New York City has the largest system of school choice in the country, but navigating the bureaucracy can frustrate the most intrepid parent. To help parents evaluate their choices, I give talks to meetings of Parent Teacher Associations.

The sessions at schools generally last 1 1/2 hours, with a 45 minute overview and 45 minutes for questions from the audience. The talks are geared for nursery school parents looking at kindergarten, 5th grade parents looking for middle schools, and 8th grade parents looking for high schools.

The agenda, which will be adapted for your particular school, typically includes:

What are your options?

  • neighborhood school
  • gifted or honors programs
  • out-of-district choices
  • charter schools

What to look for in a school:

  • Close to home or far away
  • Large or small
  • Traditional or progressive
  • How to judge the quality of teaching
  • Questions to ask on a tour


  • When to apply
  • How to apply
  • How to rank your choices
  • What to do if your child if rejected.

I am also available for individual consulting. Please contact me at hemphilc [at] or by telephone, 212 229 5400, ext 1521.