2013 Middle School Reviews


Name of School - Brooklyn Free School
Location - Ft Greene

Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
My daughter has been at BFS for her middle school years, coming from a public elementary school, and it's been a great experience for her. It's all about student choice, with 60+ students ages 5-17, a very engaged group of teachers and interns, democratic decision making on many levels, optional classes, no homework or tests, and lots of room to pursue passions and curiosities. She spent her first months reading like crazy and slowly learned to set goals for herself and figure out how to work towards them. Now she's involved in many committees, proposes and takes classes, and is very much a part of the school community. On a very personal level she finished elementary school with frequent stomach aches, biting her finger nails down to the quick, and this radically different approach to learning has given her and us time to address some basic issues of health and self-confidence. Heading in to this year she's been interested in public high school - to be around more kids her own age and have a wide range of classes to chose from - and she dove in to all the tests/auditions/applications with a spirit of adventure. Just found out she got in to her first choice school and, while she may have some brushing up to do on her math, I think she'll be very solidly grounded in herself as she moves ahead. It's not a school for every child but it's been a good experience for this one and given her something I don't think she could've gotten anywhere else.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Don't underestimate what you already offer your child and then try to think about what each school will offer that you can't.

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Name of School - Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Location - 3002 Fort Hamilton Parkway

Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she graduated last year (June,2012)

Please write a review of your experience:
My daughter was in the first year of this school, which made our experience unique in ways that are both good and bad. There was a feeling of excitement about building the school and creating the culture. And there were many amazing teachers. But there were also some not-so-great teachers and the school needed to relocate twice. That said, the school is in its permanent location now (and it's great). And the faculty has proven to be excellent, highly motivated, and creative with probably the same number of exceptions as there are in other schools. The process for giving updates on my child's progress, I saw that improve greatly and I believe it will continue to improve. Once problems are identified, the faculty is passionate about addressing the problems. The administration was also very good about dealing with difficult situations and does accept and use feedback from parents. As we were the first graduating class and because the school has its own high school, there was little help given in the HS application process. But, to their credit, they provided an excellent program in the spring of 7th grade to help acquaint parents with the process and the available resources. As the school grows, so does its sports, music, and arts programs. It's getting better and better and I highly recommend.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
The major thing is to follow your gut and put the school that feels right at the top of your list. If there is a place that sounds good, but you just don't know...put that at the bottom of your list.

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Name of School : Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - International Baccalaureate Gr 6-12
Location - Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more
no, he or she graduated last year (June,2012)

Please write a review of your experience:
First and foremost, BPCS has fabulous teachers, principals and administrators - nationally recognized, energetic and dedicated. Middle and high school (grades 6-12) using the pillars of the academically rigorous International Baccalaureate program (www.ibo.org). "Seeker opportunities" provided to challenge academically motivated students, and support and extra help provided for students who need it. Hard work valued. Organizational skills, note-taking explicitly taught for academic success through high school and beyond. Strong advisory program. Diverse student body, welcoming atmosphere. Parents work in partnership with school administration. Full program with accelerated math, regents, music, dance, drama, Spanish, Mandarin, sports team and many extracurricular clubs. Class size 25 (11 for advisory).

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Get information from multiple sources. For your "short list" of schools, go beyond just the standard tours. Talk to current students and parents, go to PTA meetings (read minutes online), attend school events, watch a home game, investigate the sequencing of the curriculum. While this may seem like a lot of work, it improves the decision-making since you will have more information to go on.

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Name of School - Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Location - Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
My child is empowered in a way I've never seen other students at other schools.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend
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Name of School - Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Location - K/WT
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
My child is a bit of a wall flower and I was afraid that she would get lost in a larger school. BPCS has been a great experience where she feels heard. Since it's a lottery school it's got diversity of SES, ethnicity, and attitude-- which I think has been great for her to be around. The teachers have been very caring and responsive.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Don't let your child make the decision-- hear their input but at least for middle school kids don't have a wide enough perspective to know what's best for them.

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Name of School - Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Location - Kensington, Brooklyn

Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
I think the teachers and the curriculum at Brooklyn Prospect are outstanding. The school population is academically, economically, and racially diverse, which makes it unique among the schools it's most-often compared too (51, 447). And the school does an excellent job serving all the students. My 7th grader is genuinely enthused by her classwork and motivated to do her best. The environment is intimate and nurturing--but still encourages academic independence. The culture of the school is very structured--which some like and some don't--and there is little emphasis on the arts. There are art and music programs (both during and after school) and a team to increase the emphasis on the arts--but it still feels like an add-on. This may change as the school grows and has more time to develop the programs.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Talk to parents of students currently enrolled in the school

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Name of School - Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
I’m very happy with BPCS but that has not been without a few struggles along the way. We have finally moved into our own building this year and it, and the neighborhood we are located, is over the top! Small, safe, modern, all the latest technology and we even have filtered water for the kids! The school feels small enough to make it cozy and safe yet we have enough room for plenty of well lit and comfortable classroom for all the grades, and those to follow. The teachers are young, fresh-faced and sophisticated and teach our children in an innovative way. The curriculum is challenging yet very interesting for the kids and I think that some may feel it difficult but enjoy it just the same. I feel my daughter is getting a private school education in a public school. I’m very grateful my daughter goes there but have had struggles with communicating with the right person to help me if there were ever an issue with grades or conduct [on the part of my child or another]. It took some time but I was able to get their attention and we able to build a team of support. I would chalk that up to the school being new and myself being new to having to let my daughter be more independent.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
talk with lots of other parents and really trust your gut as to what is the right choice for your child.

