Wednesday, June 18

G+T Admissions: Has the dust settled?


Readers have commented at length on the vagaries and apparent inconsistencies of the g+t admissions process this year -- both citywide and district placements were delayed, couriered, mailed, faxed and variously communicated, to profoundly mixed results.

How is registration going, for those who accepted seats? For those who declined, what options did you choose instead? We've heard from families who are moving to be nearer their child's school -- and some who, reconsidering a long daily commute with a 5-year-old companion, elected for good local programs.

We're hoping for clarification from the DOE on some of the more pressing issues, like whether any children got into citywide programs with sub-99 or -98 scores, why some school-based programs seems to be closing, and why some kids with 95+ scores were offered seats at schools ranked low on their lists. Let us hear from you; we're sure there's more you'd like to know.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

We are declining a seat at ps 124 and feel terrible about it. The school is good and has a v. wonderful principal; however, the pick up and drop off would be a bear, requiring us to leave v. early each morning and get home even later than we already do in the evening. Does not seem right to send a small child so far away to school that we don't absolutely love and that is massively overcrowded. At the start of this process, all I wanted was to send my child to our zoned school that has a v. good gifted and talented program. The process from beginning to end was trying, and ultimately disappointing. And that includes the horrible time we had at the original test site, where there were not enough proctors for all students, requiring many students to wait over an hour and a half to be tested, appealing the test conditions and winning, only to have to forfeit the retest date because my child was too sick to be tested that day, to the angst of turning down a spot at a school that is good but just not right for my child.

Anonymous said...

One thing seems certainly clear - there aren't enough Anderson/Nest schools out there. With the large number of 99 scorers and the apparently large number who ranked these schools first it seems like there is a greater need for such opportunities - perhaps dispersed geographically. "Citywide" seems a misnomer for the three schools in Manhattan when the commute makes it next to impossible for a vast number of children in the outer boroughs.

Anonymous said...

Do they have second thoughts about the numbers-only game and no on-site interview...which, I'm sure helped programs find the students that meet their progam's philosophy and would benefit most from a certain setting?

Anonymous said...

The whole testing enterprise amounts to the rationing of quality education. And now it will be considered acceptable and necessary for any parent who cares about education to put their children through test prep classes and tutors. Saddest of all is Joel Klein's legacy of establishing this new false standard of quantitative testing as being the best and most 'fair' solution to the problem. Comparing 99's versus 97s on a test given to 4 year olds, one that has a margin of error of 5-10 points either way, is absurd. Let's scrap the whole idea once he is gone. The idea of creating 'mini-Stuyvesants' for kindergarteners is wrong-headed, not the least because parents have to take them and pick them up. At least NEST won its battle a few years back -- and can now lay claim to being right about keeping its independence. Let's start copying its model elsewhere, in other boroughs!

Anonymous said...

We got into our 2nd choice (which Nest+M with Anderson being 1st). My son got a 99% - not a sibling and we are in D2. Would like to know if anybody got into their first choice citywide with a 99%.Does anyone know what happens if someone turns down a spot at Anderson? No luck getting response from the Dept. of Student Enrollment.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if this is a repost, I think I may have typed code incorrectly...

What happens to students in Queens/Bronx who received "waiver" letters? Are they looking at current numbers and reassessing local programs? The scores, they say, stand for next year...only for district programs, or will citywides be available? (Yes, I know, not many seats, just asking for what it means.)

Anonymous said...

We declined our son's K seat at Nest (our second choice to Anderson). He will instead go to PS 24 in the hopes that he will be able to get into the g&t program there for 1st grade. We hope, we pray ...
I cried today as I submitted our form, it was a long process and when faced with reality of commuting down to Nest, I had to decline and feel like I let my son down, in a way.

Anonymous said...

DD scored 99 and we were fortunate to have her accepted to our first/only choice (Anderson). One of her friends also scored 99 but was shut out of Anderson. Agree with above poster that NYC needs more schools like Anderson and NEST.

Anonymous said...

