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School District 15’s Community Education Council (CEC) is trying to prevent another middle school admissions fiasco.

In recent years, the majority of prospective sixth-graders have applied for seats in the district’s most popular schools, which include the Upper Carroll School, Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, New Voices School for Academic and Creative Arts, Sunset Park Prep, and M.S. 51. Since each school has a limited number of seats, many, if not most, of the students were turned away.

That spurned the CEC to create its annual Middle School Principals’ Forum, during which principals from each of the district’s junior high schools have three minutes to offer details about their curriculums and specialized programs.

“I think people have always sort of gone with the fact that they know the particular names of the schools that most people said they want to attend,” explained CEC President Jennifer Stringfellow. However, “We are constantly hoping that parents will look at schools that are going to match their children’s needs – and it’s not always the top two or the top three.”

Officials from the city Department of Education’s (DOE) Office of Student Enrollment have been invited to attend the forum and answer parents’ questions.

The forum often generates the CEC’s largest audience of the year, said Jim Devor, the council’s first vice president.

“It’s a tremendous turnout,” he said.

“One of the real great advantages of these fairs is that every year, there’s always a couple of schools that aren’t the usual suspects and people stand up and take notice,” he continued. “It really is a terrific opportunity for parents to get a glimpse of all the schools in the district.”

“I’m hoping that there will be no such thing as a top anything,” Stringfellow said. “That we will eventually be a district where all the schools are considered excellent.”

The middle school forum will be held on November 13 at P.S. 295/M.S. 443 at 330 18th Street. For more details, contact the CEC at 718-935-4267 or CEC15@schools.nyc.gov.

—Michèle De Meglio

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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