights high school this morning.
Follow Anika Anand, Sarah Darville, Geoff Decker, and Emma Sokoloff-Rubin on Twitter for the latest updates, and check back here for longer dispatches throughout the day. (Remember, the reports are posted in reverse chronological order, so if you want to read from the beginning of the day, start at the end and scroll up.)
5 p.m. The first day of school has come to an end (except for the students at 20 middle schools who still have half an hour left in their extended day programs). We’re signing off after visiting more than a dozen schools in all five boroughs — but we’ll be back to school tomorrow, to cover day two and the city’s primary election. For folks whose eyes can handle more reading, don’t forget our voters guides and The Next Education Mayor feature.
4:49 p.m. Outside the South Bronx Academy for Applied Media this afternoon, three eighth-graders were debriefing the first day of school and let Emma in on their conversation.
“It wasn’t the same as it was last year,” Aryon Holley said about the secondary school.
“They made it strict,” her friend Destiny Frazier said, backing her up.
“They made it better academically but there’s less freedom for the students,” Holley said. “They switched our classes around and there are a lot of new teachers.”
“We have to get used to it,” said a third girl, Achaton Sounah.
“I think it’s for the better,” Holley concluded.
4:35 p.m. For Channel View School for Research in Far Rockaway, the new year offers a chance to reverse fortunes.
Last year left the school’s culture out of equilibrium after a months-long relocation after Superstorm Sandy. The school stayed open over the summer, bringing in many students whose attendance lagged after the storm for extra work before starting ninth grade. Older students also took Regents preparation courses, and a small group worked on a project to restore sensitive plant life that was destroyed at the nearby Jamaica wildlife reserve.
Six months after the storm, Craig Dorsi, the school’s union leader, said Channel View was still devastated. Today, he told Geoff that things had changed again for the better.
“I think a lot of the systems we had in place helped preserve everything,” said Dorsi, who recruited 13 students for the planting restoration project.
Sandy’s impact can still be felt, though. A private security detail, which Dorsi called “human fire detectors,” are stationed on each end of every hallway as well as in bunches in the lobbies and outside the school because the fire alarms never worked properly after the building was flooded. And the sports field, which boosters hoped would be fixed in time for this fall, is still off limits.
4:25 p.m. The first afternoon of the new extended day program at I.S. 3o in Brooklyn was devoted mostly to snack and attendance logisitics, Anika reports.
After dismissal, sixth-graders were ushered into the auditorium, where Principal Carol Heeraman welcomed them to the school and asked an important question: How many had signed forms allowing them to stay for an extra two and a half hours each day as part of the city’s Middle School Quality Initiative? Only a handful of students raised their hands, and the rest were dismissed with instructions to get their parents to sign on. (more…)
September 9, 2013
- UFT campaign materials tell members that Bill Thompson promised retroactive raises; he has not. (Post)
- Thompson did promise to make a seat on the Panel for Educational Policy for a parent. (GothamSchools)
- Diane Ravitch, Michelle Rhee, Kim Sweet, and others offer schools tips to the next mayor. (Daily News)
- Education has been a big issue in the city’s mayoral election so far, as it surely will continue to be. (WSJ)
- Joel Klein says he wants an “education reformer” who supports charter schools as mayor. (Daily News)
- Some schools that were flooded during Sandy last year still don’t have working fire alarms. (ABC 7)
- The city announced a $13 million expansion of its “Out-Of-School Time” initiative. (Daily News, NY1)
- Slow bandwidth at some schools could impede the city’s rollout of an online textbook store. (Daily News)
- This year, the state won’t mandate that all students who failed state tests get extra help. (GothamSchools)
- The Daily News says the UFT only wants diversity at specialized schools to mask teachers’ failures.
- Major crimes in city schools fell by a wide margin last year, as we reported last week. (Daily News, NY1)
- Anecdotal reports suggest that more parents nationally are opting out of tests, but data are scarce. (AP)
- The first educator tried in Atlanta’s cheating scandal was acquitted of wrongdoing. (Times, WSJ, AJC)
- School districts nationwide, including here, are starting the year with new security procedures. (WSJ)