1. Greater transparency on how the DOE is managing to fill seats left open when people turn down their placements. Read above poster, turning down a seat at NEST. That seat should rightly have gone to someone who is ready & willing to travel to NEST. How is the DOE handling this situation? The current system seems to be premised on rational decisionmaking by parents BEFORE they turn in their rankings, but human nature just doesn't work that way sometimes.
2. Please request a specific breakdown of the number of kids scoring 97, 98 and 99, broken out by District.

Anonymous said...

I find myself furious that the only "citywide" schools are in Manhattan. How about starting one in Brooklyn, Queens...? My daughter got a letter saying she didn't get into the schools I listed but has a place at another program in the district. However, I listed all the programs in our district so, WTF? And when I called, they just took my name saidf they'd call me back and have no idea what it means. I'm just glad we're happy at our current school, even though I think she might be better off at a G&T class.

Truly citywide said...

Citywide schools are not truly citywide unless all children within the 5 boroughs can access these schools. What is a Queens family to do after being accepted to a citywide school that involves more than 1 hr's commute and 2 trains? There is no district option for them.

Either provide transportation, or create more "citywides" that all children can commute to. There are gifted children in the outer boroughs as well, and they should not be neglected.

Anonymous said...

We emailed our reply (yes to 1st choice placement of ps10 in D15) but of course, we there is no confirmation...so, we messengered our tear off sheet to the DOE....

when the messenger svc got there, they called us to say that the guy at the desk at the DOE says "he's not allowed to sign for packages" and the messenger service wanted to know if they should drop it off anyway or not.

we told them to go ahead, of course, but it's an interesting policy of un-accountability over there at the DOE. basically, they didn't write us back to confirm receipt of our e-mail, and they refuse to confirm their receipt of the hard copy.

btw, we both of our letters came in the regular mail -- no courier. and the "duplicate" letter arrived first (on monday).

Anonymous said...

In response to 4:17pm -- we were lucky enough to get our first choice (99%) of citywide. I realize that few people were as lucky as we were and believe me, I don't take it for granted. Luck should not be the deciding factor in whether kids get the educational opportunities they deserve.

Anonymous said...

I would change three things in this process: 1) create more exceptional G&T programs outside Manhattan. Schools like Anderson and NEST can be created in other boroughs also. 2) Bump up the cutoff to 95% again. 3) Put qualifying children on equal footing. Use a lottery for 97+ kids for city-wides and the rest for district programs. Put them in a hat and draw randomly. Using the scores from top to bottom turned this year's process into a competition. Oh, and 4) keep deadlines in mind. Hopefully next year things are going to be smoother.

Things to keep: the BRSA/OLSAT combo seems to be doing a good job (I know that some of you will disagree with this). The sibling policy is awesome; never touch this!

Anonymous said...

This entire school system is in worse shape than anyone is really willing to admit. If your child doesn't score in the 99 percentile you don't even have a chance at a good education. If you accept the mainstream education your gifted child will sit and vegetate as the emphasis goes to bringing the slower learning kids up to speed. How can anyone propose budget cuts. This school system is in crisis!

Anonymous said...

4:49pm - the spots that are not being turned down by some families do not really exist! The DOE used statistical methods using past rejection rates to overaccept in order to get to the "right" numbers (within a certain error margin). I am very sure that over the summer the DOE will go around and ask folks who didn't get a spot if they are interested in one of the not so popular and therefore under-enrolled programs. Just like what airlines do. And airlines are more likely to fill up the cabins with standby passengers than they have to decline boarding.

Your second point that the number of children in each percentile should be revealed is just to satisfy your curiosity. I doubt the DOE is going to throw a body or two on this to get the numbers which are of no meaning at all. If you question the validity of the assignments you can always contact the accountability office and request an investigation, btw.

Anonymous said...

5:17pm: I don't understand. All children who scored 90% and above had the right to get a G&T spot. I understand that not all G&T programs are the same but maybe that is something that needs to be worked on. I don't think the school system in NYC is in a *crisis*.

Anonymous said...

I think the test needs to be recalibrated. There are too many 99s and too few seats for them.

