We’re nearly at the end of the first term of the school year and it’s time to take stock of how things might be going for your child. While your kiddo might be blissfully happy, it can also be the case that sometimes situations just don’t click. Maybe you’ve started worrying that your child has not found the best fit for them and you’re considering a mid-year jump to a new school.
Looking for private schools? Check out A Guide to Manhattan’s Private Schools
Figure Out What Isn’t Working
The first step is to check in on why you want to move to another school. This will help you to assess the kind of school that will work for your child. I recently changed the school my youngest was attending as this nursery school did not work closely with Special Needs kids — something I discovered when my son was diagnosed. When an education evaluator came to the school to evaluate him, she immediately called me to stress that he needed to be pulled out immediately. She felt that he was in an unsafe environment. The school itself was not dangerous, but with the lack of qualified teachers, his needs were not being met.
List Pros and Cons
Whether you physically write it down or verbally work them out, list the pros and cons of staying or moving to a new school. There doesn’t have to be any finger-pointing or negativity; this is about what your family and child need in their schooling. No one or one thing has to be the bad guy; sometimes, it just isn’t working.
Talk to Your Child’s Teacher or School Principal
Reach out to your child’s class teacher or school principal to schedule a meeting or a time for a phone call. Be honest that you’re considering a change of environment, and bring up the concerns you have about the school. Keep in mind that you only see one side of the story as a parent and that they might have valuable insights to share about your child’s life at school.
Once you’ve laid out your concerns, listen carefully to their response and ask them whether they have any proposals or ideas for improving the situation. I found that when I had a one-on-one conversation with the school’s director, I realized they adored my son and felt the same concerns I was feeling. If you aren’t convinced that change will be possible, and you still have the same desire to make a move, ask what the process for leaving mid-year might be. If you’re at a private school, understand your billing notice period and how you will retrieve school records.
Research, Research, Research
It’s time to spring into action. Talk to friends, contact a school’s expert, call schools’ admissions departments, and arrange visits whenever possible. Try to identify what your options are considering academics, travel time, curriculum, cost, and pastoral approach. Most importantly, have an honest discussion with parent coordinators, teachers, and directors about the probability that they will have a space for your child. Don’t necessarily take an initial “no” as a final answer but probe to understand whether there are circumstances in which spots might open up. I know what helped in my situation is that I immediately went on the wait-list and continued to check in until a spot opened up.
Once a New School Has Been Chosen, Mentally Prepare Your Child for the Move
Alicia Sharpe, a New York City-based Education Consultant says “Mental preparation starts at home. Speak with your child about this new coming transition; even if the child is too young to communicate with you verbally, they will understand. If possible, bring your child to visit the new school, meet the teachers, and introduce them to their new classroom before the start of the new school term. If you have an older child, help them to understand that moving schools is not abnormal, but will be an exciting fresh start for them. Reassure them that it’s possible to maintain friendships even when they’re at a new school, and consider how you can help them to participate in activities that current friends take part in.
What Sort of Behaviors Should You Address that Would Lead You to Make a Move to a New School?
• Negative social and emotional behaviors
• Academic challenges or academic boredom
• If your child expresses they don’t feel safe
• Lack of support with special needs
• Overcrowded classrooms
• Poor relationship with the teacher or discipline challenges
What Are Some Criteria to Look for When Deciding to Move to Another School in the Mid-Year?
• School curriculum
• Teacher certification
• Staff turnover
• Genuine and sincere staff
• Children appear happy when you visit the school
• Likelihood of admittance
Schools to Make that Mid-Year Jump!
A new school for grades seven through 12 has opened this fall in East Village. The Academy of Thought and Industry (ATI) at East Village joins a network of high schools with campuses in Austin, San Francisco, and St. Louis. ATI is an autonomous learning community that offers hands-on work, self-directed projects, and entrepreneurial endeavors among expert mentors and ambitious peers. This Manhattan campus is located blocks away from Tompkins Square Park and historic libraries.
AECI 1 – NYC Charter High School for Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industries – South Bronx
838 Brook Ave., Bronx NY
AECI offers an academic program that provides students with a foundation of the necessary skills, knowledge, and practical experience to pursue a path leading to college and/or a career in architecture, engineering or construction industries. The school’s offerings are focused on providing a rigorous college preparatory sequence of classes while also preparing students for success on industry-recognized certification exams. All students receive double periods in Math and ELA in freshman year to prepare for long-lasting success. All staff members are tasked with developing the whole child by working together to ensure that all academic, emotional, and social development is supported, cultivated and challenged.
AECI 2 – NYC Charter High School for Computer Engineering & Innovation – Mott Haven
424 East 138th St., Bronx, NY
By popular demand, AECI 1 was proud to launch AECI 2 this school year. It is the AECI network’s second location in the South Bronx. The mission of AECI 2 is to create a rigorous college-prep academic program that provides students with a foundation of the necessary skills, knowledge and practical experience to pursue a path leading to college and or a career in the computer, engineering or innovation industries. The second high school is a computer engineering and innovation themed school and serves grades 9-12. Some of the classes they offer students starting in 9th grade are Intro to Computer Science Principles, Coding Circuit Design and 3-D printing.
