Gifted and Talented Admissions for September 2015

We're thrilled to welcome Mrs. A, an elementary school teacher teaching in NYC public schools as a contributor. This week, Mrs. A shares her thoughts on G&T program in schools in low income neighborhoods.

“Matthew, why don’t you come and join us for the nursery rhymes we’re learning.” I beckoned to my kindergartener who was lagging in his seat, rather than joining the crowd of students on the “rug”. “Boring!” whined Matthew, “I already know all those nursery rhymes, I learned them in pre-school.” It was September and I was just getting know my class, “OK” I thought, “I am going to have to challenge this little guy, he obviously knows more than the rest.” Matthew finally joined the group after much cajoling and the lesson proceeded without a hitch.

It turned out that Matthew was obviously gifted, by the end of the year in kindergarten he was reading books from the third, fourth and fifth grade libraries. His writing and math were both way above average and his language skills, that is, his speaking and vocabulary were exemplary, yet, Matthew failed the Gifted and Talented test by 4 points that year. I was sorely disappointed in this, because, Matthew, is a minority, a Latino, whose parents, though well-meaning were not at all test savvy and I feared that he would lose out and never get the education he needed.

The school that I teach in a Title I, New York City Public School in Brooklyn, 95% of the students are on Free Lunch. The school groups all classes homogeneously, there are no top classes. Currently with budget constraints there are no courses added to the curriculum. Like most city schools, the school has become focused on test scores and achievement, differentiated instruction is talked about, but time does not allow for such lofty goals when one is so focused on moving all children, even your slowest on those tests. The cluster teachers ought to be able to provide some kind of diversified relief for the brightest however, this school has the following cluster programs: Reading, Literature, Literacy, Social Studies, Computers, Art & Music. There are three cluster teachers devoted to reading instruction. For the brighter students this is clearly overkill.

So what does Matthew do now, in first grade? He can be found, often in the halls, running errands for the teacher. Last I spoke to him and asked him what he was studying in November he rolled his eyes and said, “Families” , “We are studying families, families, families.” I suppose, he helps others in the classroom who are lagging in their studies. This scenario of our brightest minorities can be seen repeated over and over again, although they don’t get into the Gifted and Talented schools, they are still untapped and unchallenged talent wasting away in a mediocre system which caters to the bottom and middle rather than the top.

These students are at risk, they are bored, tired of the same old studies and we risk losing them to more stimulating endeavors such as drugs and sex as they get older. These talented minorities, like pure gold, can be mined if the city is willing to take a good, hard look at it’s Gifted and Talented search.

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Start requiring that the students who are minorities who fail the test by say, 10 percentage points, be given special instruction in their schools.
  2. Every school should have a Gifted and Talented class for each grade.
  3. Extra-curricular activities MUST be added for the Gift and Talented class, perhaps that class could be taught by two teachers as we do with the Special Ed. Inclusion Classes.
  4. Consider having a few Gifted and Talented schools devoted JUST to minorities.

New York Gifted and Talented admissions for September 2015 begin this week on Wednesday, October 8th. Complete details and handbooks are available  online at the DOE website. In addition, G&T info session will be held in each borough. See below and our events calendar for schedule

 

BOROUGH LOCATION DATE TIME
Manhattan High School of Fashion Industries
225 West 24th Street
Tuesday, October 14 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Brooklyn Clara Barton High School
901 Classon Avenue
Wednesday, October 15 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Staten Island P.S. 69 Daniel D. Tompkins
144 Keating Place
Thursday, October 16 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Bronx Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus
500 East Fordham Road
Tuesday, October 21 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Queens Forest Hills High School
67-01 110th Street
Wednesday, October 22 6:00 - 8:00 PM

 

 

3rd Annual Admissions Panel on August 13th

0813_letstalk_event_4x6_front

 

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.


	

Hunter Announces SB5 Cut Score Today

The following message was posted on Hunter's website today:

This year's modified Stanford-Binet V testing for Kindergarten 2012 admissions has concluded. The eligibility score for progression to Round 2 (on-site assessment) has been set at a Sum of Scaled Scores (SSS) of 148.

Letters will be mailed on December 19th informing eligible families of their appointments for Round 2.

Congratulations to everyone going on to the 2nd round!