New Preschool Opening on Sterling Place – A Message from the Co-Directors


Dear Parents,

Imagine a Preschool where children don’t want to miss a day.
They come in with a smile and leave humming a musical tune. Walking through the rooms, you can hear the sounds of lively learning, song and laughter. Imagine a child who grows up with the warmth and spirit of Judaism, carrying the pride of their Jewish identity into their adult lives.

Introducing the Brownstone Gan Katan, an engaging, hands on new preschool. Founded on the belief that successful education is a result of exploration and creativity, the Gan invites the children to actively engage with their Jewish heritage through discussion, crafts, song and drama. Our warm and dynamic staff emphasize personal attention and care, ensuring the individualized success of each student.At the Gan we understand that we are only as good as our teachers are. With that in mind, we cultivated a team of enthusiastic educators professionally trained to engage the children’s natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge. Amongst our warm and caring staff, students feel safe to explore, learn and grow.

To schedule a private tour, please contact me at or 347.787.6578 We look forward to seeing you and your precious little ones.

Thank you to all the parents who already stopped by for a visit and enrolled, it was a pleasure meeting you all.

Looking forward
Chaya & Feige

Pre-K: Family Info Sessions Next Week AND Deadline Extended to Apply to Provide Pre-K


Attached find flyers for information sessions being offered March 20-22 in each borough to inform families about how to find and apply for pre-K in Community Based Early Childhood Centers.
  • Tuesday, May 20, 5:00 pm-7:00pm, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Public Library, Dweck Auditorium, 10 Grand Army Plaza , Brooklyn, NY 11238
  • Tuesday, May 20, 5:00 pm-7:00pm, Queens, Queens Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY 11432
  • Wednesday, May 21, 5:30pm-7:00pm, Staten Island, St. George’s Library, 5 Central Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10301
  • Thursday, May 22, 5:00-pm-7:00pm, Bronx, Bronx Library Center, 310 East Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, NY 10458
  • Thursday, May 22, 6:00-pm-8:00pm, Manhattan, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016
The Department of Education has extended the deadline by which Community-Based Early Childhood Centers (CBECCs) must submit an application to provide full-day Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) in September, 2014.
Applications are due via email to the appropriate field office by:  
5 p.m. Monday, May 19th.

Eligible organizations such as daycare centers, private schools, preschools and group family daycare providers with a DOHMH permit and others including libraries and museums may apply to provide UPK instruction daily, Monday through Friday, for 6 hours and 20 minutes per day, for 180 days between September 4, 2014, and June 30, 2015. The DOE will carefully screen all applicants to ensure safe, secure, high-quality options for parents.

Please visit: to download an application and obtain information and answers to frequently asked questions.

District 17 College Conference


Community School District 17 Resource & College Conference

When: Saturday, May 17, 2014 from 10am to 2pm.

Where: Middle School 61, 400 Empire Boulevard

Join us as we help you jumpstart your child’s future!

Workshops and Panel Discussions on:

  • Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School and High School to College
  • College and Career Planning
  • Parents’ Guide to Understanding the Process
  • Resources and Services: Scholastic, Inc., Financial Planners, College and Career Advisors, and many more.

Register TODAY Online OR call District 17 Main Office at 718-221-4372.

Find the college that is the right fit for your child. Workshops are geared to ALL grade levels, Pre-K-12.

Everyone Is Welcome!

Press Release: Mayor de Blasio Outlines Major School Reforms


More parent-teacher time each week, $4.4 billion to ease school overcrowding, pre-K for over 50,000 children, after-school for 100,000 more middle schoolers

NEW YORK—Visiting parents and students at P.S. 69 in Queens today, Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined major reforms coming to city schools. The sweeping changes were put forward by the administration in the executive budget and its contract with the United Federation of Teachers, and will fundamentally improve the education of hundreds of thousands of students.

The reforms address some of the most vital needs in our schools, from devoting 40 minutes each week to dedicated parent-teacher interaction, to $4.4 billion in capital funds to ease overcrowding, to fulfilling the Mayor’s pledge to dramatically expand pre-K and after-school programs.

Mayor de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and City Council Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm emphasized these fundamental changes would improve public education across the whole school system.

“These aren’t pilot programs that help a lucky few; they are foundational changes that will lift up schools in every neighborhood,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The strategic investments we are making recognize parents as true stakeholders, empower our educators and help students succeed.”