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Name of School - Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Location - Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
Fabulous teachers, supportive, innovative and responsive administration, excellent school environment. My daughter is staying at BPCS for high school because, having gone through the high school search process with my older child and with my daughter's experience at BPCS to date, I have every confidence that BPCS is the best high school option for her.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend
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Name of School - Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Location - Windsor Terrace
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
I have been beyond impressed by Brooklyn Prospect. The teachers are extraordinary and the curriculum innovative. The students study foreign languages (Spanish or Mandarin) daily as well as participating in visual arts, music, or drama, dance, and physical education multiple times weekly. The science is inquiry based with many creative hands-on experiments. In humanities and ELA, the students often learn content from primary sources - they also read a wide array of interesting books. Their assignments are also quite varied, from traditional papers or pieces of fiction to movies, plays, or posters. The administration is extremely responsive when issues arise. The head of the school and the principal are easy to reach by email and are very accessible personally. The feedback is also excellent - parents have access to grades on-line and then the parent-teacher meetings are long and involved. The HS process is less engaged than other middle schools - largely because this is a 6-12 grade schools. That said, the guidance counselor provides any help necessary.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Ensure that you think highly of the principal. The principal sets the tone for the school and your child's ultimate experience.

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Name of School - Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Location - Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
My son is now a 7th grader at BPCS. We transferred him into BPCS from MS 51 during the late fall of his 6th grade year. He was overwhelmed with the amount of homework at MS 51 and too disorganized to write down his assignments, remember his homework, turn it in, etc. (My daughter graduated from MS 51 the year before my son started, and she did really well there. It is a good school for a very organized, independent kid. Which, it turns out, my son was not). Anyway, we could not be more happy with BPCS. Because it is a smaller school with small class sizes, the teachers always know my son and what he needs to do. He has never gotten "lost". The amount of homework is very reasonable. Plus they have built in study hall at school that enables the children to do much of their homework at school. He is very engaged in his classes and is learning a lot. It might be nice if they expanded their arts a bit. My son has music now and took art last year (both of which he enjoys). But he does miss the drama from MS 51. I hope as BPCS grows that they can expand their drama program into more than an after school club. For the most part, the teachers are very enthusiastic and engaging, and seem to love what they do. The school is very welcoming, too. The administrators (including the Principal, the Dean and the faculty) all seem to really care about each of the children and are very communicative with parents and welcoming of parent involvement. I really think the school is excellent. I'm also thrilled that they have a high school as it really cuts down on the stress of searching for a NYC high school next year.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Know your kid and what type of environment is best for him/her and don't get swayed by where everybody else is going.
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Name of School - Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
The Teachers at BPC School are amazing. They are all young and find fun and creative ways to keep the kids engaged. I would like if they offered more than just Spanish and Madarin as a second language. Maybe French or Italian. I am well informed on my childs progress or non progress. I like the fact that you can reach all the teachers as well as the administration via email and they will actually get back to you.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
I would recommend a school tour. Perhaps speak to some of the students and get their feedback.

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Name of School - Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - International Baccalaureate
Location - Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School is a college-prep school in District 15 using the pillars of the International Baccalaureate program and integrating the best practices of public and private schools. Growing to a full Grade 6-12 school (younger and older sibling preferences apply), in 2012-2013, Brooklyn Prospect High School opened with the inaugural class (Class of 2016) moving up to 9th grade. The principal, Kim Raccio, is fabulous and the faculty is outstanding. My daughter loves the focus on global, regional and local issues, takes challenging classes (including Mandarin IV and advanced math), has terrific teachers who give students personalized attention and extension choices, and has a reasonable amount of homework that still allows time for several extracurriculars. The school is welcoming of parent involvement and there is an excellent rapport between parents and the administration. With about 100 students on a grade and more than 25 clubs and sports, there is plenty of opportunity for students to find leadership positions and try new things, which helps in building a strong resume for their college applications.

Did your child use the school's college office?
Brooklyn Prospect is college-prep and discussions about achieving success in college and careers take place beginning in middle school Advisory (groups of 10-12 students). In 9th grade students discuss the Common App and careers choices. The first class will graduate in 2016, so there is no track record yet, but the teachers are alumni of some of the best colleges (Brown, Columbia, Duke, NYU, Stanford, Yale, and others). My daughter applied for an outside program and Brooklyn Prospect was very helpful, sending her transcript and teacher recommendation promptly. I have full confidence that the guidance counselor and registrar will be similarly supportive when it comes to the college search process and the application process in the years ahead.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Get information from multiple sources - online, info sessions, school tours of course, but also talk to current students (not just the ones the school puts forward), recent graduates, their parents, go to a meeting of the PTA/PA organization, attend a school event, etc. etc. More information helps draw out the differences among schools and only your/your child will know which ones are important to your family.
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Name of School - Saint ignatius loyola
Location - E 84th
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
fantastic education

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
know your child, know your need for convenience, academics, know your family comfort levels

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Name of School - IS 318
Location - Williamsburg
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
The teachers are very knowlegabale and hands on in the children lives. they truely care about the childrens future. The programs offered are not found in such maginutude in NYC. This school is huge but has a very person and individulaized attention to each child.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
Take your child to the school tours and listen to them. it was one of the important lessons I learnt about the middle school process.

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Name of School - Cunningham, IS 234
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Vanguard
Location - Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
Cunningham is a large, but extremely well organized middle school. I receive routine communication via the phone messenger, newsletters and e-mails from the parent coordinator. My son has had excellent teachers who are engaged and care about having the kids in the classes learn and enjoy the academic material. He also enjoyed his robotics and band classes. I have nothing but good things to say about my and my sons' experience with Cunningham over the past 1 1/2 years.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Visit the prospective school when school is in session, not during the evening or weekend only. It is important to see how the school functions during school hours.

