Demystifying the SHSAT

The Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT) has been all over the news of late. What is this magical, mystical SHSAT test that evokes such strong emotions? Bring your questions and queries to PASSNYC's community information event on Monday, September 24 from 6-8 pm where there will be experts who can share information about the SHSAT and Columbia Secondary School testing for parents.

There will also be information on FREE Online Test Prep Services for students. Best of all, light refreshments will be served!

Please register and let us know if you'll be coming. This is an invaluable event that shouldn't be missed.

The 2019 Admissions Season Begins

A unique opportunity to meet directors from top New York schools. Reserve your spot now!

Summer is drawing to a close so it's time to think about school admissions for the 2019 school year. In New York City, school choice programs provide alternatives to parents who want to opt out of sending their children to the local  schools to which they are assigned. The day after Labor day is the traditional start to admission season, that time of year when parents exercise their school choice rights in a chaotic ritual of applications, school tours, open houses and interviews.

For families considering independent schools (those that independently set their own missions and curriculum), kindergarten is the largest entry point and one of only two times that kids can enter Hunter College Elementary School, the other being 7th grade.  If you have a four year old (born in 2014), this fall is the time to apply for kindergarten. For those entering 6th grade in the fall, this is the ONLY year you'll be eligible to take the test for entrance to Hunter High School.

The independent school application process is complicated. Before getting started with an application to any individual school there are many factors to consider - school type (co-ed, single sex), location, size, educational philosophy, community, faculty, facilities - to name a few. There is also the multi-step application process which involves tours, financial forms (if requesting tuition assistance), testing and meetings for both parents and children.

Summer is a great time to review and research school websites to determine what may be a good fit for your family. The Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY) is a terrific resource for learning about independent schools and their application process. On Tuesday, August 21, 2018 from 6-8:30 pm we'll be hosting our 8th Annual Independent School Admissions Panel and School Fair. This is a unique opportunity to meet admission decision makers from Hunter and many private schools and to receive tools to help you conquer the application process.

Participating Schools:
Bank Street School for Children
Collegiate School
Harlem Academy
Hunter College Campus Schools
International Academy of New York
Riverdale Country School
Convent of the Sacred Heart
Speyer School
St. Bernard's School
St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's
The Allen-Stevenson School
The Brearley School
The Buckley School
The Calhoun School
The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine
The Dalton School
The Hewitt School
The Nightingale-Bamford School
The Town School
The Workshop School

Getting started with 2018 Hunter & independent schools admissions

As the end of summer 2017 draws near it's time to think about school admission for the 2018 school year. In New York City, school choice programs provide alternatives to parents who do not wish to send their children to the local public schools to which they are assigned. The day after Labor day is the traditional start to admission season, the time of year when parents exercise their school choice rights in a chaotic ritual of applications, school tours, open houses and interviews.

For families considering independent schools (those that independently set their own missions and curriculum), kindergarten is the largest entry point and one of only two times that kids can enter Hunter College Elementary School. If you have a four year old (born in 2013) this fall is the time to apply for kindergarten.

The independent school application process is no walk in the park. Before even getting started with an application to any individual school there are many factors to consider - school type (co-ed, single sex), location, size, educational philosophy, community, faculty, facilities - to name a few. Then there's the multi-step application process which involves tours, financial forms (if requesting tuition assistance), testing and meetings for both parents and children.

Summer is a great time to review and research school websites to determine ones that might be a good fit for your family. The Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY) is a terrific resource for learning about independent schools and their application process. On Tuesday, August 29, 2017 from 6-8:30 pm we'll be hosting our 7th Annual Independent School Admission Panel and School Fair. This is a unique opportunity to meet admission decision makers from many schools and receive tools to help you conquer the application process.

Participating Schools include:
Bank Street School for Children
Basis Independent School
The Brearley School
The Browning School
The Buckley School
The Calhoun School
The Cathedral School
The Chapin School
Collegiate School
Convent of the Sacred Heart
Corlears School
The Hewitt School
Hunter College Elementary School
Marymount School
Metropolitan Montessori School
Riverdale Country School
Spence Schooll
St. Bernard's School
St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's
The Elisabeth Morrow School
The Nightingale-Bamford School
The Town School
Trevor Day School
Trinity School

Gearing up for the new school year? August is the new September.

