Parent Empowerment Listening Tour Themes

Academics

How can I get tutoring/homework help for my child?

You can start by having a conversation with your child’s teacher so you can work together to meet your child’s needs both inside and outside of school. Schools host parent teacher conferences four times a year. These conferences are a great time to sit down with your teacher to discuss your child’s progress and academic expectations, including how you can support your child at home. In addition to your child’s teacher, you can contact your school’s parent coordinator. Parent coordinators are great resources and can help with a wide range of issues. You also can meet with your principal or assistant principal. They can let you know about options for homework help and additional instruction. If your concerns are still not resolved, contact your family support coordinator. Family support coordinators can help with concerns that are not solved at the school level. If you need contact information for any of these people, visit your school’s page on Find a School or call (718) 935-2200.

Afterschool

How can we get an afterschool program at our school?

First, check with your school principal about afterschool programs. For options outside of your school, look into the Comprehensive After-School System of NYC (COMPASS NYC). COMPASS programs are free and are located in schools, community centers, religious institutions, and public housing and recreational facilities throughout the City. For more information on applying for City-funded afterschool programs, call 311 or visit the Department of Youth & Community Development. If you need additional support, email afterschool@schools.nyc.gov.

Enrollment

How can I get help with high school admissions?

Start with your child's school counselor. Your counselor can help you learn about school fairs, open houses, application deadlines, and program options that would be a good fit for your child. In the fall, counselors can also help you access, complete, and submit your child's high school application.

For additional help:

  • Call (718) 935-2009 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.–6 p.m. (interpretation is available in more than 200 languages).
  • Visit a Family Welcome Center. Find locations and hours at Family Welcome Centers.
  • Get an overview of high school admissions and learn about events and open houses on our high school admissions page: High School Admissions.
  • Explore your child's high school options online at MySchools.nyc. Year-round, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Start browsing" to search the MySchools high school directory. In the fall, your school counselor will help you access your child's personalized application in MySchools.

Facilities

If something is broken or deteriorating at our school, how can we get it fixed?

Every school works with a District Director of Facilities (DDF) who is responsible for any facilities concerns at your school, and works closely with custodial staff. If you have a maintenance issue at your school, your principal should contact the DDF. Use Find a School to get contacts at your child's school.

Food

How can our school get better choices for school breakfast and lunch?

Our school meals are healthy and nutritious, and we’re always looking for ways to improve the food in our schools. We rolled out Meatless Mondays this year, started a new student advisory group on school meals, and have a scratch cooking pilot in Bronx schools.

We conduct food-tasting events with students across the City and regularly add more nutritious options based on feedback from students. If necessary, we remove food items from our rotation and inventory. To report a concern or learn more about our menus and programs, please email SFWebsitesuggestion@schools.nyc.gov or call our help desk at (877) 363-6325 from 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday–Friday.

Language Access

How do schools communicate with parents who do not speak English?

Every school has a Language Access Coordinator who can help with translation services, on-site interpretation, over-the-phone interpretation, and other language access services. If you or someone you know needs translation help, tell your school’s principal or parent coordinator. You may also contact the DOE at Hello@schools.nyc.gov or call (718) 935-2013. For more information, visit the In Your Language page.

Mental Health

What support is available for students with mental health issues?

Mental health resources are available to every public school in New York City. We provide targeted support to each school community based on their needs, which may include social workers, counselors, crisis intervention and training for staff. Ask your parent coordinator for more information about your school's mental health program. You can find more information, including a list of services by school, on the Mental Health page.

Parent Leadership

How can you help PAs/PTAs to grow and improve?

We offer several different types of training for PA/PTAs, including downloadable resources available on the DOE website in the PA/PTA Resource Folder. In addition, we offer monthly onsite and web-based trainings that are open to all parent leaders. Check the Parent and Parent Teacher Association web page for updates. Also, check with your family leadership coordinator and parent coordinator because they may offer local training options.

Can parent leaders get office or storage space at their school?

Yes, principals should be able to designate a room or space for PA/PTA use. In addition, the school must provide a locked storage space for PA/PTA records, access to a computer with internet service, printing and photocopying, and the ability to receive mail at the school address. You can find more information in Chancellor’s Regulation A-660, which explains the basic rights and responsibilities for PAs, PTAs, and Presidents’ Councils.

Safety

How can we get a school safety agent or crossing guard for our school?

The DOE works in close partnership with the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and we have detailed protocols and programs in place to ensure the safety of all school buildings. Each year, the DOE develops an individualized safety plan for every building, which is approved by the NYPD.

School principals are in charge of implementing all safety procedures at their respective schools, so you should raise any safety concerns to your principal. Every school works with the local precinct and a Borough Safety Director from the DOE who focuses on keeping our kids safe.

Special Education

How does the DOE support students with disabilities so they will be successful when they transition to a new school?

We’re committed to meeting the needs of our students with disabilities. Students with Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) participate in the same admissions processes as their non-disabled peers, and all schools serve students with disabilities. Special education is not a “place,” but encompasses a wide range of services provided in a variety of school settings.

The IEP team conducts evaluations to determine which school setting will best support children in reaching academic goals. The DOE is committed to educating students in the least restrictive instructional environment appropriate to meet their educational and socio-emotional needs.

As part of our new proposed Capital Plan, students with an accessibility need will receive priority at the fully and partially accessible schools they list on their applications. This policy ensures that students have the ability to attend a school that is right for them, and that every student with an accessibility need is guaranteed an accessible placement.

You can find information about moving to preschool, kindergarten, middle school, and high school on the Special Education page. Families who need help can call (718) 935-2007 or email specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov.

Transportation

How do I communicate a concern about transportation?

Families can contact the Office of Pupil Transportation at (718) 392-8855, send an email to PupilTransportationTeam@schools.nyc.gov, and find additional information on the Transportation page.

Contacts for Help

If I have a question and I’m not getting an answer from my principal, who can I contact?

See our new Connect With Us page for help and contacts at the DOE.

You can also reach out to your district support team, including the family support coordinator, for assistance. Family support coordinators can help with concerns that aren’t resolved at the school level. They consult with superintendents to help parents. Find contacts for district support teams on our Superintendents page.

If you aren’t able to resolve your issue with the family support coordinator and superintendent, you can contact the executive superintendent for your district. You can find contact information on the Executive Superintendents page.

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