“We are making unprecedented investments in our children through an historic expansion of universal pre-K, and ensuring that from early education through high school, our focus is on preparing students for the future. The teachers’ contract and the reforms embedded in the Mayor’s executive budget reflect tremendous progress to restore dignity, opportunity and empower our city’s parents, schoolchildren, teachers and principals,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

“By instituting these reforms, Mayor de Blasio has demonstrated his commitment to ensuring that all of the students in our city’s public school system receive a high-quality education,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “I commend the Mayor, Chancellor Fariña, and the United Federation of Teachers for working together to implement reforms that are in the best interest of our kids.”

“I’m glad to see the administration making the necessary investments to help every New York City student reach their full potential,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “Smaller classroom sizes, increased parental involvement, and a well-rounded education that embraces the arts are the things that will put our children on a path to success. We owe it to them to make the one opportunity they have at a great education the best it can be.”

“Mayor de Blasio has quickly brought important reform to our public schools,” said City Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm. “Instituting universal pre-kindergarten, expanding middle school after-school programs, and dedicating $20 million to increase arts programs are all things that will help ensure that this generation of public school students will succeed. I am most pleased that educators and parents were included in the decision making process. As a former New York City public school teacher for 25 years, I can’t stress enough how important this is to guaranteeing the success of these reforms.”

The reforms discussed today include:

A Greater Voice for Parents: The UFT contract dedicates 40 minutes every Tuesday for teachers to reach out to parents by email, letter, telephone, or face-to-face meetings. The contract also doubles the number of evening parent-teacher conferences from two to four each school year.

Alleviating Overcrowding: This budget will start to address space conditions in the city’s schools, reducing overcrowding and the use of trailers as classrooms with $4.4 billion capital investment in new space, including class size reduction. In addition, the Department of Education will devote $480 million to remove temporary classroom units and rehabilitate the play yards where they had been located.

High-Quality, Universal, Full-Day Pre-K: The executive budget launches a major expansion of full-day universal pre-K to ensure that all 4-year-olds are set up for long-term success, including $300 million for 53,000 seats in FY 2015 and $340 million for 73,000 seats in FY 2016.

More Middle School After-School Programs: The executive budget includes an unprecedented investment of $145 million in FY 2015 to fund 34,000 new seats to serve nearly 100,000 middle school children.

More Arts Education: The executive budget also allocates $20 million in FY 2015 for arts education, which will be used to expand a range of art programs in schools across the city, improve art facilities, and increase partnerships with art institutions

Conference for Parents of HS Students: Fostering Parent Leadership


The NYCDOE & CEJ Present:

for Student Success

Saturday, May 3rd
8:30AM – 1:00PM
High School for Fashion Industries
225 West 24th Street
Manhattan, NY 10011

Register here or by calling (212) 374-4118
Free Breakfast
Free Childcare for children 5+
On-site Translation Available Upon Request
M5 to 6th Avenue & 23rd Street
M20 to 8th Avenue & 23rd Street
M23 to 7th Avenue & 23rd Street
1, C, E, or F to 23rdStreet
Spring 2014 Conference for Parents of High School Students:
Fostering Parent Leadership for Student Success
The purpose of this Parent Conference is to effectively empower parents as leaders and involve them in their children’s success.
8:30AM – Breakfast & Registration
9:00AM – 9:45AM
  Welcoming Remarks
Keynote, Chancellor Carmen Fariña
10:00AM – 11:15AM – Workshop Session I
11:25AM – 12:40PM – Workshop Session II
12:45PM – 1:00PM – Closing Remarks

Events and Information Resources


Below are various things taking place in Brooklyn and beyond…

  • Monday, April 28: There will be a training for community leaders interested in promoting safe infant sleep practices in their communities from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Brooklyn. Breakfast and lunch will be served, and participants will be asked to attend a follow-up training in June. If you are interested, contact Helen Flowers by emailing Slots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Free summer camp for children from low-income households: The Fresh Air Fund offers free summer camp experiences to children from low-income households who live in New York City. For more information and to apply, visit the Fresh Air Fund website
  • Free legal resources: The 20th annual Law Week will be in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx from April 29 to May 2 with one day in each borough. Free legal advice and referrals will be available. For more information,
  • Internship program for youth ages 16-24: COACH is a paid, 11-week internship program organized by the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation in Brooklyn. For more information, Emma Dealy Director of COACH (718) 676-1544
  • Resources for homeless female veterans with children: The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program supports homeless veterans with children in transitioning to the civilian workforce with job training, computer access, services referrals and childcare. For more information,
  • Job readiness workshop for veterans: Every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 665 Willoughby Ave in Brooklyn, there is a job readiness workshop for unemployed and homeless veterans. Refreshments are available. For more information contact Barrie Simpson at 718-852-6004 Ext. 252

Universal Pre-K Update


Subway and bus ads, PSAs and materials in nine languages urge parents to apply

Parents can apply for new options at

NEW YORK— Joining Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at a public school’s pre-K program today, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a major media and community organizing push urging New Yorkers to sign their children up for pre-K. The outreach campaign follows the announcement this week that the city has secured the funding necessary to expand pre-K to 53,000 children this September.

