Guide: Getting Involved

How can I see my child’s test scores?

Parents of public school students can view their child’s test scores on New York’s own system, ARIS Parent Link. To log in, you need your child’s student identification and password, which you can obtain from his or her school.

Over the summer, when state test scores are released, easy access stations are set up in select libraries in each borough, where parents can receive their login information. Once you are logged into ARIS, click on the “Student Profile” tab, then the “Summary” tab and then the “Assessment” tab to see the testing results.

Schools also distribute printed reports of test results in the fall. The Education Department recommends that parents with additional questions call 311 or contact their school’s parent coordinator.

Parents of children in charter schools need to contact their charter school directly, since charter schools do not provide student records on ARIS.

How can I participate in my district’s community education council?

There are 32 community education councils in New York and four citywide councils. The councils are advisory committees of elected parent leaders. They can review educational programming, approve zoning lines and make recommendations to the Education Department.

The councils are made up of 12 people — 9 elected parent members, 2 community members or local business owners appointed by the borough president and 1 nonvoting high school senior.

To become a member you must first assure that you are eligible to run. After your eligibility is confirmed, interested applicants need to fill out the application form.

All applicants will then be placed on a ballot and subjected to two rounds of voting. The first round, called the advisory vote, is open to all parents in the district. The second round is open only to PTA executive members — the president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.

When elected, community education council members are required to participate in training within the first two months of their term where they learn about the council’s functions and their duties. They must then attend mandatory monthly meetings with the public. The term of service for members is two years.

More information on eligibility, applying and voting is at Power to the Parents and a hard copy of the application can be found at the Education Department’s Office of Family and Information and Action, (212) 364-2323.

Besides the 32 school district-based community education councils, there are also education councils representing high school parents, parents of English language learners, parents of children with special needs and parents of children with more severe disabilities in District 75.

As the parent of a charter school student, can I participate in my district’s community education council?

If you are a parent of a student in a charter school or private school, you may not participate as an elected member on the school’s community education council. The only way you could participate in the community education council would be if the borough president selected you. The only way you could participate in the citywide councils would be if the public advocate selected you.

More information on eligibility for community education councils and how to apply to be nominated is available from Power to the Parents or the Education Department’s Office of Family and Information and Action, (212) 364-2323.

How can I participate in my school’s Parent Association (P.A.) or Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)?

As a parent of a student enrolled in a school, you are automatically enrolled in its P.A./PTA. Under State Education Law, Section 2590, every New York City public school must have a P.A. with bylaws that adhere to Chancellor’s Regulation A-660. The P.A./PTA bylaws are required to specify the day and time of the monthly meetings, and the P.A./PTA is required to let you know about the meetings at least 10 school days ahead of time through messages in your child’s backpack or postal mail or e-mail. There should be at least nine meetings a year, and each of those meetings should be held at your home school.

Aside from participating in meetings, you can become more deeply involved in your P.A./PTA by running for the executive board in spring elections. Even if you are an incoming parent, some positions could be reserved for you to run for in fall elections.

If your child is attending a new school which does not yet have an established P.A./PTA, it is the principal’s responsibility to notify parents in writing (via backpack or postal mail) of the need to establish one and to arrange the initial meeting.

More information about your P.A./PTA can be provided by your school’s parent coordinator or principal or the New York City Education Department’s Office for Family Engagement and Advocacy, (212) 374-2323.

Other ways to get involved with New York City schools can be found here.

How can I contact my school’s parent coordinator, and what is his/her role?

Parent coordinators should be the first point of contact for parents with concerns about their child’s school or education. However, because of budget cuts, not all city schools have a parent coordinator. If your school does have one, you can find his or her contact information on the school’s Department of Education Web page. Parent coordinators are part of the administrative team of your child’s school and are meant to be a liaison between the school and parents. One of their main goals is to increase parent involvement. They are supposed to hold parent meetings and create opportunities for parents to participate in the school community.

These answers were researched, reported and written by Jessica Bell and Jessica Campbell. To correct, improve or enhance an answer, e-mail