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Name of School - Cunningham IS 234
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - CIG
Location - Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
The CIG program is challenging and children must test into it.It has been a mixed bag for us; my daughter is not bored, but is very stressed. The school has kept her class together for all three years. Again, its been good because she has made close friends (both boys and girls) but the same students win the awards year after year, while mixing them up a bit might give someone else a chance to shine. She has qualified for Arista, the honors society, for the past two years, but doesn't want to go to the awards ceremony this year; last year she left in tears because some students get to light candles or make speeches while the rest just sit there. Afterschool help is available if your child is struggling but for a CIG student to go in for it would probably be social suicide. There is sometimes a great deal of homework, even on vacations. Although the school is very large, the Guidance Counselor stays with the class for three years so he does know them, and ours was very helpful with the high school process. She will leave with a High School Regents exam behind her, and high school probably can't be any more pressure than this was.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
Not everyone thrives on stress, and you know your child, so don't go for the most advanced program if it will make your student unhappy.

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Name of School - New Voices MS 443
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Creative Arts
Location - Park Slope, Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
Awesome & accessible teachers, fantastic art program, bright rooms, principal who knows every single student's name, all grades online for instant access. Guidance counselor who gets back to you immediately.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
Go with your gut, not with the crowd.

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Name of School - LREI
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - MS
Location - 6th Ave and Bleeker Street
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
LREI is a special place where the students hold the keys to their education. The teachers are excellent and even if there may be any that are less than spectacular, they are open to discussing issues in person, by email or with the director. The programs are awesome. What stands out is the core curriculum in humanities, which has a deep understanding of social justice. The math and science are good in the middle school but excellent at the high school. Because they have lots of funding, they can have actual experiments happening in all grades. They also have the option of doing advanced math in the middle school if the child wishes to excel. The difficult situations were dealt with fairly and even if the change was unable to happen immediately, the following year the school was able to implement changes. (My only difficult situation had to do with curriculum in one class.) Because it is a private school, they do not offer extra help with the HS application process unless the student is interested in a full, 100% of the costs covered, scholarship!

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Read reviews available online and talk to everyone you know. Tour the schools you like and try to do so during the day with your child. LISTEN to your child! They see things we miss since our lenses are somewhat different. They have to spend a lot of time in school. Let them be involved in the choice!



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Name of School - Christa McAuliffe
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Arts & Humanities Academy
Location - New Utrecht/Bensonhurst/Dyker Heights
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year
no, he or she graduated last year (June,2012)

Please write a review of your experience:
I have a graduate and an 8th grader there. The teachers are excellent with the exception of a couple of 6/7th grade math teachers. The 8th grade math teachers have all been beyond excellent. The other subject teachers have also been excellent. The Academy Facilitator has been responsive to all needs. Feedback has been quick. All administration has been friendly and family like while being professional.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Don't just jump on the "this is the best school" bandwagon. Go with your child and go with your gut as you tour. Talk to the students. Ask questions ...they have better info for your kid than the adults do.

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Name of School - Arts and Letters
Location - Fort Greene, brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more
no, he or she graduated last year (June,2012)

Please write a review of your experience:
My daughter graduated, and is now in 10th grade at BHSEC Manhattan, and my son is now in 7th grade. The school is small and affords children plenty of attention and opportunity to be known as an individual. The teachers are bright, mostly young and enthusiastic, administrators are more seasoned. The school is very responsive and open to parent communication and feedback. Situations are dealt with promptly and openly. Grades are online and you receive weekly email updates. The parent teacher conferences are student led and don't hold any surprises as you know exactly what's been going on via the Jupiter grades. Hs admissions is very important and the school has taken an increasingly more active approach, offering free SHSAT prep classes to students who score well on an assessment, and a lot of support and input from guidence counselor starting in 7th grade, as soon as 8th grade finished application process.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
Small schools are a great choice for kids who benefit from more personal relationships with teachers and are in no rush to grow up.

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Name of School - ICE
Location - Manhattan, 16th St/1st Ave
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
Teachers are very committed to a progressive education, deep thinking, and meaningful, engaging projects. Sometimes things can be frustrating: the teacher who gets the children to really delve into topics may also be the most forgetful, the teacher who gives children opportunities to succeed (re-take tests, help during lunch and afterschool) may not realize that different communication and learning styles may be what is hindering progress. In many ways, the teachers are like college professors for middle school students, but without the clear syllabus and due-dates (but we've had those professors, too, no?) but administration is listening to parents on this topic of the need for clearer due-dates to ease and encourage advance-planning skills, and I have hope. Progress reports are written in narrative style and do not use typical number-system grading; they provide an accurate picture of your child's weakness, strengths and areas to concentrate on for improvement. This school is very good for highly motivated, self-starters to explore open-ended topics deeply and creatively, but may not be good for someone who needs very clear guidelines.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Listen to your gut, ask lots of questions of folks who have had a child in that school, bear in mind that what might be right for you may not be right for your child. Listen to your child's concerns and preferences, but remember that YOU are the parent and must make the best decision for your child. Balancing travel, homework, afterschool activites and a social life are very difficult. If your child shows an interest in a commuter-school, be sure that s/he has enough commitment to create the right balance. And i liked to tell my child that "middle school will be the worst time of your life," so things can only be better than that, right?




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Name of School - Institute Of Collaborative Education (ICE)
Location - E16th Street and 1st Avenue, Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
I have visited the classrooms often while doing volunteer work in the school and I have been very impressed with the teachers and the subjects. The teacher have the children move around in class when it is helpful, one teacher plays Jeopardy with the kids, there is often a drama component where the children act out lessons that they are learning and there is a lot of model building. The children are treated respectfully and the classroom work is engaging and fun for the children. I often want to stay in the classes longer than I need to so I can keep learning! When my son transitioned to middle school we had some of the typical boy adjustment things that happened, late homework, he had some trouble concentrating in the classrooms and not being prepared. We were made aware with the Cycle Work Habits Report, prior to the Parent Teacher conferences that there were some issues and we were able to address them immediately and come up with plans to assist him in the transition process. The teachers are very responsive via email and parents are welcome in the school at any time. There is very little assistance given in the HS application process as this school is a 7 year model and students are expected through High School. My older child is in 9th grade there and we could not be happier with having her stay there.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
I think at this age, even though they are very young, the kids get a good sense of which school resonate with them. The middle school I was sure my daughter would most like, and that she had thought she would attend prior to the visit, was one that she immediately did not like upon seeing it.