We’re still in the dog days of summer and summer vacation is in full swing – kids are in camp, summer hours are in effect at the office and it’s hot -- real hot. If school starts after Labor Day there is still one month left of summer for the kids. So why am I seeing first day of school photos all over my social media accounts already? It seems like school starts in August ,or even July, in many parts of the country. Here in the northeast public school starts September 8th but most charter schools kids have either started school this week or will be headed back in the next week or so.

It's back to school time for some but not for others. When it comes to independent schools most, if not all, begin after Labor Day, the official end of summer fun. For the thousands of kids in pre-k this year who’s parents are considering private school for kindergarten the time to consider applications is now.

Applying to one of these schools is a multi-step process that involves completing written or online applications, screening tests, school tours, separate parent and child in-person interviews and financial documentation (if requesting financial assistance).

Consider these facts:

  1. Most people apply to 8-10 schools
  1. Between parent tours, parent interviews and child playdates, there will be 24-30 visits to schools during a roughly three-month period
  1. Including a modest 30 minute travel time, working parents will miss 56-65 hours of work during this time (not including time to complete applications and other required paperwork)

Our annual kindergarten admissions panel & school fair is a one-stop shop where you can meet admission directors and gather all of the information you need for a successful application. Some schools stop accepting applications early once they’ve reached a maximum number so getting an early start puts you ahead of the masses. The event takes place Monday, August 29, 2016, 6pm at Ephesus Church, 101 W 123rd Street. You don't want to miss this!

List of school fair participants:

Allen-Stevenson School

Bank Street

Brearley School

Browning School

Buckley School

Calhoun School

Collegiate School

Convent of the Sacred Heart

Dalton School

Elizabeth Morrow

Harlem Academy

Hewitt School

Hunter College Elementary

Manhattan Country School

Pono

Spence School

St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's

Town School

4th Annual Private School Admissions Panel

2014 Panel Postcard Mark your calendars to jump start your applications for kindergarten admissions to Hunter and NYC independent schools this year at our 4th Annual Private School Admissions Panel on Tuesday, August 26th @ 6:30 pm. Kindergarten is the main entry point for independent schools and the only time kids can enter Hunter Elementary School (entrance for the high school is in 7th grade.) There are many new changes to the independent school application process this year (can you say brand new AABL test?) and we will have a representative from the Electronic Records Bureau (ERB) on the panel to discuss them and answer your questions. If you have a four year old who will be attending kindergarten in 2015 this panel is for you. Admission directors will give an overview of the application process - what to do and when to do it. Be sure to register and get your tickets early!

Jump-Starting the School Admissions Process for Your Child

DSC_0231Our 3rd Annual Admission Panel took place last Tuesday in Harlem.  Admission Directors from Hunter College Elementary School, Convent of the Sacred Heart, The Calhoun School and St. Bernard's School were on hand to answer questions and share some 'words of wisdom' on navigating the Hunter and private school admission process.  Rachel Christmas Derrick, former Director of Development Communications & Publications at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School and Senior Writer at the Rockefeller Foundation, provides a great summary of the discussion.

Jump-Starting the School Admissions Process for Your Child

by Rachel Christmas Derrick

Do stories of parents applying to seven or ten different schools keep you up at night? Does the thought of filling out all those applications make you want to pull the covers over your head each morning? Does the prospect of writing the essays and parent statements seem as daunting as applying to college or for a new job?

Take a deep breath and prepare to be pleasantly surprised:  Applying to schools for your child doesn’t have to be an ordeal.  In fact, with some planning, organization, and guidance, exploring how you and others see your child and your family can actually be big fun.

Here are some tips to help you jump-start the school admissions process:

