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Re: Schools in the Heights
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My daughter is in 6th grade at Academy-1, it's a lot of homework and a lot of projects (both individual and group). Also the homework is given with very short turn-around (i.e. homework set today, to be handed in tomorrow). It's a challenge for my daughter to keep on top of all the homework, but she likes it.

I think you need to be the right kind of personality to succeed at AEP, it's not just the academic ability to do the work, but the willingness to submit yourself to the grind (both parents and child). If we, for example, decide go skiing for a weekend, it would leave my daughter dangerously behind on that week's home-work and projects, there is little slack time to accomodate a weekend off like that. Furthermore, much of the wekened work is project based, so not so easy to just bring with you and complete.

But it is definitely good to be pushed ahead a year in maths, the work she was doing previously in 5th grade was just treading water, repeating the same material, if you have someone capable of doing more than they are, it's almost a responsibility as a parent to push them on and not let them stagnate academically.

From my experience the charter and public schools are focused on no-child-left-behind and NJ-ASK, where they are evaluated on the number who make the minimum standard. Consequences for school are grave if they don't get everyone to that standard, so naturally all available resources go to pulling up the bottom 1/3, rather than pushing on the top 1/3.

My daughter likes Academy-1, so I recommend it provided your child is one who can apply themselves and churn out the work, I can well imagine there are plenty of very-smart, but rebelious types who wouldn't bend well to the work-load and consequently would not do well in AEP.

Another point is there are a lot more girls than boys in AEP, it does not seem that they sex-adjust the admissions (or by race as Mcnair does), AEP seems to go by raw test scores regardless.

Robin.

Posted on: 2015/1/30 20:17

Edited by tern on 2015/1/30 20:37:40
Edited by tern on 2015/1/30 20:38:26
Edited by tern on 2015/1/30 20:39:29
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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CapnJon & Jcpaddy, thanks a lot. We didn't realize there was a new school in the former St. Anne's building--really looking forward to learning about Global and St. Nicholas.


Posted on: 2015/1/30 19:41
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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AEP is a program. It is attached to MS 4 and Academy I. MS 4 still has the regular zone school component (which takes from a pretty large area). Academy I, at least in the past, also had special ed classes, and "alternative" classes for problem students. Usually though, when people talked about "Academy I" they were talking about the AEP program.

Posted on: 2015/1/30 15:09
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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How is the honors/gifted program at MS4? Can anyone provide some feedback?

My son is currently at OLC in the 4th grade, and I'm considering if it's worthwhile moving him to MS4 for middle school (if he's eligible/passes the tests).

Thanks in advance.

Posted on: 2015/1/30 14:33
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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MS 4 on Bright St., off Jersey Ave includes/houses-

General Education Middle School for students who live in PS3/MS4 zone district.

Hope (or honors) program for middle school students who live in the MS4 zone/district. Not all middle schools have a Hope program. PS37 does not, MS7 does. If your school does not have it, you may be able to transfer to one that does (maybe.)

AEP is a city wide (also Academy 1) test in magnet accelerated program for middle school. they cover 4 years of school in 3 and finish 8th grade, ready for 10th grade honors (and prepared for McNair, if they are accepted.) It is rigorous and heavy on projects and home work.

Bridges, an at risk remedial program. I do not know much about this program.

I believe all or most of the above programs mix for lunch, gym and specials (non-academics.)

Middle school students from the PS16 zone/district, come to MS 4 for middle school. And there used to be a school next to Ferris HS that now is part of MS 4.

there is also Infinity Institute which is also a test in middle and high school. I do not know if it follows the accelerated format, but do know families that are happy there.

and I agree that it is hard to get this info out and its not clear on the board of ed website.

the info I provided is off the cuff and may not be complete.

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jcdd wrote:
How do you "get in" to MS4? Do you test in? What if your local zoned school already offers a 6 - 8 program? Are you still eligible to apply to MS4?

Posted on: 2015/1/30 14:21
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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jcdd wrote:
How do you "get in" to MS4? Do you test in? What if your local zoned school already offers a 6 - 8 program? Are you still eligible to apply to MS4?


Both MS4 & Academy 1 are test-in magnet programs that all JC kids are eligible for.

