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On Tuesday, Jan. 15, Insideschools and the Center for New York City Affairs will co-host a conversation with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn on the future of schools in New York City.
Quinn will discuss her vision for "building a 21st century school system," including college and career readiness. She will also participate in a Q & A with Insideschools' founder and senior editor, Clara Hemphill. This event is one of a series of events with potential 2013 mayoral candidates sponsored by the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School. (See a write-up of a 2012 event with mayoral hopeful Tom Allon here.)
Quinn also spoke about city education policy, along with other potential mayoral candidates, at a GothamSchools event in November. See a rundown of that event here.
The Jan. 15 forum will be at The New School, at 65 West 11th Street, from 8:30 am to 10 am. Tickets are free but you must reserve a seat; RSVP here: http://strongerschools.eventbrite.com/. Do it soon! It's a small venue and seats are going fast.
The Nov. 7 Gifted and Talented information session in Queens, cancelled twice due to storms, has been rescheduled.The new date is Wednesday, Nov. 14 at Frances Lewis High School, from 6-8 p.m. The Nov. 8 session at PS 121 in the Bronx is on. Education Department admissions officials will cover the G&T admissions process for students entering kindergarten, 1st, 2nd grade and 3rd grade in the 2013-14 school year.
Families now have until Nov. 16 to sign up for G&T testing for their children; that's a one week extension from the original Nov. 9 deadline. Most parents will submit the request for testing form online, but others may go to the enrollment office.
Parents who miss going to one of the sesions should be reassured that virtually all of the information covered in the sessions by DOE officials is in the G&T handbook (pdf).
One of the few bits of information not covered, that we heard mentioned at the Brooklyn and Manhattan sessions, was that 4-year-olds will not be expected to "bubble in" their responses. In fact, they are strongly encouraged not to do so. Parents who expressed concern that their children might be shy, or reluctant to go in to a room with a stranger, were reassured that all teachers administering the assessments are well-trained and accustomed to working with small children.
For more information, see the DOE's G&T page.
(updated Nov. 8 with new information)
Eighth and 9th graders applying to high school for 2013 lost not only a week of classes thanks to Hurricane Sandy, but they also lost a busy week of school visits, open houses, specialized tests and auditions.
The Education Department posted a list of changes for the specialized high school exams and some audition schools, but for individual schools, your best bet is to check the school's website or call.
Specialized high schools and audition schools:
Auditions at LaGuardia High School scheduled for Nov. 3-4, will be held Nov. 10-11
Auditions at Frank Sinatra scheduled for Nov. 3-4, will be held Nov. 10-11
Auditions for Professional Performing Arts School are rescheduled for Nov. 10-11. November 10 (drama and vocal), and November 11 (musical theater and dance) for residents of Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Note location change: Dance auditions will be held at PPAS at 328 West 48 Street.
The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT scheduled for Oct. 28 will now be held on Nov. 18
The SHSAT scheduled for Nov. 3 will be held on Nov. 17.
Edward R. Murrow High School: Edward R. Murrow HS will be having one more open house before applications are due. Their last open house is on Thursday, November 15 at 7:00 pm. This meeting is for all students including those who are interested in our science and math program (Murrow Med, Master Program, MSTAR Science Research, Murrow Math Seminar), Instrumental/Vocal Music, Theater and Art Programs. A
general presentation will also be made. Come to the Avenue L entrance. See the school's website for more information.
High School of Telecommunications Arts and Technology: Wednesday and Thursday 9 am tours will continue through December. Call parent coordinator Barbara Yarshevitz with any questions: 718-759-3427.
IS 228 David Boody, Thursday, Nov. 15, 9-11 am and 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Kingsborough Early College Secondary School, Thursday, Nov. 15, 6:30-8:30 pm
Bayside High School Open House Rescheduled to November 8th. Doors open at 6:30 pm; presentation at 7:00 PM
Forest Hills High School: Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 at 6 pm in the auditorium for prospective parents and students.
Information sessions about the admissions process for elementary school Gifted and Talented programs originally scheduled for this week will be held next week, the Education Department announced this afternoon.
In Queens, the information session will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at Francis Lewis High School.
In the Bronx, the info session will be held on Thursday, Nov. 8 at PS 121.
Both sessions will go from 6-8 p.m. Applications for testing are due on Nov. 9. Parents should be reassured that virtually all of the information covered in the sessions by DOE officials is in the G&T handbook (pdf).
One of the few bits of information not covered in the handbook, that we heard mentioned at the Brooklyn and Manhattan sessions, was that 4-year-olds will not be expected to "bubble in" their responses. In fact, they are strongly encouraged not to do so. Parents who expressed concern that their children might be shy, or reluctant to go in to a room with a stranger, were reassured that all teachers administering the assessments are well-trained and accustomed to working with small children.
For more information, see the DOE's G&T page.
Saturday's specialized high school admissions test, scheduled to be taken by all 9th graders and 8th graders needing special accommodations, has been postponed until Nov. 17, the Education Department announced this afternoon.
One of the sites, Brooklyn Technical High School, is still housing evacuees, and another, Stuyvesant, is virtually impossible to reach by subway.
The DOE announced other changes for anxious 8th and 9th graders applying to specialized and other high school:
- All weekend auditions, interviews and exams have been cancelled and will be rescheduled
- Auditions at LaGuardia High School scheduled for Nov. 3-4, will be held the following weekend, Nov. 10-11
- Auditions at Frank Sinatra scheduled for Nov. 3-4, will be held the following weekend, Nov. 10-11
- The SHSAT scheduled for Oct. 28 will now be held on Nov. 18
Check the DOE's website for more information. So far the DOE has not changed the Dec. 3 due date for high school applications.