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Name of School - IS239 Mark Twain
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Creative Writing and Media
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
We have two children at Mark Twain-a 6th grader in the Media Talent and an 8th grader in Creative Writing. We have been impressed with the school since the first time we toured it for our older child. The facilities are well maintained, warm and welcoming. Student work lines the hallways and gives you a sense of the tremendous amount of learning that goes on at Twain. There is no doubt that it is a very rigorous curriculum and a great deal is expected of the children but they receive a great deal of support from the teachers, administration and other students. The teachers are engaged and interesting and it has been our experience that even though it is a large shcool they really make an effort to get to know each student individually. At parent teacher conferences every teacher has demonstrated that they know our children as individuals are and have provided meaningful feedback. There is always an opporuntity during lunchtime to go to "tutoring" in an individual subject. The students can get help from the teacher or sit and work with other students quietly. There is a great deal of homework and independent projects required of the students but it never seems like busy work-it is directly reflective of and intended to reinsforce the lessons taught in the classroom. Beginning in 7th grade Twain offers prep classes for the SHSAT during lunchtime. The principal was also able to arrange separate high school tours for Twain 8th graders at some of the more selective public high schools.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Try not to impose your own fears/anxieties/limitations on your child during the choice process.

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Name of School - IS 239 Mark Twain
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - vocal talent
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
The experience has been great so far. The teachers seem excellent, the administration does a good job of making a large school seem smaller and more manageable. I receive a good amount of feedback. The teachers are available for meetings. The facility seems fine, other than the fact that the students cannot leave the school during the day. One drawback is that, because of the distance to the school, our daughter cannot easily stay for afterschool programs.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

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IS 239 Mark Twain
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Math / Computers
Location - Coney Island, Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :
Overall, our family has been very happy with the Twain experience. Our 7th grader's organizational and writing skills, in particular, have improved remarkably during his time at the school. Our son did not enjoy his experience at a popular, progressive Brooklyn school, but he loves Mark Twain. He is challenged by and interested in his coursework, though some projects require an excessive amount of busywork involving cutting, pasting, and layout that distracts from the meat of the intellectual content. The teachers and school staff genuinely care about their students and are clearly committed to their success; this is obvious in all interactions with the them. Teachers are available for daily lunch-time tutorial sessions and weekly parent meetings, if students and parents need this. ELA, math, and science teachers have been terrific across the board. The only drawbacks are location (1 hour subway ride to school, or 2 hour privately-paid school bus ride) and the lack of opportunity for physical exercise during the school day. Our son has developed deep friendships with classmates, but he doesn't really have the opportunity to get together with his friends outside of school because they all live so far from each other.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Consider your child's strengths and weaknesses carefully: not just intellectual, but organizational and social, as well.

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Name of School - Mark Twain IS 239
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Drama
Location - Coney Island
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
Except for one burnt-out Social Studies teacher, the staff is skilled and obviously cares about the students. Though it was closed for a little over a week after Hurricane Sandy, the building and facilities are really good. I have been to every parent-teacher conference, a cluster meeting (teachers' talk to parents at the beginning of the year), the big drama production last year, the talent show (my daughter was in it), and some PA meetings. The school does a pretty good job sending info home, and is very good with the robo-calling to inform parents. My seventh-grader is about to start going to the free SHSAT tutoring sessions offered during lunch, and I am confident that I will be offered guidance in the high school search next year.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Know what your child is interested in and whether they can handle a big school and/or a long commute.

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.Name of School - Mark Twain IS 239
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Drama
Location - Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
My son was accepted to Mark Twain in 2011. He is currently enrolled in the Drama talent. I have found the school to be well-run and organized. I would say that most of my son's teachers are dedicated to providing a quality education to the students. My son was a little nervous before he entered the school in 6th grade. He came from a very small elementary school, and Mark Twain is a much larger school. The school treated the incoming 6th graders with care, and my son felt very comfortable after his first day there. He actually said, "I love this school." when he came out of school that day. The children are gathered into clusters, where all of the students in a particular cluster have the same key subject teachers. That allows the teachers to work collaboratively with each other to better assist the students. There is not much in the way of after school activities. There was a soccer program advertised in my son's first year there, but that turned out to be more of a competitive travel team that did not have a place for the older more experienced players. There is an outside company that hosts an after school program now, but it is very limited (less than 100 kids.)

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
This school is a great school for the motivated child. They makes middle school a very special time for the kids.



_________


Name of School - Arts and Letters
Location - Fort Greene Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she graduated last year (June,2012)

Please write a review of your experience:
In general we were very pleased with this school. The teachers were extremely dedicated. There is a fantastic online program that can be checked daily for progress reports. Teachers are very responsive. The arts program is very strong. The math program did not cater to high achievers but from what I heard this has improved. The high school application process went well with some preparation for the SHSAT. My son was accepted to two selective schools. They dealt well with the few bullying situations we encountered and are committed to anti bullying. The only problem my son had was sometimes feeling that he was being held back by weaker students.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
Have both the child and parent and see how it feels there.