The outreach includes $300,000 of ads on bus shelters, buses and subways urging parents to register their children for pre-K, as well as public service announcements, promotions in taxicabs, robocalls to families in public housing, and a multilingual canvassing effort in partnership with community groups.

“This is about reaching parents where they live,” said Mayor de Blasio. “It’s going to take a mix of new media and old-fashioned community organizing to reach every family. From our Taxi and Limousine Commission to community groups in immigrant neighborhoods, we’re working with every partner we can find to get the word out about new pre-K options opening up. But the most important pieces of this equation are everyday New Yorkers. Talk to your family. Talk to your neighbors. Help us get the word out.”

“I and the Assembly Majority have long maintained that pre-K is the critical jumpstart our children need to be successful. I am so pleased that we have a powerful partner in Mayor Bill de Blasio, who knows that this program can be truly transformational and will provide new hope for working families and their children. It is critical that we spread the word as quickly as possible, and I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio and his team to make this program a huge success,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

The application deadline for public school options is April 23, and the Department of Education will notify families about public school placements in June. Families will also have an opportunity to apply for slots at community-based organizations later this spring.

The Department of Education is printing 70,000 Pre-K Expansion Guides that detail the new public school pre-K options. The guides are being mailed to 5,000 NYCHA families with eligible 4-year-olds and distributed through libraries, community partners and elementary schools. The Pre-K Expansion Guide will be translated in nine languages and available online.

For more information and updates on the pre-K application process, visit: or text “prek” to 877877.

Universal Pre-K Update


“With the investment announced today, this state has made a powerful and historic decision that will change the lives of tens of thousands of children. We set out down this road nearly 18 months ago. Through ups and downs, we never wavered from our promise to the people of this city to expand full-day pre-K and afterschool for our children starting this September. Today that pledge became a reality. With this 5-year commitment, we can now move forward to deliver truly universal pre-K. We can add new high quality after-school programs and begin to address the challenges we face in our education system. These are foundational changes to our schools that will lift up every child.

“This budget also recognizes the unprecedented homelessness crisis facing this city and our shared commitment to lift up people facing crisis. It represents a new beginning in our approach to homelessness by clearing the way for a new rent subsidy program that would help families transition out of our shelter system. These new partnerships between the city and state will mean we can begin turning the tide and protecting our most vulnerable. And I’m heartened that the budget provides a rent cap for those diagnosed with HIV or AIDS.

“We applaud what Governor Cuomo and our state legislature have accomplished for the people of this city. I look forward to continuing to work together with the governor to move New York City forward. We owe a debt of gratitude to Speaker Sheldon Silver and the New York State Assembly, whose two decades of advocacy and leadership on early education brought us to this moment. Their unity and commitment to truly universal pre-K for every child have achieved something truly extraordinary today. I am grateful for Co-Leader Klein’s work in the Senate to put our youngest children first. We also thank Democratic Leader Stewart-Cousins, Co-Leader Skelos, the Senate Majority, Senate Democrats and the IDC for standing squarely behind New York City’s children.” 

Press Release – De Blasio Speaks About His Vision for Education in NYC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 23, 2014 788-2958
No. 103


In Remarks at the Riverside Church, Mayor Promises to Bring People Together to Focus on Solutions that Reach Every Child and Change the Entire School System

New York City Stands Poised for First-Time to Secure Funding for Universal, High-Quality Pre-Kindergarten and After-School Programs

De Blasio Assails a ‘Failing Status Quo’ and Rhetoric that Divide School Communities


NEW YORK – In remarks Sunday before the congregants of the Riverside Church, Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out his vision for New York City’s schools and pledged a new approach that brings parents and school communities together. The Mayor assailed the failures and inequities of the current system, and pledged a new approach that fosters fairness and progress across the entire school system. The Mayor also urged an end to overheated, divisive rhetoric that too often distracts from an honest dialogue about making every New York City child career and college ready.

Mayor de Blasio’s remarks focused on a number of specific policy ideas to improve every school and trigger real opportunity for every student – from universal pre-kindergarten and after-school programs, to improving parental engagement, to bolstering teacher retention and support.

