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  1. #1

    Best public elementary schools in Brooklyn?

    We're moving to Brooklyn in the beginning of the new year and trying to figure out which neighborhood to move to. One of the key factors in our decision will obviously be the public schools in the area. I've tried to search online for the best public grade schools in Brooklyn (including insideschools.org and greatschools.org) and have come up with PS 10 and PS 321 in Park Slope, PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights and PS 29 in Cobble Hill.

    Any others I'm missing? Do these schools have GATE programs? If not, how do the ones with GATE programs in Brooklyn compare to these neighborhood schools? Anything else I should pay attention to in my search?

  2. #2
    There are multitudes of strong programs in Brooklyn. Go to www.insideschools.org/
    advanced search/choose Brooklyn, neighborhood or district, elementary/submit parameters. It is difficult to give a list of programs because this is a very nuanced process - much more complicated than picking the schools by strong test score. Are you looking for a progressive or more traditional focus, diversity, class size, enrichments, language programs, involved parents, collegial staff?

    By GATE program, do you mean Gifted and Talented? 10 has a district 15 G&T class, but placement is made by score not zone.
    I consult with families who are moving to Brooklyn with schools in mind.
    ask me about brooklyn schools
    joyce szuflita http://www.nycschoolhelp.com/

  3. #3
    Like nycschoolhelp said, there's no easy answer to your question. However, beyond the test scores and reputation, I would also find out how much the school PTA raises since that will give you an idea how many additional programs the school can support. It also gives you a clue into how active the parents are and how much they care.

  4. #4
    We were in similar position not so long ago, though we were moving to BK from UWS. We ended up in Cobble Hill for PS 29. PS 58 in Carroll Gardens also has great reputation and so does PS 261 in Boerum Hill. Others to consider beyond what you have would be PS 107 (South Slope), PS 154 (Windsor Terrace) and PS 11 in Clinton Hill-Fort Greene.

    The important thing is touring the school and talking to current parents to get a real feel.

  5. #5
    Thank you all so much for replying. Right now, what I'm hoping to do is to narrow down my selection to a handful of neighborhoods so that we can focus our search (for a place and school) accordingly. From a school perspective, I prefer one that is more progressive but not fully crunchy and has a involved PTA.

    nycschoolhelp - I followed your suggestion and did a search on insideschools. I checked off the "insideschools noteworthy" and all of Brooklyn criteria, and it gave me 78 results. How can I further refine that? Is "insideschools noteworthy" even a good criteria? How does your consulting work?

  6. #6
    You can narrow your search by district, neighborhood and by age. My guess is that you might not have checked "elementary". That should help you drill down a little. Insideschools is a great place to start, because their reviews are very knowledgeable, fair and nuanced. They are doing a walk through rather than number crunching. They are journalists and they know what to ask and what to look for. I have yet to disagree with a school that they have labeled noteworthy (although I occasionally see schools that they may not have seen lately that I believe might deserve the designation). They also understand the NYC schools, which is a huge thing in itself. The data at the top of the page is kept very current. You should check the date for the review at the bottom - sometimes they are a few years old, but if there has been any significant change in leadership or focus it will be noted at the top of the review. Like this site, the parent comments are always revealing. You need to understand that you will get the boosters and the haters and the truth for you may be somewhere in between.

    I consult with families (or talk to them on skype) who are looking to understand all their options or relocate to the right school zone for them. I have very long experience with schools in northwest Brooklyn and I can explain the data, the neighborhoods, where the school has been and where I believe it is going. I can also help you understand the big picture, like what happens at middle school and high school. I have a free monthly email newsletter and blog. All of that is on my site as well as my rates and public talks.
    ask me about brooklyn schools
    joyce szuflita http://www.nycschoolhelp.com/

  7. #7
    Some of the schools mentioned are hot schools and face overcrowding so it's not guarantee you'll get in just because you live in the zone. Spots in those schools are determined by lotteries. You may want to consider finding a place close to several good schools, say Cobble Hill, so that if you don't get in to PS 29, you might be able to get into PS 58 and PS 261 (even though they aren't taking out of zone kids officially, they actually do unofficially).

  8. #8
    It is true that living within the zone is not a guarantee of entry. It is an unhappy situation in many neighborhoods in Manhattan, Queens and parts of Brooklyn. According to the principals of the schools listed above - none of them have ever turned away a zoned family! They DO NOT accept students by lottery as many Manhattan schools have to. Past practice is not a guarantee either and if you are planning on moving within the zone after the "pre application" period, I would contact the principal to make sure that you have a space. If a school is in danger of reaching the kind of capacity that would require a lottery among zoned families for kindergarten, they will close a prek class and take it as a new kindergarten class.

    Parents occasionally get confused between prek and kindergarten. Prek is a citywide lottery process and there are not enough seats for families in the zone, but it is completely different from the kindergarten application and placement process.
    ask me about brooklyn schools
    joyce szuflita http://www.nycschoolhelp.com/

  9. #9
    Besides the ones you've all shared with me so far, how about these others?

    PS 372 The Children School
    PS 11 and Community Roots
    PS 102 and PS 185 in Bay Ridge

    Can anybody tell me something about them? How is Bay Ridge as a neighborhood?

    nycschoolhelp - I finally had a chance to look at your site. I am interested in your service but trying to talk to my husband and convince him to do it. Keeping fingers crossed.

  10. #10
    PS 321 has an amazing reputation for its academics, its writing program and active PTA. The PTA puts on tons of events to support the extra student programs. If there is one negative, it's that the school is big, big, big. If your child gets lost in crowds, the school may not be the best fit.

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