________


Name of School - MS51
Location - Park Slope
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
We were happy with 51 overall. Teachers were mostly good and workload was reasonable. Socially it was a good fit for our social, sporty kid, but nothing over the top - although I think that is really specific to your kid. Negatives are a really poor science department - we had a weak teacher all three years - and an administration that doesn't want to discuss or listen to suggestions for how they might do things better, which is too bad because the school is generally well run.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend

____________



Name of School - MS 51
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Instrumental Music Talent
Location - Park Slope Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
My son's experience in the instrumental music talent program at MS 51 has been truly wonderful. Mr. Gozzo is an exceptional teacher. He goes above and beyond for any student who demonstrates the initiative. My son had no experience with his instrument (clarinet) at the beginning of the year, and now is playing not so simple songs quite beautifully. My son happily attends an extra lesson before school once a week which means being at school and ready to play at 8:00. He also practices each day with little or no prompting. The academics appear to be, this is his first year, quite strong across the board. He loves having lunch out and doesn't find the social life of the school to be difficult to negotiate, at least not yet. He mainly hangs with his friends from elementary school, but has made a number of new friends so far.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
This school works for children who are independent and have well developed executive functioning skills. The program demands organization, planning, and self motivation.
__________


Name of School - MS 51
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Instrumental
Location - Park Slope
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
My son has been very happy at 51, but much of that has been because his friends are there, the instrumental program is great, and the homework load has been moderate (not too heavy). The academics are mixed. He does do a lot of reading and writing in ELA, although this year the writing is mainly in blog form. The math is ok. He didn't make the cut for advanced math even though he had a mid-90's grade in 6th grade and 4 on the state test, and that was disappointing. Meanwhile, to my disappointment, he's actually done less well in math this year, in an easier class. Perhaps that's his fault, but I think he's a bit bored. Science has been dry for two years straight; in 6th grade, it was pretty awful. The classes are large (typical of public schools), and the parent teacher conferences are very rushed (timed 3 minutes). The arts talents are fantastic and really give the school a jolt of great energy. The school spirit is very strong, and the outdoor lunch gives kids a chance to blow off steam and socialize. This school as worked well for my son because he has a calm temperment, and is well behaved. It might not be ideal for a more impulsive kind of personality or for someone who isn't detail oriented and well organized. Most importantly, the kids are generally happy so even though the academics might be better, the kids are far happier than in the middle school I attended so many years ago.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Make sure your child will thrive in the kind of environment at the school. I originally thought my son would be lost at 51, and while that turned out not to be true, he doesn't always assert himself even when he should. For 51, it's best if they are passionate about their talent, since this is one of the great strengths of the school.
_______________


Name of School - MS 51
Location - Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
This school is too big, and the teachers are jaded and overwhelmed with the amount of students they have to deal with. While some teachers are good, many are just mediocre. Some never hand back projects and most do not post the homework on the website so if you have a disorganized kid, it is a nightmare trying to figure out what is due or the details of the homework. You will have to be active in finding out what is due and how your child is doing. The principal is okay. She's a bit of a spin doctor and superficial. The talents are excellent and the productions are of professional quality.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Do NOT recommend

___________


Name of School - M.S. 51
Location - Park Slope
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
M.S. 51 is a very organized and well-run school. My daughter is in 7th grade and my experience is that the teacher are about average. The school has a good arts program (dance, drama, art, music(band instruments only) and photography) that kids must audition for after they are accepted and be advised that kids often do not get their first choice. My daughter is in the photography program and the teacher is great but it was not her first choice. The school offers accelerated math which you must test into at the end of 6th grade and which my daughter is currently paticipating in. Class sizes are large - close to 35 kids per class - which is a big down side. The school is very large and for that reason quite impersonal. The staff is nice enough and tries to be helpful but given the number of students no one will really know your kid very well. Outside of the 3-minute parent conferences, which parents are discouraged from participating if your child is doing well academically, there is no feedback.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend with reservations

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
This is not a school for shy or unassertive kids. I read this when my daughter was applying but since her friends were going here and she wanted to go as well I didn't listen to my gut. Trust me when I say that this is a very tough school socially and a big impersonal place. If your child is outgoing and not easily overwhelmed then he/she will be okay. If your child is shy and/or has a difficult time speaking up for themself then this is not the school for your kid. In retrospect, I should have trusted my instincts and chosen a smaller more personal school as a first choice.

________


Name of School - MS 51
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - General Education- Drama Talent
Location - Park Slope
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
I believe that MS 51 is one of the most organized middle schools around. The structure is clear, the chain of command is clear and the students know who they can go to with issues both academically and emotionally. The teachers can be demanding (in a good way) and there is time every morning M-Th 8-8:35 for extra help and questions. It is hard to hear from teachers all the time because of the size of the school and classes but most teachers are reachable by email. The HS application process is horrible (having nothing to do with the school- but the school helps out as much as they can - especially the talent teachers who go beyond the call of duty to help students with portfolios and auditions.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Please make sure your child is a comfortable high level 3 and able to self motivate in a large class before sending them to this school. The level of work is high and students who struggle will compare themselves negatively to their peers who find the work easier.
________________


Name of School - MS51
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
The teachers at MS 51 are a mixed bag. In the 6th grade we were blessed with an enthusiastic, high-energy ELA/ social studies teacher that was wonderful. In 7th grade, we have the unfortunate situation of a less-than satisfactory SS teacher who loads the kids with work disproportionately to other teachers, is unclear about his assignments and expectations and seems more interested in power struggles than teaching. Complaints about this teacher have been dealt with promptly. Math curriculum and the math teachers have been very strong. My child loves the art class and the teacher. Science is our biggest disappointment though— simply uninspired. Of all subjects, science should be the most compelling. While I am not thrilled about some of what we have experienced at 51, I do believe that my child will be well prepared for high school.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Speak with as many parents of graduates from those schools as you can to get a variety of perspectives.

____________
Name of School - MS 51
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - drama
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
Some teachers are great, others are mediocre. Overall thorough good school with fairly strong academics. Not sure how school deals with difficult situations, so far they have always responded promptly with any issues. The school is so large, it is very easy for any kid to fall through the cracks. Kids are not pushed to their limits and are given very little guidance on how to study, how to structure their work etc. It's pretty much swim or drown. Your child needs to be self-directed, they are in charge of homework and assignments and it is very hard for parents to know what is due, what is required etc, it's really up to your kid to keep up. If you feel your child needs structure and some guidance in learning this is not the right school for your child. Drama program is excellent, even though the rumors that the teacher has his pets might be true.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend with reservations

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
All schools are different and are geared toward a particular kind of learner. Know what kind of learner your child is and then decide.