“My vision focuses on solutions that address the root cause of challenges in our schools – with early childhood education and supervised after-school programs chief among them,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We cannot continue a system predicated on the false choice between giving opportunity to a lucky few children, or to none at all. We are turning a page of the era of zero sum games. It’s time for big, bold changes that reach every child, that take innovations and share them, and that recognize we have no greater responsibility than preparing every child, in every borough, for college and career.”

Mayor de Blasio’s remarks zeroed in on the core principles that will guide his administration’s educational policy, including equity and fairness; refusing to tolerate the pervasive failures of the current educational status quo that leaves too many students behind; and uniting stakeholders and policymakers with a shared commitment to making the change that will lift up every student, instead of dividing school communities and pitting one family against another.

Remarks as Delivered

First, I want to give honor to God, without Him this day would not be possible.

I want to thank your extraordinary pastor. Pastor Forbes, you’re a light to so many of us, you’re a conscience to this city and this nation. Chirlane and I are humbled to be with you and with this great congregation. And I’m humbled to have a few moments just to share some thoughts and we all worship together.

I want to thank the Chair of this great organization, this great church, Len Leach. And all of the elected officials who are here. All the leaders of this administration who are here. And, you should know, they are working day and night, not only for the public good writ large, but they are working day and night for our children. To make sure that soon, there will be full-day pre-K for every child in this city.


Soon there will be after-school programs for every middle school student in this city.


And we honor these great public servants for what they’re doing.

This stunning church – this extraordinary place – has defined the progressive vision for so long. It has fueled and energized progressive movements here and around the world. It’s a reminder to us of what can be done. I think it’s fair to say pastor, in this church, things that were deemed impossible become possible.

Now last week this whole city, was moved, was humbled, was shocked, was saddened by the tragedy in East Harlem. We all had a sense of pulling together – we came together, it didn’t matter where we were from, who we were, we came together trying to help those in need.

But somehow when we consider the education of our children, when we as a society engage in discourse about the needs of our children, somehow we too easily pull apart. It becomes routine, it becomes even unknowing. We disconnect, we don’t communicate the way we cold.

And we have a crisis when it comes to education. It’s a tragedy of a different kind – too many children being left behind too frequently.

You know, only less than two thirds of our children graduate high school on time. And among those who graduate, less than a quarter are college-ready. And when you think about Latino and African American students, it’s only 11% who are college-ready.

When you think about that crucial third grade level, that make or break year, if you’re on grade level by third grade so many things can happen, and if you’re not, you can fall behind permanently. In this city today, among children of color, fewer than 20% are on grade level by third grade.

That is a crisis – that is a status quo that cannot be accepted.

And I want to refer to a great theologian, Paul Tillich, who spent time at Union Theological Seminary, walked the streets of our city. He wrote a book called The Shaking of the Foundations. And in it he said:

“The noise of these shallow waters prevents us from listening to the sounds out of the depth, to the sounds of what really happens in the ground of our social structure, in the longing hearts of the masses, and in the struggling minds of those who are sensitive to historical changes.”

And those most sensitive to historical changes are those who are being left out time and time again. And too often that is our children.

And so we have to shake the foundations. And this may be something that can unite us. Because I know people of every ideology who want to shake the foundations. I know teachers in traditional public schools who want to shake the foundations. I know people in the charter school movement who want to shake the foundations. And what can unify us is that sense of urgency that we can’t accept this status quo.

Now, the answer is not to save a few of our children only. The answer is not to find an escape route that some can follow and others can’t. The answer is to fix the entire system.


So many good people are laboring every day in traditional public schools, in charter schools, in religious schools, to uplift all our children, who will be the future of this city together. It doesn’t matter what school they went to – they will be our future together.

And despite those great efforts, a system that is broken fights against those efforts every day.

And so we have to approach systematic change – we have to go to root causes. And some of those are what people in this church have talked about so long – the true root causes of the challenges in our society – poverty, hunger, a lack of affordable housing. All of the things I talked about last year when I acknowledged this Tale of Two Cities that we’re living.

But even within the education system itself, we aren’t approaching the root causes and the systematic changes we need to.

We have to work from the assumption that we will save every child, that we will reach every child, that no system is actually working unless every child has opportunity.


And we need to be able to say, that despite the good efforts of so many, the school system is still broken in so many ways. Our brothers and sisters in the charter movement point to this reality. And I acknowledge that many people of good will in that movement are trying to shake the foundation. And we will work with them in good faith.

But we need to work on solutions for the whole.


The original notion of the charter movement was to innovate, to create laboratories for new and better ideas that then they could be brought into the whole traditional public school system. That’s a positive vision that we have to reengage.

