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For the first time in four years, fewer than 1,000 incoming kindergartners scored in the 99th percentile on the city's gifted and talented exams, but there are still more than twice as many top-scoring tykes than there are seats in the five most selective citywide programs. Of the 13,559 rising kindergartners who sat for G&T assessments in January and February, just under seven percent -- 921 -- scored in the 99th percentile on the nationally-normed tests.
Despite the introduction of a non-verbal exam meant to increase the number of low-income children who qualify for G&T programs, the gap in performance persists between rich and poor districts.
Scoring between the 97th-99th percentile on the G&T assessments means a child is eligible for a citywide program. But there are fewer than 400 seats for incoming kindergartners. Further decreasing the odds of entry, qualifying siblings of current students get first dibs at those seats.
Fewer incoming kindergarteners scored high enough to qualify for the most competitive five citywide gifted & talented programs this year than last, according to data released by the Education Department this morning. Almost 14 percent of the rising kindergartners who tested this year qualified for citywide programs, as opposed to nearly 19 percent last year.
But, this year, more kids made the cut for districtwide G&T programs, which require a lower score: 18% of kindergartners who tested qualified, as opposed to 16 percent in 2012.
For this year's test, the DOE adopted a new, nonverbal G&T assessment -- the Naglieri -- in an attempt to level the playing field for families who don't have access to tutoring for their four year olds. Children from low-income neighborhoods -- such as District 7 in the South Bronx and District 23 in East New York -- are historically under-represented in G&T programs.
G&T program cutoffs remained the same as in years past: if a child scores at the 90th percentile or above, she is eligible for a district G&T program. A score at the 97th percentile or higher makes her eligible for one of the citywide options. Last year only children who scored at the 99th percentile were offered a spot in one of the five citywide G&Ts and even that score didn't guarantee a seat.
Despite the change in the assesment, the total percentage of kindergarten through 3rd graders who scored in the 90th percentile or above is the same as last year: a quarter of the 36,000 test-takers made the cut. Click here for a breakdown of 2012 and 2013 scores [PDF].
The DOE released a districtwide breakdown of G&T qualifiers and the number of students who scored in the 99th percentile. We posted it here.
Parents whose children qualified for G & T must apply by April 19 and will receive placements May 20th.
Did your child take the G&T test? Did she qualify? Let us know in the comments below.
As the day of my son’s Turning 5 meeting drew closer, a cloud of anxiety hovered over our New York City apartment. I had braced for a fight several months before, when our school-appointed social worker refused to observe Noodle at pre-K because she was “too busy.” Just applying to our zoned school had sapped all my strength. The parent coordinator took ill one week before the DOE deadline and had not left anyone in charge.
Thankfully, by the last hour of the last day for applications, a living breathing human was able to take my paperwork and I signed up Noodle for kindergarten. After an in-person meeting and more emails with the social worker, we seemed on better terms. She agreed to visit Noodle at preschool, and gave me the name of a behavior specialist who turned out to be quite wonderful.
So by the time I braved snowfall in late March to reach our IEP meeting, I wasn’t expecting any surprises. Everyone seemed to be on the same page for next year: an ICT classroom (a mix of gen ed and special needs kids with two teachers, one of whom has a special ed degree) and occupational therapy. I’d already waged a war in my own mind: Will ICT be academically challenging enough for my chess-playing 4-year-old? Will being in a class with other struggling kids give him more opportunities to model bad behavior? But I’d moved past these stereotypes. I’d done my research, spoken to parents of ICT students and talked Noodle’s teachers’ ears off about what was best for him. I was ready for a truce.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) schools have been updated in recent years to prepare students for an increasingly tech- and health-focused job market. The new breed of vocational school aims to build skills and connections for students who want white-collar jobs but may not want to go to a four-year college after high school. Some CTE schools go beyond high school to “14th grade” and allow students to graduate after six years with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree from CUNY, free of charge.
The city got national buzz for P-TECH -- a six-year CTE program that President Obama praised in his 2013 State of the Union Address -- and is channeling that momentum into opening similar schools. The city will open seven new CTE schools in September, including two offering six-year programs. In addition to these new schools, two established CTE schools are expanding their offerings: Automotive High School, in Williamsburg, will get a new, selective mechanical engineering program that will teach students to use technology like AutoCAD; and Alfred E. Smith High School in the South Bronx is opening a new, selective automotive management program.
Here's a rundown of the seven CTE schools slated to open in September, which were officially announced at a press conference by Mayor Bloomberg today.
Bronx Academy for Software Engineering is patterned on the Academy of Software Engineering in Manhattan; students will have internships in the software industry and learn computer programming starting freshman year. The principal taught at a transfer school in the South Bronx and the school has partnerships with Google, Girls Who Code, NYU and Fordham. BASE will share space in the Grace Dodge educational campus, which houses two other CTE schools. After-school clubs will include 3-D printing. The principal, a former English teacher, told Insideschools that the school will host open houses on Wednesday, April 10th at the Facebook offices in Manhattan and on Thursday, April 11, at Sunshine Bronx in the Banknote building at Hunts Point. See the school's website to RSVP.