______________


 MS 51
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - band talent
Location - Park Slope, Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
My son is a seventh grader at 51. We both have mixed feelings about the school. He tends to prefer the teachers who are organized and let him know what to expect and he gets very frustrated with some who are unpredictable. One teacher in particular seldom bothers to grade tests, gives detention if kids ask when they will get their tests back and announces at the last minute when projects will be due... Other teachers are good and he is quite happy with them. He was disappointed not to get into the advanced math class this year, (He qualified for it with state tests and aptitude tests, but didn't "show enough work" in the very first 6th grade marking period--which put him below the cutoff.) He later decided he would rather not have advanced math after all since the teacher is famous for giving out detention for little or no reason. The principle is not interested in expanding the advanced math classes, though a lot of parents, including myself, have approached her about it. She says there are many students who struggle in advanced math, but I suspect this is due in part to the quality of the teacher. It sometimes seems like it is feast or famine homework and study wise. One week there is very little work and the next there is extra homework, projects and tests in most classes. My son has become fairly good at juggling school and extra curricular activities and managing his time, but still ends up stressed out at times with deadlines. He likes his band talent and the music teacher is very good and always very responsive and helpful. There are options for extra lessons at lunch and before and after school as well and professional instrumentalists come in to help the kids on their particular instruments. Overall, he is okay with the school. He's glad that he's been getting good grades in his classes, especially since they gave the kids a dire speech and sent them home with the 500 page high school directory a few months ago. He has an offbeat sense of humor and has learned to enjoy bringing home some some of the crazier anecdotes and quotes from his teachers.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend with reservations




______________


Name of School - IS223 - montauk
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Superintendent Class
Location - 42 st & 16th avenue ( boro park)
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
i have found the teachers my daughter has had in the last year and a half to be highly motivated. They are dedicated to teaching these kids. The staff are very open and easy to communicate with. The principal and assistant prinicpals always take the time to speak with you even if you don't have an appointment.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend
What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
take the school tours so you can see the school in operation. i thought i had my mind made up and after touring the school I found i did not like it at all and had to start looking all over again

___________

Name of School - Hannah Senesh Community Day School
Location - 342 Smith Street
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
Hannah Senesh Community Day School is a private Jewish school not affiliated with any particular sect or synagogue. This aspect is only one of many making it a great school for a specific family and student. One would have to see for themselves if the religious aspect of the school meets with your approval, as it is sometimes considered not religious enough for some, while others find it overly religious. It is a small school, with only one class per grade. The quality of life in the classroom varies from class to class based on the student make up. You must be careful in choosing a small school for your child. Mine was lucky in that the kids in the class are all really great and I expect them all to be life long friends. Some of the grades have what I would call high maintenance kids. Why and how this happens is probably another discussion, but it is important to visit the class, more than once if possible, and speak to parents currently in the class, as well as parents of other grades to listen to what they have to say. While there is one special educationist on staff, Hannah Senesh does not hire teachers specifically trained in special education. If, after all this, the school meets your needs, you will find the middle school experience to be superior to much of what is out there. The curriculum is advanced, and the students are very well prepared for 9th grade. The classes in religion are a favorite of mine in that they are lessons in critical thinking, and things get very juicy in 8th grade. Each year the kids put on a middle school play, uniting the 6th-8th grades and creating a lot of comradery. Each grade has an exciting overnight trip, and the kids do a lot of community service throughout the year. While 8th grade in some schools is all about the high school application and then coasting, not so here. 8th grade at Hannah Senesh is very exciting, not only during the high school search, for which they are well supported, but the 8th graders take charge of the middle school play, printing a yearbook - the kids are very involved - and last, a class trip to Israel. (WOW!) The graduation ceremony at Hannah Senesh is incredibly personal and moving - each child gives a speech, and each child is spoken about by a teacher. I have gone to the ceremonies for the past 5 years, just to hear what the kids have to say.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend with reservations

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Don't listen to rumors and see for yourself. Just because a school is known to have a terrific program doesn't mean the overall environment is the best for your child.


__________

Name of School - NEST + M (New Explorations in Science, Technology and Math)
Location - Lower East Side, Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
I was concerned when we sent our son here that it would turn out to be a dreary grind. That has turned out not to be the case. The teachers are (for the most part) kind, warm, and often fun, and at least many of the assignments seem engaging. There is a pretty heavy homework load--sometimes excessive, in my opinion. The arts programming is strong--music (jazz band), art every other day, and (in 6th grade) theater every other day too--a nice balance to the academic work. And there's PE every other day as well, which I think is healthy for kids who are working hard.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Great for a child who can manage and enjoys a fast-paced land rigorous academic environment and a fairly heavy workload. It's cool to be smart at NEST.

