Rowing Through the NYC High School Application Process

Anyone who has children or knows of families living in New York City understands that exhausting and anxiety-ridden task of applying to high school. Whether it is a public, charter, or private school, there is the taxing experience of navigating said application process. Imagine you immigrated from another country to live in the “city of dreams” with your children and you want to give them all that is readily available. You not only might not speak English fluently, but you are also under the impression that you can simply enroll your child by walking into your local school building and signing a few papers. Well, you are in for a harsh awakening. Applying to schools in New York City is referred to an "application process" for a reason. What zone do you live in? What is your district number? Is my child eligible to attend a charter school? What is a charter school? Well, don’t worry, that’s where I come into the picture.

Our young people need to be granted the opportunity and skill-set of making well-education and informed choices about their future.

In the Spring of 2016, I received my Master’s in Education and since then, I have continued to work in schools. Just this past year, I was working in a public high school in Manhattan. During my time spent with my fifteen ninth grade students, I saw first-hand, the ramifications of choosing the wrong high school. While it is normal for young people to shift
their direction and developing sense of self, a student should never feel so distraught about their choice of high school. One student said, “I don’t even know why I chose this school, I didn’t get into the schools I wanted and I didn’t even really know how to choose a school so I just settled.” This is unacceptable.

ninth grade

This summer, I will be working with Row New York, a nonprofit that teaches adolescents from under-resourced and at-risk communities the opportunity to learn how to row. In addition, along with the skills and community of being a part of a rowing team, Row provides their student-athletes with academic, social and emotional support with trained professionals. One of my responsibilities this summer is to create a resource manual that supports Row’s student athletes and their family’s process of applying to high school. I will be sifting through Department of Education (DOE) data and accumulating research to put together a sustainable guide that will ease the stress for our kids and their family’s transition to high school.

The families and students whom Row serve have enough to deal with beyond attempting to comb through dense DOE documents in order to make certain their children are able to participate in their basic civic right: a free and appropriate education. It is my goal to design and generate a “how-to” guide that is easy and as stress-free as possible to comprehend. I not only want the student-athletes to choose the best school possible, but I want them to be proud of their choice because they know the school they chose parallel their goals and developing sense of self.