For a number of reasons the private school experience is not for everyone and it doesn't have to be. There are also exceptional public schools at which your child can receive a quality education. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to research the best schools in your area and the internet is an excellent research tool. Whether it is from the comfort of your own home, at the office, the library, or an internet café, it is well worth your time to visit the following web pages dedicated to NYC Schools.

The NYC Department of Education [www.nycenet.edu]
When researching NYC public schools the Department of Education’s website is the best place to start. Packed with an abundance of tools, resources, news, and information, this site can turn any curious parent into an Educational Guru.

Insideschools.org [www.insideschools.org]
Created by a group of committed public school parents, children's advocates, journalists and teachers, this website contains the inside scoop on schools. These dedicated individuals visit schools, speak with parents and teachers, and comb the media to present an independent and authoritative view of New York City schools.

New Visions for Public Schools [www.newvisions.org]
New Visions for Public Schools, is the largest education reform organization dedicated to improving the quality of education children receive in New York City's public schools.

What's so special about Specialized High Schools?
As a graduate of Brooklyn Technical Specialized High School, Class of 1998, I can personally state that these schools are special because of a gifted student population, dedicated teachers, devoted staff members, challenging courses, and an extensive list of extra-curricular activities. From the minute these kids take the Specialized Entrance Exam to their last Advanced Placement course, they are encouraged to work to their full potential.

At present, the list of NYC Specialized High Schools is as follows:
ü Bronx High School of Science
ü Brooklyn Technical High School
ü High School for Mathematics
ü High School of American Studies at Lehman College
ü Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts
ü Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
ü Science and Engineering at City College
ü Stuyvesant High School

With the exception of Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and Performing Arts, all NYC Specialized High Schools make use of the same Entrance Examination. Students interested in attending LaGuardia High School must audition for the studios of their choice. To learn more about the admissions procedures for these schools, review the Specialized High Schools Student Handbook available at the Department of Education’s website, www.nycenet.edu.

For those interested in Test Preparation Resources there are a number of community-based organizations that offer prep classes. However, if you are not interested in another search, there are companies like Princeton Review and Kaplan, which also provide the same services.
Similar to private institutions, Specialized High Schools are highly competitive. The possibility of rejection is real, but such an event is not the end of the world. Finding the right school can be like shopping for the right clothes. In both cases brand names aren't everything. I strongly believe the key is having enough drive to initiate an independent search whenever necessary. Remember, those who shop for bargains, often find the best deals. And shopping for schools is no exception to that rule.

About the Author:
This article is an excerpt of A Better Today Brings a Brighter Tomorrow, (abt.msoyonline.com) a resource guide for African American parents, self-published by LaShanda Henry. Visit www.lulu.com/msoy to purchase a copy of this book or email lhenry@msoyonline.com for details.

© LaShanda Henry 2005

NOTE: You are welcome to forward or “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end and the copyright notice), and you send a copy of your reprint to lhenry@msoyonline.com.


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