Posts from Emma Sokoloff-Rubin
December 12, 2013
Last month we began previewing the changes underway as we transition to Chalkbeat New York. Here’s the latest: more chances for you to shape the conversation about New York City schools.
We’ve always invited readers to comment on our stories, contribute to our community section, and attend our events. But we think it takes more than that for our coverage to reach new readers and reflect diverse experiences with the school system.
My job as community editor, a new position we designed with these goals in mind, is to create more opportunities for you to interact with reporters, share your experiences, and deepen our coverage of public schools. Here are four ways to get involved:
Talk to us
Chalkbeat Conversations are open-ended conversations between Chalkbeat reporters and community members, hosted by organizations in neighborhoods throughout the city. Instead of setting the agenda by interviewing participants about stories we already plan to write, we ask, “What most excites and frustrates you about the schools in your neighborhood?” (more…)
December 2, 2013
Throughout this fall, we met students in the throes of a notoriously overwhelming process: deciding which schools to list on their high school applications.
Today, they must make their final decisions. The applications are due this afternoon, and students will find out in March which school they will attend — or whether they must enter a second admissions process for students who are not placed anywhere.
At high school fairs this fall, some students said they felt anxious about the application process; others said they were confident that they’d get their first choice or end up at another satisfactory school. Their priorities varied widely, as did the level of support they had gotten throughout the process from parents, teachers, and guidance counselors.
For some eighth-graders, new information caused old ideas to evolve. Here’s one example: Back in September, Tiffany Mejia had her heart set on the School of Food and Finance because, she said, she likes to cook, and her best friends also wanted to go there. By the time she submitted her application last week in advance of today’s deadline, she had pushed Food and Finance to second place in favor of Humanities Preparatory Academy, a small school in Chelsea that enrolls both traditional ninth-graders and students who have previously struggled in other high schools schools.
November 8, 2013
What happens as a new small school grows up? We’ve covered the road bumps and results for years here at GothamSchools.
Now, we have “The New Public,” a documentary film follows students at teachers at Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School from the day the school opened in 2006 through the graduation of its first senior class.
We’re teaming up with the film’s producers for a special screening Nov. 15 that includes a panel discussion with Kevin Greer, the school’s founding English teacher; Lyntonia Coston, an assistant principal; and Earlene Tribble, the mother of one of the students featured in the film. (Find details about the screening, at Maysles Cinema in Harlem, and RSVP here.) (more…)
November 6, 2013
On the first day of school this year, a Bronx high school student watched through the fence as students at the Collegiate Institute of Math and Science played games on the football field. He didn’t attend their school, but he wanted to.
His own school, Christopher Columbus High School, will close at the end of the year, while CIMS, one of six schools in the same building, enrolls high performers and sends them on college trips. The student didn’t want this name used because he is still petitioning the city for a slot at CIMS, even though his time in high school is winding down.
“You know you’re in a bad school and you’re just trying to get out,” he said. “Even in the same building there’s a big gap.”
The Bloomberg administration’s approach to closing that gap has been to push struggling schools to improve and close those that do not. But improvement rarely comes quickly enough for students, whose time in high school is short, and those in search of a better school or just a better fit struggle to find a way out. (more…)
October 23, 2013
Saulio Tuero learned to read his parents’ native language by reading El Diario, the country’s longest-running Spanish daily newspaper.
“I would buy El Diario for my father, and I’d buy myself an English-speaking one, and then we’d switch,” he said. “That’s the way I learned to read Spanish.”
Now, Tuero teaches at Gregorio Luperón High School for Science and Mathematics, a school created to serve recent immigrants from Latin America. In his government class last year, he piloted a bilingual curriculum created through a partnership between City College and El Diario. The curriculum, called “Social Justice & Latinos in NYC: 1913-2013” uses El Diario articles from the last century (the newspaper turns 100 this year), along with other resources, to teach students about the history of Latinos in the city.
That’s something Xiomara Pérez says she didn’t learn when she attended public school in Queens. Her parents immigrated from Puerto Rico, and she said she only learned about their history — in Puerto Rico and New York — at home. Now a graduate student at City College, Pérez helped develop the curriculum as part of a course on multicultural education in the college’s Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture. (more…)
October 8, 2013
At a panel geared toward current and potential education funders in New York City, city and state officials said they’d like to see some changes that philanthropy can’t produce. City Department of Education Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky and State Education Commissioner John King both said they want to see the city’s next mayor use contract negotiations with the teachers union to give educators time to work together.