  1. Do your homework!  School websites can give you a sense of what makes each educational environment different from the rest.
  2. Don’t apply to a school simply because everyone you know is applying or it’s on some Top Ten list.  Remember, there are lots of excellent schools out there—and you’ve never heard of many of them.
  3. See if your family’s values match those of the school. For instance, do you believe that allowing learning to be incidental to having fun can be detrimental in the long run? Or do you think that rigorously training a young child in the basics can have a negative impact?
  4. Keep an open mind.  Even if you’re positive you want a co-ed school, for example, consider single-gender schools.  If you’re convinced that a progressive education is the way to go, visit a more traditional school or two.
  5. Consider the neighborhood.  If you live in Manhattan, you can certainly send your child to that phenomenal school with the main campus in Riverdale.  However, make sure you’re comfortable with what that will mean for play dates, birthday parties, and long bus rides for your young child.
  6. Once you identify the schools that interest you, attend their tours and open houses.  Take detailed notes of your impressions of each school, including the demeanor of teachers and other staff, the classrooms, the cafeteria, gym, and auditorium, the hallway artwork, the outdoor spaces, even the bathrooms.
  7. Feel free to ask administrators and teachers questions—but not those whose answers could easily be found on their websites.
  8. As you walk through each school, can you visualize you and your child as part of this community for the next 6, 9, or 13 years?  Do teachers look happy?  Do students seem engaged?  Are children well-supervised?
  9. Remember, the “best” school is the one that feels right for your child and your family.
  10. Tailor your application essays or parent statements to each school and explain why YOUR child and YOUR family could be right for THAT particular school.  A quick way to turn off an admissions team is to submit a generic essay, one that could be written to any school about any beloved child.
  11. If you’re applying for financial aid, don’t put down “$0” when asked how much your family can contribute to tuition. Schools are drawn to families who understand that your child’s education is a partnership that both you and the school have a stake in.
  12. Apply early!  (Applications go online at the end of August or right after Labor Day.)  Schools like enthusiastic, organized families who plan ahead.  Even before you know what schools you’re applying to, get started on your basic essay.  You’ll then be ahead of the game when it’s time to adapt it to the questions asked by each school.

Rachel Christmas Derrick is a widely-published writer and editor whose Words Rule! program helps guide families through the essay-writing process for school applications.  For details, contact her at WordsRuleCommunications@gmail.com.

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3rd Annual Admissions Panel on August 13th

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Our 3rd annual admissions panel is set for Tuesday, August 13th in Central Harlem.  Once again we will have admission directors from Hunter Elementary and several independent schools on hand to speak about the admission process and to answer your questions.  Flyer here

This program will inform parents applying to kindergarten at Hunter Elementary and private independent schools of the various options available and is an overview from admission directors. (Applying in September 2013 for the 2014-2015 school year.)

Program includes: 

• Summary of the complete application process

• Screening tests (ERB & Stanford Binet)

• What to look for on tours and what to expect

• Financial aid and affording an independent school education

• How admission decisions are made

Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Time: 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Location: Ephesus Church, 101 W 123rd Street

Reserve your space early!  Financial aid is available.  Contact info@letstalkschools.com for details.

The Speyer Legacy School

The Speyer Legacy School is New York City's only non-profit, K-8 independent school Gifted and Talented (G&T) program, designed to support the needs and encourage the passions of advanced learners.  Connie Williams Coulianos, Speyer's head of school, is a well know and respected educator in field, leading The Hollingworth Preschool for years before leaving to head up Speyer in 2009.

Speyer is now accepting applications for Kindergarten, 4th, 5th and 6thgrades. A limited number of spaces will also be open for 1st grade applicants.  Tuition assistance is available to make the program accessible to children from a wide range of circumstances.

Open Houses for the Lower School (Grades K – 5) are scheduled for October 2nd, October 17th, October 25th, November 8th and November 14th from 6:30 to 8:00pm at 15 West 86th Street.

Open Houses for families interested in applying to 6th Grade are scheduled for October 10th, October 29th and November 19th from 6:30 to 8:00pm at 15 West 86th Street.

To register for an Open House please visit www.speyerlegacyschool.org, submit an inquiry, and then call the admissions number, 212.581.4000, or email crosenthal@speyerlegacyschool.org to reserve a date.

Hunter College Elementary School Application Available

The Application for 2013 kindergarten admission to Hunter College Elementary School (HCES) is available today.  For the first time HCES is using an online only application.

A lot of people are curious about this school so we got a Hunter parent to weigh in.

Facts

Hunter College Elementary School is a public elementary school

Despite being a publicly funded, tuition free school HCES is NOT part of the NYC Department of Education and is therefore not subject to DOE rules. Like all public schools, HCES does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, or disability.  Admission is for students who reside in Manhattan only.

HCES is for gifted students

HCES is a coed laboratory school that serves children in grades K through 6 who have been identified as intellectually gifted by Hunter's admission process.