Urban Assembly already runs an outstanding CTE program at New York Harbor School and will open two new CTE schools in the fall: Urban Assembly School for Global Commerce in Harlem and Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management in Hell's Kitchen.
On April 6 and 7, 8th and 9th graders who did not get a match in the first round of high school admissions -- or are unhappy with the school they were assigned to-- may attend the Round 2 Fair (pdf) at Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Campus in Manhattan from 11 am to 2 pm. Families will meet representatives from the 20 or so new high schools opening in September, plus established schools that still have openings.
Some of the new schools are also holding open houses before (and, in some cases, after) the April 12 application deadline; either in their assigned buildings or at different venues. Here's a listing of the open houses we know about so far. We'll add to it as we get new dates. (Remember that dates may change so confirm with the school's website, or by phone, before heading out.)
Deadlines are looming for summer opportunities for teens. If you act quickly, you can still get in on some great programs. Here are just a few that we've found.
YMCA Teen Career Connection, a paid summer internship program that provides opportunities for high school students to gain experience in the professional world. Participants in the eight-week internship are placed in fields related to their career interests, and are provided with a $1,250 stipend, $300 for professional clothing and two monthly unlimited Metrocards. Applicants must live in NYC, be available from June 28-Aug. 23 and on Sept. 9 and be a sophomore, junior or senior in high school. Contact the West Side YMCA at 5 West 63 St. Applications are due by Friday, April 5. See the website for details.
My inbox has been flooded with questions about high school acceptances since 8th graders must decide by April 12 what high school offer to accept, or which school to apply to in Round 2. I've received several questions from families of students who were accepted by specialized high schools in addition to another school; others from parents who wonder why their children did not make the cut. This week I'll answer three of them.
Q: We have a dilemma, my daughter is now in Hunter and can continue there for high school. But she also got into Stuyvesant. Hunter is a long commute, Stuy is close to home; Hunter is smaller, less competitive and she has friends there. Stuy is stronger in Science, which is her strength. It also has a range of extra curricular activities that Hunter cannot match. Would it be folly to leave Hunter for a larger, less personal school?
You have a happy dilemma, and you have certainly laid out the pros and cons. It is really up to you and your daughter to make the decision. Have you been to see Stuyvesant? Did you get a good feeling about the atmosphere , kids, and teachers there? Are there any other kids your daughter knows going too? Keep in mind that students at large schools -- such as Stuyvesant -- often find their own community of frends and supportive faculty that make it seem smaller-- whether in sports, the math club, or SING. Yet, many families in 6-12 schools find it's easier just to stay put!
Center Park East parents lost their battle to open a middle school in 2013 but say they're heartened by Chancellor Walcott's promise to work with them to find space for a CPE middle school that will open by 2014.
It's no surprise that all of the DOE's proposals were passed at the March 20 PEP meeting, including a resolution to open East Harlem Scholars Academy II in the same buliding as Central Park East I and Central Park East High School. CPE parents had hoped to nab that soon-to-be-open space for a CPE middle school that would allow their elementary school children to continue to receive a progressive education after 5th grade. This is the fifth year in a row that the DOE rebuffed efforts by CPE I and CPE II to open a middle school. But uptown parents won't have to wait much longer for a progressive middle school.
Raven Snook, the mother of a CPE II student, told Insideschools that Walcott made a promise at the PEP meeting to find a site for the progressive middle school by this summer and open the school in fall 2014.
"While we were all disappointed that the March 20 PEP vote didn't go our way in terms of the co-location of two East Harlem Scholars Academy schools, we were all pretty thrilled when Dennis Walcott himself stood on the stage and promised we would indeed get a progressive middle school for fall 2014," said Snook. "So it was a bittersweet victory."
Education Department spokesman Devon Puglia confirmed Walcott's promise via email: "There will be middle school CPE seats available in 2014. We're continuing to engage with stakeholders in order to meet that goal."
Charter school applications were due on April 1, but some may still be accepting them and have space. Here are descriptions of some of the best-known charter networks and schools, and a few that are opening next fall and look promising.
We list the networks first, followed by the “mom and pops.”
The big networks
KIPP NYC is one of the city’s first charter organizations, opened in 1995. It operates four elementary schools, five middle schools and one high school in New York City. KIPP NYC is affiliated with the California-based KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) network, which now operates 125 charter schools across the United States, most in low-income neighborhoods. Students typically enter the KIPP system as kindergartners and remain in the KIPP system; new faces are now rare in middle or high school. KIPP NYC’s philosophy emphasizes rigorous academic instruction, longer school days and a focus on core values designed to foster good citizenship. Discipline is structured to make students understand the consequences for bad behavior, while good behavior is often rewarded (everything from T-shirts to class trips). KIPP teachers are typically young and energetic—necessary qualities in a demanding environment. They employ a mix of traditional and progressive teaching techniques.
If you’re unhappy with your neighborhood school, you may want to enter a lottery for a charter school. The deadline is April 1--so hurry. In most cases you can submit an application online. Get an application on the New York City Charter School Center website, on the individual schools' websites or at the school. (Some charter schools are open this week, even though the public schools are on Spring break.)
But which school? Here are tips for making your choice.