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Archive for the tag 'schools'

St. Ephram's school (Source: Google Maps)

St. Ephram’s school (Source: Google Maps)

Hailed as a “miracle workor,” Madeline Scotto, a teacher at Dyker Heights’ St. Eprhem’s elementary school, turned 100 years old on October 16, and the community honored her with a special mass and reception on Sunday.

DNAinfo reports:

She climbs the stairs to her classroom, where she works to prepare students for the math bee. She pores over photocopied worksheets with complicated problems, coaching kids on how to stay calm on stage while multiplying and dividing in their head.

… “Last year I thought, ‘This can’t be, that I’m going to be 100.’ I sat down and did the math actually. I thought, I could not trust my mind. This I had to put paper to pencil — I couldn’t believe it myself.

“It just kind of happened. I guess I’m very lucky.”

Scotto graduated from the school she now works in in 1928, when Dyker Heights was mostly farmland. She came to work there accidentally, when the nun slated to teach a class was injured in a bus accident on her way to the job. The church asked congregants if anybody could help, and with encouragement from her mother, Scotto began helping students in 1954, at the age of 40.

“I came over and then they wouldn’t let me go,” she said.

The profile has more on Scotto’s remarkable life and career.

The teacher was honored on Sunday with a special mass at the church, located at Fort Hamilton Parkway and Bay Ridge Parkway. It was a packed house, filled with current and former students, friends and four generations of her family. She was honored by local pols including State Senator Marty Golden and City Councilman Vincent Gentile, according to a separate DNAinfo article.

Scotto thanks many of her colleagues, but saved her most abundant gratitude for the parents.

“I want you to enjoy it, as much as you have brought joy to me,” she said. “My life has been very rich. Thank you.”

Happy birthday to Ms. Scotto!

doe-logo

Students applying to high school for the 2015-2016 school year can register for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) through Wednesday, October 22, at noon. Eighth graders or first-time 9th graders who are residents of New York City can register for the SHSAT through their guidance counselor. Students with disabilities and English Language Learners (ELLs) may be eligible to receive testing accommodations on the SHSAT.

There are nine Specialized High Schools in New York City:

  • The Bronx High School of Science
  • Brooklyn Latin School
  • Brooklyn Technical High School
  • Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
  • High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College
  • High School of American Studies at Lehman College
  • Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
  • Staten Island Technical High School
  • Stuyvesant High School

For eight of these schools, admission is based solely on the score attained on the SHSAT. For LaGuardia High School, admission is based upon auditions and a review of student academic performance.

You must register by October 22, and most of the testing will be done the weekend of October 25 and October 26.

You can find more information on Specialized High Schools here.

The following was sent to us by Community Education Council 21:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Borough President Adams was joined by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and other legislative colleagues in making the announcement.

Borough President Adams was joined by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and other legislative colleagues in making the announcement. (Source: Adams’ office)

Several local schools are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars each for repairs, upgrades and improvements as part of a $3.1 million allocation by Borough President Eric Adams to education institutions across the borough.

The beep today unveiled 16 school-related capital projects that will benefit from the allocation, which was packed into the city’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

“If you look around Downtown Brooklyn, something new is rising up every day and this is an exciting time for the borough and this area, as education and schools represent the vibrant energies of what’s coming up at this time,” said Borough President Adams. “This budget spans the far reaches of the borough; from Metrotech to Midwood and from Bed-Stuy to Bath Beach, we are leaving no school behind. Our goal is education, education, and education.”

The allocations are largely for technology upgrades, although some schools are receiving it for more general improvements.

Schools in our area are slated to receive the following:

  • $350,000 to James Madison High School for upgrades to the school’s library and media centers;
  • $225,000 for improvements to the library at Sheepshead Bay High School;
  • $200,000 for classroom technology purchases at Joseph B. Cavallaro I.S. 281;
  • $100,000 for classroom technology purchases at P.S. 169;

Local elected officials joined Adams during the announcement this morning to celebrate the funding.

“School libraries and media centers are essential to the success of today’s high school students,” said Assemblymember Helene Weinstein. “I thank Brooklyn Borough President Adams for this funding, which will enhance these services at Sheepshead and James Madison High Schools, and allow students to reach even greater heights.”

“Investing in education is the best investment we can make for the future of our state and country,” said Assemblymember William Colton. “These capital improvements will help bring much-needed technological advancements to our local Brooklyn schools that will better our children. This $200,000 capital grant for I.S. 281 will allow for the school to make technology improvements, including by purchasing smartboards and computer laptops, that will benefit our students by enhancing their learning experience, and provide valuable resources for our educators.”