Posted on: 2015/1/30 14:06
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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I think what's at MS 4 is the JCBOE Acceleration and Enrichment Program? As per this flyer, prospective applicants should contact their current principal/guidance counselor, not sure how the procedure goes, if you need a recommendation to do the test or not.

AEP testing


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How do you "get in" to MS4? Do you test in? What if your local zoned school already offers a 6 - 8 program? Are you still eligible to apply to MS4?

Posted on: 2015/1/30 14:05
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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How do you "get in" to MS4? Do you test in? What if your local zoned school already offers a 6 - 8 program? Are you still eligible to apply to MS4?

Posted on: 2015/1/30 12:28
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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DanL wrote:
I do think there are problems with more charter schools (more than 10% of our students attend), most are not better performing than the district schools and even perhaps more magnets (diluted and tracking.)


Unlike some true believers, I don't think we should scrap the system and have all charters. They should be laboratories to see what can work differently. Bad ones should get closed, but good ones studied to see why they work. It's certainly not all a "magnet" dynamic, all you have to do is apply. And they're not all doing things very differently, LCCS has a normal length schoolday and union teachers.

What's the right balance of academic diversity to magnets and tracking? Tough one. You don't want to create a system completely segregated by ability, but you don't want gifted kids held down either. As great as LCCS is, my son regrets there wasn't accelerated math tracking like you have at the MS4 magnet program. It's possible to do without segregating the gifted kids in all their classes, but it can be tough in a small school. That's why the new ideas and flexibility of charters are needed.

Even the best magnet programs have their dark sides too. A friend of my son's who was attending MS4 had gotten into both McNair and St Peters, but was reluctant to attend McNair because he disliked the "academic grind" atmosphere at MS4.

Posted on: 2015/1/30 12:24
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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my children early on were in some of the same classes as Brewster's and the two previous posters (CapnJon and Jcpaddy) illustrate many of the choices available and I concur with their comments.

for us, the public district schools have worked out very well. and from our experience, they never were as bad as people made them out to be. my children have had wonderful, mature, experienced teachers. over the years, I have have met time and time again with young parents to share our experience, and still more than happy to do so.

for those that know my family, they would not say that my children have not thrived in PS37 and MS4 (double negative.) we'll see what is next.

I do think there are problems with more charter schools (more than 10% of our students attend), most are not better performing than the district schools and even perhaps more magnets (diluted and tracking.)

we are fine with the DIY culture of Jersey City, but Jersey City is not for everyone or every family.

good luck.


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DANL - your response is not very helpful, as it is more of a lecture. I tend to suspect you don't have young kids in the system right now, so it is easy for you to opine about a matter that doesn't have any immediate personal relevancy to you.

Many of us parents in Jersey City are appreciative of the diversity of our community and would love to send our kids to the public schools, but are very concerned about the quality that is offered in JC. The chances of getting in to the charter schools are slim, so we need real input on the remaining options. There really is not a "wealth of options" here in Jersey City. We need more options. We need more charters and magnet schools. Unfortunately, the City seems slow to respond to the need to improve our school district.

Posted on: 2015/1/30 11:05
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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Rays - I send both of my daughters to St. Nicholas on Ferry and couldn't be happier. I've never come across a school so organized and on top of all facets of school life and education.

On top of that, you will not find a more racial diverse school anywhere. A small United Nations. They are in constant contact with you as parents and the teachers are as professional and approachable as they come.

Posted on: 2015/1/30 10:03
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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Brewster - absolutely 1000%. It is the support system the kids have (attentive families) that make such the difference in how they experience education. Anyone who puts the entire burden on the teachers is bonkers. It starts at home. It ALL starts at home.

(full disclosure - my parents were both English teachers at the same institution for 40 years!)

Posted on: 2015/1/29 23:20
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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CapnJon wrote:
We've done lots of research on places all over Jersey City and Hoboken for our son and have decided to send him to Global Charter in the Heights. It has a really exciting program, and the families who we've heard from with children there love it, and the community around it. There are also about ten families from Park Prep now planning on sending their little ones there.


That's really exciting news, it's this kind of group commitment that really pushes a school forward. It's just what happened at the earlier wave of good charters, suddenly people know of other caring parents who put their kids there and are willing to give it a shot.

