Early admissions

Applying to pre-K, kindergarten or gifted programs? Here’s where to learn more

PHOTO: Patrick Wall
Members of the city's pre-K outreach team encourage parents to enroll their four-year-olds during the last admissions cycle.

New York City families who are navigating the admissions process for pre-K, kindergarten, and gifted programs can, for the first time, attend information sessions in all 32 community school districts.

Sessions begin Nov. 1. City Department of Education staff will be on hand to help families find their zoned schools and non-zoned options, sign up students to test for gifted and talented programs, and answer questions about transportation, special education and programs for English learners.

To make the application process easier, this year marks the first time parents can learn about pre-K, kindergarten and gifted programs in a combined event.

“We’re committed to making it easier for families to find and enroll in the school that’s right for them,” Josh Wallack, a deputy chancellor for the DOE, said in a statement.

Here’s a list of information sessions by borough.

Manhattan:

Monday, November 7
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 92 Mary McLeod Bethune
222 W. 134th St.

Wednesday, November 9
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S./I.S. 210 Twenty-first Century Academy For Community Leadership
501-503 W. 152nd St.

Wednesday, November 9
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
M.S. 260 Clinton School for Writers and Artists
10 East 15th St.

Thursday, November 10
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 333 Manhattan School for Children
154 W. 93rd St.

Thursday, November 17
4:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m.
The Tito Puente Complex
240 E. 109th St.

Thursday, Dec. 1
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 134 Henrietta Szold
293 E. Broadway

The Bronx

Monday, November 7
6 p.m. -8 p.m.
P.S. 119
1075 Pugsley Ave.

Wednesday, November 9
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 65 Mother Hale Academy
677 East 141st St.

Thursday, November 10
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S./I.S. 218 Rafael Hernandez Dual Language Magnet School
1220 Gerard Ave.

Monday, November 14
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S./M.S. 194
2365 Waterbury Ave.

Thursday, November 17
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 279 Captain Manuel Rivera, Jr.
2100 Walton Ave.

Thursday, November 17
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 214
1970 West Farms Road

Brooklyn

Tuesday, November 1
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 308 Clara Cardwell
616 Quincy St.

Tuesday, November 1
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 66
845 East 96 St.

Tuesday, November 1
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 156K Waverly School of the Arts
104 Sutter Ave.

Monday, November 7
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
I.S. 96 Seth Low
99 Ave. P

Monday, November 7
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 376
194 Harman St.

Wednesday, November 9
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 770 The New American Academy
60 E. 94th St.

Thursday, November 10
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 13 Roberto Clemente
557 Pennsylvania Ave.

Monday, November 14
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 24
427 38th St.

Monday, November 14
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 222 Katherine R. Snyder
3301 Quentin Road

Tuesday, November 15
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
P.S. 133 William A. Butler
610 Baltic St.

Tuesday, November 15
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Franklin D. Roosevelt High School
5800 20th Ave.

Thursday, November 17
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 110 The Monitor
124 Monitor St.

Queens

Tuesday, November 1
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 35 Nathaniel Woodhull
191-02 90th Ave.

Monday, November 7
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 182 Samantha Smith
153-27 88th Ave.

Monday, November 14
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
I.S. 25 Adrien Block
34-65 192nd St.

Monday, November 14
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
M.S. 137 America’s School Of Heroes
109-15 98th St.

Wednesday, November 16
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S./I.S. 266
74-10 Commonwealth Blvd.

Wednesday, November 16
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 110
43-18 97th Place

Thursday, November 17
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
The Woodside Community School
39-07 57th St.

Staten Island

Thursday, November 10
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
P.S. 58 Space Shuttle Columbia School
77 Marsh Ave.

study up

Do community schools and wraparound services boost academics? Here’s what we know.

At Gompers Elementary Middle School in Detroit, where the city health department and the Vision To Learn nonprofit announced a partnership to provide free eye exams to 5,000 children in 2016. (Photo: Detroit Public Schools Community District)

New York City has been trying to help struggling schools by partnering them with nonprofits that provide counseling and health services. A Detroit school recently added a washing machine to make sure students have clean clothes. A Tennessee superintendent just petitioned the state for more funding to offer similar help to students and families.

The strategy, often referred to as the “community schools” model or “wraparound services,” has been embraced by districts across the country. It also makes intuitive sense to help kids in class by directly dealing with out-of-school factors, like poverty, that affect learning.

