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