‘Schools’

World AIDS Day at Murrow and Brooklyn College

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

The Heart (HIV/AIDS Education Activism Resource Team) Club at Edward R. Murrow High School honored World AIDS Day today surrounded by a selection of AIDS memorial quilts from around the world. For the 18th year in a row, the school has a collection of quilts hanging in the gym, which has had a big impact on the students.

“It really represents who that person was and what that person liked and what they lived through and how their family members cared about them,” Heart Club Rea member Angelina Usherenko told NY1.

Additionally, the Brooklyn College AIDS Quilt will be on display at the BC Student Center Lobby through December 12. Created in 2000, the quilt is made of 21 panels created by several groups at the school.

World AIDS Day has been held annually on December 1 since 1988.

- Mary

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Midwood HS Teacher Honored

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

As students put the final touches on their high school applications–which are due on Friday–here’s some news that’s a nice reminder that we have a great option in our area. Midwood High School physiology teacher Margaret DeSimone was one of seven NYC teachers recently honored by the Fund for New York City in the Third Annual Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics.

A teacher at Midwood for 22 years, she tells the Daily News that her students “love to dissect a pig’s heart, a cow’s eye and even a sheep’s testicle for the advanced class.”

The award recipients receive $5,000 each, plus $2,500 for their school’s math or science department.

- Mary

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Midwood HS Swim Team Still Using Competitor’s Pool

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Another school year, another season the Midwood High School swim team doesn’t have easy access to a pool–despite the fact that there’s a new one just across the street at its sister institution, Brooklyn College. A recent article in Argus, the Midwood High School newspaper, notes that once again, the students will have to use the facilities at James Madison, which is generously allowing the team to practice there:

Disappointed [Coach Leonard M. De] Virgilio commented that this was “ridiculous” and looked frustrated while talking about the issue.

Jason He ’12 commented, “It is frustrating that we can’t use the pool right next door. However, there is nothing that will hinder our determination this year.”

Brooklyn College spokesman Jeremy Thompson said its simply a matter of availability. The college’s swimming and diving teams are given priority, as are swimming classes.

“In addition to courses and athletic teams that require access to the pool, the West Quad Center is a recreational facility open to our students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the surrounding community, all of whom pay a membership fee,” Thompson explained in an email, adding that for most Brooklyn College students, this is included in a general student activity fee each semester. “Therefore, it is important the pool be made available for recreational use during the remaining hours of operation.”

Finally, Thompson explained that the college is open to making the pool available for rental by outside groups—as it does other campus facilities—during the hours it is not being used for these other activities. “However,” he said, “that window of opportunity is limited and unlikely to correspond to the times the high school swim team requires.”

The boys varsity swim team begins its season this week. Best of luck, Hornets!

- Mary

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Gifted & Talented Request for Testing Form Deadline Approaching

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

If you would like to have your child tested for a Gifted & Talented (G&T) program, you must submit a Request for Testing form (RFT). The testing is for kids in pre-K through 2nd grade (born between 2004 and 2007). You can get an explanation of the tests and placements in the G&T Admissions Handbooks.

The deadline to submit an RFT form is Friday, October 28. You can submit the form online, or you can submit a paper form that is available in the handbooks. For more information, call (718) 935-2009.

Testing will take place in January and February.

- Mary

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Graduate Programs Open House at Brooklyn College

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Simon Harley, Director of Graduate Admissions at Brooklyn College, tells us that there is a Graduate Programs Open House at Brooklyn College this week:

We offer more than 70 Masters degree and Advanced Certificate programs which open doors to new possibilities. Find out more at our Graduate Programs Open House on Wednesday, October 5, 5:30-8pm at Brooklyn College Library.

Register at brooklyn.cuny.edu/openhouse.

- Mary

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Brooklyn College Faculty Tells Cops, “Don’t Spy”

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

The Brooklyn College Faculty Council passed a resolution on September 13 that says they are, surprise, against the NYPD spying on Muslim student organizations. The Associated Press reports:

“The use of undercover police agents and the cultivation of police informers on campus has a chilling effect on the intellectual freedom necessary for a vibrant academic community,” the resolution said.

This isn’t a huge shocker, considering how many of the signatures on the petition we mentioned yesterday are those of professors at the school.

The report obtained by the AP and Len Levit of NYPD Confidential revealed the monitoring was based on concerns over BC’s Muslim student group because, in part, of “militant paintball trips.”

- Mary

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A College Grows in Brooklyn

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

The 1949 Broeklundian, Brooklyn College’s yearbook, shows the school’s construction from 1936 – 1940:

BC

BC

- Sarah

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Back to School Shopping

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Kids are going back to school in 3ish weeks, which means:

There are a lot of choices in Midwood for back to school supplies, and both Target and Staples are good. A lot of us used to go to Morris Discount on Ave U, as well, but they have long since closed. Judging by the bustling amount of parents in the Amazing Savings on Ave M, it seems to be a popular choice for back to school shopping in the area, as well.

