TAG Young Scholars

Grades K-8
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Engaging classes in citywide program for gifted children

The Downside

Very limited sports

Our Review

The most diverse of the citywide gifted programs, Talented and Gifted Young Scholars (TAG) has a mix of black, Latino, Asian, and white pupils. The school also has a diverse teaching staff, so children have role models of different races. Neat red-plaid uniforms, cheery classrooms and engaging lessons are hallmarks of this warm and orderly school. Principal Janette Cesar knows every child by name, even down to who has which allergies. Children come from as far away as the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

Lessons are fast-paced and demanding. All children are expected to read at home for at least 45 minutes a night. In addition, kindergartners typically have a half hour of homework, 5th-graders have one-and-a-half hours, and middle schoolers have up to two hours each night. Homework packets are assigned on all holidays and during summer break. The quality of writing we saw was good: Children write long essays on topics ranging from Tom Sawyer to the history of the robber barons and civil disobedience.

It's long been a traditional school, with plenty of emphasis on grammar and spelling (1st-graders learn about nouns and adjectives), drills in the multiplication tables, and Latin classes (that teach children the roots of many English words).

But it's also a school where kindergartners create a restaurant in the class and learn computer coding. Everyone goes on class trips to pick apples in the countryside or to take a Circle Line Cruise around Manhattan. The school is shifting away from teacher-directed lessons and toward more class discussions.

"Whoever is doing the talking is doing the learning," Cesar told us.

Rather than relying on one math program, teachers combine the best of a number of programs including Math in Focus (the American version of Singapore math) and Go Math. One 6th-grade math teacher we saw had children make up their own word problems as an exercise to see if they understood a lesson on multiplying fractions. Strong math students may accelerate: A 1st-grader may go to the 3rd grade for math. Children in grades 4-8 may take part in the American Math Competitions club after school.

Most 8th-graders graduate with four Regents exams under their belt, including English, American History, algebra, and living environment. Children may choose electives such as Latin jazz percussion, band, or drama. First- through 4th-graders may study piano.

Children in kindergarten through 8th grade may attend an on-site Y after-school program that also offers all-day activities during the summer, school vacations, and holidays. TAG middle-school teachers trained with Kaplan do test prep for the specialized high schools starting in the 7th grade. A vibrant PTA raises funds to supplement electives for the after-school program.

With so much attention paid to academics and arts, however, some students (particularly active kids) may find there are too few physical outlets outside of gym class.

Many 8th-graders go on to specialized high schools, while others receive financial support to attend private institutions and boarding schools such as Little Red School House, Phillips Academy Andover (in Massachusetts), and the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, NY. Other popular choices are Talent Unlimited and Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics.

The school, which has long attracted some of the most talented black and Latino children in the city, was founded as a small alternative program in 1989 and became a full-fledged school in 2004. It had its own admissions test until 2008, when then-schools chancellor Joel Klein centralized admissions to citywide G&T programs. Since then, white and Asian families have enrolled their children in the school, which once served almost exclusively black and Latino children.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Speech and occupational therapies are offered, but TAG does not have Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS).

ADMISSIONS: To be eligible, K-2 students must score in the 97th percentile on the city's gifted and talented exam. Parents should sign up in November for the test, given in January. Only a handful of seats are open in the upper grades. Middle school admission is based on grades, standardized test scores and a teacher recommendation. (Jacqueline Wayans and Clara Hemphill, November 2013)

About the students

Enrollment
569
Asian
35.7%
Black
20.7%
Hispanic
18.6%
White
16.2%
Other
8.8%
Free or reduced priced lunch
41%
Students with disabilities
5%
English language learners
0%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with Esperanza Prep
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
104%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
97%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
5%
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
100%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
26%
50% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
93%
84% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
91%
88% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
66%
45% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
11.8
6.4 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
89%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
90%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
80%
81% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
50%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
98%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
90%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
95%
86% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
49%
60% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
61%
78% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
82%
82% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
96%
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
94%
42% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 3 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, and Visual arts
This school has 2 licensed arts teacher in Music (part-time) and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
72%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
61%
59% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
71%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
English, Spanish, US History, Algebra I, Living Environment
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
98%
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
100%
86% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics and Stuyvesant HS
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
93%
42% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for SETSS students
3.37
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
3.33
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
50%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
67%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
75%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
75%
88% Citywide Average
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Location

240 East 109 Street
Manhattan NY 10029
East Harlem (District 4)
Trains: 6 to 110th St
Buses: M1, M101, M102, M106, M116, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M3, M98

Contact

Phone
212-860-6003
Principal
Janette Cesar
Parent Coordinator
Mirian Bruno

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