The idea is not to create separation – the kind of competition that works for some and leaves others out. The idea is to create a fullness, a totality, a completeness in which our charter schools help to uplift our traditional public schools.

Six percent of our children in the charters – they are our children. We need them to succeed.

94% of our children are in traditional public schools – they are our children. We need them to succeed.


The notion that some children may be lucky enough – quote unquote lucky enough – to escape from the traditional public school in their neighborhood speaks volumes. Because so many parents feel that way right now. So many parents are simply looking for the best for their children. And sadly they don’t see it enough in their neighborhood schools.

That’s a reality I won’t accept.

I want the parents to know that we will not accept a neighborhood school that fails them. I know Chancellor Farina feels the same urgency I do. Our mission is to create a city in which, regardless of zip code, your neighborhood public school is a great option for your child.


There has been failure – we should not look away from it. We shouldn’t sweep it under the rug. But the failure hasn’t been on the part of our children. The failure hasn’t been on the part of our hardworking and struggling parents. It’s all of us in public life who haven’t measured up. And by the way it’s been for decades, and it’s been bipartisan, a sad universal reality of not reaching out and fixing those root causes.

Well I say we today, as I start my mayoralty, I am devoted to each and every child of this city. It is my responsibility to fix the problem. And I won’t choose between our children in this city any more than any parent can choose between children of their family. I will reach out to all of the children, in traditional public schools, in charter schools, in religious schools. They are all our children, they all deserve a solution.


We made some decisions in the last weeks, striving for fairness. But I have to tell you I didn’t measure up when it came to explaining those decisions to the people of this city. So let me start to right the ship now. We want children to have good options. But good options have to serve both the children they are intended for while not displacing or harming other children in the schools to which they may go.

There’s a charter school with 194 children. It’s a good school doing good work, and we are going to make sure those 194 children have a good home this year. But we will not do it at the expense of our special education children.


And that false choice has been set up as part of a broken system and a broken dialogue. And it’s time to start ending that kind of dysfunction. Not pitting one against the other. Not somehow allowing the education discourse to be the place where we’re least civil, least sane, least generous.

So we’ll protect the children who need our help, while not pitting one against another. Now, we have to get to the root causes, and I’ll finish quickly on this.

The root causes are that we reach our children too late, that we don’t keep them in school long enough each day. That we don’t make sure that the very best teachers stay in the teaching profession, that we don’t engage our parents in a systematic way to help uplift their children.

Those are all foundational problems.

You won’t read a lot about some of those problems and some of those solutions on the front pages of our papers. You won’t see them on the evening news because where there’s conflict, that’s where the energy goes.

But nothing would help our children more than reaching them earlier with full day pre-k.

Nothing would help our children more than extending the school day for after-school, so they’re learning more, they’re safe and secure, and they’re getting tutoring and homework help enrichment.

Nothing would help our children more than making sure every great teacher is supported, and constantly improving and remains a teacher for their whole career here in New York City.

And nothing would help a child more than recognizing, and I say this as a parent, a public school parent, a proud one, that our parents are the first and last teachers of our children.


And that means systematically supporting parents in their efforts to help their own children, showing them how, reaching out to them, bringing them in, because that’s the greatest value added when the parents are at the table, as part of making our schools work better.


We don’t talk about how to do that enough. And we don’t talk about how to retain great teachers enough. Until recently, we didn’t talk about early childhood education enough. We didn’t talk about afterschool enough. But now we are, and I’ll finish on this hopeful note, pastor.

In Albany now, a lot of good people are working to make sure we will do better by our children. They’re working to make sure we will break through that dysfunction finally.

They’re working for a reset – very good people of all different parties working together.

You know what they’re talking about a lot these days? They’re talking about pre-K, They’re talking about after-school.

And again, despite the partisan differences, and the way the political debate unfolds, I thank all the leaders in Albany. I thank all the members of the Legislature because they’re talking about this. They’re focusing on this.

I know Governor Cuomo wants us to have pre-K for all of our children. And I honor him for that. And this is one of those sea change moments.

Maybe despite ourselves, we’re finding our way to a common understanding that it’s time to actually invest in our children.

And when we do, when we do, because I know we will, I know a victory is upon us. I know it’s been a long journey, but I know a moment of change is about to happen. I know in the next few days the world will change before our very eyes. The way we think about education, the way we approach education is about to change.

And it’s not primarily because of anyone elected official in office, myself included.

It’s because of everyone in this congregation. It’s because the people of this city demanded it, it’s because they cared so much, they believed we could do something better. They would not accept the dysfunction; they would not accept a history that had let them down.

They wanted to shake the foundations. And now leaders are following the people.

Thank you, and God bless you.