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Parents Helping Parents – When the Department of Ed Won’t (Gifted & Talented Edition)

It’s been an extremely difficult season for New York City public schools admissions.

The new Parent Portal found novel and exciting ways to malfunction. Placements would appear and disappear. Results were posted for high school and Gifted & Talented admission, only to be nullified and families informed they weren’t official.

One parent shared with me:

I received an offer in MySchools for my child’s 4th choice High-school, in round 2, then today got an email about orientation for her 1st choice. Honestly, this has been such a frustrating process. First no offers in the first round (at first they stated because she did not submit an application (which she did) then they came back a couple of days later, and stated there was a glitch, she did submit an application but still no match. (Because she is a charter student, and the DOE states every Public school student is guaranteed a match but charters have no guarantee). Then I get an email with an invite for an orientation from a school that was not on her application. When I contacted them, they said they did not have her as an accepted student (an oversight on their part). Contacted some of her top picks during round 1 and a few of them stated that the attendance portion showed her absent 192 days (an error in the cells on their spreadsheet). She legitimately had several lates (1 minute “tardy” in charter translates to a DOE late which I discovered plays a huge role in eliminating students,) so despite 4’s on both state tests and grades ranging from 85 to mid 90’s in her core subjects, we were stuck doing round two, selecting 12 schools that were not even a real consideration, just so that we could do an appeal. I am going to contact the school and the Family Welcome center in the morning, and move forward with an appeal for a choice on her 1st round picks…. I just got an email from the school stating that the MySchools portal had her being placed at the school, but it was an error. Beyond frustrating with all of these “errors.”

Then there was the screw up that resulted in Lab School for Collaborative Studies confessing they’d made a mistake and hadn’t offered admission to enough students in the 1st Round. They tried to fix it by admitting about 150 more kids after the placement process was completed. The Department of Education claimed this “glitch” affected very few students. I begged to differ, here.

And let’s not forget the 4-year-olds and their parents left waiting outside in the cold because the DOE cancelled G&T testing due to the snowstorm that wasn’t… but neglected to tell families – or teachers!

G&T offer letters came out on Friday, June 7. As in previous years, over two-thirds of children who qualified for a citywide school didn’t get a seat, and about half of those who qualified for district programs were shut out.

But here’s where it gets interesting: There are still G&T programs with seats available! And they’re accepting out of district students! Because this isn’t information the DOE has seen fit to share with families, we’re honoring NYC School Secrets’ motto of: Parents Helping Parents, and asking them to share what they know, so that others might benefit.

Here are some of the suggestions that came in from readers last week:

  • PS 56 has space in Brooklyn’s District 13. The K class for 2018-2019 only has 12 students!
  • I’ve heard that PS 220 and 121 in District 28 Queens have spots available. PS 99 has its own in-house G&T program which begins in grade 2 or 3.
  • PS 15 in the East Village may…worth a try
  • Both District 1 G&Ts are under-subscribed in kindergarten (I don’t have rigorous enough data on the older grades). There are 12 kids in PS 110 current K class and fewer than 10 in PS 15’s. Hope that intel is useful to other families!
  • They extended the diversity initiative to the district G&T. They also have the issue that last year not one Caucasian went to G&T at PS 15. My guess is there are spots there.
  • PS 32 in Brooklyn had lots of Kindergarten spots last year—they had 2 classes, and may combine to 1 if we don’t get enough 1st grade g&t applicants. It’s a wonderful program with excellent enrichments, and we’d love to keep both classes, so please encourage folks to apply!
  • I was super-confident my son would get a seat at PS 32 in Brooklyn because he got one last year (and we passed) and I knew there were 2 G&T classes with only 15 kids in each. I called them today and they said they only extended 2 offers for 1st grade. I asked why and she didn’t confirm they were combining the 2 classes into 1 but that is certainly what she implied.
  • There could be some spots available for 1st grade in PS 165 with a few families moving out of NY. The school has a wonderful G&T program, and with a smaller class size, they are invested in developing each child’s strengths, while honing their areas of development. There is a strong focus on holistic education with classes such as music, art, gym, they even have a kiln for making sculptures! There are a couple of great after-school programs and ACT at St. John the Divine also has a seamless after-school pick-up from the school. The school is an easy commute being steps away from the 1 station on 110th. Overall, we have had a great experience with the school in kindergarten. Happy to connect with any parent who’s on the fence!

Thank you to everyone who wrote in, and if you have further suggestions, please leave them in the Comments.

Meanwhile, let’s see if we can help these two moms out.

One wrote:

We have been offered a UPK spot in Harlem in a school that decided to close. All DOE is suggesting now is placement on additional waitlists.

While a second elaborated:

We got placed at a school called Singleton Gems for Pre-K.  It appears to be on 124th street and Malcolm X Boulevard. Definitely was not on my list of schools but you had prepared me for this kind of thing so I was only minimally shocked (but still shocked). Melanie from the Department of Ed just called me and said that Singleton Gems was no longer offering Pre-K.  She did mention some other schools as possibly having spots, but I had never heard of them and I think they were in other boroughs. I didn’t write them down. She certainly didn’t call with another placement for me, just an FYI that Singleton Gems was no longer offering Pre-K and I would need to call them directly for specifics (I don’t know what that would have accomplished). I asked her where I could be placed now and she basically said I would just remain on my waitlists.  So offered no help at all.

Do you know of any UPK’s that still have space for September? Let’s keep helping our fellow parents out… even when the DOE won’t!

(PS: Still beats a UPK provider closing in the middle of the year, like this one!)

What do you think?

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