The Highlawn School (Source: DOE)

O’Hagan (Source: CEE)

Under most circumstances, a teacher making kids pay rent to use their desks would see them crucified on the front pages of the city’s tabloids. But at P.S. 97 The Highlawn School (1855 Stillwell Avenue), fourth grade teacher Kathleen O’Hagan scored a coveted teaching award.

That’s because the rent is not real. Neither are the job applications students fill out, or the insurance they purchase. It’s all part of a simulated “mini-economy” O’Hagan uses to teach economics and financial literacy to her students.

The 11-year veteran was one of three metro-area educators to receive the Alfred P. Sloan Teaching Champion Award this year, given in recognition of innovative teaching methods promoting financial education at the K-12 level. Now in its second year, the Council for Economic Education (CEE) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced the awards for the area’s top economics educators at the beginning of September and will formally celebrate them at a gala on October 30.

In addition to the simulated economy, O’Hagan organizes student debates on economic issues, uses a play to teach students about the Industrial Revolution, and teaches kids about production using a 3-D printer.

O’Hagan said that financial literacy is important to helping her students overcome the economic obstacles they may have been born into. In a statement, she said:

“Students are born into their parents’ economic reality and unfortunately, for far too many city children this often means not seeing their parents because they work multiple jobs, sometimes coming to school hungry, being under-dressed for the weather, or arriving to school without basic school supplies. Economic education and financial literacy instruction empowers students to envision and prepare for a better economic future for themselves and hopefully, also teaches them the importance of being philanthropic.”

She and two other educators – O’Hagan being the only one in the five boroughs – were selected by a panel of experts for her creativity and ability to engage students. Honorees receive a $5,000 prize and the school receives a $2,500 cash award to support economic and financial education.

The other two teachers to win the award are Amanda Tombari, a teacher in West Nyack, NY, and Darren Gurney, of New Rochelle, NY.

“We applaud these outstanding teachers for their innovation and dedication to making economic concepts come alive for their students,” said Nan J. Morrison, CEE President and CEO, in a press release. “We hope that by bringing awareness to their achievements, these educators will serve as inspiration for their fellow teachers to bring economics and financial literacy to every classroom.”

It’s not the first award for O’Hagan, who previously won a writing fellowship at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullen Center in 2009, a MetLife fellowship in 2007 and is the recipient of both the UFT’s Trachtenberg and Chapter Building Awards in 2013.

Congratulations to O’Hagan and the Highlawn School! Keep up the good work!

Chancellor Farina (Source: DOE)

The head of the New York City Department of Education, Chancellor Carmen Farina, will take questions from the public at a town hall hosted by Community Education Council District 21 tonight.

The local advisory council is urging neighbors and parents to attend the meeting, where parents can bring up issues and ask questions about the city’s educational policies directly with Farina. Speaking time is limited to two minutes per speaker, and must sign-up to speak before the meeting begins. Interpretation services will be available.

The council is also holding a high school admission workshop tonight, featuring an expert who will guide parents through the process, and give tips on things to look for when considering a school for your child.

Community Education Councils are advisory bodies that replaced school boards. They help guide policies at local schools, and serve as advocates for their district’s needs to the larger government. District 21 includes schools throughout Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Gravesend and parts of Sheepshead Bay and Bensonhurst. You can see a full list here.

The high school workshop begins at 5pm. The town hall with Chancellor Farina begins at 6pm. The regularly scheduled meeting begins at 7pm.

The meeting will be held at I.S. 226 Alfred D. Be Mason, 6006 23rd Avenue.

school classroom by Dan Nguyen

Source: Dan Nguyen/Flickr

Sure, public schools open tomorrow. But maybe you’re a last minute kind of person – or one of any number of things got in the way – and you still need to get your kid registered for school, pre-k or free lunch.

Fortunately, the Department of Education is making things a little easier with new temporary registration centers spread across the five boroughs to make it easier to enroll students or get questions answered. And they’ve launched online tools to apply for free lunch (deadline tomorrow) and pre-k.

As for the temporary registration centers, not everybody needs to head to one. New elementary and middle school students who have zoned schools, including those with an Individualized Education Program, should register at their zoned school beginning tomorrow, September 4. You can find your zoned school here or by calling 311.