“The next union contract needs more professional development time,” Polakow-Suransky said. “One of the biggest mistakes Randi and Klein made in the last contract was removing professional development time.”
He was referring to Randi Weingarten and Joel Klein, who as UFT president and chancellor in 2005 negotiated a contract that traded about two hours a week of teacher training time for more teacher time with struggling students.
The city’s contract with the teacher’s union has expired, as have the contracts of all labor unions in the city, and one of the new mayor’s first tasks will be to negotiate a new one. (more…)
October 8, 2013
- Temporary boilers in 33 schools have not been replaced a year after hurricane Sandy. (DNA info)
- A principals union survey found that health and behavior issues in city schools impede learning. (WSJ)
- The U.S. lagged behind other developed countries in a new test of adults’ skills. (AP, Times, USA Today)
- Thousands are expected at today’s charter school rally. (Schoolbook, Daily News)
- Chancellor Walcott: Charters shouldn’t need to offer incentives to boost enrollment. (GothamSchools)
- Only English-speaking city parents get printed school directories. (GothamSchools)
- In a new study, black and Latino city students explain what got them to college. (GothamSchools)
- Weingarten and Walcott squared off on New York’s handling of the Common Core. (GS in Brief, Edweek)
- A Gates-sponsored study suggests that teachers are happy with the Common Core. (Edweek)
- A Queens principal said arts and software engineering helped him turn his school around. (DNA info)
- Experts say the new science standards seven states adopted will be hard to test. (Edweek)
October 7, 2013
When students walked into the citywide high school fair last month, one of the first things they saw was a pile of colorful, phone-book sized directories listing more than 500 schools they can consider. But those guides were available only in English, as they have been for the last several years.
To some extent, New York City faces an intractable challenge in trying to give families information in their own languages. About 42 percent of city students speak a language other than English at home, and students speak 185 different languages, according to the city’s Independent Budget Office.
The Department of Education posts translated guides to elementary, middle, and high schools online in nine of the most commonly spoken languages. But parents, advocates, and guidance counselors say not having printed versions creates a barrier for parents whose access to information is already limited.
“This sends a message that people who don’t speak English aren’t as important, because the guide isn’t available to them in the same way,” said Elsa Cruz Pearson, a staff attorney at the Immigrant Students’ Rights Project. (more…)
October 1, 2013
- City school officials bring AP courses to more high schools. (GothamSchools, Daily News)
- Eighth graders at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College Prep take the physics Regents exam. (Daily News)
- A non-profit through which students raise money for charity may close, and some blame the city. (Times)
- At this year’s high school fair, what students said they look for in schools varied widely. (GothamSchools)
- Two Bronx middle schools don’t want a charter high their students can’t attend to move in. (Daily News)
- Mayor Bloomberg launched a new campaign to improve preteen girls’ self esteem. (Times)
- D.C.’s test score-tweaking led to higher math scores but lower reading scores. (Washington Post)
- The principal of the Brooklyn New School said she intentionally didn’t create a gifted program (DNA Info)
- Charter leaders say Bill de Blasio’s plan to charge rent would limit their networks’ growth. (Schoolbook)
- Chicago wants charters to open in overcrowded neighborhoods, but space is limited. (Chicago Tribune)
- A new film about a Brooklyn High School airs tonight on public television’s The World. (Schoolbook)
September 30, 2013
Finding a high school in New York City is like searching for an apartment: It’s hard to find a place that’s just right, and students know that even if they find a school that meets all their criteria — academics, sports, location, community, and more — there’s no guarantee that they’ll get in.
So they start early. By 10 a.m. Saturday, the line outside the annual high school fair at Brooklyn Technical High school had wrapped around the building. Over the next two days, middle schoolers streamed through Brooklyn Tech’s seven floors with parents, siblings, and teachers in search of the perfect school. The Department of Education estimated that 36,000 people visited the fair, making it the best-attended high school fair in the past five years. (more…)