Not sure if the BRSA is a good idea for weeding out giftedness. Also, this is easily prepped for now that more people know what it's about, so it becomes meaningless. Worst, those who are not as savvy and in the know will probably have their child score lower than a prepped kid.

Anonymous said...

In response to 5:22pm -- Greater, more accurate disclosure from a public agency about a process that affects so many families and children IS A GOOD THING. Yes, I am personally very curious to see the specific score breakdown in the highest ranges, but not because I plan to use the information to challenge anything or demand an investigation. You're reading more into my post than is there. The more information out there, the better. On the issue of overenrollment, you seem to know a lot about how the DOE is handling this situation. Are you speculating, or do you have hard information about how they will be handling this situation? Why doesn't the DOE say something publicly about this?

Anonymous said...

In response to 5:22pm -- Greater, more accurate disclosure from a public agency about a process that affects so many families and children IS A GOOD THING. Yes, I am personally very curious to see the specific score breakdown in the highest ranges, but not because I plan to use the information to challenge anything or demand an investigation. You're reading more into my post than is there. The more information out there, the better. On the issue of overenrollment, you seem to know a lot about how the DOE is handling this situation. Are you speculating, or do you have hard information about how they will be handling this situation? Why doesn't the DOE say something publicly about this?

Anonymous said...

If you don't think this school system is in *crisis* think again. Children may have been offered a spot in a G&T program but how far from home. Every child deserves to be taught at a level that challenges them. That would mean that every school give the correct amount of attention to every student. As it stands now non G&T programs just teach students to do well on the standardized tests so they can get an 'A' or 'B' on the annual report card.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with 5:17 the school system stretches beyond the Gifted and Talented programs. If the regular schools were held to a decent standard the Gifted and Talented seats would not be such a hot commodotiy

Anonymous said...

I think this whole G&T process is the most unorganized procedure I ever had to endure.
We got our second choice (NEST+m) and had been told at the Open House in May that there will be school busing available for us. (We live on the Upper West Side.)
Now today I finally got someone on the phone who is responsible for transportation at NEST+m. There is no bus whatsoever!! We will only get a MetroCard! Best of all, they do not give you any reliable information about transportation before you register at the school, but then you cannot pull the plug as in a computer game and start the whole application process all over again... How can you decide how to prioritize the G&T programs when they refuse to give you any information or even worse give you incorrect information???
For us this whole process is really a nightmare. We do not know what to do now.
Are there any other prospective NESTers from the northern part of the UWS/northern Manhattan who would be interested in organizing a private bus??? That would be really our last chance.

Anonymous said...

My daughter scored 99% and got Lower Lab, our 2nd choice after Anderson. It is a fantastic school, much more in line with Anderson than NEST, rigorous academically yet still nurturing -- "Nothing without joy" is their school motto. My question is = I hear so much chat on here about NEST and Anderson, but very very little chat about Lower Lab. Is it a well-kept secret? I am so excited to send my daughter there to be challenged AND have a wonderful time.

Anonymous said...

I agree that there should be more citywide programs in the outerboroughs. We did not apply to the citywides with a 99% because of the commute. I really hope we don't regret it later, but for this Fall, it was the right thing to do.

There also needs to be new classes opening up in 2nd or 3rd grade, when true giftedness (not just smart kids) show up. The couple of spots that open up are just not adequate.

Anonymous said...

I think the sibling policy should be changed. Rather than guarantee a G&T spot to a sibling, why not guarantee a spot at the same school. Why should a 90 sibling get a G&T spot over my 98? Especially with schools like ps9 only having one class this year. Very few spots for non-siblings.

jane said...

vereyrel

Anonymous said...