(And, if you, and your children have extra time on your hands, check out some of the volunteer opportunities at one of the 60 schools housing evacuees. Evacuees are still very much in residence. Here's a link: https://www.facebook.com/OccupySandyReliefNyc)
Late Friday afternoon, Chancellor Dennis Walcott cancelled the specialized high school admissions test for Sunday, Oct. 28, citing weather concerns with Hurricane Sandy and "uncertainty over travel conditions." Eighth-graders scheduled to take the test on Sunday now have an extra few weeks to wait before taking the exam, which determines entrance into one of eight highly competitive high schools.The new date for them is Nov. 18.
Saturday test-takers are not affected.
Here's the notice we got at 4:20 p.m.
CHANCELLOR WALCOTT ANNOUNCES THE
CANCELLATION OF THE SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOL EXAM SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2012
The test will be rescheduled for November 18
Due to the anticipated inclement weather brought on by Hurricane Sandy, we are cancelling the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 28. The test is rescheduled for Sunday, November 18. The exam scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, October 27, will take place as planned.
UPDATE: G&T info sessions set for Bronx and Queens on Oct. 29 and 30 have been cancelled. The next one on the calendar is from 9-11 a.m. in the Bronx on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 1230 Zerega Avenue. See the DOE's website for updates.
Information sessions explaining New York City's elementary gifted and talented program begin tonight in Brooklyn. Parents will learn about the admissions process, the assessments used and what to do to prepare their child for testing which takes place in January and February..
The meetings, led by Education Department officials, will cover the nitty gritty of local admissions, but they won't touch on bigger issues, such as: What makes a child gifted? Can it be determined at age 4?
In New York City, young children are considered eligible for G&T programs, based on the results of two assessments, one verbal, testing a child's ability to follow directions by listening to instructions, the other nonverbal, in which a child must recognize shapes and patterns and how they fit together.
Elsewhere in the U.S. there is little consensus about what determines a child's giftedness, whether G&T programs are advisable and at what age they should start. There is no national definition for gifted and talented programs and criteria for entrance into such programs varies widely.
Gail Robinson, an Insideschools.org contributor, explores the larger topic of gifted education and what's happening on the national scene in three posts written for GreatSchools. Is your child gifted? Gifted or Just Privileged? And, Your child is gifted...now what?
Parents who are considering G&T programs for their child might want to give the posts a read.
Nearly a quarter of the elementary and middle schools marked failing on the 2011-12 Progress Reports were top schools last year.
The Education Department released those Progress Reports today and, in a statement, touted stable grades: “86 percent of schools did not change more than one grade from 2011” the DOE said.
But our analysis of the 102 schools that earned D’s or F’s on their Progress Report this year shows that severe instability persists. Of those failing schools, 24 earned A’s and B’s on their 2010-11 Progress Reports. PS 241 in Harlem, for example, went from a C in 2009-10, to a B in 2010-11 to an F this year.
Even though a school’s progress report scores may wildly fluctuate, the stakes are high -- low grades on Progress Reports can lead the DOE to close a school. Schools that earn D or F on their progress report or schools that earn no better than a C for three years in a row are flagged for possible closure.
Center for New York City Affairs Education Project Director Kim Nauer says elementary and middle schools’ Progress Report grades are more likely to fluctuate than high schools' grades (to be released later this month) because the lower schools are graded on fewer factors. "When you have more indicators it gives you a better picture of the school," says Nauer, who co-authored a report on the DOE's data and accountability methods with Insideschools' Clara Hemphill.
The new 2012-2013 middle school directories are online just in time for the district fairs which begin this week for 5th graders and their families. District fairs run from 5:30-7:30 p.m. beginning on Wednesday. All schools are supposed to send representatives.
There will be copies of the guides at the fair, but it's a good idea to go through them before you arrive and make a list of the schools that your child is eligible for and any questions you may have. The fairs can be crowded and a little overwhelming, so arrive prepared. Our video on how to apply to a middle school is here.
The latest middle school Progress Reports are also available online now. These are report cards, complete with grades, that the Education Department gives to each school every year. They are supposed to give a sense of how the school is doing. They are useful to look at, but take the "grades" with a grain of salt. They are mostly based on how much progress kids have made on state exams. So for example, three popular, progressive Manhattan middle schools, Institute for Collaborative Education, School of the Future and IS 289, all received Cs this year, even though on average about 80% of their kids are reading and doing math at grade level. Meanwhile, the Middle School of Marketing and Legal Studies in East Flatbush, Brooklyn got an A, even though less than 40% of the students at the school are reading at grade level.
Gifted and Talented programs only serve about one percent of children nationwide, says the Fordham Institute's Chester E. Finn, who authored a new study of G & T programs in the U.S., and says too many deserving kids don't have access to them. In a must-read New York Times op-ed piece, Finn argues that the nation's high-performing students are being neglected: "Mostly, the system ignores them, with policies and budget priorities that concentrate on raising the floor under low-achieving students. A good and necessary thing to do, yes, but we’ve failed to raise the ceiling for those already well above the floor."
I'm guessing that hundreds of New York City parents whose kindergartners scored in the 99th percentile on G&T exams last spring but failed to score a seat in one of the five citywide G&T program might agree with Finn. What do you think? Do G&T programs deserve more attention (and more of our limited school funds)? Take our poll!
(By the way, this month 4th and 5th graders who applied for G&T seats over the summer will find out whether they scored one of the very few seats available to them. And, a few more offers may be made for K-3 G&T seats, according to a letter sent to principals asking them to report any "attrition-based" openings by Sept. 19.)