Exploring our options

At our first meeting, we outlined some possible approaches that included everything from starting a new public school or charter (highest effort level) to simply partnering with an existing school (path of least resistance). We also wanted to look at things that could be done to enhance existing schools, such as starting a dual language program or applying for magnet funds. So a group of members who gracefully accepted the ungainly moniker "Options Research Team" did some further research, and it is being posted in preparation for our next meeting (January 10).  

Dual Language (Researched by Catee, Taka, and Anne)

Definition half the class time is taught in English, the other half in the foreign language

Process in Brief

  1. build a network of people interested in starting a dual language program to build network and support
  2. find a under-enrolled school or a school going through change, etc. with receptive principles/administrators willing to sponsor the program at the school
  3. after finding a school... a) apply to grants to fund our program b) find a great teacher for the first class c) find curricular resources d) recruit for the first class for both native and non-native speakers
  4. student enrollment a) need enough students, non-fluent and fluent to apply to the program.
  5. Expansion a) continue applying for additional dual language classes to be added to the school


Other Considerations

=class must be min. 24 students 50% fluent / 50% non fluent

=Fall 2015 40 new dual language schools opened 25 are new, 15 expand existing programs

=DOE Grant $25,000 -Each new seat = additional $ from the DOE. $200,000/year for a class of 24 students.

=dual language program does not necessary create a successful school (case by case, class by class basis)


“Complete” Online How to Guide



Other Resources




http://www.newyorkinfrench.net/profiles/blogs/how-many-new-yorkers-speak-french-at-home-1#.ViP722BuaUC [Note: On the survey, which asked a question about which languages are spoken at home, very few households listed a language other than English.]

Magnet (researched by Juliana plus some additions from Nicole)



=Magnet School - A school that receives government funds for special programs that will attract students from many neighborhoods to achieve racial integration and fill the school. (http://www.nycschoolhelp.com/elementary-glossary/)

=Magnet grants are designed to create new and innovative thematic programs within a school and foster diversity. A Magnet School is a ‘choice’ school which means that it is open to both zoned and non-zoned students.


Pedagogical Approach

=Magnet schools have a focused theme and aligned curricula in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), Fine and Performing Arts, International Baccalaureate, International Studies, MicroSociety, Career and Technical Education (CTE), World Languages (immersion and non-immersion) and many others. Magnet schools are typically more “hands on – minds on” and use an approach to learning that is inquiry or performance/project based. (from Magnet Schools of America http://www.magnet.edu/about/what-are-magnet-schools



=Eligibility from http://www2.ed.gov/programs/magnet/eligibility.html

Who May Apply: (by category) Local Education Agencies

Who May Apply: (specifically) Only LEAs or consortia of LEAs that are implementing court-ordered or federally approved voluntary desegregation plans that include magnet schools are eligible to apply. Private schools do not participate in this program.

A local educational agency, or consortium of such agencies where appropriate, is eligible to receive a grant under the Magnet Schools Assistance Program to carry out the purpose of the Magnet Schools Assistance Program if such agency or consortium--

  1. is implementing a plan undertaken pursuant to a final order issued by a court of the United States, or a court of any State, or any other State agency or official of competent jurisdiction, that requires the desegregation of minority-group-segregated children or faculty in the elementary schools and secondary schools of such agency; or
  2. without having been required to do so, has adopted and is implementing, or will, if a grant is awarded to such local educational agency, or consortium of such agencies, under this part, adopt and implement a plan that has been approved by the Secretary as adequate under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for the desegregation of minority-group-segregated children or faculty in such schools.


=Detailed archived application information from the Dept of Ed (from 2013) including a link to a pre-application webinar PowerPoint http://www2.ed.gov/programs/magnet/appandcomfy13.html


=Magnet Schools of America suggests that a comprehensive magnet school plan include vision and mission statements, educational goals, objectives and strategies, curriculum or theme design, implementation steps, marketing and recruitment strategies, budget and funding plans, timelines, policies, professional development plans, and monitoring and evaluation plans.

It requires:

  1. creating a focused vision and program mission that will drive a robust implementation plan and sustain commitment.
  2. dealing with issues of funds and transportation
  3. selecting strong leaders and quality staff willing to work long hours
  4. getting people in the community involved
  5. recruiting resources.


=Districts can also benefit from contacting superintendents, magnet specialists, and magnet principals in districts of similar size and circumstances who can share lessons learned about which themes have worked best and why, how to set up data infrastructures, parent communication processes, and transportation. Hamilton sent staff and other stakeholders to magnet schools in other districts, both near and far, to get ideas and solicit help in planning their own magnet schools.

  • Choose appealing and sustainable themes
  • Select and develop quality staff • Cultivate community resources
  • Define special roles
  • Build district support





Noteworthy Magnet Examples

=Brooklyn Arbor (adopt the theme of global and ethical studies)


=P.S. 307 (located between DUMBO and Downtown) is the recent recipient of a federal Magnet grant that will bring with it millions of dollars of additional funding and will transform the school into the science and technology-themed Magnet School for STEM Studies starting in the 2014-15 school year.


=Nine years ago P.S. 8 received a magnet grant and was transformed by a great principal into the highly sought-after school that it is today.

=PS 257 in Williamsburg, Magnet School for the Performing Arts


=Magnet School Of Math Science & Design Tech: PS 10

=PS 261 had a magnet grant for the arts years ago.


Other Resources




Starting a New Public School


The DOE has placed a moratorium on new public schools.


Starting a New Charter School


There are still new charters available for Brooklyn. However, no one in the group seems inclined to do the intense work of starting a new charter school, nor do we know of any new charter schools in the pipeline that reflect the group’s educational values and could be enticed to Bed-Stuy. Therefore, this option was not fully explored.