Registration centers are for those who live in a neighborhood without a zoned school, as well as all new high school students (including those with an IEP).

There are three Brooklyn registration centers:

  • Edward R. Murrow High School, 1600 Avenue L
  • Clara Barton High School, 901 Classon Avenue
  • Brooklyn Technical High School, 29 Fort Green Place

The centers are open from now through Friday, September 12, 2014 from 8:00am to 3:00pm.

Here’s the information from the DOE on what to bring:

Parents must bring their child(ren) with them to register. The following documents are required:

  • Child’s birth certificate or passport
  • Child’s immunization records
  • Child’s latest report card/transcript (if available)
  • Child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) and/or 504 Accommodation Plan (if applicable)

In addition, parents must demonstrate proof of residency by bringing any of the following two documents*:

  • Utility bill in the resident’s name (National Grid, Con Edison, or the Long Island Power Authority); must be dated within the past 60 days
  • Water bill for the residence; must be dated within the past 90 days
  • Original lease agreement, deed, or mortgage statement for the residence
  • Current property tax bill for the residence
  • Official payroll document from an employer [example: payroll receipt]; must be dated within the past 60 days
  • Document or letter from a federal, state, or local government agency indicating the resident’s name and address [example: document from Internal Revenue Service (IRS), City Housing Authority, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)]; must be dated within the past 60 days

* If the parent is not the leaseholder of residence, he/she must submit a Residency Affidavit.

Families can still register for universal pre-k and can find more information at nyc.gov/prek or by texting “prek” to 877877.

Aside from getting registered, the Department of Education is also making it easier to get enrolled in the free meals program.

Breakfast is at no charge to all students, while lunch normally costs $1.75. Some students qualify for free meals – but the application must be in before tomorrow, September 4, the start of school. You can apply online here. If you have any questions, please contact The Office of SchoolFood at (877) 363-6325.

The following is a paid announcement from the MBBC / Nash Jew After School Program (330 Neptune Avenue, 3rd Floor):

after-school

It’s back to school season and once again homework, studying and the daily routine begins. Let MBBC/Nash Jew after school make it easier for you. We offer one-on-one help with each student, as well as provide hot lunch and transportation. Our after school program goes beyond the classroom, and we also offer dance, art, karate, chess, music and vocal classes. We are located at 330 Neptune Avenue. Registering with us will help you make the school year an easier and more enjoyable experience for your child!

We now have a wide range of all-new programs, many available through MBBC/Nash Jew After School for the first time this year. Our programs include:

  • Yoga classes for all ages, including adults
  • Music and vocal programs
  • Judo, sambo and MMA
  • Tutoring and test preparation
  • Sunday school

MBBC offers it all in one place and at exceptional rates.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what one parent had to say about their experience:

MBBC/Nash Jew After School is great in all aspects. My daughter has been attending MBBC’s after school program for three years. Besides completing all of her homework in the program, she enjoys personalized attention from teachers and counselors. Every person working in the program greets us with a smile and positive attitude. Every day, they provide kids with different activities: gymnastics, dancing, chess, arts, and after, she can stay for additional training in a program she enjoys most. For my daughter, it’s dancing and gymnastics. All instruction is available in both English and Russian, which allows my daughter to learn Russian language and use it more. Any time I had a problem picking my daughter up, transportation was available. If she felt sick, I was called immediately. I will definitely use MBBC for years to come and recommend it to everyone.

– Natalie Chernikova – mother of Nastya Berard, student

Our programs are designed for students in pre-kindergarten to middle school, and is certified by the New York State Department of Family and Children Services.

WE’RE HIRING: MBBC/Nash Jew After School is seeking candidates for the following positions: after-school teachers (certified, or certificate pending); karate, judo and sambo instructors; yoga instructors. Please e-mail a resume to: mbbcschool@gmail.com.

Call (718) 891-1111 or visit our website to sign up now!

The above is a paid announcement by MBBC/Nash Jew After School Program. Sheepshead Bites has not verified the claims made in this advertisement. If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Sunny Skies

Source: Sunny Skies

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the preliminary recipients of $340 million in pre-kindergarten funding yesterday. While none are in the Bensonhurst area, there are two in Borough Park – Mothers Love and Sunny Skies DC Corp.

Provided state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli approves the awards, Mothers Love (1681 49th Street) will land $214,287 from the state and Sunny Skies DC (4228 10th Avenue) will receive $500,000 as part of a program that is awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for 81 school districts and community-based organizations across the state.

