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DOE reverses itself on sibling G&T policy

After announcing several major changes this fall in admissions' processes for gifted and talented programs, the city today reversed itself on the sibling policy. It will now give priority to siblings of students currently enrolled in elementary school G&T programs, even if their score is lower than other students who qualify.

This sibling preference policy reverts back to what it was for 2012 admissions. The Education Department said it reversed itself after receiving feedback from schools and parents, according to a letter sent today to parents of children in kindergarten through second grade who will be tested in January and February for next fall's G&T programs

The change will affect applicants for both citywide and district gifted programs as spelled out in the letter:

  • "For Citywide programs, siblings scoring at or above the 97th percentile will be placed first, by percentile rank. For district programs, siblings scoring at or above the 90th percentile will be placed first, by percentile rank. After all eligible siblings have been placed, non-sibling applicants will be placed by percentile rank.
  • In any case where there are multiple students with the same sibling priority and score, and not enough seats for all of them, offers will be made based upon a random assignment process."

For the past several years, approximately 1,000 incoming kindergartners scored a 99, the highest score possible on the assessments, but many did not get placed because there are only a few hundred seats available in the five citywide G&T programs. Some parents complained that their children lost seats in the coveted programs to students who scored lower but had siblings enrolled in the school. The DOE changed the policy, but the proposed change was shortlived.

"I guess there was pushback from parents with siblings in the school," said Joyce Szuflita of NYC School Help who advises parents in Brooklyn about school choice. "The city gives sibling preference everywhere else. I feel for the families whose kids are scoring high but I don't know how a familly can get two different kids to schools in two different boroughs at the same time."

This year there will be a new assessment that will count for two-thirds of the score. The DOE has said it hopes that the Naglieri nonverbal test will be harder to prep for and may level the playing field for all test-takers because it does not rely on language skills. 

But the bottom line, according to Szuflita, is there are not enough seats.

"Everybody who is eligible should have a seat," she said. "We'll see how effective this test is. If there are only 400 kids who are scoring at or above 97 percent, no one will be upset because pretty much everybody will have a seat."

The DOE's letter, signed by the chancellor, is printed below:

"Dear Families,

As you prepare for your child to take the Gifted & Talented (G&T) test in 2013, I wanted to share an update about how eligible students’ applications will be processed. In October, we proposed changes to the placement process and sibling priority for G&T admissions. The proposed changes were included in the 2012-13 G&T Handbooks. Based on feedback that we received from schools and families, we are not implementing the proposed changes this year.

For 2013 admission, we will use the same process and policy used for 2012 admission.  Below you will find a description of the placement process and sibling priority policy for 2013 admission:

  • Eligible siblings of students currently enrolled at a school (in grades K-5 for the following September) will be placed first.
  • For Citywide programs, siblings scoring at or above the 97th percentile will be placed first, by percentile rank. For district programs, siblings scoring at or above the 90th percentile will be placed first, by percentile rank. After all eligible siblings have been placed, non-sibling applicants will be placed by percentile rank.
  • In any case where there are multiple students with the same sibling priority and score, and not enough seats for all of them, offers will be made based upon a random assignment process.

We will update our online handbooks to reflect the changes described above. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Student Enrollment at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 718-935-2009.

We wish your child all the best.

Sincerely,

Dennis Walcott"

Last modified on Thursday, 20 December 2012 10:44

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