It's too bad there doesn't seem to be anyone studying the charters to understand why some work and some don't. It's too politicized. But it seems clear part of it is you've got to gain the trust of some higher functioning families to balance the kids from families who are struggling but care enough to try and get a better education for their kids by applying to the charter.

Posted on: 2015/1/29 22:26
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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There should be standardized tests attached to each school according to grade and the school overall. I suggest you ask the principal of each school about the tests. As an example, if your third grader took tests in February, then you should look for an overall score of 3.6, which is the third grade and 6 month mark. It could be lower or higher.

Posted on: 2015/1/29 22:03
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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Hi Rays1!

We too have a child starting Kindergarten next year. Currently, he attends Park Prep Academy in the Heights, and loves it.

We've done lots of research on places all over Jersey City and Hoboken for our son and have decided to send him to Global Charter in the Heights. It has a really exciting program, and the families who we've heard from with children there love it, and the community around it. There are also about ten families from Park Prep now planning on sending their little ones there.

We have friends with kids at PS28 who love the school and the teachers, but aren't so thrilled with many parents there (who don't want to be involved, or who are cursing at the kids during drop-off and pick-up). We've heard great things about TECCS, but it's a little far for us (and work). We have friends with children at LCCS, but the lottery for that is bonkers, and happened already, so you'll need to wait until next year. We also have friends with kids at St Nick who love it. Also, we have friends who are teachers all over JC, and we've gotten feedback from them as well. When looking around, we couldn't believe the prices of certain private places in Hoboken and in the surrounding burbs.

Another place to try and find info (but is a little scary) is the Hoboken Family Alliance.

Good luck!

Posted on: 2015/1/29 21:08
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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Good to hear. My guys were very happy there....and happy to have moved on too.

Posted on: 2015/1/29 20:41
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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Quote:

K-Lo wrote:
Brewster, your son in liking McNair?


Very much, no regrets about not going to Prep.

Posted on: 2015/1/29 20:16
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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Brewster, your son in liking McNair?

Posted on: 2015/1/29 19:44
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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MDM wrote:
This link might help:

http://www.greatschools.org/new-jersey/jersey-city/schools/

I used to have a better link to a site that catalogs the state test scores for each school. Ill post it if I can find it again.


It's a good resource to view test scores, but take the "reviews" with a grain of salt. It appears many negatives have an axe to grind and many positives were solicited by the schools. LCCS has only a 3 of 5 rating, but look at their scores, and their results. 16 of their ~60 8th graders just got into McNair, compare that to the Academy 1 & MS4 programs that skim the best middle schoolers from all of the city and get only 50% of them in. I don't think a non-magnet MS in the entire city comes close to that percentage. And some years it's been as high as 50%. Though my son was frustrated the kids from A1/MS4 were accelerated a year ahead in math, he found he and his LCCS classmates were better prepared in the sciences.

Posted on: 2015/1/29 17:26
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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This link might help:

http://www.greatschools.org/new-jersey/jersey-city/schools/

I used to have a better link to a site that catalogs the state test scores for each school. Ill post it if I can find it again.

Found it:

http://www.schooldigger.com/go/NJ/schools/0783002848/school.aspx

Posted on: 2015/1/29 16:51

Edited by MDM on 2015/1/29 17:19:34
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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jcdd, I'm not sure what DanL said that you find objectionable, but I believe that Dan's two children are still in the JC public school system.

Posted on: 2015/1/29 16:40
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DANL - your response is not very helpful, as it is more of a lecture. I tend to suspect you don't have young kids in the system right now, so it is easy for you to opine about a matter that doesn't have any immediate personal relevancy to you.

Many of us parents in Jersey City are appreciative of the diversity of our community and would love to send our kids to the public schools, but are very concerned about the quality that is offered in JC. The chances of getting in to the charter schools are slim, so we need real input on the remaining options. There really is not a "wealth of options" here in Jersey City. We need more options. We need more charters and magnet schools. Unfortunately, the City seems slow to respond to the need to improve our school district.

Posted on: 2015/1/29 16:24
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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South Orange and Maplewood don't have good schools, let alone great schools.