Hello Kitty backpack display – $9.99/each.
Amazing Savings

They have 5 subject notebooks for $1.29, and these velvet-covered one subject notebooks are $.99 – the 90s truly have returned.
Amazing Savings

Amazing Savings stocked a wide variety of learning materials, as well:
Amazing Savings

Where else do you like going back to school shopping in Midwood? What are your thoughts on the back to school season?

- Sarah

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HuffPo on Midwood High School

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Lesley Ryder included a description of Midwood High School in her recent article on trying to achieve the American dream:

“But you don’t look Hispanic.”

By now, I’m quite used to hearing those words. The name “Lesley Ryder” doesn’t scream “Puerto Rican/Mexican,” but I assure you, I am very Hispanic.

I grew up in Brooklyn, the daughter of divorced parents with my awesome older sister, Stephanie.

I recently graduated from Hamilton College, a small liberal arts institution atop a beautiful hill in Clinton, NY. Compared to my high school, Hamilton felt like another planet. I went to Midwood, a New Deal-era building bursting at the seams with about 3,800 students. Hamilton’s 1,300 acres for 1,800 students was a welcomed change.

Of course, some Madison grads experienced overcrowding to the tune of 4,500 students for a building intended to hold 2,000…but who’s counting.

- Sarah

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Changing Demographic at Yeshivah of Flatbush

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

The Yeshivah of Flatbush was founded in 1927, and though it has always welcomed and honored the traditions of both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, the school was historically attended by a larger number of Ashkenazi students. In recent years, however, the demographic has shifted, and one recent graduate tells the Brooklyn Ink that the proportion is about 70 percent Sephardic, 30 percent Ashkenazic.

So why the shift? Principal Rabbi Lawrence Schwed has a theory:

Ashkenazi Jews have slowly trickled out of Flatbush and Midwood to enclaves in the tri-state area partly due to a growing affluence. Schwed said another reason was that during 1980s housing boom in Flatbush, some Ashkenazim decided to sell their homes and move to where their children had relocated. “Their kids were not coming back to Flatbush,” Schwed said.

School representatives insist the two group coexist well, and even occasionally intermarry. Dennis Eisenberg, the school’s vice president, told the Jewish Daily Forward last year that the neighborhood is as much of a good example of this kind of tolerance as the school: “Are there different political views? Yes. Are there different religious views? Yes. Is there an outright rift in the community? No.”

And what does the community think? Some interesting comments on a Yeshiva World News Coffee Room thread.

- Mary

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Survey Rates Andries Hudde JHS Unsafe

Monday, August 8th, 2011

In the 2011 School Survey, which is filled out by students, parents, and teachers across the city, Andries Hudde junior high at Nostrand Avenue and Avenue K was rated among the lowest for safety. The Daily News explains that although administrators are trying to get a handle on things, parents are concerned for the coming school year:

More than 90% of those students said they were bullied or threatened at least “some of the time” – and less than half said they feel safe in the hallways.

Luanise Jack, whose son Fred-Roy will be a seventh-grader this fall, said discipline is sorely lacking at the 1,091-student school.

“You go to that school and the children are running helter-skelter. They’re not supervised,” said Jack, whose daughter Fabiola graduated from Hudde in the spring.

You can see how your child’s school rates by viewing the full list at the Department of Education website.

- Mary

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Brooklyn College Doesn’t Know How to Party

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

The 2011 Princeton Review student survey was released yesterday (registration required), and Brooklyn College is number 10 on the list of “Stone Cold Sober” schools.

The survey is given to current students and is based on a combination of survey questions concerning the use of alcohol and drugs, hours of study each day, and the popularity of the Greek system. Apparently Brooklyn College students value studying over partying, which is something I’m sure their Midwood neighbors appreciate.

For the curious, the number 1 sober school is Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, and the number 1 party school is Ohio University in Athens, OH.

- Mary

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Lawsuit over light fixtures

Monday, July 25th, 2011

In addition to being buggier, our schools might be getting a bit less toxic soon:

A coalition of families has filed a lawsuit demanding that New York City public schools remove aging fluorescent light fixtures it says are leaking a toxic substance that may harm children’s health.

The city’s Department of Education agreed in February to replace the fixtures over 10 years, but the lawsuit filed by New York Communities for Change on Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court contends that time frame is “unacceptably lax,” given the “significant risks” the leaks pose to the health of children in hundreds of schools.

A 2010 Department of Education report estimated that 772 schools were using the light fixtures in question, parts of which contain polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB, according to court documents.

The Environmental Protection Agency severely restricted the use of PCBs in 1978, declaring them a probable carcinogen linked to developmental disruptions in children.

The DOE report included results of a 2009 pilot study showing the fixtures were leaking PCB in amounts that were in many cases well over the EPA threshold for PCB air levels in schools, according to the lawsuit. PCBs also were identified in caulk used in school construction materials.