________




Name of School - NEST+M
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - middle school
Location - East Houston & Columbia Streets, Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
NEST is a great school for bright, motivated kids who can handle a heavy workload and high expectations. On the positive side: the coursework is reasonably engaging, and my child was challenged in a way that was not possible in our neighborhood gen-ed elementary school. Most of the teachers are quite good--some really life-changing. I've been impressed by how the school is constantly tinkering with the curriculum, trying to improve it. One great strength of the school is the arts curriculum: all middle-schoolers take art and music classes that last the entire year, and 6th graders take drama. The music teacher is particularly wonderful. All students take a foreign language. The student body is terrific--truly multicultural and a haven for nerdy kids who might have been outcasts in a school less geared to their needs. The middle school asst. principal and guidance counselor are terrific, and both were sympathetic and effective on a couple of occasions when our child needed help. The school offers a chance to take 5 regents exams by the end of middle school, so the pace is quite demanding. In general, most teachers are responsive, especially if there is a problem, though it is not a place where parents can have unlimited access. Many, but not all, teachers post grades online. Negatives: there is long-standing animosity between the teachers and the principal, with, I suspect, both sides somewhat at fault. They have recently hired a consultant to address this. I like the principal and think she has a worthwhile vision for gifted education, but she is not always great at communicating her ideas. But I do think she has made the middle school a haven for a certain kind of student, and I once heard her speak out strongly, for instance, about the need to continue recess through the 8th grade. The homework load is relentless, especially before midterms and finals. Some of this is what I would expect at any top school, but it's difficult for a child who has been absent for even a day or two to catch up. The PTA is powerful, entitled, and demanding, and to my mind it is somewhat driven by the needs of the lower school, where families tend to be more affluent (i.e. fundraisers) than in the middle and upper school. I was active in our elementary school PTA, but I haven't felt that the NEST PTA is as welcoming. The commute can be a nuisance, but the school facility itself is pretty good, a building that's full of light, with decent outdoor play space. The 8th grade science curriculum is not as strong as in 6th and 7th, but on the other hand the ELA curriculum seems strongest in 8th grade, and social studies is also quite good. The math curriculum is very demanding, probably the most accelerated of all the subject areas; this is not a school for children who struggle in math. The school gives lip service to the high school application process, but since they want to keep students in the NEST high school, they don't give as much support as some other middle schools. But it was adequate, and I suspect if we had needed more help, we could have gotten it. Many middle-schoolers stay for high school; about a third go to Stuyvesant, and others go on to very good high schools, including Bronx Science, Bard, and Brooklyn Tech. I think NEST is a great school--not perfect, but some of the best of what public education can offer these days. We feel very fortunate that our child has had these three years there, and I recommend it without reservation. There should be more schools like it, and I wish that its resources --strong arts, foreign languages in grades 6-8, enriched curriculum--were available in every school. We live in a district with weak middle schools, and it is heartbreaking to see the difference between those schools and NEST.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Make sure that you're looking for the right school for your particular child. NEST is a fabulous school, but unless your child is self-motivated and a hard worker, the school might not be right for him or her.

_________



Name of School - Nest+m
Location - 111 Columbia street
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
The school is very challenging coming in to the 6th grade as a new family, but our son does like it. The Homework during the fall was a bit too much. Big projects with not enough time to complete, a lot of testing etc. After January things got better and he either adapted or it easied off a little. The teachers are dedicated and on their game and expect a lot from the students. The variety of classes offered are very balanced with an alternating A day B day schedule so they get a good balance of music, art, gym, etc. They have 6 grading periods for a school year. The grading is percentage grades which I didn't encounter until high school.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend with reservations

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Be prepared to dedicate alot of hours in the evenings and weekends to homework and projects.



_________

Name of School - Ms 447 math and science exploratory
Location - 3rd av and dean st
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
The teachers are well versed in their subject area. I have two boys at the school and my kids aren't anything alike. The teachers respect their differences and teach them according to their needs. When my boys need to be disciplined, it's been fair and the teachers don't hold the misbehavior against them.
Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?

Highly recommend
What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Transportation
____________

Name of School - MS 447 Math & Science Exploratory School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - n/a
Location - 345 Dean St. Brooklyn NY
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
Overall my son has had a very positive experience at Math & Science. While there have been a few individual teachers and classmates he disliked, he has had many strong teachers and good friendships. He has had the opportunity to take the Regents American History class after school as well as the Regents math track in school. Communication from the school and teachers about homework, projects, and tests, and any issues that come up has been very good. The Exploration program is engaging and interesting, and is well-integrated with the regular classwork.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Look and think for yourself, don't just go by what "everybody" says. What is right for your child may not be what is right for theirs.


________

Name of School - MS447
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
Teachers are very committed and engaging. Mostly good communications between our child and the teachers - they always answer his e-mail promptly. The curriculum is pretty much NY State mandated, but I think the exploration program makes it more interesting.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

__________


Name of School - MS 447
Location - Brooklyn, Pacific and 4th
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience
there is a mix, but for the most part, the teachers are good, interesting and well organized. the parent coordinator is great, on top of things and responsive. report cards are quasi boiler plate, despite the schools's small size, peppered with bits of personal narrative. haven't gotten to the HS process yet, but have heard amazing things about the school's guidance in touring, applying and choosing h.s.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
think not of your own predilections but of your child's.

__________


M.S. 447 - Math and Science Exploratory School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - n/a
Location - 345 Dean Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year
Please write a review of your experience:
So far we are delighted with MS 447 (Math and Science Exploratory School). My son is in 6th grade. Strengths of the school: Emphasis on critical thinking and integration of the curriculum across subjects. Strong emphasis on learning to write well. Math is divided by ability so math classes are well paced. Emphasis on community building and programs fostering social and emotional development - this is so important in middle school. MS 447 has kids with special learning needs, including an autism program, fully integrated with the grade as a whole and that seems to be a great experience for all the kids. Communication has been good, via handouts, email, pupil paths, and regular opportunities for parents to come in and see what students are doing. Exploration program is unique - kids do units on a topic related to science and/or math that also incorporates another discipline (for example, an architecture project). They spend some of their time working in groups at the school and go on several trips to support the project. It culminates in some sort of project and presentation to parents at the end of the unit. Strong emphasis on the arts. Kids have visual art in addition to a second talent. In 6th grade they sample a variety and then choose one for 7th and 8th grade. They also get technology/computer, which my son loves. Only limitation we've found - no language instruction until 8th grade. Clearly it is a time thing, which is understandable given all the other programs, but it would have been nice.
Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend
What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Make sure that the social atmosphere and structure of the school are comfortable for you and your child, not just the academics. Visit and talk to current parents you trust to get a good sense of that.


__________


Name of School - MS 447 Math and Science Exploratory School
Location - Dean Street Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year
Please write a review of your experience:
When I drop my daughter off at school, I am confident that she is in a safe and caring learning environment. Excellent communication with parents. Teachers and administrators hold high expectations for students, but provide them with the support needed to thrive and work toward their potential.
Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend
What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Try to match the school to your child's learning style and social needs.