We are the parents of a (twin) DS in D5 who scored 99%. We struggled with the unfair reality that our twins would be seperated in Sept for K but were unprepared for being shut out of our two citywide choices (NEST+M and Anderson). I have placed 50 calls to the BOE and OSE since Monday with no return call. I have however been advised by our D5 family advocate that I should 'strongly consider' our zoned G&T options. These 'options' which I feel I am being 'strong armed' to consider are when comparing to the citywide and D1,D2,D3 schools EMBARRASING and very very sad. The schools 1) lack fundamental resources 2) lack diversity and 3)house a large % of emotionally and developmentally challenged children.
The NYC BOE is a disappointment, not only to the hard working parents who strive to provide their children with the best of opportunities but to these children themselves who would benefit greatly from additional resources that the 'better' districts and G&T programs offer. After a disappointing day of touring our two options my husband and I have opted to enroll our twins in a D5 parochial school which emphasizes education and not religion. The children benefit from additional resources and teaching provided by Teachers College (ranked 3rd in US News for Education in 2009). If there are any other D5 parents in the same predicament, feel free to email me, I am happy to share school info with you -perhaps we can band together and give our
rejected 99%'s a fair shot at quality education.
feel free to email me at : ed2323@columbia.edu

Anonymous said...

As many have said, this process has been discouraging at best. We are D6 and (with 99/99) got into our fourth choice, a local G&T that we were frankly unimpressed with at the OH after ranking Anderson, NEST and TAG in that order. A lesson learned for our second child. We are certainly not going through this again, although I don't know whether we will stick it out for our mediocre zoned school or leave NYC altogether. There has been so much negative press about this process. What will it take for a real substantive and lasting change?!

Anonymous said...

We are fortunate that our child got into NEST and will be sending her there for K in the fall, but initially struggled at making a decision. We live in Queens and driving her every day was not an option. Anderson and NEST (don't know about TAG Scholars) both have private bus service available. For those outer borough parents, call the PTA office of the school. They are the best resource to find out about transportation options and other parents in similar situations.

This whole process has been unnecessarily painful and confusing. I only hope that the DOE tries to learn a little something from this so next year won't be so bad.

Anonymous said...

Our son 98 was accepted in 4th choice district school. Took a while but we are beginning to accept it as the best the system can offer right now. Too many kids not enough seats. Good luck to all

Anonymous said...

We actually emerged from the g&t process in pretty good shape. Because my son had a 98 I knew going into the selection process that he had no chance of Anderson although we thought he might have a shot at Nest. We ranked those as our first two choices anyway and then the district 3 schools. Because we have a boy we picked 166 over 9 as our third choice Therefore we were not at all disappointed (or surprised) when we landed at 166 and are happy to learn that a number of our classmates will be 99s and fellow 98s. We are optimistic about the year to come.

Outer Borough said...

Helen,

Are there any plans to create more citywides in the outer boroughs? Brooklyn has enough 97%+ scorers to fill a school. I added up 97%+ scorers in 4 adjoining districts in Queens (24,25,26,28) and these 4 districts alone add up to 100 students.

Also, will they be offering district G&Ts in the same schools as they are this year (more or less)? District 28 has 4 new schools hosting G&T this year, but the 2 schools that started G&T last year are not part of the 4. Is there any predictability at all, or do parents have a mere 2 weeks to rank their choices (tour, do research) like they did this year?

Meera said...

Helen,
I have yet to receive a placement letter/offer even though my daughter scored 97 on the test. No answers from the district or Anna C's office. I also listed district 30 schools as first choices cause I don't want to do the commute to Manhattan. Mr. Jose in the district office tells me my daughter's name is not on any placement list!

HELP!

Anonymous said...