-From Reuters

- Sarah

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City Expects More Bedbugs in Schools Next Year

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

In the “you’re really not safe from them anywhere” news, the Department of Educations says there were 3,590 reports of bedbugs at city schools this past year, up from 1,019 the year before. And they’re expecting it to be worse next year! Yuck.

The Daily News spoke with a teacher at PS 197, on E. 22nd Street between Kings Highway and Avenue O, who says they’ve had a heap of problems because of bedbugs:

“Fumigation for the bugs destroyed four of our classrooms completely,” said Lucille Mauro, a gym teacher and union chapter leader at Public School 197 in Midwood, Brooklyn, where one or two bedbugs were discovered nine separate times last year.

Damage from chemicals used to exterminate the pests ruined classroom libraries and other teaching materials that the school is still struggling to replace.

“It’s been disruptive for the kids,” said Mauro, who is also the teacher’s union chapter leader at PS 197.

Beyond the schools, Midwood doesn’t look so great from a list of community reported bedbug sightings.

- Mary

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70th Anniversary of Midwood High School

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

The 70th anniversary of Midwood High School is coming up in September! Check out the Facebook page for it, which includes old photos of the school and the area.

- Sarah

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Homegrown game show winners

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Congrats to Avenue J’s Yeshiva of Flatbush/Joel Braverman High School!

After dominating every school they have faced on MSG Varsity’s popular TV high school quiz show “The Challenge” this season, the academic team from Yeshiva of Flatbush-Joel Braverman High School has been named the 2011 Regional Winner for Brooklyn.

In addition to receiving the Brooklyn trophy (and bragging rights), the winning team also received a check for $2,500. At the onset of the season, 16 high schools from Brooklyn were participating in The Challenge, with over 184 high schools participating in the tri-state region (Nassau, Suffolk, Bronx, Brooklyn, Westchester/Hudson Valley, NJ and CT).

-More at the Brooklyn Eagle

- Sarah

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Summer reading

Friday, June 10th, 2011

As a former high school English teacher, I’m beyond impressed with the summer reading programs James Madison and Midwood High Schools are attempting to implement.

For Midwood:

Summer Reading List
Incoming Freshmen:
Kindred by Octavia Butler
*The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan {Recommended for struggling readers}.
{If you scored a 1 or 2 on your 8th grade ELA test, read this book}.

Incoming Sophomores:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Incoming Juniors
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Incoming Seniors
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Sklott

Advanced Placement English Only:
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Any novel by Charles Dickens
*All students taking journalism in the Fall should read a newspaper every week over the Summer.

James Madison doesn’t appear to have a required book list, but has assignments the students are required to complete, including making a mock-up of a facebook page for the main character.

- Sarah

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Saul Bruckner Way

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

In honor of Edward R. Murrow’s founder and first principal, East 17th Street between Avenues M and L has been renamed “Saul Bruckner Way.” Bruckner, who founded the school in 1974, passed away last year.

His policies at the school involved trust and freedom, and under his leadership, the school offered “many arts, music and theater courses; it also produced chess champions and finalists in the Intel science competition,” says the Wall Street Journal.

His professional ideas, in addition to his no-nonsense, committed attitude, led to more than just student success–it gained Bruckner a lot of fans, many of whom showed up to the street renaming ceremony last week. Sheepshead Bites has nice coverage of people who spoke, which includes the common refrain of what an inspiration he was.

- Mary

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Hebrew Language Academy Charter School

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Interesting article about the Hebrew Learning Academy charter school:

Black kids and white kids are sitting together in a building that used to house a private yeshiva.

It’s not exactly what you’d expect to see when you walk into the Hebrew Language Academy (HLA), a public charter school in the largely Jewish neighborhood where Midwood meets Marine Park….

On this spring day, students are learning about seeds, leaves, and photosynthesis in Hebrew—and they’re pretty focused and quiet.

How the different worlds at HLA mash up can be seen most clearly on a field trip, when Mr. O takes some students on a service project to the nearby Young Men’s Hebrew Association. Their senior drop-in center is frequented by elderly Russian Jews who spend their days playing board games.

Here, the kids are just kids, excited for the chance to get out of school and play a game. (All HLA students take weekly chess lessons.) For their part, the alter kockers seem tickled to speak Hebrew or English with kids of any color, and also appear to enjoy learning Spanish and French from some of them.

The NYT covered it last yeas, as did Voz is Neias Voz is Neias ; interestingly, a number of the commenters on VIN were opposed to it.

- Sarah

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Make new teachers, but don’t keep the old?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

A lot of organizations are looking to change the structure of the upcoming teacher layoffs due to budget cuts, such as Keep Great Teachers. The city has also maintained a hiring freeze for well over a year, which keeps certified teachers who have not worked in the Department of Education for doing so in most cases for budget reasons. Our local schools face the possibility of losing valuable OST programs, and layoffs, especially at PS 217.

It is especially curious that the Department of Education is paying to train another round of candidates who have no previous education in pedagogy in this climate.

Keep Great Teachers flyer

- Sarah

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