________________


Name of School - MS 447 (math and Science)
Location - Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
Teachers and administration are very skilled, dedicated My son was in the Fast Track Math program. It is intense and teachers follow up on him consistently. The school is great in communication with parents Teachers communicate all the time about subjects, activities and/or problems that you child may have. PTC are amazing. They re=organize them so you meet with one teacher only who is able to discuss your child's progress report completely (no more running around) Also, if you still have questions, you can talk to the teacher you want at "break" times. It is really a good system and very respectful of everybody's time and energy. There was a ton of help and direction regading HS process. Ms Corvellini was on top of us (parents) at all times from day ONE until March 15 (and still she is always available for questions, concerns, etc) I highly recommend MS 447. Principal, Parent Coordinator and all staff and teachers are amazing. A great experience!

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Think in your child: his abilities, strenghts and weaknesses. Is he better in big /small school? you want him close or don't mind travel time? HOw about Social life? or just looking for academics?

___________


Name of School - IS 201 -- Dyker Heights
Location - Dyker Heights
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
There is a certain amount of bait-and-switch about this school. The teachers -- at least in the Superintendent's Program -- are mostly skilled and caring. They are, however, not at all shy about putting intense performance pressure on the kids. particularly at the beginning of 6th grade. Extracurriculars are virtually non-existent. If you're not in band or drama as part of your academic program, there's scant to no opportunity to participate otherwise. There were pretty much no after school programs until the winter, and then they were few and with limited enrollment. Oh -- and its location is difficult: more than a mile to the nearest subway. In general, it's a big school with a predominantly sink-or-swim mentality, with lots of pressure to swim.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend with reservations

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Take the cheerful picture you hear at the school fair with a grain of salt.

________________


Name of School - IS259 William McKinley
Location - Bay Ridge
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
Teachers, administration and staff are all highly dedicated and caring. The curriculum is rigorous and keeps the children engaged. There are always teachers and staff to help the children, whether it's a question or to help with school work. The Arts program is unlike any other junior high school, as well as the extra curricular activities offered. The entire 3rd floor is covered in murals on the walls and ceiling, all painted by the students over the last 5 years. Students are offered an elective in the performing arts and they get to choose from: band, keyboards, dance, drama. Extracurricular has: cheerleading, student government, clubs, sports of all kinds, art and drama/play. My daughter has been in student leadership, cheerleading, I Love Me club, the Fashionista club, technical crew for the play, and also in the play.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
It all depends on what you are looking for in a school.Many schools are great in academics but do not offer much in the way of extracurricular activities, and if this is important to you, then it needs to be taken into consideration.
_____________


Name of School - Quest 2 Learn
Location - Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
We especially love the teachers. Engaging, interesting, hardworking and energetically young. They contact you if your child is behind in there work or falling behind in a project. Most answer emails in a very timely manner. The school has engaged my child in learning, for the first time since 1st grade, he actually liked math when he finally got to middle school. Had a bully situation and it was taken care of with in days, to our satisfaction. Never had another problem.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
What type of learner is your child, will they fit socially as well in this school?

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Name of School - Hunter College High School
Location - 94th and Park Ave. in Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
Hunter has been a wonderful place for my daughter, who is in 7th grade. The school is well-run and welcoming. The teachers give interesting, thoughtful assignments (a music assignment involved the kids composing a piece using anything BUT musical instruments, a social studies assignment asked them to find a way, using the subway system, to pick up every kid in the class in the most efficient way possible to all arrive at school together--a great way to familiarize the kids with the subway lines!). It's nice for studious kids to be around other studious kids--no being called a "nerd" or feeling the need to dumb themselves down in order to seem cool. Some kids there are hardcore "crammers"--the kids who prepped for years to take the entrance exam and who (for reasons that escape me) continue to go to extra school somewhere after school and on the weekends. But lots of other kids are not like this at all and are very social and not overly obsessed with school. The school does not rank the students, which cuts down on feelings of competition. There are loads of extracurricular activities starting in 7th grade, and the kids are given very long lunch periods to not only eat but to go to club meetings. Kids can leave the campus to have lunch out. I am just thrilled with the school, and would say that if your child gets in to Hunter, you should absolutely send them there. You also then won't have to deal with the high school application nightmare--they'll already be in a top school, a school that sees about 25% of its 12th graders given offers to Ivy League colleges.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
It really can be helpful to listen to the conventional community wisdom, at least as a starting point. There's a reason good schools are known as such. No need to start from scratch and feel the need to tour every school in your district--just check out the ones everyone knows are of good quality and then pick the one that's right for your child.

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Name of School - IS 30 Mary White Ovington
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Superintendents Program
Location - Brooklyn, NY 11209
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, he or she is graduating this year

Please write a review of your experience:
The teaches in my son's classes are knowledgeable, caring and respectful of students. The school communicates very well with parents, via telephone calls, sending letters home and daily emails. They don't offer a whole lot of electives, such as computers or law classes. They have daily science/health, social studies, algebra/math, and ELA. Art, Phys ED and Spanish are1-2 per week. The school staff cares about the students. The school is really small right now, a little over 300 students. Everyone knows each other. Teachers and school staff are welcoming and know each student. I find this very important for 6-8 graders, especially for those kids who are coming from a small elementary school.The school and classes are clean, well maintained, with students' work displayed on walls. Student body in my son's class is friendly. It is a great group of multicultural population. I have not heard of bullying problems, any fights, or drugs. It is a very tightly knit school community. The homework load is manageable, although expect to do homework or 1.5-2 hours daily.The school is supposed to move into a new bigger building this coming September 2013. My son's class will have 3 Regents exams this year: Integrated Algebra, US History and Government, and Living Environment. The teachers are going above and beyond to prepare kids for the tests, both state and Regents.Overall my son likes the school and so do I.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Consider attending this school if your child gets into the Superintendents Program and likes a small school.

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