Our son with a score of 98% (98/99) was offered our third choice school, Lower Lab. NEST+m was our first choice, followed by Anderson. We actually ranked all the schools and sent in the form before we realized that the deadline was extended and that some schools were offering tours. We were able to visit our top three choices, but our fourth choice didn't offer tours. After the tours, we determined that if we were not offered a seat at NEST+m, we would send our son to our local school, a wonderful school in D2 (the school that both my husband and I attended when we were kids). Frankly, we were appalled by the situation at Lower Lab: 1) given the populations of Lower Lab and the local school that hosts LL, the children are racially segregated; 2) on the tour, we learned that each school uses separate entrances (rings of jim crow laws to us); and 3) LL does a considerable amount of fund-raising, but seems to do little to support and help its host school, PS 198. As my husband said, we did not go to public school in the 1960s and early 1970s pledging allegiance to the flag and singing, "We Shall Overcome," to send our son to a school like Lower Lab. As lifetime New Yorkers and strong believers in the values of public education, we are so disheartened that the city's school system has come to this. We believe that diversity, respecting difference and inclusiveness are essential life lessons that are far more valuable than the education offered in "accelerated" or "gifted & talented" programs. We were so opposed to the whole notion of G&T, but we were urged by various early childhood educators to explore it. We thought NEST+m was truly a stand-out compared to the other schools. As much as we dream of a day when each and every public school will be given the resources it needs to give all its children the opportunity to reach their full potential, I'm afraid that we have fallen victim to a severely-flawed and cost-draining program that has us wishing that our telephone will ring in late August asking us if we would like our son to attend NEST+m in September. To those who are happy with their offers, I say congratulations. To those who are not, I urge you to keep believing that we can be nation that cares about the quality of its people, but it's going to require that we take a stand, not just for ourselves and our children, but more importantly for those who need a voice and helping-hand.

Anonymous said...

I have 2 kids who both scored 98%. My older one was offered a spot in a district program that hasn't filled up yet and that wasn't on his form. DOE hasn't returned my calls to find out what that school is. Meanwhile, my younger one got her 4th choice - the district school. We've decided to stick with our excellent local school but I feel very discouraged at the severe lack of options and the whole process. My older child's teachers have been saying for years (K and 1st grade) that he needs to be in a G&T program. He's an incredibly creative, bright kid. Now with the budget cuts and larger class sizes, I'm even more worried that my kids won't get what they need in school. I agree that we desperately need more programs and some citywide programs in the outer boros. There's SO MUCH attention focused on special-needs kids and rightfully so, but gifted kids need special attention too!

Anonymous said...

Helen,
Can you please help those of us in the outer boroughs find a person to contact to start petitioning for accelerated G&T programs based in Brooklyn, Queens, etc.? This year's process failed for our son, who scored 99, and although I doubt we'll reapply next year, I would be happy to get involved in "making some noise" in order to create better options for students in the future.

Anonymous said...

We are interested to know whether any families in district 2 chose ps 126 and/or gave it a high or #1 ranking. We were told the g&t class next year was being canceled due to lack of interest but find this difficult to believe for a number of reasons. First, the principal was impressive. She was excited and motivated to make the most of the program. The building was big, well maintained and had great playgrounds. The parents on the tour with us appeared to be very interested in the school, as we were. Second, the instructions on the application directed families to rank all schools in order to be guaranteed a spot. I am told by the board of ed that it takes only 10 students to hold a g&t class, and I know it is not very likely that 126 did not appear on lists of at least 9 other parents. We ranked it #2. Any feedback from other district 2 parents around impressions or rankings of 126 would be appreciated. We are very disappointed.

Anonymous said...

For those interested in Nest+M....FYI only. We are turning down our offer and sending our son to another school instead. I am willing to give you more information if you want to pursue it further with OSE. Please contact me directly 646-351-7137.

Anonymous said...

To those who think it is best to wait until later in a child's academic life for G&T... I think that recognition of "giftedness" can occur at any grade level. 4th grade, 5th grade, or even as young as preschool. There are a small number of kids who can do math or read at a very very early age. To start them in regular classes may easily turn them off learning or lead to behavior problems. I thought that other kids would catch up to my child (who loved to count, add, and subtract when he was two) by now. They have, but now he loves fractions, multiplication, division, negative numbers. It's not something we push; it's his passion. We were lucky that he was accepted to a citywide school for K. We hope that he has peers there and does not stand out but can make friends who understand him. A tall order, I know!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4:33:

PS24 is a wonderful school. Your child will thrive, especially since your family situation will be better. A happy environment is the most important part of education. Have faith in your decision!

Anonymous said...

To 9:27am = get over yourself. Your bragging about your child to all the blogging parents with their own gifted kids is a real turn-off and makes me fear the attitudes of other city-wide G&T parent, as my child is city-wide too . Believe me you're not the only one with a kid who can do math.

