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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sunset Park HS campus

I just got back from touring the Sunset Park HS building.
It is everything that you would hope it would be, spacious, light, and beautiful. Three schools are housed there right now, Sunset Park HS which will grow at capacity to 1600 students (currently with a 9th grade), Brooklyn Prospect Charter (currently with a 6th grade) which will be housed there for two years before they find their permanent home and The Lillian Rashkis School, a district 75 program. I would recommend that all parents of 5th and 8th graders make time to tour the appropriate program housed in this building. They are worth a look.

There is a community barbecue celebrating the opening of Sunset Park HS tonight, Wed. between 5-8pm
The school is located at 35th St. between 3rd and 4th Ave.
Meet the administrators, teachers and students and tour the building.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Prospect Park West Contest Winners

Congratulations Amy and Roberta you won! My husband tried to enter.
His entry:
"Name of your child's current school: Peter Stuyvesant HS
Thing you love: Go Peg Legs! (that is really the name of the football team)
One challenge that the school faces: The spelling of its name...does it end in 'ant' ,'ent', 'end'?
Keep that book in the family!"
I have disqualified him and he is not allowed to read the book. He thinks that "Sex in the City" is a documentary and he would never be able to do his coop sift in peace again.
I think the new neighborhood parlor game should be who will play "you" in the movie. Heh, Sarah Jessica, I am not in the book, but I would like to be played by Laura Dern and my husband is Colin Firth. Your turn.
Thanks for all the entries.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My first impressions of Prospect Park West

I had a consult in Manhattan with a lovely family who is moving to the Slope so I finally had a chance to crack open Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn for a few quick stops on the F train. I howled through the first chapter, got off the train to talk about nursery programs and when I got back on the F the first thing I read was an abridged list of the schools that I had just recommended. Of course it wasn't accompanied by the well researched data and keen insight that I provide, but if I had been drinking milk at the time, it would have come out my nose. I am going to institute a new rating system. So far Prospect Park West gets 4 out of 4 individual serving organic, antibiotic free milk boxes.

The thing is that it has tons of realistic details as well as exaggerated characters. It is like having a famous author in the family. You were at the dysfunctional Christmas reunion. You know the people and what happened. You can gleefully enjoy the embellishments safe in the knowledge that as the boring third cousin, you won't be mentioned. We all know what we love about the neighborhood. We don't need to see that in print. It would be boring. Comedy is cruel and this is comedy set in a very familiar locale.

I have one request. I would like Simon & Schuster to come out with an indexed addition, "people and places that Joyce knows". Otherwise I am going to have to go through it with a highlighter.

There are still a few days left to submit entries for the "Win the Book Contest". Email me with the name of your child's current school, one thing you love and one challenge that the school faces. If your child is not in school yet, tell me what grade level you most fear and why. I will be picking an entry at random on Friday, Sept. 18 at 4pm.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Win a book!

I have a copy of Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn to give away. I am dying to read it. As soon as I finish updating all of my school data sheets with new progress reports (heck, they are all A's anyway!) I am going to take a "guilty pleasure afternoon" and crack it open.
Here's how to play:
drop me an email with "book" in the subject.
Tell me one good thing and one challenge that your child's current school is facing and tell me the name of the school. If your child isn't in school yet, let me know what grade level you are most anxious about. The deadline is Friday Oct. 18 at 4pm. I will pick an email at random and send you a book.

Thank you Simon & Schuster! I love giving things away. Feel free to send me more books anytime, and I will let you know what I think about the Prospect Park West in upcoming posts.

My kids are prepping for the SATs. Heh, Barron's or Princeton Review - they are happy to try out any test prep books that you are giving away!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Middle School: Part 3

So it is the first day of middle school, congratulations! This is what every sixth grade parent wants to hear as their darling comes in the door, "thanks mom and dad, that school is great! It is everything that I dreamed it would be over those long months last year, when we were waiting to hear where I would be placed." This is what you undoubtedly will hear, "It smells funny." That is if they are being kind.

This is what parents need to remember for the next two weeks. Your darling has not been in a new school since they were 5 years old. They have been the kings and queens of their elementaries. They knew everyone. They knew exactly what to expect. They knew all the teachers and it smelled familiar. But now they have to change classes in a building that they are afraid to get lost in. Even the sweetest teacher is putting on her mean face to keep the upper hand on the first day of middle school. The kids, whether they are giant and menacing 8th graders or not, are strange. Even kids they have known all their lives are coming back from the summer with breasts and different voices. How weird is that? It can't possibly be a good day.

So here is what you need to do:
First give them a protein filled snack. They probably had lunch at 10:30. Let them zone out for a while at the mindless activity of their choice.

Don't ask them how they liked school. You won't get the answer you want.
Just ask about facts. What color was your math teacher's hair? Do you have to climb stairs? How many minutes in between class? What do you want for lunch tomorrow?
In a couple of weeks they will start to say things like, "I met a nice kid today." "The science teacher is pretty funny." and you will finally get your rewards for dragging them on a million tours the year before.

And children...
have pity on your poor parents. They only want what is best for you. When they look at you pleadingly, hungry for any detail and praying that they made the right choice, say, "Mom, Dad, I love you anyway."