The funding, which is included in the 2014-15 state budget, is the first installment in the governor’s commitment to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years to build a statewide universal full-day pre-kindergarten program.

The city Department of Education is slated to land nearly $300 million to build its universal pre-kindergarten program for all 4-year-olds in the city – which stems from Cuomo’s promise to pay for such a program in lieu of Mayor Bill de Blasio raising taxes to pay for it, as the mayor had originally aimed to do upon taking office.

The funds slated for private daycare operators are to fill the gap in the number of seats required to meet the need, which the Department of Education alone does not have the space for.

“Training and educating young minds is one of the smartest investments we can make as a state, as studies demonstrate that pre-kindergarten has a long lasting, positive influence on our children’s education and future success,” Cuomo said in his press release. “The state budget this year included a major investment in early education, putting New York state on the path to become just the fourth state in the nation to establish universal full day pre-K. The awards we are announcing today will enable tens of thousands of children to attend pre-K classes, and represent another step in the State’s work to prepare our students to compete in the 21st century economy.”

As part of state and city officials push for a full-day pre-kindergarten program, numerous lawmakers and educators, including Cuomo and de Blasio, stressed that studies have shown that children who participate in early education programs are more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school than those who do not.

“We are proud to have Governor Cuomo as a strong partner in making pre-K for All a reality for the children of New York City,” de Blasio said in the same release. “This funding represents a powerful commitment by the State to build a new, stronger education foundation that will transform our schools. We are working tirelessly to make good on this opportunity to deliver new pre-K options, improve existing ones and build a high-quality system that lifts up every child.”

The full list of recipients of the $340 million is available here.

school classroom by Dan Nguyen

A new, more inclusionary approach to educate NYC students with special needs is proving easier said than done, says a new report by Chalkbeat. The organization spoke to students, parents, and school officials and found that schools are struggling to implement mandatory reforms to special education, while its effect on students is still unproven.

Integrating special needs students by enrolling them in general education classes, mixed classes (including typical and special needs students), or a combination of the two, was an idea first publicly introduced in 2003 by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The proposal was launched as a pilot at a limited number of city schools in 2010, and launched citywide in 2012. Chalkbeat, though, found that some schools lacked the resources and the scramble to implementation is leaving some of the neediest students behind.

Students affected by this Special Education Reform and interviewed by Chalkbeat each had unique experiences, some positive, some not. They include Joseph, a middle schooler with ADHD who was placed in mixed classes as per the city’s new policies, and for whom no purely special education classes were available when attempts to mainstream proved unsuccessful; Noah, whose mother Britt Sady pushed for his inclusion in a general education class so as to set higher standards for his learning and increase his chances of graduation; Christon Solomon, a middle schooler who says small learning sessions in special education classes work better for him than general education; and Thomas, who was suspended often in special education classes, but is doing better since being introduced to mainstream and mixed classes.

The experiences of parents and kids profiled are diverse, as are the abilities of the schools discussed to see that students’ needs are met–often, says Chalkbeat, schools simply aren’t provided with adequate staffing or financial resources to abide by the 2012 reforms. This is the case with Joseph–whose transfer to another school was finally approved only near the end of the school year, and presumably because his mother Clara, who works for the Department of Education, came armed with a certain amount of knowledge regarding red tape.

“Sometimes, if the parent doesn’t question [a school's inadequate handling of a special needs child's education], it just goes under the radar,” family advocate Olga Vazquez, of mental illness and developmental disability service support agency ICL, told the publication.

Certain schools are benefitting from reforms more than others. The article says funding is disproportionately doled out to schools with integrated classrooms instead of simply general and special education ones, and parents of both typical and special needs students at Harlem’s P.S. 112, for example, have requested mixed classes to enhance their kids’ educational experiences.

However the jury is still out, quantitatively speaking, on the effectiveness of integrating kids of different abilities into the same classrooms. Chalkbeat says some test scores have increased marginally, but others have not. What does appear to be clear is a widening discrepancy in disciplinary action being handed down to special needs students in mainstream classrooms, but DOE Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi says Chancellor Carmen Fariña has no plans to overhaul the 2012 reforms.

If you’re an New York City educator or parent, what’s your take on the matter? Have you run into any of the problems stated in Chalkbeat’s article, or seen students improve under new policies? Should properly run mixed classrooms benefit all students–and what would running them properly entail of schools, teachers, and the DOE? How would funding and resources be distributed if you had it your way?

Photo by Dan Nguyen

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