Mariana said...

My situation is similar to Meera's (11:08 6/18).

I have yet to receive a placement letter/offer even though my son scored 94% on the test. I listed the 2 district 30 schools as first choices. The district office tells me my son's name is not on any placement list!

HELP!

Anonymous said...

I wish every parent who notes their children's score on this blog would also admit whether it was test prepped/tutored or not. This is the biggest issue regarding fairness that I see to the whole scheme.

Anonymous said...

In response to 11:22 a.m., our son received no prep or coaching; we don't believe in it. He scored 98/99 on the OLSAT/B and was ranked 91%-97% on the Stanford-Binet. Trying to get your child to achieve higher results on I.Q./aptitude tests is just not productive as it puts undue stress on the child, the child-parent relationship, and possibly even results in placing your child into an academic setting that is really beyond his/her true abilities. I also think at such a young age, how well a child does on these tests depends greatly upon the mood of the child that day and his/her rapport with the tester. Not to mention that developmentally some bright kids at this age will purposely give the wrong answers just to challenge the test-giver.

Anonymous said...

My daughter scored a 99 and was not prepped, except the practice test in the booklet available in the school office. She practiced about three times over holiday break. We chose our district school. I'm a stay at home mom with two children, one a toddler and my daughter who's in pre-k. I thought she could handle the test and since it was free and she's bright, why not?

I didn't send her to a prestigious, expensive daycare/pre-school, and yet those who did call me elite for having my child take the test because they're child didn't make the cut off even though they were tested, or because they don't believe in testing. Oy. I never realized G/T was so controversial.

I'm in Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

Our daughter (98 percentile, never prepped/tutored before testing--info as requested by 11:22 AM) was accepted at our first choice district school in Queens for 1st grade.

We received the letter on Monday and immediately emailed our acceptance and called the school for info on its registration process.
They are holding an orientation/registration meeting next week, which our schedule will not allow us to attend.
So we went on Tuesday to the school, and registered her.

We are happy see our very-serious, studious daughter (who self-taught ABCs by two, phonics and 2nd grade reading at five on her own using LeapPad) can have wider-range social interaction with other great kids who are talented in many ways to learn from (hopefully to loosen up some:)), and be academically challenged in class. We are confident that we made the right decision for her especially after having seen the school and met the teacher/staff there during registration.

We hope the G&T admission process will work more smoothly by the time we will deal with this again for our son, but we are thankful for the fact that the program exists in NYC (Some friends in different states told us that theirs do not start until older grades),and that this over-6-month process is finally over.

Anonymous said...

To 9:58: I am sorry you saw my post as bragging. The last thing I wanted to do was turn you, or anyone else, off.

I have honest, real concerns about my child making friends at school, and I simply wanted to say how excited I am that he will be with other kids who also really love math.

Anyway, I am sorry for what I posted.

Anonymous said...

To 2:55 Don't apologize everyone knows that social skills are passed on genetically and you have every right to worry

Anonymous said...

What's the point of personal sniping here? The snark has plenty of room on plenty of blogs. Granted, personalities and opinions are strong, but if there's a choice, why not take the high road?

Anonymous said...

Really 5:37 that is so low and unnecessary! Why make her feel so bad when her intention is gracious?

Anonymous said...

My son scored a 94 on the test. The only prepping(if you call it that) he got was from the practice test in the booklet. I am happy with his results but the entire process has been discouraging. Since we live in district 6, we only got two schools to chose while others got many more. I thought I was garauteen busing, but learned that I may not recieve it and I learned from a teacher of a G&T class that the DOE does not fund the G&T program since Bush's NCLB Act.
The district schools learn the same curriculum as Gen. Ed and it is up to the teacher/school to provide some kind of enrichment for these students.
I am really divided in what to do. I am considering leaving my son in the catholic school he's in.

Over all, I just him to a have very good education and grow up to be a successful, respondsible young man.

Anonymous said...

to 11:29 Glass Houses!