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August 1, 2018
Cash-strapped teachers turn to Facebook, online sites to equip their classrooms
When teacher Shemena Shivers walked into her Melrose High School science lab for the first time, she couldn’t contain her excitement at the…
August 19, 2011
Seeking questions about new year for education heavyweights
The start of school in three weeks comes as initiatives to revamp instruction, assessment, and teacher evaluation ramp up. The climate of change…
November 24, 2009
With school budget cuts looming, a call for likely casualties
City schools are staring down their fifth round of budget cuts in the last two years, and we want to know what’s on the…
September 14, 2009
Raising our standards and evolving, with your help
While the school system limps toward a new governance structure, we at GothamSchools are shaking things up, too. To mark our first anniversary, we're adding new staff (have you noticed those shiny new bylines?), excessing old ones, paying the bills in a new way, and changing up our content delivery model. We also plan to throw a party, at which we hope you'll help us celebrate our continued existence despite the tough times. Finally — permit one more forced parallel? — this post marks a new era of transparency and reader input, because we are both telling you all about the changes and asking for your help in pulling them off. Please begin by enjoying our revised design, in which we distinguish between shorter dispatches and full-blown, robustly reported daily news stories. The shorter dispatches are indented and touched off by arrows, as in the post below this one. The stories are in the same maroon-headed format that you're used to seeing blog posts. The goal is to hold ourselves to an even higher standard, truth-telling-wise, while still keeping you up to date on the minutiae of school news (who just went wild at a City Council hearing, what article we just read and recommend, a deep thought, a breaking news item).
September 8, 2009
As school opens, we renew our search for budget cut casualties
Teachers and students are returning this week to schools changed by deep budget cuts over the summer. Because of the city’s shrinking coffers, principals…
August 28, 2009
What datasets should the Bloomberg administration open up?
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is offering to open up. Photo via ##http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michael_Bloomberg_5_by_David_Shankbone.jpg##Wikimedia commons##.<br /> Responding to the national push for more transparent government, the Bloomberg administration…
June 10, 2009
Calling all photographers: GothamSchools wants your pictures
A photo posted to GothamSchools' Flickr pool on Nov. 5, 2008 We do a good job reporting about the schools. But we’d love to be…
June 4, 2009
What's being cut at your school? Describe the budget casualties
##http://gothamschools.org/comment-maps/whats-on-the-chopping-block-at-your-school/##Note what's at risk at your school on this map.## At schools across the city, principals are struggling right to trim nearly 5 percent from…
May 7, 2009
State says ELA scores are up a little bit. What's your take?
In just a little while, we'll have some analysis of the newly released state English language arts test scores, which show that children in grades 3 through 8 are, on average, more proficient in reading and writing than they were last year, by 7 percentage points. But first we need your help sorting through the numbers morass! (State Education Department Commissioner Richard Mills wasn't lying when he said at a press conference today, "We're going to give you more data than you've ever seen before.") The broadcast of today's state press conference, as well as the slide show that Mills presented there, is now online. The state also made available an enormous PDF of every single school's proficiency breakdowns and scale scores, by grade. And for the really ambitious armchair data analysts, there's also a 5-megabyte Microsoft Access database of all of the state's raw data. I've posted the state's full press release, which touts "steady, moderate growth" across the state, after the jump. Feel free to leave a comment with your insights about the data dump.
April 8, 2009
DOE releases SSO performance data; let the crunching begin
One thing that went under the radar during the nonstop news cycle of the last few weeks is a sizable data dump from the Department of Education, which for the first time released statistical reports about the 11 organizations that support the city's schools. The reports went online last week to inaugurate the period when schools can choose which organization they want to affiliate with. The organizations, called School Support Organizations, or SSOs, have provided support services to individual schools for the last two years in place of the traditional school-district bureaucracy. This is the first time that the DOE has allowed schools to change the affiliation they originally selected back in 2007. The new reports include a chart (above) comparing the SSOs according to their schools' progress report scores, quality review evaluations, and principal satisfaction survey results. The result is the public evaluation that Eric Nadelstern, the DOE's chief schools officer who formerly ran the Empowerment organization, said back in January was being cooked up the department's accountability office. The comparison, which takes into account school data from the 2007-2008 school year, shows that the SSO run by the City University of New York did the best, followed closely by the Empowerment organization. The reports are available on the DOE's Web site only in PDF format, and there is a different one for each organization. A DOE spokeswoman told me that the department had not made available a database compiling the data, so I went ahead and made one, available here or after the jump. I also went one step further and added some calculations of my own, based on the DOE's data: The percent change in progress report and quality review scores from 2007 to 2008. Among my first impressions: Schools either improved their internal operations significantly between 2007 and 2008, or else they figured out how to look like they had improved, because the percentage of schools receiving top ratings on their Quality Reviews jumped in every organization. If you have more statistics knowhow than I do and some extra time on your hands (like during this school vacation), take a look and note what you see. Leave your observations in the comments.
March 27, 2009
Seeking advice for eighth graders shut out in HS admissions
As I predicted on Wednesday, most of the schools that didn't fill up in the main round of the high school admissions process are either brand new or have reputations that are mixed at best. But there are always hidden gems that still have spots open: either new schools led by educators with a strong track record or excellent programs inside middling high schools. In an article that it unfortunately must reprise every year, Insideschools runs down the options for the nearly 7,500 students who didn't get a high school match this week. The site is also asking its users to recommend schools on the Department of Education's three-page list of available spots. I see a handful of schools on the list that look like they might be solid choices for students still looking for a high school spot. One, The Cinema School, is the selective school in the Bronx that will be run in partnership with the Ghetto Film School. I was also impressed by Brooklyn's School for International Studies when I visited several years ago, and I've heard good things from students who have since attended. And the progressive Queens School of Inquiry, which is adding a ninth grade in the fall, was one of the more memorable schools I've visited; it was at QSI where I first encountered competitive speed-stacking. Do you see other schools you'd recommend on the list (which you can read in full below the jump)? If so, for what kind of student?
March 17, 2009
Contest: Find the school with the most teacher turnover
After I posted the teacher turnover numbers from the Bronx high school where teachers are currently speaking out against their principal, a reader…
November 14, 2008
A Brooklyn author looks to you, the crowd, for help with his child
I’ve recently been following the fascinating work of Jeff Howe, a Wired magazine reporter who has written a book on what he calls “Crowdsourcing.” Crowdsourcing…
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