DOE Screw Ups · Gifted & Talented · NYC School Admissions · School Waitlists

Different Families Get Different G&T Deadlines: Where’s the Fairness and Equity? I Go To the DOE For Answers!

Last month I got to the bottom of why some parents’ Pre-K, Kindergarten, Gifted & Talented, Middle and High School waitlist numbers were moving in the wrong direction.

This week we tackle the question of why, unlike in previous years, when there was a hard deadline issued by the Department of Education, different families are getting different dates for when they need to accept or decline their G&T offer.

Parents Say:

I just got an email pushing me for a decision on a district G&T but without an actual specific date in the email.

I sent an email to DOE and received an email saying there’s no hard deadline. I emailed specifically because I wanted to have their answer in writing.

When I called the DOE asking about acceptance deadlines, I was told schools are being asked to have their own deadlines.

The myschools site itself said June 26 was the deadline to accept our initial offer — that appeared on the site a day or two after the offer. We got another offer off the waitlist that we accepted, and the school reached out to us directly via email asking us to accept by June 23, and to return enrollment paperwork by June 26. But I know many people didn’t follow that directive and still got seats, as per the FB page for the school where parents were still trying to decide early this week. I’m sure they were just trying to get everyone they could squared away before the office recess date, which I believe is end of June.

PS 110 gave us until Tuesday, June 30.

The DOE told me there is no deadline. But PS 165 g&t told us “Offers not accepted will automatically change to “No Response” after June 30.”

My g&t told us that June 30th was the last day to accept for Kindergarten. The other grades did not have a deadline 

I just heard from the principal at PS 32 in Brooklyn (via an all-parent email) that the G&T spot must be accepted by June 30. 

I received an offer for PS 119. Deadline is July 2 for G&T.

Got a waitlist offer from PS 33 stating we have until 7/6.

We got a very kind email from PS 33 asking us to please accept or decline as there are many families on the waitlist, but they didn’t give a deadline.

It’s all a mess and I’m sure less scrutinized schools are still getting away with tampering (with) their waitlist as I was removed from a waitlist where I was number 1 because I was also on their g&t waitlist. Ended up on a phone call with the principal and have been “promised” I’ll get off the g&t waitlist. This whole thing is nuts.

Schools Say:

The school year ends next Friday, the 26th. But we need time to process each pre-registration. So the latest we can give you to reply is Monday, June 22.  And if seats are declined we have to make wait list offers, give parents at least 24 hours to decide and process pre-registration all in 5 days.The DOE has really put parents and schools  in a bind with letters going out so late.

The 26th is the deadline for GE offers. That is also the last day of school. In order to enter data in the system we need to have registration materials in that day. I could let you have until Friday to respond but you’d have to get all materials in by Monday the 29th. Our secretary leaves on the 30th and there won’t be anyone to handle registrations after that. 

Hello Incoming PS 11 K families! Today is (sic) final day to accept offers in the initial round of Gifted and Talented programs. I understand that some of you may have received and accepted offers to attend a program outside of PS 11. In order to make sure that we are able to offer anxious families on our waitlist seats, I am asking that if you have previously accepted a seat for Kindergarten at PS 11 but have decided that your child will no longer be attending PS 11, PLEASE email… no later than Monday, July 6th. This will be a great help to as (sic) we begin to make our kindergarten classes. 

You have until July 6, 2020 to accept or decline this offer. If you do not respond by July 6, 2020 you will give up this offer.

Department of Education says:

Families should email the elementary school email address to ask any questions. I’ve shared with you before, but repasting here: Elementary school: [email protected]

Can you all feel how frustrated Katie O’Hanlon of the DOE Press Office is with me? (As you may suspect, this is not my first communication with her. We are practically pen pals at this point.)

I sympathize with Katie’s frustration. My guess is, she has no idea what is going in, either, but it’s her job to act as if she does.

However, I’m reserving the bulk of my sympathy for the parents who, on top of dealing with remote learning, and working from home, and trying to keep their families safe and healthy, now have to figure out what the DOE means when it says there is no deadline for accepting G&T offers – except when there is.

To give Katie a break, I did as she directed, and reached out to Elementary School Enrollment:

Good-morning –

When parents call the DOE, they are told that there is no official deadline for accepting their G&T offer as of now.

However, different schools are giving parents different deadlines. Some are saying today, some are saying July 1, others July 6, and so on.

Is each school being allowed to set their own acceptance deadline and manage their own waitlist accordingly?

Is there no single official deadline for all parents to reply by? 

Please advise.

Jamall Ledesma of the Elementary School Admissions Team replied:

There is no hard deadline to accept a main round G&T offer. The ES admissions team will be in contact with families over the Summer about accepting/declining their main round offer. However, schools manage their waitlists and do place a deadline on when families can accept an offer.

I followed up:

Thank you so much for that information.

So basically different schools are allowed to have different deadlines by which time parents may accept an offer?

What does “main round G&T” mean? Any offer that is not a waitlist offer, or something else? Does that mean that schools can manage their waitlists as they see fit, but “main round” offers are constant until the DOE announces an official deadline?

Why is there no single standardized date as in past years? 

Also, as in past years, does only a family’s most recent registration count? I.e., if they accepted a Gen Ed offer, then accepted a G&T offer, the Gen Ed offer is nullified, and if they then accept yet another offer off a waitlist, all previous offers are nullified?

Or, since there is no hard G&T deadline, does it mean that one family could be registered at multiple schools and holding multiple spots, while another family may have missed their registration deadline due to the confusion and have none?

Your answers are greatly appreciated as many parents are quite confused at the moment!

They followed up:

So basically different schools are allowed to have different deadlines by which time parents may accept an offer? For waitlists, yes.

 What does “main round G&T” mean? The offer received on June 15. Not waitlists. Any offer that is not a waitlist offer, or something else? Does that mean that schools can manage their waitlists as they see fit, but “main round” offers are constant until the DOE announces an official deadline? Correct.

 Why is there no single standardized date as in past years? Being flexible and accommodating to families in this new normal.

 Also, as in past years, does only a family’s most recent registration count? I.e., if they accepted a Gen Ed offer, then accepted a G&T offer, the Gen Ed offer is nullified, correct. and if they then accept yet another offer off a waitlist, all previous offers are nullified? Correct.

 Or, since there is no hard G&T deadline, does it mean that one family could be registered at multiple schools and holding multiple spots, while another family may have missed their registration deadline due to the confusion and have none? The most a family can have is one K seat and one G&T seat at the same time until the schools reconcile their list. Which is usually once a week.

Those who have spoken with me personally know that whenever I don’t know something, I admit that I don’t know it. The last thing I want is to make an assumption that negatively affects a family’s placement.

So, because the above still wasn’t clear to me, I sent one more email:

This is incredibly helpful, thank you so much.

But just to confirm that I understood correctly:

If a family received a “main round” G&T offer on June 15, then they are under no obligation to accept their spot until the DOE announces a final date. However, if a family is contacted off the waitlist AFTER June 15, then they are required to accept or decline the offered seat by any deadline an individual school sees fit?

Is that what I may tell families?

I am very grateful for your help.

The final exchange was on Tuesday, June 30th. As of Thursday, July 2, I have not heard back.

Because deadlines are fast approaching, I decided to put this post up early.

If I hear back from the DOE, I will share their response in the Comments.

Stand by!

What do you think?

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