Posted on: 2015/1/29 13:24
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If you do choose to move to the burbs and want ethnic diversity and sought after schools, try South Orange, Maplewood and Montclair. All are a manageable distance from the City.


Posted on: 2015/1/29 12:02
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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We want our children to go to school with children who come from families like ours and families who are not like ours. We like the Heights because we are close to everything and have a lot of space with a huge yard. We're an interracial family so it's important for us to raise our kids around others like us and also around cultural and economic diversity.
So we would send our kids to public schools, but what we hear is not good. Oversized classrooms, budgets cuts or few resources for arts and recreation programs and children sitting in trailers because they've run out of space--that's not an environment I want my children to learn in. I'd love to find out more about the great public schools in jersey city, talk with parents, hear what they have to say and that's why I'm hoping to get some advice here. The website, parenthesis, is a great start, thanks for that. It's upsetting that our options seem to be private school--which is so hard to justify given the amount of property taxes we pay, a lottery system for a charter or moving to a suburb with a great school system and very, very little diversity.

Thanks for the feedback so far.

Posted on: 2015/1/29 12:00
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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I believe the LCCS lottery for next fall has already occurred.

Posted on: 2015/1/29 9:12
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there is so much hearsay in conversations and fear mongering about the public schools in jersey city and then parents seem to compare and desire many things based their own educational experiences that just aren't here.

and yes, information and communication from the school board on down is pretty poor.

but, you have a wealth of educational options here if you remain open minded and truly willing let your children go to school with kids who are not like yours.

its really boils down to what you want for your kids on many levels (and who you are.)

a child can get an excellent education in the Jersey City schools (like elsewhere.)

in today's Jersey Journal, there is an ad with info on applications for 5th and 6th graders to the Acceleration and Enrichment Program (AEP) and the admissions test. also info on the Infinity Institute secondary school of choice. both are pretty rigorous programs that parents have begun to pull their children out of the the better charter schools for.

go to jcboe.org for more info (its a little harder to navigate since upgraded a couple of years ago.)

keep in mind, its hard to expect to live in an area of wide disparity and expect your children to be schooled with only one segment of it unless you send them to a private school.



Posted on: 2015/1/29 8:36
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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Not first hand experience but my neighbors send their kids to St Nicholas School (catholic) on Ferry by Central and love it.

I have also heard good things about P.S. 28, not sure about the situation in Kindergarden but I think they have won several awards for staff, and science projects based in the Reservoir.

Posted on: 2015/1/28 19:56
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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Quote:

brewster wrote:
Quote:

NewportNJ wrote:
There's a new elementary school being built right now on Summit by the reservoir.


Unfortunately, what makes a good school isn't a new building, or even good teachers. It's kids motivated to learn and parents willing to be involved. I've heard one of the reasons Cordero (PS-37) doesn't have the reputation that Bradford (PS-16) has, is that the Principal Strynar has kept the middle class parents at arms length and out of the process. But this involvement is what has turned around the urban public schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn that are now considered very desirable. If you can convince the educated middle class parent that their child will thrive in the school, it becomes a feedback cycle. A dozen or so years ago this happened with Bradford, LCCS, Hoboken Charter and Elysian, suddenly they became desirable as word of mouth spread.


Yep, a school is just the vessel. It's only as good as the commitment of the parents who use it and hold the teachers and administration accountable.


Posted on: 2015/1/28 17:44
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Re: Schools in the Heights
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NewportNJ wrote:
There's a new elementary school being built right now on Summit by the reservoir.


Unfortunately, what makes a good school isn't a new building, or even good teachers. It's kids motivated to learn and parents willing to be involved. I've heard one of the reasons Cordero (PS-37) doesn't have the reputation that Bradford (PS-16) has, is that the Principal Strynar has kept the middle class parents at arms length and out of the process. But this involvement is what has turned around the urban public schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn that are now considered very desirable. If you can convince the educated middle class parent that their child will thrive in the school, it becomes a feedback cycle. A dozen or so years ago this happened with Bradford, LCCS, Hoboken Charter and Elysian, suddenly they became desirable as word of mouth spread.

Posted on: 2015/1/28 17:39
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