In 2008, community group Town Square gathered all the schools in the district – private, public and charter schools, early childhood centers and extracurricular providers – to the Grand Street Campus for the first SchoolFEST, a one-of-a-kind school fair for North Brooklyn students and parents.
Now in its seventh year, SchoolFEST returns next Saturday, January 25th, for its biggest event yet. Once again, all Greenpoint and Williamsburg schools – daycare to high school, private and public – are invited to a single venue to showcase and celebrate their programs for prospective students and parents. John Ericsson MS 126 Magnet School for Environmental Engineering, which is undergoing a successful transformation, will be this year’s host. So far, more than 70 schools and organizations, as well as several colleges and local service providers have signed on for this year’s event.
More than just promoting local schools, SchoolFEST “offers a networking and informational experience for both schools and parents,” explained Susan Anderson, Executive Director of Town Square. “SchoolFEST allows our neighborhood schools to share new information and projects with each other so that our entire district benefits.” Relationships begun at past SchoolFESTs have resulted in successful, long-term collaborations between schools, service providers, community-based organizations and elected officials.
SchoolFEST 2014 will also offer workshops on various educational topics, with special attention paid to helping parents navigate school choices and the admissions processes so they can make the best choices for their children’s educations. New York School Help’s Joyce Szuflita will speak on Middle and High Schools applications, as well as the new (and bewildering) Kindergarten admission process. And with the assistance of MS 126, a “pop-up Kindergarten Application Kiosk” will be set up, complete with laptops for parents to submit applications.
Last year’s SCHOOLFEST drew almost 100 institutions and more than 700 students, parents, teachers, and professionals. This year, Anderson worked closely with District 14 Superintendent Alicja Winnicki, resulting in better school participation, including several that will be attending their first SchoolFEST.
“The most interesting part of SchoolFEST is how it reflects our changing community,” Anderson said. “The schools are becoming more aware of the importance of developing community partnerships and parents want to become more knowledgeable about the local school community.”
SCHOOLFEST is free to attend. Application is required for schools or organizations that would like to participate. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://tinyurl.com/SchoolFEST -2014-application -2014-application for an application.
Saturday, January 25th – 12PM – 4 PM
John Ericsson MS 126 Magnet School for Environmental Engineering – 424 Leonard Street