Gifted or selective programs
Academically successful children may apply to accelerated middle school programs. Many of these offer children the chance to take high school–level math or science in the 8th grade. Some of these gifted programs are open to children from all five boroughs, while some are limited to children living in a particular district. Admissions criteria vary. Some programs admit children based on a combination of their 5th-grade scores on reading and math tests, a test of ability called OLSAT.
Programs open to children citywide include NEST+M, a K–12 school, and the Institute for Collaborative Education, both on the Lower East Side; the Anderson School on the Upper West Side; and the Talented and Gifted School for Young Scholars (TAG) in East Harlem—all in Manhattan. Some schools offer their own entrance exam, including Mark Twain in Brooklyn and Hunter College High School in Manhattan. Some, such as Manhattan East, admit children based on a combination of an interview and a test. Others, such as the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS), gauge children’s artistic talent with an audition.
In addition, many zoned neighborhood schools offer “special progress” classes for honors students. Children are placed in these classes based on their standardized test scores. It is not necessary to take the OLSAT for these programs.
Every one of the city’s 32 school districts offers middle school choice, although the options are very limited in some parts of the city. The DOE middle school directories will list some of your options.
For information on charters schools, homeschooling or private schools, see the elementary school pages.