One of the great things about New York City is the number of terrific organizations and resources available to help families with a wide array of issues.
InsideSchools is one of these organizations. Their nonprofit mission is to provide independent information on New York City's public schools, enabling parents to know what their school options are and to make knowledgeable decisions about schools based on the best available research on every public school in the City. They are in the process of updating their search tools and they continue to offer reviews of individual schools, as well as guides to such important topics as how to transfer schools, a guide to special education in public schools, and how to enroll in elementary, middle, and high schools. Inside Schools was initially a project of Advocates for Children of New York (see below), before moving on to be part of the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School.
Inside Schools is seeking volunteers to assist with reviews for charter high schools and middle schools across through the city. If you are interested and have at least six hours a week to volunteer, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org, sharing a bit about yourself, the grade level in which you are interested, and what neighborhood you know the best.
Another excellent nonprofit that supports New York City families and students is Advocates for Children of New York, (AFC) whose work is directed at "...children who are at greatest risk for school-based discrimination and/or academic failure due to poverty, disability, race, ethnicity, immigrant or English Language Learner status, sexual orientation, gender identity, homelessness, or involvement in the foster care or juvenile justice systems."
Among their extensive services are a Helpline, which offers advice in a variety of languages and a wide array of written guidelines and resources. AFC also is involved in policy work and litigation, including a number of groundbreaking court cases that have extended the rights of students with disabilities.
Even after many years of working in the world of education and special education, we often turn to these organizations' websites, for information about a particular school or school district, or guidelines to share with a family we are assisting. They are both worthy of your support.