Admission is based on a test

There are actually 2 rounds of assessment for admission to Hunter.  In the first round students are administered a modified version of the Stanford-Binet exam by one of Hunter's approved testers.  Round 1 starts after parents submit an online application, available today.  Test scores are sent to parents and to the school.  In December the eligibility score for Round 2 is determined.  Children who score at or above this score will be invited to the Round 2 on-site assessment.  Please see the HCES admissions website for detailed information about the process.

Fiction

HCES is basically a free private school

No, it's not.  HCES is publicly funded, chartered by the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York and administered by Hunter College.  Some of the extra trappings parents might expect at private schools are not at Hunter.  What the school offers is a challenging, innovative curriculum that emphasizes critical and creative thinking for students who are self-motivated, independent and inventive learners.

Students are subjected to standardized tests like all other public schools

Standardized tests are a fact of life at Hunter just like other public schools.  However, the test students take, the CTP, is used to guide instruction and not to rate teachers and/or the school itself.  Hunter is not a part of the DOE so it does not administer NY State standardized tests and is not subject to ‘No Child Left Behind’ or any other NY state education mandates.

 

Many people enter the Hunter application process thinking they don’t stand a chance and are pleasantly surprised when their child is offered a spot.  If you are a Manhattan resident and think this school might be a good fit for your child I urge you to go through the application process but be prepared for any outcome.

Applications for 2013 are available today.   Hey, you never know.


	

NYC 2012 Pre-Kindergarten Admissions Period Begins

Application season for the 2012/2013 school year is in full swing.  Kindergarten admission ended on Friday, and today, the month-long pre-kindergarten session begins.

The NYC Department of Education offers Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) programs for eligible 4 year olds who reside in New York City.  UPK programs

provide a nurturing environment where children’s natural curiosity is used as a springboard to learn skills that are necessary for success in school.  In pre-kindergarten, children learn how to share, take turns and work in groups.  They also develop the skills that form the foundation for reading, writing, and mathematics.

All UPK programs are free of charge.  Programs can be half-day or full-day; half-day programs may take place in the morning or afternoon.  Programs are available at select public schools and at many community-based organizations (CBOs).  CBOs are independent groups that contract with the Department of Education to provide pre-kindergarten programs and other services to families. 


Starting today, March 5, you can submit a pre-k application in person at an Enrollment Office or online.  Applications  deadline for public school programs is Thursday, April 5.  The Pre-Kindergarten Directory is available at your local borough enrollment office and at the DOE  pre-k webpage.

Before you begin the application, review the Pre-K directory  and brochure and become familiar with the Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs in your community.  Take time to gather as much information as possible; visit schools and attend open house events or tours.

New York's Universal Pre-K program facts:

- All universal pre-k programs are free of charge for children born in 2008 who reside in New York City

- Even though all 4 year olds are eligible, a seat in a public universal pre-k program is not guaranteed

- Programs can be half day (two and a half hours, AM/morning or PM/afternoon) or full day (six hours and twenty minutes)

- Programs are housed in public schools or in community based organizations, and each has their own separate application process.  You can find the CBO application directory online here.  To apply, contact each site directly to obtain specific information.

- Admissions are NOT first come first serve.  Placement offers are made based on standardized admission priorities.

- Public school spots are given by lottery.  First preference is given to Zoned students with a verified sibling who will be in grades K-5 in the school in September 2012.  Additional admission priorities are detailed in the Pre-K Brochure.

- Applications available online or at a borough enrollment office only.  Do not apply by mail.  You may apply for a number of schools in one submission and rank those schools by order of preference.

There are information sessions in each borough starting next week.  Representatives from the Office of Student Enrollment and the Office of Early Childhood Education will be available at the sessions to answer your questions.  The sessions are often crowded so be sure to arrive early.

Pre-Kindergarten Information Sessions

All sessions will be held from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

 

Brooklyn

March 12, 2012

Sunset Park High School

153 35th Street

 

Manhattan

March 15, 2012

The High School of Fashion Industries

225 West 24th Street

 

Queens

March 19, 2012

Flushing High School

35-01 Union Street

 

Bronx

March 20, 2012

P.S. 121 Throop

2750 Throop Avenue

 

Staten Island

March 22, 2012

P.S. 69 Daniel D. Tompkins

144 Keating Place

Once your application is complete the waiting begins.  Notifications are not sent out until early June.