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My child scored in the 90th percentile on the G&T test last year, but didn't get offered a seat anywhere. What's the deal?
Dear Gifted Mom,
When dealing with the Department of Education, guarantees can be murky. Read the fine print and adhere to the rules:
Score in the 90th percentile or higher? Yes, you are guaranteed a district seat IF your child is going into kindergarten or 1st grade and IF on your application, you list every G&T option in your district. Ahead of you at the door are siblings of kids already enrolled. They have priority, based on the score they obtain. Then it is strictly by score. If there are more kids at the same score than there are places available, a lottery is held. If your child is one of those who does not get a place after that exercise is completed in all the district G&T programs, then there are two possibilities :
If there are enough kids who did not get placed, then the DOE might (and should) open an additional program. If there are not enough kids for a new program, then the DOE should offer a place in a neighboring district, where there are extra seats.
Some other factors:
If your top priority is for your child to be placed in the G&T program in his/her sibling’s school, make sure that school is your first choice on the application.
Twins, and presumably triplets, etc, are placed together if all are eligible. The twin or triplet with the highest score is the one who stands on the line. When placed, she brings her siblings in with her.
A placement exception request (PER) can be used to keep general ed and G&T students in the same school. In fact, you’d be wise to read the Gifted & Talented Handbook very carefully before submitting the application. There are many ins and outs that could apply to your situation.
As for Citywide programs, there is no guarantee at all. Highest scorers are placed first, and if your child did not get placed in a citywide program and you did not list all the district options, s/he could miss out altogether.
Don’t get too anxious about placement right now. Keep calm, cool and collected while you help your child prepare for the OLSAT/BSRA tests -- make it a fun exercise and bring a relaxed child to the test.
Mayor Bloomberg recommends that you visit a school before enrolling in kindergarten. So why won't some schools let parents in?
"We recommend that you call schools of interest to schedule a time for a visit," states the kindergarten admissions page of the city's Elementary School Directory. Good idea. The best way to get the feel of a school you are considering enrolling your child in is to take a tour, see the facilities and peek into the classrooms.
But what if the schools you wanted to visit were very reluctant to open their doors to prospective parents, allowed only zoned parents to visit, or refused to offer tours outright? Unthinkable? Not if you happen to live in Districts 20, 21 and others in Brooklyn.
While doing research for a presentation for prospective parents of kindergarten children, I found myself calling up District Community Education Councils as well as a dozen or so schools, searching for information on the availability of school tours. While CEC personnel in Districts 20 and 21 sought to be helpful, they drew a blank when it came to the subject of elementary school tours. They seemed surprised by the question. The only answer they could give me was to contact each school.
Contacting the schools took much patience and several phone calls before I was able to get a firm answer. My results: Most of the schools that were willing to give parents tours made it clear that they gave tours only to parents whose kids were zoned for the school. Some of the schools I called gave no tours at all, leaving parents to make an "informed" choice without much real information to base it on.
If Education Department officials really want there to be "school choice," how about letting parents see a school before we send our kids there? What do you say, Education Mayor?
The Haves and Have Nots of Elementary School Tours
Tours are offered at:
• P.S. 682 The Academy of Talented Scholars Dist.20
• P.S. 686 Brooklyn School of Inquiry (citywide G&T) Dist.20
• P.S. 177 The Marlboro Dist.21
• P.S. 97 The Highlawn Dist. 21
• P.S. 101 The Verrazano Dist.21
• P.S. 212 Lady Deborah Moody Dist.21
• P.S. 215- Morris H. Weiss School Dist. 21
Tours are not offered at:
• P.S. 247 Dist. 20
• P.S./I.S. 229 Dyker Dist. 20
• P.S. 186 Dr. Irving A. Gladstone Dist.20
• P.S.128 Bensonhurst Dist.21
• P.S. 315 Midwood Dist. 22
• P.S. 235 Lenox, Dist. 18
When I was a kid in elementary school, I dreaded lunchtime when a nasty girl in my class would relentlessly make fun of my hand-me-down clothes, tell your-mom’s-so-ugly jokes, and threaten bodily harm. I looked forward to middle school to escape, but my tormentor followed me there. What was worse, my middle school was overrun with even bigger bullies and administration had their hands full. So I did what most smart geeks did, hang out with my teacher during lunch—and try to be the first one out the door when the bell rang.
Thank you for agreeing to chaperone our upcoming field trip. It's safe to assume you are a first-time volunteer, since all parents who chaperoned previous field trips have informed us (sometimes via their attorneys) that they will never do so again. Therefore, you ought to know some basics.
How does the DOE decide to start a dual language program? Are they proposed by interested parents?
Dear ELL Mom,
Parents do have a big role in establishing dual language programs: the Department of Education is obligated to start one if at least 12 parents of English language learners who speak the same home language request one.
Close to half of city elementary schools do not meet state standards for arts instruction, even as the number of certified arts teachers in the schools has grown, according to the 2010-11 fifth annual Arts in the Schools Report released just before the holidays.
Winter recess begins on December 24th. Some students will head home with a bookbag full of holiday homework, while others will have a lighter load.
In this week's poll, we'd like to know how you feel about teachers assigning homework over the holiday break. Is it important to keep the momentum of the learning process moving during that downtime? Or, do kids deserve a break?
Vote now to let us know how you feel about holiday homework. Kids and teachers are welcome to vote too! Let's hear your reasons, for and against.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is watching educators get into trouble when Christmas creeps into the classroom. Keeping God out of government-funded schools can be tricky, particularly when everyone outside the building seems to be celebrating a religious holiday. Often, a misguided decision generates a news story.
Among this year's holiday offerings:
-- While giving a lesson about the North Pole, a teacher in Nanuet, NY, told her 2nd-graders that Santa didn’t exist. Dubbed the “Santa Clod” by the New York Post, the teacher later called outraged parents to apologize.
Just in time for Christmas, the Department of Education today released 2011 summer school information.
More than 6,000 3rd-8th graders were unnecessarily required to attend summer school in 2011. State tests, given in May, were not scored until later in the summer so schools had to estimate which students might be held back for poor test scores. This year they over-estimated. In 2010, the DOE had the opposite problem: more than 8,500 3rd-8th graders didn’t find out they were required to take summer school until the end of July, when it was too late to attend.
Of the nearly 28,000 3rd-8th graders who actually needed to attend summer school because they scored a 1 or 2 on state reading or math tests, 67 percent were promoted to the next grade. More than a third did not pass and had to repeat a grade.