So do school-based efforts to counter the harmful effects of poverty lead to measurable academic gains?

Here’s what we know: Research shows that these efforts often do help learning, but in a number of cases they don’t seem to have any effect — and it’s not clear why efforts sometimes succeed and sometimes don’t.

The impact on academics is promising

Child Trends, a research group, recently compiled and analyzed the results of 19 rigorous studies that tried to isolate the effects of efforts to improve students’ mental and physical health, offer counseling services, add after-school programs, provide direct social services to families in need, and other similar programs.

Examples include the national Communities in Schools and Boston’s City Connects programs, which place site coordinators in schools to connect students and families to those resources.

When looking at the effect of wraparound services on grades and test scores, those 19 studies come to a mix of positive and inconclusive findings. Results were a bit more positive in math than in English, which is common in education research.

There was also variation within programs, like Communities in Schools, which has become the most evaluated wraparound-style initiative. Separate studies have shown that the program produced test score gains in Chicago and Wichita, but not Austin or Jacksonville. A recent national evaluation focusing on Texas and North Carolina found a mix of outcomes.

One notable finding: across the 19 studies, there are virtually no cases where students appear to do worse thanks to the programs, the review notes. The researchers conclude that the approach is “promising but not yet proven.”

Not included in the review were a few initial evaluations of New York City’s community schools-based turnaround program, which included extending the school day. One analysis found that the program actually seemed to reduce high school graduation rates relative to similar schools that did not participate, and had no effects on elementary or middle school test scores. But another study using a different approach found that the initiative did lead to moderate test score gains.

The impact on attendance, behavior, and other outcomes is inconsistent

One surprising aspect of the research on these wraparound services: there aren’t consistent findings about how the programs affect things other than academics.

In a handful of studies in the Child Trends that examined other outcomes, most found no effects on students’ attendance, behavior, engagement in school, or social-emotional outcomes. Still, a few studies found positive effects and, again, negative ones were quite rare.

One recent paper, not included in the Child Trends review, found that a wraparound initiative in Massachusetts led to substantial gains in students’ math and English test scores. That program made no apparent impact on students’ attendance, their likelihood of being held back a grade, or suspension rates, though.

What makes a program work?

Frustratingly for policymakers, it’s not clear.

The Child Trends report suggests providing community schools with substantial resources over several years is most likely to lead to success. But it concludes that there’s a “lack of evidence regarding the concrete elements that make different models successful or how they must be implemented.”

Meanwhile, there appears to be stronger evidence for the academic benefits of direct anti-poverty programs that are separate from schools. The earned income tax credit, health insurance, child tax credit, food stamps, and simply giving cash to low-income families have all been linked to better outcomes in schools for children.

Finally, many would argue these sorts of wraparound services and anti-poverty programs are worthwhile regardless of students’ short-term academic gains.

Elaine Weiss, who led a group that supported wraparound services, previously told Chalkbeat that the approaches have intrinsic value.

“Don’t we all agree that having kids who have access to mental and physical health care, regular nutritious meals, and quality, safe after-school and summer programs is inherently a good thing?” she asked.

Hello Again

Debora Scheffel chosen by acclamation to fill State Board of Ed vacancy

State Board of Education member Debora Scheffel at a campaign event in 2016. (Photo by Nic Garcia/Chalkbeat)

A Republican vacancy committee unanimously selected Debora Scheffel to fill the opening left by Pam Mazanec on the State Board of Education.

Mazanec, a staunch defender of parental rights and school choice who represented the 4th Congressional District, resigned at the end of January to focus on her other obligations. Scheffel previously represented the 6th Congressional District on the board but lost that seat in 2016 to Democrat Rebecca McClellan.

McClellan’s narrow victory gave control of the board to Democrats for the first time in 46 years. Scheffel, who serves as dean of education at Colorado Christian University, moved to Douglas County, and ran unsuccessfully for school board there in 2017.

Scheffel’s selection does not change the balance of power on the state board because she replaces another Republican. Scheffel faced no opposition at the vacancy committee meeting, which took place Saturday in Limon.

Scheffel has said she wants to continue Mazanec’s work on behalf of rural schools and in support of parent and student choice, as well as work to protect student data privacy, a cause she previously championed on the board.

The district takes in all of the eastern Plains, as well as the cities of Longmont, Greeley, and Castle Rock.