Aquinas High School – Belmont
685 East 182nd St., Bronx, N.Y.
Aquinas is committed to educating and inspiring young women for a lifetime of faith, learning and compassionate action for a more just world. It is a community of faith and learning rooted in the Catholic tradition and committed to excellence in the education of young women – mind and heart, body and soul. Since its founding in 1923, the school has welcomed each new wave of NYC’s population with a challenging curriculum, a broad spectrum of co-curricular activities and passionate community service in a diverse and nurturing environment. Today, 100% of their students achieve Regents endorsed diplomas and go on to attend a college or university of their choice.
Guidepost Montessori is a growing network of Montessori schools that serves nearly 3,000 families worldwide. They have four campuses in the New York City area. Two are in Manhattan: Museum Mile on the Upper East Side serves children age 3 to 12, and Columbus Square on the Upper West Side serves children age 2 to 6. Mandarin Immersion is offered at these two campuses as well. Their other two campuses are located in Brooklyn: Williamsburg serves infant to age 6, and Brooklyn Heights serves preschool through grade 5. The ultimate goal of an education is holistic independence, and at Guidepost Montessori, they offer this to your child in the fullest sense. Because their learning communities foster self-motivation, your child will gain the knowledge, confidence, creativity, and social ability needed to help them pursue their own goals, whatever they may be.
Lyceum Kennedy French American School – Midtown East
225 E. 43rd St., New York, NY
Lyceum Kennedy’s mission is to provide its students with a unique bilingual education based on the principles of self-expression and differentiated pedagogy (Nursery through 12th Grades). The school’s solid foundation allows students to grow into full participants in the world around them and keep a passion for knowledge throughout their lives. Lyceum Kennedy’s teacher/student ratio allows the school to understand and work with each student as an individual in order to ensure academic success and instill a love of learning. Students have the option to follow the French, New York State Board of Regents and/or the International Baccalaureate DP program. Register for an Open House event or a private tour.
Midwood Montessori – Flatbush
2825 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY
Midwood Montessori provides preschool and kindergarten for children ages 2.9 to 6 with a rich curriculum tailored to each child’s pace. Special attention is given to encourage socialization, while the academics are taught on a one-on-one basis by a dedicated and nurturing staff. Morning, afternoon and full-day sessions, after-school classes, summer camp, early drop off, and transportation services are available.
Rivendell School – Gowanus
277 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY
718-499-5667, ext. 14
This pre-primary Montessori school provides a respectful, inclusive community, helping children feel powerful and confident as learners and as social and emotional beings. Toddler, half-day and extended day programs are available for ages 2 to 6. Rivendell School offers beautiful Montessori classrooms, an excellent student/teacher ratio, and a warm, cooperative atmosphere where children learn to work and play.
Rosalyn Yalow Charter School – Morrisania
3490 Third Ave. at 168th St., Bronx, NY
Kindergarten and first grade classes are offered on their own campus. The school’s mission is to eliminate the learning achievement gap for poor urban children, including special needs and English language learners, by using an engaging and demanding curriculum to graduate students at or above grade level in literacy and math. The school uses a collaborative teaching approach-lead teacher and one with a background in social work for grades K-2. Their extended day runs from 7:30 am-4:30 pm or 8 am-5 pm depending on the campus and is filled with extracurricular activities such as art, chess and fencing.
Stepping Stones Early Childhood Learning Center – Bay Ridge
245 86th St., Brooklyn, NY
The Next Step
9321 Ridge Blvd., Brooklyn, NY
Stepping Stones is a private nursery school founded in 2002 by two NYC Public School teachers. Children ages 2 to 5 are educated at their two locations where a love of learning is fostered in a safe, caring, and nurturing environment. All students are loved and cared for by their nurturing teachers who are dedicated to their classes. Teachers are highly qualified with various levels of education and years of experience in early childhood education.
Trabajamos Community Head Start – South Bronx, West Bronx, and University Heights
3 locations in the Bronx:
940 East 156th St., 718-893-1512
1997 Bathgate Ave., 917-259-7081
2167 University Ave., 917-962-9720
Their three locations empower children ages 2-5 through developmentally appropriate, high-quality education. Providing bilingual early childhood services for over 52 years, they demonstrate commitment and consistency to their communities. Their approach values the human spirit and the holistic development of the child – physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively. The programs examine the needs of the children, families and communities they serve. Available year ‘round from 8 am-6 pm, they offer a healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Windmill Montessori School – Sheepshead Bay
1317 Ave. T, Brooklyn, NY
718-375-7973 or 718-375-4277
The family-oriented Montessori method nurtures students in grades pre-K to grade 8 emotionally and academically. It promotes a sense of purpose, a love of learning and civility. Small classes meet the students’ individual needs. Their main objective is to provide a carefully planned environment that is enriching and stimulating, and that will help children develop the habits, attitudes, skills, and ideals, which are essential for a lifetime of learning and creative thinking.