Let me recap the New York City schools week of April 18 to April 24, 2020 for you.
First, on Saturday, April 18, the Parent Portal, which malfunctioned so spectacularly in so many ways last year, continued to glitch in we-obviously-haven’t-fixed-it-yet ways. General Education Kindergarten offers of admission, at that point scheduled to be released vaguely in “late April,” according to the DOE website, demonstrated the portal’s effective security by prematurely releasing placements for up to half — if not two-thirds — of NYC families.
Just a few hours later, the offers disappeared as mysteriously as they’d come, followed by the notification that they’d be officially available on Tuesday, April 22. (On parent wrote me that they didn’t understand how this could have happened: “No business would be allowed to operate in such a slapdash, unprofessional manner!”)
The DOE also advised that Gifted & Talented test scores would be available on Thursday, April 23. Those were not leaked prematurely. Instead, about one-third of families were greeted with either an online profile without a link to click for scores, a link to click for scores that was unclickable, or a link that was clickable — but led to a blank page. Parents who called the Help Desk were assured that the DOE was aware of the problem and diligently working on fixing it. We hope all those who received this information are reassured.
(One mom did offer the tip: When you click the link on the myschools website, a pdf could automatically saves to your download folder. You have to go to the folder and open the letter. It’s easy to miss. Another advised: I called the contact number on the myschools website, and after being on hold for more than 30 minutes, I resolved the issue. It turned out that somehow my account did not have the permanent student ID (OSIS #) for my kid, so I had to provide with this number to receive a creation code, and then added a child, and then boom, there it was. Parents helping parents!)
Some parents who called were able to get their child’s score over the phone. Others were told that they couldn’t see the child’s score, even on the DOE side. What’s interesting is that every parent who faced the latter situation was reassured it wasn’t a common problem.
Based on the number of parents who reported it to me, I’m willing to wager it was a more common problem than the DOE was admitting.
My email box had been filling up all week with pleas for help from confused and frustrated parents. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:
General Ed Kindergarten:
Why was I placed in a school I didn’t even rank?
Because families are guaranteed a spot at a school, not necessarily one of the 12 on their list. Most likely, even if you did not rank your zoned school, that’s where you were placed if all of your other choices were full. If your zoned school was full, you were placed in a nearby one that still had space.
I was waitlisted. What does that mean, and how does it work?
Please see video below:
Am I required to attend the public school Kindergarten where I was placed?
No. You can turn down the offer and make alternative plans for your child, including charter schools, private schools, and home-schooling. See more, below:
Gifted & Talented Kindergarten:
Why didn’t I receive my child’s score?
See technical glitches, above. (It’s NOT just you.)
Why, if my child scored above the 90th percentile, does my letter say he/she didn’t qualify to apply to a G&T school?
More glitches. All children who score cumulatively above the 90th percentile, no matter the breakdown of individual scores (i.e. one 99 and one 88), are eligible to apply to a G&T program. However, you are not guaranteed a seat as, every year, demand far exceeds supply.
Why, if my child qualified, can’t I now apply for G&T schools and programs?
Another glitch, though parents report they kept trying and were ultimately able to submit their online application.
If my child is already in a G&T program, took the test again, and got a lower score, can they lose their spot?
No. In NYC, you’re declared brilliant for life once you achieve one score on one day at the age of 4. Achieving that score after the age of 8 is meaningless, though. After 3rd grade, no NYC child is presumably either gifted or talented, as there are no more entry points for G&T programs.
My child qualified for 2nd Round at Hunter College Elementary School, but did not score as highly on the G&T test. How can this be?
Both tests are ultimately meaningless at this age, and a child’s IQ score can go up and down by as many as 15 points, depending on the day it’s taken, the testing conditions, the child’s mood, etc…
Can I appeal my child’s G&T score?
Yes, but only under certain conditions and within a limited time frame. See below:
Can I use my child’s test score to reapply to G&T next year?
No, this score is only good for this year’s application. If you are applying for 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade entry, your child will need to take the test again and achieve another qualifying score.
How do I rank my choices to raise my odds of getting in?
Please see below.
Is there really a difference between General Ed and G&T in elementary school?
Some parents think so:
Some parents don’t:
What about gifted public versus gifted private schools?
As always (or, at least, as it always should be), the choice is up to you!
Got other questions about either General Ed or G&T school admissions? Post them in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer.
Parents helping parents – always!