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!

NYC Students Must Attend Kindergarten The Year They Turn Five

The NYC DOE has a new regulation that states students must attend kindergarten in the year they turn five by December 31st, according to NY1.  This seems to contradict a new law enacted in 2012 that set the cut-off date for kindergarten in New York City at December 1st.  According to this law it would seem that kids who are five years old by December 1st attend kindergarten in the year they turn five.  Others would wait until the following year.  But a key word in the law is "authorize".  The law states:

The board of education of the Syracuse city school district AND THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK [is] ARE hereby authorized to require minors who are five years of age on or before December first to attend kindergarten instruction.

Authorizing the DOE to make a change to a rule is not the same as requiring it to do so and it seems that the DOE has chosen not to change the cut off date from December 31st to December 1st.

What this means is, of course, that there will be some kids who start kindergarten in September who are just 4 years old but will turn 5 by the end of the year as is currently the case.  Currently, parents could opt to not send their children to school that early and have them start kindergarten the following year when they were 5 in September.  It's not easy to find a public school in New York City that does this, but they do exist.  Starting this year that will no longer be an option.  If parents want their child to attend Kindergarten they must do so in the year they turn 5.  No exceptions.  If they opt not to send them to kindergarten then then must start in 1st grade the following year.

Starting school at such an early age is not appropriate for every child, especially those that have not yet developed the impulse control to be a part of academic learning environment.

What are your thoughts?  Do you agree with the DOE?  Should kids start kindergarten at age 5?


	

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 District 3 Magnet School Program Parent Workshop

SCHOOL CHOICE:  CHOOSING THE RIGHT PUBLIC SCHOOL FOR YOUR CHILD

 

The NYC District 3 Magnet School Program is having the first of a series of parent workshops this evening to help demystify the public school choice process.

These workshop aim to help local families understand all of the public school options available to them and teach them how to go about finding the right schools for their children.

In addition, they will help parents understand what Magnet Schools are, how the enrollment process works, and how they can apply.

DATES AND LOCATIONS

February 6, 2012 and March 5, 2012

115th Street Library, 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

203 West 115th Street, NY, NY 10026

 

February 13, 2012 and April 3, 2012

District 3 Headquarters, Joan of Arc Auditorium, 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

154 West 93rd Street, NY, NY 10025

(Between Amsterdam and Columbus)

 

NYC District 3 Magnet Schools applications are currently available at www.D3mag.net

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!

Manhattan Borough President Wants to Improve NYC Kindergarten Admission Process

An email on one of my parent listserves a few weeks ago said "Help!  Confused about the K admissions process."  This is not uncommon feeling  at this time of year as many parents are knee deep in the private school applications process.   However, many are surprised to hear that, with the exception of Hunter and G&T programs, the public school application process doesn't happen until the beginning of the next year, long after the private school process has ended.

The public elementary admissions timeline for 2012 is:

January 9, 2012 – March 2, 2012 Kindergarten Application Period
March 19, 2012 – March 23, 2012 Families Notified About Assignment Offers
March 26, 2012 – April 20, 2012 Offer Acceptance Period

Recently, Scott Stringer, Manhattan's Borough President, has  undertaken an initiative to help simplify the kindergarten admission process, something near and dear to all New York City parents.   Nothing casues more anxiety to NYC parents than where to send their child(ren) to kindergarten and how to go about getting in and registering.  In a letter to School Chancellor, Dennis Walcott, Mr. Stringer provides suggestions about how to simplify the process for  both families and schools.  These include adjusting admissions timelines to eliminate waitlists, automating admissions, standardizing applications and offering school directories tailored to each district.

Full story and copy of letter can be found at Gotham Schools, here.

We want to hear your comments.  Tell us your suggestions on how to make the process better for all involved below in our comments section.

Applying to Schools? Then Come to Our School Information and Networking Night

'Tis the Season...the school application season...and everyone is talking about schools -- at the playground, on anonymous online message boards, at the supermarket-- but are you talking to the right people and are you getting the right information?

  • How do you know what the right school is?  What do you really need to know about tours, play dates, thank you notes, lottery schools, testing, etc.?
  • Financial aid for private schools – is it real?

We have done the research for you and have put together a group of parent experts from the schools that you want to attend, who are ready to share their experiences.  Let’s Talk Schools is having a social mixer, to provide parents applying to schools an opportunity to connect with other parents in an informal setting to 'talk schools’ with each other.

Come mix and mingle at our School Information Speed Date Night with parents that will give you the real, unedited scoop on schools and answer your questions live, one-on- one.  Our Parent Experts have knowledge of ongoing schools*, experience of successfully completing the application process and they don’t mind talking about schools all night long!

Come join our conversation.

*Schools represented include the following:-

  • Fieldston Lower / Dalton / Trevor Day / Riverdale Country /
  • Bank Street / Columbia Grammar & Prep / St Hilda’s and St Hughe’s / Spence
  • NEST+m / PS 166 G&T / Hunter /PS 180 /Manhattan School for Children / Ascension
  • New York French-American Charter School / Upper Westside Success Academy
  • Weekday Preschool / Claremont (now MontClare) / Twin Parks Schools – Riverside, Central Park and Park West Montessori
* Final list of schools subject to change

Hunter College Elementary Date Change For Round 2 Kindergarten Admissions

Hunter College Elementary School (HCES) has announced that it has added a second weekend to its kindergarten Round 2 admission dates and has eliminated the two weekdays.

HCES had originally set January 28, 29, 30, 31 as the days that parents should save for Round 2 onsite assessment.  Round 2 sessions will now be held on the weekends of January 21/22 and 28/29.

If you have a child that scores high enough on the modified Stanford-Binet V test that HCES uses to screen applicants during Round 1 of the application process, (in recent years the cut off has ranged from 143 to 149) such that the child MAY be invited to Round 2, please take note of this change.

Families with an unchangeable conflict on January 21/22, including scheduled DOE Gifted and Talented (G&T) OLSAT testing, should send an email to HCESAdmit@hccs.hunter.cuny.edu noting the conflict.  HCES will not take special requests for appointment times, but will ensure that all qualified children are able to attend a Round 2 assessment session.

Also note, the deadline to apply to HCES is this Friday, November 4, 2011.  Hunter is accepting applications from children who are born in 2007 and reside in Manhattan only.

2010/2011 Kindergarten enrollment deadline is today!

Today is the last day to enroll your child in public kindergarten for this coming September.  Here's the reminder from the DOE:

The last day to submit your Kindergarten application is Friday, March 12. Families should go directly to their zoned school and any other school for which they are eligible to apply for Kindergarten. Parents/guardians should bring proof of address (two documents) and proof of birth date for their child when they visit a school to apply. They do not have to bring their children with them.

For additional information on Kindergarten Admissions, please visit our Elementary School Admissions page.

If you have any questions about the application process, please e-mail the Office of Student Enrollment at ES_Enrollment@schools.nyc.gov.