My daughter is an 8th grader who has been on the honor roll since grammar school. I find it appalling that a child of her intelligence did not get accepted into a program of her choice, because it was decided that the schools were better off being run by lottery. My daughter is made to feel like she doesn't add up and is in some way a failure, because her name was not picked from a computer. There is something wrong when a student who has always received grades averaging 90 is not accepted, yet another student who received a final grade of 55 in Language Arts makes it in and does not even want to attend the school. Please help me to get her in to the school that she so wants to attend. Thank you.
Up in Arms
Dear Up in Arms
Your first job is to help your daughter feel better about not getting into the high school program of her choice. If I were you, I would keep emphasizing that she was not personally rejected—it is the random choice of a faceless computer that is to blame.
I assume that you went through the appeals process and are also keeping your eye on the wait list, if there is one at the school. And I suspect you have already engaged the guidance counselor to help your daughter. Of course, there are other avenues of redress. Send your letter to Bonnie Gross, director of Queens high school enrollment. You can call her as well (212) 374-0291. Be sure to send a copy to Leonard Treretola, Director of High School Enrollment; Robert Sanft, Director of Enrollment; and the Chancellor, Dennis Walcott. All are at 52 Chambers Street, New York, NY, 10007. Some districts have district family advocates who work with high school issues only. Check with your district to see if this is another option.
Meanwhile, try to emphasize the good features of the school in which she was placed. If there are simply none, and your appeal did not work out, use the end of August high school enrollment center (not yet announced where and when) as a last ditch effort. Who knows what spaces may be available then.
Good luck and remind your daughter that as a smart, hardworking person, she will be a success wherever she goes to school.